5 March 2020
PANAMA: PROSECUTORS SEIZE CARS WORTH NEARLY $1 MILLION FROM LUXURY MANSION
On 5 March, Newsroom Panama reported that, according to the National Police Twitter account, the raid, and the seizure of 9 cars, was related to an investigation of alleged money laundering by a citizen of Mexican nationality.
US ROBOTICS COMPANY TOLD NOT TO SHARE TECHNOLOGY WITH CHINA
On 5 March, the European Sanctions Blog reported that the US Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is reported to have sent a letter to a California-based robotics company, CloudMinds, saying that it cannot export its technology to China.
CROATIA: ITALIAN BANK UNICREDIT UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR SUSPICIOUS TRANSACTIONS
On 5 March, KYC 360 reported that inquiries at Zagrebacak Banka (aka Zaba), a unit of UniCredit reportedly discovered multiple movements of money that fell just below the value that triggers detailed disclosure requirements. UniCredit is said to have imposed tighter controls as a result of the revelations and is cooperating with authorities.
COUNTERFEIT GOODS AND PIRACY IN THE UK
On 27 February, the STA Law Firm published an article reviewing the legal position in the UK under, for copyright, the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. It then says that the Digital Economy Act 2017 introduced new developments concerning UK’s copyright laws, with the new Act primarily focused on targeting people or groups of people doing business out of selling illegal content and not individuals caught file-sharing and people unlawfully sharing content online. The legal framework regarding anti-counterfeiting arises out of both UK national laws and EU legislation, with the main piece of UK legislation involving trademarks is the Trademarks Act 1994. The article mentions that other pieces of legislation in the UK dealing with the problem of counterfeiting are The Fraud Act 2006 and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
WHISTLEBLOWING WITHIN AVIATION LEASING
On 21 January, an article from Safe Call, an investigation and training company, asks if an aviation leasing company needs a whistleblower policy. It says that whistleblowing is an important means of ensuring safety, highlighting situations where substandard work is carried out, issues are ignored or covered up, and the public are put at risk. Making such issues known to regulators and other bodies can mean the difference between life and death, especially when it comes to aviation leasing. It highlights the risks that a whistleblower may reveal, such as use of faulty parts, infrequent maintenance work (especially on aircraft leased from overseas), insufficient training being provided to pilots, and covering up shortcomings.
AUSTRALIA: FEDERAL COURT SAYS SPAIN CAN’T HIDE BEHIND FOREIGN STATE IMMUNITY
On 2 March, an article from Marque Lawyers said that the Federal Court of Australia has ordered Spain to pay over $375 million plus interest to solar companies from Luxembourg, the Netherlands and UK, in a landmark decision that confirms Australia’s responsibility to recognise binding international arbitral awards and enforce them as judgments of its national courts. However, the article poses the question of whether the companies will actually receive the funds. Spain had argued that the original arbitration award could not be enforced, because Spain enjoyed state immunity, but the Federal Court has rejected this argument. The Court argued that that, in signing the relevant ICSID convention, Spain had impliedly submitted to the jurisdiction of Australia’s courts and in doing so waived its precious immunity. However, the article points out that the “winning” companies still have to find commercial property owned by Spain in Australia in order to be able to recover on their $375 million.
CHINA SAYS THAT AUTOCLAVE SEIZED IN INDIA FROM PAKISTAN-BOUND SHIP NOT FOR MILITARY USE
The Week and others on 5 March reported that China has said that the industrial autoclave seized from a Pakistan-bound Chinese ship is a heat treatment furnace shell system and not a dual-use item under non-proliferation and export controls as alleged by Indian officials.
BRITISH LORRY DRIVER ‘ARRESTED TRYING TO SMUGGLE £26 MILLION OF FACE MASKS OUT OF MOROCCO’
On 5 March, the Daily Mirror reported that he was held in the Port of Tanger Med with face masks that had a street value of £26 million, while another Brit was reportedly arrested at Agadir Airport with 17,000 masks.
CHINA SEIZES OVER 20 TONNES OF SMUGGLED WILDLIFE PRODUCTS
On 5 March, Xinhua reported that Chinese customs have arrested 12 suspects for smuggling 20.3 tonnes of products derived from wildlife, including dried gecko lizard.
ILLEGAL WASTE FROM COUNTRIES INCLUDING UK TO BLAME FOR AIR POLLUTION IN BUCHAREST
On 4 March, the Telegraph reported that a Romanian minister had made this claim, as his country becomes a favoured destination for waste to be incinerated, illegally. He said that police have investigated waste collection companies because of shipments of rubbish through the port of Constanta disguised as household items, which end up on the city’s dumps or are burnt.
NEW ZEALAND FIRST CRIMINAL ACTION UNDER AML/CFT ACT
On 5 March, Regulation Asia reported that New Zealand had undertaken the first prosecution under its AML/CFT Act. A mother, son and their company, Jiaxin Finance Limited, were convicted for helping a known pyramid scheme operator remit NZ$53 million into New Zealand, without conducting CDD or reporting suspicious transactions for 311 individual payments between April 2015 and May 2016.
NELSON CONVICTION – THE BIGGEST MONEY LAUNDERING CASE IN TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
On 5 March, Newsday reported comments by the Attorney General that the recently concluded Vincent Nelson case as the largest money laundering case in the history of the country and settled by plea bargaining. The Jamaican-born QC was fined $2.25 million in a legal kickbacks case and for his role in an alleged conspiracy involving former Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and former UNC senator Gerald Ramdeen.
NAZI NAME LISTS IN ARGENTINA MAY REVEAL LOOT IN SWISS BANK
On 5 March, the BBC reported that files discovered in Argentina reveal the names of 12,000 Nazis who lived there in the 1930s and many had Swiss bank accounts. The Simon Wiesenthal Centre has asked Credit Suisse to identify the dormant bank accounts. In 1930-1938 Argentina had a pro-Nazi military regime led by President José Félix Uriburu and his successor Agustín Pedro Justo. The BBC says that the lists were seized by a special commission set up under the anti-Nazi presidency of Roberto Ortiz, who ruled from 1938, but in 1943 another military coup put a pro-Nazi regime in power in Buenos Aires and the commission’s findings were burned, but recently an Argentinian investigator found an original copy.
COUNCIL OF EUROPE URGES CZECH REPUBLIC TO INCREASE ANTI-CORRUPTION EFFORTS
On 5 March, the Council of Europe anti-corruption body GRECO has urged the Czech Republic to accelerate the pace of ongoing reforms aimed at preventing and combating corruption among parliamentarians, judges and prosecutors. This comes in a follow-up report published by GRECO concludes that the country’s low level of compliance is “globally unsatisfactory”; and that it has only fully implemented one of the 14 recommendations, whilst it has partly implemented 7 and 6 remain non-implemented.
42 ARRESTS IN SPAIN, ROMANIA AND PORTUGAL FOR MASS PICKPOCKETING
A news release from Eurojust on 5 March advised that authorities in Spain, Romania and Portugal have arrested 42 suspects, consisting of certain Romanian families, during an action against an organised group of large-scale pickpockets, coordinated by Eurojust, with the support of Europol. The thieves targeted mainly Spanish victims of watches and jewellery, which were subsequently melted into bars of gold and silver, with estimated profits exceeding €1 million. Over the last years, the authorities in Spain received close to 6.000 complaints about the criminal group. Spanish investigators found links with another Romanian clan, based in Spain, who transformed the proceeds of the crime into bars of gold and silver, which were then transported back to Romania.
FOUNDER AND CHAIRMAN OF MULTINATIONAL INVESTMENT COMPANY AND COMPANY CONSULTANT CONVICTED OF CHARGES LINKED TO POLITICAL BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION
A news release from the DoJ on 5 March advised that Greg E. Lindberg, 49, founder and chairman of Eli Global LLC and the owner of Global Bankers Insurance Group, and Lindberg’s consultant, John D. Gray, 69, have been convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bribery concerning programmes receiving federal funds. A third co-defendant, Eli Global executive John V. Palermo, 64, was acquitted by the jury, but a fourth co-defendant, Robert Cannon Hayes, 74, had previously pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI. The defendants had devised an elaborate plan to make a hefty campaign contribution to an elected official to secure favourable action, Robert Cannon Hayes being a former North Carolina state political party chairman.
PORTUGUESE POLICE RAID FOOTBALL CLUBS AND AGENTS IN NATIONWIDE FINANCIAL FRAUD PROBE
On 5 March, Inside World Football reported that Portuguese police have raided 76 addresses, including the home of football super-agent Jorge Mendes, as part of a nationwide investigation into money laundering and tax evasion in 2015.
UK GAMBLING COMMISSION SUSPENDS LICENCE OF ANOTHER ONLINE OPERATORS FOR COMPLIANCE FAILURES
On 5 March, Calvin Ayre reported that the Gambling Commission has announced the interim suspension of the online betting license of Stakers Ltd with immediate effect, and has commenced a review of the company, which operates via the Stakers.com domain, due to a “a number of compliance issues”. The company also holds a licence issued by the Malta Gaming Authority, so its operations outside the UK appear unaffected.
INDIA: SUPREME COURT STRIKES DOWN RESERVE BANK BAN ON CRYPTOCURRENCY
On 5 March, Jurist reported that the Supreme Court of India has ruled against the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) ban on cryptocurrencies, which originated in 2018. Indian banks had been ordered by the RBI to sever all ties with all cryptocurrency entities, and numerous start-up, technology and other companies that dealt in currencies were almost immediately crippled.
INTERNATIONAL PLATFORM FOR THE BEST PRACTICES AND AUTHORISED ECONOMIC OPERATOR (AEO) MUTUAL RECOGNITION AGREEMENTS
On 5 March, Albawaba reported that the WCO had approved Dubai Customs’ initiative of launching an international platform for the best practices and Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) mutual recognition agreements among AEO members.
UK DISCLOSURE PILOT: DISCLOSURE CAN APPLY TO SUBSIDIARIES
On 5 March, an article from Out-Law reported that disclosure of documents held by a subsidiary company of a party to litigation may be ordered in certain circumstances under the terms of the pilot disclosure scheme currently running in the Business and Property Courts (BPC) of England and Wales. The BPC disclosure pilot scheme began in January 2019 and is currently expected to run until the end of 2020. It is aimed at making disclosure more proportionate and focused on the issues in dispute between the parties.
2019 HOMICIDE RATES IN LATIN AMERICA’S CAPITAL CITIES
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