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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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