16th October 2019
UK SUSPENDS ARMS SALES TO TURKEY
On 15th October, the Financial Times reported that the UK has confirmed the suspension of all new arms sales to Turkey because of fears the weapons may be used in the country’s escalating military conflict in Syria.
THE ONGOING QATAR CRISIS AND REGIONAL RAMIFICATIONS
On 15th October, the House of Commons Library published a briefing paper saying that the dispute between Qatar and its Arab neighbours remains unresolved and is playing out in other conflict situation across the region. The dispute built up after the 2011 Arab uprisings, has not been resolved and may even be becoming more entrenched, the paper warns. The dispute has manifested itself in proxy conflicts across the Middle East, North Africa and the Horn of Africa, and has proved more intractable than many expected.
EX-CREDIT SUISSE BANKERS WILL TESTIFY IN MOZAMBIQUE BRIBERY CASE
On 16th October, KYC 360 reported that 2 former Credit Suisse Group AG bankers will testify for the US at a federal trial, describing their roles in what the DoJ says was a $2 billion kickback scam in Mozambique. Andrew Pearse, who headed the global financing group in the bank’s London office, will be one of the government’s first witnesses at the trial of Jean Boustani, a former executive at the ship builder Privinvest Group. Detelina Subeva, who worked for Pearse, will also testify. Boustani, a Lebanese national, is accused of procuring contracts to sell ships and related equipment to three Mozambican entities while secretly agreeing to pay $50 million in bribes to government officials and $12 million to conspirators at Privinvest.
HMRC SETS UP 6-MONTH ACCESS TO TRANSITIONAL SIMPLIFIED PROCEDURES (TSP) FOR ALL TRADERS IN EVENT OF A NO-DEAL BREXIT
On 15th October, ICAEW reported that traders will have up to 6 months to pay import duties and submit customs declarations, under new rules designed to ease congestion at the border if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. TSP arrangements will become active if the UK leaves without a deal, from the date of its departure. Businesses under TSP will still have to check if their goods attract tariffs, and get a Duty Deferment Account if they do.
UK: MAN HID GUNS AND WEAPONS IN SECRET BASEMENT PANIC ROOM
On 15th October, a NCA news release advised that Douglas Urquhart, who illegally imported handguns from Spain into Scotland, has been jailed for 3 years and 10 months, following an investigation by the joint NCA and Police Scotland Organised Crime Partnership. 4 illegal firearms and over 40 bladed weapons were recovered.
WHY IS IRELAND UNIQUELY PLACED TO FLOURISH AS A FINTECH HUB?
On 15th October, Irish law firm Matheson published a chapter from Lexology, Getting the Deal Through: Fintech 2020. This, it says, answers the questions: why is Ireland uniquely placed to flourish as a Fintech hub, what are the triggers for regulated activities requiring authorisation, how does the regulatory landscape operate for Fintech firms and what trends are emerging in the Irish market?
IRELAND AND BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP – HOW TO AVOID REJECTION
On 15th October, Matheson published an article saying that, with the 22nd November deadline looming, less than 10% of companies have successfully filed beneficial ownership details and rejection rates are currently running at 26%. The article addresses some of the practical issues to watch out for when complying with the regulations. It says that the Registrar has published the main reasons for the surprisingly high level of rejections. It says that if there is the slightest mismatch between the name and social security number filed as against the personal information held on the government system, the submission will be rejected. The article therefore advises that it is important to carefully check all details gathered to minimise the chances of rejection – mentioning that it is also worth noting that the system will not save draft submissions.
BELGIUM: CUSTOMS SEEKS TO INCREASE DRUG-SCREENING OF CONTAINERS AT ANTWERP PORT TO 100%
On 16th October, the Brussels Times reported that Customs authorities want to scan every container arriving at the port of Antwerp in an effort to fight against growing flows of cocaine entering the country. Due to a lack of technological material, only 1% of shipping containers arriving in Europe’s second-largest port are currently screened and it has been estimated that customs officials in Antwerp are seizing approximately a third of all cocaine pouring into Europe through the port.
SPANISH POLICE AND EUROPOL HELP SMASH COUNTERFEIT CURRENCY NETWORKS IN MADRID AND BOGOTA
On 15th October, Illicit Trade reported that police in Spain have arrested 8 people in a Europol-backed operation targeting a counterfeit currency network that investigators believe was responsible for the distribution of large quantities of bogus €50 banknotes in multiple locations across the country. The suspects, the majority of whom are said to have been Senegalese nationals, were detained during raids on 4 properties in Madrid.
MALWARE THAT SPITS CASH OUT OF ATM HAS SPREAD ACROSS THE WORLD
On 15th October, Vice reported that a joint investigation with the German broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR) has uncovered new details about a spate of so-called “jackpotting” attacks. In Germany in 2017 these saw thieves make off with more than a million euros. It explains that jackpotting is a technique where cybercriminals use malware or a piece of hardware to trick an ATM into ejecting all of its cash, no stolen credit card required. Hackers typically install the malware onto an ATM by physically opening a panel on the machine to reveal a USB port. In January 2018, the US Secret Service financial institutions of the first jackpotting attacks in the US, although using different ATM malware.
ISLE OF MAN: 3 RUSSIAN MEN ARRESTED AT CASINO HAVE MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES AGAINST THEM WITHDRAWN
On 15th October, IOM Today reported that the 3 Russians were all arrested at the Palace Hotel and Casino on October 3rd after it was alleged they were acting suspiciously and using IT equipment. However, there was not enough evidence to proceed and they have been released.
UK HIGH COURT DISSOLVES 2 COMPANIES FOR £1 MILLION ART FRAUD
On 16th October, the Art Law & More blog site from Boodle Hatfield posted a report saying that the High Court had wound up 2 companies involved in a fraudulent art investment scheme after they were found to be “abusing” nearly £1 million of investor’s money – Warrington-based Gem Tobin Ltd and York-based Dionysus Design Services Ltd.
THE COMMON TRAVEL AREA AND THE SPECIAL STATUS OF IRISH NATIONALS IN UK LAW
On 16th October, the House of Commons Library published this briefing paper. The Common Travel Area is a special travel zone between the Republic of Ireland and the UK, Isle of Man and Channel Islands. It dates back to the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922. This briefing focuses on how the CTA operates between the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
CONSERVATION GROUP EXPOSES WIDESPREAD SEAFOOD FRAUD IN CANADA
On 16th October, Radio Canada International reported that Ocean Canada, a Canadian ocean conservation group is renewing its calls on the federal government to clamp down on seafood mislabelling, saying its latest investigation provides mounting evidence of a widespread and unchecked seafood fraud problem in Canada.
UK: NEW SOLICITOR CONDUCT RULES WILL IMPOSE TOUGHER SELF-REPORTING THRESHOLD
On 16th October, an article from Out-Law reported that solicitors in England and Wales will face tougher self-reporting requirements once new conduct rules come into force on 25th November. It also said that firms would be reviewing their professional conduct policies, particularly around the use of alcohol, personal relationships, social media and personal conduct both inside and outside the workplace in preparation for the new regime. The new requirements strengthen protection for consumers of legal services and client money and include separate codes of conduct for individuals and firms; simpler account rules and a revised enforcement strategy. Solicitors will be required to promptly report any regulatory breaches by firms or individuals, including themselves, to the SRA.
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