OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – AUGUST 18

18th August 2019

FOUNDER OF LARGE DRUGS RING RETURNED TO ISRAEL FOR PROSECUTION AFTER ESCAPING POLICE IN UKRAINE, BEING RECAPTURED AND EXTRADITED

Arutz Sheva reported on 18th August that Amos Dov Silver, a dual US-Israel citizen, had landed in Israel after a Ukrainian court approved his extradition to Israel for prosecution of drug offences, money laundering and other offences.  His Telegrass organisation allegedly utilised the encrypted messaging app Telegram to sell drugs such as marijuana, ecstasy and cocaine, and had a vast network across the US, Ukraine and Germany.  It had over 100,000 members, including thousands of drug dealers, and reportedly earned about $16,951 a month.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/267547

https://www.rferl.org/a/ukraine-catches-suspected-israeli-online-drug-dealer-arrests-3-sbu-officers-in-process/30115438.html

LAWMAKER SAYS IRAN CAR MANUFACTURERS MIRED IN CORRUPTION

Radio Farda on 18th August reported that Iran’s car manufacturing industry is suffering from “widespread financial corruption”, according to a member of Majles (parliament). He said that $250 million was spent for designing a new trunk for the French Peugeot 206 model, while with the same amount of money they could have run a new production line.  Iranian car manufacturers are mostly directly or indirectly government-owned.

https://en.radiofarda.com/a/lawmaker-says-iran-car-manufacturers-mired-in-corruption/30115014.html

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FORMER CALIFORNIA MAYOR INDICTED IN BRIBERY SCHEME

On 18th August, the Macon telegraph reported that a grand jury has indicted the former mayor of Palm Springs in a public corruption case that alleges he took $375,000 in bribes from real estate developers.  Stephen Philip Pougnet could be barred for life from holding public office if he is convicted.

https://www.macon.com/news/politics-government/national-politics/article234129847.html

AUSTRALIA: AUSTRAC FLAGS TOUGH ACTION AFTER BEING ‘FLOODED’ WITH MONEY LAUNDERING BREACHES

On 18th August, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Austrac warns it is likely to take more action against Australia’s top financial institutions after being “flooded” with reports of potential breaches following its landmark case against the Commonwealth Bank.

https://www.smh.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/austrac-flags-tough-action-after-being-flooded-with-money-laundering-breaches-20190816-p52hsi.html

THAILAND: BUSINESSMAN ARRESTED OVER ALLEGED GOLD TRADE FRAUD

On 18th August, The Nation reported that Thai businessman Chanut “Dr Ae” Srisang was arrested in Bangkok for his alleged role in a private company’s alleged scam luring people to invest in gold trading that inflicted losses estimated at around $2.6 million.

https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30374934

 

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ANALYSIS OF THE FATF VIRTUAL ASSET GUIDANCE

On 28th June, Elliptic published its analysis of new guidance that updates the 2015 FATF guidance, providing clarity on the role of transaction monitoring solutions for AML/CFT risk management for virtual assets and virtual asset service providers.  The analysis contains key takeaways on –

  • the importance of transaction monitoring solutions;
  • the importance of conducting a firm-wide risk assessment;
  • the global requirement to implement FATF Recommendation 16 (the “Travel Rule”);
  • the application of the FATF standards to a wide range of product and service providers;
  • the importance of address blacklisting and typologies development; and
  • the need for banks to develop a risk-based approach to virtual assets.

https://www.elliptic.co/our-thinking/fatf-virtual-asset-guidance

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HOW THE HOME OFFICE MAKES MILLIONS A WEEK FROM OUTSOURCING VISAS TO DUBAI-BASED COMPANY ACCUSED OF EXPLOITATION

On 18th August, the Independent carried an article saying that the Home Office has increased its profit on UK visas by millions of pounds a week since outsourcing visa operations to a Dubai-based company, VFS, that has been deluged with complaints and accused of exploiting vulnerable applicants for profit.  VFS, which has its headquarters in the UAE but is owned through holding companies in Jersey, the Cayman Islands and Luxembourg, faces claims of “gross maladministration” and “aggressive” selling of optional services since taking the UK government contract in 2014.

https://www-independent-co-uk.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/home-office-vfs-visas-profit-subcontracted-contract-outsourcing-premium-services-exploited-a9056446.html?amp

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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

GIBRALTAR REFUSES US MUTUAL ASSISTANCE REQUEST OVER GRACE 1 TANKER

A statement from the Gibraltar Government on 18th August explained that Gibraltar had received a request to providing further information in support of its application for the restraint of the departure from Gibraltar of the Grace 1 and its cargo of oil, in anticipation of forfeiture proceedings to be commenced in the US.  Gibraltar’s Central Authority stated that decision to refuse the request was made due to the differences between EU and UK law, and US law.

https://www.gibraltar.gov.gi/press-releases/further-mutual-legal-assistance-requests-from-the-united-states-of-america-6042019-5198

https://www.rferl.org/a/iranian-tanker-gibraltar/30115786.html 

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ISRAELI ILLEGAL ARMS TRADE IN SOUTH SUDAN WAS DISGUISED AS “AGRICULTURE”

The Real News Network reported on 18th August claims that the agricultural company Green Horizons was a front for former Israeli General Israel Ziv’s security company CST who were supplying arms to South Sudan, violating a UN Security Council arms embargo.  In the article, General Ziv has responded to the accusations of his illicit arms deals.

https://therealnews.com/stories/israeli-illegal-arms-trade-in-south-sudan-was-disguised-as-agriculture

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-mvwW0IrxI

See the OCCRP aricle on 17th July –

https://www.occrp.org/en/investigations/sprouting-weapons-of-war

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ICO UPDATES GUIDANCE ON TIMESCALES FOR DEALING WITH SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY REPORTS

Following a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union, the UK Information Commissioners Office has updated guidance on timescales for responding to a subject access request (SAR).  The timescale has now changed to reflect the day of receipt as ‘day one’, as opposed to the day after receipt.  For example, a SAR received on 3rd September should be responded to by 3rd October.  It has updated the Individual Rights pages to reflect this ruling.

https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-data-protection/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/individual-rights/right-of-access

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GRACE 1 – 2 ST KITTS & NEVIS CORPORATIONS WERE EMPLOYED TO LAUNDER $4 MILLION

Kenneth Rijock pointed out in his blog on 17th August that the complaint filed in the US federal court alleges that 2 St Kitts & Nevis corporations were employed to launder $4 million in December 2018.

http://rijock.blogspot.com/2019/08/iran-used-two-st-kitts-corporations-to.html

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

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – AUGUST 17

17th August 2019

US COMMERCE DEPARTMENT ADDS TO THE BANNED ENTITY LIST

Yahoo News on 16th August carried an article saying that the Department of Commerce had added 17 companies and individuals to its Entity List for posing a risk to US national security and foreign policy interests.  Amendments were also made to were made to 17 China entries, 4 Hong Kong entries and 2 Russian entries.  3 entries were removed: Jereh International and Yantai Jereh Oilfield Services Group Co Ltd. of China, and Deira General Marketing of the UAE.  It explains that the Entity List subjects US exporters to specific export licensing requirements and prohibitions when conducting business with the listed entities.  An End-User Review Committee (ERC), which is composed of export control officials from the Commerce, State, Defense, Energy and Treasury departments, decides which entities are added to the list.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/commerce-piles-entity-list-174605222.html

1 TONNE OF COCAINE FROM ECUADOR SEIZED IN LE HAVRE

On 16th August, EU-OCS reported that French customs officials had confiscated cocaine worth around €74 million in the northern French port of Le Havre.  A tonne of cocaine was discovered in a shipment of palm kernels from Ecuador.

https://eu-ocs.com/one-ton-of-cocaine-seized-in-french-port-of-le-havre/

TIME TO PREPARE FOR THE 5th AML DIRECTIVE

Finextra on 16th August carried an article saying that the 5AMLD is set to become law throughout the EU on 10th January.  The article briefly details the changes it introduces – cryptocurrencies are set to face the same regulations that have applied to financial institutions under 4AMLD; pre-paid card companies to carry out checks on customers using cards funded with more than €150, down from €250 under 4AMLD; in 3 years, KYC will be required for all remote payments, and prepaid cards issued outside the EU will face prohibition unless issued from a country that enforces equivalent legislation with the same AML/CFT standards; KYC to be undertaken not just on customers but also on the businesses they trade with; organisations must have access to the EU’s list of high-risk countries and update their due diligence processes to ensure compliance; and upgraded penalties for non-compliance.

https://www.finextra.com/blogposting/17760/time-to-prepare-for-the-fifth-anti-money-laundering-directive

FINNISH POLICE CHARGE 2 IN RECORD LAUNDERING CASE

Bloomberg Law on 16th August reported that Finnish police have charged 2 Estonian nationals in connection with what is likely to be Finland’s biggest money laundering case.  They are alleged to have moved as much as €140 million of Russian organised crime money in 2014 by wiring roubles to bank accounts in Finland opened by a Finnish construction company they managed.

https://news.bloomberglaw.com/white-collar-and-criminal-law/finnish-police-charge-two-in-record-laundering-case-yle-says

UK: INFORMATION FOR PROSPECTIVE GROWERS OF LOW THC CANNABIS (INDUSTRIAL HEMP) – SEED AND FIBRE ONLY

On 16th August, the Home Office published a series of documents on cannabis and cannabis-related matters, licences and controls.  This one dealt with licences for industrial hemp, which are valid for 1 year only.  The licence only allows for the industrial use of the seed and fibre, which are non-controlled parts of the hemp plant.  The licence does not allow for the use of the flowers or leaves (‘green’ or controlled materials).

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/controlled-drugs-industrial-hemp

UK: LOW THC CANNABIS (INDUSTRIAL HEMP) LICENSING FACTSHEET

This factsheet represents the Home Office’s view on the domestic control measures applicable to so-called ‘low THC’ Cannabis cultivation (Industrial Hemp).  It is intended as a resource for existing licensees and prospective licensees.  They should note the limitations for which a licence may be granted under the industrial hemp policy, namely for production of non-controlled hemp products from fibre and seed only.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/757807/hemp-faqs-grower-notes-2018.pdf

PAKISTAN SUBMITS 450-PAGE REPORT TO FATF

The News International in Pakistan on 17th August reported that, after hiring 2 international consultants for finalising compliance report, Pakistan has submitted 450-page report along with detailed annex on 27-point action plan given by FATF that will be scrutinised in face-to-face meeting at Bangkok next month.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/512997-pakistan-submits-450-page-report-to-fatf

UK: PROTECTING CULTURAL OBJECTS ON LOAN

On 16th August, the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport published updated guidance on how UK museums and galleries can arrange to protect exhibits on loan from abroad from court-ordered seizure.  It says that it offers protection for international loans in this way because, in some cases, the ownership of art can be disputed and many other countries will not lend to the UK without this protection.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/protecting-cultural-objects-on-loan

ALBANIAN MAYOR OUSTED FOR ALLEGED DRUG CRIME

OCCRP on 16th August reported that the incoming mayor of the northern Albanian city Shkodra – Valdrin Pjetri, who was to become the city’s first Socialist mayor – was forced to resign after an opposition party exposed his past conviction on drug-related charges.  Under Albania’s “decriminalisation law” no individual convicted of serious crimes can hold public office, and if convicted of less serious crimes, potential officials must disclose their criminal history.  The law represented an intensive effort to rid Albania’s public institutions of corruption and ties to organised crime.

https://www.occrp.org/en/27-ccwatch/cc-watch-briefs/10495-albanian-mayor-ousted-for-alleged-drug-crime

BRAZIL CRACKS DOWN ON GANGS AND CORRUPT GOVERNMENT AGENTS

On 16th August, OCCRP reported that Brazilian authorities have arrested more than 115 suspected members of various criminal gangs, as well as government officials allegedly linked to organised crime and corruption, with 300 search warrants executed in 9 states.  Authorities also suspended a number of officers who are being investigated.

https://www.occrp.org/en/27-ccwatch/cc-watch-briefs/10493-brazil-cracks-down-on-gangs-and-corrupt-government-agents

BRITISH PRESS IGNORES THE CONTINUING HORROR IN AFGHANISTAN

An article on Politics.co.uk on 15th August reported that Afghanistan is witnessing a sharp rise in violence.  Last month was the worst for civilian casualties from explosive weapons since at least October 2010.  The numbers are increasing. In 2011, some 1,970 people – civilians and security personnel – were killed or injured by suicide attacks in Afghanistan. By 2018, it was at least 3,079 – a rise of 56%.  However, such rising violence in the country, though, has been largely ignored by the UK media. An examination of UK news outlets shows that some of Britain’s most influential press outlets have severely under-reported civilian casualties from explosive weapons in Afghanistan since the beginning of the year.  Both the US and the Taliban insist there has been progress in the peace talks and have reportedly resolved differences over the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan – but it raises a fundamental question: has the West’s intervention in Afghanistan since Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001 made the country a safer place?

https://www.politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2019/08/15/out-of-sight-british-press-ignores-the-continuing-horror-in

GDPR: INTERNATIONAL DATA TRANSFERS

The Information Commissioner’s Office in the UK has produced guidance if there is no Brexit deal, for a UK-based business or organisation to which GDPR currently applies to your processing of personal data and it sends personal data outside the UK; receives personal data from the EEA; or receives personal data from countries or territories which are covered by an adequacy decision.

https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/data-protection-and-brexit/data-protection-if-there-s-no-brexit-deal/the-gdpr/international-data-transfers/

STANDARD CHARTERED FACES £10 MILLION FINE IN UK OVER SANCTIONS FAILINGS

On 17th August, Sky News reported that the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) has notified Standard Chartered that it intends to impose a penalty of more than £10 million in the coming weeks for failing to prevent sanctions breachesThe bank has already been hit this year by penalties totalling more than £800 million from regulators in London and New York for violating sanctions against Iran.

https://news.sky.com/story/standard-chartered-faces-treasury-fine-over-sanctions-breaches-11787218

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https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-s-regional-inequality/30111481.html

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