OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – AUGUST 17

With dengue present in the country, and to now apparently no vaccine etc for it, it was interesting to read that, in Japan, Takeda Pharmaceutical has completed clinical trials of such a vaccine, and is expected to be approved for use in Indonesia soon. It is said that the company has also applied for approval in Europe, Asia and South America.

Meanwhile, the small and medium sized pharmacies which closed their doors on Monday reopened after reaching an agreement with the Government on the 30% discount that was established for 170 medicines.

At the International Book fair today, which large, busy and interesting – although seemingly every primary and secondary schoolchild was also there!

17 August 2022 

FREEPORTS AND CHARTER CITIES

On 15 August, an article in Byline Times was concerned with a recent explosion of false claims about Freeports and “Charter Cities”.  In the UK post-Brexit, 8 “freeports” are being developed, and these combine features of long-familiar Enterprise Zones, regional development policy and ‘classical’ free zones.  It is said that there have been claims that the ‘real’ agenda behind Brexit was to introduce ‘Charter Cities’ into the UK, whereby an outside country, or a private corporation or conglomerate, would be granted control of a city or other zone in a developing country and run it on, typically, low tax, low regulation lines.

https://bylinetimes.com/2022/08/15/beware-the-charter-cities-conspiracy-theory/

RUSSIAN SUPERYACHTS CHANGING FLAGS AND BEING RE-REGISTERED AS “HOUSEBOATS”

On 16 August, Superyachjt News from e-Sysman reported that a number of Russian-owned superyachts had changed their flags to unusual jurisidictions (Sierra Leone, Malaysia, Palau) from the more normal ones (Cayman Islands, Isle of Man) and, bizarrely, changed their type to “houseboats”.  It was unclear what the reason for this is, or the legal or other consequence the change in description might have.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klHiDZcbjDk

ISLE OF MAN: RUSSIA SANCTIONS GENERAL LICENCE FOR THE PURPOSE OF MAKING ENERGY AVAILABLE FOR USE IN MONGOLIA

On 17 August, the Isle of Man followed the UK in issuing a General Licence naming 4 Russian banks and concerned with permitting payments to a sanctioned bank or any subsidiary for the purpose of making energy available for use in Mongolia.  

https://www.gov.im/news/2022/aug/17/financial-sanctions-russia-general-licence/

RUSSIA’S VIOLATIONS OF AVIATION RULES MEANS THE UN MAY NOT BE ABLE TO CONTINUE LEASING RUSSIAN AIRCRAFT

On 16 August, Pass Blue reported that Russia has recently violated certain rules of the International Civil Aviation Authority, which ensures flight safety standards.  The country has until 14 September to remedy its rule-breaking, but if it is not resolved, the UN may not be able to continue leasing Russian aircraft, which provides a chunk of transport services to crucial UN operations.

https://us4.campaign-archive.com/?e=6d2f7d6f12&u=5d5693a8f1af2d4b6cb3160e8&id=1aff26473d

APPROXIMATELY $7.1 BILLION IN US-FUNDED PLANES, TRUCKS AND WEAPONRY HAS BEEN SEIZED BY THE TALIBAN

On 16 August, Breaking Defense reported that the Inspector General report says that the total includes $923 million in aircraft, $4.1 billion in ground vehicles and $511.8 million in weapons, all of which had been provided to the Afghan military.

https://breakingdefense.com/2022/08/in-afghanistan-7-1b-in-planes-trucks-weapons-seized-by-taliban-since-withdrawal-dod-watchdog

THE EXTRATERRITORIAL APPLICATION OF US STATE WAGE AND HOUR LAWS

On 16 August, the Transnational Litigation Blog published this post saying that such laws generally set a minimum wage and require employers to pay overtime. When a company headquartered in one state hires an employee to perform work in a foreign country, however, it is not always clear which jurisdiction’s laws will apply.  The post provides an overview of a recent court decision, and argues that this decision is problematic across 3 dimensions.

https://tlblog.org/the-extraterritorial-application-of-wage-and-hour-laws

US: EX-CONGRESSMAN INDICTED ON FRAUD CHARGES

On 16 August, the Wall Street Journal reported that former Democratic congressman Terrance John “TJ” Cox, 59, from California has been accused by the DoJ of having created off-the-books business accounts to solicit and steal roughly $2 million.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/ex-congressman-indicted-on-fraud-charges-11660687938

US APPROVES NEARLY ALL TECH EXPORTS TO CHINA, DATA SHOWS

On 16 August, the Wall Street Journal reported that, of the total $125 billion in exports from the US to China in 2020, officials required a licence for less than half a percent, and approved 94%, or 2,652 applications, for exports of technology to China.  In 2021, that approval rate decreased to 88%, but changes in data compilation methods between the 2 years make comparisons difficult.  A former Pentagon analyst argues that the high rate of approvals for licences to sell tech with potential military use is evidence of significant policy failure.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-approves-nearly-all-tech-exports-to-china-data-shows-11660596886

SANCTIONS DISPUTE OVER SHIPS COMES BEFORE IRISH HIGH COURT

On 16 August, RTE reported that the effects of some EU and US economic sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, have ended up in the High court arising from a bid by a Cypriot shipping company, and related entities, to purchase vessels it currently leases from an Irish registered company that is ultimately owned by the Russian State.

https://www.rte.ie/news/business/2022/0816/1316107-sanctions-dispute-over-ships-comes-before-high-court/

SMUGGLED PICASSO PAINTING ALLEGEDLY FOUND AFTER ARREST OF DRUG TRAFFICKERS IN IRAQ

On 17 August, Asharq al Aswat reported that Iraqi authorities claim to have discovered a Picasso work “worth millions of dollars” during a drug raid in Diyala, a central province east of Baghdad.

https://english.aawsat.com/home/article/3820986/smuggled-picasso-painting-found-after-arrest-drug-traffickers-iraq

RWANDA: POLICE SEIZE OVER 6 TONNES OF SMUGGLED LITHIUM

On 16 August, The New Times reported that 2 people have been arrested after being intercepted while transporting 6.6 tonnes of lithium, allegedly extracted from a mine in Ngororero District.  It was being transported to Kigali when the suspects’ truck was intercepted.

https://www.newtimes.co.rw/news/police-seize-over-six-tonnes-smuggled-lithium

INDIA: ACTOR JACQUELINE FERNANDEZ NAMED AS ACCUSED IN LAUNDERING CASE

On 17 August, NDTV reported that in a supplementary chargesheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate, actor Jacqueline Fernandez has been accused of money laundering.  Providing a timeline of the case, the ED alleged that the actor was aware that gifts made were bought using swindled money. 

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/timeline-actor-jacqueline-fernandez-named-as-accused-in-laundering-case-3261624

LIBERIA: PRESIDENT SUSPENDS 3 GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS BASED ON SANCTIONS ISSUED BY OFAC

On 16 August, Jurist reported that President Weah had suspended Nathaniel McGill, Sayma Syrenius Cephus and Bill Twehway.  The sanctions label all 3 officials as foreign persons who serve as current government officials responsible for or complicit in, or directly or indirectly engaged in corruption.  Since Weah suspended them, their principal deputies will now serve as acting officials in their place.

https://www.jurist.org/news/2022/08/liberia-president-suspends-three-government-officials-over-suspected-corruption/

GERMAN PROSECUTORS DECLINE TO INVESTIGATE GERMAN CHANCELLOR OLAF SCHOLZ FOR HIS INVOLVEMENT IN A CUM-EX TAX SCANDAL

On 16 August, Jurist reported that prosecutors from the Attorney General’s office said they found no evidence that Scholz aided or abetted anyone involved in the scandal.

https://www.jurist.org/news/2022/08/german-prosecutors-decline-to-investigate-chancellor-in-tax-scandal/

IRISH AUTHORITIES REFER REPORT INTO ALLEGED CONFLICTS OF INTEREST AT PLANNING AUTHORITY TO THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS (DPP)

On 16 August, Jurist said that the report was on the management of alleged conflicts of interest and relevant disclosures by the former deputy chairman of An Bord Pleanála and 3 specific planning decisions, including a case where the board refused permission for a housing development outside Cork on a site near property owned by a company in which the former deputy chairman had a quarter share.

https://www.jurist.org/news/2022/08/irish-authorities-refer-report-on-corruption-in-planning-body-to-prosecutors-for-review/

140 KG OF KRATOM LEAVES SEIZED BY KUWAIT AIRPORT CUSTOMS

On 16 August, the Arab Times reported that the Airport Customs department seized 140 kg of kratom leaves coming in from an Asian country.  The leaves contain a chemical called mitragynine, which works like opioids such as morphine and is generally found in SE Asia. 

https://www.arabtimesonline.com/news/140-kgs-of-kratom-leaves-seized-by-kuwait-airport-customs/

SOUTH KOREA: SAMSUNG HEIR PARDONED AFTER DOING TIME FOR BRIBERY

On 15 August, The Register reported that South Korean president Yoon Suk Yeol had issued a widely anticipated pardon for Samsung heir and vice chairman Lee Jae-yong.  Lee was already out of jail on parole after spending 18 months in prison.

https://www.theregister.com/2022/08/15/samsung_heir_pardoned/

13 PEOPLE ARRESTED AS SINGAPORE AND MALAYSIA POLICE BUST SYNDICATES LINKED TO VARIOUS SCAMS

On 16 August, Channel News Asia reported that the syndicates were involved in money laundering activities and were “crippled” as a result of the arrests, Singapore police said in a news release.  9 of the arrests were made following raids carried out in Malaysia.  The scam syndicates are believed to be linked with reports in Singapore involving more than 60 victims of investment scams, job scams, fake gambling platform scams, sexual services scams, sextortion, government officials impersonation scams and loan scams.

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/singapore-malaysia-police-bust-syndicates-money-laundering-scams-13-arrested-2883941

4 ARRESTED OVER RUSSIAN MONEY LAUNDERING PLOT IN THE SOUTH OF TENERIFE

On 15 August, the Canarian Weekly reported that Guardia Civil and the State Tax Administration Agency (AEAT) have dismantled an organisation accused of laundering “black” money from Russia through a Spanish company that acquired a nightclub in Adeje in the south of Tenerife to convert it into a luxury shopping centre.

https://www.canarianweekly.com/posts/Four-arrested-in-Russian-money-laundering-plot-in-the-south-of-Tenerife

UK: THE MAKING OF A HOUSING BENEFIT MILLIONAIRE

On 15 August, the BBC reported that an investigation has uncovered property sales worth more than £120 million linked to a successful developer and a charity he helped set up.  The charity, My Space Housing Solutions, has claimed tens of millions of pounds of public money to house vulnerable people and works mostly across the north of England.  The charity supports vulnerable adults – people with learning difficulties, fleeing domestic violence, or recovering from substance abuse. It can claim housing benefit on their behalf.  In the past decade there has been substantial growth in the sector, accompanied by accusations of exploitation.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-62497015

RUSSIAN BUYER OF CANADIAN OIL COMPANY ACCUSED OF PAYING KICKBACKS TO FORMER UKRAINIAN PM

On 17 August, Global News reported claims that a Russian energy billionaire, Igor Makarov, was able to buy a majority stake in a Canadian oil and gas company without any regulatory scrutiny, despite a longstanding battle in a US federal court over his alleged role in schemes involving international money laundering, kickbacks and a disgraced former Ukrainian prime minister.  He has been accused by US authorities of paying at least $28.5 million in kickbacks to former Ukrainian prime minister Pavel Lazarenko in 1996 for exclusive rights to sell gas in Ukraine.

https://globalnews.ca/news/9055869/canadian-oil-co-russian-oligarch-kickbacks-us-accusations/

US ASSERTS INDIA HID RUSSIAN ORIGIN OF FUEL SHIPPED TO US

On 16 August, Insurance Marine News reported that the US has informed India of its concern that India was being used to export fuel made from Russian crude. The Russia-sourced oil was thought to have been subject to ship-to-ship (STS) transfers on the high seas, thus enabling the oil to be supplied to the US without appearing to contravene the country’s sanctions against Russia.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/us-asserts-india-hid-russian-origin-of-fuel-shipped-to-us-india-central-bank/

THE GLOBAL MINIMUM TAX LIVES ON: THE US HAS ABANDONED IT FOR NOW BUT WILL LIKELY COME AROUND

On 17 August, an article from Foreign Affairs said that last year, more than 135 countries signed an agreement to transform international taxation by requiring profitable companies to pay at least 15% in corporate tax, regardless of where they reported their profits.  Unfortunately, although U.S. leadership was pivotal in forging this agreement at the OECD, US lawmakers have come up short, and the US will not be party to the agreement, since the agreement required all signatories to enact changes to their tax codes.

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/united-states/global-minimum-tax-lives

CANADA: $122 MILLION RUSSIAN ASSETS FROZEN SINCE FEBRUARY

On 17 August, the EU Sanctions blog reported that the RCMP has said that approximately $122 million in assets were frozen by Canada and approximately $290 million in financial transactions were blocked.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2022/08/canada-says-122-million-frozen-under-russia-sanctions-since-february/

PODCAST: FAT LEONARD: AN UPDATE

In the latest TRACE podcast, Tom Wright joins the podcast to discuss the latest developments in the ‘Fat Leonard’ story of bribery and corruption involving the US Navy in the Far East, summarised from his lively podcast series of the same name.  Tom recorded hours of interviews with Leonard Glenn Francis and so brings fresh insight to this lengthy saga as we await Leonard’s sentencing in response — 7 years later — to his 2015 guilty plea.

https://www.traceinternational.org/resources-podcast

INTERNATIONAL COURT REJECTS RUSSIAN ATTEMPT TO STAY ARBITRATION PROCEEDINGS AFTER ITS LEGAL TEAM RESIGNED AFTER SANCTIONS IMPOSED

On 17 August, the EU Sanctions blog reported that the Hague Court of Appeal rejected Russia’s application to annul the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in March on arbitration that had been ongoing since 2015.  The arbitration is brought by Privatbank against Russia over investments in Crimea that were expropriated by Russia.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2022/08/pca-tribunal-rejects-application-to-stay-privatbank-arbitration-because-of-effect-of-sanctions-on-legal-team/

https://www.statista.com/chart/28004/eu-energy-inflation-rates/

GERMAN TROOPS SPOT RUSSIAN FORCES IN MALI AS FRENCH PULL OUT

On 16 August, EurActiv reported that German troops spotted several dozen presumably Russian security forces at Gao airport in northern Mali on the day the last French soldiers wrapped up their operations and left the town.  Fighters from the Wagner Group, a Kremlin-linked private military company, have been supporting the Malian army in its fight against Islamist insurgents since late last year.  Mali is struggling to stem an Islamist insurgency that took root after a 2012 uprising and has since spread to neighbouring countries.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/german-troops-spot-russian-forces-in-mali-as-french-pull-out/

GIBRALTAR: PRIVY COUNCIL CONSIDERS APPEAL BY CONVICTED DRUG TRAFFICKER CHALLENGING INTERNATIONAL ARREST WARRANT

On 17 August, the Gibraltar Chronicle reported that the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London, the ultimate appeals court for Gibraltar, is to hear an appeal by a Croatian drug dealer who is challenged the warrant executed in Gibraltar and his extradition to Croatia.  He argues that he should serve any custodial sentence in Gibraltar.

https://www.chronicle.gi/privy-council-considers-appeal-by-convicted-drug-trafficker-challenging-international-arrest-warrant/

VIDEO: US CIVIL AND CRIMINAL FORFEITURE

On 17 August, AML RightSource released a video in which Stef Cassella returns to the AML Conversations series to discuss civil and criminal forfeiture.  He explains how it’s used, common misunderstandings about this law enforcement and prosecutorial tool, and also delves into his work which aims to improve its functionality worldwide.

https://www.amlrightsource.com/news/asset-forfeiture-global-expert-stef-cassella

HONG KONG TRADE DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL CHAIRMAN WELCOMES FURTHER OPENING UP OF THE CITY 

On 17 August, HKTDC reported that the  Hong Kong business community has welcomed authorities’ move to relax COVID-19 prevention requirements for arrivals, who from 12 August will need to stay in a quarantine hotel for 3 days followed by 4 days of self-isolation.

https://hkmb.hktdc.com/en/ojfdy2eo/market-spotlight/easier-entry-to-hk-welcomed

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A PRIMER ON FORUM NON CONVENIENS IN US COURTS

On 10 August, the Transnational Litigation Blog published this post which explained that, under the doctrine of forum non conveniens, a judge may dismiss a case on the understanding that the case would be better heard in another sovereign’s court.  The post describes the current federal doctrine of forum non conveniens; the variety of US state court doctrines; and the history of the doctrine within the US, including its traditional limitation to cases involving no local parties.  It notes that, despite its fancy-sounding Latin name, it is a relatively modern phenomenon in US courts.

https://tlblog.org/a-primer-on-forum-non-conveniens

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UK: ENTAIN TO PAY RECORD £17 MILLION FOR WIDE-RANGING FAILINGS

On 17 August, iGB reported that the Gambling Commission had ordered Entain to pay a record £17 million after it identified a series of social responsibility and AML failings across its online and land-based businesses. The failings relate to LC International Limited (LCI), which runs Entain’s online brands including Ladbrokes.com, Coral.co.uk and Foxybingo.com, and Ladbrokes Betting & Gaming Limited (LBG) land-based business, which operates 2,746 betting shops across Great Britain.  In a separate article, iGB reported that the Gambling Commission chief executive said Entain could potentially lose its licence in Great Britain if the group continues to breach rules and regulations in the market.

https://igamingbusiness.com/legal-compliance/entain-to-pay-record-17m

https://igamingbusiness.com/legal-compliance/entain-risks-losing-licence-over-further-breaches-says-rhodes/

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EXPORT CONTROL: POST-SHIPMENT ON-SITE INSPECTIONS AND STOCKPILE MANAGEMENT ASSISTANCE

One of 2 publications from SIPRI on 17 August, this is concerned with post-shipment on-site inspections and international assistance in physical security and stockpile management (PSSM) of exported material.  On-site inspections allow exporting states to check exported military materiel to ensure that the importer is complying with its commitments, while PSSM assistance aims to improve states’ weapons and ammunition management systems. However, both instruments allow foreign specialists to visit a state’s weapons and ammunition storage facilities and enable information gathering to assess their integrity and identify possible diversion risks.  The Policy Brief highlights how building informal linkages between these instruments could contribute towards establishing more comprehensive forms of post-shipment cooperation.

https://www.sipri.org/sites/default/files/2022-08/pb_2208_post-shipment_on-site_inspections_and_stockpile_management_assistance.pdf

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GOOD PRACTICE GUIDE ON POST-SHIPMENT ON-SITE INSPECTIONS OF EXPORTED MILITARY MATERIEL

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has issued a new guide, saying that, to prevent the diversion of exported military materiel, an increasing number of states have conducted post-shipment on-site inspections (i.e. physical inspections of exported military materiel on the territory of the importing state) or have introduced measures to allow for them to take place.  The Good Practice Guide is aimed at states that are in the process of developing post-shipment on-site inspections or are considering their future adoption. 

https://www.sipri.org/sites/default/files/2022-08/sipri_2208_gpg_on-site_inspections.pdf

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