30th November 2019
SOUTH KOREA REVIEWS EXPORT SCREENING
On 30th November, Nikkei Asia Review reported that South Korea is expanding its screening team for strategic exports by 50% to 45 members with effect from 1st January, in response to Japanese concerns that chipmaking chemicals shipped to the country were being leaked for military use. Japan has concerns that its materials exports to South Korea are being leaked to countries like North Korea, where they are being used for military purposes.
HONG KONG CUSTOM AUTHORITIES SEIZE 540 TONNES OF SMUGGLED FROZEN MEAT
On 29th November, Republic World (and others) reported that Hong Kong customs had seized nearly 540 tonnes of suspected smuggled frozen meat in the largest such seizure in the last 10 years. The seizure was made on 4 fishing vessels. It is noted that, after the outbreak of swine flu fever among the pigs of China, meat prices in the country have hit a record time high, making meat smuggling more profitable than any other time in the past.
BOTSWANA IMPLEMENTING ITS AML/CFT STRATEGY
On 30th November, the Journal du Cameroun reported that Botswana has begun to implement the National Strategy to combat Money Laundering; Combat an Act of Terrorism; Combat Financing of Proliferation of Arms of War, Biological and Chemical Weapons which was approved by Cabinet in October.
SRI LANKAN COASTGUARD ARRESTS 3 INDIANS WITH 1 TONNE OF BEEDI LEAVES – 50 TONNES SEIZED SO FAR THIS YEAR
On 13th November, Customs Today reported that 3 Indian nationals have been apprehended with a large consignment of Beedi leaves during a joint operation conducted by the Sri Lanka Navy and Coast Guard. This year alone, the Navy has recovered nearly 50 tonnes of beedi leaves from operations carried out at sea and on the shore. Beedi leaves are tobacco used to make thin cigarettes or cigars commonly smoked in India, as well as elsewhere in South Asia and the Middle East.
US CUSTOMS CRACKDOWN ON FORCED LABOUR IMPORTS
An article in the latest edition of US Customs and Border Protection’s “Frontline” magazine warns importers to be watchful about the source of their merchandise, saying that importers receive their commodities at the end of long supply chains that can originate anywhere in the world — in many cases regions where oversight is lax or even non-existent. Giving (often scary) examples, the article concedes that, for lots of merchandise and agricultural products, tracing supply chains to suspected forced labour can be challenging. In many cases the chain ends at a legitimate producer who buys raw material possibly moved through multiple countries to hide the supply trail. Other times, products are fabricated by several subcontractors, making it difficult for importers to know if forced labour played a role in their business – like a river fed by tributaries upon tributaries, there’s often no single source, it says. While victims can be found almost anywhere — even in the US, it says — most of the indentured work is found in Asia, Africa and Latin America. 75 countries, including China, Russia, Thailand and India, are among the nations where forced labour exists, according to the US Department of Labor. Anyone can report suspicious shipments to the port director or the commissioner or through the e-allegation portal at https://eallegations.cbp.gov
BRAZIL COURT REVOKES ARREST WARRANT FOR FORMER PARAGUAY PRESIDENT
On 29th November, Agencia Brasil reported that the Brazilian courts had revoked the arrest warrant for Horacio Cartes, the former president of Paraguay, that stemmed from a operation linked to the massive Operation “Car Wash” corruption investigation.
THE GROWING DIVIDE BETWEEN ISRAELI AND INTERNATIONAL COURTS ON THE STATUS OF ISRAELI SETTLEMENTS IN THE WEST BANK
An article on Lawfare on 27th November examined 2 judgments handed down just days apart — one by the Israeli Supreme Court and the other by the European Court of Justice — which highlight a growing jurisprudence divide between Israeli and international courts on the status of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The Israeli Supreme Court continues to maintain the constitutionality of laws equating boycotts of settlements to boycotts of the country as a whole, but the ECJ ruled that settlement products must be labelled clearly, so that consumers can make an informed choice on whether to buy them. It also notes that Israeli law bans BDS activists from the country (BDS is the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel) and that a 2011 law imposes civil tort liability and various administrative sanctions on boycott activists, including allowing the government to deny activists certain subsidies and to bar them from obtaining government contracts.
EU FOLLOWS US LEAD ON AML CONTROLS FOR CRYPTOCURRENCIES: KEY DIFFERENCES IDENTIFIED
On 30th November, an article in the Coin Telegraph said that in January 2020, the regulatory landscape for crypto businesses will completely change in the EU in comparison with the last decade, as the 5th Money Laundering Directive shall be transposed into the national legislation of each EU Member State by 10th January. It notes that it was in 2013 that FinCEN in the US introduced an interpretive guidance for cryptocurrency industry participants, mainly exchangers and administrators. The article poses 2 questions – what should we learn from this long-standing experience? What should we expect from the regulation of the EU market as compared to the US? It then identifies the key differences between the AML controls in the US and the EU.
US CUSTOMS SEIZE FAKE GOODS WORTH MORE THAN $95 MILLION AHEAD OF BLACK FRIDAY WEEKEND
On 30th November, Illicit Trade reported that customs officers in Louisville, Kentucky seized 164 shipments of fake items worth more than $95 million in the 3-month period leading up to the Black Friday weekend, including fake designer bags, jewellery, shoes and sunglasses. All the seized items were produced in China and were on their way to recipients in the New York area.
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