OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MARCH 4

4 March 2020

HMRC INVESTIGATIONS INTO FOOTBALLER TAX AFFAIRS REACHES RECORD LEVEL

On 3 March, the BBC reported that HMRC is investigating the tax affairs of 330 footballers, 55 clubs and 80 agents, up from 173 players, 40 clubs and 38 agents in January 2019, and HMRC said it had recovered £396 million from the industry since 2015.

https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/51698150

 

POTENTIAL TRADE DIVERGENCE BETWEEN UK AND EU ON CAMBODIA

On 26 February, Ropes & Gray LLP published an article highlighting potential differences between the EU and UK of the future treatment of trade with Cambodia.  The EU has announced partial suspension of trade preferences for Cambodia due to the human rights situation – but the UK has yet to signal whether it will follow suit post-Brexit.

https://ropesgrayinsights.passle.net/post/102fzxb/potential-trade-divergence-between-uk-and-eu-on-cambodia

 

CANADA: HUMAN RIGHTS AND MINING COMPANIES – SUPREME COURT OPENS DOOR TO POTENTIAL NEW CHALLENGES

In its March Legal Bulletin, law firm McMillian reported that the Supreme Court of Canada has given Canadian courts the green light to develop new forms of civil liability based on alleged breaches of customary international law.   In doing so, it is said, it has permitted torts that are unlike those in any other jurisdiction, except possibly the US.  It says that Canadian-based resource companies with operations in developing countries that have poor human rights records, and now face vague and uncertain potential liabilities in Canada connected to the development of resource projects by their foreign subsidiaries.  The article says that the decision is the latest in a series of cases brought against Canadian mining companies by non-resident plaintiffs alleging harm caused by the actions of these companies’ foreign subsidiaries, and it looks at the history of such claims, and attempts by the mining industry to stem them.  In the latest case, plaintiffs were former Eritrean nationals who claimed they were conscripted through their military service into a forced labour regime to work at a mine in Eritrea, where they were subjected to violent, cruel and inhuman treatment.  The article highlights the decision to allow a plaintiff to bring a private right of action for damages flowing from an alleged breach of customary international law by a corporate defendant.  However, the article also highlights the questions left unanswered by the decision of the Supreme Court, but warns that companies which may be affected should nonetheless take precautions, with heightened due diligence and corporate social responsibility efforts.

https://mcmillan.ca/Supreme-Court-of-Canada-Opens-the-Door-to-Novel-International-Human-Rights-Claims-The-Uncertain-Implications-for-Canadian-Resource-Companies

 

A NEW ABBREVIATION – KYV – “KNOW YOUR VESSEL”

In a webcast from shipping specialist website Windward, “Know which vessels are safe for business”, a short presentation from C4ADS introduced an abbreviation new to me, and to be added to CDD, KYC, etc.  KYV stands for “Know Your Vessel”, which tied in with the webinar theme of how to try to ensure that any vessel you have business connections with are not affected by, or suspected of, links to sanctions violations.  The webcast recommended checks and controls as sanctions evaders and violators use deceptive shipping practices to conceal their true operations and to trade under the radar.

 

MAURITIUS ADDED TO FATF GREY LIST

On 4 March, International Investment reported the listing of Mauritius, described as a heavy blow to the  Indian Ocean island nation, which has been trying to shed its image as a tax haven.  It is the second-largest source of foreign portfolio investor (FPI) flows into India, after the US, and has remained so despite the amendment to the tax treaties between the 2 countries in 2017, and authorities in India have said that investors from Mauritius will continue to be eligible for registration with it even as the island country has been placed on the grey list.  Despite this, its is said that experts fear Mauritius could lose its significance as a financial centre in the medium term.

https://www.internationalinvestment.net/news/4011789/mauritius-added-fatf-greylist

 

INDIAN SEIZURE FROM PAKISTAN-BOUND SHIP: WHAT IS AN AUTOCLAVE?

On 4 March, The Print says that officials have said the seized item on a Hong Kong-flag vessel detained on 3 February was an autoclave, which can be used for both civilian and military purposes.  It is said that the 18 x 4 metre vessel can be used in the manufacture of WMD platforms, according to officials from India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), and it can be used for the manufacture of the motor of very long-range missiles.  The article goes on to explain what an autoclave is – essentially it provides method for disinfection and sterilisation using a combination of steam, pressure, high temperature and time are used to kill microorganisms and spores.  It is dual-use — it is employed for civilian as well as military purposes. It can be used to sterilise waste products, and the term is synonymous with a steam steriliser that is most often found in hospitals or pharmaceutical settings.

https://theprint.in/theprint-essential/what-is-autoclave-nuclear-missile-tech-that-india-seized-from-pakistan-bound-chinese-ship/375520/

 

US: BUSINESS-OWNER ADMITS SMUGGLING MACHINERY TO IRAN

On 3 March, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported that the owner of a New Hampshire-based export business pleaded guilty to smuggling machinery from the US to Iran in violation of export controls – Aiden Davidson, 32, (formerly Hamed Aliabadi  before becoming a US citizen in 2016).  Golden Gate International LLC shipped motors, displacement pumps, pumps, valves and other machinery items to Iran, though there are no allegations that the material was used by the Iranian military.  The goods were sent to Turkish companies, one a freight forwarding company just 30 miles from the Iranian border.

https://www.unionleader.com/news/courts/owner-of-manchester-business-admits-smuggling-machinery-to-iran/article_96c064f2-14a0-550b-90b4-d096343fda7e.html

 

INDIVIDUAL EMAILS SENT IN FURTHERANCE OF THE SAME FOREIGN BRIBERY SCHEME ARE SEPARATE FCPA VIOLATIONS

On 4 March, Wilmer Hale reported that on 14 February, a US District Court had issued a ruling that ruled that individual emails sent in furtherance of the same foreign bribery scheme are separate FCPA violations, with each email forming the basis for a separate “unit of prosecution”.  The law firm says that, if the ruling is upheld on appeal it could raise the stakes for individuals and corporations accused of FCPA violations. Defendants charged with paying a bribe, effected through the sending and receipt of multiple emails, may now face multiple charges and increased exposure at sentencing.

https://www.wilmerhale.com/en/insights/client-alerts/20200304-fcpa-litigation-update-doj-theories-on-unit-of-prosecution-and-agency-tested-to-mixed-results

 

BOILER ROOM INVESTMENT FRAUD IN SPAIN AND NETHERLANDS HALTED

A news release from Eurojust on 4 March advised that Dutch and Spanish authorities have arrested 6 suspects for defrauding at least 40 victims for around €6 million. The suspects contacted mainly Dutch investors, promising considerable profits. The suspects set up so-called boiler rooms, alleged investment companies which had a very professional outlook and online presence. Their representatives called victims, using professional sales techniques, and offered investments in shares without any real value.

http://www.eurojust.europa.eu/press/PressReleases/Pages/2020/2020-03-04.aspx

 

UK: FORCED MARRIAGE UNIT STATISTICS 2018

On 4 March, the Home Office issued a news release containing information on the number of cases reported to the government’s Forced Marriage Unit via its public helpline and email inbox from 1 January to 31 December 2018.  The FMU is a joint FCO and Home Office unit working on the government’s forced marriage policy, outreach and casework. It operates both inside the UK, where support is provided to any individual, and overseas, where consular assistance is provided to British nationals, including dual nationals.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/forced-marriage-unit-statistics-2018

 

FinCEN PENALISES US BANK OFFICIAL FOR CORPORATE AML FAILURES

On 4 March, a news release from FinCEN advised that a $450,000 civil penalty had been imposed against Michael LaFontaine, former Chief Operational Risk Officer at US Bank National Association, for his failure to prevent violations of the Bank Secrecy Act during his tenure.   The Bank used automated transaction monitoring software to spot potentially suspicious activity, but it improperly capped the number of alerts generated, limiting the ability of law enforcement to target criminal activity.  In addition, the bank failed to staff the BSA compliance function with enough people to review even the reduced number of alerts enabling criminals to escape detection.

https://www.fincen.gov/news/news-releases/fincen-penalizes-us-bank-official-corporate-anti-money-laundering-failures

 

ISRAEL: A LAWYER ESCAPED THE LAW FOR 15 YEARS, SENTENCED TO 6 YEARS FOR THEFT, FRAUD AND OBSTRUCTION

On 4 March, the Jerusalem Post reported that a Tel Aviv district court has sentenced Michael Caprov, 66, to 6 years in prison for theft, fraud, and obstruction.  He was originally found guilty in 2004 for theft and fraud, and the court sentenced him for another charge of obstruction due to his avoidance of justice.

https://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Lawyer-escaped-the-law-for-15-years-sentenced-for-six-619759

 

CAYMAN ISLANDS BLACKLISTING TO HAVE NO EFFECT ON THE SHIPPING REGISTRY

On 4 March, the Superyacht News reported that the EU blacklisting of the Cayman Islands relates to the regulation of collective investment vehicles (CIV) and has no impact on either the Maritime Authority or its dealings with clients based in the EU or otherwise.

https://www.superyachtnews.com/business/cayman-blacklisting-

 

US ALLEGES HONDURAS DRUG LAB OPERATED WITH PRESIDENTIAL PROTECTION

On 4 March, Insight Crime reported that US authorities allege that a recently arrested drug trafficker, Geovanny Daniel Fuentes Ramírez, relied on protection from Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernández and his brother Tony to manufacture hundreds of kilograms of cocaine per month.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/analysis/honduras-drug-lab-presidential-protection/

 

MOLDOVA’S MOST NOTORIOUS OLIGARCH HAS BEEN IN THE US DESPITE SANCTIONS

On 4 March, Rferl reported that Vladimir Plahotniuc fled Moldova in June 2019 after being pushed out of parliament as part of a government shakeup brokered by Russia, the US, and other European partners. He has dropped out of the public view since then, reportedly travelling under one or more assumed names and alternate passports.  In January, the US imposed him and his family with visa restrictions.  However, sources told the media site that Plahotniuc had been in the US on several occasions in recent months, including at least once since the US State Department imposed the visa restrictions.

https://www.rferl.org/a/moldova-most-notorious-oligarch-has-been-in-the-us-despite-sanctions-officials-say/30468719.html

 

AUTHORITIES IN DUBAI SEIZE MORE THAN 29,000 FAKE WATCHES WORTH MORE THAN $327 MILLION

On 3 March, Illicit Trade reported that the 29,000 fake watches would have been worth more than $327 million had they been genuine.

https://www.illicit-trade.com/2020/03/authorities-in-dubai-seize-more-than-29000-fake-watches-worth-more-than-327-million/

 

SPANISH TRANSLATION OF DoJ GUIDANCE FOR EVALUATING COMPLIANCE PROGRAMMES

On 4 March, the FCPA Blog reported that law firm Ritch Mueller has produced an unofficial translation (with English and Spanish side-by-side) of the DoJ April 2019 Guidance Document for the Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs into Spanish.

https://fcpablog.com/2020/03/04/resource-alert-spanish-translation-of-doj-guidance-for-evaluating-compliance-programs/

 

RUSSIA HAS UPDATED ITS ANTI-BRIBERY AND AML LAWS TO DEAL WITH CORRUPTION RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH CRYPTOCURRENCY AND NEW TECHNOLOGY

A post on the FCPA Blog on 4 March advised that this has happened as Russia has plans to introduce its own cryptocurrency later in 2020.

https://fcpablog.com/2020/03/04/russia-updates-crypto-regulations-after-string-of-scandals/

 

INDIA: JET AIRWAYS FOUNDER NARESH GOYAL FACING MONEY LAUNDERING INVESTIGATION

On 4 March, the Hindustan Times reported that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has registered a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).  He had already been under investigation for alleged violations of foreign direct investment (FDI) regulations.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/ed-books-jet-airways-naresh-goyal-under-pmla/story-CGtkN6OXvT7TQxcIe7KkBJ.html

 

PRESIDENT TRUMP SIGNS BILL TO ADD CUSTOMS AGRICULTURE SPECIALISTS TO PORTS

On 4 March, American Shipper reported that the Protecting America’s Food and Agriculture Act provides funding to help US Customs and Border Protection close a shortfall among its agriculture specialist ranks over the next 3 years – with specialists and technicians to step up protection for America’s farming and forestry industries against the introduction of destructive pests and diseases.

https://www.freightwaves.com/news/president-trump-signs-bill-to-add-cbp-ag-specialists-to-ports

 

US PUSHBACK AGAINST UN ‘BLACKLIST’ OF COMPANIES INVOLVED WITH WEST BANK JEWISH SETTLEMENTS

On 4 March, American Shipper reported that the UN Human Rights Council has developed a database identifying companies that conduct business with Jewish settlements in the West Bank.  The Trump Administration called the UN database a “blacklist” which could effectively facilitate international boycotts against the listed enterprises.

https://www.freightwaves.com/news/us-pushes-back-against-un-blacklist-of-companies

 

If you’d like to help 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

 

 

 

 

 

CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK: GLOBAL GUIDE TO FORCE MAJEURE AND INTERNATIONAL COMMERCIAL CONTRACTS

On 4 March, Baker McKenzie produced a briefing after clients reported substantial business and operational disruptions, including closures of workplaces and ports, disruptions to supply and distribution channels, shortage of labour and weakened regional demand.  It says that attention has focused on the prospect that parties to affected commercial contracts may invoke force majeure provisions in those contracts in order to excuse delay or non-performance.   The alert from the firm discusses force majeure and the coronavirus from the perspective of Chinese law and several of the more frequently adopted common law systems governing international commercial contracts, focusing on the main differences in the latter.  It also outlines several alternative remedies that may apply depending on the governing law of the relevant contracts.  Interestingly, it explains that the concept of force majeure derives from French civil law and has been carried across to several other civil law jurisdictions, as well as wide application in common law jurisdictions.  It use is because of the limited remedies otherwise available to the parties when the contract becomes impossible, difficult or onerous to perform due to events outside the affected party’s control.

https://bakerxchange.com/rv/ff005b37d8f9359def8f93d99d4a8c425220b281

If you’d like to help 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

HM TREASURY AND ISLE OF MAN AMEND ISIL/AL-QAIDA SANCTIONS LISTING FOR AMADOU KOUFA

On 4 March, HM Treasury issued a Notice advising that the sanctions entry for Amadou KOUFA had been amended following the publication of EU Regulation 2020/184/EU on 11 February.  The Isle of Man followed suit.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/870301/Notice_ISIL_2020_184.pdf

https://www.gov.im/news/2020/mar/04/financial-sanctions-isil-daesh-and-al-qaida-1/

If you’d like to help 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

SECURITY RESEARCHERS AND ORGANISATIONS RUN REAL RISKS WHEN GATHERING THREAT INTELLIGENCE OR DEALING WITH CRIMINALS IN UNDERGROUND ONLINE MARKETPLACES

On 3 March, Dark Reading reported a warning from the DoJ that organisations that collect threat intelligence from Dark Web forums and other criminal online sources where cybercrimes are planned and stolen data is traded are walking into a legal minefield.  A new report from the DoJ highlights several issues that security researchers and threat intelligence firms need to be cognisant about when pursuing criminals on online forums.

https://www.darkreading.com/threat-intelligence/why-threat-intelligence-gathering-can-be-a-legal-minefield/d/d-id/1337218

The DoJ report is available at –

https://www.justice.gov/criminal-ccips/page/file/1252341/download

If you’d like to help 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

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MARCH 3

3 March 2020

HERBALIFE SETS ASIDE $40 MILLION FOR BRIBERY SETTLEMENT

On 2 March, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Los Angeles-based multilevel-marketing company is in negotiations with the US DoJ and SEC and to resolve investigations into alleged $40 million FCPA violations involving its business in China.  Last year, 2 former executives were indicted on FCPA charges.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/herbalife-sets-aside-40-million-for-bribery-settlement-11583171523

 

HUAWEI “HELPED IRANIAN FIRMS SKIRT US SANCTIONS”

On 2 March, the National Review carried a report claimed to have found evidence that Huawei shipped equipment made by California-based Hewlett-Packard to Iran’s largest mobile phone carrier, according to Huawei packing lists from December 2010.

https://www.nationalreview.com/news/huawei-helped-iranian-firms-skirt-u-s-technology-sanctions-documents-show/

 

BANK OF ENGLAND WARNS DEUTSCHE BANK ABOUT REPEATED COMPLIANCE AND AML FAILURES

On 2 March, the Financial Times reported that supervisors have told executives at the Bank that they now require monthly updates, instead of the normal quarterly meetings, and the Bank of England is said to be concerned that issues have not been fixed 4 years after the German bank was first placed under special supervision by the FCA.

https://www.ft.com/content/97ffaffe-5983-11ea-a528-dd0f971febbc

 

UN FORMS PANEL TO HELP BATTLE TAX EVASION AND MONEY LAUNDERING

On 3 March, KYC 360 reported on the establishment of the UN High-Level Panel on International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity for Achieving the 2030 Agenda (FACTI Panel).  It consists of 15 members drawn from policymakers, academia, civil society and the private sector.  It is said that the panel will explore what further action is needed by governments and financial institutions in areas of financial and beneficial ownership transparency, tax matters, bribery and corruption, confiscation and disposal of the proceeds of crime, money laundering and the recovery and return of stolen assets.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/un-forms-panel-to-help-battle-tax-evasion-money-laundering/

 

ENGLISH JURISDICTION CLAUSES DO NOT MEAN CHOICE OF ENGLISH LAW

On 3 March, an article from RPC said that a recent High Court case in England has highlighted the fact that where parties have agreed in a contract that the English courts will have jurisdiction in the event of a dispute, it does not automatically follow that English law will be the governing law.  The case involved a US LLC set up by a Canadian to act as exclusive agent in Canada, the US and the Caribbean for a Canadian company.  The article warns that those entering into contractual agreements should carefully consider a choice of law clause in order to designate the laws of a country that suits them.

https://www.internationallawoffice.com/Newsletters/Litigation/United-Kingdom/RPC/Beware-English-jurisdiction-clauses-do-not-mean-choice-of-English-law

 

PODCAST: A PRIMER ON THE EU NORTH KOREAN SANCTIONS REGIME

On 3 March, NK News, which does produce some fascinating podcasts about North Korea in general, published a interview with the spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy from the EU European Commission, who discusses the role that sanctions are designed to play in denuclearising the North, how those sanctions are formulated, and what opportunities exist for Pyongyang to get sanctions relief.

https://www.nknews.org/2020/03/a-primer-on-the-european-unions-north-korea-sanctions-nknews-podcast-ep-117/

 

THE EURASIAN ECONOMIC UNION

On 17 February, Russian Analytical Digest #247 from ETH Zurich was concerned with the Eurasian Economic Union.  The EAEU Treaty was signed in 2014, building on an existing customs union arrangement.  However, one thing the report points out is that non-tariff barriers (NTB) remain one of the major obstacles for market integration in the EAEU.  Intended as a sort of Eurasian parallel to the trade aspects of the EU, Eurasian countries implemented the first advanced common market envisioned by the Treaty — the common market for medical products — in 2016.   However, the report says that this was also the first to demonstrate a real problem that EAEU integration faces – in order to (roughly) comply with the time schedule set in the Treaty, the EAEU countries occasionally agree to weaken the specific requirements of the new regulatory framework, so that the actual level of integration remains lower than originally envisioned.  The report also says that the integration of the financial markets is a difficult goal for the EAEU, and here the progress so far has been limited, with the main steps to be undertaken in the years to come.  The report concludes that there are 3 main problems with deeper integration in the EAEU –

  • the issue of the willingness of the member states to cede control over additional policies to the EAEU bodies;
  • here are differences in the economic systems of the EAEU member countries (e.g. it is difficult to reconcile the centralised economy of Belarus, where about 70% of the GDP is produced by state-owned companies, with market-oriented Kazakhstan); and
  • how much political interest member countries have in pushing the EAEU project forward?

A separate article examines the collateral damage for the EAEU of Russia’s counter-sanctions to western restrictions following the annexation of Ukraine territory.

The Eurasian Economic Union consists of Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

https://css.ethz.ch/content/dam/ethz/special-interest/gess/cis/center-for-securities-studies/pdfs/RAD247.pdf

 

WHERE DO SAHEL TERRORISTS GET THEIR HEAVY WEAPONS?

An article from ETH Zurich on 28 February posed this question in the light of terror attacks on military outposts in the Liptako-Gourma area where Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger meet.  It says that new research from the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) on the links between violent extremism, organised crime and local conflicts in the Liptako-Gourma reveals that terrorist groups in the Sahel region – of which Liptako-Gourma forms part – are using weapons from the military barracks they’re looting in Libya.  The article says that while Libya had been the main source of weaponry in the region, including as a policy measure by Gadafi, since 2013 supplies had decreased, reasons including that the Libyan civil war increased the internal demand for arms, which means there are less weapons to export – although trafficking continued to some extent.  Weaponry also comes into the territory in other ways – and some West African ports, identified by the Small Arms Survey as illicit trafficking routes are also allegedly used for the transport of arms.  The report says that looting of armouries in countries in and around the region has become the favoured modus operandi, has enabled terrorist groups to accumulate large stockpiles of ammunition and weapons, and is becoming the main source of supply, offsetting the decline in flows from Libya and other former conflict zones.

https://isnblog.ethz.ch/terrorism-technology/where-do-sahel-terrorists-get-their-heavy-weapons

 

US SANCTIONS THWART CUBANA PLANS TO SECURE ATR 72 AIRLINERS

On 3 March, CH Aviation reported that a Cuban minister has said that plans to acquire the Franco-Italian ATR 72 turboprops has been thwarted by US sanctions, chiefly due its engines – produced by US-owned Pratt & Whitney of Canada.

https://www.ch-aviation.com/portal/news/86939-us-sanctions-thwart-cubana-plans-to-secure-atr72s-minister

 

EXPERTS CLAIM SEIZED ARTEFACT RETURNED TO NIGERIA FROM MEXICO IS FAKE

The Ancient Origins website on 2 March reported that a bronze sculpture seized at a Mexican airport, and hastily returned to Nigeria, is now claimed to be fake.

https://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/nigerian-artifact-0013365

 

US DoJ CHARGES UNPRECEDENTED NUMBER OF ELDER FRAUD DEFENDANTS NATIONWIDE AND LAUNCHES HOTLINE

A news release from the DoJ on 3 March announced the largest coordinated sweep of elder fraud cases in history.  This year, prosecutors charged more than 400 defendants, compared to the 260 defendants charged in cases as part of last year’s sweep.  In each case, offenders allegedly engaged in financial schemes that targeted or largely affected seniors.  In total, the charged elder fraud schemes caused alleged losses of over a billion dollars.  Prevention and Disruption of Transnational Elder Fraud has been made on the DoJ’s top 4 priorities.  Attorney General Barr has also announced the launch of a National Elder Fraud Hotline, which will provide services to seniors who may be victims of financial fraud.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/department-justice-charges-unprecedented-number-elder-fraud-defendants-nationwide-and

 

IRELAND: RADIO PRESENTER NEIL PRENDEVILLE NAMED ON LATEST TAX DEFAULTERS’ LIST FROM REVENUE COMMISSIONERS

On 3 March, The Journal reported that Cork’s RedFM, Neil Prendeville, has been listed on Revenue’s latest list of tax defaulters for 2019, and is listed as owing €541,636 in a combination of taxes, interest and penalties.

https://www.thejournal.ie/tax-defaulters-5031296-Mar2020/

 

UK: LAW FIRM ORDERED TO DISCLOSE DOCUMENTS RELATING TO EX-CLIENT’S ALLEGED FRAUD

On 3 March, the Law Society Gazette reported that the international firm Dentons has been ordered to disclose documents about a client accused of running a fraudulent investment scheme after the High Court in London found that letters sent by the law firm fell outside the normal lawyer/client relationship and the scheme itself bore ‘classic hallmarks’ of fraud. The documents would otherwise have been legally privileged.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/dentons-ordered-to-disclose-documents-relating-to-ex-clients-alleged-fraud/5103308.article

 

MERSEYSIDE DRUG TRAFFICKING SUSPECT ARRESTED IN SPAIN AFTER 6 YEARS ON THE RUN

On 3 March, a news release from the NCA announced that Dominic McInally, 29, the alleged ringleader of a cocaine trafficking group that expected to bank more than £1 million every month has been arrested in Spain after more than 6 years on the run.  He was arrested when officers from the Spanish National Police raided the Casa Masa strip club, near Marbella.

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/merseyside-drug-trafficking-suspect-arrested-after-six-years-on-the-run

 

CALIFORNIA ARMS BROKER WHO OPERATED FROM BULGARIA NOT YET SENTENCED, A YEAR AFTER GUILTY PLEA

On 3 March, Kenneth Rijock in his blog reported on the case of Ara Dolarian, who is said to have formerly sold Soviet-era arms and ammunition to US Government clients, including special operations units and CIA clients, for Afghanistan and Iraq, but was later charged with selling arms to foreign buyers, as Arthur Ave Consulting.

http://rijock.blogspot.com/2020/03/sentencing-still-pending-for-california.html

 

SWEDISH GOVERNMENT CALLS FOR INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE TO ONLINE SCAMS IN THE WAKE OF A MEDIA INVESTIGATION INTO A FRAUDULENT UKRAINIAN INVESTMENT COMPANY

On 3 March, OCCRP carried an article linked to an expose of the Ukraine-based Milton Group, in which it is alleged that staff defrauded up to a thousand people worldwide with sham promises of get-rich-quick investment schemes.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/11737-sweden-s-foreign-minister-calls-for-action-on-milton-group-fraud

https://www.occrp.org/en/fraud-factory/trail-of-broken-lives-leads-to-kyiv-call-center

 

COLOMBIA: CONVICTED PROSECUTOR TO TESTIFY AGAINST COLLEAGUES IN CORRUPTION CASES

On 3 March, OCCRP reported that the Supreme Court has sentenced a former prosecutor to prison for bribery, a reduced sentence after she agreed to testify against several other justice officials.  She is said to have been was a prominent and rapidly rising figure in Colombia’s justice system, and worked for the “Justice and Peace” Court, a reconciliation body dealing with former rebels.  She accepted $70 000 and 2 cars in exchange for settling the cases of 2 drug traffickers.  She had said that she would give testimony in nearly 50 cases of corruption involving the judicial apparatus – a figure subsequently reduced to 10 by the Attorney General’s Office.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/11736-colombia-convicted-prosecutor-to-testify-against-colleagues

 

CHILE STRUGGLES TO DEAL WITH COLOSSAL INFLUX OF SYNTHETIC DRUGS

Insight Crime on 3 March published an article saying that seizures of synthetic drugs in Chile have skyrocketed from 2,304 doses in 2010 to more than 1.5 million doses in 2019.  Although the use of synthetic drugs is on the rise in other Latin American countries, the rate of growth in Chilean domestic demand in 3 years is far greater.  The drugs are both imported – from Europe (via the Netherlands or Spain), through packages from Colombia, or hidden inside vehicles that enter Chile through mountain-passes from Argentina – and produced in Chile.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/brief/chile-influx-synthetic-drugs/

 

COLORADO BUSINESSMAN 7-YEAR JAIL TERM FOR BIODIESEL TAX CREDIT SCAM

On 3 March, American Shipper reported that Matthew Taylor has been sentenced to 7 years in jail for his role in a biodiesel tax credit fraud scheme.  Taylor and co-conspirators filed false claims for tax credits under a federal programme that encourages production and use of renewable fuels.  This is not the first such case, in 2018 a federal grand jury indicted 2 executives for illicitly obtaining more than $511 million in biodiesel renewable tax credits from the IRS.

https://www.freightwaves.com/news/colorado-businessman-receives-7-year-jail-term-for-biodiesel-tax-credit-scam

 

US: CHINESE NATIONAL CONVICTED OF LAUNDERING DRUG MONEY FOR TRAFFICKERS IN MEXICO

On 3 March, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued a news release which advised that a federal jury in Chicago had convicted a Chinese national of laundering illegal narcotics proceeds on behalf of drug traffickers in Mexico.  It is said that Xianbing Gan arranged to have narcotics proceeds of about $534,206 to be picked up in Chicago and transferred to various bank accounts in China, in order for the money to ultimately be remitted to drug traffickers in Mexico.

https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/chinese-national-convicted-laundering-drug-money-traffickers-mexico

 

THE ARMANI-DESIGNED NEW YORK CONDO WHERE CONNECTED RUSSIANS HAVE BOUGHT APARTMENTS

On 3 March, Rferl carried an article about 20 Pine Street, opened by Soviet-born diamond billionaire Lev Leviev as a luxury condominium in the late 2000s.  This is described as a building overlooking Wall Street converted into 409 condos, with Armani/Casa design and amenities such as a swimming pool, sauna, and gym to draw buyers.  The article says that this is the building where 3 Russian investors, at least one of them politically connected, have purchased 18 apartments for a sum totalling more than $18 million – Aleksandr Udodov, the brother-in-law of new Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin; Denis Katsyv, a businessman whose money intermingled with the massive alleged tax fraud exposed by whistle-blower Sergei Magnitsky; and Valentin Laskov, a Moscow homebuilder, who has links to the jailed Michael Cohen.

https://www.rferl.org/a/armani-designed-new-york-condo-where-connected-russians-have-bought-apartments/30467108.html

 

ASSETS OF RUSSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER NAVALNY, HIS FAMILY AND ASSOCIATE FROZEN – SUED BY OLEG DERIPASKA

On 3 March, Rferl reported that Aleksei Navalny says his finances, along those of his wife, children, parents, and the head of his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) have been frozen without explanation.  It is also reported that Navalny said that he had obtained information that billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who has strong links to Russia’s leadership, was suing him for unknown reasons.

https://www.rferl.org/a/accounts-of-navalny-associate-frozen-as-tycoon-deripaska-launches-lawsuit/30466408.html

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https://www.rferl.org/a/britain-the-biggest-buyer-of-russian-gold/30466802.html

If you’d like to help 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

 

 

 

 

PROLIFERATION: CATALOGUE OF CASE STUDIES ON INTANGIBLE TECHNOLOGY TRANSFERS IN ACADEMIA AND RESEARCH INSTITUTES

On 2 March, Project Alpha at King’s College London published a catalogue that follows its 2016 report on the utility of intangible technology transfer (ITT) in managing the spread of proliferation-relevant technologies.  The catalogue includes 20 cases from countries with the most advanced research capabilities and know-how including the US, UK, Australia, and in Europe.  This is said to come amid government concerns about theft of technology from universities and research institutes by proliferators and follows a report published by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) which highlighted how China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is expanding its research collaboration with universities outside of China.  The cases catalogued –

  • Chinese scientists with Iranian supervisors carrying out research on hypersonic missile flight control algorithms in Norway;
  • highlight an example of best practice adopted by research institutes;
  • demonstrate the complications and difficulties involved with signing agreements with Chinese state-owned entities;
  • highlight the importance of doing a sanctioned entity check before entering into cooperation agreements with foreign entities;
  • demonstrate the need for caution around publishing research that may be subject to export controls; and
  • show the crucial need for training in academia on export control requirements.

https://www.kcl.ac.uk/news/catalogue-of-case-studies-on-intangible-technology-transfers-in-academia-and-research-institutes

The 2016 report from Project Alpha on the use of ITT in managing the spread of proliferation-relevant technologies is available at –

https://www.kcl.ac.uk/news/examining-intangible-technology-controls

The 2018 Australian report is available at –

https://www.aspi.org.au/report/picking-flowers-making-honey

If you’d like to help 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

CORRUPT BRAZILIAN MAYOR’S $8 MILLION FORTUNE STASHED IN JERSEY ‘HANDED BACK TO SÃO PAULO’

On 3 March, the Jersey Evening Post reported that Brazilian media says that around $8 million of dirty money allegedly stashed in Jersey in the 1990s by the former Mayor of São Paulo has been given back to the city.  Maluf, who was mayor from 1993 until 1996, was found by the Royal Court in 2012 to have used 2 BVI companies to launder money into a Jersey-based Deutsche Bank account.

https://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2020/03/03/corrupt-brazilian-mayors-8m-fortune-stashed-in-jersey-handed-back-to-sao-paulo/

If you’d like to help 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