OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – AUGUST 19

19th August 2019

GUERNSEY AML REGIME: TRUST BENEFICIARY ATTEMPT TO HAVE COURT ORDER RELEASE OF FUNDS WHERE PERMISSION REFUSED BY AUTHORITIES

On 31st July, Appleby provided a report on a court case in Guernsey where the principal beneficiary of a discretionary trust, to terminate the trust. Owing to concerns about the provenance of the funds settled in the trust, the Financial Intelligence Service in Guernsey refused to provide consent to the trustee.  Unlike the UK, there is no moratorium period in Guernsey, so that the funds remained blocked until consent is given.  A private law action was initiated against the Trustee seeking a declaration that the funds settled on trust were not the proceeds of crime.  In the hearing, the points at issue were what was “suspicion” for the purpose of reporting financial crime, did the trustee had the requisite suspicion, and, if so, who had the burden of proving the funds were not the proceeds of crime.  The court said that if the trustee had a bona fide suspicion the burden to prove otherwise fell on the plaintiff (the beneficiary).

https://www.applebyglobal.com/publications/suspicious-minds-guernseys-anti-money-laundering-regime/

THE RISE OF CYBERCRIME IN ASIA PACIFIC AND CONSIDERATIONS FOR ORGANISATIONS OPERATING IN THE REGION

On 16th August, HFW published a briefing saying that the Asia Pacific region faces an increasing rate of cybercrime1 and cases of serious digital asset theft have occurred there in recent years.  This vulnerability is due to quicker digital transactions and greater internet connectivity combined with lacking cybersecurity investment and low awareness.  As avenues for transnational, digital payments diversify, APAC’s digital economy is undergoing significant growth.  Asia is also a hub for the investment and trade of valuable digital assets. As cybercriminals choose to operate within APAC networks, it is unsurprising that the region is a focal point for the development of regulation, legislation and digital asset recovery mechanisms.

http://www.hfw.com/The-rise-of-cybercrime-in-Asia-Pacific-and-Considerations-for-organisations-operating-in-the-region-August-2019

CAMBODIA’S PLANS TO HALT ALL LOCAL ONLINE GAMBLING OPERATIONS TO PRESERVE PUBLIC ORDER

On 19th August, Calvin Ayre reported that Cambodia’s government plans to halt all local online gambling operations, allegedly to preserve public order.  The Prime Minister has issued a directive, effective immediately.  Existing online licences will remain valid but won’t be renewed once they expire.  The announcement came after the Interior Ministry issued a warning that local gamblers who access internationally licensed online gambling sites – in violation of local law, which allows only foreigners to gamble – could fall victim to phishing schemes and data theft.  However, the article notes that Cambodia has become a primary hub for Asia-Pacific online gambling operators.

https://calvinayre.com/2019/08/18/business/cambodia-ban-online-gambling-public-order/

PHILIPPINE AMUSEMENT AND GAMING CORPORATION (PAGCOR) WILL NOT ISSUE ANY NEW PHILIPPINE OFFSHORE GAMING OPERATOR (POGO) LICENCES DUE TO CHINESE SPIES FEARS

On 19th August, Calvin Ayre reported that fears of Chinese spies have started to have a real material impact on the Philippines online gambling industry.

https://calvinayre.com/2019/08/19/business/pagcor-stops-issuing-pogo-licenses-over-chinese-spy-fears/

A REVIEW OF SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY CASES

On 16th August, Allen & Overy published a article saying that, over the last 5 years there have been more than 50 hearings before the English courts concerning states and their immunities.  The author has taken a look at these decisions to see what patterns emerge.  For a sizeable chunk (18.5%), the original proceedings were arbitration.  States tend to prefer arbitration to litigation because it is private and, provided there is no court supervision, it need not infringe a state’s immunity. The article says that states vigorously defend immunity and the non-state party will face an uphill struggle when it comes to execution. The states that are party to litigation are often, but by no means exclusively, those associated with conflict include a number of hearings concerned Libya, Iraq, Ukraine, Kosovo and Syria; but disputes being litigated can still be commercial.

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http://www.allenovery.com/publications/en-gb/Pages/state-of-play-a-review-of-sovereign-immunity-cases.aspx

INDIA: CUSTOMS DEPARTMENT STAYS ORDER REVOKING DHL REGISTRATION AS COURIER OPERATION
On 17th August, the Economic Times reported that DHL Express got a reprieve when the customs department stayed an order revoking its courier registration.  The registration had been cancelled by the Commissioner of Customs in New Delhi, after investigations revealed that a gold smuggling syndicate had been exploiting the courier network’s sloppy oversight.  The gold was painted black and imported from Dubai under the guise of automobile components from Dubai.
https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/customs-stays-order-revoking-dhl-registration/articleshow/70709193.cms

US IMPORT RESTRICTIONS ON ARCHAEOLOGICAL MATERIAL FROM ALGERIA

On 16th August, the International Trade Compliance Blog reported that US Customs and Border Protection has published a final rule that amends the CBP regulations to reflect the imposition of import restrictions on certain archaeological material from Algeria.  These restrictions are being imposed pursuant to an agreement between the US and Algeria that has been entered into under the authority of the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act.  Involved are import restrictions on categories of archaeological material representing Algeria’s cultural heritage that is at least 250 years old, dating from the Paleolithic (approximately 2.4 million years ago), Neolithic, Classical, Byzantine, and Islamic periods and into the Ottoman period to A.D. 1750.  The action adds Algeria to the list of countries which have a bilateral agreement with the US to impose cultural property import restrictions.

https://www.internationaltradecomplianceupdate.com/2019/08/16/us-cbp-publishes-import-restrictions-on-archaeological-material-from-algeria/

PIRATES KIDNAP 8 CREW MEMBERS IN RAID ON GERMAN SHIP OFF CAMEROON

Hellenic Shipping News on 19th August reported that the ship, the MarMalaita, had 12 crew members on board at the time of the abduction.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/pirates-kidnap-8-crew-members-in-raid-on-german-ship-off-cameroon/

GRACE 1 LEAVES GIBRALTAR, HEADS TO GREECE

On 19th August, Insurance Maritime News reported that the Grace 1, now renamed Adrian Darya-1 and under the Iranian flag, had departed Gibraltar 6 weeks after it had initially been detained, and is reported to be heading for the Greek port of Kalamanta.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/grace-1-leaves-gibraltar-heads-to-greece/

DEAL TO BUY RUSSIAN STAKE IN COMPANY TO RESOLVE US NATIONAL SECURITY CONCERNS

On 16th August, the Wall Street Journal reported on the resolution of a problem that arose last year when CFIUS (the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US) ordered a private-equity firm with ties to wealthy Russians to sell its stake in a US cybersecurity firm called Cofense Inc after US officials had raised national-security concerns about the amount of foreign money invested in the private-equity firm, Pamplona Capital.  Now another company, Blackrock Inc, has agreed to take over Pamplona’s minority stake in Cofense.  This is said to be a rare instance in which a sale ordered by CFIUS is structured to retain economic interest for a seller, while achieving the goal of limiting foreign investors’ access and sway over critical technology in ways that could hurt the US.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/blackrock-offers-to-buy-cofense-stake-from-russia-linked-firm-with-a-catch-11565992949

SUSPECT CHINESE SURVEILLANCE GEAR OFFERED FOR SALE TO US GOVERNMENT

The wall Street Journal on 16th August reported that thousands of pieces of Chinese video surveillance equipment that have provoked national security concerns have been listed for sale on an online superstore catering to US government agencies, despite a ban.  The listings are for cameras and recording equipment made by Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co, 42%-owned by the Chinese government, and Dahua Technology Co, a privately-owned Chinese surveillance-equipment maker.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/suspect-chinese-surveillance-gear-offered-for-sale-to-u-s-government-11565962437

US AGENCIES SHOULD IMPROVE OVERSIGHT OF HUMAN RIGHTS TRAINING FOR FOREIGN SECURITY FORCES

On 12th August, the US Government watchdog, the Government Accountability Office, said that a 2017 law required the Department of Defense to evaluate its security co-operation programs (where it aids or trains foreign military or security services), including its human rights training.  However, the DoD and State Department have not evaluated the effectiveness of their human rights training.  The GAO has made 3 recommendations, including that the agencies establish timelines for evaluating human rights training.

https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-19-554

IRELAND IS RUNNING OUT OF WAREHOUSING SPACE AMID BREXIT FEARS

On 16th August, RTE reported that groups representing businesses have said Ireland is running out of warehousing space as retailers and manufacturers rush to stockpile amid growing fears of a no-deal Brexit on 31st October, and that warehouses in Dublin have reached over 96% capacity.

https://www.rte.ie/news/2019/0816/1069149-ireland-running-out-of-warehousing-space-amid-fears-of-brexit/

SUDAN’S EX-PRESIDENT AL-BASHIR TRIAL – CLAIM HE ‘RECEIVED $90 MILLION FROM SAUDI ARABIA’

Al Jazeera on 19th August reported that, at the start of the corruption trial, an investigator tells court the sum included $25 million from the Saudi Crown Prince.  Al-Bashir, who is charged with illicit possession of foreign currency and accepting gifts in an unofficial manner, is said to have admitted to receiving the $90 million.  Nearly €7 million was found at al-Bashir’s residence, as well as smaller amounts in US dollars and Sudanese pounds.  Al-Bashir seized power in a military coup in 1989, and stayed in office until April 11th  this year, when he was overthrown by the armed forces following mass protests.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/08/sudan-ruler-al-bashir-arrives-court-face-graft-charges-190819082851872.html

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/10501-suspected-war-criminal-sudanese-ex-dictator-is-tried-for-corruption

THAILAND’S ANTI-GRAFT AUTHORITY ACCUSES ONE OF ITS OWN TOP OFFICIALS OF CONCEALING HIS WEALTH BY OMITTING TO DECLARE ALL OF HIS ASSETS

OCCRP on 19th August reported the case of Prayat Puangjumpa, Secretary General of the NACC, involving a 9-month investigation that found that his wealth extends outside the country’s borders and includes a $6.9 million apartment in Kensington, London.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/10502-thai-anti-graft-official-plays-assets-hide-and-seek

ANOTHER ONLINE GAMBLING OPERATOR HIT WITH FINE FOR TRAGETING DUTCH CONSUMERS

On 19th August, Calvin Ayre reported that the Kindred Group had become the latest operator to be hit with a large fine for targeting Dutch punters without permission.  The Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) regulatory body announced that it had imposed a €470,000 penalty on Kindred’s Malta-based subsidiary Trannel International Ltd for serving Dutch gamblers through the company’s flagship online gambling brand, Unibet.

https://calvinayre.com/2019/08/19/business/kindred-unibet-fined-dutch-gambling-regulator/

NETHERLANDS: ARRESTED CUSTOMS OFFICER LINKED TO 2 SUSPECTED DRUG TRANSPORT

Customs Today on 19th August reported that a customs officer who was arrested in for releasing a container with 1,500 kg of cocaine inside, is also suspected of helping criminals import a large batch of drugs in at least one other case.

http://www.customstoday.com.pk/arrested-customs-officer-linked-to-second-suspected-drug-transport/

SWISS ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP HAS NAMED AND SHAMED COMPANIES FOR “ABSURD TRANSPORT” OF GOODS

On 19th August, Customs Today reported that a Swiss environmental group has named and shamed companies for the “absurd transport” of goods, including one firm that flew cans of alpine air almost 20,000 km for sale in Asia.  The “Alpine Initiative” wants to fight environmental pollution and make consumers more aware of the environmental cost of freight transportation.  Other mentions are that supermarket chain Migros sells Norwegian water that has to travel 1,500 km; and Aldi produces ham in the Netherlands, processes it in Italy and Austria, and finally sells it in Switzerland.

http://www.customstoday.com.pk/firms-named-and-shamed-over-absurd-freight/

BIGGEST DRUG BUST IN MALAYSIAN HISTORY: ALMOST 4 TONNES SEIZED

On 19th August, Customs Today reported that in what is said to be the biggest drug bust to date, over 3 tonnes of cocaine and half a ton of ketamine were seized during a raid, with 4 local and 9 foreign men arrested.

http://www.customstoday.com.pk/biggest-drug-bust-in-malaysian-history-almost-4-tonnes-seized-worth-over-half-a-billion-ringgit/

KENYAN CENTRAL BANK WITHDRAWS HIGH-VALUE NOTES AS PART OF EFFORTS TO FIGHT CORRUPTION AND MONEY LAUNDERING

On 5th June, Illicit Trade reported that the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has announced that it will withdraw 1,000-shilling ($10) notes from circulation at the beginning of October as part of the country’s efforts to combat widespread counterfeiting, money laundering and corruption.  Unveiling a range of new banknotes that are scheduled to be introduced to the country’s economy over the next few months, Kenyan citizens were told that those wishing to exchange 1,000-shilling notes must do so before 1st October, after which point they will cease to be legal tender.

https://www.illicit-trade.com/2019/06/kenyan-central-bank-withdraws-high-value-banknotes-as-part-of-efforts-to-fight-corruption-and-money-laundering/

 

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

US CUSTOMS IPR CENTER REPORTS COUNTERFEIT SEIZURES RISE TO $1.4 BILLION

On 19th August, a news release from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement advised that the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center is reviewing an annual report on the number of IPR seizures that have raised the total estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of the seized goods – had they been genuine – to $1.4 billion.  It says that its report clearly shows the ongoing threat of counterfeit goods that makes a compelling case for stepping up efforts to inform and educate the public about the risks counterfeit goods pose to public health and safety.  e-Commerce sales, including those through third-party platforms, have resulted in a sharp increase in the shipment of small packages into the US.  It points out that each year, more than 11 million maritime containers arrive at seaports. At land borders, another 10 million arrive by truck, and 3 million arrive by rail; and an additional quarter billion more cargo, postal, and express consignment packages arrive through air travel.  The report lists the top 5 product categories as apparel/accessories, footwear, watches/jewellery, handbags/wallets, and consumer electronics.  Watches and jewellery accounted for 44% of the total $1.4 billion MSRP, while handbags and wallets represented 16% of the total.

https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/ipr-center-reports-counterfeit-seizures-rise-14-billion

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

SHIPPERS FACE UNCERTAIN SUPPLY CHAIN IMPACTS AS IMO 2020 APPROACHES

On 19th August, American Shipper reported that those without direct interest in ocean shipping may not understand the potential impact of the IMO 2020 regulations could have on global trade.  They take effect from 1st January and are likely to raise fuel prices for marine fuel, but also diesel fuel for vehicles, and could have broader implications across the supply chain.  The article explains that IMO 2020 is a low-sulphur emissions regulation.  The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has directed that sulphur emissions of oxide in the marine sector be reduced by over 80%.  Vessel operators have 2 approaches they can take – use ultra-low-sulphur fuels or install a so-called “exhaust scrubber” that will clean the vessel’s emissions and reduce the emissions.  For sea cargo, whichever option container line operators choose the cost and impact is likely to be enormous.  It is estimated that shipping will see a $50 billion to $60 billion increase in annual fuel costs, with container lines facing $12 billion in additional fuel costs.  Goods may take longer to traverse shipping lanes as container lines slow vessel speeds to burn less fuel.

https://www.freightwaves.com/news/shippers-face-uncertain-supply-chain-impacts-as-imo-2020-approaches

See also –

http://www.imo.org/en/mediacentre/hottopics/pages/sulphur-2020.aspx

The main type of “bunker” oil for ships is heavy fuel oil, derived as a residue from crude oil distillation. Crude oil contains sulphur which, following combustion in the engine, ends up in ship emissions. Sulphur oxides (SOx) are known to be harmful to human health, causing respiratory symptoms and lung disease. In the atmosphere, SOx can lead to acid rain, which can harm crops, forests and aquatic species, and contributes to the acidification of the oceans.  Limiting SOx emissions from ships will improve air quality and protects the environment.  From 1st January, the limit for sulphur in fuel oil used on board ships operating outside designated emission control areas will be reduced to 0.50% m/m (mass by mass). This will significantly reduce the amount of sulphur oxides emanating from ships.

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

BASEL INTERNATIONAL AML INDEX 2019

On 19th August, the Basel Institute on Governance published its 2019 Index, saying that falling rankings in the Index are said to show how many countries’ AML systems are a weak defence against today’s money laundering risks.  It says that this may help to explain why countries generally considered “safe” for investment have been hitting headlines recently with high-profile money laundering scandals.  Colombia, Latvia, Finland, China and Lithuania fell significantly in this year’s Basel AML Index – due to poor ratings by FATF.  Denmark is rated the least risky country for corruption and bribery, followed by New Zealand and Singapore in a list of top 10 performers dominated by Nordic and northern European countries.  Unsurprisingly perhaps, offshore financial centres such as the Marshall Islands, Grenada and St. Lucia are among the lowest-performing countries in terms of financial transparency and standards, but some larger financial centres such as Switzerland and the UK have improved their scores in this category since 2018.  Countries destabilised by war, with weak rule of law and where members of the press are stifled, are easily abused by criminal and this year’s list of poor performers in this category is led by Yemen and Venezuela.  The Index rates countries on –

  • Quality of ML/TF Framework;
  • Bribery and Corruption;
  • Financial Transparency and Standards;
  • Public Transparency and Accountability; and
  • Legal and Political Risks.

https://www.baselgovernance.org/sites/default/files/2019-08/basel_aml_index_press_release_en.pdf

The Index is available at –

https://www.baselgovernance.org/sites/default/files/2019-08/Basel%20AML%20Index%202019.pdf

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

TROUBLED MALTESE GAMBLING OPERATOR SKS35 FACES $137 MILLION IN NEW TAX CLAIM

On 19th August, OCCRP reported that Italy’s financial police have accused Malta-based gambling operator SKS365 of tax evasion to the tune of €124 million.  The announcement stems from a wider police probe into mafia ties within the gambling industry.  It is said that SKS365 had failed to declare about €4 billion in taxable income between 2015 and 2016.  SKS365 also told OCCRP that its current management has no links to the company’s previous activities, and that it is now suing the company’s previous owners and seeking compensation – but the company’s current owners may have to pay the tax bill.

https://www.occrp.org/en/27-ccwatch/cc-watch-briefs/10503-troubled-maltese-gambling-co-faces-137m-in-new-tax-claim

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

EXPORTING CONTROLLED GOODS AFTER BREXIT

On 19th August, the Department for International Trade published updated information that sets out to explain what will change for exporters of controlled goods if the UK leaves the EU with no deal.  “Controlled goods” are goods which are regulated through a system of export licensing and include military items; dual-use items (items with both civil and military uses); firearms; and items that can be used for torture or capital punishment (including chemicals).

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/exporting-controlled-goods-after-eu-exit

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

WORLD BANK WARNS AGAINST ADVANCE FEE SCAMS USING ITS NAME

On 19th August, Public Finance International reported that scammers have increasingly been using the World Bank’s name to give authenticity to ‘advance fee’ fraud schemes, and the bank issue a warning for potential investors to steer clear of investment deals that appear to be affiliated with the organisation.  It says that many of the advance fee fraud schemes originate in Nigeria, but, recently, 2 new schemes have surfaced in South Africa.

https://www.publicfinanceinternational.org/news/2019/08/world-bank-warns-against-scams-using-its-name

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