31st July 2019
CHINESE NATIONAL SENTENCED FOR SMUGGLING 40,000 FAKE APPLE I-PADS AND I-PHONES FROM CHINA
The Epoch Times on 30th July reported a news release from the DoJ which said that Li Jianhua, a 45-year-old Chinese national has been sentenced to more than 3 years in prison for his role in trafficking and distributing counterfeit Apple products from China in the US. He smuggled more than 40,000 electronic devices and accessories, such as fake iPhones and iPads, for the 5 years between 2009 to 2014 while living on a student visa.
IRAQ EXHIBITS SMUGGLED ARTEFACTS RETURNED FROM UK AND SWEDEN
On 30th July, the AINA news agency reported on a display of artefacts recovered from the UK and Sweden, which had been stolen and illegally smuggled to Europe in the past decades, at the Foreign Ministry in Baghdad. It included archaeological and historical items, such as pottery fragments and shards with writing dating back at least 4,000 years to the ancient Sumerian civilization.
ACTIVIST FINANCIER BROWDER TARGETS CYPRUS OVER RUSSIAN DIRTY CASH
On 31st July, Politico published an article saying that anti-corruption and human rights activist Bill Browder is stepping up his campaign against dirty money in Cyprus with a complaint that has triggered a criminal investigation. He has accused Cypriot authorities of enabling money laundering through the local property market by a Russian organised crime figure, Dmitry Klyuev. He argues that the case is symptomatic of much deeper problems with money laundering in Cyprus, and says that an official document he obtained provides evidence that a Cypriot government employee in the interior ministry aided Klyuev in buying a house with suspicious funds in 2014.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR NEW INCOTERMS
An article from AKD Benelux Lawyers on 31st July said that the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is set to launch a new version of the International Commercial Terms (Incoterms) rules – the globally used, standardised set of trade terms for the international sale and delivery of goods. The new rules, which will update the 2010 version, will be published later in 2019, but will not take effect until 1st January 2020. The article suggests that parties involved in the international sale of goods should use the impending introduction of the new rules as an opportunity to review their existing contracts and standard delivery terms and determine whether they are being used correctly.
US APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS CONTEMPT FINES AGAINST 3 CHINESE BANKS IN NORTH KOREAN SANCTIONS PROBE
On 31st July, KYC 360 reported that a US appeals court has upheld $50,000-a-day contempt of court fines on 3 large Chinese banks – Bank of Communications, China Merchants Bank and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank – locked in a battle over customer financial records with US prosecutors investigating possible North Korean sanctions violations. The court rejected the argument that Chinese banking privacy rules and other laws require that requests for customer records in US criminal inquiries be made through a legal assistance pact between the countries.
NICARAGUA GRANTS CITIZENSHIP TO EMBATTLED EX-SALVADORAN PRESIDENT
On 31st July, KYC 360 reported that former Salvadoran president Mauricio Funes has been granted Nicaraguan citizenship, the constitution of which holds that no citizen may be extradited. He faces face charges of embezzlement and money laundering in El Salvador.
TERMINATION NOTICE BASED ON A COMPANY BEING DISSOLVED REMAINED EFFECTIVE DESPITE THE COMPANY BEING RESTORED TO THE REGISTER
An article on contract law from Allen & Overy on 29th July said that it has been held that a company was able to terminate an agreement to sell 2 airfields if the buying company was struck off the register or dissolved. The company was duly stuck off, and a notice of termination issued. Subsequently, however, after an application to the registrar, the company was restored to the register. The Companies Act 2006 provides that a restored company “is deemed to have continued in existence as if it had not been dissolved or struck off the register”, and the company argued that this created a fiction whereby the parties should act as if it had always existed and never been struck off. The court agreed the provision in the Companies Act was mandatory and wide-ranging, but the court might not allow this if it created an absurdity.
LUXURY MANSION OF CHINESE-MEXICAN DRUG TRAFFICKER IS PUT ON MARKET BY MEXICAN GOVERNMENT FOR $5 MILLION
On 31st July, the Mail Online reported that the Mexican government plans to auction the 3-storey pink mansion of a Chinese-Mexican businessman facing drug trafficking and money laundering charges. It previously belonged to the suspected drug trafficker Zhenli Ye Gon, who is accused of conspiring with the notorious Sinaloa cartel.
RUSSIA´S ENGAGEMENT IN LIBYA: MID-2014 TO 2018
On 31st July, ETH Zurich published a timeline which highlights the increase in Russia’s engagement in Libya from mid-2014 to the end of 2018.
NEW UK BORDER CAMPAIGN WARNS OF THREAT OF AFRICAN SWINE FEVER
On 31st July, a news release from DEFRA announced new poster campaign warning holidaymakers of the risks around bringing contaminated pork products into the UK. The disease, which poses no threat to human health but is fatal for pigs, has already spread widely across Asia – including China and Vietnam – and parts of Central and Eastern Europe. Cases have also been reported throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.
ISRAELI FUGITIVE ARRESTED IN MEXICO AFTER 18 YEARS ON THE RUN
A news release from Interpol on 30th July advised that one of Israel’s most wanted fugitives has been arrested in Mexico and sent back to serve out his 18-year sentence for attempted murder and forgery. Convicted of the 1998 attempted murder of a father and son, Erez Akrishevski, 57, escaped during 48-hour prison leave in 2001. He was caught in Argentina in 2004, but fled while on bail.
PROBE OF NEW US NAVY CORRUPTION CASE IN ASIA
On 30th July, Defense News reported that another “Fat Leonard” scandal may be in prospect for the US Navy. The DoJ has filed corruption charges against the head of a Busan, Korea-based husbanding services provider in a case with unmistakable echoes of the scandal that has rocked the US Navy since that investigation was revealed in 2013. Sung-Yol “David” Kim, head of DK Marine Service, has been charged with one count of conspiracy and one count of bribery. Also implicated is the former civilian master of the dry cargo ship Charles Drew, a US Military Sealift Command ship that operates in the Pacific.
GERMAN BONG MAKER TARGETS US TOBACCO STORES IN TRADEMARK LAWSUITS
The World Intellectual Property Review on 30th July reported that a German bong maker has filed 14 identical lawsuits against alleged counterfeiters in the US, targeting a number of tobacco retailers that it said are selling unauthorised copies of its trademark-protected bongs. The RooR brand produces a range of glass water pipes, parts and accessories, each of them bearing its trademarks which are registered in the US.
SWITZERLAND AND NETHERLANDS FREEZE UNRWA FUNDING FOLLOWING LEAKED REPORT
On 31st July, the Middle East Monitor reported that 2 more countries had joined Israel and are said to have frozen funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) after an internal report alleging sexual misconduct and corruption among the agency’s top officials was leaked.
DENEL WILL SOON TAKE LEGAL ACTION AGAINST CORRUPT FORMER OFFICIALS
On 31st July, Business Day in South Africa reported that state-owned arms manufacturer Denel will soon start taking legal action against former managers following several forensic investigations into alleged fraud and misappropriation of funds. A severe financial crisis in December 2017, meant that it needed a government guarantee to enable it to pay its workers and suppliers and is still struggling to pay salaries because of cash-flow problems. Links to the Gupta family are mentioned. Meanwhile, the trade union Solidarity said it would be taking legal action against Denel for not paying the unemployment insurance levy and taxes that had been deducted from employees’ salaries.
HOW ODEBRECHT COZIED UP TO THE CASTROS IN CUBA WHILE MAINTAINING WORK IN MIAMI
An article in the Miami Herald on 31st July which says that Brazilian engineering giant Odebrecht (the centre of the Car Wash corruption scandals throughout Latin America) spent hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes and illicit campaign contributions to win work across the Americas and leaked documents show Odebrecht projects in Cuba also generated large unexplained irregular payments. It also says that over a period from 2010 to 2015, it made irregular payments tied to the modernisation of a port and the planned expansions of 2 Cuban airports, for which it had secured more than $800 million collectively from the Brazilian government. Payments are said to have been routed via an off-the-books accounting platform that Odebrecht’s Structured Operations Division ran via servers in Switzerland. Whilst the company is denying bribery in Cuba, the article highlights the “creative” financing employed by the Brazilian Development Bank BNDES to avoid having Odebrecht paid directly by the Cuban government, which might have run afoul with US sanctions.
SOUTH AFRICA: “CORRUPTION BEHIND POWER COMPANY ESKOM’S 800% LOSS”
On 31st July, Fin 24 reported that the opposition Democratic Alliance claimed that financial losses at Eskom is a result of years of “corruption and mismanagement”.
HEAD OF BULGARIA’S ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION SUBMITS RESIGNATION
The Sofia Globe on 31st July reported that the head of Bulgaria’s Commission for Combating Corruption and Confiscation of Illegally Acquired Property, Plamen Georgiev, has submitted his resignation. He has been on leave of absence since April, when an investigation was revealed about the building in which he lives.
EU COMMISSION REFERS ITALY TO COURT OF JUSTICE OVER FUEL EXEMPTIONS FOR CHARTER YACHTS
On 31st July, Superyacht News carried an article saying that the Commission has referred Italy to the ECJ for its failure to address fuel duty exemptions for charter yachts operating in EU waters. It is said that the Commission has highlighted what it claims is Italy’s attempt to apply commercial status to ‘pleasure crafts…even if they are for personal use’ – while exemptions are in place for usage outside of EU waters, ‘the rules do not allow for a general flat- rate reduction without proof of where the service is actually used’, it is said.
IMPORTANT BERMUDA DECISION CONCERNING CONFIRMATION OF ACTIONS OF INVALIDLY APPOINTED TRUSTEES
On 25th July, an article from Carey Olsen reported that the Chief Justice of Bermuda has handed down an important decision dealing with the power of the court to intervene in the administration of a trust to approve actions of improperly appointed trustees, and confirms the inherent jurisdiction of the court, upon the appointment of trustees, to grant them leave to administer the trust on the basis that they had been properly appointed on a prior date.
CHINESE CUSTOMS RETURNS MORE SMUGGLED SOLID WASTE
Xinhua reported on 31st July that Nantong customs in east China’s Jiangsu Province has ordered the shipping back of 4,003 tonnes of smuggled solid waste to where it originated – which was not identified. Disguised with fake documents, the garbage consists of slags produced from the making of iron ore pellets.
MALTA: 40 MILLION CIGARETTES SEIZED BY CUSTOMS AT FREEPORT
On 31st July, Newsbook reported that Customs officials have seized 40 million counterfeit cigarettes found inside 4 containers at the Malta Freeport. The containers originated from Piraeus and were on their way to Misrata, Libya.
GUERNSEY’S AML REGIME, SUSPICIONS AND A CLAIM CONCERNED WITH THE “NO CONSENT” REGIME
On 31st July, Appleby published a briefing on a case from 2018 which involved a private law claim involving the effect of the island’s “no consent” AML regime, saying it will be of interest to other common law financial centres dealing with similar issues. It says that the case involved for the first time under Guernsey law, consideration of what “suspicion” meant for the purpose of reporting financial crime and whether the trustee had the requisite suspicion – and then, if so, who had the burden of proving the funds were not the proceeds of crime. The article says that the case provides a timely illustration of the complexities for parties involved in transactions where the origin of the funds is uncertain.
PRIVATE PROSECUTION OF BP SOUTHERN AFRICA PROPRIETARY LIMITED FOR ENVIRONMENTAL OFFENCES
In an article dated 1st August, Eversheds Sutherland commented on the use of private prosecutions in South Africa. The trend towards private prosecution has largely been focused on the prosecution of individuals for corruption, which have faced significant hurdles. However, it says, this is not the case in relation to private prosecutions for environmental offences, where the relevant legislation makes specific provision for private prosecution and sets lesser requirements that must be met, for a private prosecutor, to initiate prosecution. The article goes on to discuss a “ground breaking” decision in April, in which the court, essentially, confirmed that private prosecutors can step into the gap created by a failure of the DPP to prosecute applicants – at least in the case of so-called “rectification applications” – applications which companies often submit after commencing activities for which environmental approvals and authorisations were required before they commenced.
GERMANY: 2 MEN ARE ON TRIAL FOR SMUGGLING 735 REPLICA AND FLOBERT FIREARMS INTO THE COUNTRY FROM SLOVAKIA
The Berliner Morgenpost on 30th July reported this story, saying that the weapons were converted in Berlin and sold via middlemen. A price of €2,500 each is quoted.
US LOOKING TO SELL SEIZED NORTH KOREAN VESSEL
Insurance Maritime News on 31st July reported that the US Marshals Service (USMS) is reported to be looking to sell the seized vessel, the North Korean-owned bulk carrier Wise Honest (IMO 8905490), which was impounded in Indonesia before being taken to American Samoa earlier this year.
JERSEY – CIVIL FINANCIAL PENALTIES ON PRINCIPAL PERSONS: METHODOLOGY FOR DETERMINING THE AMOUNT
In July, the Jersey FSC published this methodology which sets out the approach of FSC to the determination of the amount of a civil financial penalty to be imposed on a principal person. The circumstances of each case will be different and the FSC will apply each step in the methodology with the necessary degree of flexibility and discretion that the particular case will merit.
To find out who or what a “principal person” is, see –
KENYA NOW A KEY TRANSIT POINT FOR SOUTH-BOUND MIGRANTS
On 30th July, ENACT Africa published an article saying that human smugglers are increasingly using the country en route to South Africa. There are said to be 2 legs for southbound migrants: from Ethiopia to Kenya, and from Kenya to South Africa. In Tanzania, migrants are given a fake South African document to move through transit countries. In communities in Horn of Africa countries families often pool resources to send 2 or 3 of members abroad in search of better lives for themselves, and for those at home through anticipated remittances. The southbound route is favoured, in part because the northbound option to Europe is dangerous and expensive.
PREVENTING CONTACT CENTRE IVR FRAUD
A blog from UK Finance carries a post about a risk of which I for one was unaware. The contact centre interactive voice response (IVR) system is the front door for customers using the phone and enables them to complete self-service transactions at their convenience, but fraudsters can target the IVR to harvest information to scam customers. As part of an organised attack, it warns, the fraudster will probe the IVR to acquire or validate data that will enable them to cash out the victim’s account or gather additional information to enable authorised push payment (APP) fraud. The post starts by revealing the results of an analysis of calls to show the make-up of an organised fraud attack – including the detail that 10% of IVR attacks are from fraudsters that have already been blacklisted by another bank. Fraudsters use IVR alongside other means (such as social media) to gather and validate data about their victim.
This blog is primarily for my own use, to keep informed and up to date. However, if you would like to say thank you (and perhaps help me get a new, better laptop when I am away…) you can “buy me a coffee” at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y