7th November 2019
MONTENEGRO, ALBANIA, NORWAY AND UKRAINE CONTINUE TO BACK EU UKRAINE SANCTIONS
A news release from the EU on 4th November advised that these countries would continue to implement the EU sanctions, as amended, to 15th March 2020.
THE FOREIGN INVESTMENT REGULATION REVIEW (7TH EDITION)
The Law Reviews has published the 7th edition of this Review which sets out to provide a comprehensive guide to laws, regulations, policies and practices governing foreign investment in key international jurisdictions, and includes contributions from leading experts around the world from some of the most widely recognised law firms in their respective jurisdictions. Covering a number of countries, including Ireland, the UK and US, as well as an EU overview, topics include the Committee of Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) and similar.
BUSINESS CRIME AND ANTI-CORRUPTION & BRIBERY COMPARATIVE GUIDES: BELGIUM, FRANCE, GERMANY
On Mondaq, one can find comparative guides to the legal structures in individual countries, including bilateral and multilateral international agreements having effect, definitions etc.
HOW THE NETHERLANDS BUILT ONE OF THE WORLD’S WORST TAX HAVENS
An article in Foreign Affairs on 6th November starts by reminding one that, in 2009, a press briefing, the Obama White House also noted that, taken together with Bermuda and Ireland, the Netherlands claimed nearly a third of all foreign profits reported in 2003 by US corporations, and argues that the Netherlands belonged on a list of major tax havens — and still does, today. It says that, in 2017, foreign direct investment in the Netherlands totalled $5.2 trillion – but that the vast majority of that money wasn’t invested at all: only $836 billion actually entered the Dutch economy, the other $4.3 trillion went into shell companies or subsidiaries set up to avoid paying taxes elsewhere. Google and IBM are among the many US companies that have established operations in the Netherlands in order to reduce their tax bills back home, and Fiat Chrysler an Italian-American multinational is, technically, a Dutch company. The article explains that the legal groundwork allowing the Netherlands to become such a haven dated back to 1893, with a law guaranteeing that profits transferred from a subsidiary to a parent entity would not be taxed twice. The article goes on to explain how the loopholes allowing the Netherlands to thrive could be closed.
ASSESSING STRATEGIES FOR COUNTERING ILLEGAL TRAFFICKING OF PANGOLINS IN AFRICA
On 6th November, ENACT Africa published a report saying that pangolin (scaly anteater) trafficking is not simply an environmental management problem – it is a transnational organised crime. They are among the most trafficked wildlife species in Africa and are considered the most trafficked mammal globally, with a huge demand for their scales and meat, largely from SE Asia. The policy brief identifies the gaps in existing policies and strategies, and offers evidence-based policy recommendations for the protection of pangolins and to stem illicit trade in Africa.
US: FORMER UAW UNION VICE-PRESIDENT WITH MONEY LAUNDERING AND BRIBERY
KYC 360 on 7th November reported that Joe Ashton, a former vice-president of the United Automobile Workers Union, has been charged with bribery and money laundering, the 13th person charged in connection with the corruption scandal, and also the highest ranking. UAW President Gary Jones has also stepped aside temporarily as he also comes under scrutiny.
DUTCH MAKER OF EQUIPMENT FOR SEMICONDUCTOR MANUFACTURERS WAITS FOR APPROVAL FOR EXPORT OF “DUAL-USE” ADVANCED MACHINE TO CHINA
On 6th November, Reuters and Yahoo Finance reported that ASML Holding NV, a Dutch company that is a key equipment supplier to all major semiconductor manufacturers, said that its licence to export one of its most advanced machines, worth around €100 million, to a Chinese customer had expired and it was awaiting approval for a new licence from the Dutch government. The supply had been delayed due to political opposition from the US, as such advanced lithography equipment is considered “dual use” technology under the Wassenaar agreement.
FORMER TEXAS MAYOR FOUND GUILTY IN MONEY LAUNDERING AND HEALTH CARE FRAUD SCHEME
On 6th November, KRGV in Texas reported that a federal jury had found 3 men associated with a Texas health care company guilty for their roles in a $150 million health care fraud scheme, one of whim, Francisco Pena, 82, was a mayor in Rio Bravo, Texas at the time.
KUWAIT – NEW FACTS IN MONEY LAUNDERING CASE INVOLVING LOCAL BUSINESS CONTRACTS WITH US ARMY
MENA FN on 6th November reported that investigations have revealed the involvement of 7 new companies owned by an Asian, in addition to manipulation in tenders worth more than $200 million. There are alleged a close link between the suspicious companies led by 5 Asians living in Kuwait and an Arab and 2 Kuwaitis, who were licensees operating in collusion with subcontractors. It is also said that investigations revealed suspicion about a US resident who was an employee of the US contracts office, and left the country 2 months ago, after the awarding of the contracts despite suspicion of violating the rules of integrity and anti-trust Kuwaiti and US laws.
UKRAINE: CRIMINAL CASE FOR HIGH TREASON AND MONEY LAUNDERING LAUNCHED AGAINST KIEV MAYOR VITALY KLITSCHKO AND HIS 2 DEPUTIES
Armenpress in Armenia on6th November reported that the National Anti-Corruption Bureau had launched a criminal case, according to local media in Ukraine.
SERBIA RISKS US SANCTIONS OVER RUSSIA ARMS DEALS
On 7th November, EU Observer reported that Serbia could face US sanctions over purchases of Russian jet fighters, attack helicopters, and anti-aircraft missiles produced by companies on an US blacklist.
NEW POLISH WEBSITE AIMS TO RAISE AWARENESS OF VAT FRAUD
Remix reports on a new project by the Polish government is designed to end VAT fraud. A campaign website is directed at a foreign audience and aims to raise awareness about the issue of VAT fraud across Europe. The campaign also highlights examples of how VAT fraud is used to fund terrorism campaigns, including the smuggling of weapons and drugs. Posters have appeared in cities including London and Berlin. The website site offers plenty highlighting the issue of VAT fraud, including the estimated €1.2 billion loss in revenue due to VAT fraud between 2010 and 2017.
ST PETERSBURG COURT PUTS CUSTOMS STATION CHIEF UNDER HOUSE ARREST IN ANTIQUE BRIBERY CASE
On 7th November, RAPSI in Russia reported that a chief of a customs terminal of the Baltic Customs Service under house arrest as part of a case over allegedly receiving bribes for providing a free importation channel for undeclared antiques from Europe.
DEEP SEA MINING: PROSPECTS AND CHALLENGES
On 6th November, an article from Global Risk Intelligence says that deep sea mining industry is poised for rapid growth over the next half-decade as companies, countries, and institutions react to changes in international demand for various minerals. It says that the UN-affiliated International Seabed Authority (ISA) regulates and licences activities on the ocean floor in order to minimise the negative environmental effects of mining. However, the article points out that the US has not signed the agreement, so US companies must operate through foreign subsidiaries in order to obtain licences. ISA has so far issued 29 exploration licences and is currently working on a new set of regulations for deep sea mineral exploitation and is projected to release the new regulations by July 2020. Given this time frame, companies could potentially begin selling minerals from deep sea sites by 2025.
FINLAND TO ISSUE NO NEW DEFENCE EXPORT LICENCES FOR TURKEY
World ECR reported that, on 25th October, the Finnish MoD said that it has ‘tightened its policy on the export of defence materiel to Turkey and, because of the military operation launched by Turkey in Syria, suspended the granting of export licences for new defence materiel’.
EU DUAL-USE EXPORTS REPORT: USA AND CHINA THE MOST POPULAR DESTINATIONS FOR DUAL-USE EXPORTS
World ECR reported on the release on 4th November on a report from the European Commission to the European Parliament and EU Council. The total value of such exports in 2017-18 was over €50 billion, with 25,600 individual licences issued in 2017, with only a small proportion of applications being denied. After the US and China, countries in Asia as a whole were the main recipients. An Annex to the report details the penalties available for breaches of controls in each Member State.
17 TONNES OF FOOD INFECTED WITH LISTERIA SEIZED IN SPAIN
On 7th November, a news release from Europol announced that an operation linked to a harmful bacteria outbreak by the Spanish Civil Guard (Guardia Civil) and with Europol’s support has led to the arrest of 6 individuals, with a further 2 detained. It is said that at least 3 of the people responsible for the products knew that a batch labelled in December 2018 was infected with listeria but failed to inform the authorities. It is believed that the number of poisoning instances linked to the case involving meat products has gone up to 193.
OVER 5 TONNES OF SMUGGLED GLASS EELS SEIZED IN EUROPE THIS YEAR
A news release from Europol on 7th November advised that, during the most recent fishing season (2018-19), European law enforcement was able to seize 5,789 kg of smuggled glass eels with an estimated value of € 2,000 per kg, and, in total 154 suspected smugglers were arrested and all seized eels were reintroduced into their natural habitat, which is crucial for the survival of the species.
UK: ALL-PARTY PARLIAMENTARY GROUP ON GAMBLING RELATED HARM CALL FOR REFORM OF ONLINE GAMBLING LAWS
An article from Out-Law on 7th November reported on recommendations from the All-Party Group, with the use of bonuses and affiliates mentioned. Criticism was also levelled at the Gambling Commission.
2 LONGTIME POLITICAL POWER BROKERS IN NORTH-EASTERN REGION HONDURAS ARRESTED IN A CASE THAT EXPOSES FURTHER TIES BETWEEN THE COUNTRY’S TRAFFICKERS AND POLITICIANS
On 6th November, an article on Insight Crime reported on the arrest of Roberto and Seth Paisano Wood. The article says that they face money laundering charges and have been jailed while the investigation continues. Authorities also seized 9 properties, 5 companies and 9 boats in the operation, but it was unclear whether the assets belonged to the brothers.
AML/CFT EVALUATION ASSESSMENT VISIT TO TONGA HAS TAKEN PLACE
On 6th November, FATF-style regional body APG reported that the onsite visit for Tonga’s 2nd mutual evaluation was conducted from 22nd October – 1st November 2019 in Nuku’alofa. Tonga’s mutual evaluation report will be considered and adopted at the next APG Annual Meeting in July 2020.
UK: PRE-CHARGE BAIL LEGISLATION TO UNDERGO HOME OFFICE REVIEW
On 5th November, Police Professional reported that the Government is to review pre-charge bail legislation following concerns that the current system fails to ensure the safety of victims and prevents police from fully investigating some offences. Reforms made in 2017 limited the length of pre-charge bail to an initial 28 days, with any extension of bail conditions for up to 3 months needing to be authorised by a senior officer. This was intended to prevent suspects being left for lengthy periods under restrictive bail conditions without being charged.
HOW CRUISE MISSILES ARE THREATENING NORMS BETWEEN INDIA AND PAKISTAN
An article from the US-based Nuclear Threat Initiative on 5th November (which accompanies its new database of Indian and Pakistani missile launches) says that India and Pakistan are investing heavily in cruise missiles. It says that in both India and Pakistan cruise missiles have a growing strategic role, especially in the context of expanding the sea-based leg of their respective nuclear triads. It also argues that statements from India and Pakistan on their cruise missiles illustrate that each intends for cruise missiles to play a direct role as nuclear weapon delivery systems. However, it says, cruise missiles can deliver conventional payloads as well, and there are a different set of norms surrounding their use – ballistic missiles rarely fill a role other than nuclear delivery systems. Hence the risk for miscalculation, misunderstanding and mistake. A missile strike during the February 2019 crisis could have sparked a nuclear war between India and Pakistan, the article says.
SAUDIS “RECRUITED TWITTER EMPLOYEES TO SPY ON CRITICS”
An article on USA Today on 6th November reported claims in a court case in the US, where 2 Twitter employees have been charged with acting as unregistered agents for Saudi Arabia after its government recruited them to spy on the kingdom’s critics. Federal prosecutors allege the Saudis paid the employees tens of thousands of dollars through secret bank accounts to entice them to snoop on the private information of more than 6,000 Twitter users.
GUIDE TO IDENTIFY COUNTERFEIT WHISKIES RELEASED
The National in Scotland on 7th November reported that a company is launching a simple guide to help buyers invest safely and know the tell-tale signs of a fake. Online auctioneers Just Whisky will be holding a series of free valuation sessions and advising customers on what’s fake and what’s not, and is launching a guide.
POLAND TO BECOME LATEST ADDITION TO US VISA WAIVER PROGRAM
An article from Jackson Lewis PC reported that Poland will become the 39th member of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) on November 11th. Polish citizens and nationals will be able to apply to travel to the US for tourism or business purposes for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa stamp, but must register using the ESTA service.
For more information on the VWP, see –
WHO DID UNAOIL WORK FOR?
A post on the FCPA Blog on 7th November posed this question after the guilty pleas in the US by the 2 Ahsani brothers who were running Monaco-based intermediary Unaoil. The post lists various companies identified as having connections with Unaoil.
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