OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – OCTOBER 21

21st October 2019

CHINESE SNOOPING TECH SEEN SPREADING TO NATIONS VULNERABLE TO ABUSE, KEEPING TABS ON TROUBLE-MAKERS

On 17th October, the Japan Times carried an article saying that, while facial recognition technology is being adopted in many countries, spurring debate over the balance between privacy and safety, the Huawei system has gained extra attention due to accusations that Chinese laws requiring companies to assist in national intelligence work give authorities access to its data.  Some countries are reconsidering using Huawei technology, particularly the superfast 5G networks that are being rolled out later this year, particularly countries that China has brought closer into its diplomatic and economic orbit.  The Carnegie Institute is reported to have said that at least 75 countries are actively using AI tools such as facial recognition for surveillance — and Huawei has sold its systems in 50 of those countries, and that it is very unclear what safeguards are being put in place.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/10/17/business/tech/huawei-surveillance-chinese-snooping-tech-seen-spreading-nations-vulnerable-abuse-keeping-tabs-trouble-makers

MALAYSIA FEARS BECOMING SANCTIONS TARGET IN TRADE WAR CROSSFIRE

On 21st October, various media reported that Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad had said that Malaysia may become a target of sanctions as the export-reliant economy is caught in the crossfire of the US-China trade war, although he did not specify who could impose the restrictions.  He said that the country will prepare for the worst by cooperating with regional neighbours but did not elaborate.  He also complained about a campaign by European countries against Malaysia’s agricultural mainstay of palm oil.

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/mahathir-warns-of-possible-trade-sanctions-on-malaysia

FLORIDA FISH AND WILDLIFE BUSTS WILDLIFE TRAFFICKING RING SMUGGLING THOUSANDS OF TURTLES, RETURNS TURTLES TO WILD

On 20th October, STL News in the US reported that Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission has charged 2 suspects for poaching thousands of Florida’s native turtles from the wild and selling them illegally in Florida, with final destinations in international markets. These charges represent the state’s largest seizure of turtles in recent history.  Depending upon the species, the poached turtles sold wholesale for up to $300 each and retailed for as much as $10,000 each in Asia.

https://www.stl.news/florida-fish-wildlife-busts-wildlife-trafficking-ring-smuggling-thousands-turtles-returns-turtles-wild/297417/

SUSPECTED NORTH KOREA SMUGGLING SHIPS MADE REPEATED PORT CALLS IN JAPAN

On 21st October, Japan Today reported that vessels involved in North Korea’s export of coal, which is banned by UN resolutions, have made repeated port calls in Japan, possibly as a way of evading the embargo.  It says that such vessels, many of which are Panamanian-flagged, have made over 100 port calls in Japan since the UN Security Council banned North Korean coal exports in August 2017.

https://japantoday.com/category/crime/suspected-n.-korea-smuggling-ships-made-repeated-port-calls-in-japan

DRUGS SMUGGLED INTO THE MALDIVES FROM 19 COUNTRIES FROM 4 DIFFERENT CONTINENTS – THOUGH MOST FROM ASIA

On 21st October, Raajje reported that Maldives Customs Service announced via Twitter that their records show that drugs have been smuggled into the Maldives from 19 countries from 4 different continents.  Although the chart depicted the origins and routes of drug smuggling into the Maldives, it did not disclose any further details on the methods used or the amounts of drugs smuggled in.

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https://raajje.mv/64594

BURMESE FISHERMEN MISTOOK $20 MILLION OF FLOATING CRYSTAL METH FOR NATURAL DEODORANT

On 20th October, the Daily Telegraph carried an AFP report that sacks of crystal meth scooped from the sea by Burmese fishermen who mistook it for a deodorant substance had a street value of $20 million, an official said, in a country believed to be the world’s largest methamphetamine producer.  Each one contained plastic-wrapped bags labelled as Chinese green tea – packaging commonly used by Southeast Asian crime gangs to smuggle crystal meth.  At first, the fishermen assumed it was a natural deodorant chemical known as potassium alum, which is widely used in Burma.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/10/20/burma-fishermen-faint-mistaking-20-million-floating-crystal/

UKRAINE CUSTOMS REVEAL OVER 2 TONNES OF SMUGGLED FOOD IN BUS ON BORDER WITH POLAND

The Kyiv Post on 20th October reported that Ukrainian customs officers have revealed more than 2 tonnes of smuggled foodstuffs – 2,107 kg of food and 120 litres of milk – in a regular bus at the Shehyni-Medyka checkpoint in Ukraine’s Lviv region on the border with Poland.

https://www.unian.info/society/10725453-ukraine-customs-reveal-over-2-tonnes-of-smuggled-food-in-bus-on-border-with-poland-photo.html

ESTONIA: MONEY LAUNDERING DATA BUREAU TO CHECK MAJOR REAL ESTATE FIRMS

On 21st October, KYC 360 reported that the money laundering data bureau is inspecting real estate brokers as real estate is one way to launder criminal proceeds, the head of the bureau said.  The data bureau exercises state supervision over compliance with AML/CFT legislation.  Legislation also requires real estate brokers to have systems of compliance and manage relevant risks, including identifying true beneficiaries.  The law also obligates companies to report transactions regarding which there are suspicions of money laundering.  The association of real estate firms has written to the justice chancellor saying that brokers should have the right to identify true beneficiaries using the register of beneficial owners for free.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/estonia-money-laundering-data-bureau-to-check-major-real-estate-firms/

THE GOOD LIFE OF CRIMINAL SUSPECTS WHO FLEE TO ISRAEL

On 21st October, KYC 360 reported on a specific case, involving Eddie Arbitan, convicted in absentia in France for a VAT fraud involving carbon emissions and fighting extradition from Israel – and after his conviction in France, Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot refused to provide loans to a high-rise project he took part in.  From this it expanded into saying that hundreds of Jews have taken advantage of Israel’s Law of Return in the hope they would not be extradited. But in the last 2 decades, based on legislation from the late 90s, Israel has ramped up its number of extraditions.  Other cases are referred to, and a former state prosecutor said another problem is with criminals who go to Israel and turn it into their base of operations, with no extradition requests in their case.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/the-good-life-of-criminal-suspects-who-flee-to-israel/

VAT: CHANGES TO THE SUPPLY OF DIGITAL SERVICES 2019

On 18th October, HMRC published an updated tax information and impact note is about changes to the VAT rules for businesses making sales of digital services to consumers across the EU.  2 changes are being made to the rules for businesses making sales of digital services to consumers across the EU – businesses will only be subject to the VAT rules of their home country if their relevant sales across the EU in a year (and the preceding year) falls below a threshold (£10,000 in the UK), though businesses can continue to apply the current rules if they so choose; and non-EU businesses, which are registered for VAT for other purposes, to use the Mini One Stop Shop scheme to account for VAT on sales of digital services to consumers in EU Member States.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vat-changes-to-the-supply-of-digital-services-2019

SINGAPORE BANKS AND CASINOS COMMENDED FOR AIDING POLICE IN SEIZURE OF S$25 MILLION FROM FINANCIAL CRIMES

On 21st October, the Business Times reported that 3 local banks, as well as casinos at Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands, were commended by police for their efforts in combating money laundering and terrorism financing that led to seizures of more than S$25 million. Taxes, penalties and fines related to the crimes amounted to more than S$2 million.  The 2 casinos involved contributed about 20% of the total STR filed last year.

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/banking-finance/singapore-banks-casinos-commended-for-aiding-police-in-seizure-of-s25m-from

SOUTH KOREAN PROSECUTORS REQUEST ARREST WARRANT FOR WIFE OF EX-JUSTICE MINISTER OVER 10 CHARGES

On 21st October, Arirang reported that prosecutors have requested an arrest warrant for the wife of former Justice Minister Cho Kuk under investigation, along with his family, for corruption.

http://www.arirang.com/news

MONGOLIA ADDED TO FATF “GREY LIST”

AKIpress on 21st October reported that Mongolia has been included on a list of countries monitored by FATF and said that the country has worked to address weaknesses in its technical compliance of FATF standards since 2017.  Meanwhile, its economy is in recovery following a bailout from the IMF in 2017.  Fund disbursement from the IMF programme have been withheld since the end of last year as the central bank reviews a process of re-capitalising its commercial banks.

https://akipress.com/news:627035:Mongolia_added_to__gray_list__of_Financial_Action_Task_Force

KAZAKHSTAN JOINS GROUP OF STATES AGAINST CORRUPTION (GRECO)

On 21st October, AKIpress reported that the country signed an agreement opening the way for the country to join the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO).  The anti-corruption monitoring body with its headquarters in Strasbourg, was established in 1999 as an enlarged Partial Agreement by 17 Council of Europe member states. GRECO is also open to non-European states, and out of the 49 current members 48 are European states and the 49th is the US.  It is also said that the next step anticipated after the signing of the current agreement is Kazakhstan accepting the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption.

https://akipress.com/news:627029:Kazakhstan_joins__Group_of_States_against_Corruption

INTERNATIONAL HIT AGAINST BELARUSIAN ORGANISED CRIME GROUP INVOLVED IN INTERNATIONAL CARGO THEFTS

On 18th October, a news release from Europol announced that German police, in co-operation with the French Gendarmerie and Czech authorities, EMPACT OPC, and Europol have dismantled a Belarusian organised crime group involved in international cargo thefts. The group was targeting trucks on motorway rest areas and parking lots to steal the cargo and is suspected of having been involved in almost 60 offences in the German state of Lower Saxony alone.  The total damage committed totals over €500,000.  On 10th October, 4 members of the organised crime group, including its ringleader, were caught red-handed in Germany.  In the course of this arrest, a truck with stolen TV was seized.  Further investigations are ongoing.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/operation-sectio-–-international-hit-against-belarusian-organised-crime-group-involved-in-international-cargo-thefts

LAW FIRMS INVESTIGATING POTENTIAL SECURITIES FRAUD CLAIMS ON BEHALF OF SHAREHOLDERS OF WIRECARD

On 21st October, Fintech Futures carried a report on ongoing matters surrounding fintech firm Wirecard, which was the subject of investigations of allegations of fraud and creative accounting in Singapore earlier this year.  The FT had also published documents which appear to indicate a concerted effort to fraudulently inflate sales and profits at Wirecard businesses in Dubai and Ireland, as well as to potentially mislead auditor EY.

https://www.fintechfutures.com/2019/10/investor-rights-lawyers-investigate-wirecard-securities-fraud/

UK NCA RECOVERS FUNDS FROM ALLEGED FRAUDSTER BEING PROBED BY PAKISTAN AUTHORITIES

On 21st October, the Daily Times reported that the NCA has recovered Rs 300 million from the family of an alleged fraudster, who fled to Pakistan after committing the crime, sources familiar with the matter in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) told the media.  The suspect was identified as Nisar Afzal.

https://dailytimes.com.pk/486737/uks-nca-recovers-rs-300m-from-fraudster-being-probed-by-nab/

POIDS

https://www.statista.com/chart/19696/estimated-cost-of-the-us-opioid-crisis/

CANADIAN WEAPONS SALES TO ALGERIA ON EVE OF UN ARMS TREATY ‘TROUBLING,’ SAY EXPERTS

Vancouver Island News on 19th October reported that, in the weeks before Canada formally signed a UN treaty banning the sale of military weapons to human rights abusing countries, the federal government approved the sale of at least $12 million in Canadian-made military arms and ammunition to Algeria.  Furthermore, it is said that the figures do not include the sale of vehicles, imaging and training equipment, nor the re-export of arms originating outside of Canada — categories which together make up the bulk of all Canadian arms sales annually.  Canada signed the UN Arms Trade Treaty on 17th September.

https://vancouverisland.ctvnews.ca/canadian-weapons-sales-to-algeria-on-eve-of-u-n-arms-treaty-troubling-say-experts-1.4645262

GERMANY: NO TOTAL ARMS EXPORT BAN FOR TURKEY DESPITE MERKEL’S PROMISE

On 19th October, Deutsche Welle reported that, according to the Economics Ministry the ban isn’t so far-reaching.  It seems that the arms export ban to Turkey only applies to weapons and other military assets that could be used during the offensive in northern Syria.  Last year, arms sales to Ankara totalled €242.8 million, almost a third of the German defence sector’s total production, according to the Deutsche Presse-Agentur news agency.  In the first 8 months of 2019, sales rose to €250.4 billion, the highest since 2005 – with 182 export licences so far this year, compared to 58 for the whole of last year.

https://www.dw.com/en/germany-no-total-arms-export-ban-for-turkey-despite-merkels-promise/a-50898701

ISRAEL “IS TRYING TO HIDE ITS ARMS SALES TO DUTERTE’S PHILIPPINES”

The Lobe Log on 18th October claimed that an Israeli court has imposed a media blackout on hearings held in September regarding a state sale of weapons to the Philippine regime. The petitioners to halt the sale argued that the Philippine president, was credibly accused of having committed mass atrocities, as well as grave violations of human rights and of international law.  As well as state security and foreign policy issues, the judge accepted the state’s argument that because they were precluded from presenting evidence derived from classified material, the media would only cover the arguments presented by the plaintiff, which would result in the public receiving a distorted version of the case.

https://lobelog.com/israel-is-trying-to-hide-its-arms-sales-to-dutertes-philippines/

ISLE OF MAN ANNOUNCED ISIL/AL-QAIDA SANCTIONS AMENDMENT FOR ANJEM CHOUDARY

On 21st October, a news release advised that the Isle of Man had followed the EU and UK in announcing that the sanctions listing entry for Choudary had been amended to take account of his release from prison on licence in the UK.

https://www.gov.im/news/2019/oct/21/financial-sanctions-isil-daesh-and-al-qaida/

PDS IS GHANA’S BIGGEST CORRUPTION SCANDAL EVER

On 21st October, Graphic Online reported that the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) says the Power Distribution Services (PDS) scandal involving the management of the Electricity Company Of Ghana is Ghana’s biggest corruption scandal ever.

https://www.graphic.com.gh/news/politics/ghana-news-pds-is-ghana-s-biggest-corruption-scandal-ever-ndc.html

UK PUBLISHES UPDATED MONEY LAUNDERING/TERRORIST FINANCING RISK INFORMATION

On 21st October, HM Treasury published updated information following the release by FATF of information on the risks posed by unsatisfactory money laundering and terrorist financing controls.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/840946/Annex_A_-_Advisory_notice_OCT_2019.docx

BRAZIL: OECD SAYS LAW ENFORCEMENT CAPACITY TO INVESTIGATE AND PROSECUTE FOREIGN BRIBERY SERIOUSLY THREATENED

On 21st October, a news release from OECD advised that the OECD bribery Working Group will send a high-level mission to Brasilia as soon as possible in November to meet with high-ranking officials to reinforce the message that the capacity of the Brazilian public authorities to Investigating and prosecuting foreign bribery must be preserved.

http://www.oecd.org/newsroom/a-capacidade-das-autoridades-publicas-brasileiras-de-investigar-e-processar-a-corrupcao-de-funcionarios-publicos-estrangeiros-esta-seriamente-ameacada-diz-o-grupo-de-trabalho-sobre-suborno-da-ocde.htm

DOUBLE TAX AGREEMENT CONCLUDED BY GIBRALTAR AND UK

A news release from Gibraltar on 21st October advised that a Double Tax Agreement between them has been successfully concluded.   The Government had been working towards such an outcome for several years with the substantive text agreed with the final text agreed in the second week of September 2019.

https://www.gibraltar.gov.gi/press-releases/double-tax-agreement-concluded-by-gibraltar-and-uk-7502019-5355

COMPREHENSIVE STATISTICS OF ILLICIT FIREARMS TRAFFICKING NOW PUBLICLY AVAILABLE

On 21st October, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime reported that it has, for the first time, made available statistics of illicit firearms trafficking.  Comprehensive data on firearms trafficking were gathered, processed and are now made available for public use.  In June 2018, UNODC initiated a process of data collection and analysis on firearms trafficking through the Illicit Arms Flow Questionnaire (IAFQ).  This exercise yielded 80 responses to the questionnaire, which were also supplemented by other official sources.

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/2019/October/comprehensive-statistics-of-illicit-firearms-trafficking-now-publicly-available-on-the-unodc-data-portal.html?ref=fs1

The information is available at –

https://dataunodc.un.org/firearms

LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS SAY PEOPLE BRINGING GUNS TO THE US/CANADA BORDER IS BECOMING A BIG ISSUE

In the US, radio station WKBW reported on 21st October that most of the seizures are not from illegally owned firearms, but rather the people involved are legal gun owners, unaware that their legally owned gun from another state, which might not be allowed in New York or Canada.  It says that with the proper paperwork, guns can be brought over the border and through New York state; but the main problem seen is that people are unaware their route includes international travel.  This results in people not knowing they need the forms.

https://www.wkbw.com/news/protecting-your-family/law-enforcement-officers-say-people-bringing-guns-to-the-u-s-canada-border-is-becoming-a-big-issue

UK: REGULATOR ACTS AFTER ‘ILLEGAL’ AIRPORT PARKING SCHEME COLLAPSES

On 21st October, the Guardian reported that investors who put their money into an airport parking scheme that went into liquidation earlier this year are hoping for compensation after the FCA announced it was taking legal action against those behind the scheme.  The Park First scheme collected more than £230 million from thousands of people, offered returns of up to 12% to those who invested £20,000 a time on individual parking spaces at Gatwick and Glasgow airports.  However, the FCA claims it was an “illegal collective investment scheme” that was “promoted to the public using false or misleading statements”.

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/oct/20/fca-airport-parking-scam

BRIEFING: EU LISTING OF TAX HAVENS

On 21st October, the EU Parliament Research Service published a briefing paper, an update of a May 2018 paper, on the list of tax havens or high-risk countries produced by the EU.

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2018/621872/EPRS_BRI(2018)621872_EN.pdf

UNDERSTANDING BEPS

On 21st October, the EU Parliament Research Service published a briefing paper on the G20/OECD Base erosion and profit shifting action plan (known as BEPS).  The 2015 BEPS action plan has 15 actions, covering elements used in corporate tax avoidance practices and aggressive tax-planning schemes.  The paper replaces a June 2017 paper and explains the background and use of BEPS and the Action Plan.  An annex outlines the different international fora and instruments relevant to BEPS actions and the countries or organisations that participate in them or apply them.

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2019/642258/EPRS_BRI(2019)642258_EN.pdf

AN OVERVIEW OF COMPETITION AND ANTI-TRUST REGULATIONS IN AFRICA

On 21st October, Baker McKenzie produced an overview compiled by the Competition & Antitrust Africa team and the Firm’s African Relationship firms across the continent, in order to provide insight into the numerous competition law and regulatory developments in 25 countries in Africa.  It says that anti-trust law in Africa is growing at a rapid rate with the introduction of laws and regulations, increase in memberships to regional anti-trust bodies and ramped-up enforcement by domestic and regional regulators.  Since the beginning of 2018, domestic competition legislation has been enacted in Angola and Nigeria, and legal developments are in progress in Madagascar.  It provides an insight into the numerous competition law and regulatory developments in 25 countries in Africa.

https://globalcompliancenews.com/overview-competition-antitrust-regulations-africa-20191016/

MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE PUSHES RATIFICATION OF CAPE TOWN AGREEMENT TO INTRODUCE SAFE FISHING AND LEGAL FISHING AND ELIMINATE ILLEGAL UNREGULATED AND UNREPORTED FISHING

On 21st October, the IMO reported that a Ministerial Conference has opened in Torremolinos, Spain, to garner momentum towards entry into force of the Agreement.  The Cape Town Agreement of 2012 will provide the updated mandatory regime for fishing vessel safety.  It says that states will be invited to sign the Torremolinos Declaration, a non-legally binding political instrument for states to publicly indicate their determination to ratify the Cape Town Agreement by the 11th October 2022.  The Agreement includes mandatory international requirements for stability and associated seaworthiness, machinery and electrical installations, life-saving appliances, communications equipment and fire protection, as well as fishing vessel construction; and is aimed at facilitating better control of fishing vessel safety by flag, port and coastal states.

http://www.imo.org/en/MediaCentre/WhatsNew/Pages/default.aspx

RUSSIAN TYCOON QUESTIONED IN SPAIN OVER MARKET MANIPULATION ACCUSATIONS

Rferl on 21st October reported that Mikhail Fridman, who also has Ukrainian and Israeli citizenship, has appeared before Spain’s top criminal court for questioning over accusations he artificially depressed the value of a Spanish company – Zed Worldwide, a Spanish mobile content and services business that later declared insolvency – in order to take it over.

https://www.rferl.org/a/russian-tycoon-fridman-questioned-spain-market-manipulation/30228027.html

FATF LAUDS BAHAMAS, BUT NOTES WORK NEEDED ON DEFICIENCIES

On 21st October, the Nassau Guardian reported on the outcome of the recent FATF Plenary noting that FATF had lauded The Bahamas for commitments made to strengthen its regime, though the organisation suggested 2 issues the country needs to address – implementing its action plan to address its strategic deficiencies, including by demonstrating that authorities are investigating and prosecuting all types of money laundering, including complex money laundering cases, standalone money laundering and cases involving proceeds of foreign offenses, including foreign tax crimes…and increasing the identification, tracing and freezing or restraining of assets and to present cases linked with foreign offences and standalone money laundering cases.

https://thenassauguardian.com/2019/10/21/fatf-lauds-bahamas-but-notes-work-needed-on-deficiencies/

EU REJECTS IDEA OF NEW EU AGENCY TO COMBAT MONEY LAUNDERING

On 21st October, Global Capital said that it had been told by the country’s finance minister that Estonia did not believe that the EU should set up its own AML agency, but should rather make better use, and improve, existing information-sharing and co-operation arrangements.

https://www.globalcapital.com/article/b1hnbvfl8tflfx/estonia-rejects-new-eu-agency-to-fight-financial-crime

BEHAVIOURAL ETHICS TO IMPROVE YOUR COMPLIANCE PROGRAMME

On 21st October, a post on the FCPA Blog from Jeffrey M Kaplan, a partner in the Princeton, New Jersey office of Kaplan & Walker LLP, says that behavioural compliance and ethics, though little known, attempts to use the (slightly better known) behavioural ethics insights to develop and maintain effective compliance programmes, and he sets out to explore some of the ways that this can be done.  He suggests it can have a use in certain elements of a compliance programme, such as risk assessment, using behavioural ethics insights; and more generally in making organisations understand that a strong compliance and ethics programme not only should exist but must exist – because we are not as ethical as we like to think (or pretend).

https://www.fcpablog.com/blog/2019/10/21/understanding-behavioral-ethics-can-strengthen-your-complian.html

CMA CGM SHIPPING LINE LAUNCHES TRADE FINANCE SERVICE

On 21st October, American Shipper reported that CMA CGM has launched a new range of import and export financing products in partnership with global invoice platform company Incomlend – the Shipfin Trade Finance (STF) portfolio of products.  The strategy is said to be to encourage customers to acquire the services via its various platforms, establishing the French carrier as a single source for trade finance and transport solutions.  It is available customers based in pilot countries India, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.  It has also launched 2 initial products: Supply Chain Financing aimed at importers and Cargo Financing for exporters, both designed to aid businesses supply chain cash flows.

https://www.freightwaves.com/news/cma-cgm-launches-trade-finance-service

OFAC ISSUES AMENDED VENEZUELA GENERAL LICENSE

On 21st October, the US Treasury announced an amendment of General License 8D: Authorizing Transactions Involving Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) Necessary for Maintenance of Operations for Certain Entities in Venezuela.  Its duration is extended to 22nd January 2020 for the Chevron Corporation, Halliburton, Schlumberger Limited, Baker Hughes (a GE Company) and Weatherford International PLC.

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/venezuela_gl8d.pdf

US EFFORTS TO DEVELOP TECHNOLOGY THAT COULD DETECT AND PROTECT THE NATION FROM BIOLOGICAL THREATS “ARE INSUFFICIENT AND ARE GOING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION”

On 19th October, Homeland Security Today reported that the executive director of the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense had warned lawmakers in the US was not adequately prepared for detecting an WMD threat and has not been adequately prepared for more than a decade.  It says that the BioWatch programme established in 2003 by DHS — in response to the 2001 anthrax letters — placed biological detectors throughout the US, but is said not to worked particularly well and led to DHS creating a new programme called BioDetection 21, which is also said to flawed.

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/wmd/cwmd-has-spun-down-worse-and-worse-with-flawed-biothreat-detection-lawmakers-told/

US: CALL FOR FEDERAL PLAN FOR SHARING MORE INFO ON TECHNOLOGY SUPPLY CHAIN THREATS

The Hill on 10th October reported that a bipartisan group of US senators is calling for all branches of government to share information on threats to technology supply chains, citing potential risks to national security.  It is reported that the intelligence community shares information on threats to the information technology supply chain with civilian agencies through the Federal Acquisition Security Council (FASC) – established by a Bill last year and is tasked with creating a “strategic plan” to address supply chain risks.  Senators want that threat information made available to other branches of government.  The article says that supply chain security is an issue that both the Trump administration and Congress have focused more attention on recently, particularly in regards to perceived national security threats from Chinese telecommunications group Huawei and its rollout of 5G networks worldwide.

https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/465287-bipartisan-senators-want-plan-for-sharing-more-info-on-supply-chain

TURKISH BANKER CONVICTED IN US APPOINTED HEAD OF TURKISH STOCK EXCHANGE

On 21st October, News AM in Armenia reported that banker Hakan Atilla, convicted in the US in 2018, released from prison in July and sent to Turkey, has been appointed head of the Turkish stock exchange.

https://news.am/eng/news/540103.html

http://www.mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/mehmet-hakan-atilla-named-as-new-ceo-to-borsa-istanbul/

INDICTED TYCOON DELAYS RETURN TO ARMENIA

On 21st October, azatutyun.am reported that businessman, Samvel Mayrapetian, who was arrested in October 2018 on charges of “assisting” in large-scale bribery alleged by a fellow entrepreneur, Silva Hambardzumian, has postponed his return to Armenia from Germany where he was allowed to receive medical treatment early this year.  Hambardzumian claimed to have transferred millions of dollars in cash to former Presidents Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian and another former official through Mayrapetian in 2008.

https://www.azatutyun.am/a/30228444.html

GERMAN PROSECUTORS PROBE GERMAN DIALYSIS COMPANY FRESENIUS

On 21st October, Deutsche Welle reported that personnel of Frensenius Medical Care, the German maker of dialysis machines and products, are facing bribery probes, say Frankfurt prosecutors.  The investigation is based on findings of a US out-of-court settlement reached early this year.  In March, Fresenius Medical Care (FMC), an offshoot of the medical concern Fresenius, announced it had paid $231.7 million in a settlement with the DoJ and SEC in the US.  According to media claims, bribes worth “many millions” had flowed primarily to doctors and state employees in 17 countries as provisions or consultants’ fees.

https://www.dw.com/en/german-prosecutors-probe-german-dialysis-firm-fresenius/a-50922473

CLAIM THAT UK RECEIVES £90 BILLION IN STOLEN FUNDS YEARLY FROM NIGERIA AND OTHERS

Investigative site Sahara Reporters on 21st October reported claims that the UK receives not less than £90 billion shady funds from Nigeria and other countries across the world every year, a team of foreign experts in Nigeria said.  Experts said 87,000 illicit assets in UK are owned by anonymous companies in tax havens, while the values of secretly owned properties in the UK are between £56 billion to £100 billion, and 40% of these properties are in the City of London.  The claims are in a paper entitled Obtaining Property Information Overseas which was presented at ongoing anti-corruption training organised by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda in collaboration with international groups.

http://saharareporters.com/2019/10/21/uk-receives-£90bn-stolen-funds-yearly-nigeria-others-–experts

EX-DEUTSCHE BANK TRADERS MUST FACE SPOOFING CHARGE IN US

On 21st October, Bloomberg reported that the criminal case against 2 former Deutsche Bank AG employees accused in the US of fraudulent and manipulative precious metals trading can proceed, after a federal judge rejected their request for dismissal.  Cedric Chanu (a resident of France and UAE) and James Vorley (a UK resident) were accused of placing buy or sell orders for futures contracts that they didn’t intend to execute, creating a false picture of supply and demand, and profiting by executing trades on the opposite side, but they argued that the federal wire-fraud statute was not intended to be used to prosecute spoofing conduct because the law requires making false statements, which they say they did not make.

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/ex-deutsche-bank-traders-must-face-spoofing-charge-judge-rules-1.1334825

MONEY LAUNDERING MAY HAVE FUELLED LUXURY US LIFESTYLE OF HUGO CHAVEZ’S DAUGHTER

On 21st October, Insight Crime reported claims that the daughter of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez allegedly used a secret bank account in the US for 2 years to make million-dollar purchases.  A bank account at the Mercantil Commercebank in Miami, opened in the name of her partner, Roberto Leyba, was closed in 2016 on suspicion of containing funds from money laundering, and between the end of 2015 and mid-2016, the account was involved in several suspicious transactions.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/brief/maria-gabriela-chavez-money-laundering-us/

SOUTH AFRICAN FRAUDSTER SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS IN JAIL

On 21st October, International Adviser reported that David Wilmot had been sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to fraud, money laundering and breach of the financial advisory and intermediary act.  Between 2010 and 2015, Wilmot is said to have lied about investing money in foreign exchange markets via his company Nova Shore Holdings.

https://international-adviser.com/south-african-fraudster-sentenced-to-15-years-in-jail/

INSURERS CALL FOR ACTION TO PREVENT CONTAINERSHIP FIRES

On 21st October, American Shipper reported that the International Union of Marine Insurance says firefighting systems on containerships should be arranged to segregate each ship into compartments where fires can be isolated.  There were 8 significant fires between to 9th August this year on container and container/ro-ro ships.

https://www.freightwaves.com/news/insurers-call-for-action-to-prevent-containership-fires

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TURKISH BANKER CONVICTED IN US APPOINTED HEAD OF TURKISH STOCK EXCHANGE

On 21st October, News AM in Armenia reported that banker Hakan Atilla, convicted in the US in 2018, released from prison in July and sent to Turkey, has been appointed head of the Turkish stock exchange.

https://news.am/eng/news/540103.html

http://www.mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/mehmet-hakan-atilla-named-as-new-ceo-to-borsa-istanbul/

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AMENDMENT TO EU DUAL-USE EXPORT CONTROLS

On 17th October, the EU published the annual Delegated Regulation that would update Annex I to the principal EU Regulation 428/2009.  Annex I is reviewed annually and establishes a common list of dual-use items subject to controls in the EU: the ‘list of dual-use items’.  Decisions on the items subject to controls are taken within the framework of the international non-proliferation regimes and export control arrangements, namely the Australia Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Wassenaar Arrangement and the Chemical Weapons Convention.  A summary of the proposed changes, and the reasons for them is available at –

https://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2019/october/tradoc_158392.pdf

Changes include –

  • new entries for: discrete microwave transistors; specific signal generators; microcomputer software; masks and reticules for optical sensors; and air-launch platforms for space launch vehicles;
  • amendments to entries for: underwater submersible vehicles; hydrophones; cryptographic activation tokens; digital to analogue converters; and multi-layer mask control;
  • deletion of technology for gas turbine engine components; and
  • new notes on items designed for a civil industry application; and specific lasers.

https://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/rep/3/2019/EN/C-2019-7313-F1-EN-MAIN-PART-1.PDF

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WEST AFRICA: THE CENTRE OF MARITIME PIRACY, ARMED ROBBERY AND KIDNAP

On 21st October, American Shipper carried an article based on the latest report from the International Maritime Bureau.  It says that new data from the IMB shows that worldwide there have been 70 actual kidnappings of seafarers and 49 hostage-takings year to date.  The West African country of Guinea alone saw 23 hostage-takings, Nigeria a further 12 and the West African country of Togo an additional seven. Cameroon and Nigeria were hot spots for kidnapping, too.  The IMB says about 86% of all maritime hostage-taking and 82% of all actual kidnappings happen in or near the Gulf of Guinea.  It explains that a document issued by the major global maritime shipping organisations, defines the region as being the waters off the countries of Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria and Cameroon.  However, pirate attacks have occurred as far south as Angola and as far west as Sierra Leone, so the area of threat is enormous.  Unlike in the Somali piracy era, nations in the region jealously guard their monopoly on the right to use armed force in their jurisdictions and generally do not allow large numbers of openly armed foreigners to enter and hang around in their territory, it says – so that ship-borne foreign armed guards would not be allowed.  The article also says that pirates often kidnap and hold crew in some pretty inhospitable terrain – so there are physical as well as jurisdictional barriers to tracking down pirates and robbers who have kidnapped crew.  Unlike their Somali counterparts, West African pirates kidnap crew, rather than hijack ships, because local law enforcement agencies would be able to track down and recapture a large ship.

https://www.freightwaves.com/news/west-africa-the-center-of-maritime-piracy-armed-robbery-and-kidnap

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OECD: TIME FOR JAPAN TO TAKE A TOUGHER STANCE ON FOREIGN BRIBERY

On 21st October, Clifford Chance published a briefing saying that in June 2019, the OECD Working Group on Bribery in International Transactions criticised Japan’s efforts to combat bribery of foreign public officials.  The OECD has identified continuing weaknesses in Japan’s anti-bribery laws and enforcement, although Japan took steps to implement the majority of the OECD’s recommendations following a 2013 report.  The OECD did commend Japan for its implementation of the Convention in certain areas – e.g. noting that legislation amendments in 2017 criminalised the laundering of the proceeds of foreign bribery and allowed their confiscation.  The article says that OECD identified a “major loophole” and “legislative defects” in Japan’s Unfair Competition Prevention Law (UCPL), calling on Japan to take “urgent” action.   The briefing says that Japan will be in the spotlight for the 2020 Olympics and the OECD report may be just the encouragement it needs to take a tougher stance on foreign bribery.

https://www.cliffordchance.com/content/dam/cliffordchance/briefings/2019/10/time-for-japan-to-take-a-tougher-stance-on-foreign-bribery.pdf

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US CUBA EXPORT RESTRICTIONS TIGHTENED

On 21st October, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that the Bureau of Industry and Security has issued a final rule amending the Export Administration Regulations to further restrict exports and re-exports of items to Cuba.  These changes are being implemented in an effort to further restrict the Cuban government’s access to items subject to the EAR, thereby supporting the Trump administration’s policy.  The article lists that changes being made, including –

  • a general policy of licence denial for leases of aircraft to Cuban state-owned airlines;
  • aircraft and vessels are not eligible for a licence exception if they are leased to or chartered by a national of Cuba or a state sponsor of terrorism;
  • a general 10% de minimis level for Cuba exports control;
  • making the Cuban government and communist party ineligible for certain donations;
  • removing an authorisation for promotional items that generally benefits the Cuban government; and
  • clarifying the scope of telecommunications items that the Cuban government may receive without a licence.

https://www.strtrade.com/news-publications-Cuba-BIS-EAR-restrictions-exports-102119.html

 

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UK: PREVENTING CHARITY FRAUD – INSIGHTS AND ACTION

On 21st October, the Charity Commission published a research report about fraud committed against UK charities.  It includes insights and actions to prevent fraud, and is said to be the largest-ever analysis of fraud committed against UK charities.  It reports that less than 9% of charities have a fraud awareness training programme, and that in the next 2 years 1 in every 25 charities will experience fraud.  Over two thirds of charities (69%) think fraud is a major risk to the charity sector.  85% of charities think they’re doing everything they can to prevent fraud, but almost half don’t actually have any good-practice protections in place.  The report also includes s election of short case studies, and includes a fraud prevention checklist for completion by charity trustees, staff and volunteers

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/840652/Web_CC_Fraud.pdf

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