15 November 2019

Hepatitis A and B vaccine added to UK export ban list

On 14 November, Pharmaceutical Journal reported that the hepatitus A and B vaccine has been added to the list of medicines that cannot be parallel exported from the UK.  There are now 32 medicines on the list, issued by the Department of Health and Social Care.  The restrictions prevent medicine wholesalers from parallel exporting — where companies buy medicines meant for UK patients and sell them on at a higher price in another country.


US Department of Agriculture (USDA) releases long-awaited regulations governing hemp

On 15 November, Wilmer Hale published a Client Alert saying that on 31 October the USDA published regulations that provide critical guidance to the hemp industry following the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalised the cultivation, production and interstate sale of hemp and hemp-derived products.  That Bill gave the USDA regulatory authority over hemp cultivation and required the USDA to outline a regulatory regime governing hemp. The Alert says that financial institutions and other businesses contemplating doing business with hemp producers, or manufacturers of hemp-derived products such as cannabidiol (CBD), should consider implementing due diligence procedures to ensure that hemp was produced in compliance with USDA regulations.  The Alert considers details.


Norway wealth fund is shunning G4S over human rights concerns

Al Jazeera on 14 November reported that the Government Pension Fund Global – can no longer invest in the security company G4S because of “unacceptable risk” involving human rights violations to which the company contributes, the central bank has said.  The fund held a 2.33% stake in G4S at the end of 2018, worth some $90 million.


Ireland: Over 180,000 businesses could face fines under money laundering rules 

Just over a fifth of the 234,000 companies obliged to submit information on beneficial ownership to the Companies Office have not yet done so.  If they miss the deadline of 22 November, they may be liable to a fine of up to €500,000 upon conviction on indictment.


Trump’s Embrace of Sanctions Irks Allies and Prompts Efforts to Evade Measures

An article from the New York Times on 15 November said that allies and adversaries are seeking ways to avoid President Trump’s sanctions, which critics say have become a substitute for foreign policy. 


EU tobacco smuggling crackdown fails to convince

EU Today on 15 November reported that,  despite headline-grabbing raids, some of the EU’s other initiatives designed to address the rampant smuggling crisis have proven more controversial.  In particular, the system that the EU is implementing to track and trace tobacco products throughout the supply chain is in danger of falling foul of standards set by the WHO in its Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and the associated Protocol to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products (Protocol). The EU’s track and trace system has come under heavy criticism over the amount of influence tobacco producers have in the process.


EU launches WTO trade dispute against unfair import duties on frozen potato fries by Colombia

A news release on 15 November advised that the EU has brought a dispute to the WTO against unlawful anti-dumping measures imposed by Colombia on frozen fries from Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.  Duties applied to EU imports over a period of 2 years range from around 3% to 8%, restrict access to the Colombian market, affecting almost 85% of EU exports of frozen fries to this market, worth over €19 million a year.


Information for companies on the import and export of controlled drugs to and from the UK

On 15 November, the Home Office published updated information on controlled drugs – prescription drugs named in the misuse of drugs legislation.


UK: third generation synthetic cannabinoids update

On 15 November, Home Office Circular 009/2019 draws attention to 2 recent pieces of UK legislation and amendment of the generic definition of a group of synthetic cannabinoids (‘third generation’) under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 and the Misuse of Drugs (Designation) (England, Wales and Scotland) Order 2015.  Synthetic cannabinoids are a group of compounds that mimic the effects of cannabis, which are commonly referred to as ‘Spice’ and ‘Mamba’. ‘Third generation’ synthetic cannabinoids were originally controlled through a generic definition in December 2016, following advice from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD).  However, due to the broad nature of the generic definition some compounds were unintentionally captured under this definition, inadvertently subjecting them to strict controls. Following advice from the ACMD, the generic definition of ‘third generation’ synthetic cannabinoids has been amended to reduce the scope of the generic definition and excludes compounds which were unintentionally captured.


Head of New York Medical Clinics Found Guilty in Nearly $100 Million Money Laundering and Health Care Kickback Scheme

A news release from the US DoJ on 15 November reported that Aleksandr Pikus, 44, the manager in control of multiple medical clinics in Brooklyn and Queens, New York, was found guilty today for his role in a nearly $100 million health care kickback and money laundering scheme.  


US to strictly enforce AML rules on cryptocurrencies, says FinCEN chief

Reuters on 15 November reported that a statement from the Director of FinCEN says that the US government will strictly enforce a rule that requires cryptocurrency firms engaged in money service businesses such as digital asset exchanges and wallet service providers to share information about their customers. 


Understanding the turmoil in Haiti

On 15 November, an article on Jurist says that Haiti has experienced many protests this year.  It says that the protests have primarily focused on a myriad of economic concerns and were initially sparked by a fuel crisis within the country, but the underlying impetus of these protests is said to relate to allegations that many senior officials in the Haitian government, including President Jovenel Moïse, have been implicated in the misappropriation of $2 billion in profits from an oil deal between Venezuela and Haiti.


GDPR Cloud guidance issued in Ireland

On 15 November, an article on Out-Law says that new guidance from the data protection watchdog provides “useful insight into how Ireland’s data protection regulator will assess the way in which organisations engage cloud computing providers”,  A link to the guidance is also provided.



The great US tax haven: why the super-rich love South Dakota and its trust laws

An article in the Guardian by Oliver Bullough, author of the recent excellent book “Moneyland”, on 11 November saying that, thanks to its relish for deregulation, the state is fast becoming the most profitable place for the mega-wealthy to park their billions.


SAR quality: practical tips to enhance reports for US law enforcement

The Banking Journal on 12 November published an article which says that, in 2018, FinCEN received over 2.1 million SAR filings, and the 2019 filings are trending to surpass that total.  The article discusses the importance of SAR, and has as its focus how to improve their quality to add to their value.


Preventing criminal abuse of online gambling

An Occasional Paper from RUSI on 12 November examines the criminal involvement in some online gambling activities.  In 2019, the EU’s supranational risk assessment assigned the online gambling sector its second-highest risk rating.   In contrast, the National Risk Assessment in the UK, which is the world’s largest regulated online gambling market by revenue, has consistently ranked online gambling-related risks as ‘low’.  The paper explores money laundering and terrorist-financing risks faced by online gambling operators and recommends measures for their mitigation. Given the cross-border nature of online gambling, it says, the paper’s findings and recommendations are intended to be of use in both the UK and other countries that regulate online gambling.  The recommendations include for regulators to consider thematic reviews focused on CDD practices and the detection of stolen cards, and for law enforcement agencies and/or financial intelligence units to conduct and publish analysis of typologies based on suspicious activity reports.