Jailed – the pharma boss who ran ‘world’s biggest’ anabolic steroid distribution network

On 14 November, an NCA news release reported the case of Jacob Sporon-Fiedler, 38, the CEO of Indian-based company Alpha Pharma, involved in around 16 tonnes of steroids imports with an estimated value of around £12 million.  The illegally imported drugs – made by Sporon-Fiedler’s pharmaceutical company in India – were shipped using contacts and once in the UK they would be distributed by another contact to be sold to body-builders and fitness fanatics on the black market.


Fishrot: CEO of Icelandic fishing conglomerate suspended following allegations of corruption involving company’s activities in Namibia

Al Jazeera on 14 November reported that Thorsteinn Mar Baldvinsson, who has led the family-run company Samherji for nearly 40 years, was relieved of his duties while the company conducts a full investigation.  This followed the Wikileaks release of the “Fishrot” archive, a database of more than 30,000 documents containing internal emails, memos, PowerPoint presentations, and media. Al Jazeera’s investigation is said to have exposed the roles of well-connected Namibians who facilitated Samherji’s entry into the industry.


FATF: Denmark AML/CFT assessment follow-up report

On 14 November, FATF published a follow-up report to the 2017 mutual evaluation report.  This was the second such follow-up report, the first being in November 2018, with the country in the enhanced follow-up process.  FATF has re-rated the country on the following Recommendations: 1 (Assessing risks & applying a risk-based approach from partially compliant – to largely compliant); 34 (Guidance and feedback – from partially compliant to compliant); 35 – (Sanctions – from partially compliant to largely compliant).  The report also looks at whether Denmark’s measures meet the requirements of FATF Recommendation 2 (National co-operation and coordination), which changed since their 2018 report, with the rating kept at largely compliant.  Denmark is compliant on 6 Recommendations of the 40 Recommendations and largely compliant on 28 of them. It remains partially compliant on 6 of the 40 Recommendations.


Criminals launder €13 billion a year in the Netherlands, most crime cash is Dutch

On 14 November, KYC 360 reported new research quoted in the Finanancieele Dagblad, with estimates that half the €16 billion generated by crime in the Netherlands is laundered through Dutch institutions, with the rest – some €5 billion – coming from abroad.  This is said to show that the Netherlands is not as popular a place to launder money as some claim.


Australia: 50 charged in fake daycare scam

The Daily Mail reported on 14 November that, in New South Wales, the number of people charged following an investigation into a $3.9 million family daycare fraud has risen to 50, after 11 people were arrested over their alleged roles.  It is alleged that the syndicate fraudulently claimed at least $3.9 million in Commonwealth payments under the Child Care Subsidy schemes over a 10-month period. The scam was so elaborate that the daycare even had fake graduation ceremonies, timesheets and rosters, and mock up play areas, police allege, and that at least 150 parents used the scam.



13 November 2019

Ukraine Introduces New Requirements for Disclosure of Personal Assets 

On 11 November, Asters reported that, on 18 October, amendments were made to Ukraine’s anti-corruption laws.  It says that the legislature has slightly adjusted the list of persons covered by the Corruption Prevention Law – the list is to include certain officers of the National Bank of Ukraine, officers of any executive support service (except for those unsalaried), and officers of business companies, in which the government holds at least a 50% equity stake.  The amendments also broadened the concept of “close relatives” and changed the definition of “family members”. The disclosure requirements and the list of reportable assets have also been revised and, among other things, covers trusts and other similar entities, which are ultimately beneficially owned (controlled) by the filer or their family members, and cryptocurrencies in the possession of them or their family members.


India to become a member of Wassenaar Arrangement

On 12 November, it was reported that the  export control regime Wassenaar Arrangement had decided to admit India as its new member, which is expected to raise New Delhi‘s stature in the field of non-proliferation as well as helping it acquire critical technologies.  Member countries are required to ensure that transfers of dual-use items do not contribute to the development or enhancement of military capabilities and WMDs. The aim is also to prevent the acquisition of these items by terrorists.  India had been admitted to another export control regime, the Missile Technology Control Regime in June 2018. India has been trying to get into export control regimes such as the NSG, MTCR, the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement that regulate the conventional, nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and technologies.


US: Seattle judge keeps ban on internet sales of 3D-printed gun plans

The Spokesman-Review on 12 November reported that computer programmes to make plastic guns with a 3D printer have to stay off the internet, at least for now, because the Trump administration failed in a hearing before a federal judge to follow proper procedures for changing the rules that currently keep them offline.  The judge agreed with Washington State and 18 other states that the way the State Department tried to lift the ban on internet sales of the plans was arbitrary, not supported by evidence and a violation of the federal Administrative Procedures Act. 


Singapore Threatens To Auction Off Chinese Tanker Violating Iran Sanctions 

Radio Farda on 12 November reported that a court in Singapore has given the owner of a tanker carrying Iranian LPG a week to either come forward or it would place the vessel under the hammer, after port authorities had seized 2 oil tankers owned by the Chinese Kunlun Shipping Company carrying Iranian petroleum products.


British Columbia plans to create a single real estate regulator to strengthen the fight against money laundering

On 13 November, Financial Review reported that the provincial government intends to introduce legislation late next year that would establish a joint financial services and real estate watchdog by the spring 2021.  It also plans to become the world’s first jurisdiction to expose hidden property owners next year when it creates a searchable, public registry of who controls the trusts and anonymous corporations that own land.


US: Grain Trader Sentenced For Wire Fraud And Money Laundering

KVRR on 12 November reported that Hunter Hanson, 22, a North Dakota grain trader accused of running his business like a Ponzi scheme has been sentenced to 8 years in prison and pay over $11 million in restitution.  He admitted to defrauding around 60 farmers and elevators in North Dakota and Canada all during 2018.


New IAEA Report Details Iran’s Retaliatory Moves

On 13 November, the Arms Control Association carried an article on a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Iran’s implementation of JCPOA, the landmark 2015 nuclear deal.  The report confirms that Iran has restarted enrichment and is accelerating its production of low-enriched uranium.  It says that changes are slowly decreasing Iran’s so-called breakout, or the time it would take to produce enough fissile material for one bomb. 


Israel Extradites Accused Russian Hacker to US

On 12 November, the Wall Street Journal reported that the alleged Russian cybercriminal Alexei Burkov has been extradited from Israel to the US on hacking-related charges, despite Russian efforts to recover him in a prisoner exchange failed. 


New Zealand: Tax evasion and money laundering linked to freezing of 15 properties and $10 million

On 13 November, KYC 360 reported that more than $10 million and a commercial property empire owned by a wealthy Singaporean couple have been frozen following a police investigation into their son’s meth dealing.


TRACE podcast: The Global Impact of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention

In the latest TRACE podcast, Nicola Bonucci, Director of Legal Affairs at the OECD, describes the successes and failures of the anti-bribery convention as well as some of the challenges still ahead.


Sri Lanka ambitions to be a South Asia global maritime and logistics centre on a par with Dubai and Singapore

Loadstar on 13 November reported on Sri Lankan ambitions, saying that building on Colombo Port’s success in capturing transhipment traffic is a top priority, and that the development of East Container Terminal (ECT) at the port’s deepsea South Harbour is vital.


Sahel gold boom boosting jihadist coffers

France 24 reported on 13 November a report saying that gold mines in the Sahel are providing a new source of funding for jihadists and other armed groups in Africa and attracting recruits for them in a region where state power is weak.  The reports says that in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger armed groups have seized gold mining sites since 2016; and that artisanal gold mining has boomed since the 2012 discovery of a Saharan vein stretching from Sudan to Mauritania. The report estimates around 2 million people are directly involved in artisanal production.


Council of Europe calls for an overall anti-corruption strategy and effective implementation of laws in Spain 

On 13 November, the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) calls on Spain to develop a comprehensive anti-corruption strategy, and to improve its legal framework to prevent corruption in top governmental functions and law enforcement agencies.  A separate compliance report is on Spain’s progress in the implementation of its recommendations on corruption prevention in respect of parliamentarians, judges and prosecutors, but this also calls for further progress. GRECO acknowledges that the Spanish authorities have made positive efforts in recent years to adopt and amend anti-corruption laws and regulations; however, oversight and accountability are their weakest aspect. Currently, a wide gap exists between the legislation and its implementation in practice.


Edinburgh-born businessman on FBI’s ‘most wanted’ list ready to do a deal to hand himself in

On 13 November, Edinburgh Evening News reported that Afzal Khan (aka Bobby Khan), 37,  has been formally charged with a £1 million luxury car scam. He is accused of conning a string of customers and financial firms at a motor dealership he ran in New Jersey.  Federal agents hunting Khan feared he may have fled to Pakistan and offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.


Malta: Peter the Customs dog sniffs out €210,000 undeclared cash at airport

The Malta Independent on 13 November reported that, in 2 separate cases, Customs Department officers discovered €233,000 in undeclared cash during routine inspections at Malta International Airport.  


Police close beaches in France as nearly 900 kg of cocaine washes up along its Atlantic coast

On 13 November, ABC News reported that police have closed beaches in south-west France as packages of cocaine and other drugs continue to wash up daily along the Atlantic coast, with nearly 900 kg discovered since mid-October.  Officials said the cocaine was extremely pure at some 83%.  


High Court: in applications for freezing orders is the presence of English companies in a Russian group structure sufficient to ground jurisdiction in a case involving alleged conspiracy 

An article from Clifford Chance on 13 November carried an article about  the joint cases of Tsareva v Ananyev and Galagaev v Ananyev.  It said that the case raised 2 interesting issues of broad application –  whether the mere existence of English SPV in a foreign holding structure is sufficient on its own to give the English Courts jurisdiction to hear a case; and the scope of the power and willingness to deploy a worldwide freezing injunction, and some of the potential pitfalls for claimants when seeking such an order.