In its 12 May edition, Hellenic Shipping News carried an article referring to a new study from the University of Portsmouth calls for further government oversight to curb potential illegal activity through these zones.  This is in light of 8 new freeports in England which are due to enter operation in late 2021, and which are hoped to drive investment, economic opportunities and growth to those regions.  However, researchers also advise that stronger regulation is needed to prevent Freeports being abused for money laundering and tax-evasion purposes.  The research examined existing freeports around the world and found they are often used as tactical depots: intended as spaces to temporarily house valuable assets, such as artwork, precious metals and gems, wine collections and antiques.  The study suggests that banks that facilitate numerous international trade transactions need to be more alert to illicit trading and should be responsible for carrying out proper due diligence around freeport trade. It says that although governments have recognised the threat that freeports present by ensuring they fall within the scope of AML control, there is still opportunity for freeports to operate without transparency.

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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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