ISLE OF MAN: HIGH COURT JUDGE REPRIMANDED FOR APPARENT BIAS AND APPARENT LACK OF IMPARTIALITY

A Statement from the Judicial Conduct Office of the Isle of Man reported on 31st July that a Deemster (the equivalent to a High Court judge) had been investigated and formally reprimanded as he “displayed overbearing conduct towards a witness, an apparent lack of impartiality and also apparent bias in respect of the questioning of that witness (2) did not ensure that a fair hearing was given to the defendants in the course of a private public interest immunity hearing, that the conduct of such hearing was improper and that its conduct was contrary to the requirement of judicial independence”.  No details of the case involved was provided in the statement.

https://www.courts.im/media/2216/statement-from-the-judicial-conduct-office.pdf

 

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – AUGUST 4

4th August 2019

JAPAN TO IMPOSE MORE CONTROLS ON EXPORTS TO SOUTH KOREA, INCLUDING OIL PRODUCTS

Hellenic Shipping News on 2nd August carried an article about the ongoing spat between South Korea and Japan, saying that the Japanese cabinet had decided that it will remove South Korea’s preferential trading status and take it off the “White Countries” list, with effect from August 28th – meaning Japan would impose additional procedures on exports to South Korea for many items, including oil products. All exports including oil products, except for food and timber, to South Korea will also be subject to controls.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/japan-to-impose-more-controls-on-exports-to-south-korea-including-oil-products/

HONDURAS: A TALE OF CORRUPTION AND IMPUNITY (2006-2019)

On 4th August, Univision published an article saying that prosecutors in Honduras have filed 3 major indictments for political corruption in recent months.  The alleged corruption was originally uncovered by an Organisation of American States anti-corruption mission to Honduras, known as MACCIH.  A Univision investigation, based on court documents and interviews, found evidence of a much larger network of corruption in the country, but the MACCIH’s mandate runs out in January and many fear the return of impunity.  The article involves a timeline of how the scandal evolved.  A second article describes what it terms a veritable Pandora’s box, and among those implicated were some of President Juan Orlando Hernandez’s own family.

https://www.univision.com/test/honduras-a-tale-of-corruption-and-impunity-2006-2019

https://www.univision.com/test/whos-who-in-honduras-pandoras-box-of-corruption

4 EXECUTIVES AT PETROFAC OIL SERVICES COMPANY NAMED IN BRIBERY CASE

Energy Voice on 4th August reported that senior managers at oil services firm Petrofac have been named by the SFO in conjunction with a bribery case involving the organisation.  The 4 men were named as part of an investigation into David Lufkin, 51, a former global head of sales and executive at Petrofac who was convicted in February having pleaded guilty to 11 counts of bribery.  The case relates to “corrupt offers” made to influence the award of contracts to Petrofac in Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

https://www.energyvoice.com/oilandgas/204978/four-petrofac-executives-named-in-bribery-case/

2 FRAUDSTERS STOLE AN ESTIMATED $8 MILLION FROM THE US GOVERNMENT’S FEMA PROGRAMME FOR VICTIMS OF DISASTER

Kenneth Rijock in his blog posted an entry on 4th August saying that John Irogho and Odinaka Ekeocha from Baltimore purchased GreenDot prepaid cards, and then stole the identities of victims of national disasters, to receive $500 payments from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  They also filed false claims for Social Security benefits and IRS tax refunds.

http://rijock.blogspot.com/2019/08/fraudsters-stole-8m-from-federal.html

UK: ORGANISED CRIME GANGS RENTING EXPENSIVE PROPERTIES TO HOUSE MODERN SLAVERY VICTIMS

Cheshire Live on 3rd August reported that over the past few months, Cheshire police have received intelligence to suggest that the gangs have been renting large high-value properties in rural areas to house modern slavery victims – and in some cases the properties have also been used as illegal call centres, where fraudsters target vulnerable residents and defraud them out of thousands of pounds.

https://www.cheshire-live.co.uk/news/chester-cheshire-news/organised-crime-gangs-renting-expensive-16693312

CHINESE MAN JAILED FOR 3 YEARS IN US FOR IMPORTING THOUSANDS OF BOGUS APPLE PRODUCTS

Illicit Trade on 31st July reported that a Chinese man who had been living in the US on a student visa has been jailed for more than 3 years for importing and selling counterfeit Apple products.  Court documents show that he and his associates illegally imported more than 40,000 electronic devices and accessories between July 2009 and February 2014, including iPads and iPhones, as a well as labels and packaging featuring counterfeit Apple trademarks.  Once in his possession of illicit goods, he would distribute them to co-conspirators in various locations across the US, using his Dream Digitals company as cover for the plot.

https://www.illicit-trade.com/2019/07/chinese-man-jailed-for-three-years-in-us-for-importing-thousands-of-bogus-apple-products/

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MASSIVE HAUL OF GUNS FOUND HIDDEN IN CAR AT DOVER

The Huffington Post reported on 4th August that Robert Keogh, 37, of Dublin, is charged with illegally importing firearms, in a case involving what is believed to be the largest seizure of lethal purpose weapons at a port in the UK.  It was discovered by Border Force officers who stopped a VW Passat arriving at the Port of Dover from Calais.  60 firearms were found hidden in the car.

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/guns-dover_uk_5d46b761e4b0ca604e335d80

https://www.thejournal.ie/irishman-charged-guns-uk-4752536-Aug2019

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/man-charged-after-60-guns-recovered-hidden-in-car

 

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BANK OF NEW ZEALAND MADE PAYMENT FOR ‘OIL’ FROM IRAN BREACHING ITS OWN SANCTIONS POLICY

Stuff in its 5th August edition reported that the bank processed a payment “identified to be for oil originating from Iran” breaching its own Economic and Trade Sanctions Policy in 2017, and in early 2018 a second payment involving Iran was processed by the bank, which a top bank executive described as a “huge operational risk”.  This is said not the only time the Bank of New Zealand had breached its own sanctions policies.  The news come from a leaked National Australia Bank (NAB) Group Chief Risk Officer report, which outline risks the bank and its New Zealand subsidiary face.  New Zealand had lifted its sanctions against Iran in February 2016, after the UN lifted international sanctions against Iran, which had once been New Zealand’s fifth-largest trading partner, but the US had imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran, and could take action against banks which breached them.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/114664665/bnz-made-payment-for-oil-from-iran-breaching-its-own-sanctions-policy

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US TREASURY ANNOUNCES RUSSIAN SANCTIONS RELATING TO CERTAIN US BANK LOANS AND MULTILATERAL DEVELOPMENT BANK ASSISTANCE

On 3rd August, the US Treasury issued a news release saying that it was implementing 2 sanctions on the Russian Federation as part of measures imposed by the US pursuant to the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991.  It is imposing a prohibition related to certain US bank loans and will oppose multilateral development bank assistance to the Russian Federation.  An OFAC Directive, effective from 26th August, prohibits US banks from participating in the primary market for non-rouble denominated bonds issued by Russian and also prohibits US banks from lending non-rouble denominated funds to Russia.  OFAC has also issued FAQ in connection to the Directive.  In addition, further export restrictions administered by the Department of Commerce are to be implemented.  The FAQ make clear that the sanctions are in response to the chemical weapons attack in Salisbury last year and that Russia had failed to provide reliable assurances that it would not engage in future chemical weapons attacks.  The prohibitions cover any ministry, agency, or sovereign fund of the Russian Federation, including the Central Bank of Russia, the National Wealth Fund, and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation – but does not include state-owned enterprises of the Russian Federation. The Directive does not prohibit US banks from participating in the secondary market for Russian sovereign debt.

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm750

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/faq_other.aspx#673

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/20190803_cbw_directive.pdf

US EXEMPTS AVIATION, SPACE EXPORTS FROM NEW RUSSIA SANCTIONS

The Manila Bulletin on 4th August carried an AP report saying that the Trump administration has decided to exempt aviation safety and space exploration technology from new sanctions, and products related to those sectors will not be automatically subjected to an export ban, but the sanctions do include a presumption of denial for export licences for items that could be used in the production of chemical and biological weapons.

https://news.mb.com.ph/2019/08/04/us-exempts-aviation-space-exports-from-new-russia-sanctions/

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PHILIPPINES HITS THE JACKPOT AS CHINA FUELS ONLINE GAMBLING BOOM – FUELLING MONEY LAUNDERING FEARS

An article in the Nikkei Asian Review on 29th July reported that, operating in a legal grey area until 3 years ago, and under a president who once said he “hates” gambling (and who has suspended lottery operations in the country due to “massive corruption”), offshore gaming has since been embraced by the administration of Rodrigo Duterte.  Offshore gaming is one of the economy’s fastest-growing sectors, employing over 350,000 people, including around 100,000 mainly Chinese foreign workers, according to estimates.  It is fuelled by demand for online gaming from mainland China – where gambling is officially illegal – and the 56 licensed Philippine offshore gaming operators, or POGO, are expected to rake in over $8 billion in revenue this year.  However, with few available details surrounding the POGO – not even the names of licensees behind each operator are publicly known – the rapid rise of the offshore gaming industry is also stirring fears that it could turn Manila into a money laundering hub.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Media-Entertainment/Duterte-hits-the-jackpot-as-China-fuels-online-gambling-boom2

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