18th October 2019
OFAC AMENDS VENEZUELA GENERAL LICENSE
On 17th October, OFAC advised that it had issued an amended General License 13D authorising certain activities involving Nynas AB. The License expires on 14th April 2020. Nynas AB is a Swedish manufacturer of speciality naphthenic oils and bitumen products, it is jointly owned by a Finnish company and Venezuela’s state oil company, PDVSA. OFAC had issued a licence allowing limited transactions with Nynas, but that measure was set to expire on October 25th.
TO BUY VENEZUELAN OIL, GO TO PANAMA CITY
On 24th September, Hellenic Shipping News had published an article claiming that to order Venezuela oil one could go to a helix-shaped skyscraper popularly known as “The Screw,” in Panama City that houses a Rosneft Oil Co PJSC office. It was said to have been manned by 3 oil traders, 2 of whom used to work for PDVSA, and helped Russian oil company Rosneft to handle 70% of all oil exported by Venezuela in August. PDVSA and Rosneft had been partners in oil-producing ventures in Venezuela and since 2014. It is said that Rosneft has taken on a more active role in trading Venezuelan oil after the US tightened Venezuelan sanctions.
SAN FRANCISCO: AIRLINE EMPLOYEES FIND PACKAGE WITH 3 HUMAN FOETUSES, WOMAN CHARGED WITH SMUGGLING
On 17th October, the Mercury News reported that a Colorado woman has been charged with trying to smuggle human tissue from the US to the UK, after airport package screeners flagged a package containing 3 foetuses before it was boarded onto an international flight. Authorities believe the foetuses were stillborn and from the 1920s and 1930s that were donated to a university in Omaha and somehow made their way onto the black market.
67 ISRAELIS ARRESTED OVERSEAS FOR KHAT SMUGGLING IN ONE YEAR
On 17th October, the Jerusalem Post reported that in the 11 months since Israeli citizens were first arrested overseas for khat-smuggling, the number has reached 67 with no end in sight, according to the Foreign Ministry. This followed a further arrest in Barcelona and the arrest of 3 persons in Paris. Israelis are currently serving prison time in France, Sweden, Spain, Ireland and Turkey. One was arrested with 9 full suitcases of khat. One point which has confused Israelis is that khat is not illegal in Israel, but it is illegal in most European countries, and handlers appear to tell the smugglers that khat is legal in Israel and only a small issue in other countries.
LONDON LETTING AGENTS SENTENCED FOR MONEY LAUNDERING
On 18th October, The Negotiator reported that 3 London letting agents have been given suspended sentences following an investigation into their activities. It says that an investigation found that Oliver Knights had been used as a vehicle for fraud that led to at least £50,000 financial loss for tenants and landlords. The 3 defendants pleaded guilty to money laundering, having knowingly allowed their bank accounts to launder the proceeds of lettings frauds in 2013-2015, the proceeds specifically relating to rental payments received for properties that were never available to rent. It is said that Oliver Knights advertised properties to let on Rightmove, Zoopla, Gumtree and their own site. Would-be customers paid deposits and rent in advance only to be told that the property was no longer available, or to not hear anything further from Oliver Knights representatives, and some properties offered for rent had never been available and had been falsely advertised.
ICELAND FACES POSSIBLE GREY LISTING FOR INADEQUATE AML POLICIES
On 17th October, the Iceland Review reported that the US and UK are attempting at the FATF Plenary to have Iceland put on a grey list for its lacklustre legislature concerning money laundering. Iceland reportedly has full support from the EU.
EU AMENDS CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC SANCTIONS
On 17th October, EU Regulation 2019/1735/EU amended the EU sanctions regime for CAR following UN Security Council Resolution 2488 of 12th September, amending the EU measures so that they correspond to those of the UN. The changes include an exemption for supplies to UN, CAR and other security forces of training and assistance, non-lethal equipment, and weapons and ammunition for security and wildlife ranger services.
INDUSTRY/REGULATOR FORUM TO CONSIDER HAZARDOUS SHIPS’ CARGO CONCERNS
On 17th October, Lloyds Loading List reported that a panel of experts from industry and regulators will seek solutions next month to the ongoing threat of containership fires, after a number of high-profile episodes has brought the issue of misdeclared dangerous goods transport to the fore.
EUROPE’S MOST WANTED FEMALE FUGITIVES
On 18th October, Europol advised that 21 EU Member States have selected one of their most wanted fugitives to feature in a publicity campaign for the eumostwanted website. Europe’s Most Wanted was initiated in January 2016.
Details of the 21 women are at –
DERIPASKA-LINKED COMPANY WAS RAIDED FOR UNDISCLOSED US INQUIRY
On 18th October, Bloomberg reported that prosecutors in the US are seeking records from a company associated with Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska as part of a previously unreported investigation, according to documents filed in the High Court in London. The company is Terra Services Ltd, a real estate business that until last year was controlled by Deripaska. The action in the US was part of the investigation of Russian election interference. The company is challenging a search warrant obtained by the NCA that led to the December 2018 seizure of at least 25,000 electronic documents from a British storage unit it owned, and it has asked a London judge to prevent the documents from being handed over to the Americans.
REVIEW OF PSYCHOACTIVE SUBSTANCES ACT 2016: ACMD CONTRIBUTION
On 18th October, the Home Office published a summary of the contribution of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) to the impact review of the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 in the UK. The Act had effectively banned the so-called “legal highs”.
GAMBLING-RELATED HARMS: UK EVIDENCE REVIEW
On 18th October, Public Health England published a news release containing information about the scope of the review of the prevalence of gambling, its associated health harms and their economic and social burden.
MONGOLIA, ICELAND AND ZIMBABWE ADDED TO FATF GREY LIST
On 18th October, Bloomberg reported that the 3 states had been included on a list of countries monitored by FATF on AML/CFT grounds. FATF said that each jurisdiction has developed an action plan with the FATF to address the most serious deficiencies.
CONVERSATION WITH AMBASSADOR OF THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA TO THE UNITED KINGDOM
On 14th October, RUSI released a podcast of a conversation with BBC Journalist Frank Gardner, in which Prince Khalid discussed the security and political challenges faced by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Tensions in the Gulf region have soared following a drone and missile attack on Saudi oil facilities, and the Kingdom is faced with a plethora of security challenges. These come at a time of extensive social and economic reforms inside the Kingdom. Prince Khalid discussed all these questions and offered his views on the Kingdom’s security and prosperity in the years to come.
US DEPORTS CONVICTED TERRORIST TO SUDAN
On 18th October, a news release from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement advised that Amir Abdelghani, 59, a Sudanese national convicted in 1996 with 9 others as part a large-scale terrorism plot against the US, has been deported and handed over to his Sudan authorities.
US TREASURY LAUNCHES THE COUNTER-HIZBALLAH INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIP (CHIP) TO THWART ILLICIT FINANCIAL ACTIVITY
On 18th October, the US Treasury published a news release which said that the US Treasury had convened the first meeting of CHIP to build multilateral co-operation for targeting Hizballah’s global financial networks. Over 30 countries representing the Middle East, the Western Hemisphere, Europe, Asia, and Africa participated in this event, which was held on the sidelines of World Bank/IMF meetings. It is said that the next step for meeting participants will be to send technical experts to the Law Enforcement Coordination Group (LECG), which will next convene in The Hague in December.
HOW LATIN AMERICA CAN PUNISH CORRUPTION WITHOUT KILLING COMPANIES
On 15th October, the Americas Quarterly carried an article which uses the case of Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht as an example, and says that this extreme case exposes a broader issue for anti-corruption in Latin America. Some countries have developed powerful tools to detect grand corruption and punish companies but, it is argued, they lack mechanisms to “remove the cancer without killing the patient”. In order to contain the economic damage and ultimately strengthen anti-corruption enforcement, it says, Latin American countries need to find more efficient ways to penalise companies – and this means actively working to preserve the good parts of the businesses in question. It is said that the Odebrecht scandal has affected millions of innocent people, including tens of thousands of Odebrecht (and subsidiary) employees. The article says that Odebrecht’s spectacular collapse should emphasise the importance of stronger institutions and better norms to minimise the pain that grand corruption inflicts. The company has broken many records, but it will not be the last one to test the limits of anti-corruption enforcement in Latin America.
MEXICO: A POWERFUL UNION BOSS OFFERS AN ANTI-CORRUPTION TEST
An article in Americas Quarterly on 19th August is concerned with the head of Pemex’s largest workers’ union since 1993, Carlos Romero Deschamps, 75, who has spent the last 3 decades parrying corruption accusations while amassing a personal fortune. Having stepped down from heading the UIF union, the federal attorney general’s office has said it would investigate the union leader over possible corruption. In the past he has seemed immune, having allegedly helped funnel millions of dollars in Pemex money to the 2000 presidential campaign of Francisco Labastida Ochoa, part of the Pemexgate scandal.
HOW CORRUPTION SPOILS OUR FOOD
On 16th October, an article from Transparency International on World Food Day takes a look at the many ways corruption affects this basic human necessity. It says the threat starts at the very origin of food — land. Land corruption has a huge impact on farming and thus on food security, especially of the communities living on and around the land in question. Them it says, there are numerous corruption risks further down the food supply chain, too, citing how the European horse meat scandal in 2013 showed meat that began as horse meat at an abattoir in Romania had become “beef” by the time it reached France. The article also says that large companies can make use of bribery, poor labour conditions and environmental crimes. It gives the example of Brazilian meat packer, JBS, which was running a massive bribery scheme spending over $250 million on bribes for politicians across the spectrum and, 2 years ago, was fined $3.2 billion, one of the biggest fines in history.
SEARCH FOR SECURE TRUCK PARKING STANDARD AS CRIME RISES IN EUROPE
On 18th October, Loadstar reported that the Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA) wants to work with the EU to create a common standard for secure truck parking, in a bid to prevent cargo crime that has reached record levels this year. It says that TAPA launched its Parking Security Requirements (PSR) – a tiered certification programme for parking operators – a year ago, giving members an online planning tool so they can select secure sites, as well as providing crime intelligence along the route; and the EU is working on something similar. It says that, in Q2 2019, the top 10 countries for recorded losses were France, Germany, the Netherlands, UK, Spain, Russia, South Africa, Belgium, Romania and Italy – accounting for 91.8% of all recorded incidents, with the majority of cargo losses were from trucks, mostly when parked in unsecured or unclassified locations.
FATF PUBLIC STATEMENT ON NORTH KOREA AND IRAN
On 18th October, FATF published a Public Statement emphasising the need to maintain the strictest controls in respect of these countries and reviewing the status in respect of both of them.
KENYA: FORMER DEPUTY AUDITOR GENERAL AMONG 6 ARRESTED OVER AUDIT SOFTWARE TENDER
On 18th October, KBC reported that the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission-EACC has arrested 6 people including former and current employees of the Office of the Auditor General over irregular procurement of audit software. Former Deputy Auditor General Stephen Kinuthia, The director of ICT Justus Ongera, , Anne Mwangi the manager of the IT Department, Directors of Enkei Holdings Desmond Kinuthia, Charles Njuguna and Nelson Kinuthia are in custody.
FORMER FRENCH POLITICIAN PATRICK BALKANY JAILED FOR MONEY LAUNDERING
RFI reported on 18th October that Balkany, 71, mayor of Levallois-Perret, a suburb north-west of Paris, has been given a 5-year prison sentence for money laundering. Corruption charges against him were dropped. His wife and son were also given 4-year and 6-month sentences respectively. They are said to have profited from a network of shell companies and offshore bank accounts and thus were able to hide around €13 million from the tax office between 2007 and 2014.
IRELAND: SUSPECT IN €29 MILLION VAT CAROUSEL FRAUD ARRESTED BY GARDAÍ IN CO LOUTH
The Irish Times on 18th October reported that the latest arrest is the third in a 2-year criminal investigation into a suspected €29 million cross-border VAT fraud. Gardaí believe the latest suspect to be detained, who is based in the North but who has business interests south of the border, is the mastermind of the scam. In September 2016, gardaí started a multi-agency investigation into a multi-million euro VAT carousel fraud.
CRIMINAL ASSETS BUREAU BOSS SAYS ‘MINI-CAB’ UNITS ACROSS IRELAND WILL ‘DILUTE’ THE STRENGTH OF THE AGENCY
The Journal on 18th October reported comments of DCS Pat Clavin, who heads up CAB. Plans were outlined in the programme of government, published in 2016, to establish regional or local “mini-CAB” offices in a bid to crack down on local criminal’s benefiting from the proceeds of crime.
IRELAND ISSUES GUIDE ON DUAL-RESIDENT COMPANIES
On 18th October, Tax News reported that the Irish Revenue has published guidance on dual-resident companies that explains new rules introduced under the BEPS multilateral convention on tax treaties.
GREECE TO ATTRACT WEALTHY WITH LUMP SUM TAX
On 18th October, Tax News said that media reports indicate that proposals are inspired by a similar scheme recently introduced in Italy and would allow qualifying taxpayers to pay a fixed amount of €100,000 per year in tax, plus €25,000 annually per dependent family member – with other conditions attached.
UK SEAT AT WTO TO INCLUDE CHANNEL ISLANDS
A news release from the Department for International Trade on 18th October advised that the UK has notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) that it will extend its WTO membership to include the Channel Islands. The UK’s membership of the WTO currently includes Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man, and will be represented by the EU until Brexit is concluded.
NEARLY 4,000 CONTAINERS OF PLASTIC WASTE IN VIETNAM’S PORTS
Vietnam Plus on 18th October reported that more than 3,800 plastic waste containers have piled up for more than 90 days at Vietnam’s 3 major ports, and in total there are some 6,456 containers stacked at seaports containing plastic waste and used commodities. However, the General Department of Vietnam Customs’ data revealed a significant fall of the number of waste containers pilling up at ports across the country in 2019.
KUWAIT: 127 KG OF FAKE COINS CONFISCATED AT AIRPORT CARGO
The Kuwait Times on 17th October reported that in what was called a “bizarre” case and as ‘the first of its kind in Kuwait,’ customs officers confiscated a shipment containing forged 100 fils coins.
US CONTINUES SANCTIONS BREAK FOR SWEDISH REFINER WITH VENEZUELAN TIES
On 18th October, American Shipper reported on OFAC extending its General License for Nynas AB, 50% owned by Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, Petrόleos de Venezuela S.A. This is the fourth time that OFAC has extended General License No. 13 for Nynas AB.
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