OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – NOVEMBER 26

26TH November 2019

JAPAN TARGETS SEAFOOD POACHERS WITH PLAN FOR ‘PROOF OF ORIGIN’

On 26th November, Nikkei Asian Review reported that Japan will require that seafood sold within its borders carry an official proof of origin, as one of the world’s leading importers of marine products aims to deter the poaching that has decimated fish populations.  It is said that Japan’s seafood haul totalled 4.39 million tons last year, just one-third of the peak in 1984, illustrating the depletion of fish stocks.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Fisheries/Japan-targets-seafood-poachers-with-plan-for-proof-of-origin

SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT BETWEEN OFAC AND APPLE OVER DEALS WITH SLOVENIAN COMPANY LINKED TO NARCOTICS TRAFFICKING

On 25th November, OFAC announced that it had reached a settlement agreement with Apple apparent violations of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Sanctions Regulations over its dealings with SIS, a Slovenian software company previously identified on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker.  Apple agreed to pay a $466,912 penalty.  A post on the FCPA Blog sais that Apple’s faulty screening caused 47 sanctions violations.

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USTREAS/bulletins/26e304a

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/CivPen/Documents/20191125_apple.pdf

https://fcpablog.com/2019/11/25/ofac-apples-faulty-screening-caused-47-sanction-violations/

REGULATING FLOATING NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS

On 30th October, the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute reported on a paper published in the Moscow Journal of International Law concerned with the practical and legal aspects of floating nuclear power plants (FNPP) – the first of which, the FNPP “Academic Lomonosov”, was built in 2019 in Russia.  Such FNPP are intended as transportable nuclear low-power unit intended for energy and heat supply of remote port cities, industrial enterprises, gas and oil platforms.  It is said that the study notes that if future serial FNPP go for export, it will be important to analyse their compatibility with international treaties.  The study concludes that FNPP are largely compatible with the existing rules of international law. However, there are some gaps and grey areas, especially in an export scenario.  It proposes that bilateral intergovernmental agreements between the supplying and the importing states would be necessary for international shipment, together with safeguard arrangement with the IAEA.

https://www.nonproliferation.org/regulating-floating-nuclear-power-plants/

CONDITIONS AND PROCEDURE FOR THE REVOCATION OF CYPRUS CITIZENSHIPS GRANTED UNDER THE CYPRUS INVESTMENT PROGRAMME

On 15th November, Patrikios, Pavlou & Associates published an article saying that the Cyprus Government recently announced its intention to review, and where necessary revoke citizenships granted to foreign investors who have invested in Cyprus and become naturalised Cypriot citizens through the procedure and the conditions set out by the Cyprus Investment Programme.  It says that the Government has already revoked 26 Cyprus citizenships from certain investors although names have not been made public.  The article examines the legal background and key aspects of the revocation process.  The article notes that currently the current official guidelines for the CIP only indicate that the applicant must have a clean criminal record certificate, a Schengen visa issued prior to their application, their name should not be included in a EU sanctions list of persons, and that they should not have been refused application for citizenship under other Member States’ programmes.  Interestingly, the article is also available in Russian.

https://www.pavlaw.com/news-posts/conditions-and-procedure-for-the-revocation-of-cyprus-citizenships-granted-under-the-cyprus-investment-programme/

DESPITE SCANDAL, CYPRUS WILL KEEP SELLING GOLDEN VISAS, EU PASSPORTS

On 26th November, KYC 360 reported that Cyprus has no plans to stop selling Golden Visas to rich foreigners who invest in the country despite the government’s admission there were laws that let them acquire residency permits and EU passports without being property vetted.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/despite-scandal-cyprus-will-keep-selling-golden-visas-eu-passports/

PHOENIX THOROUGHBREDS OWNER DENIES MONEY LAUNDERING ALLEGATIONS

The Guardian on 25th November reported that Phoenix Thoroughbreds, Amer Abdulaziz Salman, was recently named by a defendant in a criminal court in the US, who accused him of involvement in a money laundering operation. The allegation was strenuously denied by Phoenix Thoroughbreds.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/nov/25/phoenix-thoroughbreds-owner-denies-money-laundering-allegations

PREVENTION PRINCIPLE – CAN PARTIES SUE FOR BREACH OF CONTRACT OCCASIONED BY THEIR OWN BREACH?

On 26th November, RPC published on the International Law Office website an article about an English High Court case, TMF Trustee Ltd v Fire Navigation Inc, involving the prevention principle which can excuse a breach of contract when a party has been prevented from performing the relevant obligation by a breach of the other party.  However, it says that the judge did not take the opportunity to clarify the precise legal basis from which it arises.

https://www.internationallawoffice.com/Newsletters/Litigation/United-Kingdom/RPC/Prevention-principle-can-parties-sue-for-breach-of-contract-occasioned-by-their-own-breach

INDONESIA: 66 CHINESE CITIZENS ARRESTED FOR ONLINE FRAUD ON EMBASSY TIP-OFF

The Jakarta Globe on 26th November reported that Jakarta Police have arrested 66 Chinese citizens for alleged online fraud following a tip-off from the Chinese Embassy, in an all-Chinese case but with the suspects were based in cities in Indonesia.

https://jakartaglobe.id/news/sixtysix-chinese-citizens-arrested-for-online-fraud-on-embassy-tipoff

BINARY OPTIONS SCAMMER WHO DEFRAUDED VICTIMS OF $3.8 MILLION DISAPPEARS

Finance Feeds on 26th November reported that the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission cannot locate Peter Szatmari, who is accused of having operated a large-scale binary options fraud scheme.  Szatmari had settlement discussions with Szatmari and reached an agreement in principle, but before executing the settlement documents, Szatmari backed out of the settlement and has now reportedly vanished.

https://financefeeds.com/binary-options-scammer-defrauded-victims-3-8m-disappears-cftc-says/

UK: TRADING IN ROUGH DIAMONDS AFTER BREXIT

On 25th November, the FCO published updated guidance which provides information about what you may need to do to prepare for trading internationally in rough diamonds after Brexit.  This is because leaving the EU will have implications on the UK’s participation in the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and therefore the UK trade in rough diamonds.  The EU is a participant of the Kimberley Process and currently acts on behalf of the UK, but the UK has secured Independent Participant status in the Kimberley Process to take effect from the point at which the UK is no longer represented by the EU.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/brexit-and-the-uk-trade-in-rough-diamonds/brexit-and-the-uk-trade-in-rough-diamonds-letter

NEW EU REGULATION ON THE FREE FLOW OF NON-PERSONAL DATA: WHAT IS NON-PERSONAL DATA AND SHOULD ONE BE WORRIED ABOUT TRANSFERS OF NON-PERSONAL DATA?

On 25th November, Dentons published an article saying that a new EU Regulation which came into force in May is not as well-known as the GDPR and that this Regulation remained largely unnoticed but can be equally important for businesses using data analytics in their business models (e.g. Internet of Things, AI, machine learning etc.).  The article explains that non-personal data is electronic information that cannot be traced back to an identified or identifiable natural person (or has been anonymised as such), such as in aggregate and anonymised datasets.  The aim of the new Regulation is said to be to lift the main obstacles and to boost the data economy through facilitating cross-border exchange of data by enabling companies to store non-personal information anywhere in the EU, while not impeding competent authorities from accessing data on the basis that the data is processed in another Member State.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/new-eu-regulation-on-the-free-flow-of-72652/

UPDATED ECONOMIC SUBSTANCE REQUIREMENTS FOR JERSEY FUND MANAGERS

On 25th November, an article from Ogier said that the Crown Dependencies’ joint Guidance Notes on aspects of the Substance Requirements were updated on 22nd November.  The article provides a summary update of the requirements in Guernsey.

https://www.ogier.com/publications/updated-economic-substance-requirements-for-jersey-fund-managers

US CUSTOMS IN KENTUCKY SEIZES MORE THAN 5,000 FAKE ID

On 25th November, US Customs and Border Protection published a news release announcing that officers at an Express Consignment Operations hub in Louisville recently seized 6 shipments containing 2,909 counterfeit driver’s licences and 3,123 blank card stocks to make counterfeit driver’s licences.  All of these shipments originated from China and were being shipped to various people in the New York area, though the licences were for various states.

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/cbp-louisville-seizes-more-5000-fake-ids

GERMAN SOLAR PANEL COMPANY CLAIMS IT WAS VICTIM OF FRAUD AS FACES SMUGGLING ALLEGATIONS

On 25th November, IBC Solar has issued a statement claiming it had been the victim of fraud perpetrated by its module importers and stating its intent to sue the offenders if the modules in question are found to have had their documents of origin deliberately altered.  Its offices and the homes of executives were searched by customs officials over the alleged avoidance of €23 million in import duties.

https://www.pv-magazine.com/2019/11/25/ibc-solar-points-finger-at-importers-after-module-smuggling-allegations/

DISMANTLING OF AN INTERNATIONAL DRUG TRAFFICKING RING LED BY MEXICAN CARTEL ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF HOW THEIR MONEY FUELS MUCH OF COLOMBIA’S DRUG BUSINESS

On 25th November, an article from Insight Crime reported that a Colombian operation led to the breaking up of a drug trafficking network headed by the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación – CJNG) with links to Colombians and a pilot from the Venezuelan Air Force.  Authorities in the region involved say the Mexicans control close to 80% of the region’s drug business.  A quote says that the Mexicans arrive at farms with their foreign accents and they offer better prices, without caring what illegal armed groups are in the region, and the dissidents and the rest of the groups all receive money from them so that there would be no issues.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/analysis/mexican-cartels-highest-bidders-colombian-coca/

ICO LAUNCHES CONSULTATION ON ITS APPLICATION FOR POCA ENFORCEMENT POWERS

On 25th November, Eversheds Sutherland published a briefing saying that the Information Commissioner’s Office has asked to be given the ability to exercise various powers (and gain access to investigation) under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and has opened a consultation to seek public views about this.

https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/Data-Protection/ico-261119

SWIRE PACIFIC VESSEL ATTACKED OFF EQUATORIAL GUINEA – 7 CREW MISSING

Insurance Marine News on 26th November reported that a Singapore-flagged ship was attacked while supporting offshore field operations in Equatorial Guinea.  It is said that 8 crew were safely ashore and unharmed, but 7 crew members were taken by the attackers and were missing.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/swire-pacific-vessel-attacked-off-equatorial-guinea/

ALSTOM UNIT ORDERED TO PAY £16 MILLION IN TUNISIA CORRUPTION CASE IN UK

On 25th November, the Wall Street Journal reported that a British subsidiary of the French train maker, Alstom SA, was ordered to pay £16.4 million in a corruption case involving the supply of trams in Tunisia.  The fine announced by the SFO relates to the April 2018 conviction of Alstom Network UK Ltd on corruption charges involving the payment of bribes to secure a transportation contract in Tunisia.  That company had sidestepped internal compliance checks by falsifying paperwork to show evidence of services rendered by the intermediary, Construction et Gestion Nevco Inc, which was used to funnel bribes.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-k-s-serious-fraud-office-orders-alstom-unit-to-pay-21-million-in-tunisia-corruption-case-11574711300

HOW SOMALILAND COMBATS AL-SHABAAB

In the November issue of CTC Sentinel, the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point published an article saying that Al-Shabaab has struggled and largely failed to establish itself in the independent but unrecognised Republic of Somaliland (n.b. not Somalia, but its even poorer neighbour).  Despite limited means, it has denied al-Shabaab the operational space it requires through the implementation of a virtuous circle that builds on local buy-in and uses human intelligence as a force multiplier.  However, the article stresses the continuing problems for the country.

https://ctc.usma.edu/somaliland-combats-al-shabaab

EU PARLIAMENT CLOSES LEGAL LOOPHOLE TO STOP EXCESSIVE UKRAINIAN CHICKEN IMPORTS

A news release on 26th November announced that the Parliament had agreed a Resolution to modify the 2016 EU-Ukraine trade agreement to curb imports of cheap Ukrainian poultry meat entering the EU using a legal loophole.  The change to the trade deal became necessary because a Ukrainian producer exploited a loophole in the trade deal to sell more duty-free chicken breast – a product considered vital for the livelihood of EU farmers.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20191121IPR67127/parliament-closes-legal-loophole-to-stop-excessive-ukrainian-chicken-imports

EU: THE JUDICIAL AUTHORITY WHICH ISSUES A EUROPEAN ARREST WARRANT MUST BE FULLY INDEPENDENT AND MUST NOT BE SUBJECT TO HIERARCHICAL CONSTRAINTS OR TO ORDERS OR INSTRUCTIONS

A news release from the European Courts on 26th November was concerned with several joined cases, with the Advocate General making the above announcement in an official Opinion.  It was also said that European arrest warrants must be capable of being the subject of court proceedings in the issuing Member State without having to wait until the person requested is surrendered.

https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2019-11/cp190148en.pdf

STATES IN WESTERN INDIAN OCEAN AND THE GULF OF ADEN AREA ADOPT PLAN OF ACTION TO ENSURE BETTER CO-ORDINATION OF REGIONAL EFFORTS TO ENHANCE MARITIME SECURITY

Defence Web on 26th November reported on a revised Code of Conduct concerning repression of piracy, armed robbery against ships and illicit maritime activity in the western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden Area.  The meeting was jointly organised by IMO and Kenya with financial assistance from the UK.

https://www.defenceweb.co.za/security/maritime-security/strengthening-regional-co-operation-to-up-maritime-security/

NCA HEAD WARNS SOLICITORS OF DIRTY CHINESE MONEY

The Law Society Gazette on 26th November reported that Simon Lord had warned that solicitors acting for Chinese individuals in asset purchases should be aware that their clients are almost certainly breaching domestic law – probably by laundering the proceeds of crime in the UK; and that Chinese underground banking is ‘the most prevalent money laundering threat faced across the Western world’. Chinese law strictly controls the purposes for which citizens can obtain foreign currency and limits any individual to $50,000 in a year.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/law/fraudbuster-warns-solicitors-of-dirty-chinese-money/5102298.article

MANCHESTER: POLICE DRAFTED IN FROM OTHER DIVISIONS TO COVER 22 OFFICERS UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR ALLEGEDLY HANDLING COUNTERFEIT GOODS

The Manchester Evening News on 26th November carried this story.

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/police-drafted-divisions-cover-22-17318284

GERMANY TO LAUNCH SPECIAL ANTI-TAX FRAUD UNIT

Tax News on 26th November reported that the German Ministry of Finance has published a Q&A section on its website to clarify the role of a new special unit within the tax authority designed to detect cases of tax fraud more quickly.  The special unit is being launched by the Government in response to the so-called “cum-ex” tax affair and will focus on detecting and shutting down large scale tax avoidance and evasion schemes, particularly in the capital markets.

https://www.tax-news.com/news/Germany_To_Launch_Special_AntiTax_Fraud_Unit____97426.html

OECD REPORT USES CUSTOMS SEIZURES DATA TO ASSESS HOW THE FAKE GOODS TRADE IS INFRINGING UK IP RIGHTS

On 26th November, Accountancy Daily reported the release of this report which examines effect of the economy, revenues and lost jobs.

http://www.oecd.org/newsroom/trade-in-counterfeit-goods-and-the-uk-economy-friday-29-november-2019.htm

CHINA: THIRD PARTY PAYMENT PROCESSOR FINED FOR HANDLING ONLINE GAMBLING PAYMENTS

Calvin Ayre on 26th November reported that China’s government has imposed the largest financial penalty to date on a third-party payment processor for its links to unauthorized online gambling sites.  Internet Banking Online (Beijing) Technology Co Ltd (aka Chinabank Payments) – owned by JD Finance, which was spun off from online retailing giant JD.com in 2018 – has been fined $4.2 million after being accused of assisting mainland residents in transferring currency overseas, including to internationally licensed online gambling sites.

https://calvinayre.com/2019/11/26/business/china-fines-payment-processor-online-gambling/

OECD: INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY HAS ACHIEVED UNPRECEDENTED SUCCESS FIGHTING OFFSHORE TAX EVASION

A news release from OECD on 26th November said that, on the 10th anniversary of the Global Forum on Transparency and the Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, and 10 years since the G20 declared the end of banking secrecy, the international community has achieved unprecedented success in using new transparency standards to fight offshore tax evasion.  Working through the Global Forum, 158 member jurisdictions have implemented robust standards that have prompted a tidal shift in exchange of information for tax purposes.  It says that, in 2018 nearly 100 member jurisdictions automatically exchanged information on 47 million financial accounts, covering total assets of $4.9 trillion. In total, more than €100 billion in additional tax revenue has been identified since 2009.  It also claims that a study found the wider exchange of information driven by the Global Forum is associated with a global reduction in foreign-owned bank deposits in international financial centres (IFC) by 24% ($410 billion) between 2008 and 2019.

http://www.oecd.org/newsroom/international-community-has-achieved-unprecedented-success-fighting-offshore-tax-evasion.htm

JERSEY: IMMIGRATION CONSULTATION LAUNCHED

On 26th November, a news release advised that the Jersey Customs and Immigration Service (JCIS) is inviting businesses and residents to help develop the Government of Jersey’s new immigration system, with responses required by 17th January.  It says that, although Jersey’s immigration system is aligned to the UK’s, the island does have the ability to develop its own policy.  JCIS aims to develop a policy which responds to the needs of the business community whilst keeping the island secure.

https://www.gov.je/News/2019/Pages/ImmigrationConsultationLaunched.aspx

JERSEY AIRCRAFT REGISTRY TO BE RUN BY THIRD PARTY

On 26th November, the Jersey Evening Press reported that the registry, which has only 1 aircraft on its books and cost £900,000 to set up – is likely to relaunch imminently and that a Jersey-based business had been chosen to redesign its business model.  It was announced that a commercial third party will operate the registry following a public procurement exercise.

https://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2019/11/26/aircraft-registry-to-be-run-by-third-party/

FRANCE BELATEDLY IMPLEMENTS EU TRADE MARK LAWS

An article from Out-Law on 26th November said that major reforms to French trade mark laws have been agreed by lawmakers and will have a significant impact on brand owners and rival businesses in the market. The new law will introduce new types of trade marks and clarify the rights businesses will enjoy when they obtain trade mark protection.

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/analysis/france-belatedly-implements-eu-trade-mark-laws

BRAZIL CONSIDERS EXTRADITION OF FORMER PARAGUAY PRESIDENT FOR MONEY LAUNDERING

On 26th November, Insight Crime carried an article saying that authorities in Brazil have requested the extradition of former Paraguay President Horacio Cartes (who was in office 2013-18) to face money laundering charges related to the sweeping Odebrecht scandal.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/brief/brazil-eyes-extradition-former-paraguay-president-money-laundering/

THE DAMAGING IMPACT OF THE UK DRUG TRADE ON THE ENVIRONMENT

Rudi Fortson (author of the authoritative, and weighty, tome on UK illegal drugs law) has written an article saying that drug trafficking, and tackling it, includes practices which are costly to the UK’s natural habitat—from drug-fuelled deforestation to drug-plant eradication—yet it remains an underexplored issue.  It is said that a recent study has highlighted the environmental damage caused by the narcotics trade, showing traces of cocaine and other illegal drugs in marine life in UK rivers.  In the article, Rudi Fortson outlines the legislation (or lack of) responsible for protecting the environment against illegal activity and how things could be improved.

https://www.25bedfordrow.com/cms/document/Silent_victims_UK_drug_trade.pdf

B8100570-62AA-44B5-9B06-A79DEF91F722_w1300_r0

https://www.rferl.org/a/danger-mines/30293460.html

 

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

REPORT – DRUGS AND TERRORISM: THE OVERLAPS IN EUROPE

This new report from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drugs Addiction and the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King’s College London examines crossovers between terrorism and the illicit drug trade in the EU between 2012 and 2017, to see where overlaps do, and do not, exist.  It finds no widespread crossovers between terrorism and the European drug trade.  However, 2 themes are most pronounced, relating to jihadists across Europe, and paramilitaries in Northern Ireland.  It also says that there is some evidence that Hezbollah, and to a lesser extent, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) have, at least indirectly, profited from the drug trade in Europe, although it is said that it is unclear whether this activity is centrally coordinated or condoned.  The report also says that it remains to be seen whether members of groups that have either dissolved or ceased their armed campaigns, such as ETA or FLNC, will ‘transform’ into drug traffickers in any substantial numbers. Historically these groups have prohibited and/or discouraged the use of drugs in their areas of control.

https://icsr.info/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/ICSR-Report-Drugs-and-Terrorism-The-Overlaps-in-Europe.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

NCA HEAD WARNS SOLICITORS OF DIRTY CHINESE MONEY

The Law Society Gazette on 26th November reported that Simon Lord had warned that solicitors acting for Chinese individuals in asset purchases should be aware that their clients are almost certainly breaching domestic law – probably by laundering the proceeds of crime in the UK; and that Chinese underground banking is ‘the most prevalent money laundering threat faced across the Western world’. Chinese law strictly controls the purposes for which citizens can obtain foreign currency and limits any individual to $50,000 in a year.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/law/fraudbuster-warns-solicitors-of-dirty-chinese-money/5102298.article

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

AL JAZEERA DOCUMENTARY CLAIMS CORRUPTION WITH CARIBBEAN DIPLOMATIC PASSPORTS

On 26th November, OCCRP reported that the documentary is said to have uncovered corruption in the awarding of diplomatic posts in the Caribbean, and focused especially on Dominica’s current and former leadership and the alleged sale of ambassadorships for cash and other valuable favours.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/11195-documentary-claims-corruption-with-caribbean-diplomatic-passports

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

OFAC ADDS CUBAN COMPANY TO VENEZUELA SANCTIONS LISTS

On 26th November, OFAC announced that CORPORACION PANAMERICANA SA of Havana had been added to the Venezuelan sanctions lists.  It is designated for being owned or controlled by, or having acted for or on behalf of, Cubametales, which was designated in July for operating in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy.  The US Treasury says that Cubametales, the Cuban state-run oil import and export company, has faced significant pressure as businesses refuse to conduct business with them as a result of its designation, and Corporacion Panamericana S.A. replaced Cubametales in various energy deals and international commercial dealings with several countries.

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20191126.aspx

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm837

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LAW SOCIETY ISSUES UPDATED PRACTICE NOTE ON LEGAL PROFESSIONAL PRIVILEGE (LPP)

On 25th November, Local Government Lawyer reported that the practice note has been updated to take account of case law derived from several recent cases and now also includes discussion of the landmark Court of Appeal judgment in The Director of the Serious Fraud Office v Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation Ltd

https://www.localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk/litigation-and-enforcement/400-litigation-news/42018-law-society-issues-updated-practice-note-on-legal-professional-privilege

The updated practice note dated 13th November is at –

https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/support-services/advice/practice-notes/legal-professional-privilege/

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CRYPTOCURRENCIES ARE PROPERTY AND CAPABLE OF ENFORCEMENT: UK TASKFORCE CONFIRMS

On 22nd November, a briefing from HFW is concerned with what has been described as a “watershed” development, a report from the UK Jurisdiction Taskforce (UKJT) which confirms English law will view cryptocurrencies as “property” and therefore capable of enforcement by the English courts.  English law will recognise cryptoassets as “property” and smart contracts as having “contractual force”.  This is said to represent a culmination of recent international developments and illustrates the ability of the English legal system to adapt to emerging technologies, and will be highly persuasive in future litigation.

http://www.hfw.com/Cryptocurrencies-are-Property-and-Capable-of-Enforcement-UK-Taskforce-Confirms

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/law/news-focus-crypto-statement-a-watershed-for-english-law/5102275.article

The UKJT report is at –

https://35z8e83m1ih83drye280o9d1-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/6.6056_JO_Cryptocurrencies_Statement_FINAL_WEB_111119-1.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

1 NEW NAME ADDED TO EU AL-QAIDA/ISIL SANCTIONS LISTS

On 25th November, EU Regulation 2019/1943/EU added Guillaume PIROTTE to the EU sanctions lists under Regulation 2016/1686/EU.

At the same time, EU Council Decision 2019/1944/CFSP provided legal cover for the EU Council and the High Representative to process personal data in order to carry out their tasks under the EU Council Decision imposing the Al-Qaida/ISIL sanctions regime.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.LI.2019.303.01.0003.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2019:303I:TOC

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.LI.2019.303.01.0001.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2019:303I:TOC

And the Isle of Man also followed suit –

https://www.gov.im/news/2019/nov/26/financial-sanctions-isil-daesh-and-al-qaida/

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 25

25th November 2019

CFIUS ANNUAL REPORT SHOWS INCREASE IN INVESTIGATIONS

On22nd November, Law.com reported that the latest annual report by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which that reviews transactions for potential national security risks, shows that the number of investigations rose 237%.

https://www.law.com/corpcounsel/2019/11/22/cfius-annual-report-shows-big-jump-in-investigations

US PLANNED SANCTIONS ON COMPANIES INVOLVED IN NORD STREAM 2

UNIAN in Ukraine on 24th November reported that potential sanctions on companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline have been added to the draft 2020 National Defense Authorization Act in the US, although Congress has yet to agree the final Bill.

https://www.unian.info/economics/10766411-u-s-sanctions-on-companies-involved-in-nord-stream-2-added-to-draft-2020-ndaa-media.html

US LIFTS SANCTIONS ON DERIPASKA-LINKED RUSAL ETC

Stock Dish Daily on 24th November reported that the Trump administration had lifted sanctions on aluminium giant and other firms linked to oligarch Oleg Deripaska – Rusal, its parent, En+ Group, and power firm JSC EuroSibEnergo – despite a Democratic-led push in the US Congress to maintain the restrictions.  The US Treasury said that the 3 companies had reduced Deripaska‘s direct and indirect shareholding stake and severed his control.

https://stockdailydish.com/us-lifts-sanctions-on-rusal-and-other-firms-linked-to-russian-oligarch-deripaska/

UK ACADEMIA’S LINKS TO CHINESE DEFENCE FIRMS ‘HARMFUL FOR NATIONAL SECURITY’

The Guardian on 25th November carried an article saying that extensive links between British universities and Chinese defence companies, including missile manufacturers, could threaten UK national security interests, the author of a report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) on China’s research activity overseas has said.  The report analyses collaborations with scientists from China’s hypersonic missile programme and on research topics ranging from smart materials to robotics.  Of 16 university labs identified as being run jointly by Chinese defence companies, or have major investments from them, 10 are based in the UK.

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2019/nov/25/uk-academias-links-to-chinese-defence-firms-harmful-for-national-security

CHINESE-CANADIAN MOGUL EDWARD GONG USED AUCKLAND FINANCE FIRM TO HIDE $53 MILLION

The New Zealand Herald on 25th November reported that an Auckland finance firm and its mother and son owners can now be revealed as the company and pair who failed to report $53.4 million of suspicious transactions from a Chinese-Canadian mogul accused of running a $200 million pyramid scheme.

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12288005

THAILAND: SON OF FORMER PM THAKSIN SHINAWATRA NOT GUILTY OF MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES

On 25th November, Khaosod in Thailand reported that Panthongtae “Oak” Shinawatra was acquitted by the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases, where the majority judges said there was no sufficient evidence to implicate him in the charges.  He had been accused in connection with a loan scandal at a local bank.

http://www.khaosodenglish.com/politics/2019/11/25/thaksins-son-acquitted-of-money-laundering/

MULTINATIONAL ENERGY COMPANY PETROFAC ACCUSED OF KEEPING FAKE ACCOUNTS TO DISGUISE BRIBES

On 25th November, KYC 360 reported that the Guardian had identified the company as the one accused by prosecutors of maintaining a fake set of accounts to disguise the payment of bribes to foreign government officials.  The allegations came about as a result of the Unaoil investigation, with Petrofac under investigation itself for suspected bribery and money laundering.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/petrofac-accused-of-keeping-fake-accounts-to-disguise-bribes/

LEADING ONECOIN BACKERS LINKED TO IRISH CRYPTOCURRENCY MINGOCOIN

On 25th November, KYC 360 reported that 2 senior members of the discredited OneCoin cryptocurrency sales network – Peter Shaw and Pehr Karlsson, who are shareholders in Funlz, which is seeking to develop MingoCoin – are listed as shareholders of the fledgling Irish cryptocurrency.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/leading-onecoin-backers-linked-to-irish-cryptocurrency-mingocoin/

SOUTHERN SPAIN: THE EUROPEAN DRUGS GATEWAY

On 22nd November, Deutsche Welle published an article saying that European seaports in Spain, the Netherlands and Germany are the destinations of choice for drug dealers importing cocaine, hashish and methamphetamine.  It is the first of 3 articles looking in more detail at the problems and vulnerabilities of ports in Spain, the Netherlands and Germany, and looks at the threats in Spain.   For example, Spain is the world number one place for impounding hashish and confiscates almost 50% of all the hashish seized worldwide.  A Europol report says that the ports of Algeciras, along with the ports of Valencia, Barcelona (both Spain), Rotterdam (Netherlands) and Antwerp (Belgium) are the most important entry points for cocaine into Europe.

https://www.dw.com/en/southern-spain-the-european-drugs-gateway/a-51377098

RETHINKING OFAC’S EXPANDED SANCTIONS POWERS

An article on KYC 360 on 25th November reflects on US secondary sanctions.  It says that while secondary sanctions appear to be an effective tool of statecraft, as evidenced by the number of European businesses that have cut or rejected financial ties to Iran in order to avoid the wrath of the US, the article asks are these wise policy tools to implement, and are they being used prudently?  It explains that secondary sanctions impose penalties on persons and organisations not subject to the sanctioning country’s legal jurisdiction and they are applied against entities engaged in the same dealings prohibited under primary sanctions.  The article suggests finding a better model that maximizes international co-operation and, when that is not possible, aims to preserve alliances and relationships necessary for the successful marshalling of resources and willpower when the times demand them.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/hold-on-a-secondary-rethinking-ofacs-expanded-sanctions-powers/

ALL EYES ON IRELAND’S EXPANDED ANTI-CORRUPTION REGIME

A briefing from Irish law firm, McCann Fitzgerald, on 13th November provides an overview of the Criminal Justice (Corruption Offences) Act 2018, which came into force in July 2018 and which reflected the need to meet Ireland’s international commitments, particularly those under the OECD Convention on Bribery of Foreign Public Officials.  It also incorporated recommendations made by the Irish Tribunal of Investigation into Certain Planning Matters and Payments, which was established to investigate corruption in Dublin, particularly with regard to city planning.  The Garda Síochána, the Irish national police force, established in 2017 an Anti-Corruption Unit, which sits in the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB), and in 2018, the Anti-Corruption Unit launched the Bribery and Corruption Confidential Reporting Line.  The briefing points out that the Act has extraterritorial effect, and that a person may be tried in Ireland for an offence under the Act if any one or more of the acts alleged to constitute the offence were committed in Ireland, on board an Irish ship or on an aircraft registered in Ireland, notwithstanding that the other acts alleged to constitute the offence were committed outside Ireland.  This is more liberal than the traditional Irish common law position.  It also deals with corporate liability.  The briefing mentions other relevant Irish laws, and then says that the Irish Government and the Law Reform Commission’s publications in 2017 and 2018 confirmed Ireland’s commitment to the roll out of further white-collar crime law reform.

https://www.mccannfitzgerald.com/uploads/AllEyesonIrelands.pdf

CANADA: FINTRAC’S UPDATED GUIDANCE ON METHODS TO VERIFY IDENTITY – A NEW SPIN ON “AUTHENTIC”

On 20th November, Blake Cassels and Graydon LLP published an article on Canada’s updated guidance that follows recent amendments to the regulations (Regulations) to the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA) in respect of identity verification.  The briefing highlights that the amendments to the Regulations replaced the “original, valid and current” requirement with a requirement that the ID be “authentic, valid and current”.  However, it notes that the Guidance hinders progress by prohibiting the use of Skype and similar telephony technology as a standalone method for identity verification where the parties are not physically together.

https://www.blakesbusinessclass.com/fintracs-updated-guidance-on-methods-to-verify-identity-a-new-spin-on-authentic/#page=1

EU WARNED ON SPYING RISK FROM VIP JET LEASING

On 25th November, EU Observer reported that flying EU and Nato VIPs on jets from a part-Chinese firm could be a security risk, a Belgian aviation company has said – but the article says that the Belgian aviation company which raised the China alarm has its own security questions to answer on Russia.

https://euobserver.com/foreign/146696

COLOMBIA: THE FUTURE OF THE EX-FARC MAFIA

On 11th November, Insight Crime published a special report saying that Colombia is at a crossroads and that there are 3 possible future paths for Colombia and the rebel dissidents.  It concludes that, hamstrung by a lack of funds, battered by the Venezuela crisis and unable to get major new funding from the US, the options open to the Duque administration in Colombia are limited, and that the ex-FARC mafia is going to grow over the next couple of years.  However, the FARC is not being reborn, it says, and there will not be a new unified insurgent movement – with the future of the ex-FARC mafia firmly in the hands of the Duque administration.

https://www.insightcrime.org/investigations/future-ex-farc-mafia/

UK: SPECIAL WARNINGS  – ARE THEY STILL BEING USED?

An article on the PNLD website poses this question, saying that the voluntary attendance procedure has become an increasingly used tool in police investigations as a method of dealing with suspects without arrest.  It provides convenience and flexibility for both suspects and interviewers.  However, at this year’s PNLD conference, Anthony Edwards (who, if you never met or heard him, is an excellent, entertaining and insightful speaker – and a really nice man as well), highlighted that this increased use of the voluntary interview has led to a significant reduction in the use of special warnings and that he very rarely sees any cases at trial where adverse inferences are drawn.  Consequently, the article sets out to detail the legislative provisions that allow for adverse inferences to be drawn at court and the requirement for the special warning to be given by the police to enable this; and discuss whether officers can take into consideration the benefit / need to issue a special warning in interview, when deciding whether to offer the voluntary attendance procedure and determining the necessity to arrest.

https://www.pnld.co.uk/legal-news-articles/legal-article-special-warnings-are-they-still-being-used/

OPERATION PANGEA – SHINING A LIGHT ON PHARMACEUTICAL CRIME

On 21st November, a news release from Interpol dealt with Operation Pangea, a well-established international effort to disrupt the online sale of counterfeit and illicit health products. Just as importantly, Pangea works to raise awareness of the risks associated with buying medicines from unregulated websites.  Co-ordinated by Interpol and launched in 2008, the Operation has removed more than 105 million units (pills, ampoules, sachets, bottles and so on) from circulation and made more than 3,000 arrests.  Analysis of the results of Pangea over the past decade reveals that at least 11% of medical products sold online are counterfeit and all regions of the world are affected; and that organised criminal groups are taking increasingly complex measures to avoid detection, such as developing complicated shipping routes and dispatching medicines in smaller parcels.

IGGH_PangeaItoXI_infographic

https://www.interpol.int/News-and-Events/News/2019/Operation-Pangea-shining-a-light-on-pharmaceutical-crime

DOING BUSINESS IN AZERBAIJAN GUIDE

On 25th November, the Institute of Export in the UK published a free guide which says that while oil and gas still dominate the economy, the Azerbaijani Government is trying to diversify, with consolidation of the banking sector now in progress following a recession in 2016.  It is located on the southern edge of the Caucasus Mountains in Transcaucasia, and borders Iran to the south, Armenia to the west, Georgia to the northwest, Russia to the north and the Caspian Sea to the east. It also has a small exclave, Nakhichevan, to the southwest bordering Iran, Armenia and Turkey.  It is designed to provide basic knowledge about Azerbaijan; an overview of its economy, business culture, potential opportunities and to identify the main issues associated with initial research, market entry, risk management and cultural and language issues.

https://www.export.org.uk/page/azerbaijan_guide

THE PRIVACY, DATA PROTECTION AND CYBERSECURITY LAW REVIEW

The Law Reviews has published the latest edition of this publication, which includes update chapters on a number of countries, and a general overview.  It also includes a chapter on the current status of the law in the EU.

https://thelawreviews.co.uk/edition/1001423/the-privacy-data-protection-and-cybersecurity-law-review-edition-6

HOW JIHADISTS STRUCK GOLD IN AFRICA’S SAHEL

On 22nd November, Reuters published a Special Report saying that, as al-Qaeda and Islamic State expand in Africa, hundreds of gold mines are bringing a billion-dollar trade within their reach.  It says that gold has long been an ideal commodity for insurgents: It retains its value; it is widely accepted as a proxy for currency in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia; and once refined, it can easily be smelted and smuggled.  Informal mines in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger produce between them some 50 tonnes of gold, worth $2 billion, a year, according to estimates by the OECD, with small-scale miners in Burkina Faso producing around 15-20 tonnes of gold a year, worth between $720 million and $960 million – though in 2018, Burkina Faso only recorded official exports of only around 300 kg of gold from small-scale mines – around 1.5% to 2% of the country’s estimated production – indicating the scale of smuggling.

https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/gold-africa-islamists/

A MARIJUANA STRAIN NICKNAMED ‘CREEPY’ IS HELPING TO FUEL COLOMBIA’S DRUGS WAR

On 24th November, the Daily Beast reported that a monster strain of hybrid marijuana and cocaine have made Colombia Latin America’s heart of darkness in the so-called “Golden Triangle” of south-west Colombia.  The article discusses the violence and crime, including the effect on locals, including indigenous people. It says that the genetically modified Creepy species of cannabis now fetches farmers as much as 20 times more per pound than cocaine, making this “super weed” the crop of choice in the Triangle. It can sell for up to $1,800 per pound on the US market.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/inside-colombias-deadly-golden-triangle-where-guerrilla-dissidents-now-rule?ref=home

US: FORMER TRANSPORTATION EXECUTIVE CONVICTED IN NUCLEAR-ENERGY BRIBERY CASE

On 22nd November, the Wall Street Journal reported that Mark Lambert, 56, the former president of a Maryland transportation company was found guilty of participating in a scheme to bribe a unit of a Russian nuclear energy company.  He was accused of participating in a scheme to bribe Vadim Mikerin, a Russian official at a subsidiary of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation — the sole supplier and exporter of uranium — to secure business contracts. Mikerin pleaded guilty in 2015 to conspiracy to commit money laundering charges and was sentenced to 4 years in US federal prison.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/former-transportation-executive-convicted-in-nuclear-energy-bribery-case-11574468388

https://fcpablog.com/2019/11/25/jury-convicts-mark-lambert-on-fcpa-and-related-charges/

SPATE OF FIRES HAS SHIPPING INDUSTRY LOOKING AT HOW DANGEROUS GOODS ARE HANDLED

The Wall Street Journal on 24th November reported that a study has found that a large share of the dangerous-goods shipments on international cargo ships were mislabelled, improperly handled and carried other safety risks.  It says that vessel owners believe many of the fires are caused by potentially dangerous shipments being loaded without notice, and the investigation suggests there are significant gaps in how the goods are handled, from paperwork to onboard stowage.  It is said that cargo that could potentially ignite include charcoal, fertilizer, fish food, chlorine products and other chemicals, car batteries and electronic components. In addition, cargo that is not properly secured can shift at sea, creating heat from friction that can cause a fire.  Some shipping executives believe the rapid growth of e-commerce, which has led to more fragmented supply chains with more suppliers, and retailers with little experience in shipping regulations, contributes to the problem.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/spate-of-fires-has-shipping-industry-looking-at-how-dangerous-goods-are-handled-11574600400

THE 2019 EU DRUG MARKETS REPORT

On 25th November, the EU, European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and Europol launched this report.  The report is said to highlight the increasing importance of Europe both as market and a drug-producing region and trends along the drug supply chain from production and trafficking to distribution and sales.  It describes how the drug market has wide-ranging impacts on both the health and the security of EU citizens and underlines the need for a holistic approach to effective drug control policies.

http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/2019/drug-markets

INVESTIGATION INTO CORRUPTION IN KYRGYZ CUSTOMS SERVICE SPURS PROTESTS

On 25th November, OCCRP reported that nearly a thousand people marched peacefully in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek on Monday in a protest response to publication of the outcome of an investigation that revealed that a secretive Uighur family had for years been smuggling goods from China into Kyrgyzstan and onward to other countries.  The profits they made with the help of corrupt customs officials were then channelled out of the country.  Rferl reported that the protesters demanded the arrest of a powerful customs official who is alleged to have provided cover for the activities.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/11181-investigation-into-corruption-in-kyrgyz-customs-service-spurs-protests-in-bishkek

https://www.rferl.org/a/kyrgyz-demonstrations-over-alleged-customs-crimes/30290871.html

RUSSIA INVESTIGATES SPACE CENTRE CORRUPTION

On 25th November, OCCRP reported that Russian authorities have launched 2 criminal cases, after discovering the theft of at least $172 million of the $1.4 billion invested in the country’s new space centre – Cosmodrome Vostochny.  The cases are said to target management of a company that helped build the centre in Russia’s far east that is the country’s first civilian site for commercial space launches.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/11179-russia-investigates-space-center-corruption

ESTONIAN COURT’S RED TAPE HINDERS GRAFT CASE

On 25th November, OCCRP reported that 6 Estonian businessmen were freed from charges of money laundry, tax fraud and involvement of criminal organisation gang after 91 cancelled court hearings in a case begun by the tax department in 2011.  The 6 key suspects were arrested simultaneously in 2012.  It says that 91 court hearings out of 104 got cancelled – some due to suspects, for example, because of family vacations or health reasons – but mostly because of the court.  Sometimes the court could find judges, sometimes the prosecutor had health problems or the witness didn’t show up.  In dismissing the case, the court stated in the decision that the pre-litigation procedure lasted 5 years and 9 months and that the proceedings lasted 2 years and 8 months – a total of 7 years and 2 months, which was clearly too much.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/11176-estonian-court-s-red-tape-hinders-graft-case

2 SWISS BANKERS FINED OVER 1MDB DEALINGS

On 25th November, Swissinfo reported that 2 bankers who worked at Coutts private bank in Zurich have been fined by the Swiss authorities for failing to report suspicious transactions linked to the sovereign wealth fund 1MDB scandal.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/latest-news/1mdb-scandal_swiss-bankers-fined-over-1mdb-dealings/45390952

NEW ZEALAND TO REMOVE LOW-VALUE CONSIGNMENT RELIEF ON IMPORTS

On 25th November, Tax News reported that New Zealand is to introduce GST on low-value goods sold by overseas retailers from 1st December.  New Zealand GST (a version of VAT) will apply to those offshore businesses who supply at least NZ$60,000 of low-value goods (i.e. those worth up to NZ$1,000) per year. Customs will continue to collect duty and tax on imports by consumers valued at over $1,000.

https://www.tax-news.com/news/New_Zealand_To_Remove_LowValue_Consignment_Relief____97416.html

INDIA: 100 TORTOISES SEIZED FROM 2 PASSENGERS AT AIRPORT
On 25th November, the Times of India reported that customs officials seized around 100 tortoises from the suitcases of 2 passengers on a Sri Lankan Airlines flight.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/trichy/100-tortoises-seized-from-two-passengers-at-trichy-airport/articleshow/72209529.cms

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