Once again off on (even longer) travels, and coping with even slower wifi etc, so what passes for normal service may suffer for the next few days, at least…
11 December 2019
US sanctions against 3 Cypriot companies
On 11 December, In Cyprus reported on the listing by OFAC of companies affiliated with Slobodan Tesic who was among the biggest dealers of arms and munitions in the Balkans and spent nearly a decade on the UN Travel Ban List for violating UN sanctions against arms exports to Liberia.
Malaysia Intercepts 2 Merchant Ships With Sanctions Connections
On 10 December, Maritime Executive reported that the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) took action against 2 ships said to have been involved in trade with Iran and North Korea. One fled Malaysian waters – the Chinese-owned VLCC Silvana III, which is on the OFAC sanctions list for involvement with Iran – after the MMEA attempted to board it. Recently, the Vietnamese product tanker Viet Tin 01, which may have violated UN sanctions on North Korea, was found seemingly abandoned and was boarded and taken over by the MMEA.
WORLD BANK GROUP ISSUES ANNUAL REPORT ON MISCONDUCT IN PROJECTS FINANCED BY THE WORLD BANK
On 10 December, King & Spalding published an article saying that the World Bank Group had issued its second joint Sanctions System Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2019, which addresses the World Bank’s efforts to investigate and adjudicate allegations of misconduct in projects financed by the World Bank. The article provides a brief overview of the World Bank Group’s Sanctions System, followed by a discussion of the key highlights from the report. The World Bank completed 47 investigations, imposed temporary suspensions on 34 firms and individuals, and formally sanctioned 53 entities, including through settlements. There are 5 possible sanctions: Debarment, Debarment with Conditional Release, Conditional Non-Debarment, Public Letter of Reprimand, and Restitution.
SERBIA MUST MEET FATF STANDARDS FOR EU ACCESSION
A news release from the EU Commission on 10 December was concerned with the eleventh meeting of the Accession Conference with Serbia at Ministerial level held in Brussels. The meeting was told that the chapter on the free movement of capital may only be provisionally closed once it is agreed by the EU that 2 benchmarks have been met, one of which is that, in respect of AML/CFT, Serbia completes the necessary legislative alignment with the EU acquis (i.e. EU law and legislation), FATF international standards and demonstrates, through a track record, an improved administrative capacity to properly implement and enforce the relevant legislation in all areas of AML, including recommendations made by MONEYVAL, resulting in an increasing effectiveness of monitoring, supervision, financial intelligence, investigation, prosecution and conviction.
NEW EU REGULATION AND SANCTIONS LIST FOR DRC SANCTIONS
On 10 December, EU Regulation 2019/2101/EU, which implements Regulation 1183/2005/EC, renewed EU sanctions on those persons subject to certain specific restrictive measures directed against persons acting in violation of the arms embargo with regard to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 2 names have been removed from the list of those designated. Council Decision 2019/2109/CFSP also amended the original Council Decision to allow for the processing of personal data by the EU under GDPR for the purposes of the sanctions.
SEC CHARGES 2 EXECUTIVES WITH CREATING FICTITIOUS REVENUE AT BRANDS COMPANY
On 11 December, Accountancy Daily reported that former Iconix CEO Neil Cole and former chief operating officer Seth Horowitz allegedly devised a fraudulent scheme to create fictitious revenue to seemingly make substantial company profits. They are also alleged to have deleted emails and caused Iconix to make false and misleading statements in response to the SEC. The SEC separately charged Iconix with fraud.
Anti-human Trafficking Compliance Guidance for US Government Contractors
On 10 December, Ropes & Gray produced an article saying that in October the US Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum to support agency compliance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation’s anti-human trafficking compliance requirements. The memorandum describes risk management best practices and mitigating factors for federal officials to take into account when working with contractors and, although directed to personnel at executive departments and agencies, it provides helpful guidance for legal and compliance personnel at government contractors.
NEW MEXICO MAN CHARGED OVER ALLEGED LONG-RUNNING PONZI SCHEME
A release on Mondo Visione on 11 December reported that the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission had announced it has filed a civil enforcement action against Douglas Lien (Westend Investments) of Santa Fe charging him with fraud and failing to register with the CFTC. It is reported that, since at least 2002, Lien solicited and accepted funds from friends and acquaintances for the purpose of trading commodity futures contracts.
EU Common Rules on the Control of Exports of Military Technology and Equipment: Council Adopts new Decision, Conclusions and a Revised User’s Guide
Steptoe & Johnson on 9 December published an article which says that the new Council Decision takes account of the developments at EU and international level since the adoption of the original 2008 Common Position. It is accompanied by other documents, including an updated User’s Guide to Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP defining common rules governing the control of exports of military technology and equipment. It highlights the amended Decision says that that each Member State is encouraged to reassess export licenses for items on the EU Common Military List after they have been granted if/when new information becomes available.
HSBC PRIVATE BANK $192 MILLION PENALTIES FOR AIDING US TAX EVASION
It is reported that HSBC’s private bank will pay $192 million in penalties and admit that it helped U.S. customers conceal more than $1 billion in assets from tax authorities between 2000 and 2010 as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with the DoJ. HSBC’s activities have also been under investigation in France, Belgium, Argentina, India and Spain, and in 2018, it warned it could face penalties up to $1.5 billion, it is reported. The $192 million figure includes $71.8 million in revenue that must be forfeited, stemming from fees earned from handling the undeclared accounts.
PODCAST: COMPANY AUDITS UNDER FRANCE’S SAPIN II LAW
In the latest TRACE podcast, Olivier Catherine, Group General Counsel of Sonepar in Paris, describes in detail the company’s experience as the first to complete an audit by the French Anticorruption Agency (AFA), from the initial letter launching the review through the Sanctions Committee’s dismissal of all claims.
OFAC ADDS 1 INDIVIDUAL, 5 ENTITIES AND 2 VESSELS TO IRAN SANCTIONS; AMENDING OTHER ENTRIES RELATING TO MAHAN AIR AIRLINERS
On 11 December, OFAC advised that 1 individuals, 5 companies (1 Hong Kong, 1 Omani, 1 Chinese and 2 UAE) and 2 Iran-flagged vessels were added to sanctions lists. The same news release also advised additional information relating to numerous airliners.
WHY THE UGANDA FIU IS FAILING
On 11 December, KYC 360 reported that 6 years after being established to monitor, investigate, and prevent money laundering, financing of terrorism in Uganda and related activities, Uganda Financial Intelligence Authority (UFIA), is struggling – as Uganda continues to lose at least $1 billion in revenue each year to Illicit Financial Flows (IFF), corruption and money laundering activities. The UFIA poor performance is put down to a lack of specialised financial expertise, lack of resources and poor coordination among justice departments such as police, courts and other relevant entities.
US IMPOSES TRAVEL BAN ON OFFICIALS FROM SAUDI ARABIA, PARAGUAY AND RUSSIA
On 11 December, the EU Sanctions Blog reported that the US State Department had imposed a ban on several individuals and their family members are ineligible for entry into the US –
- Mohammed al Otaibi, former Consul General of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul, in connection with the Khashoggi murder;
- Aslan Iraskhanov, Head of the Ministry of Interior Affairs for Grozny in the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation; and
- Former President of Paraguay’s judicial disciplinary board and Senator, Oscar Gonzalez Daher, and former Attorney General, Javier Diaz Veron.
OFAC designates Iran’s Armed Forces General Staff and 9 individuals who are appointees of, or have acted for or on behalf of Iran’s Supreme Leader
On 11 December, OFAC announced, on the fortieth anniversary of the Iran Hostages crisis, the listing of a number of individuals including Ebrahim Raisi, the head of Iran’s Judiciary; Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani, the Supreme Leader’s Chief of Staff; and Iran’s Armed Forces General Staff (AFGS), the most senior military body in Iran.