FOR YEARS, BANKS IN 3 EASTERN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES WERE STRIPPED OF ASSETS BY THEIR OWNERS

On 19th November, KYC 360 reported an OCCRP/ORF investigation about a scheme reportedly made possible by Meinl Bank (now called Anglo Austrian AAB Bank AG), a venerable Austrian financial institution that has lost its licence.  Ukraine, Latvia and Lithuania were affected.  Authorities in 4 countries have confirmed criminal investigations of operations facilitated by Meinl, and the investigation by OCCRP and its partners found evidence that Meinl helped bankers in Ukraine, Lithuania and Latvia bypass regulations and bans, shifting vast amounts of money out of their banks just before their collapse.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/the-vienna-bank-job/

https://www.occrp.org/en/the-austrian-bank-job/the-vienna-bank-job

This blog is primarily for my own use, to keep informed and up to date. However, if you would like to say thank you (and perhaps help me get a new, better laptop when I am away…) you can “buy me a coffee” at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – NOVEMBER 18

18 November 2019

ECB REVOKES LICENCE OF AUSTRIAN BANK

On 18th November, KYC 360 reported that the Anglo-Austrian Bank (which until June was called Bank Meinl) has had its banking licence from the European Central Bank withdrawn.  The near-100 year old bank has faced scrutiny since 2016, when Ukrainian and Austrian officials began investigating its alleged role in the laundering of tens of millions of euros linked to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich and was fined €500,000 in 2018 for compliance failures.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/ecb-revokes-license-of-austrian-bank-facing-money-laundering-allegations-ft/

https://www.occrp.org/en/the-austrian-bank-job/the-vienna-bank-job

HEAD OF UKRAINE STATE IMPORT-EXPORT BANK ARRESTED ON MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES

Rferl on 18th November reported that the chairman of the state-owned Ukreximbank since 2014, Oleksandr Hrytsenko, has been arrested on suspicion of creating an organised crime group, embezzlement, and money laundering; and complicity in laundering stolen assets connected to the inner circle of former President Viktor Yanukovych.  He allegedly took part in unfreezing assets belonging to the media empire of the former president’s associate, Serhiy Kurchenko.  Ukreximbank is Ukraine’s third-largest bank with more than $7 billion in assets.  However, despite the arrest, he continues as chairman of the board of Raiffeisen Bank Aval.

https://www.rferl.org/a/30277425.html

AUSTRALIA: NAB FACES ‘SIGNIFICANT’ PENALTIES FOR MONEY LAUNDERING BREACHES

On 18th November, the Australian Financial Review reported that the bank had self-reported a large number of breaches of AML/CFT laws and says there may be more to come.  This comes 2 years after NAB highlighted shortcomings in its KYC processes.

https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/nab-faces-significant-penalties-for-money-laundering-breaches-20191115-p53awd

SPANISH COURT CASE BY CUBAN AMERICAN FAMILY CLAIMING COMPENSATION FOR PROPERTY SEIZED IN CUBA

On 14th November, Herbert Smith Freehills reported a court case in a lower court in Mallorca.  In this case, a Cuban-American family sought recompense as heirs to formerly Spanish-owned property in Cuba that was seized following the Castro revolution.  It is said to be the first such case in a European court following the implementation of the elements of the US Helms-Burton Act that allowed US persons to sue for compensation for the use of US-owned property seized by the regime – Carnival Cruises being one of the prominent companies facing litigation from profiting from such seizures.  The claimants sued the Spanish hotel chain, Melia, for receiving the fruits of possession in bad faith and profiting off the confiscated land (as prohibited by the Spanish Civil Code), over its involvement with state-run Gaviota SA in Cuba.  The claim was rejected, but an appeal is possible and is expected.

https://hsfnotes.com/publicinternationallaw/2019/11/14/spanish-court-decision-following-end-of-suspension-of-the-us-helms-burton-act-jurisdiction-declined-in-claim-concerning-assets-nationalized-by-cuba/#page=1

CORPORATE INVESTIGATIONS: DIGITAL EVIDENCE, PRIVATE DEVICES AND COMMUNICATIONS AND DATA PRIVACY QUESTIONS

On 12th November, Control Risks published a briefing saying that in corporate investigations, data is increasingly the primary source of evidence – including mobile phone data, emails, and records in databases and accounting systems.  During an investigation, it says, a wide range of methods are used for preserving information from mobile phones, hard drives, databases and cloud services. Gathering the data so that it can be processed, searched and reviewed often involves cross-border data transfers, sometimes electronic and sometimes by carrying hard drives through customs checks at airports.  For data-intensive investigations, it is imperative to understand, navigate and comply with the relevant legal boundaries.  The briefing provides advice on data privacy concerns, such as where information is held on employees’ personal devices – saying that the proportion of employees who use their own smartphone for work was found to be around 86% according to a survey of 3,500 mobile workers in 2015.  The briefing refers to an investigation carried out by the firm on behalf of a US law firm in a case involving European subsidiaries’ activities in Africa.  It concludes that data proliferation, and the rules and regulations that have followed, have turned corporate investigations into a data management minefield.  As laws in this area grow increasingly complex, investigations teams need to understand what is permitted and what is not, and need an up-to-date assessment of the legal, political and cultural context.  The technical capabilities of a digital forensics team must be augmented by sound legal strategy around data privacy and protection, particularly when approaching cross-border investigations.

https://www.lexology.com/library/document.ashx?g=ab1b4c6a-91db-4643-90c7-8b008fddf8a9

AML AND FRAUD: RECORD KEEPING, DISCLOSURE AND COMPLIANCE IN BVI

For those of you (us) that thought that there were no such laws and rules, Harneys provided on Lexology on 7th January a structured guide to the framework in the BVI.

https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=f468ea03-6562-4d45-b9c2-2f9a0b91b551

IAEA CONDUCTS TRAINING COURSE ON PROTECTING NUCLEAR FACILITIES FROM CYBER-ATTACKS

On 15th November, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported on a training course held in South Korea.  This involved a mock scenario that included adversaries taking control of a nuclear research institute’s physical protection system and implanting malware at a nuclear power plant, to compromise security and cause sabotage.  32 participants from 20 countries analysed the fictitious nuclear research institute’s and the nuclear power plant’s computer networks and acted as members of the national computer security incident response team.  They worked to identify the attack, contain the infected computer network systems, analyse the threat, remove the malware and restore normal operations.

https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/iaea-conducts-training-course-on-protecting-nuclear-facilities-from-cyber-attacks

KIM JONG UN’S PERSONAL JET MAKES FIRST APPEARANCE SINCE SINGAPORE SUMMIT

NK Pro on 17th November reported on the use of Kim’s Ilyushin IL.62 (which looks like a Soviet-built version of the old, much-loved VC.10).  ‘Chammae-1’ jet made its first public appearance since last year’s Singapore summit at a military air show held in Wonsan.

https://www.nknews.org/2019/11/kim-jong-uns-personal-jet-makes-first-appearance-since-singapore-summit/

ETHIOPIAN POLICE ARRESTS 5 BRAZILIAN NATIONALS IN CONNECTION WITH SMUGGLING OF 47 KG COCAINE

Xinhua on 17th November reported an alleged attempt to smuggle about 47.4 kg of cocaine to different countries via Ethiopia.  The drugs were seized at the country’s main international hub at the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa.  4 of the 5 Brazilians are said to be women.  3 of the suspects were en route to the Rwandan capital, Kigali, the others were heading to Johannesburg and Bangkok.

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-11/17/c_138562418.htm

INDIA: ILLEGAL CANCER DRUGS FROM BANGLADESH FLOOD LOCAL MARKET
The Times of India and others on 18th November reported that studies, confirmed by companies, suggest a thriving ‘grey’ market of fake and unapproved copies of Big Pharma’s oncology and hepatology medicines.  It also says that a study in Indian Journal of Medical Sciences says certain Bangladesh companies are blatantly targeting doctors and patients using WhatsApp, email, social media etc.
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/illegal-cancer-drugs-from-bdesh-flood-local-market/articleshow/72100024.cms

MALTA: MFSA LAUNCHES CONSULTATION ON COMPANY SERVICE PROVIDERS

On 15th November, MAMO TCV Advocates reported that the MFSA has recently issued a consultation document on Company Service Providers. The scope of the proposed enhanced requirements is to raise the standard of the sector in the light of Moneyval comments, and to raise awareness of obligations and expectations.  Responses are due by 22nd November.

The consultation document is at –

https://www.mfsa.mt/publication/consultation-document-raising-the-bar-for-company-service-providers/

https://www.mamotcv.com/resources/news/mfsa-launches-consultation-on-company-service-providers

NEPAL: DEPARTMENT OF MONEY LAUNDERING RAIDS 3 MEDICAL COLLEGES

The Himalyan on 17th November reported that the DMLI had raided Nobel Medical College, Biratnagar, National Medical College, Birgunj, and Chitwan Medical College, Chitwan.  These had allegedly been collecting extra fees from students.  It is said that a fraud case will be filed if the colleges fail to return the money taken from the students.

https://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/money-laundering-raids-on-medical-colleges/

UK: RICS REASSURES AGENTS THAT AML GUIDANCE IS COMPLIANT

On 18th November, Property Industry Eye reported that estate agents who belong to the RICS and follow its AML code have been reassured that it does not breach HMRC requirements, despite recent headlines to the contrary.

https://propertyindustryeye.com/rics-reassures-agents-that-anti-money-laundering-guidance-is-compliant/

SOUTH AFRICA: CAPE LAWYER ACQUITTED OF 51 CHARGES AS WITNESSES WERE AFRAID TO TESTIFY

IOL on 18th November reported that City lawyer Anthony Broadway, who faced 51 charges which included money laundering, racketeering and storing of abalone without a permit, was acquitted in the Western Cape High Court – after 2 key witnesses, Michael Norman and David Bannister, said that they were afraid to testify because their family members were threatened.  Broadway had earlier denounced the deal offered to the would-be witnesses, and claimed that his prosecution was “retaliatory and defensive”.

https://www.iol.co.za/capeargus/news/cape-lawyer-acquitted-of-51-charges-as-witnesses-were-afraid-to-testify-37404703

GREEK GOVERNMENT DENIES ‘BACKTRACKING’ ON MONEY LAUNDERING FIGHT

Tornos News on 17th November reported that a government spokesman had refuted claims made in a recent Financial Times article.

https://www.tornosnews.gr/en/greek-news/economy/37674-greek-government-denies-backtracking-on-money-laundering-fight.html

BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION PROTOCOL SHOULD BE REVISITED

On 15th November, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists carried an article saying that since its appearance in 1975, one criticism of the major international treaty banning biological weapons, the Biological Weapons Convention, was that it had no provisions for enforcing compliance – though, as it points out, in the middle of the Cold War it was unlikely that the Soviet Union would allow international inspectors to visit its biodefence facilities.  The article says that it is time to revisit a long-abandoned protocol that would address flaws in a treaty that some have even derided as a gentleman’s agreement.  The planned protocol was dropped in 2001.

https://thebulletin.org/2019/11/the-biological-weapons-convention-protocol-should-be-revisited

US DEPARTMENT OF STATE PROPOSES AMENDING ITAR EXPORT CONTROL DEFINITIONS, CREATING ENCRYPTION CARVE-OUT

On 18th November, Torres Law issued a news release saying that the Department of State proposes an amendment to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) provisions defining activities that are not exports, re-exports, or retransfers – including launching items into space, providing technical data to US persons within the US or within a single country abroad, and moving defence articles between US states, possessions, and territories.  Amendments will also will allow for the electronic storage and transmission of unclassified technical data through foreign communications infrastructure without requiring ITAR licensing when the technical data is sufficiently secured to prevent access by foreign persons.

https://mailchi.mp/torrestradelaw/trade-news-alert-2466457?e=2bb4b5b8de

TRACE GLOBAL ENFORCEMENT REPORT 2018

Available to download online, this report which contains a graphic and textual analyses of all known investigations and enforcement actions involving transnational commercial bribery since the passage of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The latest report is TRACE’s 9th annual compilation, provides anti-bribery enforcement data from 2018 and summarizes 42 years of anti-bribery enforcement activity.

https://info.traceinternational.org/the-2018-ger-report-form

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https://www.linkedin.com/posts/the-cyber-security-hub_what-do-your-devices-know-about-you-infographic-activity-6601575374382080000-pSGc

CORRECTION TO ENTRY ON EU IRAN SANCTIONS LIST

On 18th November, the EU notified an amendment to the entry for Mehr Bank (aka Mehr Finance and Credit Institute; Mehr Interest-Free Bank), saying the correct address should be No. 182, Shahid Tohidi St, 4th Golsetan, Pasdaran Ave, Tehran 1666943, Iran.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2019.297.01.0007.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2019:297:TOC

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/847106/Notice_Iran__nuclear__Corrigenda_181119.pdf

ITALIAN ARCHAEOLOGICAL TRAFFICKING GROUP DISMANTLED

A joint news release from Europol and Eurojust on 18th November reported that an international police operation, supported by Eurojust and Europol, has dismantled an international organised crime group involved in large-scale trafficking of Greek archaeological items looted from Calabria, Italy, resulting in 23 arrests and 103 searches and seizures, yielding approximately 10,000 archaeological goods.

http://www.eurojust.europa.eu/press/PressReleases/Pages/2019/2019-11-18.aspx

MAN ACCUSED OF £8 MILLION RENEWABLE ENERGY SWINDLE BANNED FROM RUNNING INVESTMENT SCHEMES

The Belfast Telegraph on 18th November reported that a 50-year-old man accused of a multi-million pound investment fraud is to be banned from running any new schemes.  Paul Dougan was granted bail on charges linked to a renewable energy initiative with more than 130 alleged victims – many of whom are from Northern Ireland.  He was arrested last month by detectives from the PSNI economic crime unit investigating alleged offences covering period between 2011 and 2016.

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/man-accused-of-8m-renewable-energy-swindle-banned-from-running-investment-schemes-38702028.html

VENEZUELA ADOPTS US DOLLAR AS ALTERNATIVE TO ITS OWN BOLIVAR

On 18th November, Kenneth Rijock in his blog reported that Venezuela has adopted the US dollar alongside its own national currency, warning that this causes a potential headache for compliance.

http://rijock.blogspot.com/2019/11/compliance-excedrin-headache-number-one.html

SHIPPING MUST COLLABORATE TO AVOID CARGO-RELATED FIRES

Lloyds Loading List on 18th November reported calls made by industry stakeholders to be more reactive when it comes to tackling container fires, with a revision to the IMO Cargo Transport Units code a step in the right direction.

https://www.lloydsloadinglist.com/freight-directory/news/Shipping-must-collaborate-to-avoid-cargo-related-fires-industry-told/75454.htm#.XdLNv3d2umQ

$136,000 CIVIL PENALTY FOR US COMPANY FOR EXPORTING ELECTRIC CATTLE PRODS TO VENEZUELA, MEXICO, SOUTH AFRICA, AND THE CZECH REPUBLIC WITHOUT THE REQUIRED EXPORT LICENCES

On 18th November, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that the Bureau of Industry and Security states that while the unnamed company had previously applied for and received a number of export licences for such items, including to some of the destinations and end-users at issue, it failed to do so on each required occasion and also failed to properly monitor the expiration dates of the licenses it was granted.  Electric cattle prods are controlled on the grounds they can be used for riot and crowd control.

https://www.strtrade.com/news-publications-export-violation-penalty-suspension-privilege-111819.html

10 INDIVIDUALS WHO STOLE FROM MOVING LORRIES IN FRANCE ARRESTED WITH HELP OF EUROPOL

A news release from Europol on 18th November advised that an international police operation, known as Operation Diligence, supported by Europol, led to the arrest of 10 suspects believed to be behind a number of cargo thefts from moving lorries in France.  Romania nationals stole goods amounting to over €3,5 million, stealing electronics, cosmetics, perfumes, expensive clothes and bags from delivery lorries.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/10-individuals-who-robbed-moving-lorries-in-france-arrested-help-of-europol

ICO UPDATES GUIDANCE FOR DATA CONTROLLERS ON PROTECTING ‘SPECIAL CATEGORY DATA’

On 15th November, Local Government Lawyer reported that the Information Commissioner’s Office in the UK had published updated guidance on this category of data, which concerns a person’s health, sex life or their sexual orientation, racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs or membership to a trade union.  It is said that special category data is the most sensitive personal data a controller can process.

https://www.localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk/information-law/398-information-law-news/41954-information-watchdog-updates-guidance-for-data-controllers-on-protecting-special-category-data

The new guidance is found at –

https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-data-protection/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/special-category-data/

MEXICO SEEKS DAMAGES IN ALLEGED BRIBERY CASE LONG AFTER FCPA RESOLUTION IN US

On 14th November, an article from Paul Hastings reported that, although the current Mexican administration took control less than one year ago, it is already suggesting that it intends to be more aggressive about anti-corruption enforcement than the prior administration.  This, it says, includes the implementation of Mexico’s National Anti-Corruption System, which provides for independent anti-corruption agencies and stricter anti-corruption laws.  The example cited is detailed in the article, and concerns a lawsuit filed in Mexico against Michigan-based medical technology firm Stryker Corporation – relating to matters settled in 2013, when the company had agreed to pay $13.2 million to resolve a civil FCPA action by the SEC, without admitting or denying the allegations, which were that employees of Stryker made improper payments to foreign officials in 5 countries, including Mexico.

https://www.paulhastings.com/publications-items/details/?id=0fa9366e-2334-6428-811c-ff00004cbded

VATICAN: TOP AML OFFICIAL LEAVES POST

France 24 reported on 18th November that Rene Bruelhart, a Swiss lawyer, and the Vatican’s top financial investigator charged with investigating money laundering and other such crimes has left his post after the non-renewal of his contract.  He had worked at the FIA agency since 2012.  The number 2 official at the FIA, Tommaso Di Ruzza, whom Bruelhart had strongly defended, was suspended from his functions last month along with 4 others, his office raided and his computer and documents seized by police, as part of an ongoing probe into a transaction involving the purchase of a luxury building in London financed by church donations.

https://www.france24.com/en/20191118-vatican-top-anti-money-laundering-official-leaves-post

ORGANISERS OF UNREGISTERED ICO OFFERING SETTLE SEC CHARGES

On 18th November, Cadwalader reported another case where organisers of an allegedly unregistered offering of digital asset securities have settled SEC charges of defrauding investors out of millions of dollars – without admitting liability.  Reginald Middleton (a “self-described financial guru”) and his company Veritaseum faced SEC allegations relating to their VERI tokens.  The agreed penalties include disgorgement of over $7 million, plus prejudgment interest. In addition, Mr. Middleton agreed to pay a $1,000,000 civil penalty and will be permanently banned from serving as an officer or director of a publicly-traded company.

https://www.findknowdo.com/news/11/15/2019/organizers-unregistered-ico-offering-settle-sec-charges

 

 

This blog is primarily for my own use, to keep informed and up to date. However, if you would like to say thank you (and perhaps help me get a new, better laptop when I am away…) you can “buy me a coffee” at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

CRYPTOASSETS AND SMART CONTRACTS VALID IN ENGLISH LAW

On 18th November, the Law Society Gazette reported on an authoritative legal statement published by the UK jurisdiction taskforce of the LawTech Delivery Panel.  It says that cryptoassets, including but not restricted to, virtual currencies, can be treated in principle as property, and that smart contracts are capable of satisfying the requirements of contracts in English law.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/law/cryptoassets-and-smart-contracts-valid-in-english-law/5102211.article

The statement itself can be found at –

https://technation.io/about-us/lawtech-panel/

Eversheds Sutherland comments on the guidance, having taken part in the process, and saying that perhaps the most welcome aspect of the Report is as regards the recognition that a private key can be a signature.

https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/Financial_services/ukjt-crypto-181119

This blog is primarily for my own use, to keep informed and up to date. However, if you would like to say thank you (and perhaps help me get a new, better laptop when I am away…) you can “buy me a coffee” at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

FATF: SINGAPORE AML/CFT ASSESSMENT FOLLOW-UP REPORT

On 18th November, FATF published a follow-up report to the 2016 mutual evaluation report on Singapore.  FATF has re-rated the country on a number of Recommendations and Singapore is now compliant on 20 of the 40 Recommendations and largely compliant on 17.  It will remain in enhanced follow-up on the basis that it has 3 Recommendations remaining rated PC for technical compliance, and 7 Immediate Outcomes remaining rated ME/LE (out of which one Immediate Outcome is rated LE) for effectiveness.  In accordance with the FATF Procedures, Singapore will continue to report back to the FATF on progress to strengthen its implementation of AML/CFT measures.

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/fur/Follow-Up-Report-Singapore-2019.pdf

singapore

This blog is primarily for my own use, to keep informed and up to date. However, if you would like to say thank you (and perhaps help me get a new, better laptop when I am away…) you can “buy me a coffee” at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

LONDON SHOWCASE EVENT FOR ‘GOLDEN PASSPORTS’

On 18th November, KYC 360 carried a Guardian report saying that 3 prime ministers (of St Lucia, Albania and Montenegro) appeared on the stage at an event in London.  There was also a Maltese minister, an ambassador from Antigua and Barbuda, and representatives from Cyprus.  The global citizenship conference was concerned with citizenship-by-investment programmes.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/london-ballroom-hosts-showcase-event-for-golden-passports/

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/nov/16/london-ballroom-hosts-showcase-event-for-golden-passports

This blog is primarily for my own use, to keep informed and up to date. However, if you would like to say thank you (and perhaps help me get a new, better laptop when I am away…) you can “buy me a coffee” at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – NOVEMBER 17

17 November 2019
THE MOSCOW SKYSCRAPER HOME TO AT LEAST 18 LUXURY APARTMENTS BOUGHT BY THE EXTENDED FAMILY OF SYRIAN DICTATOR BASHAR ASSAD 

An article on the Ozy website on 17 November was concerned with the City of Capitals complex, a skyscraper that was once Europe’s tallest and with tenants that include the offices for Diageo, Italian fashion group Calzedonia and top Russian banks.  Neighbouring towers house government ministries, 5-star hotels and the country’s wealthiest business people.  It also has luxury apartments bought by the extended family of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad to keep tens of millions of dollars out of Syria as the country’s civil war raged.  Property registration documents are said to show that between 2013 and June 2019, the family and its associates — many of whom are under EU or US sanctions — purchased the luxury apartments.

https://www.ozy.com/fast-forward/the-moscow-skyscraper-thats-assads-escape-from-western-sanctions/243044/

 

FATF ACTION PLAN IMPLEMENTATION: TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE OFFERED BY EU TO PAKISTAN
One India and others on 17 November reported this as FATF last month had retained Pakistan on its ‘Grey List’ till February 2020 for its failure to take adequate action against money laundering and terror financing.
https://www.oneindia.com/international/eu-offers-technical-assistance-to-pak-for-fatf-action-plan-i-2979555.html

SEVENTH IMF STATISTICAL FORUM: MEASURING THE INFORMAL ECONOMY

This meeting at IMF Headquarters on 14th and 15th November considered a number of presentations and papers, links to some of which are provided below.

IMF Working Paper – Shadow Economies Around the World: What Did We Learn Over the Last 20 Years?

An IMF Working Paper from 2018.

https://www.imf.org/~/media/Files/Publications/WP/2018/wp1817.ashx?la=en

Measuring the non-observed economy in Vietnam: A focus on informal economy

https://www.imf.org/~/media/Files/Conferences/2019/7th-statistics-forum/session-ii-roubaud.ashx?la=en

Italy: Detecting under-reporting of value added and VAT fraud in National Accounts

https://www.imf.org/~/media/Files/Conferences/2019/7th-statistics-forum/session-ii-sallusti.ashx?la=en

Measuring the Informal Economy in India

https://www.imf.org/~/media/Files/Conferences/2019/7th-statistics-forum/session-ii-murthy.ashx?la=en

Measuring the Informal Economy Business Cycles

https://www.imf.org/~/media/Files/Conferences/2019/7th-statistics-forum/session-ii-yu.ashx?la=en

Measuring the Contribution of the Informal Sector to the Philippine Economy: Current Practices and Challenges

https://www.imf.org/~/media/Files/Conferences/2019/7th-statistics-forum/session-ii-bersales.ashx?la=en

Measuring illegal economic activities and illicit financial flows: challenges and possible solutions

https://www.imf.org/~/media/Files/Conferences/2019/7th-statistics-forum/session-iv-zeiler.ashx?la=en

Toward developing estimates of US imports of illegal drugs

https://www.imf.org/~/media/Files/Conferences/2019/7th-statistics-forum/session-iv-atkinson.ashx?la=en

Misinvoicing trade & informal capital movements: the USA – India Case

https://www.imf.org/~/media/Files/Conferences/2019/7th-statistics-forum/session-iv-marjit.ashx?la=en

https://www.imf.org/en/News/Seminars/Conferences/2019/03/25/7th-statistical-forum

VICTIMS OF MODERN SLAVERY: COMPETENT AUTHORITY GUIDANCE

On 15th November, UK Visas and Immigration published updated guidance advising staff in competent authorities how to deal with victims of modern slavery, and help them decide whether a person referred under the national referral mechanism is a victim of modern slavery.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/victims-of-trafficking-guidance-for-competent-bodies

EXPANDING CANNABIS OPERATIONS IN LATIN AMERICAN & THE CARIBBEAN

On 1st June, Meritas, a global alliance of international law firms, published this guide which looks at each country, from Argentina to Uruguay, which provides brief information on the legality (or otherwise) of medicinal and personal use, legislation and proposed legislation, import/export opportunities, and cultural and investment considerations.

https://docs.meritas.org/Public_Resources/LAC_Cannabis.pdf

CMS Guide to Passporting (AIF): the Rules on Marketing Alternative Investment Funds in Europe

On 14th November, CMS Law published an article which sets out to provide a broad overview of the key elements of passporting regulations applicable to EEA AIF in the countries covered in this guide.  There may also be licence requirements and these requirements are not covered in the guide.

https://cms.law/en/gbr/publication/cms-guide-to-passporting-aif

BREXIT AND DATA PROTECTION: WHAT TO DO NEXT (WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING NEXT)

On 15th November, an article from CMS Law highlights some of the key issues for UK-based organisations, and the EEA organisations that do business with them, in these uncertain Brexit times.

https://www.cms-lawnow.com/ealerts/2019/11/brexit-and-data-protection-what-to-do-next-when-you-dont-know-whats-happening-next?_ga=2.16799161.1259134818.1573977412-1120114776.1520330292

INTRODUCTION TO THE CONFLICT IN LIBYA

On 4th November, the EU Institute for Strategic Studies produced a short briefing paper saying that, 8 years after the revolution, Libya is in the middle of a civil war.  For more than 4 years, international conflict resolution efforts have centred on the UN-sponsored Libya Political Agreement (LPA) process, unfortunately without achieving any breakthrough.  The briefing focuses on the driving factors of conflict dynamics in Libya and on the shortcomings of the LPA in addressing them.  It shows how the approach ignored key political actors and realities on the ground from the outset, thereby limiting its impact.  It concludes (unsurprisingly) that Libya is a failed state in the middle of a civil war and increasingly poses a threat to the whole region.

https://www.iss.europa.eu/sites/default/files/EUISSFiles/Brief%2012%20Libya.pdf

MAP

https://www.rferl.org/a/unauthorized-immigration-in-europe/30273769.html

US PROSECUTORS CHARGE 14 OVER COUNTERFEIT IPHONE SCAM

On 15th November, WIPR reported that US prosecutors have filed charges against 14 individuals accused of running a counterfeit iPhone and iPad scheme that allegedly cost Apple more than $6 million.  The scam involved importing more than 10,000 counterfeit tablets and smartphones from China and exchanged them at Apple stories for legitimate products.  The group then sent the authentic devices to China to sell at a significant mark-up.

https://www.worldipreview.com/news/us-prosecutors-charge-14-over-counterfeit-iphone-scam-18898

UK AUTHORITIES “MUST INVESTIGATE RUSSIAN NATIONAL LINKED TO CYBERCRIME HUB”

In a news release dated 18th November, Global Witness said that UK law enforcement is being called on to act over new evidence Global Witness has uncovered, linking a UK company owned by a Russian national to a Bitcoin exchange company that the FBI has described as a hub for cyber-crime.  It alleges that Mayzus Financial Services – owned by Sergey Mayzus and registered in the UK – was closely linked to BTC-e, a crypto-currency exchange platform whose alleged operator is currently in prison facing money laundering charges.

https://www.globalwitness.org/en-gb/press-releases/uk-authorities-must-investigate-russian-national-linked-cyber-crime-hub/

MORE THAN £1 MILLION HAS BEEN SEIZED OVER THE LAST YEAR FROM TRAVELLERS PASSING THROUGH BIRMINGHAM AIRPORT

A news release from West Midlands Police on 17 November advised that the money was seized (in relatively small amounts) under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 by the Airport Policing Unit working together with the Counter Terrorism Unit, NCA, Border Force and the Regional Organised Crime Unit.  Anyone travelling with large amounts of money are advised to have the correct supporting documentation such as bank statements to prove the authenticity of the cash.

https://www.west-midlands.police.uk/news/west-midlands-police-seizes-ps1-million-under-poca

LAWMAKERS TOLD FOREIGN SHIPS THREATENING US MARITIME SECTOR

On 15 November, American Shipper carried a report saying that the president and CEO of the Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA), asserted US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which regulates cargo shipped to the US, has “created an unlevel playing field” that favours foreign vessels and foreign ship crews that work in the US offshore oil and gas industry.  He was testifying before a congressional committee in Washington.  The comments come in the light of the Trump administration to revoke past guidance on how the Jones Act is interpreted, which could potentially further expose the US offshore industry to foreign shipping. That Act requires that commercial ships moving between 2 points in the US be owned, flagged and built in the US and crewed by American citizens.

https://www.freightwaves.com/news/lawmakers-told-foreign-ships-threatening-us-maritime-sector

PREVENTING THE PROLIFERATION AND USE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS

On 14th November, the Center for Strategic and International Studies published this briefing paper which says that “old actors” are employing new forms of chemical weapons, and new chemical weapons states are employing them in new ways.  Meanwhile crude forms of chemical weapons have fallen within the reach of non-state actorsthe willingness of some state and non-state actors to use or acquire chemical weapons appears to have increased, and the potential for state or non-state actors to field chemical weapons capabilities is growing rapidly.  The paper examines the evolving and changing nature of chemical weapons, and what should be done to ensure that the proliferation and use of chemical weapons do not re-emerge as endemic features of the global security landscape.  A striking statistic included and highlighted is that over 100 million new chemical substances have been created since the establishment of the Chemical Weapons Convention Schedules of Chemicals, growing by about 15,000 substances per day.  The paper tellingly notes that there exists a lack of knowledge and expertise on chemical weapons across allies, partners, and organisations (and this could be applied in respect of export and trade controls, the agencies overseeing them, and to shipping and trading companies).  The paper concludes with a series of recommendations, including improvements to controls through the Australia Group and arms control in general.

https://www.csis.org/analysis/rigid-structures-evolving-threat-preventing-proliferation-and-use-chemical-weapons

 

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UNDERGROUND ARMS WATCH

On 24th and 31st October, the Firearms Blog published a fascinating (if alarming) 2-part post saying that occasionally police operations across the world churn up weapons produced solely for the criminal market.  Some of these are improvised while others are semi-professionally produced in illicit workshops.  Documented in the posts are a handful of interesting examples uncovered in recent months – including a homemade gun seized in Sheffield, UK disguised as a bicycle pump, as well as crude examples and more sophisticated copies and modified weapons.

https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2019/10/24/underground-arms-watch-october-pt-1/

https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2019/10/31/underground-arms-watch-october-pt-2/

This blog is primarily for my own use, to keep informed and up to date. However, if you would like to say thank you (and perhaps help me get a new, better laptop when I am away…) you can “buy me a coffee” at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y