OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – AUGUST 13

13th August 2019

AMENDMENTS TO CANADA’S ANTI-DUMPING REGULATIONS POSE NEW RISKS FOR FOREIGN PRODUCERS AND IMPORTERS

An article from Borden Ladner Gervais on 8th August reports on amendments to the Special Import Measures Regulations announced in July that will give the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) greater latitude to calculate normal values in ways that are intended to produce more instances of dumping and additional obstacles for exporters and Canadian importers.  The proposals will enable the CBSA, when determining normal values, to additionally disregard actual input costs in 2 situations – in transactions between associated parties, and “particular market situations” that affect the cost of the import (in such that the “cost” does not realistically reflect its actual cost).  The proposed amendments are among a series of actions the Government has recently taken at the behest of steel producers.  They are targeted at imported steel products, although they can apply to any goods subject to a Canadian anti-dumping investigation.

http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=834640

ISRAEL’S DEFENSE MINISTRY AND ARMY LAUNCH JOINT INNOVATION PROGRAMME FOR DUAL-USE ITEMS

CTECH on 12th August reported that the programme is designed to help integrate applicable technologies from the civilian sector into the military in Israel.  Innofense is intended to promote dual-use tech projects for the civilian and security markets, and support the integration of technologies from the civilian sector into the Israeli Defense Forces.  Start-ups selected for the 6-month programme will receive grants, business development and legal mentorship.  Relevant technologies are said to includes robotics and AI.

https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3768153,00.html

https://www.timesofisrael.com/come-test-your-tech-with-us-security-establishment-urges-innovative-startups/

EUROPEAN COMMISSION SETS OUT ITS EXPECTATIONS ON INTERNAL COMPLIANCE PROGRAMMES FOR DUAL-USE CONTROLS

On 9th August, Hogan Lovells published a briefing about the recently published recommendations on internal compliance programmes (ICP) for dual-use trade controls (the guidance).  The guidance contains legally nonbinding elements that should be considered by EU companies concerned by dual-use trade controls in designing an effective ICP.  The guidance aims to ensure that companies involved in the export of dual-use items have in place adequate and effective systems to track transactions, identify, and prevent potential risks, thus allowing compliance with applicable EU and national rules.

https://www.hoganlovells.com/~/media/hogan-lovells/pdf/2019/2019_08_09_international_trade_alert_the_european_commission.pdf?la=en

The recommendations are at –

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2019.205.01.0015.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2019:205:TOC

4 CANADIAN STRATEGIES FOR STOPPING TRUMP’S MEDICINAL DRUG IMPORTATION PLAN

Beckers Hospital Review on 12th August reported that the plan, announced last month, would allow US states, wholesalers and pharmacies to import drugs from Canada but prompted concern from Canadian health officials that the plan could cause shortages and affect drug costs in Canada.  A report in the US has outlined 4 ways some Canadian say the plan could be thwarted – adding the drugs to Canada’s export control list, enacting a new law, imposing taxes or export tariffs on the products or simply waiting to see (as the plan not work anyway).

https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/white-papers/4-canadian-strategies-for-stopping-trump-s-drug-importation-plan.html

The report is available at –

https://www.statnews.com/2019/08/12/canadians-are-hopping-mad-about-trumps-drug-importation-plan-some-of-them-are-trying-to-stop-it/

LEBANESE COMPANIES SMUGGLE IRANIAN CRUDE TO SYRIA AGAINST SANCTIONS

Oil Price.com on 12th August reported that a couple of Lebanese companies owned by a Syrian businessman on the US sanction list are helping to bring Iranian oil into the country, according to data from TankerTrackers.com which shows that 2 tankers have received Iranian crude from other vessels off the Syrian coast with their transponders turned off.  One tanker is identified in the article – Sandro – is owned by the Lebanese company Sandro Overseas.

https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Lebanese-Companies-Smuggle-Iranian-Crude-To-Syria-Against-Sanctions.html#

SINGAPORE TO BAN SALE OF ELEPHANT IVORY FROM 2021

The Manila Bulletin on 13th August reported that Singapore has announced that it will impose a blanket ban on the domestic sale of elephant ivory and products from 1st September 2021 as the government tightens its campaign against illegal wildlife trade.  Authorities in the city-state made their largest ever seizure of smuggled ivory last month, impounding a haul of nearly 9 tonnes of contraband tusks.  Singapore has banned international trade in all forms of elephant ivory products since 1990, but it could be sold domestically if traders could prove they were imported before 1990 or acquired prior to the inclusion of the relevant elephant species in the CITES international convention protecting endangered species.

https://news.mb.com.ph/2019/08/13/singapore-to-ban-sale-of-elephant-ivory-from-2021/

LATVIA: REGULATOR DELETES 2 E-MONEY TRANSFER COMPANIES FROM REGISTER

On 13th August, KYC 360 reported that Complete Payment Systems and Money Express have had their entries in the credit register of payment institutions annulled, suspending their provision of payment services.  Recently, Money Express was issued with a fine of just over €4,400 for failures in its internal control systems AML/CFT/CFP controls and 2 officers given warnings.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/regulator-deletes-two-latvian-e-transfer-firms-from-register/

JEFFREY EPSTEIN’S OPAQUE FINANCES COULD BECOME FOCAL POINT FOR INVESTIGATORS

KYC 360 on 13th August reported that interviews with people briefed on various investigations into the convicted paedophile and accused sex trafficker’s wealth, and legal and financial documents in multiple countries, show that tens of millions of dollars coursed through his offshore companies and foundations in sometimes unusual ways.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/jeffrey-epsteins-opaque-finances-could-become-focal-point-for-investigators/

PORTUGAL’S GOLDEN VISA PROGRAMME ‘SWAMPED’ BY INQUIRIES FROM PEOPLE IN HONG KONG SEEKING ALTERNATIVE RESIDENCE AND A SAFE HAVEN

KYC 360 on 13th August reported that, since its introduction in 2012, Lisbon’s golden visa scheme has attracted 7,500 applicants, contributing €4.6 billion in investment.  An individual is eligible for a golden visa if, among other options, they acquire at least €350,000 worth of property.  In 2019, more citizenship inquiries are coming from Hong Kong than any other Asian territory – and in 2018, people from Hong Kong and mainland Chinese invested $300.2 million into Portugal through its golden visa programme in 2018.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/portugals-golden-visa-programme-swamped-by-inquiries-from-hongkongers-seeking-alternative-residence-and-a-safe-haven/

AUSTRALIA: THE US CAN EXTRADITE AUSTRALIAN CITIZENS WHO HAVE NEVER SET FOOT IN THE US

Nyman Gibson & Miralis in Australia published an article on 9th August on what it describes as the long arm of US criminal law.  It refers to the case of the case of Griffiths in 2004 (on charges of conspiracy to infringe copyright and infringement of copyright) the Federal Court of Australia held that the mere fact that the accused carried out all relevant acts whilst physically in New South Wales was no bar to his extradition to the US.  The article cautions that Australians engaged in cross-border interactions with the US should remain mindful of the fact that the expanse of the Pacific Ocean may provide no obstacle to their being ensnared for violations of US criminal laws.

https://ngm.com.au/us-extradition-of-australian-citizens-never-been-in-us/

NOT GUILTY VERDICT FOR MARTINELLI A “SIGN OF CRISIS IN PANAMANIAN JUDICIARY”

On 13th August, Transparency International commented on the acquittal of the former President (though the prosecution said it planned to appeal the decision).  He was cleared of wire-tapping and embezzlement charges on a technicality that meant the court did not accept evidence presented by the prosecutors.

https://www.transparency.org/news/pressrelease/not_guilty_verdict_for_martinelli_sign_of_crisis_in_panamanian_judiciary

MANDATORY ADVANCED DECLARATIONS USING DIGITAL DATA SYSTEMS FOR CUSTOMS AND TRANSPORT SECURITY ACROSS GLOBAL POSTAL NETWORKS FROM 2021

Loadstar on 13th August carried an article about the effect of the new requirements for electronic submission of shipment data in advance for international postal traffic.  The new framework is due to come into effect across the EU on January 1st 2021.   It considers the impact on low-value commercial letter mail entering the EU – saying that whereas traditional mail has been in rapid decline, commercial letter mail (which would include small packages, and consignments below the customs de minimis values) is showing robust growth, owing to the surge in e-commerce.  It is mentioned that, for example, the German postal gateway for international mail at Frankfurt Airport handles 100-110 million letters a year.   US Customs & Border Protection is to start a voluntary pilot scheme this month to collect advance data for e-commerce shipments with import values below the personal allowance threshold of $800.  Concerns involved are not just undeclared or under-declared legitimate imports, but also drugs, counterfeit goods etc.  It is claimed that some dealers in counterfeit goods have set up stations in EU countries known for having less-stringent customs controls for import and further distribution within the EU.

https://theloadstar.com/booming-commercial-letter-traffic-heads-for-digital-channels/

THE 6 MOST COMMON REASONS CARGO GETS HELD UP IN CUSTOMS

FreightWaves on 12th August carried an article about the most common (and easily avoided) reasons for goods to be held up in customs – incorrect or missing documentation, late receipt or loss of documents, inspection delays and customs examinations, incorrect tariff classification (commodity codes) being cited, late container returns (if a loaded container is not returned on time, the container could miss the scheduled ship, delaying its arrival; and late containers are a prevalent cause for delay of sea shipments), port or terminal congestion.

https://www.benzinga.com/government/19/08/14250584/the-six-most-common-reasons-cargo-gets-held-up-in-customs

NEW INDIAN CUSTOMS RULES MIGHT CAUSE CONFUSION ON BILLS OF LADING

Insurance Marine News on 13th August reported that a new customs regulation in India might cause confusion if interpreted as requiring a carrier to show the cargo’s invoice value on the bill of lading, effectively making it an ad valorem bill of lading.  The Sea Cargo Manifest and Transhipment Regulations 2018 (SCMT) relate to cargo manifests, and though meant to come into force on August 1st, but now postponed it until September 15th, with an additional grace period until November 1st, for use of new forms.  The regulations create new standards for the submission of electronic manifests to Indian customs officials – for imports, an electronic import manifest is required to be submitted to Indian Customs prior to the departure of the vessel from the last port of call; for exports, the export manifest is required to be submitted to India Customs prior to sailing of the vessel from any port of loading in India.  Legal experts had confirmed the requirement of to provide invoice value is considered optional by the customs authority, and Indian law does not otherwise mandate the issuance of an ad valorem bill of lading.  A de facto ad valorem bill of lading would potential legal effects for the carrier and its rights.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/new-indian-customs-rules-might-cause-confusion-on-bills-of-lading/

WHAT ARE THE FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE VAT CHANGES FOR THE UK CONSTRUCTION SECTOR?

On 13th August, a post on the UK Finance blog was concerned with the implementation of the VAT domestic reverse charge for building and construction services from 1st October.

https://www.ukfinance.org.uk/news-and-insight/blogs/what-are-financial-implications-vat-changes-construction-sector

UK AMENDS 2 OPEN GENERAL EXPORT LICENCES FOR MILITARY GOODS

On 13th August, the Department for International Trade published Notice to Exporters 2019/2 which advised of amendment of 2 OGEL –

  • The OGEL for the export of historic military vehicles and artillery pieces no longer requires registration for use of the licence; and
  • The OGEL for military goods for demonstration has been updated to include an option for the goods to remain under the control of the exporter’s agent.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/notice-to-exporters-201912-2-open-general-export-licences-updated/notice-to-exporters-201912-2-open-general-export-licences-updated

CORPORATE FRAUD AND CORRUPTION IN CHINA

On 13th August, Control Risk published part of an interview with Mavis Tan, a Senior Partner in the Compliance, Forensics, and Intelligence practice at Control Risks, with Financier Worldwide on trends in corporate fraud, bribery and corruption in Mainland China and Hong Kong, and key legal and regulatory changes emerging to combat it.

https://www.controlrisks.com/campaigns/china-business/corporate-fraud-and-corruption-china-and-hong-kong

MONTREAL HAS ADDED A FOREIGN-TRADE ZONE (FTZ) TO ITS ARSENAL OF INCENTIVES TO ATTRACT BUSINESS

Loadstar on 13th August reported that the FTZ designation covers the entire metropolitan Montreal area, allowing companies to import goods for manufacturing or assembly duty-free for up to 4 years, provided the final product leaving the zone is for export.  It is the 13th FTZ in Canada, a status also enjoyed by port cities Quebec City and Halifax.  Montreal is planning to build a C$500 million container terminal with a capacity north of 1.1 million teu, with construction to start next year.

https://theloadstar.com/ftz-designation-aims-to-boost-montreals-international-cargo-flows

POPE AIMS TO REFORM SCANDAL-RIDDEN VATICAN BANK

OCCRP on 13th August reported on renewed statutes for the governance of the Vatican Bank (Institute for the Works of Religion or IOR), which will bring in an external auditor for the first time and introduce new ethical guidelines for members of the bank’s staff.   The new rules are just the latest in the pope’s 6-year crusade to clean up the institution which is the privately-run custodian of the Church’s assets, which are “designated for religious works or charity.” It is run by an advisory board that reports to a committee of cardinals and the pope himself, and currently oversees over $5.5 billion.  The last Moneyval report, published in 2017, praised the bank’s “well embedded” suspicious activity reporting protocol and the efficacy of its Financial Intelligence Authority (AIF).  The next progress report is expected in December.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/10465-with-new-rules-pope-aims-to-reform-scandal-ridden-vatican-bank

MACEDONIA: 4 SECRET POLICE EMPLOYEES CHARGED WITH EMBEZZLEMENT OF €824,000

On 13th August, the META news agency reported that the Basic Public Prosecutors Office for Prosecution of Organized Crime and Corruption announced that it ended its investigation that started in March and filed an indictment for 4 employees of the Directorate for Security and Counterintelligence (UBK).

https://meta.mk/en/charges-against-four-employees-of-the-secret-police-for-embezzlement-of-824000-euros-for-special-purposes

ENRC MINING COMPANY ASKS ENGLISH COURT TO HALT 6-YEAR SFO PROBE

Bloomberg on 13th August reported that Kazakh mining company Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation has asked a court to stall the pursuit of corruption charges following a 6-year bribery investigation – the latest attempt in a strategy to stifle one of the biggest corruption probes in the UK.  The article explains that ENRC was founded by 3 Eastern European billionaires who won control of valuable mining assets during the post-Soviet privatisation in Kazakhstan.  In 2007, the owners listed the company in London and it entered the FTSE 100.  They took it private again in 2013, as the SFO began looking into whether the company had paid bribes in Kazakhstan, DRC and Zambia.  The billionaires also shifted the mining assets into a new entity called Eurasian Resources Group.

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/mining-tycoons-take-to-court-to-stall-u-k-corruption-probe-1.1300852

NUCLEAR RESEARCH AFTER BREXIT

On 13th August, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy published guidance on how researchers working on civil nuclear fission and fusion will be affected if there’s a no-deal Brexit.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nuclear-research-after-brexit

AUSTRIAN PROSECUTORS TARGET FORMER VICE-CHANCELLOR OF FREEDOM PARTY IN PROBE

On 13th August, Bloomberg reported that Austrian prosecutors have raided addresses linked to the nationalist Freedom Party’s former Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache and the head of gambling company Novomatic AG on suspicion of graft and corruption linked to the appointment of Freedom Party’s Peter Sidlo to the management board of Casinos Austria AG, a lottery and casino operator.

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/austrian-prosecutors-target-freedom-party-s-strache-in-probe-1.1300828

PLANT HIRE BOSS DISQUALIFIED FOR £1.3 MILLION FALSE INVOICES SCAM

The East Anglian Daily Times on 13th August reported that a businessman who submitted false invoices and cheques totalling more than £1.3 million to obtain credit has been disqualified as a company director for 9 years.  Adrian Venni, 51, was director of King’s Lynn-based Anthill Plant Hire Ltd and provided the information to a factoring company in 2017 which ended up more than £800,000 out of pocket.  The company ran into financial difficulties after committing to equipment hire agreements to service a number of long-term projects, and cash flow was also hit by the short-term closure of a recycling plant the company operated.

https://www.eadt.co.uk/business/plant-hire-boss-disqualified-as-a-company-director-for-nine-years-1-6213145

UK: REPORT INTO THE PUBLIC HEALTH EFFECTS OF GAMBLING DUTY CHANGES MADE BY FINANCE ACT 2019

On 13th August, HM Treasury published a report into the public health effects of the 2 gambling duty provisions in the Act which –

  • increased the rate of Remote Gaming Duty (RGD) from 15% to 21% from 1st April; and
  • removed the need for casinos to pay on account when meeting their Gaming Duty obligations and allows casinos to carry forward losses to offset against future Gaming Duty liabilities, with the changes coming into force from 1st

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/824535/Final_gambling_duty_PDF.pdf

GUERNSEY ACCOUNTANT FINED AND BANNED FOR 4 YEARS FOR RULES BREACH

On 13th August, Guernsey Press reported that Bruce David McNaught , a Guernsey accountant, has been fined £13,000 and barred by the regulator from holding senior financial positions for 4 years because he breached regulations.

https://guernseypress.com/news/2019/08/13/accountant-fined-banned-for-four-years-for-rules-breach/

 

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FEDERAL LEGALISATION OF HEMP IN THE US AND ITS EFFECT ON US IMMIGRATION LAWS

On 13th August, Dentons in Canada published a detailed briefing about the removal of hemp and extracts of hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, with a brief summary of this change, and its effect on US immigration laws.  Hemp, except for its seeds and stalks, used to be classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, along with cannabis – Schedule 1 controlled substances are drugs with no currently accepted medical use.  However, as a result of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp is no longer considered a controlled substance, at least under certain circumstances.  Hemp as cannabis (including any part of the plant) with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis.  THC, the active substance in cannabis, continues to be listed as a Schedule 1 controlled substance but this now excludes THC contained in hemp, as defined in the Agricultural Marketing Act.  The article says that it is a common misconception that the 2018 Farm Bill fully legalised CBD and CBD-related products at the federal level – this, it says, is not entirely accurate. The legalisation of hemp at the federal level will have significant implications for foreign nationals who will be involved in the US hemp industry.  Since hemp containing no more than 0.3% of THC has now been removed from the Controlled Substances Act, the controlled substance grounds of inadmissibility contained in the Immigration and Nationality Act will no longer apply.

https://www.dentons.com/en/insights/alerts/2019/july/31/federal-legalization-of-hemp-in-the-united-states-and-its-effect-on-us-immigration-laws

 

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

CARTEL WAR SEEKS TO CONTROL AVOCADO TRADE IN MEXICO

On 13th August, OCCRP reported on recent killings in Mexico, saying that they are linked to a battle to control the lucrative trade in the fruit.  It says that roughly 48 tons of avocados are stolen daily by gangs in Michoacán and roughly 80% of the US imports of avocados comes from the state.

https://www.occrp.org/en/27-ccwatch/cc-watch-briefs/10466-cartel-war-seeks-to-control-avocado-trade-in-mexico

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UK TO REMOVE LIBYAN ISLAMIC FIGHTING GROUP FROM TERRORISM ORGANISATION LIST

A draft Order in the UK seek to remove the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group from the list of proscribed organisations under the Terrorism Act 2000.  Proscribed by the UK in 2005, meaning it was a criminal offence to belong to or invite support for the group. It is still designated under UN and EU sanctions.  It was a Sunni opposition group, created in 1995 in Libya to overthrow Muammar el-Qaddafi.  It was allegedly tied to Al Qaeda but in the late 1990s, it lost strength after repeated military campaigns against them by the Qaddafi regime; and it is said to have been disbanded in 2010.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2019/9780111188774/pdfs/ukdsi_9780111188774_en.pdf

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ISRAEL ANNOUNCES GROUNDBREAKING INDICTMENT OF BINARY OPTIONS FIRM, OWNER AND STAFF

The Times of Israel on 13th August reported that charges involving Gal Media Trade Ltd (which traded as “iTrader”) involve aggravated fraud and unlicensed investment advice.  iTrader sold binary options to Israelis, while a sister company called FMTrader.com targeted people outside the country.  Gal Media Trade was owned by Ido Fishman, and also had call centres in the Philippines and Cyprus.  It has been repeatedly been sued by Israeli investors in the country’s courts.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-announces-groundbreaking-indictment-of-binary-options-company

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WHEN IS IT PERMISSIBLE TO BREACH CONFIDENTIALITY OBLIGATIONS IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST?

On 9th August, Mayer Brown published an article concerned with the recent High Court case of Saab v Dangate Consulting Ltd and others.  This involved the question of whether private investigators appointed to conduct an internal investigation at a bank, had breached their confidentiality obligations by disclosing material from their investigation to regulators.  The defendants had asserted a public interest defence, contending that this was stronger that the duty of confidentiality (itself a form of public interest argument and potential defence in some circumstances).  The case involved investigations into the FBME Bank on behalf of the Central Bank of Cyprus, and disclosures made to FinCEN and other law enforcement agencies.  The High Court laid out the basics of a public interest defence, and it also said that the defendants needed to show that they were under a legal duty to disclose information.  In this particular case the Court found against the defendants.

https://www.mayerbrown.com/en/perspectives-events/publications/2019/08/when-is-it-permissible-to-breach-confidentiality-obligations-in-the-public-interest

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NEW CRITERIA FOR CYPRUS PASSPORT SCHEME

On 8th August, Cyprus Property News reported that new criteria for those wishing to obtain a Cyprus passport through the much-criticised citizenship by investment scheme are coming into force and will include due diligence checks on applicants.  3 unnamed firms will now carry out due diligence on every applicant.  Until now the only requirement for an applicant to be eligible was a clean criminal record, and no questions were asked about the source of the investment funds.  This gave rise to accusations of money laundering and prompted Moneyval to call for tougher criteria.  It is said that the due diligence checks will cost the government €1.4 million a year.
https://www.news.cyprus-property-buyers.com/2019/08/08/new-criteria-for-passport-scheme/id=00157151

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