On 11 September, an article from Comsure looked at the Sixth Money Laundering Directive (6AMLD), saying that it will close certain loopholes in Member States’ domestic legislation by harmonising the definition of money laundering across the EU. The Directive places a particular focus on ‘predicate offences’ and expands the list of money laundering predicate offences to reflect the modern threat landscape better. 6AMLD will/should be transposed into law across all Member States by 3 December – and must be implemented in those territories by 3 June 2021. It defines and standardises 22 predicate offences for money laundering, now includes cybercrime and environmental crime, and also harmonises the definition of other predicate offences.
On 11 September, Compliance Week reported that the CFTC has issued guidance to companies on how it will evaluate compliance programmes in connection with enforcement matters. It says that the 3-page guidance is much shorter than that of the DoJ.
On 10 September, The Enquirer reported that US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists in Cincinnati saw something strange when they were inspecting several large bags of dried chili peppers imported from Thailand in April – specialists found multiple prohibited wildlife products, including numerous dried frogs and insects and the remains of an endangered primate.
On 11 September, HMRC confirmed that it was ending the practice of tax-free sales in airports of goods such as electronics and clothing for passengers travelling to non-EU countries, following concerns that the tax-concession is not always passed on to consumers in the airport. In some instances, it says, these tax-free goods are brought back into the country by UK residents, putting high street retailers at a disadvantage. As a result of the changes, the ability to claim VAT refunds for overseas visitors for purchases from British shops will be removed. Overseas visitors will still be able to buy items VAT-free in store and have them sent direct to their overseas addresses – but they will not be able to take the goods with them, and the system of claiming VAT refunds on items they take home in their luggage will be ended.
On 11 September, HM Treasury confirmed that UK passengers travelling to EU countries will be able to take advantage of duty-free shopping from January 2021. This means that passengers will be able to buy duty-free alcohol and tobacco products, where available, in British ports, airports, and international train stations, and aboard ships, trains and planes. The effectively unlimited personal imports will be replaced by passengers coming to Britain being able to only bring back, for example, 3 crates of beer, 2 cases of still wine and 1 case of sparkling wine to GB without paying UK duties. The duty-free limits will be the same for non-EU destinations –
42 litres of beer
18 litres of still wine
4 litres of spirits OR 9 litres of sparkling wine, fortified wine or any alcoholic beverage less than 22% ABV
200 cigarettes OR
100 cigarillos OR
50 cigars OR
250g tobacco OR
200 sticks of tobacco for heating
or any proportional combination of the above
Any other goods
£390 or £270 if travelling by private plane or boat
An article in Fire & Security Magazine on 11 September is concerned with FoI requests sent to the SFO by solicitors Rahman Ravelli appear to support the argument that self-reporting bribery and corruption concerns can bring benefits. It says that just 2 companies that self-reported their bribery and corruption concerns in the last 10 years went on to be prosecuted by the SFO. Every other company that self-reported such concerns in the period from 1 October 2009 to 30 September 2019 either gained a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) or faced no action at all. Self-reporting is a way of addressing the situation and showing the SFO that there’s a willingness to put right the wrongs.
On 10 September, KGH Customs Services hosted the second in a series of webinars in the lead up to the UK leaving the EU customs union at the end of 2020. The webinar details the border operating arrangements in the UK and the EU – this time with particular emphasis on community transit.
On 10 September, Marine Link reported that an EU naval vessel has stopped the Royal Diamond 7, a ship that was carrying jet fuel from the UAE to Libya on suspicion it was violating a UN arms embargo. The incident took place in international waters, 150 km north of the Libyan city of Derna and the ship was diverted to an undisclosed EU port for further checks.
On 9 September, Unearthed reported that the UK is by far Europe’s biggest exporter of toxic banned pesticides to poorer countries, an Unearthed and Public Eye investigation has revealed. It found that EU countries issued plans in 2018 to export more than 81,000 tonnes of pesticides containing chemicals prohibited in their own fields. Poorer countries like South Africa, Ukraine, and Brazil were the intended destination for the bulk of shipments. The UK was responsible for 13,760 tonnes of those planned shipments to low- and middle-income countries – close to three times the amount attributable to any other exporter.
On 10 September, MIT Technology Review carried an article saying that there is a big difference between hacking a cryptocurrency exchange and actually getting your hands on all the cash. However, for the North korean hacking operation, an IRS agent is quoted as saying that the laundering is more sophisticated than the hacks themselves. The article looks at the methods used, such as “peel chain” and “chain hopping”, which involve creating and maintaining hundreds of false accounts and identities, a consistent level of sophistication and effort that underlines just how important the operation is for Pyongyang – with criminal activity responsible for up to 15% of its income, and with a significant portion of that driven by cyberattacks.