Apologies, still away…
12 December 2019
Consultation to amend Dutch AML laws
On 9 December, an article from advised that the Dutch Minister of Finance and Minister of Justice and Security has published a consultation document containing plans to amend Dutch AML laws and regulations. A short summary of the plans is set out is the article. They include information-sharing changes, and a lowering of the limit on cash purchases from traders in high-value goods to €3,000.
The consultation, which closes on 14 January, is at –
UK: Fourth AML Directive – the current roadmap and possible changes to the AML landscape 2 years on
On 7 November, Kingsley Napley published an article saying that while underlying issues remain the same, there are stirrings that this could be about to change.
US quietly drops 2 more prosecutions linked to Trump Iran prisoner swap
On 12 December, Politico reported that federal prosecutors have dropped criminal charges against 2 more individuals linked to a prisoner swap deal with Iran announced by the Trump administration – those for scientists Mahboobe Ghaedi and Maryam Jazayeri. Both women were co-defendants with Masoud Soleimani, a renowned Iranian stem-cell researcher who was arrested last year in the US on charges of arranging the export of human growth factors to his home country – charges against him had already been dropped. The arrest had faced criticism, the materials involved being said to be “innocuous” and only acquired in the US because they were cheaper there.
Bangladesh FIU issues guidelines to check trade-based money laundering
On 12 December, New Age reported that the FIU will give top priority to capital flights through overseas trade to check the high risk of money laundering, as the Guidelines for the Prevention of Trade Based Money Laundering finalised by BIFU on 10 December. The FIU directed all banks to prepare their own plans to implement the guidelines by March 10.
Russia claims money laundering crackdown has halved suspicious cash operations
Reuters on 12 December reported that suspicious cash withdrawals in Russia have fallen 52% in the last 9 months, according to the Rosfinmonitoring head. Speaking in the Duma, he said that despite improvements he had concerns about ever-increasing shadow cash collection schemes in Russia sometimes abused by large retail chains, car dealerships, wholesale and retail markets.
Taiwan charges 15 in corruption scandal at the country’s main airport
Taiwan News on 12 December reported that a former head of engineering and 14 others were charged with corruption involving the building of Terminal 2 at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. The investigation started rolling in 2016 after reports of the poor state of the building.
Art Forgery Is Easier Than Ever, and It is a Great Way to Launder Money
An article on KYC 360 (reproduced from Vice), says that it is the third highest-grossing criminal trade in the world over the last 40 years, according to the US DoJ and UNESCO, just behind drugs and weapons. Critics contend there’s low incentive to catch criminals and that, in some cases, alleged victims may benefit from being in on the con.
SWIFT Fraud On the Rise
On 12 December, KYC 360 reported that, according to a new report, the problem of SWIFT fraud may be more widespread and dangerous than originally thought. The report’s authors surveyed 200 banks worldwide and found that 4 in 5 of these banks had experienced at least one SWIFT fraud attempt since 2016, and the problem appears to be growing on an annual basis. 2 out of 3 banks said that SWIFT cybercrime had increased since the Bangladesh Bank incident of 2016. One problem is that “insider risk” is on the rise. It is also said that, while the problem of SWIFT fraud is worldwide, the problem appears to be particularly acute in the Asia-Pacific region.
The European Medical Cannabis Association
On 12 December, EurActiv published an article about the European Medicinal Cannabis Association (EUMCA), the newly formed (in November) Brussels-based industry body, represents the interests of ethical companies working in the supply and manufacturer of medicinal cannabis.
Arrests for smuggling migrants by leisure boats on Adriatic Sea by Greek and Italian authorities
On 12 December, a Eurojust news release reported that authorities arrested 8 suspects for the organised smuggling of irregular migrants across the southern Adriatic Sea, using small leisure boats. Approximately 140 migrants were transported since November 2018 until recently from the west of Greece via the Strait of Corfu to the southern Italian coast between Otranto and Lecce. Migrants, including minors under 13 years old, paid up to €6,000.
North Korean hackers working with East European cybercriminals
On 12 December, Defence Web carried an article about a recent report from a California organisation which says that the Lazarus Group – which US prosecutors accuse of organising the leak of emails from Sony Pictures and stealing millions of dollars from the Central Bank of Bangladesh – is accessing some victims through a cybercrime gang dubbed “TrickBot”. It is said that TrickBot operators were likely renting out services to the North Koreans or working on a commission basis.
Suitcase packed with money bursts open at Schiphol
NL Times on 12 December reported that a 30-year-old man from Albania was arrested at Schiphol on suspicion of money laundering after his cash-filled suitcase burst open at the airport. An unknown amount of cash was blown away by the strong wind, but the customs believes the suitcase contained around €50,000.
Swiss Art Dealer Wins Dismissal of Charges in Fight With Russian Mogul
On 12 December, BNN Bloomberg reported that Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier won an important victory in his feud with Russian billionaire client Dmitry Rybolovlev, after a Monaco judge threw out charges of fraud and money laundering. The dispute between the 2 men dates back to 2015, when Rybolovlev accused Bouvier of overcharging him by about $1 billion. The battle has been playing out in courts in Monaco, Paris, New York, London, Geneva and Singapore ever since.
WARNING ON VISA RESTRICTIONS FOR SOUTH SUDAN PEACE PROCESS SPOILERS
A news release from the US State Department said that the US will implement visa restrictions under the Immigration and Nationality Act against those who undermine or impede the peace process in South Sudan. Individuals who have directly or indirectly impeded peace including: violating a ceasefire or cessation of hostilities agreement; violating the UN arms embargo; engaging in corruption that fuels the conflict; suppressing freedoms of expression, association, peaceful assembly, or other abuses or violations; or by failing to abide by signed peace agreements may be subject to visa restrictions. Such visa restrictions could include immediate family members of these individuals.
WIFE OF BANKER INVOLVED IN APPEAL OF FIRST UK “McMAFIA” UNEXPLAINED WEALTH ORDER
On 12 December, the Daily Mail reported that Zamira Hajiyeva was the subject of the first UWO against 2 properties in the UK worth £22 million. Her challenge against the Order is being heard in the Court of Appeal in London.
Biodiesel company Greenergy no longer suspect in UK investigation
On 12 December, Reuters reported that the SFO has told road fuel supplier Greenergy that it and its employees are no longer suspects in an investigation into biodiesel trading at the company. It reported that the SFO said that searches had been conducted at 5 sites across Britain and additional sites in the Netherlands and Belgium and that 4 individuals had been arrested and released without charge.
Renewed calls from air cargo industry for governments to crack down on counterfeit, mis-labeled and non-compliant shipments introduced into the supply chain
On 12 December, Lloyds Loading List reported that IATA, in partnership with the Global Shippers Forum (GSF), the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) and the International Air Cargo Association (TIACA), are amplifying their efforts to ensure the safe air transport of lithium batteries. They are also renewing calls for governments to crack down on manufacturers of counterfeit batteries and of mis-labeled and non-compliant shipments introduced into the supply chain, by issuing and enforcing criminal sanctions on those responsible.
Gulf of Mexico Oil Industry Reeling From Hundreds of Pirate Attacks in 2019
On 12 December, Insight Crime carried an article said that the seizure of an Italian oil supply vessel by pirates in the Gulf of Mexico in November, was the latest in a series of hundreds of similar attacks seen across ships and oil platforms in Mexican waters. It also reported that Mexico has been seeing a staggering rise in attacks on maritime oil infrastructure. Now a new navy base base will serve specifically to fight piracy in Mexican waters – though the escalation of maritime piracy in Mexico has received comparatively little attention from the government, as opposed to the crackdown on land.
Guidance on How the Isle of Man Financial Services Authority Considers Proposed Company, Business and Domain Names Referred to it by the Companies Registry
On 12 December, the FSA issued this guidance to help those setting up a new company or business, or changing the name of an existing company or business, in identifying whether a proposed company, business or domain name is likely to be acceptable.
A compliance officer’s role and liability in France
On 10 December, Osborne Clarke published an article reminding one that the 2016 Sapin II law on transparency, the fight against bribery and the modernisation of the economy – requires larger companies (exceeding certain employee, corporate structure and revenue thresholds) and their executive to adopt an anti-bribery compliance programme. The operational implementation of the anti-bribery programme may be delegated to a compliance officer and the article looks at the question of the compliance officer’s liability under French law.
Deadlock at the WTO Appellate Body: No consensual way out in sight
A briefing from Baker McKenzie on 12 December was concerned with the period of uncertainty currently affecting the WTO dispute settlement system. This is because its Appellate Body is normally composed of 7 members but had only has 3, the minimum number to function. However, on 10 December, the mandates of 2 of the remaining Appellate Body members expired and the organisation will no longer be able to decide on appeals in trade disputes between WTO members, and the US currently maintains its position and will not agree on new Appellate Body members for the time being. Meantime the EU, Canada and Norway have already agreed on temporary alternative solutions. The briefing looks at the background, the current crisis and what (might) happen next.
OFAC ADDS 1 INDIVIDUAL AND 3 ENTITIES TO ITS NICARAGUA SANCTIONS
On 12 December, OFAC announced that Rafael Antonio ORTEGA MURILLO (aka. “Payo ORTEGA”) – the son of the Niraguan President, DNP PETRONIC, INVERSIONES ZANZIBAR and SERVICIO DE PROTECCION Y VIGILANCIA SA (aka “EL GOLIAT”) had been added to its sanctions lists. The companies are said to be owned or controlled, in whole or part, by Payo Ortega.