OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MARCH 24

Panama CoVid-19 update – now under 5 pm to 5 am curfew from today.  Presidential due tonight, with rumours of increased restrictions.  Over 1,000 arrested so far for breaching curfew.  Infections numbers remain relatively modest (though latest figures still awaited), so are government policies working?  Those of a nervous disposition best not to watch the vultures that soar in the thermals over the city…

 

24 March 2020

PERU UNCOVERS ORGANISED CRIME NETWORK LAUNDERING ILLEGALLY MINED GOLD

On 24 March, KYC 360 reported that a major operation across 5 regions of Peru has seen 47 prosecutors and 1,200 police officers arrest 18 people who, according to Peruvian authorities, were members of a criminal organisation known as Los Topos (Spanish for “The Moles”), who focused on the illegal mining and trading of gold.  It is said that Los Topos used the registration details of four people who were in the process of being formalised as artisanal miners in order to transport the goods and authenticate the gold; and used this front to launder high-purity gold illegally mined.  2 foreign nationals, both Chinese but one a naturalised Australian, are listed as part of this network, and were in charge of buying and exporting the mineral through companies they ran.  The operation led to the seizure of large amounts of gold valued at approximately $10 million, as well as documents, weapons, explosives and chemical agents.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/peru-uncovers-organized-crime-network-laundering-illegally-mined-gold/

 

MYANMAR: BANK LICENCE REVOKED DUE TO UNCERTAINTY OVER SOURCES OF FUNDING

On 24 March, the Myanmar times reported that the Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) says it withdrew the licence of Asia Yangon Bank Ltd (AYB) due to uncertainty over its source of capital funding.

https://www.mmtimes.com/news/banks-licence-revoked-due-uncertainty-over-sources-funding.html

 

IRANIAN NATIONAL EXTRADITED FROM GEORGIA TO US FOR ILLEGALLY EXPORTING MILITARY SENSITIVE ITEMS FROM THE US TO IRAN

On 24 March, Corridor Media in Texas reported that Merdad Ansari, 38, an Iranian citizen and a resident of UAE was extradited from Georgia to face federal charges in connection with a scheme to obtain military sensitive parts for Iran in violation of the Iranian Trade Embargo.  It is said that the parts had dual-use military and civilian capability and could be used in such systems as nuclear weapons, missile guidance and development, secure tactical radio communications, offensive electronic warfare, military electronic countermeasures (radio jamming), and radar warning and surveillance systems.

https://smcorridornews.com/iranian-national-extradited-to-texas-for-illegally-exporting-military-sensitive-items-from-the-u-s-to-iran/

 

CAYMAN ISLANDS: REGISTRAR ASSESSES NON-PROFITS AS LOW RISK FOR TERRORIST FINANCING

On 24 March, a news release from the Cayman Islands Government advised that the Registrar for NPO (non-profit organisations) has concluded that charitable organisations in the Cayman Islands pose a low risk for the financing of global terrorist activities.  The assessment is included in Cayman’s response to the CFATF (Caribbean Financial Action Task Force) review of its AML/CFT/CPF regime.

https://www.caymaniantimes.ky/news/registrar-assesses-npos-as-low-risk-for-terrorist-financing

 

US PROSECUTORS CHARGE PDVSA CONTRACTOR WITH MONEY LAUNDERING

On 24 March, Brinkwire reported that prosecutors have charged a Venezuelan oilfield contractor with money laundering for bribing officials at state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela to win overpriced contracts, and then seeking to hide the proceeds in the US.  Leonardo Santilli is alleged to have received nearly $150 million from PDVSA-controlled joint ventures with foreign companies in the Orinoco belt between 2014 and 2017 for contracts to supply equipment.

https://en.brinkwire.com/news/u-s-prosecutors-charge-pdvsa-contractor-with-money-laundering/

 

COVID-19: IMPACT ON GOVERNMENTAL FOREIGN INVESTMENT SCREENING

On 24 March, Baker McKenzie issued a Client Alert saying that, as a result of the crisis, the unprecedented environment could afford opportunistic buyers the chance to acquire or invest in companies that have been weakened by the crisis; and creditors may unintentionally find themselves in a position where they acquire control over a business.  However, it says that COVID-19 has prompted some countries to take an even more stringent approach: with some national governments, notably in Europe, now taking steps to protect companies which have become vulnerable as their economies are struggling from being taken over by foreign investors.  Some examples where countries are taking a more stringent approach toward foreign investment are set out in the Alert.  It warns that while the trend towards increased scrutiny of foreign investment has been primarily focused on addressing national security concerns, it now seems that some countries are using foreign investment screening to protect wider economic and social concerns triggered by COVID-19.  While, at present, this approach seems to be limited to Europe, as the virus continues to spread, it is possible that other countries could take a similar stance to protect their own national interests and economies.

https://bakerxchange.com/rv/ff005cee2c44593d0b1459e44a4faceedbe41f6f

 

EU: NEW GUIDE FOR MEMBER STATES TO IMPLEMENT ‘GREEN LANES’ FOR FREIGHT AT EU BORDERS

On 24 March, Loadstar reported that, in an effort to avert lengthy truck queues, the Commission has unveiled a new guide for Member States to implement ‘green lanes’ for freight at EU borders – and as huge queues of road freight traffic – particularly at eastern borders – began to build up.  It is said that at one point there was a 50 km queue at the main crossing between Germany and Poland, while lines of vehicles longer than 10 km were seen at the borders of Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovenia.  The ‘green lane’ guidelines are aimed at limiting border processing time to 15 minutes for freight movements.

https://theloadstar.com/eu-member-states-pressed-to-open-cargo-green-lanes-at-border-crossings

https://euobserver.com/coronavirus/147852

 

ISLE OF MAN CONFIRMS SANCTIONS CHANGES RE EGYPT

On 24 March, the Isle of Man confirmed amendment of 2 entries on the list of those persons subject to sanctions relating to Egypt, following changes already introduced by the EU and UK.

https://www.gov.im/news/2020/mar/24/financial-sanctions-egypt/

 

COUNCIL OF EUROPE CORRUPTION REPORT ON CROATIA

On 24 March, the Council of Europe’s GRECO body published an evaluation report on Croatia, dealing with preventing corruption in government (top executive functions) and the police.  It points to where improvements should be made, both in legislation and in practice.  The report notes a relatively low level of trust in the police and considers that more needs to be done to prevent corruption risks within the police itself. The Croatian authorities are required to report back to GRECO by mid-2021 on the measures they have taken to implement the recommendations contained in the evaluation report.

https://search.coe.int/directorate_of_communications/Pages/result_details.aspx?ObjectId=09000016809d0d00

 

ISRAEL: PORT AUTHORITY COMPLETES BLOCKCHAIN TRIAL FOR BILLS OF LADING

On 23 March, HKTDC reported that the Israel Ports Company (IPC) has announced the successful completion of its pilot initiative for digitally transferring bills of lading using new blockchain technology, which it plans to make available across the nation’s ports at a later stage.  IPC is a government-owned entity which oversees and regulates Israel’s seaports, and is also the developer and operator of the digital Israeli Ports Community System (IPCS).

http://economists-pick-research.hktdc.com/business-news/article/Economists-Pick-Regulatory-Alert-Middle-East-and-Africa/ISRAEL-Port-Authority-Completes-Blockchain-Trial-for-Bills-of-Lading/ramea/en/1/1X34IXCX/1X0AKCOC.htm

 

UK: MODERN SLAVERY – HOW TO IDENTIFY AND SUPPORT VICTIMS

On 24 March, the Home Office published statutory guidance under the Modern Slavery Act which describes the signs that someone may be a victim of modern slavery, the support available to victims, and the process for determining whether someone is a victim.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/modern-slavery-how-to-identify-and-support-victims

 

UK NON-RESIDENTS FORCED TO OVERSTAY MAY ESCAPE DEEMED TAX RESIDENCY

On 23 March, STEP reported that non-UK resident individuals forced by coronavirus restrictions to stay in the UK for longer than the 60 days normally allowed will be regarded as being in ‘exceptional circumstances’ for the purposes of determining UK tax residency.  However, HMRC warned it will consider the facts of each individual case before deciding to disregard days spent in the UK due to exceptional circumstances, and commentators have called for a more generous and helpful policy.

https://www.step.org/news/uk-non-residents-forced-overstay-may-escape-deemed-tax-residency

 

UK: VISAS EXTENDED FOR THOSE CURRENTLY UNABLE TO RETURN HOME DUE TO COVID-19

On 24 March, the UK announced that visa nationals who cannot return home due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to extend their visa until 31 May – but this will be kept under regular review in case further extensions are needed.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/visas-extended-for-those-currently-unable-to-return-home-due-to-covid-19

 

HOW COVID-19 IS CHANGING THE ORGANISED CRIME THREAT

On 24 March, a Commentary from RUSI examined the likely effect of CoVid-19 and associated clampdown on organised crime, such as movement of illegal drugs.  In addition, the article notes that already in the UK a man has been charged with making false ‘medical kits’ alleged to treat Covid-19, allegedly containing harmful chemicals and it is said this resulted after British police were contacted by US counterparts.  The chief point appears to be that we should expect cyber crime to boom.

https://rusi.org/commentary/how-covid-19-changing-organised-crime-threat

Meanwhile, OCCRP provides links to various article illustrating the effect the virus was already having –

https://www.occrp.org/en/coronavirus/

 

CORONAVIRUS EFFECTS ON TRADE

On 24 March, trade body FIATA, described as the global voice of logistics, has produced an e-Flash with comments and observations from various bodies and organisation connected with international trading on the likely effect of the virus.

https://fiata.com/media/e-flash/2020/e-flash-no-220-corona-virus-impact-on-trade.html

 

GERMANY “LOSES” 6 MILLION FACE MASKS IN KENYA

On 24 March, the National Post reported that German customs officials are attempting to track down about 6 million face masks ordered to protect health workers from the coronavirus which went missing at an airport in Kenya.  It is said that the shipment never arrived after disappearing at an airport in Kenya, although it was unclear why the masks, produced by a German company, had been in Kenya.

https://nationalpost.com/pmn/health-pmn/germany-loses-6-million-coronavirus-face-masks-in-kenya

 

E-SIGNATURES IN ENGLAND AND WALES

In the light of CoVid-19 disruption, on 24 March, Out-law published this briefing.

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/guides/e-signatures-england-wales

 

CORONAVIRUS BILL – A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE BILL’S PROVISIONS RELATING TO CRIMINAL LAW IN ENGLAND AND WALES

On 23 March, PNLD produced a short briefing providing a brief overview of the Bill’s provisions relating to criminal law in England and Wales, along with relevant explanations from the accompanying Explanatory Notes document.  It warns that the Bill is still in passage through Parliament and may change.  The provisions include new powers to suspend port operations and related offences, and the use of live links in criminal proceedings and expands the powers under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

https://www.pnld.co.uk/legal-news-articles/coronavirus-bill-2020-21-overview/

 

WHY CRIMINALS LOVE CANADIAN REAL ESTATE: AND HOW TO FIX IT

A report from Transparency International and its associates saying that Vancouver, which has got all the publicity in recent years, is not the only Canadian city affected by “investment” by criminals.  The groups involve have partnered to investigate the country’s opaque beneficial ownership problem (and resultant opaque property ownership) further and to provide recommendations to solve it.

http://www.transparencycanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/BOT-GTA-Report-WEB-copy.pdf

 

THE SMALL FINANCIAL FOOTPRINT OF THE ISLAMIC STATE’S AMERICAN SUPPORTERS

In its latest edition, the CTC Sentinel carried an article saying that an analysis shows that, save for a few exceptions, the vast majority of US-based Islamic State supporters left a remarkably small financial footprint. Most, in fact, simply relied on personal savings to pay the small costs required for their activities.  It says that the small size of the financial footprint of US-based Islamic State supporters is, in itself, good news for US authorities but has a flipside, as the scarcity and inconspicuous nature of the financial transactions of many US-based Islamic State supporters can represent a challenge for investigators.

https://ctc.usma.edu/dollars-daesh-small-financial-footprint-islamic-states-american-supporters/

 

THE RIGHT-WING TERRORISM THREAT IN EUROPE

On 24 March, CSIS released a report which says that despite a notable increase in the number of right-wing terrorist incidents during the past 5 years, jihadist terrorism continues to be the most lethal threat to Europe however, despite this data, the threat from right-wing extremists in Europe is still serious, it says.  The number of right-wing terrorist attacks in Europe is high compared to other types.  Many extremists have also developed close relations with far-right individuals and networks in the US, Ukraine, Australia, and other countries.  As with Islamic terrorism, most attacks in Europe have been perpetrated by individuals and small cells rather than by centralised groups.  However, it also concedes that far-right and other types of extremists are increasingly active on the internet and social media, which suggests that one of the primary battlefields may be virtual rather than on the street.

https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/publication/Jones_EuropeTerrorism_WEB%20FINAL.pdf?QujAgipQZ97O7HifLbNHKTSWAWHUBJY8

Menanwhile, in the US –

US: The Far-Right Domestic Extremist Threat to the Power Grid

On 24 March, Homeland Security Today reported on the perceived right-wing threat to the US power grid, after a New Zealand man with alleged neo-Nazi ideology was arrested.  It says that far-right extremists in the US have also discussed and planned attacks on the power grid, and specifically substations, and it lists incidents in recent years.

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/infrastructure-security/the-far-right-domestic-extremist-threat-to-the-power-grid/

 

COVID-19: 3 DATA PROTECTION TIPS FOR THE EU AND THE UK

On 24 March, a post on the Compliance & Enforcement Blog of the New York University School of Law provided advice for businesses affected by GDPR wanting to use or transfer personal data during the crisis.

https://wp.nyu.edu/compliance_enforcement/2020/03/23/covid-19-three-data-protection-tips-for-the-eu-and-the-uk/

 

US EXPORT CONTROL VIDEOS

The US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry & Security offers a number of free online videos, including a “Quick Start to Export Control”, with others on classifying your goods, establishing a compliance programme and explaining what are “deemed exports”.

https://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/online-training-room

 

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

 

 

SEC AWARDS OVER $570,000 TO 2 WHISTLEBLOWERS

A release on Mondo Visione on 24 March advised that the awards were made to 2 whistleblowers who provided significant information and assistance that helped the SEC bring multiple successful enforcement actions.  The first received an award of approximately $478,000 and the second approximately $94,000.  The SEC has awarded approximately $396 million to 76 individuals since issuing its first award in 2012.  All payments are made out of an investor protection fund established by Congress that is financed entirely through monetary sanctions paid to the SEC by securities law violators.  No money has been taken or withheld from harmed investors to pay whistleblower awards.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/sec-awards-over-570000-to-two-whistleblowers/

 

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

DUTCH COURT IMPOSES CONFISCATION ORDERS AGAINST GAS TURBINE MANUFACTURER AND BAHRAINI SUBSIDIARY OVER DUAL-USE EXPORTS TO IRAN

On 18 February, a news release from the Dutch courts reported that a court in Limburg had convicted Euroturbine BV and 4 other defendants for the unlicensed export of gas turbine parts to Iran.  It is said that the company, together with a Bahrain-based subsidiary and other affiliates, set up structures to supply the gas turbine components to customers in Iran.  The companies established in the Netherlands and Bahrain have been fined €500,000 and €350,000 respectively.

https://www.rechtspraak.nl/Organisatie-en-contact/Organisatie/Rechtbanken/Rechtbank-Limburg/Nieuws/Paginas/Veroordelingen-voor-het-zonder-vergunning-uitvoeren-van-gasturbineonderdelen-naar-Iran-.aspx

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

UK HAS RESTRICTED EXPORTS OF 80 KEY MEDICINES TO PREVENT SHORTAGES DURING THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK

On 24 March, the Institute of Export & International Trade reported that the UK government is addressing the risk of shortages by banning ‘parallel exports’ of key drugs including paracetamol, morphine, adrenaline and insulin. It defines parallel exporting as when ‘companies buy medicines meant for UK patients and sell on for a higher price in another country’.  The government said the ban will protect UK patients by ‘ensuring the NHS has the treatments to continue providing world-class care’.

https://www.export.org.uk/news/496672/UK-bans-parallel-exports-of-key-medicines-to-protect-patients.htm

 

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 23

Panama CoVid-19 update – we go to 5 pm to 5 am curfew tomorrow (it is currently 9 pm to 5 am).

23 March 2020

 DHL BECOMES LARGEST LOGISTICS OPERATOR TO DECLARE “FORCE MAJEURE

On 23 March, the wall Street Journal reported that DHL Global Forwarding has declared force majeure on its freight shipping services – claiming protection from contractual failings in times of “natural disaster”.  It explains that other logistics operators have taken differing steps in the light of the effects of the CoVid-19 virus.

 

UK: 11-YEAR BAN FOR DIRECTOR WHO GIFTED INVESTMENTS IN POP-UP HOTEL COMPANY WHILE HE WAS AN UNDISCHARGED BANKRUPT

A news release from the Insolvency Service on 10 March advised that Neil Leslie Burns, 57, is banned from acting as a director or directly or indirectly becoming involved, without the permission of the court, in the promotion, formation or management of a company.  As a bankrupt, Neil Burns was banned from managing companies but not only did he remain managing an investment company, he actively entered into agreements with investors while transferring their funds to connected third parties and family members.  There was also a lack of books and records, and Burns is said to obstructed the investigation.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/11-year-ban-for-bankrupt-who-gifted-4-million-of-investments

 

UK: HEALTH SUPPLEMENTS BOSSES BANNED OVER OVERSEAS CALL CENTRE USING AGGRESSIVE TACTICS TO SECURE SALES FROM VULNERABLE PEOPLE

A news release from the Insolvency Service on 11 March reported that 3 persons signed disqualification undertakings for 7 years each following an investigation which showed that they had allowed their company, Vivid Lifestyle, to trade with a lack of commercial probity and failed to provide suitable governance over their sales agents. The company used an overseas call centre to sell the health supplements but without proper supervision, the sales agents pursued high-pressure sales tactics to dupe vulnerable people into buying the products.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/health-supplements-bosses-banned-for-21-years

 

US TARGETS VENEZUELA MADURO REGIME WITH FRESH CHARGES

On 22 March, the Wall Street Journal reported that the US had unsealed criminal cases against 2 former officials at Venezuela’s state oil monopoly this month as part of what officials say is a new round of charges and sanctions against a Maduro government they accuse of systemic corruption, narcotrafficking and stealing billions of dollars in state funds.  Prosecutors have also charged a businessman associated with the subsidiary of the company, PdVSA, for whom the officials worked.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-targets-venezuelas-maduro-regime-with-fresh-charges-sanctions-11584905226

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/u-s-targets-venezuelas-maduro-regime-with-fresh-charges-sanctions/

 

UK: EXPORT LICENSING SERVICE UNDER CORONAVIRUS RESTRICTIONS

On 23 March, the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation in the UK announced that was it taking measures to ensure there will be minimum disruption to its service during this period.  Any queries normally made to the OFSI helpline should be sent by email to the OFSI mailbox wherever possible.  Licence applications and compliance reports will continue to be assessed and urgent and humanitarian licence cases will continue to be prioritised.

 

REPORT OF THE UK INDEPENDENT REVIEWER OF TERRORISM LEGISLATION ON THE OPERATION OF THE TERRORISM ACTS 2000 AND 2006

Jonathan Hall QC has released his latest annual report.  Amongst the comments he makes is to say that the list of proscribed terrorist groups is still not up to date, and that this longstanding problem can only be remedied by reforming the law to keep the focus on groups which are actually involved in terrorism.  He also cautions that care must be taken that the UK charitable and humanitarian aid is not unduly adversely affected up by laws on terrorism overseas.

https://terrorismlegislationreviewer.independent.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Terrorism-Acts-in-2018-Report.pdf

 

SWEDBANK PUBLISHES FINDINGS ON AML ERRORS

On 23 March, KYC 360 reported that Swedbank AB has published a third-party report outlining more than a decade of compliance missteps that led to it processing of some $40 billion in transactions deemed to pose a “high risk” of money laundering.  It also disclosed that an investigation had separately identified 586 transactions, worth an aggregate $4.8 million, that had likely violated US sanctions imposed in the wake of Russia’s 2014 takeover of the Crimean peninsula.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/swedbank-publishes-long-awaited-analysis-of-aml-missteps/

The report is available at –

https://internetbank.swedbank.se/ConditionsEarchive/download?bankid=1111&id=WEBDOC-PRODE57526786

 

LUXEMBOURG: NEW REPORTING OBLIGATIONS ON CROSS-BORDER TAX ARRANGEMENTS AND IMPLEMENTING FIFTH AML DIRECTIVE

On 23 March, KYC 360 reported that new laws approved by the country’s parliament included those to implement the so-called EU DAC-6 Directive, which adds new reporting obligations for lawyers, accountants, auditors, banks and financial intermediaries on cross-border tax arrangements.  2 new laws implement the EU’5th Money Laundering Directive, with a register of bank accounts and safe deposit boxes in the country, to include account and deposit box number as well as the account holder, and stating whether a private person or the beneficial owners of a company is involved.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/luxembourgs-parliament-votes-in-favour-of-tax-anti-money-laundering-rules/

 

US CHARGES ANOTHER BUSINESSMAN WITH INVOLVEMENT IN VENEZUELAN OIL COMPANY FRAUD

On 23 March, KYC 360 reported that in Miami prosecutors had charged Leonardo Santilli, a Venezuelan citizen who controlled several companies working for the joint ventures, with money laundering in Miami and related offences.  His companies allegedly received nearly $150 million from the PdVSA subsidiaries between 2014-2017, and with more than $100 million allegedly transferred to accounts, trusts and shell companies controlled by him and other Venezuelan individuals.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/u-s-targets-venezuelas-maduro-regime-with-fresh-charges-sanctions/

 

TURKEY: TURKSISH-AZERI BILLIONAIRE ARRESTED

On 20 March, the Al-Monitor reported on the arrest of Azeri-Turkish billionaire Mubariz Mansimov Gurbanoglu on terrorism charges – and that he alleges collusion between global energy companies and Turkish prosecutors. He is described as a former ally and alleged business partner of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s family.

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/03/turkey-billionaire-azerbaijan-gurbanoglu-arrest-gulen.html

 

UK BANK FRAUD SECURITY MEASURE DELAYED BECAUSE OF THE DISRUPTION CAUSED BY COVID-19

On 23 March, KYC 360 reported that, as millions of people are expected to avoid branches and use online services, banks have postponed their plans for an extra layer of protection.  The changes are designed to stop “push-payment” fraud, where victims transfer money to accounts that they believe are legitimate.  However, the deadline for confirmation of payee has now been postponed for 3 months.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/banks-delay-internet-fraud-check-so-take-care-with-online-payments/
THE “CUM-EX” TRADING SCANDAL: ARE THE FLOODGATES ABOUT TO OPEN

An article from 5 St Andrews Hill chambers in London on 19 March asked if the floodgates about to open as the first criminal trial in Germany results in guilty verdicts?  Ir reminds one that 2 former London investment bankers were convicted of tax evasion at Germany’s first trial over so-called Cum-Ex trades in a landmark ruling that could lead to hundreds more cases.  In the trial it was alleged that CumEx trades amounted to about €400 million tax evasion.  Both bankers received suspended sentences with a requirement to repay several million Euros of benefit from the CumEx transactions – however, article warns that this should not be seen as the likely sentences for those who have not co-operated, and mentions that some 600 people are under investigation.

https://www.5sah.co.uk/news-and-events/articles/2020-03-19/the-cumex-trading-scandal-are-the-floodgates-about-to-open-as-the-first-criminal-trial-in-germany-results-in-guilty-verdicts

 

PIERCING THE CORPORATE VEIL TO IMPOSE DIRECT LIABILITY ON DIRECTORS WHO OVERSAW FRAUDULENT CONVEYANCE

On 19 March, Paterson Belknap published a blog post posing the question: do the directors who oversaw the fraudulent conveyance of a corporation’s assets face direct liability for it? Not unless the entities were shams and the directors exerted total dominion and control, according to a recent decision of the Commercial Division of the state court in New York.  The ruling was based on an interpretation of Delaware law, the judge saying that it does not create a claim for director liability, and that there was no factual basis for piercing the entities’ corporate veils to hold the directors liable for the alleged fraud.  The article concludes that it was not enough to describe an alleged fraud by entities involved in alleged fraudulent transfers themselves; to reach the directors, the pleading must show that the directors exerted total dominion and control and that the entities were mere shams existing for no purpose other than carrying out fraud.

https://www.pbwt.com/ny-commercial-division-blog/commercial-division-holds-that-imposition-of-direct-liability-on-directors-who-oversaw-fraudulent-conveyance-requires-piercing-the-corporate-veil/#page=1

 

PODCAST: SHIPPING AND COVID-19

In this podcast from Stephenson Harwood on 19 March considers some of the legal issues you might face if Covid-19 is affecting your business, covering force majeure, charterparty issues, finance and insurance, sharing insights from recent cases being dealt with in the maritime and international trade sectors.

https://www.shlegal.com/insights/greater-china-podcast

Meanwhile, the British International Freight Association (BIFA) has issued an updated note on force majeure

https://www.bifa.org/news/articles/2020/mar/coronavirus-and-force-majeure?l=y

 

PIRATES KIDNAP 7 CREW FROM MSC CONTAINER SHIP OFF GABON

On 23 March, Seatrade Maritime News reported that 7 crew members aboard container vessel MSC Talia F have been kidnapped by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea, off the coast of Libreville, Gabon.

https://www.seatrade-maritime.com/ship-operations/pirates-kidnap-seven-crew-msc-boxship-gabon

 

PANAMA: DESPITE VIRUS, 50 SHIPS A DAY TRANSIT CANAL

On 23 March, Hellenic Shipping News reported that the maritime sector, including the Panama Canal, represents approximately a third of the country’s GDP and generates more than 100,000 direct and indirect jobs.  Among the security measures to protect the health of employees in the maritime sector from coronavirus, direct contact with the crew of ships arriving in the country is avoided, and only ships approved by the maritime authorities are served.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/panamas-top-breadwinner-defies-virus-as-50-ships-a-day-transit-canal/

 

US: A NEW DOWNLOAD LINK FOR THE VOLUNTARY SELF-DISCLOSURE HANDBOOK

On 23 March, Torres Law reported that the VSD Handbook was created to provide a concise summary of the voluntary disclosure procedures administered by various US government agencies.  It is not meant to be a comprehensive review of the pros and cons of filing a VSD or conducting an internal corporate investigation.

http://www.torrestradelaw.com/vsd-handbook

 

IRAQ RECOVERS THOUSANDS OF SMUGGLED ARTEFACTS

On 23 March, Middle East Monitor reported that the Iraqi government announced that it had recovered thousands of artefacts that had been smuggled out of the country, including one which dates back to the time of King Nebuchadnezzar I 3200 BC, explaining that it has returned from the UK to Iraq.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200323-iraq-recovers-thousands-of-smuggled-artefacts/

 

31 ILLEGAL VIETNAMESE IMMIGRANTS DETAINED ON TAIWANESE BOAT QUARANTINED FOR CORONAVIRUS

On 23 March, Taiwan News reported that, as imported cases of Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) rise in Taiwan, 31 Vietnamese nationals were arrested after being found to have been smuggled on a fishing boat.

https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3902487

 

MALTA SEES 157% INCREASE IN SUSPICIOUS TRANSACTION REPORTS

On 23 March, International Investment reported that Malta’s FIAU has reported an unprecedented 157% increase in suspicious transaction reports (STR) in 2019 from 2017, with 2,778 STR received.  It is also said that shared 1,549 so-called spontaneous reports were issued to other countries in 2019, a large increase on 2017 and 2018 and, up until the end of February 2020, the FIAU has already shared 664 spontaneous reports with its counterparts.

https://www.internationalinvestment.net/news/4012908/malta-157-increase-suspicious-transaction-reports

 

SENIOR ECOWAS OFFICIAL FACING MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES AGREES TO FORFEIT ASSETS

On 23 March, the Nigerian Tribune reported that Mohammed Dangana, a senior official of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, had agreed to forfeit assets following his decision to enter a plea bargain to end his ongoing trial.  He was an Executive Assistant to the Financial Controller, ECOWAS Commission Secretariat in Abuja.

https://tribuneonlineng.com/ecowas-official-facing-n587m-money-laundering-charges-agrees-to-forfeit-n245m-asset/

 

GERMANY LIFTS NATIONAL EXPORT BAN ON PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT AS EU IMPOSES CONTROLS

On 23 March, the EU Sanctions Blog reported that Germany had lifted its national restrictions on exports of medical protective equipment to the EU market, in the light of a new EU Regulation which makes exports of personal protective equipment (PPE) required to meet the demand arising from the spread of Covid-19 to third countries subject to licensing requirements.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2020/03/germany-lifts-export-ban-on-medical-protective-equipment/

 

FRANCE RELEASES IRANIAN ENGINEER IN PRISONER-SWAP

On 22 March, the US State Department issued a news release saying that it deeply regrets the decision of France to release Iranian national Jalal Rohollahnejad, who was the subject of a US extradition request.  The US had alleged that allegations that Rohollahnejad exported high-power industrial microwave systems which could be used for military purposes to Iran.

https://www.state.gov/frances-unilateral-release-of-iranian-national-jalal-rohollahnejad/

 

GERMANY “INVESTIGATES RUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER’S SON-IN-LAW FOR MONEY LAUNDERING”

On 23 March, UA Wire in Ukraine reported that the prosecutor’s office in Koblenz is conducting a criminal investigation against the son-in-law of the Russian Prime Minister, Mikhail Mishustin – businessman Alexander Udodov, who is said to be suspected of money laundering through the German company VG Cargo.

http://uawire.org/germany-investigates-russian-prime-minister-s-son-in-law-for-money-laundering

 

SWEDBANK – REPORT SAYS BANK WOOED HIGH-RISK CUSTOMERS IN BALTIC

On 23 March, Reuters carried an article about the release of details of a report compiled by law firm Clifford Chance on behalf of the bank.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/europe-moneylaundering-swedbank/swedbank-anti-money-laundering-report-says-bank-wooed-high-risk-customers-in-baltic-idUKS3N29P009

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/11888-probe-finds-swedish-bank-processed-40bn-of-dubious-transactions-2

 

FORMER INDIAN UNITED SPIRITS BOSS HIDES OUT IN LONDON MANSION WHILE AWAITING EXTRADITION VERDICT

On 23 March, The Drinks Business reported on Vijay Mallya, the fugitive former head of United Spirits and United Breweries, who is awaiting the Court of Appeal’s verdict on whether he should extradited to India to face charges of fraud and money laundering involving £1.15 billion.

https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2020/03/former-united-spirits-boss-hides-out-in-london-mansion-while-awaiting-extradition-verdict/

 

FOREIGN FISHERIES TO BE SUBJECT TO REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS FOR EXPORTS TO US

On 23 March, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that the US National Marine Fisheries Service is undertaking a consultation process re the import provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, under which fish or fish products cannot be imported into the US from commercial fishing operations that result in the incidental mortality or serious injury of marine mammals in excess of US standards.  By 1 January 2022, a harvesting nation must apply for and receive a finding that its regulatory programme addressing marine mammal incidental mortality and serious injury is comparable in effectiveness to that of the US for each of its export and exempt fisheries to continue to export fish and fish products to the US.

https://www.strtrade.com/news-publications-foreign-fisheries-export-mammal-032320.html

 

DR CONGO: FORMER HEALTH MINISTER JAILED OVER CORRUPTION

On 23 March, aa.com in Turkey reported that Oly Ilunga Kalenga Oly Ilunga, a former health minister in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has been sentenced to 5 years in prison for corruption linked to the misuse of $4.3 million in funds allocated by the US to fight Ebola.  He had been arrested in September 2019.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/dr-congo-ex-health-minister-jailed-over-corruption/1776603

 

FREE FLOW OF OCEAN CARGO AT RISING RISK FROM CORONAVIRUS

On 23 March, American Shipper carried an article saying that international shipping had held up well to date, but then details the problems ahead.  These include the question of what to do about the usual practice of changing and repatriating crews (which is said to involve around 100,000 crew a month), and what to do if crew infections become commonplace.  Restrictions at ports are mentioned, as well as at the Panama Canal – where vessels must use a local pilot.

https://www.freightwaves.com/news/free-flow-of-ocean-cargo-at-rising-risk-from-coronavirus

On the other hand, it reports in the same issue –

COUNTRIES CUT RED TAPE TO SPEED UP CARGO RELIEF FLIGHTS

This article says that passenger and all-cargo airlines are welcoming the relaxation of non-safety related regulatory requirements by aviation authorities, which they say makes it easier to quickly launch flights carrying medical relief supplies or repatriated nationals stranded overseas by new coronavirus travel bans.  It also says that several nations have implemented measures, such as excluding crew members from quarantines, to prevent disruption to all-cargo flights delivering ventilators, masks, medicines and other health- and hygiene-related products.

https://www.freightwaves.com/news/countries-cut-red-tape-to-speed-up-cargo-relief-flights

 

UK: KEY WORKERS IN FINANCIAL SERVICES

On 20 March, the FCA issued a news release in which it identified steps that finance firms should take to help identify key workers in financial services.

https://www.fca.org.uk/firms/key-workers-financial-services

 

CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN TIME OF QUARANTINE

An excellent podcast and accompanying blog posts which seek to address the question of what, if anything, do human rights have to say in a time of quarantines and lockdowns?

https://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2020/03/20/rights-in-a-time-of-quarantine-law-pod-uk/

https://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2020/03/17/rights-in-a-time-of-quarantine-niall-coghlan/

https://audioboom.com/posts/7536454-ep-105-rights-in-a-time-of-quarantine-niall-coghlan

 

 

 

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