14 March 2020
2 LOS ANGELES-AREA RESIDENTS ARRESTED AND 2 ALLEGED “BENEFICIARIES” ALSO ARRESTED IN SHAM MARRIAGE IMMIGRATION FRAUD
A news release from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement on 13 March advised that 2 people had been arrested on federal charges that allege they orchestrated a scheme in which Chinese nationals paid up to $60,000 to enter into sham marriages with US citizens in the hope of obtaining lawful permanent resident status – commonly called getting a “Green Card” – that would allow them to legally reside in the US. Agents also arrested 2 Chinese nationals who each paid tens of thousands of dollars to enter into sham marriages with US citizens to obtain Green Cards. The US citizens in these situations were actually undercover agents.
CFIUS: COMMON FAQ
On 13 March, an article from Fenwick & West LLP contained several high-level FAQ on the role of CFIUS, as reformed by recently legislation, intended for start-ups etc.
ZIMBABWE: US THREATENS TO SLAP MORE GOVT OFFICIALS WITH SANCTIONS OVER RIGHTS ABUSES
On 14 March, All Africa reported that, after 2 Zimbabwe officials were designated by OFAC, a number of other high-ranking government officials are under probe for human rights violations and risk being slapped with individual sanctions if found to be trampling upon citizens’ rights.
UK RECYCLING BOSS ‘SHIPPED HIS RUBBISH TO ROMANIA’
The Times reported on 14 March that Abid Iqbal, 46, the head of a UK recycling business, New Henna Traders in the Midlands, has been accused by the Romanian authorities of illegally exporting container loads of waste to Romania amid allegations that British waste is driving air pollution in Bucharest.
2 ARRESTED AT SCHIPOL AIRPORT WITH TOTAL OF €275,000 IN CASH
On 14 March, the NL Times reported that a 38-year-old Ukrainian man destined for Ecuador was found with €174,600 in a plastic bag inside his backpack. The second suspect was a 41-year-old Dutch man who was on his way to Romania. He was carrying over €100,000 in cash inside his hand luggage and clothing.
JOINT CIVIL SOCIETY RESPONSE TO THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION STUDY INTO SUPPLY CHAIN DUE DILIGENCE
On 27 February, the Global Policy Forum website published an article signed by several civil society organisations (including Amnesty, Global Witness and Friends of the Earth) saying that they welcomed the release of the findings from the European Commission’s study on due diligence requirements through the supply chain. The results the study unequivocally affirms that voluntary measures are failing and that there is urgent need for regulatory action at EU level in order to protect workers, communities, and the environment from systematic, ongoing and worsening human rights and environmental impacts linked to the global supply chains of businesses and financial institutions. Already in December 2019, more than 100 civil society organisations called for EU human rights and environmental due diligence legislation to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
PRIVILEGE AND THE REGULATOR: IS FRC v SPORTS DIRECT THE END OF THE STORY?
A briefing from law firm HFW says that English legal professional privilege (LPP) is again in the limelight, and it looks at the recent Court of Appeal decision in FRC v Sports Direct, which ruled on whether legal advice privilege (LAP), one of the 2 forms of LPP (the other being litigation privilege), will continue to apply to protected documents provided to the client’s auditor under a limited waiver. Detailing the case and relevant decisions, the briefing concludes that the judgment will be welcomed by financial institutions and their clients. It makes it clear that there is an LAP defence to a notice from regulators seeking production of documents or correspondence, and that it extends equally to the regulated entity subject to the investigation and to their client, to whom the privilege belongs, unless one of 2 exceptions apply
See also the New Law Journal from DLA Piper on 11 March, which says that communications remain privileged even if the corporate privilege holder has been dissolved; a leaked email alleged to reveal dishonest conduct is not precluded from being privileged by the iniquity exception; and that a legal note partly read out in court by counsel may retain privilege.
VIETNAM LITERALLY LAUNDERING MONEY (WITH DISINFECTANT) TO CURB CORONAVIRUS
Chao Hanoi on 14 March reported that the State Bank of Vietnam has asked Vietnamese banks, credit institutions and foreign banking services across the country to disinfect all their cash in a bit to curb the coronavirus from spreading. After being sterilised the cash must be sorted and stored for a set length of time before the institutions can allow the money back on to the market. Cash transaction areas, ATMs and bank branches must also be disinfected and sterilised.
KENYA: 4 CONVICTED OF FRAUD AT PENSIONS DEPARTMENT
On 14 March, the Daily Nation reported that 4 senior officers at the Pensions Department have been convicted of corruption-related charges involving abuse of office and attempting to steal by inflating amounts payable to retired civil servants. They were found guilty of committing the offences between 2009 and 2010.
KENYA TO PROBE ILLEGAL SALE OF BLOOD TO SOMALIA
An article on IPP Media on 14 March reported an investigation into officials at the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service allegedly part of a gang illegally diverting blood to Somalia, thereby creating an artificial shortage in Kenya.
PHILIPPINES: TOUGHEN AML LAWS OR FACE INTERNATIONAL SANCTIONS
On 14 March, the Inquirer reported that the Anti-Money Laundering Council is urging amendments to the country’s laws to avoid being grey-listed by FATF. FATF recommended the amendments in its mutual evaluation report last year.
UK: MEN CAUGHT SELLING £56,000 OF ILLEGAL OYSTER CARDS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
On 13 March, My London reported that 2 men from London have been sentenced for their part in scams selling illegal Oyster travel cards on social media. It is said that the sale of fraudulent Oyster cards on social media is estimated to have cost Transport for London approximately £2 million. To date, TfL has prosecuted more than 550 people caught with these fraudulently obtained cards.
UK: CHANCELLOR CONFIRMS VAT POSTPONED ACCOUNTING WILL BE AVAILABLE TO IMPORTERS AT THE END OF THE BREXIT TRANSITION PERIOD
On 11 March, VAT Live reported that the system is also known as deferred import VAT, meaning that no immediate cash payment of import VAT is due. At the end of the transition period in December, imports from the EU would become liable to 20% import VAT. The scheme is designed to mitigate the cash flow effect of the change.
“CASH BOX” TRANSACTIONS: THE USE OF JERSEY COMPANIES
On 13 March, law firm Ogier published a briefing explaining how a UK PLC, which is listed on the main list of the London Stock Exchange or on AIM, may use a Jersey company in a ‘cash box’ transaction where PLC is raising money either through a placing of its shares, a rights issue or where a convertible bond is issued.
ASSERTING PRIVILEGE IN THE EMAIL ERA – DOMINANT PURPOSE AND CONTINUUM OF ADVICE
A short briefing from Irish law firm McCann Fitzgerald on 11 March says that a recent decision of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales has clarified the position in relation to asserting Legal Advice Privilege in that jurisdiction focussing on issues such as the dominant purpose test and the continuum of advice. The article briefly explores these issues and how they are interpreted in Irish law.
ETHIOPIAN AUTHORITIES INTERCEPT 2 CONTAINERS OF ARMS SMUGGLED VIA DJIBOUTI
On 11 March, Muqdishu Online reported that authorities in Ethiopia had intercepted 2 containers of illegal firearms being smuggled into the country via Djibouti. The shipment was said to have originated in Turkey and stored in Djibouti for around 5 months before heading to Ethiopia. 18,000 Turkish-made pistols were found, packed with electronic materials intended to disguise the shipment. The report says that 24 individuals had been arrested and that investigations were ongoing.
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