OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MAY 23

23rd May 2018

 ZTE ESTIMATES AT LEAST $3 BILLION IN LOSSES FROM US BAN

Bloomberg on 23rd May reported that Chinese telecom company ZTE s estimating losses of at least $3.1 billion from a US technology ban that’s halted major operations as clients pull out of deals and expenses mount, people familiar with the matter said.  However, it is said to be hopeful of striking a deal soon and already has a plan in place to swing idled factories into action within hours once Washington agrees to lift its 7-year moratorium on purchases of American chips and components.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-23/zte-is-said-to-face-at-least-3-billion-in-losses-from-u-s-ban

FINANCE DIRECTOR CONVICTED OF MONEY LAUNDERING IN NEW ZEALAND

On 10th May, the New Zealand Herald reported that a banned director of a finance firm has also been convicted on money laundering charges, just weeks after losing a legal battle challenging a $5.3 million fine for his “calculated and contemptuous disregard” for anti-money-laundering laws.  Xiaolan Xiao, 60, the Ping An Finance director and sole shareholder, has pleaded guilty to and been convicted of a money-laundering charge.

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/personal-finance/news/article.cfm?c_id=12&objectid=12048926

GRENADA – IMF STATEMENT FOLLOWING INSPECTION

On 22nd May, following an Article IV Mission inspection of Grenada, the IMF and the government issued an agreed joint statement that included the comment that “ensuring compliance with AML/CFT regulations at all levels is critical for Grenada’s continued stable access to cross-border payments.  While banks in Grenada have not had a meaningful loss of correspondent banking relationships (CBRs), there are risks that non-bank financial institutions may lose access to bank payments systems due to AML/CFT concerns. A proposed legislation to formalize the annual registration of entities for AML/CFT purposes will be helpful in capturing risks early”.

http://www.imf.org/en/News/Articles/2018/05/22/ms052218-grenada-staff-concluding-statement-of-the-2018-article-iv-mission

US ATTORNEY WHO RELOCATED TO COSTA RICA INDICTED ON FEDERAL FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES

The Costra Rica Star on 21st May reported that Philip James Layfield, 44, a personal injury attorney and certificated public accountant (CPA), has been indicted on federal charges accused of stealing the majority of a multi-million dollar settlement, most of which should have been paid to the victim of a car accident.  He was arrested in New Jersey in late April, when he returned to the US from Costa Rica, where he relocated when his law firm Layfield & Barrett located in Los Angeles faced declining revenues and he chose to close it.  The article reports that the indictment specifically alleges that Layfield entered into an agreement to represent an individual who was struck by an automobile in Orange County in 2016 and suffered significant injuries. After negotiating a $3.9 million settlement related to the accident, Layfield allegedly misappropriated most of money due to the victim – approximately $2 million.

https://news.co.cr/u-s-attorney-philip-james-who-relocated-to-costa-rica-after-committing-fraud-was-indicted-on-federal-fraud-and-money-laundering-charges/73200/

FORMER SPANISH MINISTER ARRESTED FOR ALLEGED MONEY LAUNDERING

On 23rd May, the Latin American Herald Tribune reported that a former Spanish minister who had served as president of the Valencia region, as well as the ruling Popular Party’s spokesperson in the lower house of parliament, has been arrested for suspected money laundering, embezzlement and diversion of funds.  It is sais that Eduardo Zaplana’s arrest was part of an ongoing probe launched by the anti-corruption prosecutor’s office in which at least 5 others have also been detained.  The reports says that also arrested was businessman Vicente Cotino, whose uncle Juan Cotino was a former Valencia regional president and ex-director of the national police.

http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=2457171&CategoryId=12395

PARAGUAY SUSPENDS ARMS IMPORTS IN BID TO STOP ILLEGAL TRAFFICKING TO BRAZIL

On 23rd May, the Macau News Agency carried a Reuters report saying that Paraguay has issued an open-ended suspension of arms and ammunition imports in a bid to fight illegal trafficking across the border into neighbouring Brazil.  The move followed pressure from the US, which imposed a 3-month moratorium on arms sales to Paraguay as part of a concerted effort with the Brazilian government to clamp down on arms smuggling, according to a person familiar with the matter.  Studies by police in Brazil suggest many of the heavy rifles used by criminal gangs there were made in the US and smuggled into the country via Paraguay.

http://www.macaubusiness.com/paraguay-suspends-arms-imports-in-bid-to-stop-illegal-trafficking/

HOW FENTANYL COULD ALTER GLOBAL DRUG POLICY

On 22nd May, the Washington Post published a compelling article which begins by saying that policymakers and the public are acutely aware that the powerful opioid fentanyl has significantly worsened the opioid epidemic in the US and accounting for almost 20,000 deaths in 2016.  But few people appreciate fentanyl’s potential to permanently alter illegal drug markets and international relations along with them.  Whereas heroin, morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone and virtually every other opioid traded on the black market depend on a plant – the opium poppy – for their raw material, fentanyl is an opioid analogue that can be created from chemicals in a laboratory.  A small gang with a single talented chemist can thus economically undercut poppy-based opioid production.  Hence, even if agriculturally based producers (such as found in Afghanistan and South America) shift some of their opioid business to fentanyl, as have a few Mexican cartels, they find themselves in a weaker position because they no longer gain the political capital they once did from providing plentiful drug-production jobs to local residents.  Smuggling is also said to be affected, as Fentanyl is so much more potent and so compact that people with no particular smuggling expertise can ship it overseas in a regular-size piece of mail with little chance of it being detected. Fentanyl producers can also simply set up small labs within consuming countries and thus avoid the smuggling altogether.  The article concludes by saying that the impact of synthetic opioids has yet to be fully unravelled, but it clearly will go beyond public health to the basic nature of drug trafficking itself.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/05/22/how-synthetic-opioids-could-alter-global-drug-policy/?utm_term=.b0842f0d4ae3

TRAMADOL BECOMES NEW DOPE FOR HUNDREDS OF LIBERIAN YOUTH

On 22nd May, Front Page Africa reported that substance abusers in Liberia are now switching from cocaine, Italian white, Marijuana and other narcotics to overdose of a medical prescription, Tramadol, posing a serious social problem in the country.  Tramadol is the generic name for a prescription pain reliever sold under the brand names Ultram, Conzip, Rybix ODT, and Ultram ER.  It is widely considered safe and has been approved by the US FDA.

https://frontpageafricaonline.com/news/tramadol-becomes-new-dope-for-hundreds-of-liberian-youth/

CAN NEW LEADERS REVIVE WEST AFRICA’S FIGHT AGAINST ORGANISED CRIME?

On 22nd May, the Daily Maverick republished an ENACT Africa article which says that West Africa is often portrayed as a continental hotbed for organised crime and that criminal groups fuel insecurity and violence, thriving in countries where governance systems are weak.  West Africa is known for various forms of illicit trafficking – from drugs, weapons and humans to stolen cars, cigarettes, counterfeit medicines, cultural artefacts and wildlife products. Natural resources like gold, diamonds and oil are smuggled or illegally traded, as are cash crops like cocoa and cashew nuts, and various consumer goods. Other transnational organised crimes are also rife and rising, including money laundering, cattle rustling, cybercrime and illegal activities at sea.  However, the article says that the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) is poised to significantly boost its role as a regional framework for policy development and action on these issues.  Ecowas also has in place several political, legal and operational instruments against specific forms of organised crime: the Protocol on the Fight against Corruption (2001); the Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons (2006); the Counter-Terrorism Strategy and its Implementation Plan (2013); the Integrated Maritime Security Strategy and its Implementation Plan (2014); and the Drug Action Plan (2016-2020) – but unfortunately, it seems that once adopted, these instruments remain largely ineffective.  However, the article concludes, with new leadership in place Ecowas has an opportunity to invigorate its own structures and support West African countries to confront organised crime.

https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2018-05-22-can-new-leaders-revive-west-africas-fight-against-organised-crime/#.WwT2LfZFx9A

TALIBAN, ISIS MAKE MILLIONS FROM MINING AFGHAN MINERALS INCLUDING TALC

On 22nd May, the US forces’ newspaper Stars and Stripes reported that rising global demand for cosmetics, marble and stainless steel is helping Taliban and Islamic State militants in Afghanistan fund their increasingly violent insurgencies, according to an investigation by Global Witness.  The militant groups make millions of dollars annually mining talc, chromite and marble in eastern part of the war-torn nation. The international NGO in a report estimates the Taliban earns $2.5 million to $10 million a year from mining talc alone.  It is said that the vast majority of minerals from insurgent-controlled mines in Nangarhar openly goes through government-held territory on the main roads to Pakistan, and it is all but certain that individuals and companies in China, Europe and the US are effectively, if inadvertently, funding insurgent groups.

https://www.stripes.com/news/middle-east/taliban-isis-make-millions-from-mining-afghan-minerals-1.528366

https://www.khaama.com/isis-extracting-talc-worth-millions-of-dollars-from-nangarhar-mines-report-05215/

UPDATE TO AUSTRALIAN EXPORT CONTROLS FOR TANGIBLES

In an article on 9th May, Baker McKenzie reported that Australia’s export control rules for tangibles have been amended to more closely align with the regime for intangible supplies.  The amendments are intended, so far as possible, to treat transfer of the same controlled subject-matter outside of Australia in a physical form consistently with intangible transfers (such as via email or allowing access by another intangible means).  The changes made are detailed in the article.  Meanwhile, an independent review underway aims to identify if there are any gaps in the Defence Control Act’s controls or any unintended consequences arising from the current operation of the Act.

https://www.bakermckenzie.com/en/insight/publications/2018/05/update-to-australian-export-controls

CYPRUS TO CAP ITS ‘GOLDEN VISA’ PROGRAMME

EurActiv on 23rd May reported that, stung by criticism it has been selling European Union passports for cash, Cyprus has tightened vetting procedures in a scheme that grants Cypriot citizenship to investors, the finance minister has said.  More stringent controls on the programme and a cap at 700 on the number of passports are involved.  To be eligible for a Cypriot passport, foreigners must make at least a €2 million investment in either property, business or government bonds and base their permanent residence in Cyprus.  Estimates say the scheme has generated around €4.8 billion — up until 2016.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/cyprus-to-cap-its-golden-visa-program/

AUSTRALIAN LAWMAKER CLAIMS BILLIONAIRE CONSPIRED IN UN BRIBERY SCANDAL

Deutsche Welle on 23rd May reported that a Chinese-Australian billionaire has been accused of involvement in a UN bribery scandal and his ties China’s Communist Party have also been called into question.  Andrew Hastie, who chairs the country’s parliamentary intelligence and security committee, told parliament that Chau Chak Wing was the real estate developer codenamed CC-3 by the US FBI in an unsealed indictment. CC-3 is short for the third co-conspirator.  Chau allegedly arranged to pay €170,000 in 2013 to the-then UN General Assembly President John Ashe to attend a conference in China, plus $25,000 to cover travel expenses of those accompanying Ashe.  Hastie said US officials confirmed to him that the 63-year-old billionaire was CC-3 during his visit to the US last month.

http://www.dw.com/en/australian-lawmaker-claims-billionaire-conspired-in-un-bribery-scandal/a-43889442?src=ilaw

CRYPTOCURRENCIES: POTENTIAL FOR TERROR FINANCING?

A briefing from ETH Zurich Center for Security Studies begins by saying that given their transaction anonymity and user-friendliness, cryptocurrencies appeal to extremist groups as they offer a viable alternative to the mainstream financial system and fiat money which are perceived as ‘kafir’ (infidel) currencies.  The threat of cyber-driven terrorist financing is expected to grow.  The article concludes that authorities need to harness the potential of cryptocurrencies and understand its mechanism to facilitate earlier detection of terror financing.  Failure to do so would allow the unconstrained development of a potentially major financial apparatus waiting to be fully exploited by cyber-driven terrorism.

https://isnblog.ethz.ch/technology/cryptocurrencies-potential-for-terror-financing?src=ilaw

THE IMPACT OF THE EU-CANADA COMPREHENSIVE ECONOMIC AND TRADE AGREEMENT (CETA) ON THE UK

On 23rd May, the Department for International Trade published a research study used to inform the impact assessment for the UK ratification of CETA.  It shows the potential consequences of this agreement for the UK economy.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-impact-of-the-eu-canada-comprehensive-economic-and-trade-agreement-on-the-uk

see also an impact assemment –

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/impact-assessment-of-the-comprehensive-economic-and-trade-agreement-ceta-between-the-european-union-and-canada

CROOKED BUSINESSMEN CAUGHT WITH £5 MILLION WORTH OF FAKE DRUGS INCLUDING VIAGRA AND STEROIDS ARE JAILED

On 23rd May, the Leicester Mercury reported that 2 businessmen who were caught with more than £5m worth of counterfeit drugs including Viagra and steroids have been jailed.  Asif Patel, 42, and Naushad Gaffar, 53, specialised in importing medicines for erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation from the Indian subcontinent.  They were arrested in April 2015 following a 9-month investigation by the MHRA.  In one of the largest ever seizures of its kind, officials confiscated more than 1.6 million doses of illicit medicines and 46,000 doses of Class C drugs from storage units in south London.

https://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/news/leicester-news/crooked-businessmen-caught-5m-worth-1596146

UK: INTRODUCTION OF IVORY BILL BOOSTS FIGHT AGAINST ELEPHANT POACHING

On 23rd May, a news release from DEFRA reported that one of the toughest bans on ivory sales in the world is a step closer to coming into force in the UK as the Government introduced the Ivory Bill into Parliament.  The Bill covers ivory items of all ages, not only those produced after a certain date, subject to some narrow, carefully-defined exemptions. The maximum penalty for breaching the ban will be an unlimited fine or up to 5 years in jail.  The Bill provides for narrowly-defined and carefully-targeted exemptions for items which do not contribute directly or indirectly to the poaching of elephants.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/introduction-of-ivory-bill-boosts-fight-against-elephant-poaching

£22 MILLION OF COCAINE AND FIREARM SEIZED BY JOINT NCA AND METROPOLITAN POLICE UNIT

A news release from the NCA on 23rd May advised that a man and a woman have been charged respectively with firearms and drugs offences as investigations by a joint NCA and Metropolitan Police unit targeted organised crime and associated violence from UK ports to London streets.  The investigations are part of sustained efforts to tackle the range of threats posed by the Class A drugs trade, particularly undermining of UK border controls, and the use of violence and weapons by those controlling distribution within the UK.  The seizure of 259kg of Class A drugs smuggled into the UK from Mexico, which were hidden inside a specially-constructed, industrial fruit processing machine, was one result of the investigations.

http://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/1356-22-million-of-cocaine-and-firearm-seized-by-joint-nca-and-metropolitan-police-unit

PORTUGUESE POLICE SEIZE BOAT WITH 1,800 KG OF HASHISH

Xinhua on 23rd May reported that a boat containing 1,800 kg of hashish has been seized off Portugal’s southern coast.  The police intercepted a motorboat containing 60 bundles of the drug in an estuary outside Tavira, a town 300 km south of Lisbon, near the Spanish border.  The bundles were being transferred onto a speedboat, having been brought in on the larger boat from Morocco.  3 men were arrested.

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-05/23/c_137198662.htm

PUTTING NORTH KOREA’S BOMB IN A MUSEUM: A 3D VIRTUAL TOUR

On 1st May, NTI produced a novel 3D virtual reality tour displays the evolution of its capabilities since the 1990s.  This museum is an immersive 3D environment in which anyone can wander among models of the missiles and nuclear devices, and read about their development, using a computer, smartphone, or VR device (Google Cardboard, Oculus Rift, etc).

http://www.nti.org/analysis/articles/putting-north-koreas-bomb-museum-3d-virtual-tour/

SINGAPORE: AMENDMENTS TO THE CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CODE AND EVIDENCE ACT

Baker McKenzie on 23rd May reported that the Singapore Parliament has approved a suite of new criminal justice reforms.  Under the previous regime, investigative agencies have the power to access, inspect and search data on computers.  The amendments seek to clarify these powers.  The amendments clarify that when investigators exercise powers of search and seizure or issue orders for production under any written law, their powers are subject to LPP unless the statute provides otherwise.  Changes have also now been made to allow for video recording of statements. This will be implemented in phases.  Deferred prosecution agreements (DPA) were part of another 6 amendments which were added to the original 50 proposed changes after discussions with the Law Society.

https://globalcompliancenews.com/singapore-criminal-procedure-20180523/#

45,000 CIGARETTES SEIZED AT DUBLIN AIRPORT

A news release on 23rd May reported that Revenue officers at Dublin Airport seized 45,000 cigarettes when, during routine operations, they stopped and searched a passenger who had arrived from Nigeria via Frankfurt.  The passenger, a 35 year old Nigerian man, was arrested.

https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/press-office/press-releases/2018/pr-230518-cigarettes-dublin-airport.aspx

DOCUMENTS LINK MAGNITSKY SUSPECT KLYUEV TO FBME BANK ACCOUNTS

On 23rd May, Business Mail in Cyprus reported that Dmitry Klyuev, the sanctioned Russian bank owner considered by the US as the mastermind of a tax fraud uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky, had indeed banked with FBME Bank, despite what its former owners claimed.  The former owners of FBME Bank Ltd said that Dmitry Klyuev and Andrei Pavlov, both key suspects in the theft of $230 million in taxes uncovered by lawyer Sergei Magnitsky and placed on a sanctions list by the US, were not customers of the bank’s Cyprus branch.

http://cyprusbusinessmail.com/?p=64164

DENMARK IN GLOBAL COURT CAMPAIGN TO RECOUP TAX FRAUD BILLIONS

Reuters reported on 23rd May that Denmark has launched 50 court cases around the world against foreign pension funds and other investors an effort to recoup up to £1.5 billion it alleges was paid out in fraudulent tax refunds between 2012 and 2015.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-malaysia-politics-mh370/malaysia-says-search-for-flight-mh370-to-end-next-week-idUKKCN1IO0IR?rpc=401&

NEW UK SANCTIONS REPORTING COMPLIANCE FORM

On 23rd May, the European Sanctions Blog reported that OFSI had introduced a new form to help individuals and organisations to comply with the UK financial sanctions reporting requirements that came into force on 8th August.   The posting explains that the form enables reporting of frozen assets and information about a suspected designated person an sanctions breaches, as well as giving information about the information OFSI requires in each of those areas.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/709774/COMPLIANCE_REPORTING_FORM.docx

CRIMINAL GROUP POSED AS SUPPLIERS FOR PUBLIC SECTOR ORGANISATIONS AND DUPED PRIVATE BODIES THROUGH FRAUD ONLINE

A news release from Europol on 23rd May about Operation Valcea-Cruces which began in early 2017 when law enforcement authorities exchanged information on different fraud cases.  The crime ring, operating in different cells across Europe, was led from Romania where 5 individuals were arrested alongside 14 in Spain, resulting in 33 arrests in total during the course of the investigations.  The organisation made more than EUR 8 million and opened almost 700 bank accounts in Spain to transfer the money made from their illegal activities.  This money was later withdrawn or transferred to international bank accounts.  The group operated in 2 ways:

  • Posing as suppliers for public sector organisations and claiming organisations had payments outstanding. Once contact had been established, the organisations were told to transfer money to a new bank account – in reality opened by a money mule; and
  • Committing online fraud against private bodies either by phishing or copying pictures from websites and republishing them, pretending to be official rental websites.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/eur-8-million-700-bank-accounts-and-money-mules-little-known-tricks-of-social-engineering-fraudsters

EU BRIEFING: MODERNISING TRADE DEFENCE INSTRUMENTS

On 23rd May, the EU Parliament Think Tank published a briefing paper which says that dumping and subsidising of exports by third countries are unfair trade practices that may cause injury to the importing country. WTO law allows to counter such injury by imposing specific duties known as trade defence instruments (TDI).  To ensure EU TDIs are appropriate to tackle new challenges to international trade, such as raw-material distortions in exporting countries, the Commission proposed to modernise the EU’s basic anti-dumping and anti-subsidy Regulations.  Since 1994, when EU TDI were originally enacted to transpose the WTO legal framework into EU law, they have only been amended to incorporate WTO case law.  The EU now needs to address some shortcomings seen in TDI in terms of procedure and substance, to keep pace with a rapidly evolving trade environment.

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/ATAG/2018/621880/EPRS_ATA(2018)621880_EN.pdf

FOILED FRENCH TERRORIST PLOT INDICATES INTENT TO DEPLOY BIOLOGICAL WEAPON

Janes.com on 23rd May reported that on 18th May the French interior minister announced that a terrorist plot involving “either explosives or ricin” had been thwarted.  A 20-year-old student of Egyptian origin had been arrested in Paris in connection with the attack.  Police raiding the suspect’s flat uncovered gunpowder, manuals on the construction of improvised explosive devices (IED), as well as a video on how to make ricin-based poison.  The bio-toxin ricin can be obtained by extraction from castor beans, which can be easily and cheaply purchased in large quantities.

http://www.janes.com/article/80231/foiled-french-plot-indicates-intent-to-deploy-biological-weapon-detection-shows-advanced-capability-in-uncovering-encrypted-communications?from_rss=1

MACEDONIAN EX-PM SENTENCED IN CORRUPTION CASE

On 23rd May, Rferl reported A Macedonian court has sentenced former conservative PM, Nikola Gruevski to 2 years in jail for unlawfully influencing officials over the purchase of a luxury bulletproof vehicle.  He remains free pending an appeal.

https://www.rferl.org/a/macedonia-s-ex-pm-sentenced-for-corruption/29245532.html

CHIEF COMPLIANCE OFFICER “AIDED AND ABETTED” AML OFFENCES

On 16th May, Compliance Week had reported that the SEC had announced that it settled charges against broker-dealers Chardan Capital Markets and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Financial Services for failing to report suspicious sales of billions of penny stock shares and that Chardan’s chief compliance officer was also charged.  In fact, according to the SEC, Jerard Basmagy, the chief compliance officer and AML officer for Chardan, “wilfully aided and abetted and caused” Chardan’s AML violations.  The SEC charged Chardan with failing to file SAR when it knew, suspected, or had reason to suspect that certain penny stock transactions it executed on behalf of its customers involved the use of its firm to facilitate fraudulent activity or had no business or apparent lawful purpose.

https://www.complianceweek.com/blogs/enforcement-action/chief-compliance-officer-two-broker-dealers-charged-with-aml-offenses

GIBRALTAR SAYS IT WILL NOT YIELD AN INCH ON SOVEREIGNTY

Tax News on 23rd May reported that Gibraltar’s Deputy Chief Minister has told a cross-party delegation of UK parliamentarians that Gibraltar “will not cede an inch of its sovereignty, jurisdiction, and control,” discussing Spanish relations amid Brexit talk.

https://www.lowtax.net/news/Gibraltar-Says-It-Will-Not-Cede-An-Inch-On-Sovereignty-76799.html

SADDAM HUSSEIN’S PRESIDENTIAL YACHT BECOMES A HOTEL

On 23rd May, Superyacht News reported that the 82 metre motoryacht, ‘Basrah Breeze’, will now operate as a hotel and recreation facility for maritime pilots who guide ships in and out of the port of Basra, Southern Iraq’s largest city.  The vessel was built for the Iraqi dictator in 1981, although he never reportedly set foot on board.  Following a court case in 2010, Iraq recovered the yacht after it had spent 3 decades overseas, during which it changed hands a number of times, including a stint in Saudi Arabia under the ownership of King Fahd bin Abdulaziz.  The Iraqi government listed the yacht for sale at $30 million upon her return, but it never found a buyer.

http://www.superyachtnews.com/fleet/saddam-husseins-superyacht-repurposed-as-hotel

PANAMA NAMES MOSSACK FONSECA LAWYERS UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR MONEY LAUNDERING

Kenneth Rijock in his blog on 23rd May provided the names of those which he says Panama’s Anti-corruption prosecutor has advised that it is continuing to investigate, saying that it has charged 10 of the firm’s staff with money laundering.  The case, which arose out of the Brazilian “Java Leto,” or car wash, scandal is being handled with the co-operation of Brazilian authorities.

http://rijock.blogspot.com/

 

US GIVES RUSSIAN VAN-MAKER GAZ MORE TIME TO COMPLY WITH SANCTIONS

On 23rd May, Rferl reported that the US has given US customers of Russian van manufacturer GAZ more time to wind down business with the company in the latest softening of sanctions against GAZ owner, Oleg Deripaska.  With new licences and FAQ published, US customers of GAZ will now have until October 23rd (instead of June 5th) to wind down operations and contracts with GAZ.  It also said it would consider lifting the sanctions against GAZ altogether if Deripaska cedes control of the company.  GAZ declined to comment.

https://www.rferl.org/a/us-gives-russian-van-maker-gaz-more-time-comply-sanctions-rusal-deripaska-mnuchin/29244557.html

JMLSG UPDATES ITS AML GUIDANCE FOR UK FINANCIAL SERVICES

Addleshaw Goddard reported on 22nd May that the Joint Money Laundering Steering Group had updated its AML guidance for UK financial services the revised sectors being Section 12: Asset finance (including low-value assets to businesses) and Section17: Syndicated lending in Part II of its guidance on the prevention of money laundering and the financing of terrorism for the UK financial services industry.  This followed a consultation process begun on 8th March.  According to the JMLSG, the amended sections do not change the substance of the guidance provisions, but seek to describe in more current terms the way the sectors work, how to assess the risks in the sector and how to identify who the customers are.

http://www.jmlsg.org.uk/news/further-amendments-to-jmlsg-guidance2

FRANCE: WATCHLIST OF PEOPLE SUSPECTED OF INVOLVEMENT IN DEVELOPMENT AND USE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS

The French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs has released a watchlist that focuses on 48 people that France deems to have highly likely participated in the development and use of chemical weapons. France is following very closely these individuals’ activities and sharing with its partners information regarding them.  This followed a meeting of the 34 countries that comprise the International Partnership Against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons on 18th May.  The list is available at –

https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/liste_de_vigilance_cle8c911c.pdf

https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/french-foreign-policy/disarmament-and-non-proliferation/international-partnership-against-impunity-for-the-use-of-chemical-weapons/events/article/international-partnership-against-impunity-for-the-use-of-chemical-weapons

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MAY 22

22nd May 2018

US CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, OTHERS BACK CHANGES ON FOREIGN INVESTMENT IN TECH

Euronews on 21st May reported that the US Chamber of Commerce, along with business groups which lobby for oil, tech, and other industries, said that they supported changes to draft legislation to tighten oversight of foreign investment, especially Chinese investment.  Due to concern about Chinese attempts to invest in sensitive US technologies, the Senate and House of Representatives are considering measures to expand the clout of the inter-agency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) which reviews investments to ensure they do not harm national security.  The Bills were designed to address Defense Department concerns but further draft changes address business concerns.  For example, they remove a measure that would require CFIUS to review joint ventures that could lead to technology transfer, delaying proposed transactions.  CFIUS has killed a long list of deals, including attempts to purchase semiconductor companies such as Qualcomm Inc and the proposed acquisition of US semiconductor testing company Xcerra Corp by a China state-backed investment fund.

http://www.euronews.com/2018/05/21/us-chamber-of-commerce-others-back-changes-to-foreign-investment-bill

ZIMBABWE’S CROCODILE INDUSTRY RISES AGAINST THE TIDE

Al Jazeera on 21st May reported that Zimbabwe reptile farmers are dealing with increasing regional competition and challenges getting their products to market and are calling for government reforms to allow them to keep their lead against regional competitors.  According to a 2017 UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report, over 2 million crocodile skins are traded annually around the world and after the US, Zimbabwe ranks as the world’s second-largest exporter of the reptile products.  90% of the crocodile business is in exports.

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/zimbabwes-crocodile-industry-rises-tide-180218110312477.html

CHINA LAUNCHES FRESH CAMPAIGN AGAINST GARBAGE SMUGGLING

The Strait Times on 22nd May reported that China has launched a fresh crackdown against rubbish smuggling from overseas in the latest move to curtail the inflow of foreign garbage and strengthen its “war on pollution”. China’s customs administration announced the effort but provided no details other than to say the campaign would be huge.  China told the WTO last year that it would stop accepting imports of 24 types of foreign waste by the end of the year and that it would phase out shipments of other waste products, including those readily available from domestic sources, by the end of 2019.  The move has thrown the global recycling industry into turmoil and left domestic recyclers to cope with raw material shortages.  Customs said in early April that it had seized 110,000 tonnes of smuggled solid waste this year and arrested 52 people.  Earlier this year, the customs announced China’s “National Sword 2018” campaign to clamp down on 5 major areas of smuggling.  The movement prioritizes the crackdown on foreign garbage smuggling as “Project No.1,” with greater significance than drugs and ivory smuggling.

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/china-launches-fresh-campaign-against-garbage-smuggling

http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1103341.shtml

LIBYA TO INVESTIGATE COMPANIES SUSPECTED OF SMUGGLING HARD CURRENCY THROUGH LETTERS OF CREDIT

The Libya Herald on 21st May reported that the Governor of the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) has instructed the CBL’s Anti Money Laundering Crimes Unit to open an urgent investigation into a number of Libyan companies accused by the Audit Bureau of smuggling hard currency through documentary letters of credit.

https://www.libyaherald.com/2018/05/21/cbl-to-investigate-companies-suspected-of-smuggling-hard-currency-through-lcs/

GREEK POLICE BUST TOBACCO SMUGGLING GANG

Ekathimerini on 21st May reported that the financial crime unit of the Greek Police said on Monday that it had broken a criminal gang that earned profits of more than €100 million from the manufacture and distribution of illegal tobacco products.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/228887/article/ekathimerini/news/police-bust-tobacco-smuggling-gang

UN CONSIDERS SANCTIONS ON LIBYA MIGRANT SMUGGLERS

i24 News on 21st May carried an AFP piece saying that the UN Security Council is considering imposing the first-ever sanctions on migrant smugglers in Libya, targeting 6 leaders of trafficking rings, but that Russia has requested more information.  The proposed sanctions list includes 2 Eritrean nationals described as top operators in transnational smuggling networks and 4 Libyans including the head of a regional coast guard unit.  The list was presented on 1st May, and the Russian delay was requested on 8th May.  On the list is Ermias Ghermay of Eritrea, described as a leader of a network responsible for “trafficking and smuggling tens of thousands of migrants” from the Horn of Africa to the coast of Libya and onwards to Europe and the US, according to the sanctions request obtained by AFP.  The other 5 are Fitiwi Abdelrazak of Eritrea, Libyan militia leader Ahmad Oumar al-Dabbashi, Libyan Musab Abu-Qarin, described as a “central actor” in migrant smuggling in the coastal area of Sabratha, Libyan Mohammed Kachlaf, head of the Shuhada al Nasr brigade in Zawiya, western Libya and Abd al Rahman al-Milad, who heads the Libyan coast guard in Zawiya.

https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/175256-180521-un-weighs-first-ever-sanctions-on-libya-migrant-smugglers

BITCOINS SEIZED FOR FIRST TIME IN ISRAELI FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING CASE

Ethereum World News reported that Hilmi Git has been indicted by the cybercrime department of the State Attorney’s office for carrying out over 20,000 fraudulent credit card transactions and laundering money through the Bitcoin network.  This is the first time in Israeli law that Bitcoin has been seized, and the state will file to confiscate the 1,000+ Bitcoin if Git is convicted.  The indictment alleges that Git made fraudulent transactions worth $280,000 and laundered over $8 million.  The article says that Git’s indictment is a landmark case in the state of Israel which has set a precedent for Bitcoin seizure and may do the same for the confiscation of Bitcoin involved in a criminal operation.

https://ethereumworldnews.com/over-1000-bitcoins-seized-in-israeli-fraud-and-money-laundering-case/

IRISH MINISTER MADE TAX BLACKLIST PLEA TO BRAZIL

The Times on 22nd May reported that Ireland has tried unsuccessfully to lobby for removal from Brazil’s list of nations classed as tax havens.  Brazil’s federal revenue service added Ireland in 2016 to its register of tax havens, which includes jurisdictions such as Panama, Monaco and the Isle of Man.  This meant companies based in Ireland had to pay a 25% tax rate on deals with businesses from Brazil instead of the 15% that previously applied.  The Irish government has been campaigning to be removed from the list and has consistently refuted any suggestion that the country is a tax haven.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/minister-took-tax-plea-over-to-brazil-sv7z8r5b2

RAISING THE GLOBAL BAR FOR SECURITY CLEARANCE OF CROSS-BORDER MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS

On 18th May, White & Case published a briefing saying that a clampdown by governments across the world on potential security threats has increased the scrutiny of participants seeking clearance for cross-border mergers and acquisitions.  The article provides an update on developments in Australia, Canada, France, the EU, Japan, Russia, Italy, Germany, China, the UK and US.

https://www.whitecase.com/publications/insight/global-merger-control-crossing-finish-line?article=210341

UK HOUSE OF LORDS APPOINTS NEW SELECT COMMITTEE TO REVIEW BRIBERY ACT

On 21st May, Addleshaw Goddard reported that the House of Lords had established a new ad hoc Select Committee that will review certain elements of the Bribery Act 2010.   It is to consider whether the Act has had the intended effect of stricter prosecution of corrupt conduct, a higher conviction rate and a reduction in such conduct and if SME are sufficiently aware of the Act and how it applies to them.  It may also consider the effect of deferred prosecution agreements (DPA) and their application beyond the scope of Bribery Act offences.  The Committee is to report on its findings by the end of March 2019.

https://clients.addleshawgoddard.com/69/454/may-2018/corporate-crime-and-investigations-e-alert-18-may-2018.asp?sid=24c8f436-4dc6-401a-9262-10b4f2224835

CONFIDENTIALITY CLUBS – A DEPARTURE FROM OPEN JUSTICE?

Mishcon de Reya on 21st May reported on concerns arising from civil courts in the UK having to undertake a balancing exercise, weighing up unfettered access to a party’s documents with risks that arise from such access.  Those risks may relate to damage to commercial rights (such as trade secrets) or risks to the life, limb or property of third parties.  This issue came before the High Court in The Libyan Investment Authority v Société Générale SA and others.  In this case, due to the “perilous and lawless situation in war-torn Libya”, the Court imposed a “confidentiality club” on the LIA, putting strict limits on who could be given the names of certain individuals involved on the basis that not doing so would expose them to an immediate risk of loss of life or limb. This also required the use of “secure communications systems” where the individuals were anonymised, with “confidential information and material” which could only be seen by named “relevant persons”, including solicitors, counsel, forensic accountants and IT and data management teams, who had given an undertaking to the Court to preserve the confidentiality in it.  Confidentiality clubs are not all the same but at their heart they work by limiting who can see the evidence received from another party, where and how they can see it and whether they can copy or share it with others.  Strict confidentiality clubs can even prevent the parties themselves from gaining access to other party’s disclosed documents, limiting access to solicitors and counsel (and perhaps experts); although this level of lockdown almost never continues all the way to trial.

https://www.mishcon.com/news/publications/inside-disputes-8/confidentiality-clubs—a-departure-from-open-justice?publication=true

44 AFRICAN COUNTRIES SIGN AGREEMENT TO ESTABLISH AFRICAN CONTINENTAL FREE TRADE AREA

Jones Day on 21st May reported that in March 44 African states signed the draft Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) and other related protocols. 44 of the 55 Member States of the African Union signed the agreement and when 22 states have ratified, the Agreement enters into force.  The percentage of intra-African trade is only 16%, compared to 70% in the EU – said to be largely due to the former’s reliance on extractive industries.  The article considers the potential implications for foreign companies, and advantages EU companies might have over others.  Africa’s 2 largest economies — Nigeria and South Africa — did not sign the Agreement in Kigali, though both are expected to join in due course.  The article concludes with 3 key takeaways –

  • The CFTA is a bold step forward. It potentially heralds transformative economic relations between African countries, as well as significant economic growth and industrialization in Africa.
  • If fully implemented, the CFTA can also make Africa a much better economic partner for non-African companies. But implementation is likely to prove challenging.
  • Thus far, the U.S. response has been muted. At present, European and Chinese companies are probably better positioned to take advantage of the changes likely to be brought by the CFTA.

http://www.jonesday.com/44-African-Countries-Sign-Agreement-to-Establish-African-Continental-Free-Trade-Area-05-17-2018

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SHIPPER’S LETTER OF INSTRUCTION (SLI)

The usually interesting Shipping Solutions blog carried a post on 21st May about SLI saying that by completing an SLI and sending it to the freight forwarder, you are establishing a best practice for your business.  You have a written record of who received the shipping documents, who to contact for questions, who to contact for proof of export, and who issued the export control documentation that supports the decision to send your products to your foreign customer.  It provides several reasons for completing an SLI.  It also says that the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA) in the US has developed a template for the SLI.  It also says one should not continue to use the old Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED) as it does not contain all the necessary data required under the US Freight Trade Regulations.

SLI

https://www.shippingsolutions.com/blog/5-reasons-shippers-letter-of-instruction

The National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA) was established in 1897 and represents many of the leading freight forwarders, customs brokers, ocean transportation intermediaries (OTI), NVOCCs and air cargo agents, serving more than 250,000 importers and exporters in the US.  The website contains much useful information on such programmes as the Broker Known Importer Program (BKIP) which establishes a process for licensed, permitted US customs brokers to identify importers in connection with their import related activities.

http://www.ncbfaa.org/Scripts/4Disapi.dll/4DCGI/index.html

HOW NORTH KOREAN HACKERS BECAME THE WORLD’S GREATEST BANK ROBBERS

On 16th May, Global Post Investigations published an article saying that the Reconnaissance General Bureau, North Korea’s equivalent to the CIA, has trained up the world’s greatest bank-robbing crews.  In just the past few years, RGB hackers have struck more than 100 banks and cryptocurrency exchanges around the world, pilfering more than $650 million.  It says that they struck an account managed by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, an institution renowned for its security.

The feature includes a BBC World Service podcast excerpt.

https://gpinvestigations.pri.org/how-north-korean-hackers-became-the-worlds-greatest-bank-robbers-492a323732a6

EU TO SPLIT TRADE AND INVESTMENT AGREEMENTS

On 22nd May, the EU Observer reported that EU trade ministers have given the go-ahead to the Commission’s plans to split investment and free trade agreements in the future, following a ruling by the ECJ in March saying that investment and dispute settlement arrangements cannot be established without Member States’ consent.  This opens the door for future investment deals to be ratified by the 38 national and regional parliaments.

https://euobserver.com/tickers/141873

REVISED PACE CODES C, H, E AND F

On 22nd May, the Home Office published a news release advising that following the consultation period, revised Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 Codes were laid before Parliament on 21st May, and will come into force 21 days from that date.  The Codes affected are Code C (revised code of practice for the detention, treatment and questioning of persons by police officers); Code H (the detention, treatment and questioning by police officers of persons in police detention…under Terrorism Act 2000 or Counter Terrorism Act 2008); Code E (revised code of practice on audio recording interviews with suspects); and Code F (revised code of practice on visual recording with sound of interviews with suspects).

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/revising-pace-codes-c-h-e-and-f

 

SWITZERLAND OPENS CRIMINAL PROBE TIED TO ANGOLA FUND

News 24 in South Africa reported on 22nd May that Swiss authorities have raided multiple sites as part of a money laundering probe tied to Angola’s sovereign wealth fund.  The Swiss are reported to have it “opened criminal proceedings in April 2018 in response to reports of money laundering… by persons unknown connected with alleged offences involving assets held by the National Bank of Angola (BNA) and the Fondo Soberano de Angola, the Angolan sovereign wealth fund”.

https://www.news24.com/Africa/News/switzerland-opens-criminal-probe-tied-to-angola-fund-20180522?src=ilaw

UKRAINE’S POROSHENKO – WE’VE LISTENED TO FOREIGN PARTNERS ON CORRUPTION LAW

Reuters on 22nd May reported that President Petro Poroshenko said that Ukraine had taken into account most international recommendations in the latest draft law to create an anti-corruption court.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-ukraine-estonia-poroshenko/ukraines-poroshenko-weve-listened-to-foreign-partners-on-corruption-law-idUKKCN1IN1DI?src=ilaw

CYPRUS DEVELOPMENT BANK FINED FOR AML SHORTCOMINGS

The Cyprus Business Mail on 22nd May reported that the Central Bank of Cyprus fined the Cyprus Development Bank (CDB) €715,000 for failing to comply with the provisions of legislation for the prevention and suppression of money laundering.  The CDB fine is one of the highest ever imposed by the bank supervisor and was announced days after authorities announced the launch of a campaign to improve Cyprus’s reputation tarnished by allegations that its financial system had in the past failed to prevent the laundering of illicit funds.

http://cyprusbusinessmail.com/?src=ilaw&p=64070

SFO HAS BROUGHT FRESH BRIBERY CHARGES AGAINST UNAOIL IN RELATION TO A £555MILLION CONTRACT

On 22nd May, Energy Voice reported that the SFO has accused the Monaco-based company of using bribery to help Leighton Contractors Singapore win the half-a-billion-pound contract to build oil pipelines in southern Iraq.  Basil Al Jarah, who was the firm’s Iraq partner and lives in Hull, has been charged with 2 offences of conspiracy to give corrupt payments.  Meanwhile, Ziad Akle is also facing an offence of conspiracy to give corrupt payments.  These adds to charges already in place against the pair relating to the award of contracts to Unaoil’s client SBM Offshore, and 2 other men have also been charged,

https://www.energyvoice.com/oilandgas/172130/fresh-bribery-charges-against-unaoil-over-555million-pipeline-contract/

COMBATTING IMPORTS OF ILLEGALLY HARVESTED SEAFOOD IS AIM OF US COMMERCE DEPARTMENT INQUIRY

On 22nd May, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that the Department of Commerce is seeking information regarding nations whose vessels are engaged in illegal, unreported, or unregulated (IUU) fishing, bycatch of protected living marine resources, and/or fishing activities in waters beyond any national jurisdiction that target or incidentally catch sharks.  Information that may prove useful includes trade data supporting evidence that a nation’s vessels are engaged in shark catch on the high seas; reports from off-loading facilities, port-side government officials, enforcement agents, military personnel, port inspectors, transshipment vessel workers, and fish importers; and reports from governments, international organisations, or NGO.  The deadline for information being supplied is 31st December.

https://www.strtrade.com/news-publications-import-illegal-seafood-DOC-052218.html

JERSEY BUSINESS TENDENCY SURVEY

On 22nd May, Jersey released the latest quarterly Jersey Business Tendency Survey (BTS) provides timely, qualitative information about the Island’s economy.

https://www.gov.je/News/2018/Pages/BusinessTendencyMar2018.aspx

GUERNSEY ECONOMIC OVERVIEW PUBLISHED

On 22nd May, Guernsey published the report, produced by Strategy and Policy, which brings together core government data to provide an overview of current economic conditions.

https://www.gov.gg/article/165379/Economic-Overview-published

MOSCOW GOLD: FOR CITY LAWYERS, THE OLIGARCH ERA IS OVER

The Lawyer on 22nd May reported that the changing political environment is making life harder for the London lawyers servicing Russia’s super-rich.

https://www.thelawyer.com/russian-oligarchs-english-law-uk/

MALAYSIA TO INVESTIGATE MANAGEMENT OF 1MDB DEVELOPMENT COMPANY

On 21st May, Jurist reported that the Malaysian government announced the creation of a special task force to look into whether there were criminal acts committed by the management of 1MDB.  The task force is asked to identify and seize assets that were acquired from the illegal siphoning from the state fund.

http://www.jurist.org/paperchase/2018/05/malaysia-to-investigate-management-of-development-company.php

US CANDLE INDUSTRY – CUSTOMS DUTY ON PETROLEUM WAX CANDLES FROM CHINA UPHELD

A news release from the National Candle Association on 21st May reported that the US Court of International Trade has upheld a customs duty on petroleum wax candles imported from China.   This ruling will continue to protect US candle manufacturers and their suppliers from the unfair dumping of inexpensive petroleum wax candle imports from China.  The Trade Associates Group Ltd., a US importer of candles, had contested the 108.3% duty that applies to all petroleum wax candles from China, regardless of the candles’ shape, with the limited exception of birthday candles, utility candles, and figurines.

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/us-candle-industry-prevails-in-international-trade-litigation-customs-duty-on-petroleum-wax-candles-from-china-upheld-300652065.html

ONLINE NETWORK SEEKS TO BOOST INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATION AGAINST WILDLIFE TRAFFICKING IN CENTRAL AFRICA

Mongaby on 21st May reported that 5 countries that are home to some of the most iconic and threatened animal species in the world have joined forces in a high-tech collaboration to improve wildlife law enforcement.  Cameroon, Gabon, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic have formed the Africa Trade in Wildlife Information eXchange (Africa-TWIX).   It is modelled on EU-TWIX, which consists of a mailing list and a database, both secured, to centralize and classify information relating to wildlife infractions and seizures.  The mailing list, currently sent to nearly 115 officials (out of 131 designated people) involved in wildlife and forestry law enforcement from the 5 countries, aims to enable Central Africa’s national enforcement authorities to communicate and collaborate on wildlife crime investigations.

https://news.mongabay.com/wildtech/2018/05/online-network-seeks-to-boost-international-collaboration-against-wildlife-trafficking-in-central-africa/

VIRTUAL KIDNAPPING IN THE UNITED STATES

Control Risks on 22nd May produced a podcast about “virtual kidnapping” – a crime which is traditionally associated with Latin America, but which is also very common in the US.  This is where an extortionist claiming falsely (by phone) that someone has been kidnapped and demanding a ransom for their release.  Despite how common it is there and how much local coverage incidents get, most people still don’t know about virtual kidnapping, and so it continues to thrive.  Raising awareness of the crime is the only real impediment to it spreading.  The interviewee says it continues to thrive because of lack of knowledge of it.

https://www.controlrisks.com/our-thinking/insights/podcasts/virtual-kidnapping-in-the-united-states

SOLICITOR STRUCK OFF FOR MISCONDUCT THAT LANDED HIS FIRM RECORD FINE

Legal Futures on 22nd May reported that Jonathan Denton, the former partner whose conduct in a dubious investment scheme led to the record £500,000 fine for US law firm Locke Lord last year has been struck off by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT).

https://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/ex-locke-lord-partner-struck-off-for-misconduct-that-landed-his-firm-record-fine

US DOJ ANNOUNCES POLICY TO DISCOURAGE LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES AND REGULATORS FROM “PILING ON” DUPLICATIVE AND PARALLEL PENALTIES

On 21st May, Clifford Chance reported that on May 9th, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced that the US DoJ would implement a new policy discouraging regulators and law enforcement agencies engaged in parallel investigations from “piling on” multiple penalties for the same misconduct.

https://www.cliffordchance.com/briefings/2018/05/doj_announces_policytodiscouragela.html

FUEL SMUGGLING COSTS GHANA $200 MILLION A YEAR

Modern Ghana on 20th May reported that Ghana lost $200 million in both 2016 and 2017 as a result of the smuggling of fuel into the country, the National Petroleum Authority has revealed – with a claim that up to 300,000 metric tonnes of fuel used in the country are not recorded and no taxes paid on them.  The illegal activity which is done through depots mainly in Tema and Takoradi is one of the major challenges affecting the petroleum sector.

https://www.modernghana.com/news/855295/fuel-smuggling-costs-ghana-200m.html

EU TO REACTIVATE 1996 BLOCKING REGULATION AGAINST US SANCTIONS ON IRAN

On 22nd May, Wilmer Hale provided a comprehensive briefing following the launch, on 18th May, by the EU Commission of a formal process to reactivate a 1996 trade defence law in response to the US withdrawal from JCPOA with Iran.  Once reactivated, this law (the EU Blocking Regulation) would seek to prevent European companies from complying with any sanctions the US may reintroduce against Iran.

https://wilmerhalecommunications.com/26/2500/may-2018/eu-to-reactivate-1996-blocking-regulation-against-us-sanctions-on-iran.asp?sid=a51b26a8-6a24-4914-84c2-3033611cf3a6

NEW TRADE BODY FORMED IN US TO HELP SHIPPERS USE BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY IN SUPPLY CHAINS

On 22nd May, Loadstar reported that Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA), the North American association of transport and logistics companies looking to develop industry standards for the use of blockchain technology in logistics has launched a sister organisation for supply chain professionals.  Although BiTA has a substantial number of 3PL members, it is currently dominated by the vast US road freight industry.  BiTA announced the launch of the Blockchain in Supply Chain Alliance (BiSCA) which would be based around 4 key pillars of activity: procurement, planning, transport and warehousing.  Denver University and the US Air Force had joined, and shipping giant Panalpina has announced it has joined BiTA, saying it sees many advantages of blockchain technology for freight forwarding and logistics operations.

https://theloadstar.co.uk/new-group-launched-help-shippers-use-blockchain-technology-supply-chains/

SWEDEN TELLS CITIZENS HOW TO PREPARE FOR WAR – FOR FIRST TIME IN 30 YEARS

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/sweden-tells-citizens-how-to-prepare-for-war-for-first-time-in-30-years/ar-AAxDcM9?ocid=spartanntp

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EU: SMUGGLING OF GLASS EELS VALUED AT €10 MILLION – 17 ARRESTS

On 22nd May, Eurojust published a news release saying that Greek and Spanish law enforcement bodies and judicial authorities, supported by Eurojust and Europol, have dismantled an international criminal network suspected of having smuggled in the current season over 10 tonnes of eels from the EU to China, with a profit estimated at €10 million.  A co-ordinated operation carried out in Greece and Spain led to 17 arrests. In addition, approximately 2 tonnes of eels worth €2 million were seized, along with data storage devices, documents, luxury cars and approximately €1 million in cash.

http://www.eurojust.europa.eu/press/PressReleases/Pages/2017/2017-03-08.aspx

2 IMMIGRATION OFFICIALS AT AUSTRALIAN HIGH COMMISSION IN SOUTH AFRICA SACKED FOR VISA FRAUD

ABC News on 22nd May reported that 2 locally engaged staff at the Australian High Commission in Pretoria have been dismissed for allegedly issued illegal visas to high-risk Nigerian students.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-23/australian-officials-at-high-commission-in-south-africa-sacked/9789918?src=ilaw

EU SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA : WHAT’S NEXT?

On 22nd May, the European Parliamentary Research Service Blog published an article following the EPRS roundtable discussion on the topic of ‘EU sanctions against Russia: What next’, held in the European Parliament library on 16th May.

https://epthinktank.eu/2018/05/22/eu-sanctions-against-russia-whats-next/?src=ilaw

GUERNSEY SETS OUT STANCE ON PUBLIC COMPANY OWNERSHIP REGISTERS

On 22nd May, Tax News reported that Guernsey’s Chief Minister has told the island’s parliament that Guernsey will make beneficial ownership information publicly accessible if it becomes an internationally adopted standard.

https://www.lowtax.net/news/Guernsey-Sets-Out-Stance-On-Public-Company-Ownership-Registers-76796.html

THAILAND INTRODUCES VIRTUAL CURRENCY TRADING TAX RULES

Tax News on 22nd May reported that in a last-minute change ahead of the implementation of new tax rules for virtual currency trading, Thai lawmakers agreed that virtual currency trading on regulated exchanges should be exempt from VAT.  However, gains will be subject to a 15% capital gains tax charge, with the tax to be subject to withholding, and a 7% VAT charge will be assessed where trades take place off an approved exchange.

https://www.tax-news.com/news/Thailand_Introduces_Virtual_Currency_Trading_Tax_Rules____76791.html

IRELAND ISSUES TAX GUIDANCE ON PEER-TO-PEER LENDING

Tax News on 22nd May reported that the Irish Revenue has published new guidelines on the withholding tax obligations of companies paying interest on finance raised through peer-to-peer lending or crowdfunding campaigns.

https://www.tax-news.com/news/Ireland_Issues_Tax_Guidance_On_PeerToPeer_Lending____76795.html

SWEDEN: WARNING TO MEDIA OUTLETS ON TAKING ADVERTS FOR FOREIGN GAMBLING SITES

Calvin Ayre on 22nd May reported that Sweden’s gambling regulator has issued warnings to 39 digital media outlets to stop promoting international gambling sites.

https://calvinayre.com/2018/05/22/business/sweden-warns-media-outlets-gambling-adverts/

US TREASURY BOOSTS RULES AIMED AT CRACKING DOWN ON MONEY LAUNDERING IN REAL ESTATE

On 22nd May, Baker McKenzie reported that FinCEN has released another set of rules requiring title companies to disclose the identity of all-cash buyers who purchase luxury property under the guise of an LLC – but it has instructed title companies not to disclose details of the new geographic targeting order (GTO), so we do not know where the GTO affect.

http://www.riskandcompliancehub.com/treasury-boosts-rules-aimed-at-cracking-down-on-money-laundering-in-real-estate/

TURKISH SHIP ATTACKED OFF YEMEN

Janes.com on 22nd May reported that Iranian-backed Yemeni rebel group Ansar Allah (Houthis) was responsible for an attack on the Turkish-flagged bulk carrier Ince Inebolu.  The ship was carrying wheat from the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk to Yemen via Djibouti.

http://www.janes.com/article/80239/saudi-spokesman-confirms-turkish-ship-attacked-off-yemen

US AGENTS SEIZE FAKE CHINESE GOODS WORTH $16 MILLION IN TEXAS

Illicit Trade on 22nd May reported that officers from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have seized Chinese-made counterfeit luxury items estimated to be worth $16 million in the Texan city of Laredo.  They impounded 78,908 suspected fake items, including clothing and electronics products labelled as  Adidas, Apple, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Nike, Samsung and Sony.

https://www.illicit-trade.com/2018/05/us-agents-seize-fake-chinese-goods-worth-16-million-in-texas/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter