25 September 2019

UK Export controls: dual-use items, software and technology, goods for torture and radioactive sources 

On 24 September, the Department for International Trade published updated guidance to licensing procedure and other restrictions for export of controlled dual-use items, software and technology, goods for torture and radioactive sources.  It says that you will need an export licence to export any controlled dual-use items from the UK to another country outside the EU; and that most dual-use items do not require a licence if they are exported to the EU or the Channel Islands.

Panama to eliminate income tax on gambling activity as an incentive to attract high-spending tourists to the country

On 24 September, Calvin Ayre reported that the head of the Junta de Control de Juegos (JCJ) gambling regulatory agency announced that the Ministry of Economy and Finance would abolish the 5.5% tax on winnings applied to any withdrawals or conversion of chips or tokens back into cash.  It was introduced in 2015 to boost retirement benefits for senior citizens.

2 Venezuelans arrested with $5 million in gold on private jet at Fort Lauderdale

On 24 September, Kenneth Rijock in his blog reported that 2 Venezuelan nationals were arrested at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, when they attempted to smuggle in the gold after arriving on a private aircraft from Caracas.

UK: case the first time a UK court has considered in any detail whether Bitcoin can be regarded as property

An article from Out-Law on 24 September starts by saying that legal certainty is needed on the fundamental question of whether cryptoassets constitute property, money or something else.  It says that some clarity was provided by the High Court in London recently when it considered claims that the cryptocurrency ‘Bitcoin’ could be deemed a person’s property. In the case, the court issued an asset preservation order to prevent Bitcoin allegedly defrauded from a cryptocurrency trader from being dissipated.  The claimant claimed that an investment he made in Bitcoin worth £1.2 million was misdirected to fraudsters after he fell victim to hackers. Some of the Bitcoin was traced to a cryptocurrency wallet in the UK, but the identity of the alleged fraudster had not been determined.

El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele Tainted by Money Laundering Allegations

On 24 September, Insight Crime carried an article saying that he is at a complex web of financial transactions, which show he received millions of dollars from a subsidiary of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, PdVSA.  It notes that he had announced plans to create an international anti-corruption commission, similar to the UN-backed International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (Comisión Internacional Contra la Impunidad en Guatemala – CICIG), but for the moment, this commission only exists on paper and it is unclear what independence it will have.

Drug Seizures Increase in Belize as More Cocaine Flows North

On 24 September, Insight Crime reported that authorities in Belize have made a number of recent drug busts, underscoring that it is grappling with a surge in cocaine moving north from Colombia.

Episode 2 of RUSI Suspicious Transaction Report podcast

On 25 September, RUSI released episode 2 of the Suspicious Transaction Report, in which Isabella Chase is joined by Jo Jenkins and David Carlisle to discuss Wilson’s crypto auction, Swedbank’s admission of money laundering failings, the Dutch banks’ joined-up transaction monitoring solution and the priorities for the current FATF presidency.  In the deep dive, Isabella talks to Florence Keen about her recent report on social media and terrorist financing.

Podcast: Fraud and Lying in Las Vegas

In the latest TRACE podcast, author Jim Rossi discusses the widespread, relatively low-dollar cons he uncovered in his book “Cleantech Con Artists”, set in Las Vegas.

American Airlines Hit With Helms-Burton Lawsuit on 25 September reported that American Airlines is facing a lawsuit for alleged use and profiting from “seized” assets in Cuba.

OFAC new FAQ on COSCO sanctions and new designations for 5 individuals and 6 entities under Iran sanctions

On 25 September, OFAC issued a new FAQ relating to sanctions imposed on COSCO Shipping Tanker (Dalian) Co and COSCO Shipping Tanker (Dalian) Seaman & Ship Management Co.  At the same time it also added the names of 5 Chinese individuals and 6 entities involved in the shipping industry, including the COSCO companies – being Chinese, Hong Kong and BVI companies. 

Australia: Video Game Betting Fraud Busted   

On 25 September, OCCRP reported that Australian authorities have arrested 6 players of an online video game who allegedly lost the matches on purpose, betting against themselves and bringing in up to A$30,000.  It is said that the suspects, all between 19 and 22 years old, were playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, an online multiplayer video game, and that the investigation started in March, when police were tipped off by a betting agency.

The $50 million Art Swindle: an astonishing film about an absurd scam

On 25 September, New Statesman America carried an article on a new movie about Michael Cohen – a French-born con man and all-round fantasist who disappeared in 2001, and who had swindled the art world out of some $55 million by the time he finally went on the run.

Venezuelan Money Is No Longer Welcome In Switzerland

On 25 September, Customs Today reported that  Swiss banks have joined the US sanctions against Venezuela, meaning the South American country’s diplomatic missions in Bern and Geneva are running out of funds to do their work and pay their staff.

Jersey consultation: implementation of mandatory disclosure rules for CRS Avoidance Arrangements and Opaque Offshore Structures

A consultation from the Jersey Government closes on 1 November and seeks feedback from stakeholders (including businesses, industry associations, practitioners and any other interested parties) on the implementation of the Government’s commitments to the EU Code of Conduct Group (Business Taxation) to introduce Mandatory Disclosure Rules (MDR).

Trends in South Africa’s kidnap-for-ransom and extortion landscape

Control Risks has produced a short podcast and says that some recent high-profile kidnap cases have pushed the issue up the corporate security agenda, and considers the current state of play.

Infographic: Meet the rising stars of trade in our new Trade20 index

Standard Chartered on 23 September says that Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya and Ireland join India and China in the top 5 markets with the greatest potential for future trade growth.

Emerging dual-use technologies in the life sciences: challenges and policy recommendations on export control

A paper from the EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Consortium in September 2019 addresses the challenges of regulating emerging dual-use technologies in the life sciences sector and describes the key elements of EU export controls and the key challenges that the sector represent to those controls – and how controls might be improved.

Why are young people continuing to take banned diet drugs that kill?

On 25 September, Illicit Trade carried an article following Facebook and Instagram announcing that they will now prevent users under the age of 18 from viewing posts that promote weight loss products and cosmetic surgery procedures on their platforms, saying that although admirable, the social media giants’ move will likely do little to prevent image-obsessed young people from going to extraordinary lengths to achieve the perfect body.  It focuses on weight loss drugs such as DNP, which is used legally as a dye, wood preserver, herbicide and photographic developer, but helps users lose weight by burning carbohydrates and fat. It has been banned in the UK and US. In 2018, there were 20 reported DNP cases and 6 related deaths attributed to DNP poisoning across the UK.

The growing role the dark web is playing in the counterfeit currency trade

On 5 September, Illicit Trade reported on an Interpol conference on counterfeit currency at its global headquarters in France; examining the latest developments in currency counterfeiting, banknote security innovations and counterfeiting case studies.  It was said that the main concern is that unscrupulous manufacturing companies which produce security features such as holograms and watermarked security paper suitable for counterfeiting could be co-opted into providing them to criminals. It also mentions the Project S-Print network involving over 25 companies that work in the security printing space and associated industries, and which are seeking to combat this risk.

ECJ: “right to be forgotten” rule only applies in EU

A briefing from Paul Hastings on 25 September reports on a European Court of Justice decision that the geographic scope of the European privacy right referred to as “the right to be forgotten” need only extend across EU Member States.

US CFTC: New Whistleblower Initiatives and Rewards Suggest Increased Enforcement in the Virtual Currency, Foreign Corrupt Practices, Insider Trading, and BSA Spaces 

An article from Paul Hastings on 24 September saying that the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission recently issued a series of 4 whistleblower alerts aimed at seeking information from would-be whistleblowers in the areas of virtual currency fraud, foreign corrupt practices, insider trading, and violations of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).  It says that these alerts suggest that companies must be aware that the CFTC has no intention of slowing down its enforcement programme and instead seeks to further incentivise whistleblower co-operation to increase the effectiveness of its enforcement. The article provides details of the alerts.

Germany to extend BaFin supervision to “financial investment intermediaries/brokers” (Finanzanlagevermittler) (FIB)

On 25 September, Dentons published an article about German plans to place FIB under BaFin supervision.  FIB are said to be equivalent to what certain common law jurisdictions term an “(independent) financial adviser”.


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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