On 14 July, the US Treasury released a new factsheet to further clarify agricultural commodities (including fertiliser), agricultural equipment, or medicine relating to Russia are not the target of US sanctions. General License 6B is also amended to further reiterate that US sanctions on Russia in response to its unprovoked and unjustified war against Ukraine do not stand in the way of agricultural and medical trade. 2 entries also removed from the sanctions lists. Also published are General License 25C (Authorising transactions related to telecommunications and certain internet-based communications), 30A (Authorising transactions involving SEFE Securing Energy for Europe GmbH) and 44 (Authorising the export or reexport of certain accounting services to US Individuals located in the Russian Federation).
This report from the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime is concerned with a situation that not only encouraged criminalisation, but was based on it. Industrial-scale smuggling of everything from coal to narcotics helped sustain the internationally unrecognised pseudo-states of Donbas; gangsters became militiamen; and money laundering networks meanwhile bypassed sanctions. During the current conflict, criminals continued to cooperate across enemy lines, taking full advantage of the inability of law enforcement to do the same. It says that it was not just that crime in Donbas affected Ukraine, Russia and the rest of Europe – although it undoubtedly did – but also that addressing its underworld dimension would have been an essential but tragically under-recognised aspect of any resolution of the conflict.
On 13 July, an article from CompliancePoint was concerned with changes to ISO 27001, which provides requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining, and continually improving an information security management system (ISMS). The current 2013 operating version is widely utilised globally and certification is accepted in 168 countries worldwide. The article highlights the 11 new controls that have been added, which include requiring organisations to collect and analyse information about threats and mitigate them appropriately; physical security monitoring to ensure that only authorised personnel can access them – this could include offices, production facilities, warehouses, and other key physical premises; and data leakage prevention.
On 14 July, the Law Society Gazette reported that lawyers and other potential ‘enablers’ in the UK may be targeted with sanctions if they help designated individuals hide their assets from law enforcement, according to a ‘red alert’ issued by the NECC and OFSI. The ‘key professions’ for facilitating the evasion of sanctions include solicitors and barristers, accountants, investment advisors and wealth managers, as well as estate agents, auction houses and company directors.
On 14 July, OCCRP reported that a new report has found that gold smuggling, organised by individuals linked to the ruling establishment, deprives Zimbabwe of an estimated 36 tonnes of gold annually, worth 65% of the total production. It is said that gold dealers, who are protected by the ruling Zanu-PF party officials use state apparatus to capture and control gold-rich areas throughout the country; and, with the connivance of the authorities, smuggled out of the country, typically through South Africa, Zambia and Mozambique.
On 13 July, Global Trade Review reported that US authorities have issued an alert urging trade finance providers to deploy “increased vigilance” when watching for possible evasion of export controls by Russian and Belarusian entities. It calls on banks that are financing transactions, processing payments or performing other services related to trade to help detect Russian and Belarussian evasion attempts. There are growing fears Moscow may use illicit smuggling networks to disguise the types of goods being traded, or the end destination of a shipment, as a means of evading export controls.
On 13 July, a series of media article highlighted comments made by a panel at the Concordia Summit of the Americas in Miami on the “Regional Dialogue on Free Trade Zones (Free Zones), Trade-Based Money Laundering and Port Security”. It referred to a “problem” in Latin America and directly mentioned Panama and the Colon Free Zone, where “about 8,000 million cigarettes” arrive every year, mainly from Asia and China – said to be roughly the total amount of all illicit cigarettes consumed in Mexico each year. At the event, tobacco multinational Phillip Morris International (PMI) described Panama as the “world champion of cigarette trafficking” and asked the Panamanian authorities to enforce the laws.
On 13 July, an article from Holding Redlich in Australia follows a recent court case there in which the court ordered a trade credit insurer to pay out an insurance claim to a financier defrauded by a customer. It explains that trade credit insurance is a product that indemnifies a seller against losses from non-payment of a commercial trade debt. It covers all contracts entered into or goods and services provided on credit terms within the policy period. The insurer agrees to pay a percentage of an outstanding invoice or receivable owed arising from a customer’s insolvency, bankruptcy or “protracted default” (overdue contract payment). It highlights the key takeaways when providing trade finance insurance and considers in detail the case and findings, saying that the claim failed because the insurer could not establish that other laws or principles were applicable to the terms of the insurance policy.