Happy Christmas – it isn’t Christmas here yet, but then many (most) people celebrate on Christmas Eve (they do here) rather than on the Day itself.  And Happy Holidays and Happy Hanukkah to those not of a Christian persuasion.

24 December 2019

New US Act adds to sanctions regimes

On 23 December, a Kharon Brief was concerned with the National Defense Authorization Act, now signed by the President, and which  included provisions that added sanctions and new compliance requirements across an array of programmes. It includes sanctions on companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, additional measures on those interacting with the Syrian government, expanded authorities against North Korea, and limitations on removing Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. from a US export control list, among others. Many provisions also require additional reporting to Congress by executive agencies. 

OFAC New FAQ Relating to Sanctions against Russia

On 23 December, Cadwalader Cabinet published an Alert about a new FAQ concerning implementation of sanctions related to 2 Russia-related pipeline projects. New FAQ 815 concerns the implementation of sanctions under Section 7503(d) (“Wind-down Period”) provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act, which became effective on December 20. It affects  parties that have knowingly sold, leased, or provided vessels that are engaged in pipe laying at depths of 100 feet or more below sea level for the construction of Nord Stream 2 or Turkstream pipelines.

Manila Vice: Xi and Duterte grapple with online casino crime

On 24 December, Nikkei Asian Review reported that China wants to kill thriving industry in the Philippines, while the Philippines aims to tame it.   The dramatic rise of online casinos has brought the Philippines big money, it says – and fueled a crime wave that Beijing wants to stop and Manila would like to tame.  Now, the involvement of Chinese law enforcement is turning up the heat.

Germany Says New Rule Requiring Receipts Fights Tax Fraud 

On 24 December, KYC 360 reported that a new rule taking effect on 1 January will require shops to provide a receipt for every purchase, a change that critics fear will result in vast amounts of paper being wasted.  The rule aims to combat the evasion of VAT, and requires tamper-proof cash tills.

Swiss unit of HSBC pays more than $190 million for helping clients evade US taxes for more than a decade 

In its latest newsletter, ACFCS reported on a deferred prosecution agreement with the US DoJ.  It is said that the arrangements involved numbered accounts, offshore secrecy havens and secret trips to South Florida.  HSBC Switzerland admitted that between 2000 and 2010 it conspired with its employees, third-party and wholly owned fiduciaries, and US clients to evade taxes, eventually amassing undeclared assets worth more than $1 billion.

Monetary Authority of Singapore Commences Consultation on Digital Payment Tokens and e-Money

On 23 December, Crowdfund Insider reported that a new Act provides the guidelines for the regulation of new forms of payments including digital tokens or cryptocurrency, with now a public consultation to garner information and feedback from interested parties.

Tanzania charges rights activist with economic crimes

On 24 December, Swissinfo reported that a Tanzanian human rights activist was charged with economic crimes amid growing concerns from rights groups and foreign governments over a crackdown on dissent.  Tito Magoti, a lawyer with the Dar es Salaam-based Legal and Human Right Centre (LHRC) and Theodory Giyan, an IT expert at a private company, were both charged. Prominent investigative journalist Erick Kabendera was charged with similar economic crimes in August and remains in detention, while another journalist, Azory Gwanda, went missing in late 2017.

Greek Court Suspends Extradition of Russian Bitcoin Laundering Suspect

On 24 December, Greek Reporter said that the extradition of Alexander Vinnik to France where he is sought on money laundering charges has been temporarily suspended by the Greek Council of State, the country’s highest court.  Vinnik, dubbed “Mr. Bitcoin”, who was arrested in northern Greece in July 2017, is sought by the United States, France and Russia, all of which have issued arrest warrants. He wants to be extradited to Russia, and is currently hospitalised in Athens under guard, with health problems resulting from an earlier hunger strike.

Amendments to UK firearms regulations

Home Office Circular 010/2019 advised of changes to regulations affecting firearm sin the UK, including particulars to be entered by firearms dealers into their register of transactions in order to reflect new marking requirements for firearms and essential component parts; and notification of certain deactivated firearms held in the UK and their transfer.  The changes, being made to implement an EU Directive, took effect from 12 December.

Paraguay Audits Local Crypto Industry to Prepare for FATF-Style Regulations

On 24 December, Coindesk reported that the Secretary for Preventing Money and Property Laundering (SEPRELAD) had announced a nationwide crypto survey.  Every one of Paraguay’s virtual asset service providers (VASP) was directed to open their books to the government for the first time, with the self-reported information due on 20 December.

China confirms arrest of 122 of its citizens in Nepal in connection with Internet fraud

On 24 December, Prensa Latina reported that China confirmed that a joint operation with Nepal led to the arrest of 122 Chinese men and women linked to an internet fraud network.

International arrest warrant thwarts former prime minister Soro’s return to Côte d’Ivoire

RFI on 24 December reported that authorities in Côte d’Ivoire have issued an international arrest warrant against former prime minister Guillaume Soro accusing the 47-year-old of attempting to undermine the government, embezzling public funds and laundering money worth more than €2 million.  15 of his supporters, including advisor Alain Lobognon, were also said to have been detained on separate charges. It is said that Soro was in Spain and was expected to travel to France. After the 2007 peace deal, he served as prime minister between 2007 and 2012, and was then Speaker of the National Assembly until 2019.  In October, he announced his intention to run for the October 2020 presidential polls.

Vehicle documents drivers need to legally cross international borders in a UK-registered vehicle

On 24 December, updated information from the Department for Transport and others was provided in a guide about the main documents you will need as a driver to make sure that your vehicle is legally able to cross international borders.


On24 December, Kenneth Rijock in his blog has reproduced the Red Notice filed by the US for British “businessman” residing in Canada, Timothy Durkin, accused of leading a $4.9 million Ponzi scheme, involving a bogus arbitrage computer program, and who has been contesting his extradition from British Columbia.

US: all Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT)  members will need to comply with updated minimum security criteria by January 2020

On 24 December, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that, in addition to the major update in May, US Customs and Border Protection has informed CTPAT members that they must have a code of conduct in place, and that members must initiate their own internal investigation of a security breach as soon as they are aware of the incident.  CBP has also developed additional criteria for sea carrier members.

Insolvency Tools to Support Cross-Border Asset Recovery in Corruption Cases

On 3 December, the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (a World Bank and UNODC joint project) published a nnew book, Insolvency Tools to Support Cross-Border Asset Recovery in Corruption Cases.  It is intended to set out a step-by-step guide for asset recovery practitioners on the use of insolvency proceedings in recovering corruption proceeds.  Using case studies, it outlines the procedures associated with insolvency actions, explores the challenges associated with this approach, and provides practical methods for various strategic and technical concerns.


Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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