OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – APRIL 26

Panama Covid-19 update – another 3 fatalities reported today, together with 198 new cases. 3,906 active cases include 63 in ICU and 296 in other wards.

26 APRIL 2021

VENEZUELA PROSECUTOR WHO DEFIED MADURO IMPLICATED IN BRIBERY

On 22 April, AP reported that a former Venezuelan attorney general who defied President Nicolas Maduro by siding with his opponents has been implicated in a major corruption case in Miami involving a Venezuelan businessman who has pleaded guilty to paying $1 million in bribes.

https://apnews.com/article/business-venezuela-22f515d53dcb591b30ebb9c659ffed01

PARENT COMPANIES’ DOCUMENTS FOUND TO BE IN SUBSIDIARIES’ CONTROL FOR DISCLOSURE PURPOSES

On 23 April, an article from Herbert Smith Freehills reported that the High Court in London has found that documents held by the claimants’ parent companies, and individuals connected with those entities, were within the claimants’ “control” for the purposes of their disclosure obligations in the litigation.  This is the latest in a line of first instance decisions which have held a party will have the requisite degree of control over a third party’s documents, for disclosure purposes, if there is an arrangement or understanding which means the documents are within the party’s practical control, even though the party does not have a presently enforceable legal right to obtain the documents.  The claimants are BVI companies which own or have owned properties in the UK, and allege that the manager of their London property portfolio, and its directors and holding company, were complicit in a substantial fraud perpetrated on the claimants by their own appointed representative.

https://hsfnotes.com/litigation/2021/04/23/parent-companies-documents-found-to-be-in-subsidiaries-control-for-disclosure-purposes

UK: COURT OF APPEAL CONFIRMS FRAUD EXCEPTION TO THE WITHOUT PREJUDICE RULE EXTENDS TO CASES WHERE A PARTY WISHES TO REBUT ALLEGATIONS THAT A SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT IS INVALID

An article from Herbert Smith Freehills on 22 April reported that the Court of Appeal has upheld a High Court judgment which found that defendants could rely on without prejudice statements made in a mediation position paper to rebut the claimants’ allegations that a settlement agreement apparently concluded should be set aside for fraud.  The article says that that the decision confirms that the fraud exception to the rule extends further than had generally been understood.  It is not limited to a situation where a party wishes to rely on such material to show that a settlement agreement should be set aside on grounds of misrepresentation, fraud or undue influence.  The exception will apply equally where a party wishes to rely on the material to rebut an allegation that the agreement is invalid on these or similar grounds.

https://hsfnotes.com/litigation/2021/04/22/court-of-appeal-confirms-fraud-exception-to-without-prejudice-wp-rule-extends-to-cases-where-a-party-wishes-to-rely-on-wp-statements-to-rebut-allegations-that-a-settlement-agreement-is-invalid

https://www.statista.com/chart/14435/how-productive-is-an-hour-of-work

TAIWAN SET TO ROLL OUT NEW AML REGULATIONS FOR CRYPTO EXCHANGES

On 26 April, Forkast reported that Taiwan is poised to roll out new regulations that would heighten AML requirements for cryptocurrency exchanges operating on the island.  The new rules, which will take effect on 1 July, would affect cryptocurrency exchanges and other platforms that operate security token offerings.  They will be required to report transactions worth over $17,800 conducted in cash, and they also will need to fulfil KYC requirements to ensure identity authentication of their clients.

https://forkast.news/crypto-exchange-aml-regulation-taiwan/

SMUGGLERS INFILTRATING BIG SHIPPING COMPANIES IN ROTTERDAM AND POLICE CAN’T KEEP UP

On 26 April, NL Times reported claims that criminals now commonly infiltrate big shipping companies and use a variety of smuggling techniques.  Last year, a record 40.9 tonnes of cocaine were seized by the so-called “Hit And Run Cargo” (HARC) team.  However, it is said that the HARC team consists of only 18 people. “There were 18 in 2014 when 7.5 tonnes was found and now there are still only 18.

https://nltimes.nl/2021/04/26/smugglers-infiltrating-big-shipping-companies-rotterdam-police-cant-keep

UGANDA: AUTHORITIES IMPOUND OVER 30 KENYAN TRUCKS SMUGGLING MAIZE AT BORDER

On 26 April, The Independent in Uganda reported that Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) officers have impounded over 30 Kenyan-registered trucks for smuggling goods at the border.

https://www.independent.co.ug/ura-impounds-over-30-kenyan-trucks-smuggling-maize-at-busia-border/

FIRE EXTINGUISHED ON OIL TANKER OFF SYRIA AFTER SUSPECTED DRONE ATTACK

On 25 April, Defence News reported that Syria’s oil ministry said firefighters had put out a fire on an oil tanker off the Baniyas refinery after a suspected attack by a drone coming from the direction of Lebanese waters.  It is said to be one of 3 Iranian oil tankers that had recently arrived at the Syrian oil terminal.  Syria has grown more dependent on Iranian oil shipments in recent years 

https://www.defenceweb.co.za/security/maritime-security/fire-extinguished-on-oil-tanker-off-syria-after-suspected-drone-attack/

HOW TO COMPLY WITH UK AND EU REACH CHEMICAL REGULATIONS

Updated information from DEFRA on 26 April on how to comply with the EU and UK REACH chemical regulations when using, making, selling or importing chemicals in the UK and in the EU.  UK REACH is part of the UK’s chemicals regulatory regime and if you sell or distribute chemicals in the UK and the EU, you’ll need to follow both UK REACH and EU REACH rules.  UK REACH maintain EU REACH’s aims and principles

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-comply-with-reach-chemical-regulations

CHINESE CUSTOMS SEIZE MORE THAN 15,000 FAKE AUTO PARTS

On 25 April, Shine reported that officials discovered a batch of oil filters with trademarks, including Ford, Toyota, Honda, had been declared for export.  During an inspection, Customs found that the parts were crudely made and the printing on the packaging was fuzzy.  After checking with related companies, these were all declared infringing products.  In addition, more than 3,700 door closers with fake UL Certification were seized 

https://www.shine.cn/news/metro/2104257967/

CHINA’S CUSTOMS CONFISCATE PETRIFIED TEETH OF PRIMITIVE SHARK

On 25 April, MENA-FN reported that Customs had confiscated 2 fossilised teeth of a megalodon, a primitive species of shark.  The megalodon, signifying “big tooth,” was a giant shark that lived around 28 million to 150,000 years ago. It is supposed to be a violent predator in primitive oceans with a bite force five times that of a huge white shark.

https://menafn.com/1101978990/Chinas-customs-confiscate-petrified-teeth-of-primitive-shark&source=30

HOW GOLD TRADE DATA COULD BE BETTER USED FOR DUE DILIGENCE

On 20 April, Global Witness said that trade data could be an important resource for responsible gold supply chains but refiners have often ignored data that pointed to obvious red flags.  On the other hand, it says, huge gaps in the availability of data and poor data quality are limiting the potential use of trade data for due diligence purposes.  Gold leaves traces when it crosses borders since shipments of gold are usually registered by customs when leaving and entering countries.  Trade data can be a means of carrying out simple checks for red flags related to the gold they source.  While the analysis of gold trade data can be complex, the NGO found cases in which very basic checks would have raised red flags of links to conflict, human rights violations and environmental damage.

https://www.globalwitness.org/documents/20111/Gold_trade_data_-_April_2021.pdf

US: OWNER OF ILLEGAL RACEHORSE DOPING WEBSITES PLEADS GUILTY

A news release from US DoJ on 23 April advised that that Scott Mangini had pleaded guilty to conspiring to unlawfully distribute adulterated and misbranded drugs with the intent to defraud and mislead.  He is said to have created and flooded the supply side of a market of greed that continues to endanger racehorses through the sale of performance-enhancing drugs.  He designed and created dozens of products intended for use by those engaged in fraud and animal abuse.  His products were manufactured with no oversight of their composition and in shoddy facilities.  A former pharmacist whose licence was suspended in 2016, he sold the drugs through several direct-to-consumer websites designed to appeal to racehorse trainers and owners, including, among others, “horseprerace.com” and “racehorsemeds.com”.    

https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/owner-illegal-racehorse-doping-websites-pleads-guilty-manhattan-federal-court

HMRC RECORDS 1 MILLION SCAMS AS CRIMINAL GANGS TARGET COVID FURLOUGH SCHEME AND TAX PAYMENTS

On 25 April, the I newspaper in the UK reported that the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a record number of tax scams, with HMRC receiving 1 million complaints about criminal attempts to con people over the past year.

https://inews.co.uk/news/hmrc-records-million-scams-criminal-gangs-target-covid-furlough-schemes-tax-payments-971514

CYBERCRIME AGAINST THE SHIPPING INDUSTRY – PART 2: RANSOMWARE

On 23 April, an article in Insurance Marine News says that cyber hackers were continuing to home in on the shipping industry, which they considered to a vulnerable and highly lucrative target.  The article introduces the second part of legal firm Clyde & Co’s study of cybercrime within the global shipping sector.  Although malware had been found aboard ship’s IT systems, Clyde said that the majority of cyber-attacks had been perpetrated on shore-based systems, business offices and data centres from which ships, clients and personnel were managed and the logistics of transport organized.  There has been a 400% increase in attempted cyber hacks on maritime companies between February and June 2020, while ransomware attackers were reported to have made at least $350 million in cryptocurrency in 2020.  It refers to a recent OFAC Advisory which alerted companies of the potential sanctions risks for facilitating ransomware payments to sanctioned entities, and set out the factors considered when determining an enforcement response to an apparent violation.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/cybercrime-against-the-shipping-industry-part-2-ransomware/

https://www.clydeco.com/en/insights/2021/04/a-very-modern-form-of-piracy-cybercrime-against-th?

THE SHIPPING INDUSTRY FACES EXPANDED RISKS FROM THE NEW US RUSSIA SANCTIONS

An article from Windward on 26 April comments on what it calls the wide-ranging risks they pose to the shipping industry and the sizable challenge maritime actors face to manage the new risk.  It looks at the sanctions evasion risk around the Crimean peninsula, which is sizable. In March 2021 alone it is said that one has seen suspicious activity from over 500 vessels conducting 3327 ship-to-ship meeting.

https://www.wnwd.com/blog/shipping-industry-faces-expanded-risks-from-new-us-russia-sanctions

FACTSHEET: US SECURITY ASSISTANCE TO THE BALKANS

https://securityassistance.org/publications/factsheet-u-s-security-assistance-to-the-balkans/

FACTSHEET: US SECURITY ASSISTANCE IN THE SAHEL

https://securityassistance.org/publications/factsheet-u-s-security-assistance-in-the-sahel/

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/americas-most-responsible-companies-2021/

US: IPR CENTER LAUNCHES COMMUNITY-BASED INITIATIVE TO HELP SMALL BUSINESS PROTECT THEMSELVES AGAINST INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY THEFT, OTHER FRAUD

On 26 April, a news release from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement advised that the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center in partnership with Michigan State University’s Center for Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection (A-CAPP), the US Chamber of Commerce, and the Better Business Bureau announced the launch of “IP Protect”.  This joint initiative provides resources – free of charge – to aid small to mid-size businesses in protecting themselves against IP theft, fraud and cyber security awareness.

https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/ipr-center-launches-community-based-initiative-help-small-business-protect-themselves

TAXATION OF THE DIGITAL ECONOMY UPDATE

On 26 April, KPMG released the latest edition of its regular updates on developments affecting direct and indirect taxes.

https://tax.kpmg.us/content/dam/tax/en/pdfs/2021/digitalized-economy-taxation-developments-summary.pdf

US: A PRIMER ON FACILITATION PAYMENTS

On 26 April, an article from Thomas Fox in FCPA Compliance & Ethics Report says that one of the more confusing areas of the FCPA is in that of facilitation payments. Facilitation payments are small bribes but make no mistake about it, it is said, they are bribes. It points out that the Bribery Act in the UK does not exempt facilitation payments from its provisions, and explains the implications of this for a US business.

http://fcpacompliancereport.com/2021/04/primer-facilitation-payments/

UK: PROSECUTORS’ CASE AGAINST EX-SERCO EXECUTIVES COLLAPSES AT TRIAL

On 26 April, the Wall Street Journal and others reported that the acquittal comes after the SFO failed to disclose evidence to the defence.  2 former executives at security company Serco were acquitted of defrauding the Ministry of Justice after the SFO failed to disclose documents to the defence. They had been accused in a £12 million electronic tagging scam case and were accused of reducing Serco’s profits from a Government-awarded prisoner tagging contract from £27 million to £15 million and this meant more than £12 million in profits were concealed.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-k-prosecutors-case-against-ex-serco-execs-collapses-at-trial-11619461415

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9513231/Serco-chiefs-cleared-defrauding-Ministry-Justice-12million-electronic-tagging-scam.html

UK SANCTIONS GUPTA BROTHERS OVER SOUTH AFRICA CORRUPTION

On 26 April, Business Day in South Africa reported that the sanctions were imposed against 3 Gupta brothers who were previously accused of being in a corrupt relationship with former President Jacob Zuma.  Ajay, Atul, and Rajesh “Tony” Gupta are among 22 people from 6 countries who face restrictions ranging from visa bans to asset freezes after the UK expanded its sanctions regime to include corruption for the first time. The Guptas, who no longer live in South Africa, have denied wrongdoing.

https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/national/2021-04-26-uk-sanctions-gupta-brothers-over-sa-corruption

SEC EMERGENCY ACTION AND TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AND AN ASSET FREEZE TO STOP AN ALLEGED PONZI SCHEME AND MISAPPROPRIATION OF INVESTOR PROCEEDS PERPETRATED BY A FLORIDA RESIDENT THROUGH SEVERAL ENTITIES HE CONTROLS

A release on Mondo Visione on 26 April advised that the SEC alleges that since 2015, Jonathan P. Maroney and his companies raised at least $17.1 million from more than 100 investors in a series of fraudulent securities offerings. 

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/sec-obtains-emergency-relief-charges-florida-company-and-ceo-with-misappropriat/

CONTAINER SHIP REPORTED BOARDED BY PIRATES IN GULF OF GUINEA

On 26 April, Insurance Marine News reported that a container ship was reportedly boarded on 23 April, 130 nm north-west of Sao Tome, while en route from Gabon to Togo.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/container-ship-reported-boarded-by-pirates-in-gulf-of-guinea/

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Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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