OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – FEBRUARY 22

22 February 2020

ALBANIA UNDER SPECIAL FATF MONITORING

On 22 February, Albania Daily News reported on the increased monitoring regime imposed this week on Albania, and the steps made already by the country to improve its AML/CFT regime.

https://www.albaniandailynews.com/index.php?idm=39709&mod=2

 

US COAST GUARD COMMANDANT: ILLEGAL CHINESE FISHING A ‘NATIONAL SECURITY CHALLENGE’ THAT WARRANTS US RESPONSE

On 21 February, Sea Power (the official publication of the Navy League) reported on the State of the Coast Guard address given by the Commandant.  He said that near-peer adversaries (i.e. China) are actively exploiting other nations’ natural resources, including fish stocks. In many cases [they are] challenging the sovereignty of smaller or less-developed nations.  He identified China, which has the world’s largest distant-water fishing fleet, as “one of the worst predatory fishing offenders,” engaging in Illegal, unreported, unregulated fishing (IUU).  He identified the Indo-Pacific as the epicentre of global maritime trade and geostrategic influence, and that many Pacific Island countries — even US island territories — lack the capability to fully police their sovereign waters.

https://seapowermagazine.org/coast-guard-commandant-illegal-chinese-fishing-a-national-security-challenge-that-warrants-u-s-response/

 

SHIPPING INDUSTRY FACES $370 MILLION HIT FROM NEW PANAMA CANAL CHARGE

On 22 February, Hellenic Shipping News reported on the new “freshwater” charge that came in this month to help the Panama Canal cope with climate change, as the Canal has been hit by drought which affects water levels.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/shipping-industry-faces-370-million-hit-from-new-panama-canal-charge/

 

HOW DO YOU CALCULATE FCPA SETTLEMENT AMOUNTS?

On 21 February, a post on the FCPA Blog was concerned with how the recent Airbus settlement was calculated, saying that the starting point is DOJ Order + SEC Order = Total FCPA Settlement – but the total FCPA settlement amount is not the same as the amount actually paid to the US Treasury.  The amount paid over to the US government may be considerably smaller.

https://fcpablog.com/2020/02/21/how-do-you-calculate-fcpa-settlement-amounts/

 

US STATE DEPARTMENT SANCTIONS 13 SUSPECTED IN 1989 SLAYING OF JESUITS IN EL SALVADOR. WHY NOW?

America: the Jesuit Review has published an article on 21 February about the 29 January State Department designating 13 military personnel for involvement in gross violations of human rights or significant corruption.  They and their families are banned from entering the US.  In particular, the designation mentioned the extrajudicial killings of 6 Jesuit priests and 2 others taking refuge at the Jesuit pastoral centre in 1989 on the campus of the José Simeón Cañas] Central American University in El Salvador.  It has been confirmed that the bans were triggered by a routine investigation after “an individual connected to this incident sought to travel to the United States”.

https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2020/02/21/state-department-sanctions-13-suspected-1989-slaying-jesuits-el

https://www.state.gov/public-designation-of-thirteen-former-salvadoran-military-officials-due-to-involvement-in-gross-violations-of-human-rights/

 

ROMANIAN COASTGUARD SEIZES RUBBISH ‘SMUGGLED’ FROM THE UK

On 22 February, CGTN reported that 17 shipping containers, some bearing the brand of Maersk Sealand, the waste  – and believed to be of British origin, were intercepted in the Romanian port of Constanța.  Sources close to the investigation say they believe the waste started its journey in Sheffield in northern England in December, before being shipped to Turkey and then to Romania.  It is described as the latest in a tide of rubbish that has been flooding Romania in recent years, where storage of waste costs a fraction of what it would in richer countries, that have stricter legislation.

https://newseu.cgtn.com/news/2020-02-22/Romania-seizes-17-container-loads-of-smuggled-rubbish-from-UK-OgUaSBG0qQ/index.html

 

MAJORCA MILLIONAIRE INVESTIGATED

The Majorca Daily Bulletin on 22 February reported that an unnamed millionaire in Majorca is under investigation after police assisted by the EU Europol agency raided the suspect’s home and office in connection with the sale of property.

https://www.majorcadailybulletin.com/news/local/2020/02/22/63059/majorca-money-laundering-allegations.html

 

CROATIA’S HONORARY CONSUL IN BARCELONA (AND OTHER HONORARY CONSULS) “UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR MONEY LAUNDERING”

On 22 February, Total Croatia News reported that Catalan police are investigating Croatia’s honorary consul in Barcelona over possible money laundering for a local criminal gang.  It says that also under investigation are the honorary consuls of Albania and Mali.

https://www.total-croatia-news.com/politics/41661-barcelona

 

EGYPT COURT ACQUITS FORMER PRESIDENT’S SONS OF CORRUPTION

On 22 February, AP reported that an Egyptian court has acquitted the 2 sons of ousted President Hosni Mubarak – wealthy businessman Alaa and Mubarak’s one-time heir apparent Gamal – on charges of stock market manipulation, the latest in a series of trials of Mubarak’s family since the 2011.

https://apnews.com/0fa43fa85c0f8874fe6d048b2fa3ef7a

 

UK BASIC PASSPORT CHECKS GUIDANCE

On 22 February, HM Passport Office published an updated colour booklet containing important information of what to expect, plus additional notes for the 1988, 1998, 2006, 2010 and 2015 versions of the UK passport.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/867550/Basic_passport_checks_1988_-2019_02.20.pdf

 

THE FEDERAL CASE AGAINST THE IRANIAN NATIONAL WHO OWNED AND OPERATED MALTA’S PILATUS BANK, AI SADR HASHEMI NEJAD, HAS BEEN SET TO BEGIN ON 2 MARCH

On 22 February, Kenneth Rijock in his blog reported that the case will open in the US after preliminary motions were resolved.

http://rijock.blogspot.com/2020/02/ali-sadr-hashemi-nejad-trial-set-for.html

 

IN “FAKE FRENCH DEFENCE MINISTER” CASE TRADE-BASED MONEY LAUNDERING EMPLOYED
On 22 February, in his blog, Kenneth Rijock reported (and provided a complex illustrative diagram) that Gilbert Chikli, leader of a French gang that defrauded wealthy individuals of a reported €73 million, by impersonating the Minister of Defence, and asking for ransom money to free purported kidnap victims in Syria, used trade-based money laundering techniques to clean the criminal proceeds.  He refers to one method, a variant known as Chinese Flying Money, and the diagram illustrates this method.

http://rijock.blogspot.com/2020/02/french-fake-defense-minister.html

 

VESSELS CALLING AT CHINESE PORTS – DELAYS IN DISCHARGING BECAUSE ORIGINAL BILLS OF LADING HAVE NOT REACHED THE DISCHARGE PORT ON TIME DUE TO DIFFICULTIES WITH LOCAL COURIER SERVICES DUE TO CORONAVIRUS

On 19 February, a briefing from HFW says that in such cases, when vessels are voyage chartered, delays may result in large demurrage liabilities – costs which may or may not be capable of being passed on, and that the shipping industry will be keen to find a solution to prolonged document delays.  It says that the use of letters of indemnity (LOIs) is a well-established solution to the problem of discharging a vessel without production of an original bill of lading – but these are not without risk, which it goes into.

https://www.hfw.com/Coronavirus-and-documentary-delays-Feb-2020

 

FIRST RUSSIAN ONLINE RETAIL GIANT TO TARGET EU BUYERS

On 21 February, HKTDC carried an article about Wildberries, Russia’s largest online retailer, opening its first EU-specific sales point; and with dispatch from Poland using a new, dedicated site that features the merchandise on offer from 13,500 Russian and overseas brands, including a wide range of clothing, footwear, accessories and toys.  In September, it announced a 300,000 sq m warehouse facility in Slovakia.

http://economists-pick-research.hktdc.com/business-news/article/Economists-Pick-International-Market-News/Wildberries-Becomes-First-Russian-Online-Giant-to-Target-EU-Buyers/imn/en/1/1X308LSH/1X0AJZRC.htm

 

DEA AGENT ACCUSED OF CONSPIRING WITH DRUGS CARTEL

Newsweek and others on 22 February that a once-standout US federal narcotics agent, Jose Irizarry, and his wife, were arrested, having become known for spending lavishly on luxury cars and Tiffany jewellery.  He faces charges of conspiring to launder money with the same Colombian drug cartel he was supposed to be fighting.

https://www.stripes.com/news/americas/dea-agent-accused-of-conspiring-with-cartel-1.619895

https://www.newsweek.com/jose-irizarry-drug-enforcement-money-laundering-1488591

 

NAMIBIA: NEW CHARGES FOR THE FISHROT ACCUSED

All Africa on 19 February reported that suspended Fishcor CEO Mike Nghipunya has been joined by 5 other co-accused in court in Windhoek in the unfolding international fishing bribery scandal.  He is facing 3 charges, including fraud, contravening the Anti-Corruption Act and corruptly using office for gratification as well as money laundering.  The other accused included former fisheries minister Bernhard Esau and ex-justice minister Sacky Shanghala, The 5 were in court to face new charges, with regards to the alleged corruption at the State-owned fishing company Fishcor.  The accused were arrested last year following reports that an Icelandic fishing company Samherji secured access to horse mackerel quotas in Namibia by allegedly paying bribes to politicians and businessmen between 2012 and 2018, according to the Fishrot Files of WikiLeaks.

https://allafrica.com/stories/202002220209.html

 

IRELAND: GARDAI INVESTIGATING VIOLENCE AGAINST A COMPANY UNCOVERED A NETWORK OF FRONT COMPANIES AND BANK ACCOUNTS USED TO LAUNDER MONIES PAID TO A SENIOR CRIMINAL

On 22 February, the Belfast Telegraph reported that police in the Republic investigating violence against Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) have uncovered a network of front companies, ostensibly set up to buy and sell plant machinery, and bank accounts used to launder monies paid to senior criminal Cyril McGuinness.

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/quinn-attacks-probe-uncovers-cash-laundering-money-trail-38979940.html

 

SPAIN: NEW RULES WILL PROHIBIT 80% OF ONLINE GAMBLING ADVERTS

On 21 February, Calvin Ayre reported that Spain’s online gambling operators have learned of over 100 new restrictions on their ability to promote their services.  The new rules would likely prohibit around 80% of current online gambling ads, and a minister justified the curbs due to the gambling sector having “an impact on public health”.  Other restrictions on advertising are proposed, although they will apparently be permitted to run in print media and via legitimate news media websites, provided that they adhere to all the other rules.

https://calvinayre.com/2020/02/21/business/spain-new-rules-prohibit-online-gambling-advertising/

 

IRELAND: NEW FILING/DISCLOSURE OBLIGATIONS FOR PARTNERSHIPS AND LIMITED PARTNERSHIPS

On 10 February, Matheson published a briefing about changes to existing disclosure obligations that apply to partnerships and limited partnerships in Ireland needed to align Irish with EU law.  It says that this change will be particularly important for certain partnerships whose partners are incorporated or established outside of the EU (e.g. in the Isle of Man or Jersey) that were not previously required to file annual returns or accounts.

https://www.matheson.com/news-and-insights/article/new-filing-disclosure-obligations-for-partnerships-and-limited-partnerships

 

US TO RELAX NORTH KOREAN SANCTIONS TO ALLOW CORONAVIRUS AID

World ECR reports that the US State Department has said that the US will allow aid organisations working in North Korea to sidestep sanctions in order to fight the Covid-19 coronavirus.  The State Department announcement came after the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies called for a sanctions exemption that would allow it to transfer funds to its North Korea office.

https://www.worldecr.com/news/us-to-relax-north-korea-sanctions-to-allow-coronavirus-aid/

 

AS THE UK HAS OFFICIALLY LEFT THE EU WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR DATA TRANSFERS?

An article from law firm Field Fisher on 20 February addresses this question.  Of course, during the transition until 31 December nothing changes and personal data can continue to flow freely from the EEA to the UK.   At the end of the transition period the UK will become a “third country” for the purposes of the GDPR and, to ensure that data flows from the EEA to the UK are not disrupted, the UK will need to secure an adequacy decision from the European Commission.  The law firm takes a look at how the Commission determines adequacy and the UK’s prospects of securing that haloed status.

https://www.fieldfisher.com/en/services/technology-outsourcing-and-privacy/privacy-security-and-information/privacy-security-and-information-law-blog/the-united-kingdom-–-this-sceptred-(and-adequate)

 

ITAR FIREARMS AMENDMENTS – 6 IMPORTANT POINTS YOU NEED TO KNOW

On 6 February, a briefing from Williams Mullen provided a list of 6 important points about the January transfer of certain firearms, ammunition, components and accessories from controls under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).

https://www.williamsmullen.com/news/itar-firearms-amendments-six-important-points-you-need-know

 

PREVENTING ILLICIT TRAFFICKING BY TRANSNATIONAL CRIMINAL ORGANISATIONS

The Stimson Center in the US has produced this brief as part of ongoing series examining the international challenges that will face the next US presidential administration and providing concrete recommendations for presidential action.  The brief says that existing efforts to address trafficking are disaggregated and fail to involve legitimate industry as partners in prevention.  The US President should, it says, catalogue the threat, better target government resources, and incentivise legitimate business to do more to help prevent illicit trafficking at home and abroad.  It argues that although both the Obama and Trump administrations prioritised federal efforts to meet the growing spectre of illicit trafficking, both failed to go beyond government-oriented solutions to what has become a far more complex challenge.  Beyond lip service and intermittent efforts to build “public private partnerships,” the US has fundamentally failed to alter the calculus of both legitimate and illicit actors operating in the global supply chain.  It says that government must do its part to change the current ‘low-risk high-rewards calculus’ for those operating in the illicit space, and do more to incentivise legitimate companies to partner in countering illicit trade.  It makes a number of policy recommendations –

  • Comprehensively chart the global grey market to identify common choke points;
  • Dedicate a greater share of intelligence and interagency resources to identifying and disrupting factors that enable illicit middlemen in the global supply chain; and
  • Enlist support of the legitimate supply chain companies.

https://www.stimson.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Finlay-Trafficking.pdf

 

THE FRENCH LIST OF NON-COOPERATIVE STATES AND TERRITORIES IS COMPLETELY OVERHAULED

On 13 February, Baker McKenzie published a briefing on the list which has been extensively overhauled: with the exception of Panama, all the jurisdictions have been withdrawn from the list, while 12 new states or territories have been added.  It explains the criteria and the restrictive tax measures applied.

https://globalcompliancenews.com/the-french-list-of-non-cooperative-states-and-territories-is-completely-overhauled/

 

GEORGIA: MINISTRY OF FINANCE PRESENTS NEW INITIATIVE TO REDUCE MONEY LAUNDERING RISKS RELATED TO GAMBLING

On 20 February, Agenda GE reported that the initiative includes the implementation of a new system for the registration and verification of the identity of players; and it aims to create a list of people addicted to gambling and to control the movement of funds through identified channels.

https://agenda.ge/en/news/2020/531

 

ITALY ARRESTS SHIP’S CAPTAIN OVER ALLEGED LIBYA ARMS TRAFFICKING

On 21 February, Reuters reported that Italian authorities have arrested the captain of a Lebanese-flagged cargo ship, the Bana, which was seized on 3 February in the port of Genoa on suspicion of trafficking arms to Libya, including tanks and artillery,  It is said that a ship’s officer told Italian authorities that weapons had been loaded onto the ship at the Turkish port of Mersin then transported to the Libyan capital Tripoli.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-italy-libya-smuggling-idUSKBN20F2OI

 

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ITALY ARRESTS SHIP’S CAPTAIN OVER ALLEGED LIBYA ARMS TRAFFICKING

On 21 February, Reuters reported that Italian authorities have arrested the captain of a Lebanese-flagged cargo ship, the Bana, which was seized on 3 February in the port of Genoa on suspicion of trafficking arms to Libya, including tanks and artillery,  It is said that a ship’s officer told Italian authorities that weapons had been loaded onto the ship at the Turkish port of Mersin then transported to the Libyan capital Tripoli.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-italy-libya-smuggling-idUSKBN20F2OI

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PREVENTING ILLICIT TRAFFICKING BY TRANSNATIONAL CRIMINAL ORGANISATIONS

The Stimson Center in the US has produced this brief as part of ongoing series examining the international challenges that will face the next US presidential administration and providing concrete recommendations for presidential action.  The brief says that existing efforts to address trafficking are disaggregated and fail to involve legitimate industry as partners in prevention.  The US President should, it says, catalogue the threat, better target government resources, and incentivise legitimate business to do more to help prevent illicit trafficking at home and abroad.  It argues that although both the Obama and Trump administrations prioritised federal efforts to meet the growing spectre of illicit trafficking, both failed to go beyond government-oriented solutions to what has become a far more complex challenge.  Beyond lip service and intermittent efforts to build “public private partnerships,” the US has fundamentally failed to alter the calculus of both legitimate and illicit actors operating in the global supply chain.  It says that government must do its part to change the current ‘low-risk high-rewards calculus’ for those operating in the illicit space, and do more to incentivise legitimate companies to partner in countering illicit trade.  It makes a number of policy recommendations –

  • Comprehensively chart the global grey market to identify common choke points;
  • Dedicate a greater share of intelligence and interagency resources to identifying and disrupting factors that enable illicit middlemen in the global supply chain; and
  • Enlist support of the legitimate supply chain companies.

https://www.stimson.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Finlay-Trafficking.pdf

 

If you’d like me buy that (badly needed new laptop or, even, better a new desktop to replace the one now 5,000 miles away – https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

 

SPAIN: NEW RULES WILL PROHIBIT 80% OF ONLINE GAMBLING ADVERTS

On 21 February, Calvin Ayre reported that Spain’s online gambling operators have learned of over 100 new restrictions on their ability to promote their services.  The new rules would likely prohibit around 80% of current online gambling ads, and a minister justified the curbs due to the gambling sector having “an impact on public health”.  Other restrictions on advertising are proposed, although they will apparently be permitted to run in print media and via legitimate news media websites, provided that they adhere to all the other rules.

https://calvinayre.com/2020/02/21/business/spain-new-rules-prohibit-online-gambling-advertising/

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – FEBRUARY 21

21 February 2020

 CHAIRMAN OF PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN AND HEAD OF THE BEIN MEDIA GROUP INDICTED IN SWITZERLAND

On 20 February, the Wall Street Journal reported that, after a 3-year investigation into the sale of Wolrd Cup TV rights, Nasser al-Khelaifi was indicted for inciting former FIFA No. 2 Jérôme Valcke (who was also indicted) “to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement”.  However, a more serious charge of bribery was dropped after soccer authorities withdrew their complaint against him.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/paris-saint-germain-chief-and-a-former-fifa-executive-charged-by-swiss-prosecutors-11582215599

 

ROSNEFT TO CONTINUE WITH VENEZUELA CONNECTION

On 21 February, EU Sanctions Blog reported that Rosneft has said that it will continue to carry out its work in Venezuela within the framework of contracts signed before the sanctions were imposed, despite US sanctions against its Swiss-based trading subsidiary.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2020/02/rosneft-to-continue-venezuela-related-transactions-despite-sanctions/

 

9 SEAFARERS KIDNAPPED FROM TANKER BY PIRATES OFF BENIN

On 21 February, Seatrade Maritime News reported that they were taken from the 74,400 dwt tanker Alpine Penelope, which was attacked 76 nm south-west of Cotonou while on transit to Lagos, Nigeria.

https://www.seatrade-maritime.com/piracy/nine-seafarers-kidnapped-tanker-pirates-benin

 

HUAWEI HAS ALLEGED US PROSECUTORS OVERLOOKED HSBC SANCTIONS VIOLATIONS BY HSBC

On 21 February, EU Sanctions Blog reported that Huawei has written to a US court alleging that US prosecutors overlooked sanctions violations by HSBC in exchange for cooperation in the Huawei investigation.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2020/02/huawei-accuses-us-prosecutors-of-overlooking-hsbc-sanctions-violations/

 

GERMANY RELEASES IRANIAN ACCUSED OF US SANCTIONS EVASION

On 21 February, EU Sanctions Blog reported that Germany had released Ahmad Khalili, who had been arrested in 2018 and accused of acquiring plans from aircraft company Cessna, and was the subject of a US extradition request.  He was exchanged with Iran for a German national imprisoned in Iran.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2020/02/germany-releases-iranian-national-accused-of-us-sanctions-evasion/

 

FORMER DANISH SOCIAL WORKER CONVICTED OF MASSIVE FRAUD

On 21 February, KYC 360 reported that Britta Nielsen, 65, was accused of diverting €15.7 million between 1993 and 2018 from the social services to her personal bank accounts by creating fictitious projects.  She was jailed for 6½ years.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/former-danish-social-worker-convicted-of-massive-fraud/

 

KOREA’S EX-PRESIDENT LEE BACK IN JAIL

On 21 February, KYC 360 reported that Lee Myung-bak, former chairman of Hyundai Engineering and Construction, centrepiece of the Hyundai empire back in jail for the second time in a corruption scandal that caught up with him after his 5-year presidential term ended in 2013.  An appeals court added 2 years to the 15-year sentence that Lee had already received and ordered that he return to prison after he had been freed on bail, and he also received a fine of nearly $11 million for accepting bribes from the Samsung group.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/koreas-ex-president-lee-one-time-hyundai-chairman-back-in-jail-in-scandal-involving-samsung/

 

US Court sides with importer in not paying import duties on royalties

On 8 January, Arent Fox published an article saying that an importer of Giorgio Armani apparel has secured a victory in the Court of International Trade in its dispute with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).  The case considered whether the importer was required under US customs laws to pay duties on advertising and trademark royalty fees as part of the value of the goods declared to CBP.  It says that the case is instructive because these fees must be a condition of sale to be subject to import duty.  Therefore, it says, importers must review the specific circumstances of their import transactions before including or excluding fees, such as royalty payments, from the value of imported goods on which duties must be paid.

https://www.arentfox.com/perspectives/fashion-counsel/court-sides-importer-not-paying-duties-royalties

 

US – IMPORT RESTRICTIONS IMPOSED ON ARCHAEOLOGICAL MATERIAL FROM ECUADOR

On 19 February, Baker McKenzie reported on an amendment to the US Customs regulations to reflect the imposition of import restrictions on certain archaeological and ethnological material from Ecuador, adding Ecuador to the list of countries which have a bilateral agreement with the US that imposes cultural property import restrictions.

https://www.internationaltradecomplianceupdate.com/2020/02/19/us-import-restrictions-imposed-on-archaeological-material-from-ecuador/#page=1

 

FREEPORTS IN THE UK

On 14 February, Addleshaw Goddard explained what a “Freeport” is, in the context of the UK consultation on the expansion (or rather, the reintroduction, in a new, modified form) of freeports (free zones in EU parlance).  It also explains briefly what the new UK version might include.

https://www.addleshawgoddard.com/en/insights/insights-briefings/2020/transport/freeports-in-the-uk/

On 21 February, the House of Commons Library published a briefing paper which sets out the background to the UK Government policy on freeports.

https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-8823

 

ISLE OF MAN NOTIFIES AMENDMENT TO ZIMBABWE AND ISIL/AL-QAIDA SANCTIONS

2 news releases on 20 February notified confirmation of amendment of the 2 sanctions regimes, following such changes made to the regimes of the UK and EU.

https://www.gov.im/news/2020/feb/20/financial-sanctions-zimbabwe/

https://www.gov.im/news/2020/feb/20/financial-sanctions-isil-daesh-and-al-qaida/

 

INDIA SEIZES MISSILE AUTOCLAVE FROM CHINESE SHIP AND ALLOWS SHIP TO LEAVE FOR PAKISTAN

On 21 February, the Hindustan Times reported that Indian Customs had detained the Chinese ship on 3 February for misdeclaring a “dual use” industrial autoclave, which can be used in the manufacture of ballistic missiles, as an industrial dryer.  The Da Cui Yun was allowed to leave for final destination Port Qasim after signing guarantees with Customs, though Indian authorities have decided to charge the ship under the Customs Act for wrong declaration of goods.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/drdo-experts-to-study-chinese-vessel-s-cargo/story-tmOktwvGIjFCOmQZe7xalI.html

 

Australia and International Sanctions: An overview of the key measures

An article from Australian law firm, Nyman Gibson Miralis follows a recent report from the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, and also provides a snapshot of the country’s sanctions regime.  This includes autonomous Australian sanctions imposed in respect of Myanmar, the former Yugoslavia, Russia/Ukraine and Zimbabwe, which are additional to UN sanctions.

https://ngm.com.au/australia-and-international-sanctions/

https://ngm.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Snapshots-Sanctions-August-2019-4.pdf

 

SINGAPORE: SEMBMARINE EX-CONSULTANT convicted IN BRAZIL FOR MONEY LAUNDERING AND CORRUPTION

On 21 February, Singapore Business Review reported that Sembcorp Marine’s subsidiaries’ ex-consultant Guilherme Esteves de Jesus has been convicted of corruption, money laundering and participation in a criminal organization, in Brazil – partly related to contracts that de Jesus entered into Brazil by subsidiaries of Sembmarine, a leading global marine and offshore engineering group.  He was sentenced to 19 years and 4 months in prison and was also fined with an undisclosed amount.

https://sbr.com.sg/shipping-marine/news/sembmarine-ex-consultant-charged-in-brazil-money-laundering-corruption

 

BULGARIA PUBLISHES FIRST ASSESSMENT ON RISKS OF MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERRORIST FINANCING

On 21 February, CMS Law reported that, on 9 January, the Bulgarian State Agency for National Security (SANS) issued the National Risk Assessment of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, which analyses the internal and external risks of money laundering and terrorist financing facing in the country.  The article details briefly the contents of the assessment.

https://www.cms-lawnow.com/ealerts/2020/02/bulgaria-publishes-first-assessment-on-risks-of-money-laundering-and-terrorist-financing?cc_lang=en

 

POKERSTARS FOUNDER ISAI SCHEINBERG RECEIVES OCTOBER TRIAL DATE

On 20 February, Inner City Press reported that Isai Scheinberg, indicted in 2011 with charges relating to the activities of Pokerstars in the US and recently extradited from Switzerland, has received a trial date set for October.  Scheinberg spent years living on the Isle of Man, but US authorities began extradition proceedings during a visit he made to Switzerland.  He was released on $1 million bail.

http://www.innercitypress.com/sdny1scheinbergicp022020.html

 

UK: MONEY SERVICE BUSINESSES TARGETED BY NATIONAL ECONOMIC CRIME CENTRE

On 20 February, an article from Bird & Bird was concerned with the “day of action” conducted by the National Economic Crime Centre partners to target money service businesses at risk of being exploited by criminals.  It explains that the NECC was launched in 2018 and sits within the NCA, but also includes representatives of the SFO, the FCA, City of London Police, HMRC, CPS and the Home Office.  The MSB industry is also viewed by the NECC as being vulnerable to exploitation by organised crime groups who may use MSB to, for example, launder money generated from the sale of illegal substances or to fund terrorism.  The article explains what MSB should expect from the day of action, and what they should do.

https://www.twobirds.com/en/news/articles/2020/uk/money-service-businesses-targeted-by-the-national-economic-crime-centre

 

BULGARIAN PM INVESTIGATED IN SPAIN OVER ‘MONEY LAUNDERING’

On 21 February, EU Observer reported that the Spanish media is saying that Catalan police and the anti-corruption prosecutor’s office are investigating Bulgarian prime minister Boyko Borissov for alleged involvement in money laundering and organised crime.  However, speaking to journalists at the EU summit, he rejected the allegations, saying that Russia and Bulgarian President Rumen Radev are behind what he called a “putsch” attempt.

https://euobserver.com/tickers/147527

https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/at-eu-summit-bulgarias-borissov-fends-off-accusations-of-money-laundering/

 

MIAMI TYRE IMPORTERS INDICTED FOR EXCISE TAX CONSPIRACY AND TAX EVASION

A news release from the DoJ on 21 February reported that, according to the indictment, Marco Parra and Eira Luces-Parra, a married couple, owned and operated Road Tire Plus Corp (Road Tire), a tyre importer located in Miami, and, from 2013 through 2016, they allegedly conspired with others in the industry to evade paying federal excise taxes on truck tyres.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/miami-tire-importers-indicted-excise-tax-conspiracy-and-tax-evasion

 

ENI/SHELL OPL 245 CORRUPTION CASE: ITALIAN JUDGE ORDERS NIGERIAN BUSINESSMAN TO STAND TRIAL

On 21 February, Sahara Reporters reported that an Italian judge has ordered that Nigerian businessman, Alhai Aliyu Abubakar, should stand trial for alleged involvement international corruption relating to an oil graft case involving Eni and Shell and the Nigerian oil industry.  Italian prosecutors alleged that Eni and Shell bought the oilfield in 2011 knowing that most of the purchase price (i.e. the $1.3 billion licence fee) would be siphoned off to middlemen and local politician.

http://saharareporters.com/2020/02/21/enishell-italian-judge-orders-nigerian-businessman-stand-trial-opl-245-case

 

IRELAND: CAB UNABLE TO ACCESS €52 MILLION IN DRUGS PROFITS AS BITCOIN CODES LOST

On 21 February, the Irish Examiner reported that the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) is not yet able to access the €52 million in Bitcoin seized as part of a recent drugs investigation as the codes to access the cryptocurrency are missing.  A freezing order has been obtained in respect of the funds, in what is believed to be the largest single-value asset ever seized by CAB.  It is believed that the codes were hidden in fishing rods which were thrown away after the house of the owner of the Bitcoins was cleared out during his time in prison.

https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/–983224.html

 

UK: PLANS FOR MAJOR EXPANSION OF DORMANT ASSETS SCHEME

On 21 February, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport issued a news release proposing that the dormant assets scheme could be expanded to include a range of financial assets – expanding the scheme from dormant bank and building society accounts to also cover insurance, investment and wealth management, and securities products.  The news release says that, since its launch in 2011, 30 firms – including all major high street banks – have voluntarily transferred dormant funds into the scheme, and so far over £600 million has been redistributed to good causes.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/plans-for-major-expansion-of-dormant-assets-scheme-to-benefit-good-causes

 

PROPOSED IRS RULES FOR DIGITAL AND CLOUD TRANSACTIONS

On 21 February, Snell & Willmer published an article saying that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has finally issued regulations addressing the tax treatment of cloud transactions.  It says that, until now, there was no guidance specifically addressing the tax treatment of cloud computing transactions, and as a result, taxpayers were forced to rely upon analogous authorities, not knowing with any certainty whether they were complying with applicable law.  The article then goes on to explain the new rules.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/what-s-in-the-cloud-proposed-irs-rules-17044/

 

US “BEATS” SWITZERLAND AS A PERCEIVED GLOBAL HAVEN FOR MONEY LAUNDERING AND TAX EVASION

An article from Ballard & Spahr on 21 February reported that the US has overtaken Switzerland as a financial secrecy haven, according to the latest rankings in the Financial Secrecy Index 2020, published by the Tax Justice Network – though the Cayman Islands has first place, with the US and Switzerland 2nd and 3rd.  The article goes on to examine the Index and how it was compiled.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/united-states-beats-switzerland-as-a-23773/

 

CERTAIN US EXPORTS TO RUSSIA AND YEMEN WILL BE TOUGHENED UNDER A NEW RULE

Sandler Travis Rosenberg in an article dated 24 February reported that, effective from 24 February, a new Bureau of Industry and Security final rule is the first step in a larger effort to restructure and realign country groups for export controls.  The article explains what the changes mean.

https://www.strtrade.com/news-publications-export-EAR-Russia-Yemen-022420.html

 

FORCE MAJEURE: SHIPPING COMPANIES FACING POTENTIAL PROBLEMS FROM CLIENTS AND SUPPLIERS

On 21 February, Lloyds Loading List reported that, with production and logistics operations across China gradually resuming, supply chain managers across industries like automotive, machinery, and chemicals may soon face a new risk dimension pertaining to the coronavirus: suppliers or buyers invoking force majeure to defend decisions – saying that the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) has already issued force majeure certificates to 1,615 companies.  It explains that these certificates shield companies from legal and financial damages arising from not performing or only partially performing contractual duties, such as delivering, transporting, or taking cargo, by proving that they are experiencing circumstances beyond their control.

https://www.lloydsloadinglist.com/freight-directory/news/Force-majeure-a-new-dimension-to-the-coronavirus-outbreak/76040.htm#.XlBBY25FzIU

 

AIRBNB EXPANDS US ANTI-HUMAN TRAFFICKING PARTNERSHIP WITH US NGO POLARIS

On 21 February, Illicit Trade reported that Airbnb has stepped up efforts to prevent rental properties being used by human traffickers by expanding its partnership with US anti-trafficking charity Polaris.  In 2018, it was announced that Airbnb would work with Polaris to stop its properties being used as “pop-up brothels”, and train members of its staff on how to spot the signs of modern slavery and human trafficking.  Now, having been faced with repeated criticism for failing to tackle human trafficking, Airbnb has announced that the partnership between the organisations will be strengthened as they endeavour to eradicate trafficking crimes across the world.  Under the arrangement, Airbnb and Polaris offer enhanced training to Airbnb employees, property owners and guests, which will be provided both physically and online.

https://www.illicit-trade.com/2020/02/airbnb-expands-anti-human-trafficking-partnership-with-us-ngo-polaris

 

DENMARK: AUTHORITIES ARREST 27 FOR COCAINE SMUGGLING NEAR GEDSER AND SEIZE 5 TONNES OF DRUGS

On 21 February, the Hellenic Shipping News reported that the drugs were hidden in a shipping container containing a consignment of flowers headed for the Netherlands.  It was the largest ever seizure of illegal drugs in the country’s history.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/protection-vessels-international-weekly-maritime-security-report-12/

 

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UK BASIC PASSPORT CHECKS GUIDANCE

On 22 February, HM Passport Office published an updated colour booklet containing important information of what to expect, plus additional notes for the 1988, 1998, 2006, 2010 and 2015 versions of the UK passport.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/867550/Basic_passport_checks_1988_-2019_02.20.pdf

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