IMB PIRACY REPORT 2018: PIRACY INCREASES AND ATTACKS MULTIPLY IN THE GULF OF GUINEA

On 14th January, the International Chamber of Commerce reported that the latest annual piracy report from the International Maritime Bureau says that piracy increased on the world’s seas in 2018, with a marked rise in attacks against ships and crews around West Africa.  The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) recorded 201 incidents of maritime piracy and armed robbery in 2018, up from 180 in 2017.  The article concentrates on Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea, Somalia, Indonesia (where it says the position improved), Malaysia and the Philippines.

https://icc-ccs.org/index.php/1259-imb-piracy-report-2018-attacks-multiply-in-the-gulf-of-guinea

imb

CANADA: NEW REQUIREMENTS REGARDING BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP OF CORPORATIONS COME INTO FORCE IN JUNE

On 14th January, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP published an article which discusses key aspects of amendments to Canadian law which come into force on June 13th.  These amendments bring the CBCA closer into line with the FATF 2018 Recommendations on transparency and disclosure of beneficial ownership of assets, and follow the 2016 mutual evaluation report on the country’s AML/CFT systems.  From June 13th, federal “non-distributing” corporations (i.e. private, not public, companies and do not file documents with a securities commission and do not sell shares on a stock exchange) must identify individuals with “significant control” over the corporation.

https://blg.com/en/News-And-Publications/Publication_5531

GUERNSEY SUBSTANCE REQUIREMENTS UPDATE – FOUNDATIONS EXCLUDED FROM THE SCOPE OF THE REQUIREMENTS

On 14th January, Carey Olsen published an update about a clarification which now expressly excludes Guernsey foundations from the new substance requirements with effect from 1st January.  he exemption also extends to equivalent bodies created under the law of any other jurisdiction (however named).

https://www.careyolsen.com/news-and-deals/guernsey-substance-requirements-update-–-foundations

US NOT LOOKING TO GRANT FURTHER IRAN OIL SALES WAIVERS

KYC 360 on 16th January reported that the US special representative for Iran said that the US is not looking to grant more waivers for Iranian oil imports after the re-imposition of sanctions, but declined to say what the administration in Washington would do when current waivers end in May.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/sanctions-u-s-not-looking-to-grant-further-iran-oil-sales-waivers-u-s-official/

IRELAND: CONSULTATION PAPER ON AML/CFT GUIDELINES FOR THE FINANCIAL SECTOR

An article from law firm Arthur Cox on 16th January said that, on 21st December, the Irish Central bank published a consultation paper containing draft guidelines that set out the expectations of the Central Bank in respect of firms’ compliance with their AML/CFT obligations following the enactment of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Act 2018, which implements elements of the EU 4th AML Directive in Irish law.  The closing date for responses is 5th April.

https://www.centralbank.ie/docs/default-source/publications/consultation-papers/cp128/cp128—anti-money-laundering-and-countering-the-financing-of-terrorism-guidelines-for-the-financial-sector.pdf?sfvrsn=2

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 15

15th January 2019

GIBRALTAR PUBLISHES RULES IMPLEMENTING EU RULES AGAINST TAX AVOIDANCE

On 14th January, Isolas in Gibraltar published an article on regulations that transposed into Gibraltar income tax law EU Directive 2016/1164 which provides for uniform legislative implementation in the EU of some of the OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) recommendations, and applying to financial periods starting on or after 1st January.

https://www.gibraltarlawyers.com/news/gibraltar-publishes-rules-implementing-eu-rules-against-tax-avoidance-practices

REPORT TO CONGRESS ON US SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA

On 14th January, USNI News published an article about, and a link to, a report to the US Congress Congressional Research Service report.  This reviewed existing sanctions regimes, including the lesser known Countering Russian Influence in Europe and Eurasia Act of 2017, which codifies Ukraine-related and cyber-related Executive Orders, strengthens existing Russia-related sanctions authorities, and identifies several new targets for sanctions.  It also establishes Congressional review of any action the President takes to ease or lift a variety of sanctions.

https://news.usni.org/2019/01/14/report-congress-u-s-sanctions-russia

ISRAEL COMPANY ADMITS SPYING ON EMIR OF QATAR

The Middle East Monitor on 14th January reported that the CEO of Israeli spyware company NSO Group has admitted that its software was used to spy on the Emir of Qatar.  Its “Pegasus” software – which can be used to remotely infect a target’s mobile phone and then relay back data accessed by the device – was used to intercept phone calls and text messages, and was seemingly undertaken at the behest of the UAE.  The Israeli Defense Export Control Agency (DECA) licensed 3 deals with the UAE, worth around $80 million, for the sale of NSO software, despite the fact that DECA is only supposed to give authorisation for the “purpose of fighting terrorism and crime”.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20190114-israeli-company-admits-spying-on-emir-of-qatar/

IRELAND: SECRET CODES REVEALED SMUGGLERS’ €100 MILLION TURNOVER

Infosurhoy on 14th January reported that a secret coded ledger seized by CAB 2 years ago has revealed how one of Ireland’s biggest cross-border crime gangs turned over a staggering €100 million in 7 years.  CAB recently raided several premises linked to the crime gang, said not to be linked to Brexit but seen as a pre-emptive strike on the cross-border gangs that trade in everything from smuggled alcohol, cigarettes, fuel and even Viagra.  CAB suspects that the gang even purchased an entire “ghost estate” in the border region, part of a portfolio of distressed properties it believes the gang has purchased over the past 7 to 8 years.

http://infosurhoy.com/cocoon/saii/xhtml/en_GB/news/secret-codes-stashed-in-scorching-press-revealed-smugglers-e100m-turnover-eire/

SERBIA: COMPANIES TO REGISTER UBO BY 31ST JANUARY

Wold Theiss published an article on 14th January which says that Serbian companies, institutions, as well as branches and representative offices established by foreign investors in Serbia, are among the entities designated by the Serbian Law on Central Register as entities whose legal representatives have a duty to register their ultimate beneficial owners with the Central Register by no later than 31st January.  Once registered, any changes must be notified within 15 days.

https://www.wolftheiss.com/knowledge/client-alerts/detail/serbia-companies-to-register-ubos-by-31-january/#undefined

FCA INVESTIGATING ALLEGATIONS BANK STAFF MISTREATED AFTER COMPLAINTS OVER COMPLIANCE CULTURE

KYC 360 on 15th January reported that the FCA has reportedly launched an investigation into working culture at investment bank RBC Capital Markets following the dismissal of workers who were mistreated after they raised concerns about compliance issues at the bank.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/banking-rbc-staff-mistreated-over-compliance-concerns-fca-investigates/

GHANAIAN GOLD DEALER WANTED BY INTERPOL ARRESTED IN DUBAI 

The National reported on 15th January that Nana Appiah Mensah, or Nam 1, as he is known in Ghana, is the CEO of Menzgold, a gold dealership and investment company which promised customers returns of between 7% and 10% on gold bought and deposited with the company.

https://www.thenational.ae/uae/ghanaian-gold-dealer-wanted-by-interpol-arrested-in-dubai-1.813580

INDONESIA TAKES STEPS TO TRACE STOLEN ASSETS HIDDEN ABROAD

Asia Times on 15th January reported that Indonesia and Switzerland will soon ratify a Mutual Legal Assistance agreement.  Recovering stolen assets has become a top priority on Indonesia’s anti-corruption agenda.  It says that Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW) suspects the late president Suharto hid significant illicit assets in Switzerland that have not yet been identified and therefore remain untouchable.

http://www.atimes.com/indonesia-takes-steps-to-trace-stolen-assets-hidden-abroad

EU FINES GREECE MORE THAN €200 MILLION OVER CHINESE TAX FRAUD NETWORK

Ekathimerini on 15th January reported that OLAF has issued a fine of more than €200 million to Greece for failing to stop a wide-scale tax fraud by Chinese criminal gangs importing ultra-cheap goods through the country’s largest port of Piraeus, and which dodged import duties and VAT on imported footwear and clothing items.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/236612/article/ekathimerini/news/eu-fines-greece-more-than-200-mln-euros-over-chinese-tax-fraud-network

INDIA EASES DEFENCE LICENSING REQUIREMENTS

Janes.com on 15th January, reported that a revised list of defence items published by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has removed a requirement for local companies to require licences to produce a range of defence parts, components, and subsystems.  The 2019 rules outline licensing requirements for “defence aircraft”, “warships of all kinds”, allied electronic and armoured equipment, tanks and armoured vehicles, and arms and ammunition.

https://www.janes.com/article/85701/india-eases-defence-licencing-requirements

CHILD LABOUR – A PRIORITY FOR EU HUMAN RIGHTS ACTION

On 15th January, the EU Parliamentary Research Service published a briefing paper saying that the use of child labour persists in many areas of the world, particularly in developing countries; and in sub-Saharan-Africa, it has even increased in recent years.  It says that one needs to distinguish child labour – which entails harmful forms of work – from other forms of children’s involvement with work that are acceptable and have an educational component.  The EU protects children’s rights through both its internal and external policies.

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2019/633142/EPRS_BRI(2019)633142_EN.pdf

CHINA’S REVISED CRIMINAL PROCEDURE LAW EXPANDS POWERS FOR CORRUPTION TRIALS

Baker McKenzie on 15th January reported that the revised PRC Criminal Procedure Law introduces, among other things, the “default judgment” and “immediate judgment” procedures in criminal trials.  It explains that the default judgment procedure penalises defendants who have absconded overseas in respect of bribery and corruption offences as well as activities that severely endanger national security (e.g., terrorist activities); and the immediate judgment procedure expedites prosecution of defendants who plead guilty and accept penalty proposals.

https://globalcompliancenews.com/china-revised-criminal-procedure-expands-powers-corruption-trials-20190114/

MALAYSIA: POLITICAL LEADER ARRESTED, TO BE CHARGED WITH MONEY LAUNDERING

The Straits Times on 15th January reported that a leader of the Umno political party (which ruled the country prior to the 1MDB scandal) – Umno supreme council member Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim – has been arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).  He was being investigated over allegations that he had demanded kickbacks to help interested parties secure government contracts.

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/umno-leader-arrested-to-be-charged-on-wednesday-for-money-laundering

FEDEX AGREES TO PAY $35 MILLION IN NEW YORK TO SETTLE CIGARETTE-SHIPMENT LAWSUITS

The Wall Street Journal on 14th January reported that FedEx’s ground-delivery unit agreed to pay New York City and state $35 million to settle lawsuits that alleged the company knowingly transported hundreds of thousands of untaxed cigarettes. throughout New York City and state over a decade.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/fedex-agrees-to-pay-35-million-to-settle-cigarette-shipment-lawsuits-11547505556?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=2

GLENCORE GAVE LOANS TO BUSINESSES LINKED TO SUSPECT DR CONGO DEALINGS

The Wall Street Journal on 14th January reported that Swiss mining giant Glencore PLC provided nearly $1 billion in loans and advances to companies associated with an Israeli businessman accused of having corrupt ties to government officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  This, it says, highlights the financial ties between Glencore and Dan Gertler during their decade-long partnership in the DRC.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/glencore-gave-loans-to-businesses-linked-to-suspect-congo-dealings-11547470801?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=2

FCA HAS DOWNGRADED PROBE INTO CREDIT SUISSE OVER MOZAMBIQUE LOANS

Reuters on 15th January reported that the FCA has dropped a criminal probe into Credit Suisse related to an alleged fraud in Mozambique, but is still checking the bank and individuals for any breaches of conduct rules.  It had launched an investigation in 2016 into around $2 billion of loans to state-owned companies that pushed the country into a debt crisis.

https://www.reuters.com/article/mozambique-creditsuisse-regulator/uk-watchdog-says-has-downgraded-probe-into-credit-suisse-over-mozambique-loans-idUSL8N1ZF3NG

NIGERIAN CHIEF JUSTICE FACING CHARGES OF FAILING TO DECLARE ASSETS

The Jurist website on 15th January reported that Nigerian Chief Justice Walter Nkanu Onnoghen is to stand trial on charges of allegedly failing to declare assets and holding foreign bank accounts.

https://www.jurist.org/news/2019/01/nigeria-chief-justice-facing-charges-of-breaching-asset-declaration-rules/

TRACE PODCAST TRANSCRIPTS NOW AVAILABLE

On 15th January, TRACE announced that transcripts of a number of its series of “Bribe, Scandal and Steal” podcasts.  It also says that additional ones will be added on a selective basis.

https://traceinternational.org/bribe_swindle_or_steal

CRIMINAL GANG RECRUITING WOMEN INTO SHAM MARRIAGES DISMANTLED

On 15th January, a news release from Eurojust said that an organised criminal group recruiting dozens of women into sham marriages was dismantled by Belgian authorities and the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service.  17 suspects were arrested in Belgium and 3 suspects were arrested in Portugal in an international co-ordinated action.  The criminal group was involved in the facilitation of illegal immigration by organising sham marriages, predominately between Portuguese and Pakistani nationals.

http://eurojust.europa.eu/press/PressReleases/Pages/2019/2019-01-15.aspx

“SUPERSTAR” DEA AGENT SECRETLY FUELLED A LAVISH LIFESTYLE BY SKIMMING CASH FROM COLOMBIAN COCAINE TRAFFICKERS

The New York Post on 15th January reported on what it described as one of the worst scandals in the history of the DEA.  Jose Irizarry, who resigned after being recalled from his post in Colombia, was recently identified in court papers as a co-conspirator of a former DEA informant who pleaded guilty to money laundering in Florida.  The traffickers wrote off the money they lost to the scam as the cost of doing business, and Irizarry allegedly fabricated DEA seizure orders or letters from banks in order to pocket the cash.

https://nypost.com/2019/01/15/superstar-dea-agent-busted-for-making-millions-off-cocaine-traffickers

IRELAND: EXTRADITION TO UK IN MULTI-MILLION EURO VAT FRAUD CASE ‘IS OF VERY SIGNIFICANT PUBLIC INTEREST’

On 15th January, the Irish Examiner reported on an extradition hearing before the High Court in Dublin.  Daniel O’Connell, 65, was arrested in 2017 on an European Arrest Warrant.  He had been sentenced to imprisonment for non-payment of a confiscation order imposed as an integral part of a sentence for 5 offences of being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of VAT in the UK in a court case in 2000.  He has so far paid £354,407.41 of the £6 million order.  His barrister submitted there was a 17-year gap between his client’s conviction and arrest and therefore the confiscation order was invalid because of undue delay.  The hearing continues.

https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/–897793.html

INTERPOL AND AFRICAN UNION SIGN INFORMATION-SHARING AGREEMENT

On 15th January, a news release from Interpol reported that it and the African Union have signed an information-sharing agreement which provides a platform for co-operation with AFRIPOL in the fight against terrorism and organised crime.  AFRIPOL will have access to INTERPOL’s nominal, stolen motor vehicles, and stolen and lost travel documents databases.

https://www.interpol.int/News-and-media/News/2019/N2019-003

CHILE NUCLEAR WATCHDOG WEIGHS PROBE INTO FRAUD OVER LITHIUM EXPORTS – DOCUMENTS

On 15th January, Reuters reported that Chile’s nuclear watchdog CCHEN is considering an investigation into potential fraud after an audit found that the agency for decades failed to properly record exports of ultralight battery metal lithium that is used in electric cars, mobile phones and many other consumer goods.  Chile is now the world’s number 2 producer of lithium.  Reuters says that, for years, lithium was a little-known metal supplying a niche industry.  Its use in sensitive nuclear applications is now limited, but the advent of cell phones and electric vehicles powered by lithium-ion batteries has sent demand sky-rocketing.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-chile-lithium-exclusive/exclusive-chile-nuclear-watchdog-weighs-probe-into-fraud-over-lithium-exports-documents-idUSKCN1P91YG