OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – SEPTEMBER 18/19

18th September 2019

US TREASURY RELEASES PROPOSED REGULATIONS TO REFORM NATIONAL SECURITY REVIEWS FOR CERTAIN FOREIGN INVESTMENTS AND OTHER TRANSACTIONS

On 17th September, a news release from the US Treasury announced proposed regulations to comprehensively implement the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018 (FIRRMA) and to better address national security concerns arising from certain investments and real estate transactions; as well as proposed regulations strengthen and modernize the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).  The proposed regulations include the extension of jurisdiction over certain non-controlling investments into certain US businesses involved in critical technology, critical infrastructure, or sensitive personal data, and they also implement CFIUS’s new jurisdiction over certain real estate transactions involving foreign persons.

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm779

CANADIAN EXECUTIVE ADMITS SHARING US NAVY DATA WITH CHINA

Maritime Executive on 16th September reported that the president of Oceanworks, a Canadian subsea systems manufacturer, has pleaded guilty to sharing details of a US Navy submarine rescue system with a Chinese company.  Oceanworks held a contract from the US Navy to develop a submarine rescue diving recompression system.  In 2016, the Beijing Company bought Oceanworks and acquired its intellectual property – including its submarine rescue technology – and rehired former president, Glen Omer Viau.  It had been agreed that US Navy technology and information would be firewalled from the new owners, but Viau had offered to provide the Chinese company with detailed information with the work that Oceanworks had completed for the US Navy and supplied technical drawings that were restricted under US export licence controls.  Viau has pleaded guilty to US charges, and prosecutors have recommended a fine of $25,000 and a jail sentence of time served.

https://www.maritime-executive.com/article/canadian-exec-admits-sharing-u-s-navy-data-with-china

ISRAELI AUTHORITIES ARREST EMPLOYEES OF SPYWARE VENDOR ABILITY IN CONNECTION WITH AN INVESTIGATION INTO ALLEGATIONS OF FRAUD, SMUGGLING AND MONEY LAUNDERING

On 16th September, Cyberscoop reported that Israeli authorities have arrested multiple employees of the spyware vendor Ability in connection with an investigation into allegations of fraud, smuggling and money laundering.  The Israeli Defense Ministry had been investigating the company for allegedly violating international law which regulates Israeli security export controls, and in March it revoked Ability’s export licence.

https://www.cyberscoop.com/ability-inc-spyware-sec-arrests/

GUYANA: IMF SEES GOVERNANCE WEAKNESSES INCLUDING IN AMLTHAT CAN LEAD TO CORRUPTION

On 18th September, Starbroek News reported that an IMF Article IV Mission Report has highlighted gaps in Guyana’s governance structure which it contends could lead to corruption, with weakness in several key areas such as fiscal governance, regulatory framework, rule of law, and AML/CFT.

https://www.stabroeknews.com/2019/09/18/news/guyana/imf-sees-governance-weaknesses-that-can-lead-to-corruption/

https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/CR/Issues/2019/09/16/Guyana-2019-Article-IV-Consultation-Press-Release-Staff-Report-and-Statement-by-the-48678

EU AML/CFT EFFORTS SEEM TO OVERLOOK A VERY AMERICAN APPROACH: PROSECUTE PEOPLE

An article from law firm Ballard Spahr in the National law Review on 17th September says that the EU has issued a series of reports identifying systemic vulnerabilities to money laundering and suggesting process-based recommendations for how to address future threats.  These recommendations typically mirror the same range of process-based improvements set forth in earlier reports.  Noticeably absent from these recommendations, the article says, is one of the most powerful deterrents available – and a distinctly American approach – prosecuting the bad actors.  The article goes on to reference several high-profile international money laundering schemes which have rocked the EU and caused it to re-examine how to prevent and address money laundering in the future.  It then considers the EU response(s), which it says focus on process, and institutions’’ policies and programmes – noting that the EU has developed a solid regulatory framework for countering money laundering and terrorist financing, in line with international standards adopted by FATF.  It highlights that reports found, among other weaknesses, that public authorities intervened in money laundering only after significant scandals occurred or repeated compliance and governance failures.  The article then contrasts the EU approach to that in the US, saying that in recent years, the DoJ has aggressively prosecuted foreign defendants for alleged international money laundering and corruption, and giving some examples.  It suggests that, to some extent, the US has been doing what the EU states have failed to do – many of these prosecutions involve primarily or completely foreign conduct by non-US actors.  It points out that sometimes none of the defendants are American, and sometimes the underlying criminal conduct occurs entirely abroad, often utilising as a justification financial transactions incidental to the primary conduct or laundering activity involving correspondent bank accounts in New York.  The article proposes that, as part of their enforcement tool bag, countries in the EU should prosecute at least some individuals, including not just bankers located in the country at issue, but also bad actors located in other countries who have abused the home country’s financial institutions to launder their money.  And, it emphasises, these people should be imprisoned.  Whilst it notes obstacles to adopting the proposal, the article says that otherwise, criminal enterprises will just shift their efforts from bank to bank, and from country to country – seemingly immune from any real deterrence.

https://www.natlawreview.com/article/eu-s-efforts-to-combat-money-laundering-financing-terrorism-and-corruption-seem-to

MEXICAN LAWYER SENTENCED IN US FOR LAUNDERING MILLIONS FOR SINALOA DRUG CARTEL

On 17th September, Fox 5 in San Diego reported that Gibran Rodriguez-Mejia, 31, a Mexican lawyer who laundered millions in drug proceeds for the Sinaloa Cartel has been sentenced 8 years in federal custody after he pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges related to laundering $3.5 million by co-ordinating with couriers to smuggle US currency across the border to an exchange house in Tijuana.  5 co-defendants have also pleaded guilty in the case.

https://fox5sandiego.com/2019/09/17/mexican-lawyer-sentenced-for-laundering-millions-for-drug-cartel/

HUNT FOR ALLEGED $1 BILLION COCAINE YACHT OWNER LEADS TO SECRETIVE COOK ISLANDS TRUST

On 18th September, KYC 360 reported that the identity of those who own the stricken yacht that ran aground on a Western Australia reef allegedly carrying $1 billion of illicit drugs has been masked in secrecy, with a Cook Islands trust the registered owner of the Zero, a 15-metre vessel.  A Cook Islands Maritime official is quoted as saying that the yacht was registered with their organisation by a Cook Island trust in July, 2013.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/hunt-for-alleged-1bn-cocaine-yacht-owner-leads-to-secretive-cook-islands-trust/

ITALY CONSIDERS PENALTY ON CASH WITHDRAWALS TO FIGHT TAX EVASION

On 18th September, KYC 360 reported on a proposal to offer consumers tax credits for settling their debts electronically while imposing a penalty on cash withdrawals above a monthly threshold.  This is a country where the underground economy is said to account for 12% of GDP.  The proposal comes from the in-house think tank of Confindustria, Italy’s business lobby.  However, it is noted that companies and professionals rank among Italy’s biggest tax dodgers, with an evasion rate almost 19 times higher than that of salaried employees.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/italy-considers-penalty-on-cash-withdrawals-to-fight-tax-evasion/

HMRC RESOURCES TO HELP PREPARATIONS FOR BREXIT

On 17th September, HMRC issued updated information resources which cover several areas and are designed to help stakeholders and intermediaries support their members, clients and customers prepare for day one after the UK leaves the EU.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hmrc-brexit-communications-resources

GREECE: PLANS AFOOT TO BOOST E-PAYMENTS

On 17th September, Ekathimerini reported that the Greek government is mulling plans to encourage taxpayers to increase online and card transactions so as to increase their tax-free threshold.  The plan is designed to help stem tax evasion to the tune of €7 billion a year in VAT alone.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/244642/article/ekathimerini/business/plans-afoot-to-boost-e-payments

ISRAEL PLANS TO SCRAP $75 VAT IMPORT EXEMPTION

VAT Live on 16th September reported that the Israeli Ministry of Finance is proposing to withdraw the $75 (includes shipping and insurance costs) import VAT and customs exemption on personal packages. The exemption is separate from the customs-only exemption up to $500.  The measure could be imposed on 1st April, subject to a new government being formed.

https://www.avalara.com/vatlive/en/vat-news/israel-scraps–75-vat-import-exemption.html

OECD CALLS FOR REFORM OF INEFFECTIVE MARITIME SUBSIDIES

On 17th September, Loadstar reported that maritime subsidies issued by some of the largest economies to the shipping industry have had a limited impact, according to new research from the OECD.  The research looked at tonnage taxes, tax exemptions for domestic shipping fuels, and fiscal measures to reduce wage costs of seafarers, with some €3 billion a year spent by OECD countries on these 3 subsidies with seemingly little impact.

https://theloadstar.com/oecd-calls-for-reform-of-ineffective-maritime-subsidies/

The report can be found at –

https://www.itf-oecd.org/maritime-subsidies-do-they-provide-value-money

CROSS-BORDER PAYMENTS: SWIFT WORKING ON NEW UNIVERSAL CONFIRMATIONS INITIATIVE

On 16th September, Fintech Futures reported that SWIFT’s global payments initiative (gpi) service was created to enable banks to meet the growing demand for fast, trackable and transparent services.  Since gpi’s inception in 2017, SWIFT has continued to innovate and enhance the cross-border payments experience. The next step, it says, is through the new universal confirmation initiative.  The article says that financial institutions currently sending payments through gpi benefit from tracking and confirmations, allowing them clear sight of where their payments are and when they’ve reached the intended recipient, and the plan is to extend these benefits to all financial institutions on the network, including non-gpi banks.

https://www.fintechfutures.com/2019/09/confirmations-bring-peace-of-mind-to-cross-border-payments/

ARGENTINA: CLARIFICATIONS TO THE NEW EXCHANGE CONTROL REGIME

On 17th September, Baker McKenzie published an article about a notice clarifying certain aspects of the new exchange control regime.  These include payments in respect of imports, exports and funds transferred by individuals.

https://globalcompliancenews.com/argentina-clarifications-new-exchange-control-regime-20190905/

ENDING HARMFUL FISHERIES SUBSIDIES

On 18th September, the UN Conference on Trade and Development published an article as a UN Trade Forum is held in Geneva.  It says that, in a world where 1 billion people depend on fish for protein every day, curbing the loss of 33% of global fish stocks to overexploitation is an urgent task.  The round of negotiations on fisheries subsidies continues in the WTO this month.  However, the discussions to end certain fisheries subsidies – government support schemes for the fisheries sector – that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, overfishing and overcapacity have been 20 years in the making and are yet to be finalised.  The article says that, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 33% of the world’s fish resources are overfished and about 60% are fished at maximum biologically sustainable levels.  However, the issue poses a challenge within the WTO’s negotiating agenda, which traditionally focuses on trade rules, but must now grapple with sustainable development, while raising technical fisheries issues that are outside the normal scope of the WTO’s trade-focused agenda.  The article says that fisheries subsidies give already powerful industrial fleets greater advantage over small-scale artisanal fishers, and it is estimated that 85% of governments’ fisheries subsidies go to these larger fleets, leaving the rest at risk and subsidies can inadvertently promote IUU fishing and overfishing.

https://unctad.org/en/pages/newsdetails.aspx?OriginalVersionID=2192

DEL MONTE PHILIPPINES GROWERS IMPLICATED IN VIOLENT ATTACKS AGAINST LOCAL ACTIVISTS

On 18th September, Global Witness published claims that it has uncovered the connections between Del Monte Philippines, one of the world’s biggest and best-known fruit producing brands and major exporter to the US, and a pineapple grower, local rancher and current Mayor Pablo Lorenzo III of Quezon, Bukidnon who activists suspect of ordering attacks on them.  This follows claims that another major agribusiness company – Dole Philippines – has been linked through its suppliers to allegations of fraud and coercion to remove indigenous people and make way for a banana plantation.

https://www.globalwitness.org/en-gb/press-releases/revealed-del-monte-philippines-growers-implicated-violent-attacks-against-indigenous-activists-attacks-against-land-and-environmental-defenders-escalate/

HM TREASURY PUBLISHED CORRECTION TO A LISTING UNDER THE UKRAINE (SOVEREIGNTY AND TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY) REGIME

On 18th September, OFSI published a Notice advising of corrections to the entries for Oleg Tsariov and the FEDERAL STATE BUDGETARY ENTERPRISE ‘SANATORIUM NIZHNYAYA OREANDA’ OF THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/832418/Notice_180919_Ukraine__Sov__2019_1403.pdf

PODCAST: THE ROLE OF AI IN ANTI-BRIBERY EFFORTS

In the latest TRACE podcast, an interview with Merritt Smith of TRACE.  Merritt has expertise in data science and public policy and the intersection of the 2 fields.  The interview deals with how AI can support anti-bribery compliance and risk assessments, but also whether the advantages of AI have been overstated and underdelivered.

https://traceinternational.org/bribe_swindle_or_steal

DELIBERATE, WILFUL OBSTRUCTION OF HUMANITARIAN ACCESS, IMPEDING THE ABILITY OF HUMANITARIAN AID TO REACH THE MOST VULNERABLE PEOPLE

On 18th September, the Center for Strategic and International Studies published a report saying that humanitarian action is under attack around the world.  Globally, it says, 70.8 million people are considered forcibly displaced by armed conflict and nearly 132 million people need emergency humanitarian assistance.  At the same time, there has been a steep escalation in the deliberate, wilful obstruction of humanitarian access, impeding the ability of humanitarian aid to reach the most vulnerable people and vice versa.  The report is the result of the CSIS Task Force on Humanitarian Access, and recommends that the US should elevate humanitarian access as a foreign policy priority and work to reconcile tensions between critical national security measures and the growing needs of vulnerable populations in fragile, conflict-affected states.  Failure to resolve the issues involved has consequences, the report says, and millions of vulnerable lives hang in the balance.

https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/publication/Kurtzer_DenialDelayDiversion_WEB_FINAL.pdf

EUROJUST HELPS UNRAVEL MASSIVE TRANS-EUROPEAN PAY-TV FRAUD

A news release from Eurojust on 18th September advised that a multi-country action day co-ordinated by Eurojust in The Hague led to the dismantling of an international criminal network committing massive fraud with pay-TV, which shows organised crime expanding its illegal activities to large-scale violations of audiovisual copyright.  It reports complex investigations conducted by prosecutors from Naples and Rome, with the support of judicial and police authorities from Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, France, and the Netherlands, as well as Eurojust.  The damage caused by the criminal gang amounts to approximately €6.5 million, jeopardising the existence of many legal providers of pay-TV on the market.  More than 200 servers were taken offline in Germany, France and the Netherlands, and over 150 PayPal accounts blocked.

http://www.eurojust.europa.eu/press/PressReleases/Pages/2019/2019-09-18.aspx

EUROPEAN COMMISSION RELEASES KEY STATISTICS ON THE EUROPEAN ARREST WARRANT

On 18th September, the EU Commission advised that 16,636 warrants issued in 2016 and 17,491 in 2017, with the European arrest warrant the most-used EU instrument of judicial cooperation in criminal matters since its launch in 2004.  In 2017, over 7,000 people suspected of serious crime and terrorism were surrendered across borders, and from arrest to the decision on surrender, it takes on average 15 days when the person consents to their surrender and 40 days when the person does not consent.  More information and factsheets are available at –

https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/cross-border-cases/judicial-cooperation/types-judicial-cooperation/european-arrest-warrant_en#documents

UGANDAN GOLD MINERS EXPORTED 8 TONNES BUT DECLARED ONLY 16 KG

In its 19th September edition, The Observer in Uganda reported that gold miners in Uganda officially declared only 16.3 kg despite exporting at least 8,691 kg declared, civil society organisations, the Anti-Corruption Coalition (ACCU) and Transparency International Uganda (TIU) have said.  It appears that miners declare less than 3% of gold extracted every year.

https://www.observer.ug/news/headlines/62039-ugandan-gold-miners-exported-8-000kgs-but-declared-only-16kgs

CHINESE WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY TO RUNNING MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR ‘BIRTH TOURISM’ SCHEME IN US

The Daily Caller and others on 18th September reported that Dongyuan Li had pleaded guilty to 2 federal criminal charges, one count of visa fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit immigration fraud, for her involvement in a birth tourism business that was based in Orange County, California.  You Win USA Vacation Services Corporation helped Chinese government officials and wealthy pregnant clients to skirt US immigration laws, allowing them to enter the U.S. and eventually give birth to children and gain US citizenship.

https://dailycaller.com/2019/09/18/chinese-lady-pleads-guilty-birth-fraud

CHARGES BROUGHT AGAINST 34 INDIVIDUALS FOR ALLEGED WEST COAST MEDICARE AND MEDICAID FRAUD SCHEMES TOTALLING $258 MILLION

A DoJ news release on 18th September advised that charges had been brought against a total of 26 individuals in the Central District of California for their alleged involvement in Medicare and Medicaid fraud schemes resulting in $257 million in billings.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/charges-brought-against-34-individuals-alleged-west-coast-medicare-and-medicaid-fraud-schemes

IRAN TO AVOID US SANCTIONS BY BYPASSING SWIFT AND DITCHING USE OF US DOLLARS

On 18th September, Sputnik in Russia reported that the Iranian Central Bank (CBI) head has said in a statement that the country is planning to evade US economic sanctions by switching entirely away from the dollar to national currencies in mutual trade and bypassing SWIFT, having had discussions with Turkey and Russia.

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201909181076834481-iran-to-avoid-us-sanctions-by-bypassing-swift-ditching-dollar-in-trade-transactions

ISRAEL: MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT FACING FRAUD ALLEGATIONS

On 18th September, the Jerusalem Post reported that it is claimed that Shraga Brosh attempted to falsify documents to have his company registered as a family company so as to be liable to a lower rate of tax.

https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/State-to-indict-Manufacturers-Association-President-for-fraud-602150

MOLDOVA TURNS TO FBI FOR HELP IN INVESTIGATING $1 BILLION FRAUD

On 18th September, Bloomberg reported that Moldova has requested assistance from the FBI in a case involving a $1 billion fraud that led to a bailout of 3 of the nation’s banks.  The 2014 theft that forced the government to seek assistance from the IMF, and a new government which took power in June, and the banking sector has been overhauled and sold to foreign investors.

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/moldova-turns-to-fbi-for-help-in-investigating-1-billion-fraud-1.1318100

SCOTLAND: AWARD-WINNING CURRY RESTAURATEURS DISQUALIFIED OVER £4 MILLION TAX BILL

On 18th September, the Herald reported that restaurateurs Sukdev Gill and Inderjit Singh, have been banned from being involved in the running of companies for a total of 17 years over more than £4 million in unpaid taxes.

https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/17911013.award-winning-cook-indi-restaurateurs-disqualified-4m-unpaid-tax/

THE DETERIORATING SECURITY ENVIRONMENT IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

On 18th September, RUSI published a Commentary about the political and security situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina which has not substantially changed in the last couple of years, saying that this should not be mistaken for stability – the domestic situation is likely to get worse.  The article concludes that, while there is no single flashpoint which can be deemed to be imminent in threatening the country’s fragile equilibrium, a slowly worsening domestic situation is just as menacing.

https://rusi.org/commentary/no-prime-minister-deteriorating-security-environment-bosnia-and-herzegovina

THE GROWING ILLEGAL WASTE TRAFFICKING MARKET IN EUROPE – ITALIAN WASTE TO CHINA

On 18th September, a news release from Europol said that waste management has given criminal networks the opportunity to diversify their activities and infiltrate the economy.  The large quantity of waste left over from industry production processes in Europe is feeding a growing demand for waste disposal services.  Stricter regulations and price increases to legally dispose of waste are tempting industries to opt for alternative waste management suppliers.  The news release details Operation Green Tuscany, where a criminal group trafficked plastic waste from Italy to China through Slovenia, and linked to an Italian anti-mafia investigation into illicit trafficking of textile waste to Africa from the Italian ports of Genoa, Livorno and Trieste, with involvement of the Camorra.  Slovenian companies provided Italian companies with forged documents attesting that the material had been recycled, and the shipments were then sent to China.  The members of the network were of both Italian and Chinese origin.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/trash-worth-millions-of-euros

INDONESIA SENDING BACK 547 CONTAINERS OF WASTE

On 18th September, an AP story reported that Indonesia is sending 547 containers of waste back to wealthy nations after discovering they were contaminated with used plastic and hazardous materials, amid a growing backlash in SE Asia against being a dumping ground for the developed world’s trash.  9 containers with at least 135 tons of waste were recently sent back to Australia, it says, and 91 other containers will be returned to Australia after administrative processes are complete.

http://westchester.news12.com/story/41064932/indonesia-sending-back-547-containers-of-waste-from-west

SEA1

SEA2

https://www.freightwaves.com/news/shipping-vessel-variations

 

19th September 2019

LATVIA: PRIVATBANK FINED €1 MILLION FOR VIOLATIONS OF MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERRORISM AND PROLIFERATION FINANCING PREVENTION LAW

LETA 100 on 18th September reported that the Financial and Capital Market Commission (FCMC) has imposed a fine of €1.019 million on PrivatBank for violations of the Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism and Proliferation Financing.  The bank is also subject to a number of legal obligations, a plan of action to address the breaches and deficiencies identified by the FCMC, and carrying out an independent review of its internal control system.  The article explains that the fine imposed on the bank is 90% of the maximum fine amount laid down in the law – i.e. a maximum of 10% of the bank’s total annual turnover, and must be paid within 1 month.

http://www.leta.lv/eng/home/important/02B01BA1-10A2-4162-AC6E-242AE6E130AE/

THEFT OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL ARTEFACTS: FORMER ITALIAN DIPLOMAT WANTED IN EGYPT

The North Africa Post on 18th September reported that Egypt’s attorney general has ordered the arrest and trial in absentia of a former Italian diplomat who is believed to have been involved in the smuggling out of 21,855 artefacts, which have since been returned.  He demanded the arrest of the honorary consul in Luxor, Cav Ladislav Otakar Skakal, who is no longer in Egypt, and his being placed on a “Red Notice” by INTERPOL.

http://northafricapost.com/34046-theft-of-archeological-artifacts-former-italian-diplomat-wanted-in-egypt.html

LAWYERS AND ACCOUNTANTS IN CYPRUS UP IN ARMS AGAINST MONEYVAL’S DEMAND FOR LAW ON SUPERVISION OF UNDERTAKINGS PROVIDING FIDUCIARY SERVICES TO PRIVATE COMPANIES TO BE AMENDED

In Cyprus on 18th September reported that fiduciaries have been regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) since 2012, but registered lawyers and accountants who have provided fiduciary and corporate services via their respective firms and associated companies have been regulated by their respective professional bodies – the Cyprus Bar Association and the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus.  It is reported that the groups consider Moneyval’s demand that all fiduciaries are regulated by one single law to avoid loopholes because of the lack of a unified communication platform is not feasible.

https://in-cyprus.com/lawyers-and-accountants-against-supervision-of-fiduciaries-to-be-amended/

KENYA: 3 AVIATION TYCOONS CLEARED IN ALLEGED MONEY LAUNDERING AND TAX EVASION CASE

The Sun in Kenya on 18th September reported that the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has dismissed a complaint by a part-owner of Bluebird Aviation that his partners have siphoned more than $1 billion from the airline through tax evasion, fraud and money laundering after a 9-month investigation.

https://www.nation.co.ke/business/DCI-clears-three-aviation-tycoon-money-laundering/996-5277902-9vd0j0z/index.html

ALBANIAN GANGS IN UK USING CRYPTOCURRENCIES FOR MONEY LAUNDERING OPERATIONS

A report in KYC 360 on 19th September says that Albanian gangs are implicated in the UK’s cocaine market, a business estimated to be worth around £5 billion a year.  The Albanian criminal network is one of the most sophisticated in Europe, with close links to the Colombian drug cartels, and include street dealers, known as the Hellbanianz.    According to the head of organised crime for the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), intelligence has shown that the Albanians gangs are using “cryptocurrencies and bitcoin cashpoints” for money laundering.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/albanian-gangs-take-up-cryptocurrencies-we-need-a-new-approach-say-police/

HOW BANKNOTES FLOW INTO, OUT OF AND AROUND CIRCULATION IN THE UK

This diagram was one of two (the other was concerned with the flow of coins) provided as part of a webinar from UK Finance on 18th September.

CASH

See also UK Finance Cash Services –

https://cashservices.org.uk/

CLOSER CHINA-EGYPT TIES SEE DEAL AGREED FOR PORT PROJECT FOR NEW CONTAINER TERMINAL

On 18th September, HK TDC published an article about an MoU between the Egyptian Government and Hutchison Ports – a subsidiary of CK Hutchison, the Hong Kong-listed port operator/developer re the construction of a container terminal at the port of Abu Qir on the country’s Mediterranean coast; the most recent example of the increasingly close China-Egypt ties and resulting from the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

http://economists-pick-research.hktdc.com/business-news/article/Economists-Pick-International-Market-News/Closer-China-Egypt-Ties-See-Deal-Agreed-for-BRI-Backed-Port-Project/imn/en/1/1X308LSH/1X0AIL72.htm

TAXPAYER LAUNCHES UK FATCA LEGAL CHALLENGE

On 18th September, iExpats reported that a taxpayer based in the UK has launched a legal challenge against FATCA, claiming any personal information transfer to the US without his permission breaches data protection laws and his human rights.  A similar case is expected to go before the courts in France, while protesters in Canada failed to win on the same grounds last year.

https://www.iexpats.com/taxpayer-launches-uk-fatca-legal-challenge/

SERIAL ‘PHOENIX’ FRAUDSTER JAILED FOR OVER 9 YEARS AFTER 15 YEARS ON THE RUN

On 19th September, The Business Desk reported that Yorkshire fraudster Christopher Woodhead’s was sentenced to 6 years and 4 months in prison in 2004.  He has now been handed down an additional 3 years default sentence in relation to the unpaid confiscation order of £428,000 and, with interest, the amount now owing is £900,000.  In 1997-99, he ran a series of chemical paint companies that targeted residential properties across Yorkshire and systematically stole cash from each of them for his personal benefit using fictitious invoices, loans and direct cash transfers to move money between his companies, spending it on gambling debts, holiday travel, his ex-wife’s maintenance payments, personal expenses, property and cars.  The SFO charged him in 2002, but he absconded the day before his trial was due to start.  He was arrested in Madrid in May and it is believed he had been residing in Marbella.

https://www.thebusinessdesk.com/yorkshire/news/2044027-serial-phoenix-fraudster-jailed-for-over-nine-years-after-15-years-on-the-run

 NEW MEASURES ANNOUNCED TO MAKE SURE UK GOVERNMENT SUPPLY CHAINS ARE FREE FROM MODERN SLAVERY

On 18th September, the Cabinet Office issued a news release and Procurement Policy Note as an initiative designed to ensure government supply chains are free from offences of slavery, servitude, forced and compulsory labour and human trafficking.  It announced new guidance, a digital tool and training package to tackle modern slavery.  It includes an innovative assessment tool for departments to use with their suppliers to identify modern slavery risks.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-measures-announced-to-make-sure-government-supply-chains-are-free-from-modern-slavery

The guidance is at –

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-0519-tackling-modern-slavery-in-government-supply-chains

BREXIT: THE FUTURE EU-UK TRADE RELATIONSHIP

Herbert Smith Freehills has issued an updated overview briefing, as part of its series of legal guides, including a number centr3ed on particular sectors, as well as tax, data protection etc.

https://www.herbertsmithfreehills.com/file/37081/download?token=-PxFEOX4

For all its legal guides, see –

https://www.herbertsmithfreehills.com/latest-thinking/brexit-legal-guide-2019

GERMAN GOVERNMENT EXTENDS ARMS EXPORT MORATORIUM FOR SAUDI ARABIA

On 18th September, Reuters reported that Germany has decided to extend an embargo on exporting weapons to Saudi Arabia by another 6 months to 31st March.

https://in.reuters.com/article/germany-arms-saudi-ban/german-government-extends-arms-export-moratorium-for-saudi-arabia-idINKBN1W31OX

EORI NUMBERS POST-BREXIT: DO YOU NEED ONE OR TWO?

An article from Brodies LLP said that there is now greater awareness that UK businesses trading with the EU will need an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) Number.  But one question which may not be clear is whether you need both a UK and an EU EORI number.  It notes that on 9th September that the UK Government published a document on the ‘myths’ surrounding EORI numbers.  If your business only deals with import or export declarations in the UK, with a customer/client completing the equivalent declaration on the EU side of the border, then you will only need a UK EORI number – and if registered for VAT then you will already have been allocated one by HMRC.  If not registered for VAT then you do need to apply for one.  If your business is responsible for completing both the export declaration as goods leave the UK, as well as the import declaration when the goods are imported into the EU, you will need both a UK and an EU EORI number.

https://brodies.com/blog/corporate-tax-advisory/eori-numbers-post-brexit-do-you-need-one-or-two/#page=1

SOUTH KOREAN CUSTOMS STRENGTHENS PROVISIONS FOR TACKLING COUNTERFEITS

An article published on the Lexology site says that it is now more difficult for small-parcel counterfeits to fly under the radar.  Changes are in line with the amended Guidelines for Customs Clearance of International Mail Import.

https://www.lexology.com/library/document.ashx?g=0d1d7ec7-f054-47cd-8f3b-0414e23e4bd6

RUSSIA DETAINS 161 NORTH KOREAN “POACHERS” AMID DISPUTE OVER ILLEGAL FISHING

NK News on 19th September reported on a dispute in the Russian exclusive economic zone in the Sea of Japan in which 4 Russian border guards said to have been injured.  11 vessels were reportedly detained, along with prohibited fishing gear and the catch.

https://tass.com/emergencies/1078714

UK BANKS SIGN UP TO UN-BACKED RESPONSIBLE BANKING CODE

On 19th September, Reuters reported that British banks will implement UN-backed “responsible banking” principles that will influence lending and company behaviour, British banking trade body UK Finance has said.  The principles seek to make banking more attuned to the needs of society and the environment.  The United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative principles will be launched during the annual UN General Assembly in New York.  Applying the principles will shape how financial products are designed and bring environmental and other “sustainability” factors into lending decisions and even the frequency of corporate travel.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-banks-idUKKBN1W32QE

THE FUTURE OF THE ARAB WORLD IN 2030

On 19th September, the EU Institute of security Studies published a report which says that while the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)  region appears to have recovered from some of the shocks of the Arab Spring of 2011 and its aftermath, the next decade will bring new and more substantial challenges: climate change is beginning to become a dark reality in the region, urbanisation and conflict could become a toxic mix, a new, digital generation is reaching political maturity and global energy shifts are beginning to be felt.  The report opens with 3 scenarios which lay out the regional state of affairs in 2030 and these scenarios are built on the catalysts or agents of change that were identified after a careful analysis of the mega-trends that are elaborated thereafter.

https://www.iss.europa.eu/content/arab-futures-20

MENA

HMRC ISSUED LATEST LIST OF TAX DEFAULTERS

On 19th September, HMRC released the latest list of people who deliberately got their tax affairs wrong.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/publishing-details-of-deliberate-tax-defaulters-pddd

FAKE AND POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS GOODS WORTH NEARLY €740 MILLION STOPPED BY EU CUSTOMS IN 2018

On 19th September, the EU announced that the number of interceptions of fake goods being imported into the EU increased in 2018 due to a large number of small parcels in express and postal traffic.  Detention figures for seized consignments jumped from 57,433 in 2017 to 69,354 in 2018, though the total amount of articles detained decreased compared to previous years.  Almost 27 million articles that infringed on intellectual property rights (IPR) were detained in 2018 with a street value of nearly €740 million.

EU

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_19_5581

INDONESIA SPORTS MINISTER RESIGNS OVER CORRUPTION ALLEGATION

Indonesia’s Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi has resigned after being accused of stealing $1.8 million in public money so he can focus on his legal defence.  The Corruption Eradication Commission announced that he is suspected of using a grant linked to the National Sports Committee for his own personal interest.

https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/indonesia-sports-minister-resigns-corruption-allegation-65713648

UK LAUNCHES ONLINE VAT INQUIRY FOLLOWING FEARS OF BREXIT FRAUDSTER SURGE

On 19th September, The Register reported that an inquiry into VAT fraud is being launched this Autumn by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Business Support and Engagement, following concerns there may be a surge in scams after Brexit.  The hope is to provide a clearer picture of how online VAT fraud is affecting SME and highlight a sensible approach that the government can take to solve this issue.

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/09/19/online_vat_inquiry_launched_following_fears_of_brexit_fraudster_surge

TRADING CITES-LISTED SPECIMENS THROUGH UK PORTS AND AIRPORTS IF THERE’S A NO-DEAL BREXIT

On 19th September, DEFRA published updated information listing designated land, sea and air ports for trading or moving CITES-listed endangered animals, plants, or their parts and derivatives after Brexit.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/trading-cites-listed-species-through-uk-ports-and-airports-after-brexit

BS

PORTUGUESE AUCTIONEER TO SELL SEIZED VENEZUELAN OIL TANKER

Hellenic Shipping News on 19th September reported that an oil tanker belonging to Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA that was taken over by Portuguese authorities last year due to lack of payment will be sold at auction for $6.4 million.  It says that PDV Marina has lost control over tankers due to mounting unpaid bills to German firm Bernard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), which operated the ships.  The Parnaso has been moored in Portuguese waters since 2017 due to disputes with shipping companies, fuel providers and Lisbon’s Port Authority.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/portuguese-auctioneer-to-sell-seized-venezuelan-oil-tanker/

15 INDIVIDUALS CRIMINALLY CHARGED OVER ILLEGAL GAMBLING IN HONOLULU

A news release from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement on17th September advised of a case involving illegal gambling, money laundering and other financial violations related to an ongoing investigation of a criminal organisation operating multiple illegal game rooms and casinos on the island of Oahu.

https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/15-individuals-criminally-charged-hsi-probes-illegal-gambling-honolulu

NEW EU REGULATION ON THE TRANSFER OF NON-PERSONAL DATA

A briefing from Dentons on 19th September is concerned with EU Regulation 2018/1807/EU on the free flow of non-personal data which came into force on 28th May.  The briefing says that the Regulation can be as equally important for businesses as GDPR, if using data analytics in their business models (Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and machine learning etc).  The intention, the article says, is to boost the data economy through facilitating cross-border exchange of data by enabling companies to store non-personal information anywhere in the EU.  Non-personal information is electronic information that cannot be traced back to an identified or identifiable natural person (or has been anonymized as such).

https://www.dentons.com/en/insights/alerts/2019/september/19/new-eu-regulation-on-the-free-flow-of-non-personal-data-in-the-european-union

 

 

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

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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