On 2 February, the International Business Times reported that Wei Sun, 48, a systems engineer from Raytheon Missile Defense Systems Missile has been indicted for violating federal export control laws after he took his work laptop without authorisation during an overseas trip. It is reported that he had secret-level security clearance and worked on highly sensitive missile programmes used by the US military. Not only this, but it is said that he had “suddenly” announced that he was quitting his job after 10 years and going for further studies and work overseas.
1 February 2020
US FIREARMS, AMMUNITION AND ACCESSORIES EXPORT CONTROL CHANGES
On 29 January, Husch Blackwell published an article about changes to US export control rules from 9 March which see items covered by these rules no longer be subject to export and temporary import controls imposed under the State Department International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and will instead be subject to export controls imposed under the Commerce Department’s Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and removed from the US Military List (USML) to the Commercial Control List (CCL). The goods affected under these new rules include (but are not limited to) non-automatic and semi-automatic firearms with up to .50 calibre and ammunition of up to .50 calibre (except for ammunition with special features that warrant its continued listing on the USML). The article explains some other developments and changes resulting from the revision, such as 3D printed firearms not being included in the switch. It also cautions that it is important to understand that export activities involving the goods moving to the CCL will continue to be heavily regulated.
US SANCTIONS TANZANIAN COMMISSIONER OF DARS ES SALAAM OVER ALLEGED HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES
On 1 February, Chimreports reported that the US State Department had imposed sanctions on Paul Christian Makonda, Regional Commissioner for the city of Dars es Salaam, accusing him of “flagrant” abuses. The State Department is reported as saying that the US is deeply concerned for the deteriorating respect for human rights and rule of law in Tanzania. As a result of the move, Makonda and his immediate family are barred from entering the US. His wife, Mary Felix Massenge, has also been designated.
IRAN JET CRASH (RE)INSURERS MAKING PROGRESS WITH SANCTIONS ISSUES
Insurance Insider on 31 January carried an article concerned with the follow-up to the shooting down of a Ukrainian airliner in Iran in January. The airline says that its insurers are making approaches to US authorities to make payments.
HAS IRAN FOUND A WAY AROUND US SANCTIONS ON AIRCRAFT DEALS?
On 28 January, Forbes magazine carried an article that followed an announcement that Iran was due to receive 3 Airbus airliners – presumably second-hand, although the source of the planes had not been identified. This was the second such announcement in a few days, following a report of 3 Brazilian-built airliners being leased. On 17 December, Quartz had published an article about how Iran acquired airliners, referring to a new US court case, where it was alleged that Jakarta-based aerospace executive Sunarko Kuntjoro supplied Mahan Airwith new and refurbished spare aircraft parts between 2011 and 2018, concealing their actual destination by routing the shipments through front companies in Singapore, Thailand, and Hong Kong.
IMPLEMENTATION OF FIFTH MONEY LAUNDERING DIRECTIVE IN GERMANY
On 31 January, Bird & Bird published a briefing saying that, as a result of the Directive, the German Money Laundering Act was subjected to an extensive reform, in regards to penalty infringements within the scope of the Transparency Register – for which certain details related to beneficial owners have to be reported by corporations and (registered) partnerships. The article focuses on the changes in regard to the Transparency Register as well as related fines (which are highly relevant to credit institutions, financial services or payment institutions, as well as; financial companies, insurance companies, insurance intermediaries and, capital management companies).
MALAYSIA INVESTIGATES AIRBUS-AIR ASIA GRAFT ALLEGATIONS
On 1 February, Reuters reported that Malaysia is investigating allegations by the SFO in the UK that Airbus sponsored a sports team owned by executives of Malaysia-based AirAsia while negotiating airliner orders. This was revealed as a result of details of the $4 billion settlement agreed by Airbus with the UK, French and US authorities.
UK: THE NUMBER OF PROSECUTIONS FOR COMPLEX TAX FRAUD HAS FALLEN, BUT IS THIS BAD?
On 31 January, an article from Field Fisher says that the firm has tracked (and reported on) HMRC’s progress in respect of the Government’s publicised ambition to increase dramatically the number of criminal prosecutions for tax fraud over a number of years. It reveals Freedom of Information Act releases of figures for relevant factors for the 8 tax years from 2011/12 to 2018/19, and says that is clear is that the Government has fallen well short of its targets. The article asks if this means that HMRC and the CPS have ‘given up’ on using criminal investigations into tax related matters as a way of changing taxpayer behaviours – not according to the article.
ILLICIT ARMS USED IN NORTHERN NIGERIA FARMER-PASTORALIST CONFLICT SAME SOURCE AS MALI JIHADISTS
On 29 January, RFI reported that according to a new report by the London-based Conflict Armament Research (CAR), the illicit small arms used in farmer-pastoralist conflicts in northern Nigeria come from the same source as the arms used by jihadists in Mali and other countries in the Sahel. It is said that there were assault rifles, for example, that had had their markings scraped off in exactly the same way, and probably with the same tool, and yet found literally hundreds or even thousands of kilometres apart.
IS CASH STILL KING? REVIEWING THE RISE OF MOBILE PAYMENTS IN THE US
On 30 January, an article from the Brookings Institute about a US House Financial Services Committee Task Force on Financial Technology hearing.
IRANIAN NATIONAL CHARGED IN US WITH BANK FRAUD AND LYING TO FEDERAL AGENTS RE SCHEME TO USE THE US FINANCIAL SYSTEM TO SEND MORE THAN $115 MILLION TO IRANIAN INDIVIDUALS AND ENTITIES
On 31 January, a news release from the DoJ advised that Bahram Karimi from Canada has been charged with conspiring to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, and making false statements in connection with his involvement in a joint project initiated by the Governments of Iran and Venezuela in which more than $115 million was illegally transferred for the benefit of various Iranian individuals and entities. Karimi worked with others to defraud US banks by concealing the role of Iranian parties in US dollar payments sent through the US banking system through shell companies etc.
A BRITISH PAKISTANI KNOWN AS ‘SULTAN’ ALLOWED TO APPEAL AGAINST HIS EXTRADITION TO THE US TO FACE CHARGES OF ATTEMPTING TO IMPORT HEROIN
On 1 February, the Hindustan Times reported that Muhammad Asif Hafeez, 61, was arrested in London in 2017 by the NCA and DEA. A British Pakistani known as ‘Sultan’ in an international drug procurement and distribution syndicate who sourced ephedrine from India has been allowed to appeal against his extradition to the US to face charges of attempting to import heroin.