12th August 2019
CAYMAN ISLANDS: VICE-PRESIDENT AND FORMER TREASURER OF FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION CHARGED WITH MONEY LAUNDERING AND FALSE ACCOUNTING
The Cayman Compass on 11th August reported that Bruce Blake, still officially a vice president of the Cayman Islands Football Association, and Canover Watson, the former treasurer, have been charged with a string of offences including money laundering and false accounting. They were originally arrested in 2017 in relation to a probe involving $1.2 million in funds that were “loaned” to the Cayman Islands Football Association in 2013.
ESTONIAN PROSECUTOR SEIZES €2 MILLION FROM FORMER DANSKE BANK EMPLOYEE
On 12th August, KYC 360 reported that Estonian prosecutors have ordered a local court to seize around €2 million from a Latvian bank account belonging to a former Danske Bank employee, one of 10 former employees at the local branch of Danske Bank arrested by Estonian police in December, as part of an investigation into alleged money laundering.
REFORM OF VATICAN BANK: NEW STATUTES
On 12th August, KYC 360 reported that Pope Francis has approved new statutes for the Vatican Bank, making an external audit obligatory and introducing other changes to bolster reforms that have turned around the once scandal-ridden institution. The bank had been caught in previous years in cases of corruption, tax evasion, embezzlement, money laundering and real estate fraud, some involving top officials and prelates.
MOZAMBIQUE INDICTS 20 PEOPLE OVER $2 BILLION HIDDEN-DEBT SCANDAL
KYC on 12th August reported that 20 people, including the son of former President Armando Guebuza, have been charged over a fraud scam in which state-owned companies contracted $2 billion in debt for dubious projects. This follows the arrest in South Africa of former finance minister Manuel Chang on related US charges, and earlier arrests in February. The accused are said to include Armando Ndambi Guebuza, the former head of state security Gregorio Leao and Antonio Carlos do Rosario, CEO of the 3 state companies for which the debt was contracted.
SWITZERLAND REVISES TRANSPARENCY OBLIGATIONS – BANS BEARER SHARES
CMS Law on 30th July published an article saying that in June the Swiss parliament passed a law that implemented the recommendations of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes. The article explains the changes relating to bearer shares and advises companies to consider converting bearer shares into registered shares voluntarily prior to an eventual automatic conversion.
UK: DEVELOPERS SELLING HOMES DO NOT HAVE TO REGISTER FOR AML BUT ESTATE AGENTS DO
Property Industry Eye on 12th August carried an article saying that an anomaly has emerged by which developers selling homes on their own sites do not have to be registered for AML purposes – they are regarded as P2P, or private, sellers – but any estate agent selling those very same homes must be.
SOLICITORS DISCIPLINARY TRIBUNAL THROWS OUT MONEY LAUNDERING CASE AGAINST SOLICITORS
On 12th August, legal Futures reported that the SDT had dismissed a case against 2 solicitors for breaching the money laundering regulations rules after finding that they had no case to answer. Jeffrey Crewe was a solicitor at Metamorph Law and Christopher Cann its MLRO and compliance officer for legal practice. Crewe was accused of failing to undertake adequate source of funds checks in relation to transactions carried out for 5 clients. Cann was charged with authorising Mr Crewe to proceed with the transaction despite this and not ensuring the firm adhered to the regulations.
MARITIME SECURITY COMPANIES AVOID USING UK GUARDS IN STRAIT OF HORMUZ
Insurance Marine News on 12th August reported that maritime security operators are pulling UK guards off transits through the Gulf over fears they could be targeted for capture by the Iranians. Some are said to have replaced UK citizens with guards from other countries, fearing that UK passport holders would be more vulnerable to a hostage situation should a vessel be seized by Iran while in the seas near its southern border.
US COURT OVERTURNS DECISION TO ALLOW SEIZURE OF FOUNDATION’S 60% SHARE OF A SKYSCRAPER IN MANHATTAN DUE TO SANCTIONS VIOLATIONS
The EU Sanctions Blog on 12th August reported that a US Appeals Court had overturned a District Court decision that allowed the DoJ to seize the not-for-profit Alavi Foundation’s 60% share of a skyscraper. The case involved the Alavi Foundation having negotiated a mortgage with Assa Corp with the knowledge that Assa Corp was a front for Bank Melli (an Iranian state-run bank), which was subject to US sanctions. The decision appears to have been overturned on procedural issues, and not because they was no link or potential sanctions involvement.
IRANIAN WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY IN US TO CONSPIRACY TO EVADE IRAN SANCTIONS
On 12th August, EU Sanctions Blog reported that Negar Ghodskani, who was arrested in Australia in 2017, has pleaded guilty to conspiring to evade sanctions on Iran by exporting controlled technology. A Malaysian front company received deliveries of the technology that was then reshipped to Iran.
WHAT’S BEHIND RUSSIA’S NEW OFFENSIVE AGAINST THE INTERNET ECONOMY?
An article from the Carnegie Center on 12th August says that Russia has launched a new attack on web-based companies. Often, these measures are presented as efforts to combat terrorism. However, it says, behind them lies a union of bureaucrats and security agents, the business aspirations of state capitalists, and the Russian authorities’ desire to control the internet.
COUNCIL OF EUROPE REPORT SAYS LOW LEVEL OF COMPLIANCE BY GERMANY ON ANTI-CORRUPTION
On 12th August, a report from GRECO, the Council’s anti-corruption body, says that Germany has “overall very low level of compliance” with 2015 recommendations made to it, and that a “globally unsatisfactory” assessment has prompted GRECO to apply a “non-compliance procedure” for Germany, which means that its German delegation must provide a report on progress in implementing pending recommendations no later than 30th June 2020. It comments on a lack of progress, with none of 4 recommendations on prevention of corruption in respect of members of parliament having been fully implemented to date, concerns over shortcomings in the registration of lobbyists and other third parties, and an absence of any developments in requiring members of parliament to disclose a potential conflict between their private interests and any matters being discussed in parliamentary proceedings.
ISRAELI OPTIONS SCAM ALLEGEDLY TOOK IN $100 MILLION
Bloomberg reported on 12th August that 4 Israeli citizens and the financial firms they owned or operated were sued by US securities regulators for allegedly using bogus swap and option trades to steal about $80 million from investors, including some Americans. The CFTC has filed lawsuits against Lee Elbaz, Yakov Cohen, Yossi Herzog and Shalom Peretz, along with companies including Yukom Communications Ltd and Linkopia Mauritius Ltd. Elbaz, the former CEO of Yukon, was convicted in a Maryland federal court of conspiracy and wire-fraud charges and remains in custody. The other defendants are still in Israel.
NORTH MACEDONIA’S PRESIDENT ORDERS ACTION ON CORRUPTION SCANDAL
Rferl on 12th August reported that the President has demanded that officials return from vacation to continue a corruption investigation. TV channel owner Bojan Jovanovski and an associate were arrested in July for allegedly being bribed by businessman Orce Kamcev, a suspect in a money laundering probe, to use their influence to reduce his sentence.
UKRAINE EX-PRESIDENT POROSHENKO QUESTIONED IN TV TAX EVASION CASE
On 12th August, Rferl reported that Poroshenko answered investigators’ questions in an alleged tax evasion case involving the purchase of a TV station.
AUSTRALIAN POLICE CHARGES 5 PEOPLE FOR $1.83 MILLION CRYPTO INVESTMENT FRAUD
The Paypers reported on 12th August that police had charged 5 people for deceiving over 100 investors into handing over around US$1.83 million, believing that they were generating significant profit, using a legitimate-seeming company called Exmount Holdings Group, which had a website, call centre and sales staff. The victims were allegedly lured into making a trial investment, with promises of high returns after they had invested more funds.
DIRECTORS BANNED FOR DISHONESTLY SECURING £975,000 OF CREDIT
The Insolvency Service reported in a news release on 12th August that 3 directors who dishonestly secured credit by causing their companies to submit false invoices to factoring companies are banned for a total of 29 years. Deborah Mary Fisher, 50, of Spalding, Lincolnshire was the director of NJ Transport Limited, a haulier. Marcus Grose, 52, and Dominic Worley, 54, from London, were directors of National Electrical Wholesale Limited. They were all disqualified and are banned from directly or indirectly becoming involved in the formation, promotion or management of a company without permission of the court.
INCOTERMS® 2020: WHAT WILL THE CHANGES MEAN FOR YOUR INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS?
On 9th August, law firm Gowling WLG published a video, with transcript, about what Incoterms are, the upcoming new edition, and why they are so important to international traders of goods. It is explained that they are basically a voluntary code of words or terms which international traders around the world can, at any stage, incorporate into their sales contracts and what they do is set out where the seller’s responsibilities are and where the buyer’s responsibilities are. Who has responsibility to clear export, who has the responsibility to pay the carriage, who bears the risk if things go wrong?
BRITISH PAYMENT CRIME UNIT DISMANTLES 13 CRIMINAL GANGS IN FIRST HALF OF 2019
On 12th August, The Paypers reported that the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU), a specialist police unit funded by the banking and finance industry that targets the organised criminal gangs responsible for fraud, has dismantled 13 organised crime groups in the first half of 2019 – double the number in the same period in 2018 – with 39 fraudsters convicted and £333,000 of assets seized.
BENEFICIAL AND INDIRECT LAND OWNERS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA – A NEW PUBLIC REGISTRY IS COMING SOON
On 9th August, Dentons published a briefing about a new law requiring disclosure of beneficial or indirect interests in real estate and which has now been finalised. Although there remain several key unknowns, the new law is expected to come into force sometime in 2020. Regulations clarifying the missing details are expected to be issued by the time this law comes into force.
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