7 OCTOBER 2022
HOW SANCTIONED RUSSIAN BILLIONAIRES ARE TRYING TO LOOSEN EUROPE’S GRIP ON THEIR SUPERYACHTS
On 1 October, Forbes published an article saying that Russian owners are now registering their yachts in countries that haven’t imposed sanctions on Russia—possibly because they could no longer obtain insurance accepted in the territories where they were registered, or as an attempt to allow them to sail legally if sanctions are ever removed. In addition, besides changing registry, 4 of the 6 reflagged yachts discussed were also newly registered as “houseboats” rather than yachts or pleasure crafts.
US: WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO THE ITAR? – REVISIONS AND REORGANISATION UNDERWAY
On 5 October, an article from Braumiller Law Group considers changes to the ITAR export regulations by the US Directorate of Defense Trade Controls. It explains that the changes go back to 22 March, when DDTC published an interim final rule in the Federal Register announcing a multi-year, multi-rule project to better organise the ITAR – and the first part of the project came into effect on 6 September.
RUSSIA’S PURPORTED ANNEXATION OF PARTS OF EASTERN UKRAINE LIKELY TO TRIGGER INVESTMENT TREATY CLAIMS
On 5 October, an article from Hogan Lovells recommended that investors in the region that have suffered harm as a result of Russia’s conduct assess their legal options, and may now initiate claims against Russia for damages as a consequence of harm caused by the Government of Russia to their investments.
SERVICE OF JUDICIAL AND EXTRAJUDICIAL DOCUMENTS BETWEEN MEMBER STATES UNDER THE NEW EU SERVICE REGULATION
On 6 October, an article from McCann Fitzgerald in Ireland said that Regulation (EU) 2020/1784 on the service in the Member States of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters came into force on 1 July. This aims to improve the efficiency and speed of transmitting and serving documents thus reducing delays and costs for individuals and businesses while ensuring security and protection of those documents, safeguarding the rights of addressees and respecting privacy and personal data. It also aims to provide greater legal certainty and simpler, digitalised procedures, encouraging individuals and businesses to engage in cross-border transactions, thereby boosting trade within the EU and the functioning of the internal market. The firm notes that the new Regulation does not endeavour to bring about major changes in relation to the cross-border service of documents. It is, fundamentally, a ‘smartening up’ of current practices; to expedite, “electronicise” and improve the effectiveness of current judicial processes; and that much of the innovation regarding electronic service will continue to depend on the practical implementation by the national law of the Member States.
COUNCIL OF THE EU HAS AGREED TO IMPLEMENT A FULL BAN ON THE PROVISION OF CRYPTO SERVICES TO RUSSIAN PERSONS AND RESIDENTS
On 6 October, AML Intelligence reported that the Council had announced it would implement a “full ban on the provision of crypto-asset wallet, account or custody services to Russian persons and residents, regardless of the total value of those crypto-assets”.
ISRAEL, NORWAY AND SWEDEN TO EXPLORE HOW CBDC CAN BE USED FOR INTERNATIONAL RETAIL AND REMITTANCE PAYMENTS
On 29 September, Finextra reported that the central banks of the 3 countries had agreed to work with the Bank of International Settlements on the project. It reports that Project Icebreaker will run until the end of 2022, developing a “hub” to which participating central banks will connect their domestic proof-of-concept CBDC systems. The objective is to test some specific key functions and the technological feasibility of interlinking different domestic CBDC systems.
ITALY: COMPANIES ARE LIABLE EVEN WHEN THEY BENEFIT ONLY SLIGHTLY FROM A CRIME
On 5 October, an article in the Corporate Crime Observatory noted that the Italian Supreme Court had confirmed that corporate liability could be attributed to corporations even when the benefit that firms derive from their involvement in the relevant criminal activity is minimal. Oddly perhaps, this ruling came in a case involving injuries suffered by an employee due to a work-related accident. In the case, the company had obtained a small financial advantage (less than €2,000) in not adopting a specific protection system to prevent injury.
ASSESSING THE IMPACT OF THE RUSSIAN–UKRAINIAN WAR ON THE EASTERN EUROPEAN NEIGHBOURHOOD
On 6 October, the EU Institute for Strategic Studies published a report which reviews the currently available data to produce a preliminary assessment of how the war has affected the EU’s eastern neighbourhood on 3 levels: demographic, geoeconomic and geopolitical. It also explores how trends set in motion or accelerated by the war may play out in the future.
UK: DIGITAL IDENTITY CERTIFICATION FOR RIGHT TO WORK, RIGHT TO RENT AND CRIMINAL RECORD CHECKS
On 7 October, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport published updated guidance on how digital identity providers can become certified to complete digital identity checks for the ‘Right to Work’, ‘Right to Rent’ and DBS schemes.
FRANCE ISSUES NEW GUIDELINES ON THE SCREENING OF FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENTS
On 7 October, White & Case reported on these new guidelines, suggesting them to be an example for other EU Member States. The French example could serve as a best practice, encouraging FDI authorities in other countries to adopt similar guidelines for a subject that is often opaque. It says that the 50-page document contains useful guidance, notably on the aspects detailed in the article.
SERBIA: ALLEGATIONS THAT DEVELOPERS AND BUILDERS DEMANDING LARGE BRIBES IN EXCHANGE FOR DEEMING BUILDINGS “LEGAL”
On 6 October, an article from OCCRP reported on the head of the Secretariat for the Legalization of Buildings from the time it was created in 2015 until this summer, is being questioned by prosecutors for alleged abuse of office.
TURKEY: MASSIVE OPERATION TAKES ON ORGANISED CRIME NATIONWIDE
On 7 October, OCCRP reported that Turkish police have arrested more than 200 suspects in a massive operation against organised crime and smuggling groups that spanned over 20 of the country’s 80 provinces. The raids were focused on cutting down mafia-type organised crime groups which in many neighbourhoods and villages are seen as parallel to the power of the state. The operation, the second of its kind, was dubbed Musilaj, meaning “Sea Snot” in English, and specifically focused on coastal regions where tourism is the main industry.
MORE THAN €4 MILLION IN FAKE €500 BILLS SEIZED IN SPAIN
On 6 October, a news release from Europol advised that, on 21 September, Europol supported the Spanish National Police and the Spanish Regional Catalan Police to dismantle an organised crime group involved in the production and distribution of counterfeit euro banknotes. Seizures included €4.3 million in high-quality fake €500 banknotes and a large amount of equipment (several printing presses, an exposure unit, a hot stamping machine, a paper guillotine and raw materials).
FAKE PISTOLS, SIT-INS, AND STAND-OFFS: LEBANON’S BANKS ON FRONTLINE OF CRISIS
On 7 October, the Guardian reported that little is normal in Lebanon any more, where robberies of banks by depositors seeking access to their own money are increasingly commonplace, where banks themselves are encased in iron and surrounded by jittery guards, and where an indifferent government has kept savings off limits to nearly all depositors for more than 2 years. In the past 2 months alone, more than a dozen bank “robberies” have taken place across the country. Some have involved real guns and bad tempers. Others were bluffs that won the day, and yet more were carried out by desperate depositors refusing to leave unless money – their own savings – was handed over, often for life-saving medical treatment.
US SOFTWARE CEO ARRESTED FOR ALLEGEDLY STORING ELECTION DATA IN CHINA
On 5 October, The Register reported that Eugene Yu, CEO of Michigan-based software firm Konnech, has been arrested as part of an investigation into the theft or mishandling of personal information.
US: FORMER HACKER SENTENCED FOR STEALING COMPUTER POWER TO MINE CRYPTOCURRENCY AND STEALING THE PERSONAL INFORMATION OF MORE THAN 100 MILLION PEOPLE
A news release from US DoJ on 4 October advised that a former Seattle tech worker was sentenced to time served and 5 years of probation including location and computer monitoring for 7 federal crimes connected to her scheme to hack into cloud computer data storage accounts and steal data and computer power for her own benefit.
US: RANCHER SENTENCED FOR RUNNING $244 MILLION “GHOST CATTLE” SCAM
A news release from US DoJ on 5 October advised that a cattle rancher in Washington State – Cody Allen Easterday, 51, of Easterday Ranches Inc – had been sentenced to 11 years in prison for defrauding Tyson Foods Inc and another company out of more than $244 million by charging the victim companies for the purported costs of purchasing and feeding hundreds of thousands of cattle that did not exist.
THE CARTEL, THE JOURNALIST AND THE GANGLAND KILLINGS THAT ROCKED THE NETHERLANDS
On 6 October, an article from the Guardian said that organised crime operated for years under the public’s nose – until a series of shocking killings revealed how deep the problem went.
HMRC INVESTIGATING THE SINGLE LARGEST SEIZURE OF ILLEGAL CIGARETTES EVER MADE AT A UK PORT
On 7 October, HMRC issued a news release saying that more than 99 million cigarettes, worth around £44 million in unpaid taxes, were seized by Border Force at the Port of Hull on 1 June.
EU SANCTIONS: UPDATED GUIDANCE ON EXPORTS OF ENERGY PRODUCTS TO THIRD COUNTRIES
On 7 October, EU Sanctions blog reported that the guidance sets out to clarify the permitted transfer to third countries of specific energy-related goods.
SOUTH KOREAN NGO UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR SUSPECTED ILLEGAL IMPORTATION OF NORTH KOREAN ART
On 7 October, NK News reported that South Korean police recently began an investigation into a local NGO on suspicions that they imported North Korean art in violation of South Korean law. It is said that the Asia Pacific Exchange Association (APIA), a Seoul-based NGO working on returning the remains of victims of colonial forced labour from Japan, may not have received government permission before importing the materials.
SANCTIONED RUSSIAN BUSINESSMAN OVERTURNS FRENCH YACHT SEIZURE
On 7 October, Global Investigations Review reported that a French court has ordered the country’s customs agency to release an impounded superyacht owned by sanctioned Russian businessman Alexey Kuzmichev over due process errors during the seizure.
US-BRAZIL INVESTIGATION LEADS TO DISRUPTION OF TRANSNATIONAL CRYPTOCURRENCY FRAUD RING
On 6 October, a news release from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced the disruption of a transnational cryptocurrency fraud ring based in Curitiba, Brazil. This was the culmination of a multi-year police investigation into a transnational cryptocurrency fraud ring led by a 37-yearold Brazilian national and former US resident.
RUSSIA’S €200 MILLION NUCLEAR EXPORTS UNTOUCHED BY EU SANCTIONS
On 7 October, EU Observer reported that Russia supplies around 20% of all EU imports of uranium, with only Niger (24.3%) and Kazakhstan (23%) bigger uranium trade partners.
BURKINA FASO HAS BECOME THE THIRD WEST AFRICAN COUNTRY TO ACQUIRE TURKISH-MADE ARMED DRONES
On 7 October, defence Web reported that Niger and Togo also purchased TB2 UAV recently. But the use of the drones is also alarming observers who warn of the possibility of civilian casualties or the targeting of peaceful dissident groups. In Burkina Faso and Togo, there already have been reports of mistakes with the drones that caused civilian deaths.
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