4th December 2019
CITIBANK SENT 99% OF WESTPAC TRANSFERS THAT BREACHED AUSTRAC AML/CFT REQUIREMENTS
On 4th December, Regulation Asia reported that Citi is not under investigation, though AUSTRAC has criticised the bank for not providing sufficient information about the payments and the source of funds. It has been identified as one of the 4 correspondent banks in AUSTRAC’s filing against Westpac, the transactions coming from Citibank’s European arm, but Citibank was not responsible for the errors at Westpac that prevented the bank from reporting 19.4 million transfers.
UKRAINE PUTS FORMER FERREXPO CEO ON INTERNATIONAL WANTED LIST
On 3rd December, Reuters reported that Kostyantin Zhevago, the former CEO of London-listed iron pellet producer Ferrexpo , a former lawmaker and former beneficiary owner of Finance & Credit Bank, had been put on an international wanted list. He owns a stake of more than 50% in Ferrexpo and was appointed CEO in 2008. He denies any wrongdoing.
US: IPR CENTER SEIZES MORE THAN 1 MILLION ILLEGAL WEBSITES AHEAD OF CYBER MONDAY
A news release from US Customs and Immigration Enforcement on 2nd December announced that more than 1 million copyright-infringing domain names of commercial websites engaged in the illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and copyrighted works are now in custody of the federal government, as part of an ongoing IPR enforcement initiative targeting fake websites, named Operation In Our Sites.
NAVIGATING US EXPORT REGULATIONS
On 27th November, Aerospace Manufacturing and Design published an article saying that Many aerospace and defence products are subject to export regulations, including International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR), requiring compliance in technical data handling and access. In a concise summary, it says that the regulations ensure companies have tight control over all regulated technical data, including controlled unclassified information (CUI), and technical data can include file names, component descriptions, engineering drawings, specifications, test procedures, and bills of materials. It warns that ITAR and EAR regulations impact every tool and method of storing and accessing controlled technical data. It also warns that everything from handling printed drawings sitting on an engineer’s desk, to digital files on an internal file server, to uploaded data in an on-site system or a cloud application must be evaluated.
US DOJ OPEN TO RESTITUTION CLAIMS FROM BRIBERY VICTIMS
The Wall Street Journal reported that the DoJ wants to hear from companies or individuals who may have been victims of foreign bribery schemes and want restitution. This follows a New York court case where a federal judge in August ruled that former investors in an African mine were victims of a bribery scheme by the hedge fund Sculptor Capital Management Ltd. The DoJ said that Sculptor should pay at least $150 million to the investors.
US: BANKS NO LONGER REQUIRED TO SUBMIT SAR ON HEMP GROWERS
On 3rd December, the Wall Street Journal reported that banks are no longer required to file suspicious activity reports on customers who cultivate hemp, US industry regulators said, after a group of financial regulators clarified the compliance requirements for banks whose customers produce hemp. FinCEN made the announcement along with the Federal Reserve, the FDIC, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors. But a federal ban remains in effect on marijuana, a cannabis product that contains increased levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and hence an SAR would still be required.
WILL WE SEE THE FIRST PROSECUTIONS FOR FAILURE TO PREVENT THE FACILITATION OF TAX EVASION IN 2020?
On 4th December, an article from Bird & Bird says that corporate criminal offences of failing to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion, under the Criminal Finances Act 2017 came into force on 30th September 2017. However, to date no prosecutions have been brought by HMRC. Investigations are ongoing at the moment but we do not know how advanced they might be. The article refers to the “reasonable preventative procedures” HMRC says that a business should have and the 6 principles involved. The article says that such procedures are essential, and businesses should review and update them.
THE EU EUROPEAN BORDER AND COAST GUARD AGENCY’S REINFORCED MANDATE NOW IN FORCE
On 4th December, it was reported that the EU Regulation has come into force providing for the operational capacity and powers needed to effectively support the 115,000 Member States’ officers on the ground. Starting from January 2021, it will be equipped with its own standing corps of border guards ready to be deployed wherever and whenever needed. The standing corps should reach its full capacity of 10,000 border guards by 2024.
ALGERIAN CORRUPTION TRIAL OF 2 EX-PRIME MINISTERS BEGINS
On 4th December, the Washington Post reported that Ahmed Ouyahia, who was forced out as prime minister in March as protests against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika escalated, and his predecessor Abdelmalek Sellal, are facing trial in Algiers. They, 2 former industry ministers and several businessmen are charged with “corruption and the misappropriation of public funds” and both deny any wrongdoing.
FORMER JAPANESE SCIENCE MINISTRY EXECUTIVE SENTENCED TO SUSPENDED SENTENCE OVER A BRIBERY CASE RELATED TO THE JAPAN AEROSPACE EXPLORATION AGENCY (JAXA)
On 4th December, Jiji Press reported that former Japanese science ministry executive Kazuaki Kawabata was sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for 3 years.
TRANSPORTED ASSET PROTECTION ASSOCIATION HAS CALLED ON THE EU COMMISSION TO WORK WITH IT OVER RECORD LEVELS OF VEHICLE CARGO THEFT
On 4th December, Loadstar reported called from TAPA which has developed its own Parking Security Requirements (PSR), which it claims would support the development of the EU Commission’s offering. In the first 11 months of 2019, the TAPA Incident Information Service recorded more than 3,500 cargo thefts from trucks parked in unclassified parking locations in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa) region.
REVISED DRAFT GUIDANCE ON ECONOMIC SUBSTANCE IN THE CAYMAN ISLANDS
On 4th December, Appleby published an article saying that, on 20th November, the Cayman Islands issued revised and enhanced guidance on the economic substance requirements that apply to entities in the jurisdiction. It says that the enhancements made reflect an intelligent and business minded response to industry input so far, and a meaningful commitment to absorbing the new global regime, applicable to all reputable and familiar financial centres, in a sensible and practical way.
UN DEMANDS FULL COMPLIANCE WITH LIBYA EMBARGO AFTER REPORT DESCRIBES BREACHES
Janes.com on 4th December reported that the UN Security Council had released a statement demanding total compliance with an arms embargo on war-torn Libya, amid concerns of multiple violations by Jordan, Turkey and UAE.
THE FIFTH MONEY LAUNDERING DIRECTIVE COMES INTO FORCE ON 10TH JANUARY – FIRMS WILL NEED TO BE READY
Travis Smith has issued a short briefing saying that the new rules come into operation soon, and firms must ensure that their preparations are in place. The article lists the main points that firms should be aware of.
IRISH REVENUE PUBLISHES LIST OF TAX DEFAULTERS
On 3rd December, the Revenue Commissioners advised that it had released the latest list of tax defaulters.
DENMARK COURT FINDS 3 MEN GUILTY FOR BUYING DRONES FOR IS
On 28th November, Associated Press reported that a Copenhagen court has found 3 men (2 being Danish) guilty of buying drones and components on behalf of the Islamic State group, and meant to be used in combat actions in Syria and Iraq. They bought hobby planes, drones and thermal cameras as well as components, tools and accessories between 2013 and 2017, with the items shipped to Syria.
SPAIN: ILLEGAL BOMB FACTORY AND ARMS DUMP UNCOVERED BY GUARDIA CIVIL
On 3rd December, Euro Weekly reported one of Spain’s biggest-ever seizures of home-made explosive devices. In total, 17 bombs, materials to make many more, 26 firearms, bulletproof vests, silencers and more than 2,800 cartridges were found. The location was fully equipped with for the manufacture of improvised explosive devices, as well as for the handling of firearms and the manufacturing of ammunition. More than 30 kg of different chemical substances used to make explosives and laboratory material (test tubes, flasks, precipitation containers, etc) used to manufacture them were also seized. The man arrested renovated Eastern European weapons received in the mail in poor condition to make them fully operational.
US PROPOSES 100% DUTIES ON FRENCH IMPORTS IN RESPONSE TO FRANCE’S DIGITAL TAX
King & Spalding on 4th December published an article saying that the Office of the United States Trade Representative has posted a Notice announcing that it was proposing tariffs of up to 100% on 63 types of goods imported from France worth approximately $2.4 billion. The list includes cheese, champagne, cosmetics, china and porcelain articles, and handbags. The USTR found that the French 3% Digital Service Tax (which became law in July) discriminates against US companies, and is unreasonable insofar as it diverges in several respects from norms reflected in the US tax system and the international tax system.
FUGITIVE MOLDOVAN TYCOON “HAS SECOND IDENTITY”
On 4th December, Rferl reported claims that a fugitive Moldovan tycoon and former leader of Moldova’s Democratic Party, who is wanted for alleged money laundering, was issued a second set of identity papers under a different name last year. It is reported that Vlad Plahotniuc also had a passport under the name of Vladislav Vladimir Novak.
PANAMA: NEW BILL TO AMEND AML/CFT LAW APPROVED
On 4th December, El Capital Financiero reported that a plenary session of the National Assembly had approved a new law to create a new autonomous AML/CFT body that would co-ordinate with the country’s FIU, oversee, regulate and supervise AML/CFT controls and recommend changes to the country’s AML/CFT legislation. This might be seen as part of legal reforms being implemented before the next assessment of Panama by the OECD in June 2020, and by the FATF-style regional body, GAFILAT, in February 2021. The OECD has said that there are still unresolved challenges in ensuring the availability of accounting information and information on actual beneficiaries. It is reported that Law 52 of 2016 on Accounting Records is to be suitably amended, to ensure that resident agents have available information from their clients. Other changes would impact on the activities carried out by lawyers as resident agents, the Colon Free Zone and the construction sector, with amendments of Law 23 of 27 April 2015 which is concerned with AML measures. La Prensa reported that once the regulations proposed by the Executive were approved, the country’s plan is to request the OECD to conduct a technical evaluation of Panama to validate progress before the time comes for the formal review.
US IMPOSES TRAVEL BAN SANCTIONS ON FORMER GUATEMALAN MINISTER
A news release from the US State Department on 3rd December advised that it had designated former Guatemalan Minister of Communications, Infrastructure, and Housing Alejandro Sinibaldi due to his involvement in significant corruption, being said to have engaged in and benefitted from public corruption in relation to his official duties. He is now a fugitive from justice. When so designated, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the US.
PODCAST: PROTECTING WILDLIFE FROM POACHERS IN AFRICA
In the latest TRACE podcast, Kevin Chapla, a Civil Affairs Officer with the US Army, discusses the work his team has done with foreign governments and civilian populations to reduce the poaching and trafficking of wildlife in Central Africa.
AUSTRALIAN PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE INVESTIGATES POSSIBLE MAGNITSKY-STYLE HUMAN RIGHTS SANCTIONS LAW
On 4th December, a news release from the Parliament of Australia advised that a joint standing committee had announced a new parliamentary inquiry which will examine whether Australia should adopt legal measures to impose sanctions upon individuals who commit gross human rights abuses. The inquiry will focus upon Australia’s current sanctions laws regarding human rights abuses worldwide, how these laws are currently enforced and comparing them to other jurisdictions to determine if and how Australia may be able to strengthen its laws and approach to combatting to international human rights abuses. Submissions to the committee are invited.
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