23rd November 2019
UK GOVERNMENT MUST EASE AND ENCOURAGE MEDICAL CANNABIS RESEARCH
A letter from the Registrar of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in the Pharmaceutical Journal on 20th November says that while it has been over a year since the rules were changed to allow clinicians to prescribe cannabis-related medicinal products but very little has changed, and the actual prescribing of CBMP is rare.
BANGLADESH PUBLISHES NEW NATIONAL AML/CFT STRATEGY
On 23rd November, Regulation Asia reported that the National Strategy for Prevention of Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism 2019-2022 was launched on 17th November, and represents a roadmap for implementing action plans “in an organised manner in a 3-year period”. It aims to address gaps in coverage identified in the 2016 mutual evaluation report and contains statements of commitment from 14 agencies, including the Ministry of Finance, Bangladesh Bank, the BFIU (Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit), BSEC (Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission), and the Bangladesh Police.
The Strategy itself is at –
INDIA BANS ONION EXPORTS – AFFECTS EAST ASIAN NEIGHBOURS
On 23rd November, the Eurasian Times reported that India, one of the world’s biggest producers of this Asian staple – exporting 2.2 million tonnes in 2018-19, banned exports in September as part of a plan to bring down retail prices. Malaysia, UAE, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka were top importers of Indian onions.
AUSTRALIAN AND DUTCH POLICE BREAK UP MASSIVE ECSTASY SMUGGLING OPERATION INTO AUSTRALIA
On 23rd November, the Borneo Post reported that police have broken up a huge drug smuggling operation preventing millions of ecstasy pills flooding into Australia. The joint Dutch-Australian operation seized A$200 million worth of MDMA — the key ingredient in ecstasy — in the Netherlands and Belgium. Dutch police raided 15 locations in the Netherlands and Belgium, uncovering 2 hidden laboratories, additional stashes of MDMA and 50 tonnes of precursor chemicals.
GERMAN CUSTOMS AUTHORITIES ACCUSE IBC SOLAR OF SMUGGLING CHINESE PV MODULES
PV Magazine on 22nd November reported that customs had accused the German business of having purchased incorrectly-declared modules from China and evading around €23 million in import duties. The company’s head office and the private apartments of board members have been searched. IBC Solar is accused of having purchased incorrectly-declared solar modules from China around 60 times between March 2015 and August 2016, labelling them as originating from India, Taiwan, Malaysia or Vietnam.
IRELAND AND FRANCE TO LIAISE ON TIGHTER FERRY PORT SECURITY
On 23rd November, the Herald in Ireland reported that Ireland and France are to have talks on tightened security at ferry ports serving Ireland amid fears that Cork, Dublin and Rosslare could be targeted as a back door into the UK after Brexit.
PROTECTING MONGOLIA’S DINOSAUR HERITAGE FROM PLUNDER AND SMUGGLING
On 23rd November, the BBC published an article saying that it was in the Mongolian deserts, nearly a hundred years ago, that the world’s first dinosaur egg nests were found by American scientist Roy Chapman Andrews – the whip-wielding, trilby-wearing inspiration for Indiana Jones. In Mongolia, as with Brazil and China, any fossils found are state-owned and exports are strictly forbidden – but they are still smuggled and find their way into auctions, and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement has seized $44 million worth of smuggled dinosaur fossils in the last 5 years.
HOW JIHADISTS STRUCK GOLD IN AFRICA’S SAHEL
On 22nd November, the East African carried an article saying that, as al Qaeda and Islamic State expand in Africa, hundreds of gold mines are bringing a billion-dollar trade within their reach, and are tapping the $2 billion informal gold trade in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. In Burkina Faso as elsewhere, jihadist groups are adept at exploiting local grievances to win people over.
CAYMAN: GOVERNMENT WARNS CRYPTO SERVICES TO COMPLY WITH AML STANDARDS
On 22nd November, the Cayman Compass reported that the Ministry of Financial Services has issued a statement saying the Cayman Islands is committed to implementing global AML standards for crypto assets set out by the FATF. This includes recent FATF recommendations about to the regulation and supervision of virtual assets and the provision of virtual asset services.
NEW MONGOLIAN CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR APPOINTED AMID AML CONTROVERSY
Central Banking on 22nd November reported that Mongolia’s parliament has appointed Byadran Lkhagvasuren as the country’s central bank governor, after his predecessor resigned for allegedly failing to tackle money laundering activities in the country.
US INDICTS AIR PEACE CEO FOR ALLEGED BANK FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING
Punch (and other sources) in Nigeria on 23rd November reported that the US had indicted the Chairman and CEO of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, with bank fraud and money laundering for moving more than $20 million from Nigeria through US bank accounts in a scheme involving false documents based on the purchase of aircraft. The airline’s Chief of Administration and Finance, Ejiroghene Eghagha, had also been charged with bank fraud and “aggravated identity theft” in connection with the scheme.
US: FORMER PARTNER AT PROMINENT LAW FIRM CONVICTED OF MONEY LAUNDERING, FRAUD IN $400 MILLION INVESTMENT SCAM
On 22nd November, NBC in New York reported that Mark Scott of Lock Lord LLP now faces 30 years in prison for his role in the cybercurrency pyramid scheme known as “One Coin”. He is accused of setting up fake investment accounts to launder millions that was stolen from unsuspecting investors.
ELECTRONIC WARFARE EVOLVING RAPIDLY IN THE HANDS OF IRREGULAR FORCES
On 22nd November, Defence Web reported that electronic warfare is advancing rapidly and is increasingly being used by irregular forces, a defence expert has cautioned at the recent Electronic Warfare South Africa conference, and urged governments and militaries to stay on top of this rapidly evolving sector. He noted that irregular forces are all using modern communications devise from cell phones to satellite phones to handheld radios. These devices are used to issue instructions, for tactical and operational coordination and to arrange logistic support. He also explained the increase in remote control and automation is driving irregular threats; for example, IED are increasingly being activated remotely. Amongst other things he mentioned was that a fair amount of sophistication has gone into remotely-operated boat bombs, such as with the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka and in the Gulf of Aden, Islamic State developing remotely-controlled car bombs and mobile bombs, experimenting with full-size cars and toy cars in Iraq, and it achieved notable success through the arming of commercial UAV. He also commented that the internet and the ever-widening trend for everything and everyone to be connected results in potential vulnerability to cyber operations by both governments and irregular forces.
NORWEGIAN SUGAR TAX SENDS SWEET-LOVERS OVER BORDER TO SWEDEN
On 23rd November, the Guardian carried a feature saying that “candy superstores” in Sweden are booming. It gives the example of one, covering 3,500 sq metres of floor space – half a football pitch – with aisle upon aisle of sugary treats, more than 4,000 products in all, from sour strawberries, liquorice laces and fruity gumballs to red rockets, Lion bars, M&Ms, Milky Ways and Oreos. And this is said to be only one of maybe 30 similar confectionery and soft drink stores lining the Swedish side of the border from south to far north. Between them, those stores turn over about £160 million a year.
CANADA COMPANIES’ HUMAN RIGHTS WATCHDOG TO PRESS TRUDEAU FOR EXPANDED POWERS
Customs Today on 23rd November reported that the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) – the government agency set up to investigate claims of human rights abuses by Canadian companies abroad – wants expanded powers, setting up a clash with the mining industry which has fought to limit its reach.
SAMSUNG SHIPBUILDING UNIT TO PAY $75 MILLION TO SETTLE PETROBRAS BRIBERY CASE
On 22nd November, Law 360 reported that the shipbuilder has agreed the $75 million settlement with the US DoJ and the Brazilian equivalent to close the case involving alleged bribes paid to Petrobras executives to secure lucrative contracts.
UK SUSPENDS PRISONERS EXCHANGE DEAL WITH PAKISTAN DUE TO LENIENT SENTENCING OF DRUG SUSPECTS
On 22nd November, OCCRP reported that local media had reported that the UK has suspended a convicted prisoner exchange agreement with Pakistan, signed in November 2018, due to leniency in the law and punishment to drug smuggler criminals in Pakistan. The UK suspended a previous 2008 agreement on the same grounds.
UK CIGARETTE IMPORTS HALVED
On 22nd November, TJI reported that the number of cigarettes imported into Britain has decreased by almost half over the last decade as smoking continues to decline. It quotes 24.5 billion sticks in the 12 months to the end of September, down 47% from 46.1 billion during the same period 10 years ago.
PREVENTING ILLICIT TRAFFICKING BY TRANSNATIONAL CRIMINAL ORGANISATIONS
On 22nd November, the Stimson Center in the US produced a briefing (intended for the “2020 Presidential Inbox”, it says). It argues that existing efforts to address trafficking are disaggregated and fail to involve legitimate industry as partners in prevention. It says that the President should catalogue the threat, better target government resources, and incentivise legitimate business to do more to help prevent illicit trafficking at home and abroad. It claims that transnational crimes — from drug and human trafficking to oil theft, illegal mining and fishing, to weapons trafficking — generate between $1.6 trillion and $2.2 trillion annually; and that illicit trade figures into virtually every security challenge faced. It says that the illicit trade represents one of the most insidious and least understood threats to US and international security, and by better understanding the nature of this global phenomenon, modernising the toolkit needed to counter these illegal activities, and altering the calculus of both legitimate and illegitimate actors in the global supply chain, the US can reap significant financial and security dividends. Its recommendations include –
- Comprehensively chart the global grey market to identify common choke points;
- Dedicate a greater share of intelligence and interagency resources to identifying and disrupting factors that enable illicit middlemen in the global supply chain; and
- (Most importantly, in my humble opinion) enlist support of the legitimate supply chain companies.
Meanwhile, in June, the Stimson Center had produced another report –
ANONYMOUS COMPANIES AND TRANSNATIONAL CRIME
This report from Global Financial Integrity details the estimates of the value of the illicit trade mentioned in the above report.
FACTSHEET: GLOBAL TERRORISM IN 2018
START, the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism has produced an infographic factsheet detailing the effects and costs of terrorism in 2018.
US COMMERCE DEPARTMENT LIKELY SEND 3D-PRINTING PROPOSAL TO ADD TO WASSENAAR ARRANGEMENT IN 2020
On 22nd November, Export Compliance Daily reported that the US Commerce Department will likely seek multilateral support for upcoming export controls on additive manufacturing of metals, for addition to the Wassenaar Arrangement controls on dual-use items.
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