On 12 July, an article from Strategic Trade Control Research Group LLC explained that the HS is a uniform taxonomy used for Customs tariffs and international trade statistics (such as the basis of EU Commodity Codes), and that every 5 years, the WCO issues a new edition of the HS which features updates and modifications to the coding system to reflect emerging technologies, clarifications, and other approved changes. In January 2020, the contracting parties to the HS Convention approved the 7th edition of the HS, which included 351 sets of amendments. It will come into effect on 1 January 2022. It further explains that the HS code declaration on customs documents is used to not only assess tariffs, but also to assist in determining whether a shipment may contain strategic goods and is subject to export control licence requirements. It does point out that the HS system was not designed to identify strategic goods and does not correlate well with Export Control Classification Numbers (ECCN) that correspond to national and multilateral export control regimes. This lack of clear correlation makes it difficult to track strategic trade flows and harder for Customs authorities to use the HS to try an uncover shipments that should be licensed but are not. The article goes on to explain how 16 of the 351 amendments being made to the system apply to dual-use, strategic goods covering materials, manufacturing and testing equipment, and key end-use products, and that this separates out strategic goods and generally make the correlation between ECCN and the HS code much clearer. It goes on to explain how the changes may be used to better identify problem shipments, and to what the amendments involving strategic goods apply. A table is provided which shows the details of the amendments, and the relevant ECCN that applies to the new or expanded HS codes under the amendments. The article says that authorities should prepare for the opportunities presented by more accurate identification of strategic goods within the HS – and that this includes formulating domestic outreach plans and brainstorming ways to apply more robust data for future strategic trade control enforcement efforts.
On 7 July, the Home Office in the UK issued Home Office Circular 4/2021 which set out the position of the UK Government regarding the use of SAR in private civil litigation. Its basic position is that, as far as possible, reporters should avoid referring to SAR in the documentation of their internal decision-making processes. It concedes that in disputes or litigation obligations can arise under the Civil Procedure Rules or under an order of the court where it appears the SAR will become disclosable. The guidance provides the procedure to follow should this happen, involving contact with the NCA. It also deals with situations involving subject access requests under data protection law.
An article from Eversheds Sutherland on 14 July was concerned with the Amec Foster Wheeler Energy Limited DPA. It asks what does this DPA tell us about the SFO’s expectations on self-reporting? It also asked what must corporate organisations do in order to be sufficiently co-operative to qualify for a DPA? How is the SFO’s approach to the calculation of the financial penalty elements of DPA changing, and what do the Courts think of these changes? Furthermore, it asks, in which circumstances will external monitors be appointed, and what about individuals?
On 14 July, Global Construction Review reported that Canadian prosecutors have dropped a fraud case against a former construction executive and 4 others after a 9-year legal battle. The case involved conspiracy to commit acts of corruption, conspiracy to commit fraud, fraud, municipal corruption and aiding in a breach of trust – and including a $200,000 bribe to Revenue Canada agents to avoid paying tax. Tony Accurso, 69, was sentenced to four years in prison, but was released after a week following the launch of an appeal against his conviction. Now, after a had ordered the prosecution to divulge documents from 600 boxes of documents seized by the Revenue Canada 12 years ago before, the prosecutor’s office is said to be unable to meet the deadline, which was imposed by a 2016 Supreme Court decision that capped the length of trials. It is said that there were too many documents, and the office did not have the resources to analyse them in time.
The EAG second follow-up report on the evaluation of Tajikistan in 2018. It has been re-rated on 3 FATF Recommendations – Recommendation 7 is upgraded from non-compliant to partly compliant; and Recommendations 16 and 35 are upgraded to largely compliant from partly compliant. Tajikistan remains in the enhanced follow-up process and will continue to report to the EAG FATF-style regional body on progress in strengthening its national AML/CFT system. As is usual with such follow-up, only the Technical Compliance ratings are available for review, and not the Effectiveness Ratings.
On 14 July, RTE reported that gardaí believe it has seized up to half a tonne of cocaine, which was disguised as coal and concealed in a shipment of bags of coal to Ireland. It is the first time this method of drugs smuggling has been discovered in Ireland. The drugs were smuggled in 2 large containers from South America to Rotterdam. The process of disguising the drugs involved mixing pure cocaine with a carbon dust, a black dye and an odour blocker, and this was then moulded into blocks to look like coal and hidden in the bags of coal. Last month, Spanish police made a similar seizure when they found 30 bags of “cocaine charcoal” among over 1,300 bags of real charcoal, and discovered that a trading company was using a variety of front businesses to carry out suspicious imports.