OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 28

28 January 2020

 

TECHNOLOGY COMPANY PAYS $145 MILLION IN US TO RESOLVE CASE INVOLVING ALLEGED KICKBACKS FOR HELPING INFLUENCE THE PRESCRIPTION OF OPIOID PAIN MEDICATIONS

On 28 January, the Wall Street Journal reported that Practice Fusion Inc of San Francisco reached an agreement with the DoJ for alleged violations of the Anti-Kickback Act.  The allegations included seeking a payment of nearly $1 million from one opioid company to create an alert in the electronic health records (EHR) software it developed.

 

NETANYAHU WITHDRAWS IMMUNITY REQUEST OVER CORRUPTION CHARGES

On 28 January, the Wall Street Journal reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dropped his bid for parliamentary immunity from prosecution, exposing him to a criminal case.  He was indicted in November on charges of relating to 3 corruption probes, making him the first Israeli prime minister to be criminally charged while in office.  Later, also on 28 January, it was reported that he had been formally indicted.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/israels-netanyahu-withdraws-immunity-request-over-corruption-charges-11580202673

https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/world/video-netanyahu-formally-indicted-on-corruption-charges

 

DEUTSCHE BANK’S PAYMENTS TO SAUDI ROYAL ADVISER UNDER SCRUTINY

On 28 January, KYC 360 referred to a FT report claiming that the bank’s Swiss-based wealth management division paid $1.1 million to secure lucrative business arrangements with a senior member of the Saudi royal family, sent in 4 instalments through an offshore company in the BVI that was owned by the wife of the Saudi royal’s financial adviser and created by Deutsche Bank’s subsidiary in Mauritius.  However, following the conclusion of a later internal investigation, 6 employees involved with the Saudi payments left the bank, some of whom went on to take senior roles at other banks.  The bank also suspended bonuses for 12 staff and reported 2 former Germany-based employees to criminal prosecutors in Frankfurt for suspected bribery and embezzlement – these challenged their dismissals, with one of the individuals winning and the other settling with the bank.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/deutsche-bank-investigated-over-payments-to-saudi-royals-financial-adviser/

https://www.ft.com/content/b203a806-3606-11ea-a6d3-9a26f8c3cba4

 

US $511 MILLION BIOFUEL FRAUD TRIALS CONTINUE

On 28 january, KYC 360 reported on continuing trials in Utah surrounding Washakie Renewable Energy, where it is claimed that the proceeds of a $511 million biofuel fraud were laundered in expensive homes, expensive cars and businesses in Turkey.  The alleged ringleader, Lev Aslan Dermen, has said he is innocent of the crimes, but other defendants have pleaded guilty – they being associated with a polygamous Utah-based religious sect.  The case also involved alleged bribery of a Belize official.  The fraud involved a federal biofuel programme, with the buying biofuel, instead of producing themselves, and then claiming a tax credit on that fuel.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/polygamy-bribes-luxury-cars-foreign-countries-and-a-511-million-biofuel-fraud/

 

UK: COVERTLY OBTAINED INFORMATION CANNOT BE DEPLOYED UNTIL ITS LEGITIMACY IS ESTABLISHED

A briefing from RPC on 28 January said that the Court of Appeal had recently affirmed the point that where a party has covertly obtained confidential information, any dispute as to the information’s confidentiality must be resolved before it can be deployed in civil proceedings.  The Respondent in the case had became concerned that something was wrong with a £23 million transaction he had entered into, and placed recording devices in the office of the other side’s in-house solicitor.  He then recorded approximately 40 hours of conversations, all of which were confidential and many of which were privileged, including conversations with their external solicitor.  The approach of the law is said to preserve the confidentiality of the material and upholds the broad equitable principle that a person who has received information in confidence should not be permitted to take unfair advantage of it.

https://www.internationallawoffice.com/Newsletters/Litigation/United-Kingdom/RPC/Covertly-obtained-information-cannot-be-deployed-until-its-legitimacy-is-resolved-1

 

PORTUGAL GOLDEN VISA GENERATES €4.8 BILLION IN INVESTMENT SINCE 2012

An article from Discus Holdings on 27 January reported that most investors chose the real estate property purchase option.

https://www.mondaq.com/Article/887326

 

US: MAN WHO SHIPPED GUN PARTS TO SWEDISH NAZIS GETS 7-PLUS YEARS

On 28 January, Republic World and others reported that a Washington State man, Hany Veletanlic, a 36-year-old Bosnian citizen,  convicted of gun crimes that included shipping firearm parts to neo-Nazis in Sweden has been sentenced to more than 7 years in prison.  Veletanlic labelled the items on customs forms as bicycle parts, and he used fake names and return addresses when he sent them.

https://www.republicworld.com/world-news/us-news/man-who-shipped-gun-parts-to-swedish-nazis-gets-7-plus-years.html

 

ASSESSING CHINA’S COMMERCIAL SPACE INDUSTRY

On 27 January, The Space Review carried an article saying that the closest competitor to the US in entrepreneurial space might be China. Dozens of start-ups have emerged in just the last few years, pursuing everything from launch vehicles to constellations of communications or remote sensing satellites, much like their US counterparts.  It says that a recent report found 78 companies in China that could be considered “commercial” space companies, and the article says that 45 were founded no earlier than 2015, evidence that the country’s space economy has only recently blossomed.

https://www.thespacereview.com/article/3872/1

 

INDIA: DIRECTOR GENERAL OF FOREIGN TRADE HAS BLACKLISTED TELECOM OPERATOR BHARTI AIRTEL ON THE GROUNDS OF NOT MEETING THE EXPORT OBLIGATIONS

On 28 January, NDTV and others reported that the DGFT had placed the company on the “Denied Entity” list, meaning it has lost its import/export licence(s).  Government sources said Airtel failed to fulfil export obligation under Export Promotion Capital Goods Scheme.  Under that scheme, the import of capital goods is allowed at zero customs duty for manufacturing goods and services.

https://www.ndtv.com/business/foreign-trade-regulator-puts-airtel-on-denied-entry-list-report-2171114

 

FRANCE: BANK OF CHINA SETTLES MONEY LAUNDERING CASE FOR $4 MILLION

On 28 January, Bloomberg Law reported that Bank of China Ltd has agreed to pay a total of €3.9 million to settle a French probe into allegations it turned a blind eye as customers moved millions to their Asian accounts without paying European taxes.  It is said that the case will continue against 28 business owners and intermediaries involved in transferring the funds to China.

https://news.bloomberglaw.com/banking-law/bank-of-china-settles-money-laundering-case-for-4-million-1

 

UK: EY WHISTLEBLOWER TAKES STAND IN GOLD BULLION MONEY LAUNDERING CASE

City AM on 28 January reported that Amjad Rihan, was an EY partner based in the firm’s Dubai office, and alleges he was forced out after he threatened to blow the whistle on a client of the firm whose behaviour led to serious money laundering concerns.

https://www.cityam.com/ey-whistleblower-takes-stand-in-gold-bullion-money-laundering-case/

 

LATVIA: ABLV BANK RAIDED AS PART OF €50 MILLION MONEY LAUNDERING INVESTIGATION

On 28 January, LSM.LV reported that law enforcement agencies conducted searches at the ABLV Bank building in Rīga in connection with suspicions that at least €50 million may have been laundered by the bank between 2015 and 2018.  The bank collapsed following US allegations that it was involved in money laundering on a grand scale.

https://eng.lsm.lv/article/society/crime/ablv-bank-raided-as-part-of-50-million-euro-money-laundering-investigation.a346380/

 

16834

https://www.statista.com/chart/16834/countries-and-territories-ranked-on-perceived-public-sector-corruption/

 

UK: NEW IMMIGRATION SYSTEM: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

On 28 January, the Home Office published a webpage on the new point-based system which the UK is introducing from 2021.  The page will be updated with the latest information about the new points-based immigration system as it becomes available, and those who might be affected are invited to register their email addresses for notification of future developments.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-immigration-system-what-you-need-to-know

 

BANK OF CHINA, BUYER OF IRISH BROKER, PAYS €3.9 MILLION FINE IN FRANCE OVER FRAUD

On 28 January, RTE reported that one of China’s top banks has agreed to pay €3.9 million to settle a fraud probe in France.  The Bank of China is buying Irish stockbroker Goodbody, confirmed the agreement, saying: “This principally concerns fund transfer activities of a Bank of China branch in China and has nothing to do with its Paris or other branches abroad”.

https://www.rte.ie/news/business/2020/0128/1111547-buyer-of-irish-broker-pays-3-9m-fine-over-fraud

 

FCA HAS NOT BROUGHT A SINGLE PROSECUTION UNDER NEW AML POWERS

City AM on 28 January reported that the FCA has not brought a single prosecution under new tougher criminal powers in the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 to combat money laundering, a freedom of information (FOI) request shows.  It says that the FCA has the power under the Regulations to criminally prosecute a person or organisation it suspects of not putting in place sufficient safeguards against money laundering.  The FCA said it was investigating people in connection with suspected criminal breaches of the regulations and is currently running 4 dual-track criminal/civil investigations into money laundering – 1 into an individual and 3 into firms; as well investigating offences that predated the Regulations.

https://www.cityam.com/fca-has-not-brought-a-single-prosecution-under-new-anti-money-laundering-powers

 

ANGOLA AND THE MONEY LAUNDERING PARADOX

On 28 January, an article from the Brookings Institute comments on the recent revelations about Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of Angola’s former president.  It says that what should raise eyebrows is the fact that dos Santos’ network — which covered 41 countries — managed to go undetected as long as it did, despite mainly operating in countries that are meant to have strong AML institutions designed to prevent, identify, and root out dirty money.  One of the basic tenets of AML policy is KYC and it seems that banks in the dos Santos network either didn’t know who they were dealing with, or didn’t ask the right questions as to where the money was coming from.  The author says that he investigated whether certain types of jurisdictions were more likely to be part of the network than others.  He says that his results reflect the paradox of money laundering institutions: the places that score well on indicators are actually the places where people want to keep illicit wealth.  They are places where money buys you nicer things, but, most importantly, they are places that allow money launderers to hide the origin of their assets under a sheen of legitimacy and respectability.

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2020/01/28/angola-and-the-money-laundering-paradox

 

IRELAND:  “PETRIFIED” BUSINESSMAN ADMITS BEING FRONTMAN FOR MASSIVE VAT “CAROUSEL FRAUD”

On 28 January, the Irish Independent reported that a businessman has consented to being disqualified as a company director after admitting being the front man for a massive VAT fraud involving the purchase of millions of euro worth of plant machinery.  Kevin Rabbitte is claiming another person, who he is “petrified” of and refuses to name, directed him and was behind the illegal operation.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/petrified-businessman-admits-being-frontman-for-massive-vat-carousel-fraud-38903280.html

 

BREXIT: MOVING BALAI DIRECTIVE ANIMALS, SEMEN AND EMBRYOS FROM 1 JANUARY 2021

On 28 January, a news release from DEFRA is concerned with the Balai Directive.  The Balai Directive (a 1992 EU Directive) tells you what to do if you need to move certain animals that are not traditional livestock and their germplasm (semen, ova and embryos). The changes result, as does much else, from Brexit.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/moving-balai-directive-animals-semen-and-embryos-from-1-january-2021

 

UK: FENTANYL SUPPLIER JAILED FOR 9 YEARS AFTER SELLING THE KILLER DRUG ON THE DARK WEB

On 28 January, the NCA issued a news release saying that a man who ran a dark web business selling the lethal drug fentanyl to customers across the UK and worldwide has been jailed for 9 years.  Justas Bieksa, 34, from Northampton, sold fentanyl, which is up to 100 times stronger than morphine, and its analogues carfentanyl and furanyl, which are around 10,000 times stronger.  He also sold ethyl-hexedrone crystals, a Class B drug commonly known as Hexen.

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/fentanyl-supplier-jailed-for-nine-years-after-selling-the-killer-drug-on-the-dark-web

 

HMRC: OPTIONS WHEN CUSTOMS SEIZES YOUR THINGS

On 28 January, a news release on UK.gov says that Customs will destroy or sell anything it seizes for breaking the rules on bringing or receiving goods from abroad, unless you ask for it back – you can do this even if you agree Customs was right to seize them; or you think Customs was wrong to seize the things – you will then have to go to court to challenge the seizure.  It provides links, and information on the seizure of cash and vehicles.

https://www.gov.uk/customs-seizures

 

SWITZERLAND’S ONLINE GAMBLING BLACKLIST IS GROWING AGAIN – TARGETS CURACAO

On 28 January, Calvin Ayre reported that Switzerland’s federal gaming board (ESBK) issued the latest updates to its list of internationally licensed online gambling domains that local ISP have to block.  The current update adds 35 domains to the list, bringing the total number to 145 since the most recent update last November.

https://calvinayre.com/2020/01/28/business/switzerland-online-gambling-blacklist-targeting-curacao/

 

EU LEADS EFFORT TO CREATE ALTERNATE TRADE COURT AS US PREPARES FOR WTO REFORM TALKS

On 27 January, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that more than a dozen WTO members have announced their own interim appeal arrangement. The move comes amid signals that the Trump administration is ready to discuss WTO reform, which could ultimately allow the Appellate Body to resume operations.

https://www.strtrade.com/news-publications-trade-appeal-court-WTO-reform-012720.html

 

ROMANIAN KINGPIN OF RARE BOOK THIEVES BEHIND BARS AFTER ARREST IN ITALY

A news release from Europol on 28 January advised that a 40-year-old Romanian national, who was wanted by the British authorities since June 2019, was arrested earlier this month in Turin.  He is said to have been behind the theft in 2017 of 260 antique books in the UK worth an estimated €2 million.  The 15 other members of the organisation to which he belonged were arrested earlier last year.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/romanian-kingpin-of-rare-book-thieves-behind-bars-thanks-to-italy

 

UK: PING CASE CONFIRMS OUTRIGHT ONLINE SALES BANS ARE UNLAWFUL

A briefing from Out-Law on 28 January says that agreements that prevent retailers selling manufacturers’ goods online in all circumstances are in breach of competition law, the Court of Appeal in London has said.  The Court upheld earlier decisions from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT).  The specific case involved the policy that prohibited Ping’s authorised dealers from selling its golf clubs online.

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/news/ping-case-outright-online-sales-bans-unlawful

 

RUSSIAN CYBERCRIME BOSS BURKOV PLEADS GUILTY

A post on the Krebs on Security blog site on 27 January said that Aleksei Burkov, described as “an ultra-connected” Russian hacker once described as “an asset of supreme importance” to Moscow, has pleaded guilty in a US court to running a site that sold stolen payment card data and to administering a highly secretive crime forum that counted among its members some of the most elite Russian cybercrooks.  He admitted to running CardPlanet, a site that sold more than 150,000 stolen credit card accounts, and to being the founder and administrator of DirectConnection — a closely guarded underground community that attracted some of the world’s most-wanted Russian hackers.

https://krebsonsecurity.com/2020/01/russian-cybercrime-boss-burkov-pleads-guilty/

 

 

HOW A NEW GERMAN ANTI-FRAUD ACT MAY FORCE COMPANIES TO INVESTIGATE THEMSELVES

On 27 January, Control Risk published an article saying that Germany’s proposed Association Sanctions Act may force companies to investigate themselves.  The Federal Ministry of Justice published a first draft of the “Association Sanctions Act” in August 2019.  The article says that, if implemented in its current form, associations headquartered in Germany – including corporations and enterprises – will, for the first time, be subject to criminal prosecution as legal persons – finally bringing German law into line with US and British counterparts in accepting that it is not just individuals, but also the culture and larger structural failings of a company that can produce malfeasance.

https://www.controlrisks.com/our-thinking/insights/upping-the-ante-on-fighting-fraud

EU ADDS 7 INDIVIDUALS TO ITS UKRAINE SANCTIONS LISTS – UK UPDATES CONSOLIDATED LIST

On 28 January, EU Regulation 2020/119/EU added 7 names to the sanctions list in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.  See also Council Decision 2020/120/CFSP.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/AUTO/?uri=uriserv:OJ.LI.2020.022.01.0001.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2020:022I:TOC

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/AUTO/?uri=uriserv:OJ.LI.2020.022.01.0005.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2020:022I:TOC

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/861514/Notice_Ukraine__Sovereignty__2020_119_.pdf

EU AMENDS ITS TUNISIA AND MALI SANCTIONS LISTS

EU RENEWS ITS TUNISIA SANCTIONS WITH AMENDED TARGET LIST

On 28 January, the EU published EU Regulation 2020/115/EU including an amended list of those designated, supplemented with information regarding the rights of defence and the right to effective judicial protection.  See also Council Decision 2020/117/CFSP

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2020.022.01.0001.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2020:022:TOC

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/AUTO/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2020.022.01.0031.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2020:022:TOC

 

EU AMENDS 5 ENTRIES ON MALI SANCTIONS LIST
on 28 January, EU Regulation 2020/116/EU amended 5 entries on the Mali sanctions list, following similar amendments made by the UN.  See also Council Decision 2020/118/CFSP.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2020.022.01.0025.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2020:022:TOC

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/AUTO/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2020.022.01.0055.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2020:022:TOC

THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 26/27

26 January 2020

NEW DATA REVEALS SCALE OF CHINESE ARMS INDUSTRY

On 26 January, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute published a new report which suggests that China is the second-largest arms producer in the world, behind the US but ahead of Russia and represents the most comprehensive picture of Chinese companies’ weapons production to date.  The 4 major Chinese arms companies chosen for the study can now finally be compared with the major arms companies from the rest of the world, and 3 of the companies would be ranked in the world top 10.  The largest of is Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), which with arms sales totalling $20.1 billion would rank 6th largest in the world. China North Industries Group Corporation (NORINCO), which would be 8th with sales of $17.2 billion, is in fact the world’s largest producer of land systems.

https://www.sipri.org/sites/default/files/2020-01/sipriinsight2002_0_0.pdf

 

US: STOPPING IMPORTS MADE WITH FORCED LABOUR IS PART OF NEW ANTI-TRAFFICKING STRATEGY

On 24 January, HKTDC in Hong Kong reported that interdicting imports of goods made with forced labour is one of the objectives of the US Department of Homeland Security’s recently released strategy for combating human trafficking. DHS states that it plans to publish within 180 days a plan for implementing this strategy that includes specific deliverables, timelines and metrics for key results.  DHS is already taking steps to prevent the importation of goods produced with forced labour.

http://economists-pick-research.hktdc.com/business-news/article/Economists-Pick-Regulatory-Alert-US/Stopping-Imports-Made-with-Forced-Labour-is-Part-of-New-Anti-Trafficking-Strategy/baus/en/1/1X300W0C/1X0AJT1K.htm

 

WHERE HAS THE REPUBLIC OF CONGO OIL MONEY GONE?

The NGO Global Witness has released a report saying that the Republic of Congo, Sub-Saharan Africa’s third largest oil producer, is facing bankruptcy.  In July 2019, it received its fourth multimillion-dollar bailout from the IMF.  It says that SNPC, its national oil company, has been plagued by corruption scandals since its incorporation in 1998.  It appears that Congo is getting so little in return for its oil – the dollar equivalent of just over 2% of the country’s total oil production in 2017.   The NGO says that its report reveals apparent abusive commercial practices by foreign oil companies and millions of dollars in missing funds.  The report details questionable charging by multinational oil majors, including even to subsidise salaries and pensions.  Total’s predecessor Elf even managed to get a $50 million ‘signature bonus’ – a one-off signing fee.  Global Witness also says that publicly-listed Italian oil major Eni may have written-off over $280 million in liabilities amid a licence renewal process that is the subject of a corruption probe in Italy.  $156 million in dividends, which should have been paid to the Congolese state, SNPC’s sole shareholder, appear to have gone missing, and at the end of 2018, SNPC was owed $1.18 billion – a sum that exceeds its annual turnover – by mostly unidentified entities.  The NGO asks to whom is SNPC lending money and why?

https://www.globalwitness.org/documents/19845/Rigged_GW_Congo_ENG.pdf

 

27 January 2020

REPORT TO US CONGRESS ON EFFECTS OF IRAN SANCTIONS

On 23 January, the US Congressional Research Service published a report which says that the sanctions regimes of successive administrations have adversely affected Iran’s economy but have had little observable effect on Iran’s pursuit of core strategic objectives such as its support for regional armed factions and its development of ballistic and cruise missiles.  The comprehensive report of 117 pages, looks at the background and effects of the sanctions, including those for counterterrorism purposes, humanitarian exemptions, the effects on Iran’s energy sector and its weapons and WMD capabilities, as well as its financial industries. Human rights and cyber sanctions elements are also considered, as well UN and EU responses and actions.

https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/6670523/Iran-Sanctions-Jan-23-2020.pdf

 

HMRC HAS HELPED UNCOVER £200 MILLION WORTH OF SUSPECTED TAX EVASION AND MONEY LAUNDERING IN THE UK IN INTERNATIONAL OPERATION

On 27 January, KYC 360 reported that a series of investigations in Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, the US and the UK is centred around a Central American financial institution whose products and services are believed to be facilitating tax evasion and money laundering worldwide – and a number of UK clients used this institution to conceal and transfer wealth anonymously to evade tax obligations and launder the proceeds of crime.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/taxman-unearths-200m-in-joint-operation/

https://www.ftadviser.com/your-industry/2020/01/24/taxman-unearths-200m-in-joint-operation/

 

HOW A FAILED CYPRUS-BASED INSURER WAS SEIZED BY ALLEGED BULGARIAN GANGSTERS

KYC 360 reported on 27 January an OCCRP report that Cypriot police are nearing the end of their probe into the allegedly fraudulent recapitalisation of an insurance company, Olympic Insurance Company, that collapsed in 2018, leaving more than 200,000 drivers mainly in Bulgaria without coverage, and unpaid claims of €44.8 million.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/olympic-losses-how-a-failed-cyprus-based-insurer-was-seized-by-alleged-bulgarian-gangsters/

 

HOW THE NORTH KOREAN HACKERS BEHIND WANNACRY GOT AWAY WITH A STUNNING CRYPTO-HEIST

On 24 January, the MIT Technology Review reported on the theft of just over $7 million from the Singapore-based exchange DragonEx in March 2019, an extremely elaborate phishing scheme which involved not only fake websites but also fake crypto-trading bots.  It says that DragonEx was not the first crypto exchange to be victimised by th the Lazarus Group.  The Lazarus Group is widely believed to have been behind several headline-grabbing hacks, including the breach of Sony Pictures in 2014 and the WannaCry in 2017.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/how-the-north-korean-hackers-behind-wannacry-got-away-with-a-stunning-crypto-heist/

 

COMPANY FORMATION GIVEN UNDERSIZED ROLE IN FINANCIAL GATEKEEPING

On 27 January, KYC 360 reported that the lead investigator with Transparency International says that HMRC needs to start looking at the formations sector and applying the same principles as well—so larger fines and, if necessary, people losing licenses.  This is in the light of the Formations House case, which was able to continue operating despite an inquiry and prior warning from HMRC.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/formation-agents-given-undersized-role-in-financial-gatekeeping-say-experts/

20616

https://www.statista.com/chart/20616/key-developments-since-portugal-decriminalized-drugs/

 

OFAC SETTLEMENT WITH SHIPPING COMPANY OVER APPARENT VIOLATIONS OF BURMA SANCTIONS

On 27 January, OFAC announced that Eagle Shipping International (USA) LLC, a Marshall Islands company with its headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, has agreed to pay $1,125,000 to settle its potential civil liability for 36 apparent violations of the Burmese Sanctions Regulations, and re its dealings in the property interests of Myawaddy Trading Limited and the provision of transportation services from Burma to Singapore for a land reclamation project for the benefit of the Burmese company.

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USTREAS/bulletins/27867f4

https://www.complianceweek.com/sanctions/eagle-shipping-settles-egregious-ofac-case-for-11m/28352.article

https://www.freightwaves.com/news/eagle-shipping-settles-us-sanctions-violations-case

 

US AGENCY RAISES AWARENESS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING WITH OUTREACH IN ADDITION TO ENFORCEMENT

On 22 January, Homeland Security Today reported that US Immigration and Customs Enforcement is engaging in national and regional efforts to raise awareness about human trafficking as the agency works with law enforcement partners to identify and break apart global trafficking networks as January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/customs-immigration/ice-raises-awareness-of-human-trafficking-with-outreach-in-addition-to-enforcement/

 

US ADOPTS FENTANYL ACT IN FACE OF TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DEATHS

On 27 January, the always-useful EU Sanctions blog reported that, In December 2019 and as part of the National Defence Authorisation Act, the US Congress adopted the above Act which requires a report within 180 days comprising a list of those determined to be foreign opioid traffickers on which sanctions are to be imposed.   The Act also calls on China to implement new regulations to control the production and export of fentanyl.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2020/01/us-congress-adopts-fentanyl-sanctions-act/

 

UAE HAS BANNED CARGO OPERATORS FROM MOLDOVA FROM ITS AIRPORTS OVER SAFETY CONCERNS

On 27 January, Loadstar reported that the ruling will affect Aerotrans Cargo, Air Stork and Global Air Transport and comes into effect on 1 February.

https://theloadstar.com/uae-bans-moldovan-cargo-operators-from-its-airports-citing-safety-fears

US WITHDRAWS PROPOSAL THAT WOULD HAVE RESTRICTED US COMPANIES FROM EXPORTING TECHNOLOGY CONTAINING OVER 10% OF US-ORIGIN CONTENT TO HUAWEI WITHOUT A LICENCE

On 24 January, the Washington Post reported that the US military had opposed the plan to reduce the percentage of origin from 25%.  The newspaper claims that the Pentagon feared additional limits would cost US companies so much revenue that their research spending would suffer, causing them to fall behind their global rivals and imperilling the US military’s technological edge.  Currently, US companies can export technology with up to 25% of US-origin content without a licence.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/01/24/pentagon-nixes-proposal-toughen-limits-us-sales-huawei/

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2020/01/us-commerce-dept-withdraws-huawei-proposed-restrictions/

LOCAL MEDIA COMMENTS ON AML/CFT ASSESSMENT OF TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS

On 27 January, the Turks & Caicos Weekly News ran an article about the recently-published CFATF evaluation report.  It notes that the FATF-style regional body has told the territory to develop a deeper understanding of the risks of terrorist financing, including the risks associated with cross-border movement of cash such as wire transfers and travellers cheques through customs.  It is also noted that the report recommends that the Financial Services Commission should ensure that the corporate service provider, legal, real estate and trust sectors are complying with their obligations to identify high-risk customers. The attorney general is quoted as saying that the report found that there are structural elements in place in the islands for an effective AML/CFT system, and that the report should give confidence to investors, since it underlines that the Turks & Caicos is committed to tackling money laundering on all fronts.  She also acknowledged that it had experienced challenges in ensuring that there is sufficient progress being made in compliant with newly-introduced international standards, that deal with statistics and being able to prove the effectiveness of the system.

https://tcweeklynews.com/antimoney-laundering-watchdog-urges-tci-to-take-terrorist-financing-more-s-p10307-127.htm

 

NEW MONEY LAUNDERING REGULATIONS CAUSE CONFUSION AT LONDON ART FAIR

On 27 January, the Art Newspaper reported that implementation of the 5th Money laundering Directive in the UK for the art sector had caused problems and confusions, with claims that some galleries were pricing works below the €10,000 threshold to avoid dealing with new client ID requirements.  It appears it is smaller and medium-sized galleries that are most affected, with larger galleries working in higher value items seemed less concerned.

https://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/new-money-laundering-regulations-cause-confusion-at-london-art-fair

 

NORTHERN IRELAND: DISSIDENT SMUGGLER AIDAN GREW AT CENTRE OF £215 MILLION DIRTY CASH PROBE

On 27 January, the Belfast Telegraph claimed that who it described as “wealthy dissident smuggler Aidan Grew” is at the centre of a £215 million money laundering probe.  It says that security sources have linked the convicted IRA bomber turned millionaire crime boss to the cross-border scam.  Grew served a jail sentence for evading duty on millions of illegal cigarettes smuggled into Northern Ireland from China.

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/sunday-life/dissident-smuggler-aidan-grew-at-centre-of-215m-dirty-cash-probe-38895218.html

 

SMARTER RULES FOR SAFER FOOD (SRSF): IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING PRE-NOTIFICATION OF IMPORTS

Trade body BIFA reports that DEFRA has provided some further information on which importers may need to take action.  It contains information on the use of TRACES, the European Commission’s multilingual online management tool for all sanitary requirements on intra-EU trade and importation of animals, semen and embryo, food, feed and plants, and plans of the EU to switch off TRACES Classic shortly, and the need to register for TRACES NT.

https://www.bifa.org/news/articles/2020/jan/get-ready-for-traces-nt-important-information-regarding-pre-notification-of-imports?l=y

 

HMRC LETTERS TO BUSINESSES ABOUT TRADE ARRANGEMENTS AFTER THE UK HAS LEFT THE EU

Trade body BIFA reported that letters have been sent to VAT-registered businesses trading with the EU, or the EU and the rest of the world.  They explain actions to take to prepare for changes to customs arrangements after the transition period, including getting a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number and customs facilitation.

https://www.bifa.org/news/articles/2020/jan/letters-to-businesses-about-trade-arrangements-after-the-uk-has-left-the-eu?l=y

 

AUTHORITIES IN UKRAINE PLANNING TO TRACK ALL CRYPTO TRANSACTIONS THAT EXCEED $1,200

On 27 January, the Bitcoin Exchange Guide reported that the head of the Ukraine Ministry of Finance has suggested that the State Financial Monitoring Service (SCFM) could perform the role, although Ukrainian law doesn’t yet define cryptocurrency as an asset class.

https://bitcoinexchangeguide.com/ukrainian-watchdog-to-track-cryptocurrency-transactions-over-1200-for-aml

 

AIRBUS POISED FOR DEAL WITH REGULATORS TO SETTLE CORRUPTION PROBES

The Irish Times on 27 January reported that a deal with regulators in the UK, France and the US is expected in the coming days, with analysts forecasting fines of more than €3 billion.  Such a deferred prosecution agreement struck with Airbus would, it says, mark a significant milestone for the UK SFO.  It is said that the company has also overhauled its ethics and compliance procedures, established an independent review panel of outside experts, and significantly cut down the number of third-party agents used to secure deals.

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/transport-and-tourism/airbus-poised-for-deal-with-regulators-to-settle-corruption-probes-1.4153248

 

PORTS AND PORT SYSTEMS: UK CYBER SECURITY CODE OF PRACTICE

On 27 January, the Department for Transport has published the 2020 version of guidance, entitled ‘Good practice guide: cyber security for ports and port systems’, an updated version of a publication first released in 2016.  The code of practice is for use by those with responsibility for protecting the technical systems of port facilities and vessels docked in ports.  It complements a guide for cyber security for ships.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/859925/cyber-security-for-ports-and-port-systems-code-of-practice.pdf

 

US FEDERAL COURT OF APPEAL PROVIDES EASIER PATH FOR CRIMINAL INSIDER TRADING CASES

On 27 January, Perkins Coie published an article which says that the decision held that an insider-trading case brought pursuant to certain federal criminal statutes does not require the government to prove that the insider providing confidential information received a personal benefit — a departure from established insider trading caselaw.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/second-circuit-provides-easier-path-for-92162/

 

UK GAMBLING COMMISSION: LICENSEES NEED TO BE ABLE TO DEMONSTRATE WHERE THEY GET THE CASH TO MAKE MAJOR ACQUISITIONS AND FUND THEIR OPERATIONS

On 27 January, Calvin Ayre reported that the Gambling Commission, had issued a statement on lessons learned from the June 2019 revocation of an online gambling licence which took place after the regulator discovered that the company had undergone a change of corporate control without alerting the Commission.

https://calvinayre.com/2020/01/27/business/uk-gambling-commission-ownership-disclosure-warning/

 

LARGEST DRUG SEIZURE IN SEVERAL YEARS IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

On 27 January, OCCRP reported that Bosnia and Herzegovina police have confiscated some 400 kg of skunk (cannabis) worth several million dollars in the central Bosnian town of Gornji Vakuf.  The country is mostly a transit country for trafficking illicit drugs.

https://www.occrp.org/en/27-ccwatch/cc-watch-briefs/11509-sipa-pulls-off-giant-pot-seizure-in-central-bosnia

 

ROTENBERGS: THE US MANSIONS ABANDONED IN THE FACE OF US SANCTIONS

OCCRP on 27 January published a report saying that an investigation by Transparency International-Russia and OCCRP has uncovered 3 pieces of prime real estate belonging to the couple scattered around Georgia’s state capital, worth an estimated total of around $3.7 million.

https://www.occrp.org/en/investigations/georgia-on-their-minds

 

SOUTH-EAST ASIA: INTERPOL SUPPORTS ARREST OF CYBERCRIMINALS TARGETING ONLINE SHOPPING WEBSITES

A news release from Interpol on 27 January advised that a cyber operation coordinated by Interpol against a strain of malware targeting e-commerce websites has identified hundreds of compromised websites and led to the arrest of 3 individuals running the malicious campaign in Indonesia.

https://www.interpol.int/News-and-Events/News/2020/INTERPOL-supports-arrest-of-cybercriminals-targeting-online-shopping-websites

 

US CUSTOMS FINDS $900,000 COUNTERFEIT BANKNOTES FROM CHINA

On 27 January, KSTP reported that 45 carton of counterfeit $1 notes were found in a commercial rail shipment that originated in China.

https://kstp.com/news/us-customs-and-border-protection-officers-find-900000-in-counterfeit-bills-coming-through-international-falls-january-26-2020/5623689/

 

 

 

 

 

POKERSTARS FOUNDER ISAI SCHEINBERG SURRENDERS TO US FEDERAL AUTHORITIES

On 27 January, Pokerfuse reported that Scheinberg, founder of global online poker giant PokerStars, had surrendered to federal authorities in New York.  He has been released on $1 million bail, after surrendering his passport.  He has been at large since a US indictment 9 years ago named him and others for alleged violations of US anti-gambling laws involving his online poker business.  However, in 2012, PokerStars (now no longer owned by Scheinberg) reached an agreement with the US DoJ.  Paul Tate, the other member of PokerStars charged under the Black Friday indictment, pleaded guilty in 2016 but served no jail time.  Scheinberg travelled voluntarily to the US from Switzerland, in the face of proposed extradition.  He is the last of 11 men to be apprehended following the unveiling of the 2011 indictment which targeted the 3 largest online poker sites of the time — PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker – the other individuals all faced their charges eventually.

https://pokerfuse.com/news/law-and-regulation/211165-pokerstars-founder-isai-scheinberg-surrenders-authorities/#