OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – NOVEMBER 30

30th November 2019

SOUTH KOREA REVIEWS EXPORT SCREENING

On 30th November, Nikkei Asia Review reported that South Korea is expanding its screening team for strategic exports by 50% to 45 members with effect from 1st January, in response to Japanese concerns that chipmaking chemicals shipped to the country were being leaked for military use.  Japan has concerns that its materials exports to South Korea are being leaked to countries like North Korea, where they are being used for military purposes.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Japan-South-Korea-rift/South-Korea-reviews-export-screening-in-nod-to-Japan

HONG KONG CUSTOM AUTHORITIES SEIZE 540 TONNES OF SMUGGLED FROZEN MEAT

On 29th November, Republic World (and others) reported that Hong Kong customs had seized nearly 540 tonnes of suspected smuggled frozen meat in the largest such seizure in the last 10 years.  The seizure was made on 4 fishing vessels.  It is noted that, after the outbreak of swine flu fever among the pigs of China, meat prices in the country have hit a record time high, making meat smuggling more profitable than any other time in the past.

https://www.republicworld.com/world-news/rest-of-the-world-news/hong-kong-custom-authorities-seize-540-tonnes-of-smuggled-frozen-meat.html

BOTSWANA IMPLEMENTING ITS AML/CFT STRATEGY

On 30th November, the Journal du Cameroun reported that Botswana has begun to implement the National Strategy to combat Money Laundering; Combat an Act of Terrorism; Combat Financing of Proliferation of Arms of War, Biological and Chemical Weapons which was approved by Cabinet in October.

https://www.journalducameroun.com/en/botswana-ups-ante-against-money-laundering-terrorism-financing/

SRI LANKAN COASTGUARD ARRESTS 3 INDIANS WITH 1 TONNE OF BEEDI LEAVES – 50 TONNES SEIZED SO FAR THIS YEAR

On 13th November, Customs Today reported that 3 Indian nationals have been apprehended with a large consignment of Beedi leaves during a joint operation conducted by the Sri Lanka Navy and Coast Guard.  This year alone, the Navy has recovered nearly 50 tonnes of beedi leaves from operations carried out at sea and on the shore.  Beedi leaves are tobacco used to make thin cigarettes or cigars commonly smoked in India, as well as elsewhere in South Asia and the Middle East.

https://customstoday.com.pk/three-indians-arrested-with-1000kg-of-beedi-leaves/

US CUSTOMS CRACKDOWN ON FORCED LABOUR IMPORTS

An article in the latest edition of US Customs and Border Protection’s “Frontline” magazine warns importers to be watchful about the source of their merchandise, saying that importers receive their commodities at the end of long supply chains that can originate anywhere in the world — in many cases regions where oversight is lax or even non-existent.  Giving (often scary) examples, the article concedes that, for lots of merchandise and agricultural products, tracing supply chains to suspected forced labour can be challenging.  In many cases the chain ends at a legitimate producer who buys raw material possibly moved through multiple countries to hide the supply trail.  Other times, products are fabricated by several subcontractors, making it difficult for importers to know if forced labour played a role in their business – like a river fed by tributaries upon tributaries, there’s often no single source, it says.  While victims can be found almost anywhere — even in the US, it says — most of the indentured work is found in Asia, Africa and Latin America.  75 countries, including China, Russia, Thailand and India, are among the nations where forced labour exists, according to the US Department of Labor.  Anyone can report suspicious shipments to the port director or the commissioner or through the e-allegation portal at https://eallegations.cbp.gov

https://www.cbp.gov/frontline/cbp-takes-aim-forced-labor

BRAZIL COURT REVOKES ARREST WARRANT FOR FORMER PARAGUAY PRESIDENT

On 29th November, Agencia Brasil reported that the Brazilian courts had revoked the arrest warrant for Horacio Cartes, the former president of Paraguay, that stemmed from a operation linked to the massive Operation “Car Wash” corruption investigation.

http://agenciabrasil.ebc.com.br/en/justica/noticia/2019-11/brazil-court-revokes-arrest-warrant-former-paraguayan-president

THE GROWING DIVIDE BETWEEN ISRAELI AND INTERNATIONAL COURTS ON THE STATUS OF ISRAELI SETTLEMENTS IN THE WEST BANK

An article on Lawfare on 27th November examined 2 judgments handed down just days apart — one by the Israeli Supreme Court and the other by the European Court of Justice — which highlight a growing jurisprudence divide between Israeli and international courts on the status of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.   The Israeli Supreme Court continues to maintain the constitutionality of laws equating boycotts of settlements to boycotts of the country as a whole, but the ECJ ruled that settlement products must be labelled clearly, so that consumers can make an informed choice on whether to buy them.  It also notes that Israeli law bans BDS activists from the country (BDS is the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel) and that a 2011 law imposes civil tort liability and various administrative sanctions on boycott activists, including allowing the government to deny activists certain subsidies and to bar them from obtaining government contracts.

https://www.lawfareblog.com/deportation-omar-shakir-israeli-supreme-court-and-bds-movement

EU FOLLOWS US LEAD ON AML CONTROLS FOR CRYPTOCURRENCIES: KEY DIFFERENCES IDENTIFIED

On 30th November, an article in the Coin Telegraph said that in January 2020, the regulatory landscape for crypto businesses will completely change in the EU in comparison with the last decade, as the 5th Money Laundering Directive shall be transposed into the national legislation of each EU Member State by 10th January.  It notes that it was in 2013 that FinCEN in the US introduced an interpretive guidance for cryptocurrency industry participants, mainly exchangers and administrators.  The article poses 2 questions – what should we learn from this long-standing experience? What should we expect from the regulation of the EU market as compared to the US?  It then identifies the key differences between the AML controls in the US and the EU.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/european-aml-regulations-follow-the-us-path-with-a-six-years-delay

US CUSTOMS SEIZE FAKE GOODS WORTH MORE THAN $95 MILLION AHEAD OF BLACK FRIDAY WEEKEND

On 30th November, Illicit Trade reported that customs officers in Louisville, Kentucky seized 164 shipments of fake items worth more than $95 million in the 3-month period leading up to the Black Friday weekend, including fake designer bags, jewellery, shoes and sunglasses.  All the seized items were produced in China and were on their way to recipients in the New York area.

https://www.illicit-trade.com/2019/11/customs-agents-in-louisville-kentucky-seize-fake-goods-worth-more-than-95-million-ahead-of-black-friday-weekend

 

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

 

 

 

US ARREST OF CRYPTOCURRENCY EXPERT FOR GIVING TALK IN NORTH KOREA

Various media on 30th November reported that Federal prosecutors have charged a cryptocurrency expert, Virgil Griffith, 36, a US national who lives in Singapore, with violating economic sanctions against North Korea by presenting at a conference there after the US government denied his request to travel to Pyongyang.

https://www.stripes.com/news/pacific/us-says-cryptocurrency-expert-violated-north-korea-sanctions-1.609266

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

TRACING EUROPEAN ARMS USED IN OPPRESSION AND HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

On 29th November, Bellingcat reported on its EU Arms Project, a collaboration project which has documented, using open source, how European countries and companies have breached their own, and international, laws dozens of times.   It has documented where European arms end up after their export licences have been granted. It reports that the latest project shows where Spain has approved export licences for arms sold to countries such as Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Nicaragua, and how those arms have been used in the facilitation of oppression or human rights violations.

https://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-europe/2019/11/29/dangerous-goods-tracing-european-arms-used-in-oppression-and-human-rights-violations/

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

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – NOVEMBER 29

29th November 2019

 UKRAINIAN POLICE SEIZE 100 TONS OF FAKE DETERGENT 

On 1st November, Petošević reported that Ukrainian police recently seized nearly 100 tons of counterfeit household detergent in the Zakarpattia region in south-western Ukraine while searching the warehouses, workshops and residences of the those who produced and sold fake detergent in Ukraine, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania.  Police also seized a significant amount of raw materials, production equipment and computers during the searches.

https://www.petosevic.com/resources/news/2019/11/4203

VENEZUELA “OFFERS SUPPLIERS PAYMENT IN CHINESE YUAN”

On 29th November, a report in Hellenic Shipping News said that sources claim that Venezuela’s government and its oil company PDVSA have offered to pay suppliers and contractors into accounts in China using the yuan currency due to the effects of US sanctions.  It is claimed that officials have made the proposal verbally to at least 4 companies that provide services to the public sector.  It is also reported that Venezuela’s central bank has at least $700 million in yuan in an account at China’s central bank, which it received earlier this year as compensation for an oil shipment.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/facing-u-s-sanctions-venezuela-offers-suppliers-payment-in-chinese-yuan-sources/

OFAC: SANCTIONS COMPLIANCE PROVISIONS IN LEASE AGREEMENTS ALONE MAY BE INSUFFICIENT

On 27th November, Holland & Hart LLP published an article regarding an agreement with Apollo Aviation Group, LLC, a Florida-based commercial aviation investment and servicing company over 12 apparent violations of the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations.  It says that the announcement is an important reminder to lessors that contractual provisions in lease agreements relating to sanctions compliance may be insufficient to fully mitigate the risk of a US enforcement action.  However, it says that the case also provides key lessons for how companies can more readily satisfy their compliance obligations in the context of customer relationships where there is a risk that US-origin goods may be diverted to sanctioned persons or jurisdictions.  The mitigating factors include conducting appropriate due diligence to understand the business risks relating both to lessees and sublessees – something that arises in so many cases, that you need to know not just what (and why) you do, but what and why others involved (clients, customers, etc) as well.

https://www.internationalcomplianceblog.com/ofac-sanctions-compliance-provisions-in-lease-agreements-alone-may-be-insufficient/#page=1

20 TONNES OF SMUGGLED BEEF SEIZED IN SOUTH-WEST CHINA

On 29th November, Xinhua reported that border police had captured 5 suspects for smuggling 20 tonnes of frozen beef into China from Vietnam, saying that meat smuggling has been a frequent occurrence in the region in recent years, and local police have been stepping up efforts to crack down on such cases.

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-11/29/c_138592459.htm

INDIAN GOVERNMENT POLICIES HAVE TURNED COUNTRY INTO MAJOR GOLD SMUGGLING HUB

On 27th November, Illicit Trade reported that a Canadian NGO has said that India has become one of the world’s major hubs for gold smuggling.  The NGO says that that gold linked to human rights abuses and corruption in countries across Africa and South America is entering legal international markets via India.  The report from the NGO claims that India imports approximately 1,000 tons of gold every year, which is 25% more than official figures show, and that various policies and tax changes introduced by the Indian government have over time incentivised smuggling and the illicit trade of gold, with traders falsifying documentation to import gold from producing countries or smuggle it in from other trading centres.

https://www.illicit-trade.com/2019/11/indian-government-policies-have-turned-country-into-major-gold-smuggling-hub-ngo-warns/

NORWAY POLICE TO PROBE DNB BANK AFTER ICELAND LAUNDERING REPORT

Bloomberg reported on 28th November reported that police will investigate the country’s biggest bank after it was reportedly used by an Icelandic fishing company to launder money that came partly from operations in Namibia.  Icelandic media claimed that that fishing company Samherji paid bribes to officials in Namibia to operate there and used DNB to transfer over $70 million to the Marshall Islands between 2011 and 2018.  However, a release from Samherji denied ever owning or controlling the shell company involved.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-28/norway-police-to-investigate-dnb-after-iceland-laundering-report-k3iy54fs

https://www.samherji.is/en/news/samherji-never-owned-or-controlled-cape-cod-fs

BRAZIL’S SUPREME COURT SAYS THAT POLICE AND PROSECUTORS CAN ACCESS CONFIDENTIAL TAX AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION WITHOUT A COURT ORDER

Reuters on 29th November said that the decision clears the way for an investigation into the president’s son, Flavio Bolsanaro.  Public prosecutors in financial crime investigations can have access to tax documents and data at the Federal Revenue Service and central bank’s FIU with no need for warrants.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-brazil-corruption/brazils-top-court-eases-access-to-confidential-information-in-criminal-probes-idUSKBN1Y2281

IMF TO EXAMINE NORDIC EFFORTS TO STOP MONEY LAUNDERING IN THE BALTICS

Reuters on 29th November reported that work on framing the investigation was well underway and the IMF would start work in the first half of 2020.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-sweden-cenbank-moneylaundering/imf-to-examine-nordic-efforts-to-stop-money-laundering-in-the-baltics-idUSKBN1Y20XB

CYPRUS: WOMAN ARRESTED OVER SALE OF NON-EXISTENT PASSPORTS

On 29th November, the Cyprus Mail reported that police have arrested a 38-year-old woman from Limassol, to facilitate investigations into a case of money laundering.  She allegedly received €38,200 from 2 people but they never received the passports.

https://cyprus-mail.com/2019/11/29/woman-arrested-over-sale-of-non-existent-passports/

FAKE AUSTRALIAN WINE IS SEIZED IN CAMBODIA

On 28th November, the Dail Mail reported that counterfeit bottles of Australian Penfolds wine have been seized by Cambodian authorities during a raid on a bootlegging operation that specialised in producing fake Australian wine.  It is said that several thousand bottles of booze, along with counterfeit packaging including labels and boxes were confiscated.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7736837/Fake-Australian-wine-seized-Cambodia-alcohol-operation-busted.html

BRITISH COLUMBIA’S BIGGEST CASINOS REVENUE GROWTH STALLS FOLLOWING CHANGES TO MONEY LAUNDERING REGULATIONS

On 29th November, Calvin Ayre reported that 2018’s total revenue was only 0.1% higher than the casinos recorded in 2017, well down on the annual 4.4% growth reported in 2014.

https://calvinayre.com/2019/11/29/casino/bc-casino-revenue-stalls-money-laundering-rules/

UK’S ONLINE GAMBLING MARKET SUFFERS ITS FIRST-EVER REVENUE DECLINE

On 29th November, Calvin Ayre reported that figures released by the UK Gambling Commission show the UK gambling market generated gross gambling yield (GGY) of £14.4billion in the 12 months ending March 31st, a 0.3% decline on 2017-18.  This is said to be the first recorded decline in online GGY, although online remains the biggest single area of the UK gambling market at 37.1% of the total.

https://calvinayre.com/2019/11/28/business/uk-online-gambling-negative-growth/

STRING OF TRACTOR SATNAV THEFTS BROUGHT TO AN END IN FRANCE

A news release from Europol on 29th November reported on a joint French-Lithuanian police operation that ended the theft of navigation systems from tractors.  The investigation led to the identification of 47 criminal cases associated with the same organised crime group and estimated damage worth more than €575 000.  4 individuals were arrested in Lithuania, where the network was based.  There were 675 cases in 2018 – which represents more than €6.5 million losses in the agricultural sector – as an increasing trend of GPS thefts in tractors has been seen in France.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/string-of-tractor-satnav-thefts-brought-to-end-france-and-lithuania

RUSSIA: CORPORATE ANTI-CORRUPTION ENFORCEMENT RESEARCH

On 29th November, Baker McKenzie announced the release of a report on Russian corporate anti-corruption enforcement that it says will provide both international companies operating in Russia and Russian businesses with an international footprint with practical and informative guidance on evaluating their corporate compliance programmes.  It focuses on the risks of prosecution under Russian law.

https://f.datasrvr.com/fr1/319/36654/MOSDMS-55910777-v2-Russia__Corporate_anti-corruption_enforcement_research_report_ENG.pdf

CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE REPATRIATES BRONZE COCKEREL TO NIGERIA

On 29th November, the Art Law & More blog from Boodle Hatfield reported that Jesus College will return a looted sculpture to Nigeria in an unprecedented move that it says further fuels the growing repatriation movement across British institutions.  A former British Army officer unlawfully bequeathed the statue to the College in 1930.  It is said that the sculpture was stolen in 1897 as imperial troops decimated Benin City, in present-day Nigeria.  Cockerels were viewed as sacrificial animals in Benin and bronze statues of them often adorned ancestral altars.

https://artlawandmore.com/2019/11/29/cambridge-university-repatriate-bronze-cockerel-to-nigeria/

NATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION BUREAU OF UKRAINE PUTS EX-HEAD OF “VAB BANK” ON WANTED LIST

On 29th November, 112 UA reported that the ex-head of VAB Bank Denis Maltsev had been put on the wanted list, Oleh Bakhmatyuk, the former owner of VAB Bank, was already on the list.

https://112.international/society/national-anti-corruption-bureau-of-ukraine-put-on-wanted-list-ex-head-of-vab-bank-46055.html

THAI COURT FINES TOBACCO GIANT PHILIP MORRIS $39.7 MILLION FOR TAX EVASION ON IMPORTED CIGARETTES

The Financial Express in Thailand reported on 29th November that the Criminal Court found Philip Morris Thailand as a company guilty but acquitted 7 employees for lack of evidence.  The company was found guilty of evading taxes by under-declaring the value of cigarettes it imported from the Philippines.  The case began in 2006, was dropped by Thai prosecutors in 2011 but launched again in 2013.

https://www.financialexpress.com/industry/thai-court-fines-tobacco-giant-philip-morris-39-7-million-for-tax-evasion/1779748/

GE POWER SWEDEN DEBARRED BY EUROPEAN BANK FOR RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT (EBRD) FOR 6 YEARS AFTER SFO ALSTOM BRIBERY PROBE

On 29th November, Global Construction Review reported that GE Power Sweden AB (formerly Alstom Power Sweden AB) is barred from bidding for any projects for 6 years after an investigation revealed that executives from two Alstom companies paid Lithuanian government officials bribes of more than €5 million to win projects at a power plant there.

http://www.globalconstructionreview.com/news/ge-power-sweden-debarred-six-years-after-sfos-alst/

PHILIPPINE FINANCE SECRETARY ISSUES WARNING TO PHILIPPINE OFFSHORE GAMING OPERATORS (POGO) OVER TAX EVASION

On 29th November, iGaming Business reported that the Finance Secretary has said his country’s government will continue to crack down on POGO and their providers for tax evasion.  It is said that a task force led by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has already temporarily shut down the operations of at least 3 POGO and collected US$25 million in unpaid taxes from one of these operators.

https://www.igamingbusiness.com/news/philippine-finance-secretary-issues-warning-pogos

JERSEY: FORMER JSPCA CHARITY HEAD PLEADS GUILTY TO £300,000 FRAUD

On 29th November, the BBC reported that Stephen John Coleman, 62, the former chief officer of the JSPCA, who ran the charity for 10 years, pleaded guilty to defrauding the animal welfare charity of £300,000.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-jersey-50601538

https://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2019/11/29/breaking-former-jspca-chief-executive-pleads-guilty-to-fraud/

OVER $100 MILLION IN STATE FUNDS HAVING “EVAPORATED” FROM THE GABON OIL COMPANY

In reporting the arrest of 8 people in Gabon, OCCRP remarks on news circulating about losses at the Gabon Oil Company.  The new arrests appear to be part of an ongoing anti-corruption effort begun in 2017.

https://www.occrp.org/en/27-ccwatch/cc-watch-briefs/11231-gabon-nabs-8-in-anti-graft-effort-dubbed-operation-mamba

GIBRALTAR – GFSC PLANS UK-FACING LEVY TO COVER BREXIT COSTS

On 29th November, the Gibraltar Chronicle reported that Gibraltar-based financial services companies doing business in the UK face a 12% fee increase from March 2020, in a move designed to help the regulator recover the cost of preparing for business after Brexit.

https://www.chronicle.gi/gfsc-plans-uk-facing-levy-to-cover-cost-of-brexit-preparations/

INITIAL INSIGHTS INTO THE FORMAL AND INFORMAL GLOBAL MERCURY TRADE

On 19th November, an article from the National Committee of the Netherlands says that little information is available on the formal and especially informal pathways of mercury and how these drive the artisanal gold economies.  The organisation plans to present the results of its studies into informal mercury flows, trade hubs and key players (in Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Guyana, Kenya, Philippines, Suriname, Tanzania and Uganda) in Geneva on 29th November.  Mercury use is common practice in the artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) sector, it says, and more than 1,400 tons of mercury is released to the environment every year.  There is the Minamata Convention on regulating the formal trade and use of mercury.  The aim of research is to strengthen the Minamata Convention with information that is not available through official channels and presents an addition to the knowledge collected in UNEP global mercury assessment.

https://www.iucn.nl/node/666

An article in 2018 contained more information on an action plan to improve governance of the mercury trade.

https://www.iucn.nl/en/updates/global-action-to-improve-mercury-governance

EU GUIDANCE NOTE: WITHDRAWAL OF THE UK AND CUSTOMS-RELATED MATTERS IN CASE OF NO DEAL BREXIT

On 22nd November, the EU published an updated version of its March 2019 guidance.

https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/guidance-customs-procedures_en.pdf

BELGIUM, DENMARK, FINLAND, NETHERLANDS, NORWAY, AND SWEDEN ARE TO BECOME SHAREHOLDERS IN THE INSTEX SPV ESTABLISHED TO FACILITATE LEGITIMATE TRADE BETWEEN IRAN AND EUROPE

A news release from the EU on 29th November announced that the above countries are now in the process of becoming shareholders of the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) subject to completion of national procedures. INSTEX was established by France, Germany and the UK in January 2019.

https://um.fi/current-affairs/-/asset_publisher/gc654PySnjTX/content/vain-englanniksi

 

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

TRADE IN COUNTERFEIT GOODS COSTS UK ECONOMY BILLIONS OF EUROS

A news release from OECD on 29th November said that the global trade in fake goods, from cosmetics to car parts, is costing the UK economy billions of dollars a year in forgone company sales, overpriced products and tax revenues, and was behind more than 86,000 lost jobs in 2016, according to a new OECD report.  A new report estimates the value of counterfeit and pirated British goods sold worldwide at £16.2 billion in 2016, up from £13.4 billion in 2013 and equivalent to 3.3% of UK manufacturing sales.  UK goods particularly targeted by counterfeiters include perfumes, cosmetics, clothing, footwear, leather goods, telecoms equipment, electronic goods, cars and motorbikes.  It is said that more than half of the counterfeit and pirated goods imported to the UK were bought by people who knew they were buying fakes, and that most fake imports to the UK come from China, Hong Kong, Turkey, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

http://www.oecd.org/newsroom/trade-in-counterfeit-goods-costs-uk-economy-billions-of-euros.htm

The report is at –

http://www.oecd.org/governance/risk/trade-in-counterfeit-products-and-the-uk-economy-2019.htm

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

AFRICAN ILLICIT FINANCIAL FLOWS (IFF): DESIGNING AND PRIORITISING RESPONSES

An article in ENACT Africa (which I would argue is essential reading) on 26th November starts by saying that IFF are difficult to detect and prosecute when regulatory systems lack integrity, transparency, and accountability, and that Africa is estimated to lose billions of dollars annually to illicit financial flows – often driven by northern hemisphere countries (i.e. Europe, US and Canada).  The paper argues that international definitions, measures and regulatory frameworks are not always appropriate for the African context.  As such, a stronger understanding of how IFF are generated and moved and their impact is needed to better respond to African IFF and prioritise action against the flows and activities that are the most harmful.  As might be expected, it says that natural resource crimes are particularly immense and harmful.  The report points to the use of shell companies, trade-based money laundering (TBML), and the use of money value transfer systems (MVTS), arguing that there is a pressing need for greater political will and investment into responses which go beyond technical compliance with international standards.

africa2

The report contains an interesting chart comparing African nations’ ratings for technical compliance with FATF Recommendations, and the effectiveness ratings.  It also introduces one to the concept of “felqlan” or ‘flying money’.  This is an ancient Chinese MVTS which is thought to be enabling the multi-billion-dollar illicit environmental trade.  Similar to the hawala, it relies on a network of brokers which enables the trade of illicit commodities without money ever leaving China.  A study is said to have revealed that the system relies on the systematic under-invoicing of Chinese imports into Africa and a seamless chain-of-payments system in which accounts are settled through the transfer of high-end — and often illicit — goods such as abalone, rosewood, rhino horn and ivory.

https://enact-africa.s3.amazonaws.com/site/uploads/2019-11-26-african-illicit-financial-flows-012pdf.pdf

africa1

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

LEARNING FROM RESPONSES TO LARGE-SCALE ILLEGAL, UNREPORTED AND UNREGULATED (IUU) FISHING IN 5 COUNTRIES

On 29th November, RUSI published a report on a new study which sheds light on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, showing how countries can tailor their specific strategies to combat this major security challenge.  It says that much IUU fishing takes place on a systematic and industrial scale for profit, with these large-scale operations increasingly recognised as a form of transnational organised crime.  However, there has been to date a collective failure, at a systemic level, to provide an adequate global response.  However, it says, little work has been done to assess the extent to which measures have effectively mitigated the role that transnational organised crime plays in the IUU fishing industry.  The report examines experiences in 5 countries: Indonesia; Thailand; Vietnam; Tanzania; and South Africa; and it outlines the key features of the multidimensional threat posed by organised, large-scale IUU fishing across these countries.  It points, in particular, to high levels of convergence between this and other crimes, adding further complexity to the nature of the challenge posed by IUU fishing.  It also considers the range of challenges encountered in bolstering legislative, regulatory and institutional frameworks, strengthening detection and interdiction capabilities, and enhancing investigation and prosecution.  Finally, it makes a number of recommendations offering specific guidance on tailoring existing approaches, based on the lessons derived from the study of these 5 countries.

https://rusi.org/sites/default/files/201911_whr_3-19_turning_the_tide_de_rivaz_web.pdf

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

CARIBBEAN FINANCIAL ACTION TASK FORCE (CFATF) PUBLIC STATEMENT ON ST. MAARTEN

On 28th November, the Daily Observer in St Maarten reported that the FATF-style regional body CFATF has issued a public statement noting St Maarten’s failure to comply with FATF standards. However, no consequences were imposed against the country just yet, according to Justice Minister Egbert Doran.  If the island does not approve the Penal Procedures Code and correct other deficiencies in its AML/CFT regulations it faces consequences.  The article says that, in the last 6 years, a total of 11 major laws were introduced to strengthen St. Maarten’s compliance framework.

https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/92843-cfatf-issues-statement-against-st-maarten-no-consequences-yet

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

SHIPPING IS BEING USED TO POLICE US SANCTIONS

On 28th November, Lloyds List reported on presentations at the International Maritime Industries Forum in London that said that Insurance companies, including P&I clubs and flag states face increased pressure from the US government to comply with unilateral sanctions.  It is said that US bans on Iranian shipping, oil and petrochemical exports in place throughout 2019 have placed global shipping at the forefront of geopolitical unrest as companies and owners grapple with the trading and commercial implications.  One body said that the US State Department in meetings had made very clear that “they have a willingness to use every tool at their disposal to enforce their policy”.  It was reported that the world’s top-3 cargo liner companies have collectively employed more than 150 people to stay on top of sanctions compliance.  The Forum was also warned that, in response to US restrictions, Iran has quietly acquired a hidden fleet of ships to establish a shipping logistics chain for Iran-China flows, with ship-to-ship transfers becoming commonplace off Fujairah, Malaysia and Singapore, amid vessel name, flag and ownership changes.

https://lloydslist.maritimeintelligence.informa.com/LL1130196/Shipping-used-to-police-sanctions-forum-hears

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

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – NOVEMBER 28

28th November 2019

ECUADOR SPECIFIC TASK FORCE AND THE CUSTOMS SURVEILLANCE CORPS TO COMBAT COUNTERFEITING AND SMUGGLING

An article from Corral Rosales on 27th November says that local production of counterfeits in Ecuador, especially luxury brands and electronic products, is low.  Therefore, most are manufactured outside Ecuador and their entry into the country is almost always illegal.  It says that the National Customs Service of Ecuador created the “Specific Task Force”, made up of inspectors of the highest rank and proven reputation inside and outside the institution.

http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=867792

NEW UK LEGISLATION IN THE PIPELINE — WATCH LIST FOR CORPORATE CRIME LAWYERS

On 26th November, BCL Solicitors produced a briefing saying that the October 2019 Queen’s Speech included a significant number of Bills impacting the work of corporate crime lawyers. It warns that the announced Bills may be resurrected dependent upon the result of the forthcoming General Election.  It highlights Brexit-related Bills that would have a knock-on effect, as well as others non-Brexit ones.  Implementation of the 5th Money Laundering Directive is seemingly assured, but without continuing membership of Europol and Eurojust, Joint Investigative Teams and with changes (or loss?) of European arrest warrants – though the Extradition (Provisional Arrest) Bill is intended to plug at least part of the gap in relation to the latter.

http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=867764

MALTA: 61 YORGEN FENECH-CONNECTED COMPANIES UNDER SCRUTINY BY FIAU

On 28th November, KYC360 reported that the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit has launched a massive hunt for information regarding any possible financial transactions made by former Tumas Group CEO Yorgen Fenech or any of the 61 companies connected to him over the past years.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/malta-yorgen-fenechs-61-connected-companies-under-scrutiny/

9 MORE ARRESTED IN YORKSHIRE OVER DUBAI MONEY-SMUGGLING PLOT

On 27th November, the BBC reported that the number of people arrested in the case involving the transport of suitcases of cash to Dubai had now reached 23.  The further 9 were arrested after NCA raids in various parts of Yorkshire.  The NCA said £2.3 million has been seized as part of the wider investigation said to involve the money being exchanged for gold and converted back into cash, which is then transferred to bank accounts around the world.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-50577158

CHINA’S ONCE-BOOMING P2P LENDING INDUSTRY MUST CLOSE WITHIN 2 YEARS

The South China Morning Post on 28th November reported that the industry has been rocked by pyramid-scheme scandals and absent bosses, sparking public anger as well as a government crackdown; and only 427 P2P firms were still operating by the end of October, down from 6,000 at their 2015 peak.  A new notice says those left must become small loan providers within 2 years, and need to clear outstanding loans in less than 1 year (or 2 years for those with larger loan books) before switching to small loans.

https://www.scmp.com/economy/china-economy/article/3039715/p2p-chinas-once-booming-lending-industry-must-close-within

US-BASED SEMICONDUCTOR TECHNOLOGY GROUP MOVING TO SWITZERLAND OVER TRADE CURB FEARS

On 28th November, Business World reported that a US-based foundation overseeing promising semiconductor technology developed with Pentagon support will soon move to Switzerland after several of the group’s foreign members raised concerns about potential US trade curbs – to ensure that universities, governments and companies outside the US can help develop its open-source technology.  The article quotes a former Clinton Administration official as saying that the foundation’s move from Delaware to Switzerland may foreshadow further technology flight because of US restrictions on dealing with some Chinese technology companies.

https://www.bworldonline.com/us-based-chip-tech-group-moving-to-switzerland-over-trade-curb-fears/

US ASSURES BANKS ON TRANSACTIONS WITH CHINA COMPANY AFFECTED BY IRAN SANCTIONS

On 28th November, Business Standard reported that the Trump administration has assured US banks that they can temporarily process dollar transactions on Dalian units of Chinese shipping company COSCO, which it had previously sanctioned for allegedly transporting oil from Iran, in a move meant to blunt the impact of the sanctions on global shipping markets.

https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/us-assures-banks-on-transactions-with-china-firm-hit-by-iran-sanctions-119112800025_1.html

SUDAN MILITIA LEADER ALLEGEDLY PART OF ILLEGAL GOLD SALES

On 27th November, Defence Web reported that a Reuters investigation is said to have found that even as militia chief Mohamed “Hemedti” Hamdan Dagalo sympathised with protesters in the recent coup that ousted the President al-Bashir, and was accusing Bashir’s people of enriching themselves at public expense, a company that his family owns was flying gold bars worth millions to Dubai.  It is claimed that, in 2018, Bashir gave Hemedti free rein to sell Sudan’s most valuable natural resource through the family firm, Algunade.  At times Algunade bypassed central bank controls over gold exports, at others it sold to the central bank for a preferential rate.  The article says that Hemedti’s grip on Sudan’s gold trade illustrates the scale of the challenge to rescue an economy broken by decades of mismanagement, corruption and war.

https://www.defenceweb.co.za/security/national-security/sudan-militia-leader-allegedly-part-of-illegal-gold-sales/

DOES AN EU SHIPOWNER NEED A SHIP RECYCLING POLICY?

On 26th November, law firm HFW published a briefing saying that the entry into force of the European Ship Recycling Regulation 1257/2013 (the SRR) on 31st December 2018 once again brought ship recycling back into the limelight; and recent prosecutions and investigations by national environment agencies into the activities of ship owners and insurers have reinforced the need for awareness of the complex regulations affecting the area.  The briefing sets out to consider why a ship recycling policy is essential for all prudent shipowners by first examining recent developments and then moving on to the regulatory landscape.

http://www.hfw.com/Do-I-Need-a-Ship-Recycling-Policy

US USES FAKE UNIVERSITY TO FIGHT VISA FRAUD

The Jerusalem Post on 28th November reported that the US authorities used the fake University of Farmington to lure hundreds of international students in a fight against visa fraud.  The University offered a “pay to stay” scheme, whereby the “students” paid to enrol in order to maintain their student status to remain in the US.  8 people are alleged to have assisted for acting as “recruiters”, helping at least 600 to remain in the US under false pretences.

https://www.jpost.com/American-Politics/US-uses-fake-university-to-fight-visa-fraud-students-claim-innocence-609265

KAZAKHSTAN: EX-FIRST DEPUTY HEAD OF DEPARTMENT OF CRIMINAL-EXECUTIVE SYSTEM CONVICTED FOR BRIBERY

TAG News on 28th November reported that the ex- first deputy head of department of criminal-executive system in the Kyzylorda region has been convicted for bribe taking.  He was of being bribed by his subordinate for patronage and promotion.

https://kaztag.kz/en/news/ex-first-deputy-head-of-department-of-criminal-executive-system-convicted-for-bribery-in-kyzylorda-r

CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR: RISK AVERSION OF CORRESPONDENT BANKS IMPACTING HEAVILY ON MALTA

Following a recent statement on the subject by the St Lucia prime minister, on 28th November, Malta Today reported that the central bank governor said that Maltese banks were facing a more rigorous and intrusive supervisory approach coupled with more rigorous standards of AML rules, and alternative products by fintech players which operate with a lower cost base and hail from a less intrusive regulatory environment.  He also said that said the risk aversion of correspondent banks was impacting more heavily on smaller jurisdictions like Malta.

https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/98835/governor_risk_aversion_of_correspondent_banks_impacting_heavily_on_malta

DELOITTE CANADA ACQUIRES CANNABIS CONSULTANCY

On 27th November, ICAEW reported that Deloitte Canada has bought Ontario-based consultants, Cannabis Compliance Inc (CCI), in a major move that will see its growing cannabis consulting arm double in size.  It says that CCI was set up in 2017 ahead of Canada’s legalisation of cannabis for recreational purposes, and has become a trusted advisor to many Canadian cannabis leaders.

https://economia.icaew.com/news/november-2019/deloitte-canada-grows-its-own-cannabis-consultancy

NETHERLANDS DELAYS NON-EU EXPORTER RESTRICTIONS

On 25th November, VAT Live reported that the Netherlands has postponed from 1st December until 1st April 2020 changes to prevent non-EU businesses acting as the exporter of record for customs declarations.  It also says that Germany, Belgium, Italy, Hungary, Spain, Latvia, Lithuania and the Czech Republic have already imposed the restriction or announced plans to do so.

https://www.avalara.com/vatlive/en/vat-news/netherlands-delays-non-eu-exporter-restrictions.html

THEFT OF £1 MILLION WORTH OF ADULT TOYS FROM A LORRY IN A LAYBY

On 28th November, Commercial Motor reported on the theft of £1 million worth of adult toys from a lorry in a layby in September.  The lorry had travelled from Felixstowe and the driver had parked up in the layby for the night before taking the freight to sex toy manufacturer Rocks Off in Kettering.

https://www.commercialmotor.com/news/compliance/thieves-snatch-£1m-adult-toy-booty

US CUSTOMS SEIZES 154 POUNDS OF PROHIBITED BOLOGNA

On 22nd November, the US Customs and Border Protection blog carried a post saying that Agriculture Specialists working at the El Paso area port of entry seized 14 rolls of Mexican bologna.  Bologna is a prohibited product because it is made from pork and has the potential for introducing foreign animal diseases to the US pork industry.

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/cbp-seizes-154-pounds-prohibited-bologna

US STATE DEPARTMENT AND PENTAGON TEAMS TO UAE AND SAUDI ARABIA TO INVESTIGATE CLAIMS THAT US-MADE WEAPONRY HAS BEEN TRANSFERRED TO REBEL FIGHTERS AND SEPARATIST MILITIA IN YEMEN

On 26th November, CNN reported that the State Department and Pentagon are sending teams to the UAE and Saudi Arabia to investigate CNN’s findings that American-made weaponry has been transferred to rebel fighters and separatist militia in Yemen.  It was alleged that that US-made armoured vehicles (known as Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, or MRAP) which were sold to the UAE and Saudi Arabia have been transferred – in violation of their agreements with Washington – to groups including al Qaeda-linked fighters, Iranian-backed rebels and separatist militias.

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/11/26/middleeast/us-yemen-investigators-sent-uae-saudi-arabia-intl/index.html

OVER $5 MILLION SEIZED IN GLOBAL OPERATION TARGETING CASH SMUGGLING

A WCO news release on 28th November announced that 19 countries – all from the WCO Asia/Pacific region except for the US –  recently participated in a ground-breaking international operation, code-named TENTACLE, targeting the smuggling of cash and other valuables, and leading to over $3.7 million in cash being seized as well as approximately 28.5 kg of gold worth $1.3 million.  It ran in August-October 2019.  It was aimed detecting the movement of concealed or undeclared currency and bearer negotiable instruments, as well as gems and precious metals, which were being smuggled via commercial air and other cross-border transport modes.

http://www.wcoomd.org/en/media/newsroom/2019/november/over-5-million-us-dollars-seized-in-global-operation-targeting-cash-smuggling.aspx

GLOBAL TERRORISM INDEX 2019

The Institute for Economics and Peace has produced the 7th edition of the GTI.  The report provides a comprehensive summary of the key global trends and patterns in terrorism over the last 50 years, covering the period from the beginning of 1970 to the end of 2018, and placing a special emphasis on trends since 2014, which corresponds with the start of the fall of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).  It notes that deaths from terrorism fell for the fourth consecutive year, after peaking in 2014. The decline in deaths corresponds with the military successes against ISIL and Boko Haram.  Total deaths from terrorism are now down over 52% from their peak in 2014.  However, 103 countries recording at least one terrorist incident in 2018.  Other than the top country, Afghanistan, only 3 other countries recorded a substantial increase in deaths from terrorism in 2018: Nigeria, Mali, and Mozambique.  The global economic impact of terrorism was estimated at $33 billion in 2018, 38% lower than in 2017 – though terrorism is a small percentage of the total global cost of violence, which was equal to $14.1 trillion in purchasing power parity (PPP) in 2018.  It also says that one of the more worrying trends is the surge in far-right political terrorism over the past 5 years, although the absolute number of far-right attacks remains low when compared to other forms of terrorism; and far-right terrorism is also more likely to be carried out by individuals unaffiliated with a specific terrorist group.

http://visionofhumanity.org/app/uploads/2019/11/GTI-2019web.pdf

VIETNAM AML/CFT ASSESSMENT MUTUAL EVALUATION ON-SITE VISIT

On 27th November, FATF-style regional body APG announced that the onsite visit for Vietnam’s 2nd mutual evaluation was conducted from 4th to 15th November in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.  Vietnam’s mutual evaluation report will be considered and adopted at the next APG Annual Meeting in July 2020.

http://www.apgml.org/news/details.aspx?pcPage=1&n=2155

FOREIGN INFORMATION REQUESTS RELATING TO TAX OFFENCES RECEIVED BY UK GOVERNMENT ROSE 44% LAST YEAR

The Law Society Gazette on 28th November reported this rise in requests – from 103 in 2017 to 148 in 2018.  Requests can be for businesses or individuals to provide documents, such as transaction histories or bank statements, within a certain time period, or for people to give evidence in court.  A tax expert at Thomson Reuters is quoted as saying that tax authorities globally are increasingly working together to stamp out tax evasion.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/prosecutors-look-to-uk-to-tackle-tax-evasion/5102322.article

ANTIGUA PM LOBBIES FOR CFATF TO ASSIST SMALL ISLANDS TO IMPLEMENT AML/CTF POLICIES

On 28th November, the Daily Observer in Antigua reported that, at the opening ceremony for the 50th Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) plenary and working group meetings the Prime Minister Gaston Browne spoke persuasively advocating for it to make considerations for small islands which do not have the resources to implement AML/CFT recommendations.  He said the small nations do not have to human or financial resources to carry out some of these recommendations but, because we do not wish to be blacklisted, they have to use resources that ordinarily would have been used in social and economic development.

https://www.antiguaobserver.com/pm-browne-lobbies-for-cfatf-to-assist-small-islands-to-implement-aml-ctf-policies

BANKS ARE EXPOSED TO RISING SWIFT PAYMENT MESSAGING FRAUD

On 28th November, Retail Banker International reported that a new study had surveyed 200 banks, and found that two-thirds of banks said that fraud attempts have been increasing since 2016 – and only 40% of banks expressed confidence that they identified every electronic SWIFT fraud in the last 3 years.  It was also reported that found that the industry has incurred at least $380 million in combined losses due to SWIFT payment fraud.

https://www.verdict.co.uk/retail-banker-international/news/banks-exposed-to-rising-swift-payment-messaging-fraud

UK: MAN JAILED FOLLOWING MULTI-MILLION POUND MONEY LAUNDERING OPERATED BEHIND FRONT OF LEGITIMATE MONEY TRANSFER BUSINESS

A news release from Leicestershire Police on 28th November reported on the 8-year jail sentence for Chauhan Vijay Yogendrasinh, 55, the director of Rushi Investments Limited – a company which appeared to be a legitimate money transfer service, but was actually found to be a money laundering operation transferring criminal money overseas.  It is said that more than £11,000,000 had gone through the business which was ran from Canon Street in Leicester, being a mix of legal and illegal funds.

https://www.leics.police.uk/news/leicestershire/news/2019/november/man-jailed-following-multi-million-pound-money-laundering

MALDIVES EX-PRESIDENT SENTENCED TO 5 YEARS IN PRISON FOR MONEY LAUNDERING

On 28th November, the Malay Mail (and others) reported that a court in the Maldives had sentenced former Maldives president Abdulla Yameen to 5 years in prison for money laundering.  He had governed the Maldives with an iron hand for 5 years, before he unexpectedly lost an election last year and has since faced investigations over a number of deals sealed during his time in power.

https://www.malaymail.com/news/world/2019/11/28/maldives-ex-president-sentenced-to-five-years-in-prison-for-money-launderin/1814249

ILLEGAL CARIBBEAN CBI PAYMENTS FROM A NON-EXISTENT BANK “WERE FACILITATED BY SWITZERLAND”

On 28th November, a post on Kenneth Rijock’s always interesting blog is about a New York court case involving the non-existent “Bank of Dominica” and where an Italian-American businessman, who holds a diplomatic passport from Dominica under a Citizenship by Investment (CBI/CIP) programme is suing over a a multi-million “finder’s fee” that he was allegedly denied.  It is claimed that money was transferred from Dominica, via Switzerland, to the UAE, despite the Dominica “bank” being bogus.

http://rijock.blogspot.com/2019/11/new-york-court-case-exposes-how-illegal.html

 RUNAWAY POLITICIAN ACCUSED OF GRAFT TO RETURN TO UKRAINE

On 28th November, OCCRP reported that Oleksandr Onyshchenko, a wealthy Ukrainian lawmaker and Olympic show jumper, who fled the country after he was accused of corruption 3 years ago, is said to be planning to return in December and face charges of fraud and money laundering.  It is reported that Ukrainian authorities announced in November they were close to getting Onyshchenko extradited from Spain in December.

https://www.occrp.org/en/27-ccwatch/cc-watch-briefs/11223-runaway-politician-accused-of-graft-to-return-to-ukraine

ROMANIAN FUGITIVE FORMER CHIEF PROSECUTOR RE-SENTENCED TO 4 YEARS

On 28th November, OCCRP reported that Alina Bica, Romania’s fugitive former chief prosecutor has lost her final appeal in a corruption case and has been sentenced to 4 years in prison.  However, having already fled to Costa Rica, she is nowhere to be found.  She had been detained in Costa Rica, but then released after an extradition request was cancelled.

https://www.occrp.org/en/27-ccwatch/cc-watch-briefs/11221-romanian-fugitive-ex-chief-prosecutor-re-sentenced-to-4-years

UK WILL TAKE BACK 42 CONTAINERS OF WASTE SENT TO MALAYSIA ILLEGALLY

On 28th November, Insurance Marine News reported that the UK is to take back 42 containers filled with plastic waste that had been illegally shipped to Malaysia.  The article reminds one that, after China imposed a ban on scrap imports, Malaysia last year became the world’s main destination for plastic waste.  Last month Reuters reported that more than 300 containers carrying plastic waste were being held at Penang. Malaysia said earlier this year that it would send plastic waste back to the source country, and get them to pay for the transportation costs.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/uk-will-take-back-42-containers-of-waste-sent-to-malaysia-illegally/

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