US COMMERCE DEPARTMENT MOVES AGAINST ILLICIT TURKISH-BASED IRAN AIRCRAFT NETWORK

On 5th February, the US Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) reported that it has acted against Turkish national Gulnihal Yegane and 3 affiliated Turkish companies who are involved in illicitly procuring and supplying Iranian airlines with US-origin aircraft engines and spare parts.  The action, called a “temporary denial order” (TDO), suspends the export privileges of Gulnihal Yegane (“Yegane”), Trigron Lojistik Kargo Limited Sirketi (“Trigron”), Ufuk Avia Lojistik Limited Sirketi (“Ufuk Avia”), and RA Havacilik Lojistik Ve Tasimacilik Ticaret Limited Sirketi (“RA Havacilik”).  Gulnihal Yegane was previously added to the BIS Entity List for smuggling parts to Iran’s Mahan Air.

Temporary Denial Orders are issued by the Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement of the Bureau of Industry and Security, denying the export privileges of a company or individual to prevent an imminent or on-going export control violation.  These orders are issued for a renewable 180-day period and cut off not only the right to export from the US, but also the right to receive or participate in exports from the US.

https://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/forms-documents?task=doc_download&gid=2190

US PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SANCTIONS – AND HOW SECONDARY SANCTIONS WORK

The Atlantic Council has published on 6th February an edition of its EconoGraphic blog which explains the difference between primary and secondary sanctions, outlines how secondary sanctions work, and uses a case study to demonstrate how the US employs secondary sanctions in the real economy.

Primary sanctions, such as asset freezes and trade embargoes, prohibit citizens and companies of the sanctioning country from engaging in certain activities with their counterparts from the sanctioned country.  Secondary sanctions put pressure on third parties to stop their activities with the sanctioned country by threatening to cut-off the third party’s access to the sanctioning country.  Recent US sanctions against Iran illustrate this example well, it says.

The blog emphasises that it is important to note that secondary and primary sanctions technically function in the same way, in that they are enforced by targeting domestic entities rather than the third party.

The blog uses the application of sanctions against the Chinese Bank of Dandong as a case study.

http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/econographics/ole-moehr-3?src=ilaw

A further, more detailed briefing on secondary sanctions is to be published by the Atlantic Council in due course.

secondary-sanct_27777552_1

ILLICIT FINANCIAL FLOWS (IFF) – INDICATORS OF TRADE-BASED MONEY LAUNDERING AND OTHER ILLEGAL ACTIVITY

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Financing for Development (IATF) is a UN initiative, see –

https://developmentfinance.un.org/illicit-financial-flows

It says that there is currently no single tool or process capable of effectively measuring or estimating IFF.  Indeed, measuring and tracking illicit flows is extremely challenging, since there is as of yet no firm agreement on the conceptual framework of an illicit financial flow.  The lack of a definition makes it hard for such flows to be transparently or systematically recorded in a co-ordinated fashion.  IFF also, of course, may be indicators of, trade-based money laundering, and so the information provided by the IATF is always of interest from that perspective.

IIIA_fig4_IATF_2017

The following tables therefore have a money laundering interest as well as being relevant to the larger IFF debate.

IFF 2

IFF 1

THE GREAT BRITISH MONEY LAUNDERING SERVICE

Following up last year’s “Russian Laundromat” story has led to a BBC investigation that links the Eurovision Song Contest, Ukrainian cash and what it describes as “The Great British Money laundering Service”.  A File on 4 radio programme was broadcast on 4th February.  In the programme, Tim Whewell investigates the scams designed to circumvent new regulations and untangles the global networks behind the Great British Money Laundering Service.  It says that new transparency rules designed to reveal the true owners of British companies are being flouted, and billions of pounds of dirty money is alleged to have passed through opaque UK companies in recent years. How, it asks, does this square with UK’s international reputation for financial probity?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09qd714

THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – FEBRUARY 6

6th February 2018

CALIFORNIA ENGINEER SOLD SATELLITE SECRETS TO “FOREIGN AGENT”

On 5th February a FBI news release tells the story of a California man, Gregory Allen Justice — who had worked for a cleared government contractor in California — and was arrested in a hotel room for selling sensitive satellite information to someone he believed was a Russian agent.  Justice had been employed with the government contractor — under its satellite systems programme — since 2000, and assigned to a team working to build and test US military satellites, including projects for the USAF, USN and NASA that involved satellites with communication, navigational, and observational technology. The trade secrets and other technical data he had access to as part of his job related to areas such as satellite operations testing, firmware installed on satellites, and anti-jamming technology.  He pleaded guilty in May 2017 to attempting to commit economic espionage, attempting to violate the Arms Export Control Act, and violating the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and in September he was sentenced to five years in federal prison.

https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/insider-sentenced-for-economic-espionage

PAKISTAN: MONITORING OF EXPORT CONTROL, FORMATION OF LICENCE REVIEW COMMITTEE APPROVED

The Pakistan Observer reports that the federal cabinet has approved the constitution of Licence Review Committee (LRC) aimed at strict monitoring of export control on goods, technologies, material and equipment and biological weapons and their delivery system.  It was described as being for timely review of licence applications and related matters and that the committee would comprise ex-officio members from relevant Ministries and Departments, and draft notification of the committee had been vetted by the Law and Justice Division.

https://pakobserver.net/monitoring-export-control-formation-lrc-approved/

ISRAEL’S MINISTRY OF PUBLIC SECURITY IS DELAYING EXPORT LICENSING OF CANNABIS

C Tech on 5th February reports that more than 6 months after an Israeli parliamentary committee recommended to approve the export of medical cannabis from the country, the bid has yet to become law. Concerned by possible leakage of medical cannabis to recreational users, Israel’s Ministry of Public Security is blocking the progress of the country’s cannabis export reform.   Export regulations are part of a wider planned cannabis reform announced by the Israeli government in 2016, aiming to legalise and monitor medical cannabis products in the country.  As part of the reform, general physicians will be able to prescribe medical cannabis that will be sold in licensed pharmacies throughout the country.

https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3731189,00.html

NIGERIA AT RISK OF EXPULSION FROM EGMONT

The Leadership in Nigeria reports that Egmont group, a global network of 152 FIU is set to expel Nigeria from the global intelligence club by March 2018, reports say.  The point in dispute is the argument that Nigeria should separate its FIU from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Egmont said that there is high level of interference and meddling by the anti-corruption agency.
https://leadership.ng/2018/02/06/nigeria-risks-ban-intl-financial-transactions-egmont-threat/

https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/257607-fears-heighten-egmont-group-plans-expel-nigeria.html

BANK OF BARODA DRAGGED INTO SOUTH AFRICA’S POLITICAL CRISIS

The Hindustan Times of India on 6th February reports that a  scandal involving the bank’s South Africa operations, a cabal of businessmen of Indian origin (i.e. the Guptas), and South African President Jacob Zuma, have undermined the reputation of India’s second largest bank and resulted in an unprecedented penalty by the South African Reserve Bank.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/business-news/how-a-series-of-mistakes-by-bank-of-baroda-dragged-it-into-south-africa-s-political-crisis-ht-investigation/story-KZ8JRozaG0ToWrxbO0tbKN.html

MOLDOVAN APPLE FARMERS INVOLVED IN TAX EVASION AND MONEY LAUNDERING

Crime Moldova reports that 5 leaders of a criminal group have been detained for money laundering and tax evasion.  The scheme involved several farmers who, to avoid paying taxes, contacted the criminal group to falsify accounting records in the marketing of apples or other agricultural products.

https://en.crimemoldova.com/news/crime/farmers-involved-in-tax-evasion-and-money-laundering-/

AUSTRALIAN RACING REGULATOR ORDERS SHUTDOWN OF BITCOIN BETTING PLATFORMS

Casino.org on 5th February reported that the Northern Territory Racing Commission (NTRC) has told all bookmakers licensed by the state to “cease and desist” from offering bitcoin betting in Australia.

https://www.casino.org/news/gambling-regulator-orders-australias-first-bitcoin-betting-platform-shut-day-one

DISCLOSURE IN ENGLISH LITIGATION: A SEA CHANGE IS COMING

On 9th January Lewis Silkin published a briefing which begins by saying that the rules on disclosure (‘discovery’ in many jurisdictions) in civil cases under English law are set for a major overhaul.  Draft rules were published in November 2017.  Once approved by the Civil Procedure Rules Committee, the resulting draft is intended to be introduced as part of a pilot scheme lasting 2 years, potentially beginning in April 2018 and running in the Business and Property Courts.  This will cover virtually all High Court litigation.  It will not be optional.  Under the revised rules, an express duty of co-operation will be imposed on the parties and their lawyers and disclosure will be divided into 2 stages – basic and extended, and parties are expected to co-operate on potential extended disclosure.  When serving a statement of case, a party will be required to indicate whether or not it is likely to seek “extended disclosure” on one or more issues.

www.lewissilkin.com/Insights/Disclosure-in-English-litigation-a-sea-change-is-coming

AUSTRALIA PRAISED FOR ENFORCEMENT OF FOREIGN BRIBERY OFFENCES

On 5th February King & Wood Malleson published an article saying that a recent evaluation of Australia’s detection and enforcement of foreign bribery offences has praised recent regulatory developments but highlighted areas for further improvement.  A “Phase 4” evaluation was undertaken in 2017 by an OECD Working Group which reviews implementation of the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials.  The Convention establishes legally binding standards to criminalise bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions.  The report was published in December.

http://www.kwm.com/en/au/knowledge/insights/australia-praised-enforcement-foreign-bribery-offences-20180205

ANTI-CORRUPTION AND BRIBERY PENALTIES IN NORWAY

On 10th January, law firm Alvheim & Hansen published an article providing a summary of the situation in Norway.

https://www.lexology.com/navigator#!results/577/view

HOUSE OF LORDS REJECTS PUBLIC BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP REGISTERS FOR BRITISH OVERSEAS TERRITORIES

On 2nd February, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dole published an article saying that on 17th January, the House of Lords voted against an amendment to the proposed Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill that sought to create a publicly accessible register of the beneficial ownership of companies registered in 6 British Overseas Territories – Anguilla, Bermuda, BVI, Cayman Islands, Montserrat and Turks and Caicos Islands – by 1st January 2020.  The article considers whether the vote represents a faltering step in the UK’s commitment to combating the use of anonymous offshore shell companies in facilitating international corruption and money laundering.

https://www.wilmerhale.com/blog/wireuk/post/?id=17179886891

FAA PROPOSES RECORD $1.1 MILLION FINE FOR SHIPMENT OF LITHIUM BATTERIES

On 2nd January, a blog post from Jenner & Block LLP reports that the US Federal Aviation Administration recently levied a $1.1 million civil penalty for alleged violations of Department of Transport shipping regulations.  According to the FAA, on June 1st 2016, a Florida-based battery distribution company despatched 4 shipments of 24-volt lithium batteries but one of the batteries is alleged to have caught fire while being transported on a FedEx truck after having been shipped on an aircraft, destroying the truck.  The article remarks that the transportation of lithium batteries in aircraft is the subject of ongoing evaluation and scrutiny by the FAA.

http://environblog.jenner.com/corporate_environmental_l/2018/02/faa-proposes-record-11m-fine-for-shipment-of-lithium-batteries.html#page=1

ISLE OF MAN UPDATES LIBYAN AND SOUTH SUDAN SANCTIONS LISTS

On 6th February, the Isle of Man published 2 news releases advising of updates to its sanctions programmes – the updating of details of the Lynn S for the purposes of Libyan sanctions; and the listing of 3 names for the purposes of the South Sudan sanctions regime.

https://www.gov.im/news/2018/feb/06/financial-sanctions-libya/

https://www.gov.im/news/2018/feb/06/financial-sanctions-south-sudan/

MONEY LAUNDERING SUPERVISION: FEES

On 6th February, HMRC published a news release dealing with fees you need to pay when you register for AML supervision, and how to pay them.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/money-laundering-regulations-registration-fees

EU PROMISES TO RESPECT WESTERN SAHARA TRADE RULING

On 6th February, the EU Observer reported that the EU will respect an ECJ ruling about trade with the disputed area of Western Sahara – a disputed territory annexed by Morocco in the late 1970s. A shaky ceasefire between the Polisario independence movement and Morocco was signed in 1991.  The ECJ ruled in December 2016 that any trade pacts between the EU and Morocco are not applicable to Western Sahara.

https://euobserver.com/foreign/140852

EU FLAGS FRAUD AND CORRUPTION IN REFUGEE SETTLEMENTS IN UGANDA

On 6th February, EurActiv reports that a delegation had identified allegations of malfeasance and corruption in managing refugee assistance programmes in Uganda, and had alerted the country’s government, and had identified the “troubling allegations” together with its partner agencies and had formally submitted the case to the EU’s anti-fraud office OLAF.  The article says that Ugandan authorities also said they were investigating allegations of widespread fraud in its refugee aid programme, as the UN also raised concerns over human trafficking in Ugandan camps.  The article also reports that specific allegations are that South Sudanese girls and women are being trafficked from the refugee camps of northern Uganda back across the border, where they are sold as “wives” to combatants with the possible knowledge or complicity of Ugandan officials, the diplomat said.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/european-external-action-service/news/eu-flags-fraud-and-corruption-in-refugee-settlements-in-uganda/

LEADING IVORY TRADE INVESTIGATOR FOUND DEAD IN NAIROBI

Defence Web on 6th February reported that a prominent US investigator of the illegal ivory and rhino horn trade was found dead in his Nairobi home with a stab wound in his neck.  Esmond Bradley-Martin, 75, spent decades tracking the movement of animal products, mostly from Africa to markets in Asia.

http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=50625:leading-ivory-trade-investigator-found-dead-in-nairobi&catid=87:border-security&Itemid=188

RENEGADE DR CONGO COLONEL EXTRADITED TO FACE TRIAL

Defence Web on 6th February reported that a renegade Congolese colonel who threatened to depose President Joseph Kabila was extradited from Tanzania and will be prosecuted for rebellion.  John Tshibangu was based in the east of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  He was detained by authorities in Tanzania towards the end of last month.

http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=50626:renegade-dr-congo-colonel-extradited-to-face-trial&catid=56:diplomacy-a-peace&Itemid=111

SELECT COMMITTEE CLEARS EU DIRECTIVE ON FIFTH MONEY LAUNDERING DIRECTIVE

The House of Commons European Select Committee has cleared from scrutiny a proposal for a Directive amending Directive (EU) 2015/849 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing and amending Directive 2009/101/EC.  This would makes substantial changes to the scope and operation of anti-money laundering rules in the UK.  The Committee’s report details the contents of the proposed Directive and the likely effects on UK legislation and processes.

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmeuleg/301-xii/30118.htm#_idTextAnchor027

US AND ARGENTINA AGREE TO WORK TOGETHER TO TACKLE HEZBOLLAH FUNDING

On 6th February, JTA reported that the US Secretary of State (on a tour of Latin America) and his Argentine counterpart have agreed to work together to cut off Hezbollah funding networks and money laundering to finance terrorism across Latin America, a measure said to be well received by Jewish groups in Argentina.  It notes that a report on Iranian activities in the region was presented to local leaders in 2013.

https://www.jta.org/2018/02/06/news-opinion/world/u-s-argentina-agree-to-work-together-to-combat-hezbollah?src=ilaw

TESCO FRAUD TRIAL ABANDONED PENDING POSSIBLE RE-TRIAL

On 6th February the BBC reported that the trial of 3 former Tesco executives charged with fraud and false accounting has been abandoned.  Chris Bush, Tesco’s former UK boss, John Scouler, Tesco’s former commercial food director and Carl Rogberg, its former UK finance boss have been on trial for more than 4 months.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-42943382?src=ilaw

IS THE ART MARKET A PLAYGROUND FOR MONEY LAUNDERERS?

In the UK, the AAT (accounting technician’s body) has published an article on risks presented by the art market, though it says that FATF says it is impossible to produce a definitive estimate of the amount of money globally laundered every year, because the illegal nature of transactions involved means precise statistics are unavailable.  The article comprises a 30-minute podcast.

https://www.aatcomment.org.uk/is-the-art-market-a-playground-for-money-launderers/?src=ilaw

GREEK OFFICIALS HIT BACK AT NOVARTIS BRIBERY ALLEGATIONS

On 6th February the Greek Reporter reported that 2 former Greek prime ministers, former ministers and bankers have responded to the inclusion of their names in the Novartis bribery case tabled in parliament.  The Swiss pharmaceuticals company is being investigated by Greek authorities over allegations of bribery towards public officials in the 2006-2015 period.

http://greece.greekreporter.com/2018/02/06/greek-officials-hit-back-at-novartis-bribery-allegations/?src=ilaw

http://www.balkaneu.com/the-novartis-case-file-the-government-nd-and-the-investigation/?src=ilaw

DAGESTAN GOVERNMENT IN RUSSIA DISSOLVED AMID MAJOR CORRUPTION INVESTIGATION

Russian news service, RT, reported on 6th February that the acting head of the southern Russian republic of Dagestan has ordered the dismissal of the whole regional cabinet, after its former chairman and his deputies were held on charges of embezzling millions of roubles of state funds.  The changes are said to have come after the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) detained the former acting head of the Dagestani government, Abdusamad Gamidov, 2 of his former deputies – Shamil Isayev and Rajuddin Yusufov – and the former Dagestani education minister.

https://www.rt.com/politics/417983-dagestan-government-dissolved-as-former/?src=ilaw

RAIDS TAKE PLACE IN UK AS OPERATION LAUNCHED TO TACKLE PEOPLE SMUGGLING NETWORK

The Belfast Telegraph on 6th February reported that some 350 officers took part in raids in the Northumbria, Cleveland, Sussex and Metropolitan Police force areas.  It says that they targeted around 20 addresses and visited car washes to monitor activity following a year-long investigation with links to the French, Belgian and Dutch authorities, and the operation included officers from Immigration Enforcement, HMRC and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority were carrying out spot inspections of the car washes.  The authorities’ car wash inquiries were aimed at disrupting the gang’s money laundering operation.

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/raids-take-place-as-operation-launched-to-tackle-people-smuggling-network-36572753.html?src=ilaw

http://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/1285-nca-strike-against-suspected-people-smugglers

CHINA SAYS TO BAN EXPORT OF MORE DUAL-USE GOODS TO NORTH KOREA

Customs Today on 6th February reported that China has released a further list of goods banned for export to North Korea, saying the items could be used to build WMD.   It comments that China has released several such lists in recent years as North Korea steps up its nuclear and missile tests.  The latest list names dozens of banned items including air scrubbers for underwater use, equipment to simulate flying conditions for non-civilian aircraft and gas masks not for use by firefighters.

http://www.customstoday.com.pk/china-says-to-ban-export-of-more-dual-use-goods-to-north-korea/

JUDGE OVERTURNS NOT-GUILTY SENTENCE FOR 2 MALTA FOOTBALLERS ACCUSED OF MATCH FIXING

Malta Today reported that on the acquittal on match fixing charges of 2 former Under 21 Maltese national football team players has been overturned on appeal. The pair were given a life ban issued by UEFA’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Board, had originally been cleared of association for the purpose of committing a crime and of bribery of players by a court in Malta.

http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/sports/football/84294/judge_overturns_notguilty_sentence_for_two_malta_footballers_accused_of_match_fixing?src=ilaw

EXPLOSIVE GROWTH IN ONLINE SHOPPING FRAUD, HUNDREDS OF CASES INVESTIGATED IN NETHERLANDS

On 6th February, Dutch News reported that police took action against suspect online retailers 438 times last year, compared with just 35 times in 2016.  It says that in some cases, conmen had made replicas of the websites used by reputable shops in an effort to steal cash, the paper said. In others, they bought up existing domain names which they then use to set up in business for a short period.  In total, police received over 38,300 reports of online shopping fraud last year although in 5,500 cases the complaint was withdrawn after the ordered goods arrived late.  The average loss reported was about €200.

http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2018/02/explosive-growth-in-online-shopping-fraud-hundreds-of-cases-investigated/?src=ilaw

STATE OF EMERGENCY DECLARED IN MALDIVES AS OPPOSITION LEADER AND JUDGES ARRESTED

On 6th February the Irish Independent reported charges against opposition leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom included bribery and attempting to overthrow the government.  He was president from 1978 to 2008, when Maldives became a multi-party democracy, and is the half-brother of the current president, under whose rule the archipelago is said to have lost many of its democratic gains.

https://www.independent.ie/world-news/asia-pacific/state-of-emergency-declared-in-maldives-as-opposition-leader-and-judges-arrested-36572307.html?src=ilaw

US TRUSTED TRADER PROGRAM (TTP) COULD BE OPERATIONAL THIS YEAR

Sandler Travis Rosenberg on 6th February reported that US Customs and Border Protection is continuing to evaluate key aspects of its TTP pilot launched in 2014 as it prepares to make the programme operational later this year.  TTP would update and replace the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) initiative launched in 2001 to ensure the security and safety of imported goods, into a broader AEO-type programme, such as that operated by the EU and several countries worldwide. It would unify the Importer Self-Assessment (ISA) system, which focuses on traditional customs compliance with C-TPAT controls.  It would create an opportunity to enhance existing and future mutual recognition arrangements with foreign trading partners, who have or acquire similar AEO arrangements.

https://www.strtrade.com/news-publications-trusted-tader-CTPAT-importer-self-assessment-CBP-020618.html

SINGAPORE SAYS NO STRONG CASE TO BAN CRYPTOCURRENCY TRADING

Customs Today on 6th February reported that Singapore’s central bank has been studying the potential risks posed by cryptocurrencies, but has resolved that there is as yet no strong case to ban trading of the digital coins in the city-state.

http://www.customstoday.com.pk/singapore-says-no-strong-case-to-ban-cryptocurrency-trading/

US BAN ON ARMS EXPORTS TO SOUTH SUDAN

On 6th February, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that w.e.f. 2nd February the US State Department has adopted a policy of denial of export licences or other approvals for defence articles and defence services subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations and destined for South Sudan – subject to limited exceptions.

https://www.strtrade.com/news-publications-arms-exports-South-Sudan-defense-articles-services-020618.html

INTERPOL AND UN CHIEFS ADDRESS GLOBAL SECURITY ISSUES

On 5TH February, a news release from Interpol said that, with an increased risk of foreign fighters returning home or joining other conflicts following the liberation of Da’esh-held territories transforming the global threat landscape, international security was high on the agenda during discussions between the heads of the UN and INTERPOL.  They addressed areas of common concern where the 2 organisations can further streamline and strengthen their co-operation for the benefit of their member countries.  Areas for enhanced collaboration have been identified in a number of UN Resolutions, including protecting critical infrastructure, preventing foreign terrorist fighter travel as well as combating all forms of transnational crime such as maritime piracy, human trafficking and drug smuggling.  In addition, it is noted that there are currently nearly 600 valid INTERPOL-UN Special Notices for entities and individuals who are the targets of UN Security Council Sanctions Committees.

https://www.interpol.int/News-and-media/News/2018/N2018-001

NATIONAL COURTS MAY, IN CASES OF FRAUD, DISREGARD SOCIAL SECURITY CERTIFICATES ISSUED TO WORKERS POSTED WITHIN THE EU

A CJEU news release on 6th February reports that, during the course of an investigation into the employment of staff of a Belgian company active in the construction sector, the Belgian Social Security Inspectorate found that the company employed practically no staff and subcontracted the work at all its sites to Bulgarian undertakings which posted workers to Belgium. These had E 101 or A 1 certificates issued by the competent Bulgarian institution confirming that they were registered with the Bulgarian social security system.  However, these were apparently counterfeit or wrongly issued and the Belgian authorities contacted the Bulgarian ones which provided a summary of the certificates issued, but did not take into account the facts established by the Belgian authorities.  The case proceeded in the Belgian courts, and the European court has now ruled that, whilst mutual co-operation arrangements between Member States must be followed (at least at first and within accepted time limits) if the institution which issued the certificate fails to carry out a review within a reasonable period of time, it must be possible for the evidence of fraud to be relied on in judicial proceedings, in order to satisfy the court of the host Member State that the certificates should be disregarded.  In the case in question (Case C-359/16 Ömer Altun and Others), the Belgian court was right to disregard the Bulgarian certificates.

https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2018-02/cp180010en.pdf

IRELAND LOOKS TO STRENGTHEN DATA PROTECTION REGIME TO SUPPLEMENT THE GDPR

Out-Law reports on 6th February that new data protection offences are to be introduced in Ireland under broader plans to update the way in which personal data is protected in the country.

https://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2018/february/ireland-looks-to-strengthen-data-protection-regime-to-supplement-the-gdpr/

WHAT IS THE MAFIA?

On 6th February, on the back of reports of more arrests in Italy, the BBC provides an interesting feature asking who or what is the mafia?  The Cosa Nostra, originating in Sicily, which dates back to the 19th Century.  The Camorra from Naples – the subject of the bestselling book, GomorrahThe ‘Ndrangheta from Calabria, the name derived from the Greek “andragathia”, meaning courage or loyalty.  The Sacra Corona Unita, the smallest of the groups, from Puglia but believed to have important links to Eastern European crime gangs.

http://world.einnews.com/article/429186190/xPeEyp8Z3egy-bRY?lcf=34uUlhgLzqoheLgaZNl6pnTB3rGPmU1-FRaFRPDhp-4%3D

INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT JUDGES CONSIDER WHETHER TO LAUNCH AFGHANISTAN WAR CRIMES INQUIRY

The BBC on 2nd February reported that judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) are deciding whether to authorise an official war crimes inquiry into events in Afghanistan.  It says that they are due to begin examining written submissions from victims in Afghanistan about whom and what any potential investigation should focus on.  In 2017, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said there was a “reasonable basis to believe” war crimes had been committed. The article says that possible perpetrators included the Taliban, CIA and Afghan forces.

http://world.einnews.com/article/430339229/zkYSEexqPqdW9qof?lcf=ZX9dkeSQfK-5FADPuwjBkQ%3D%3D

MARITIME RISKS IN 2017: A REVIEW

On 6th February, Control Risks published its review of maritime risk stories from 2017 and relevant statistics. It summarises that it sees global maritime security incidents continue to decline, but new threats are emerging.   Amongst the headlines are –

  • 5% decrease in global maritime security incidents
  • 25% of piracy incidents took place in the Gulf of Guinea
  • 83% decrease in kidnap incidents in South-East Asia
  • Spike in Somali piracy and a new threat off Yemen
  • 2-fold increase in incidents off Venezuela

https://www.controlrisks.com/our-thinking/insights/reports/maritime-risk-2017-in-review

UK: OFFSHORE TAX ABUSE CRACKDOWN BRINGS IN ONLY A THIRD OF EXPECTED £1 BILLION

The Risk & Compliance Hub on 5th February repeated a Guardian report claiming that a crackdown on offshore tax cheats has only recovered about a third of the £1 billion that the government had predicted, according to estimates.  Figures from HMRC suggest that a series of measures to tackle offshore tax evasion will only bring in £349 million a year – £650 million a year less than had been hoped for.

http://www.riskandcompliancehub.com/uk-offshore-tax-abuse-crackdown-brings-in-only-a-third-of-expected-1bn/

MOBILISATION TO VIOLENCE (TERRORISM) RESEARCH – KEY FINDINGS

On 6th February, Andrea Berger on her Twitter account pointed one to Canada’s intelligence agency having released some key findings from their study of 100 individuals who radicalised to violence.  Just to cheer one up, one of the report’s conclusions is that: “Terrorists rarely lack imagination in coming up with new ideas for achieving their ends, which means that indicators that are important today may not be important tomorrow”, and “There is no simple, definitive response to issues related to radicalization to violence and mobilization to terrorism”.

https://csis.gc.ca/pblctns/thrpblctns/2018-02-05-en.php

WHY DO ENTITIES GET INVOLVED IN PROLIFERATION? EXPLORING THE CRIMINOLOGY OF ILLICIT WMD-RELATED TRADE

On 1st February, this paper was published which seeks to provide an original approach to WMD-related illicit trade by drawing on criminology and focusing on the transactional level.  Specifically, the article discusses the “rational-choice” model as a way to understand an entity’s involvement in illicit trade, and considers also the limitations of this approach, as well as the role that opportunity plays in an actor’s decision to engage in illicit trade.  Worryingly (but not unexpectedly – see Dr Brewer’s recent piece on proliferation financing that makes the same point), the article draws the conclusion that the prospects of deterring illicit trade using export controls and related criminal sanctions are limited; and that the prospects of deterring illicit WMD trade are limited by the low levels of certainty in export-control enforcement (i.e. it won’t get checked and/or you won’t get caught).  Another conclusion is that non-proliferation successes are more likely to be found in further efforts to develop tools to address proliferation opportunities.  If you have $157 to spare (or $42.50 for 24 hours’ access), well worth getting, I think.

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10736700.2018.1423718

See also his article in July 2017 for Defence in Depth –

WHAT DRIVES THE MIDDLEMEN? EXPLORING INVOLVEMENT IN WMD-RELATED ILLICIT TRADE

https://defenceindepth.co/2017/07/10/what-drives-the-middlemen-exploring-involvement-in-wmd-related-illicit-trade/

THE FUTURE OF SYRIA FROM AN ISRAELI PERSPECTIVE

INSS at Tel Aviv University has produced an article which says that during the civil war in Syria, the functioning of the country’s state system was fundamentally undermined, and essential questions have been raised regarding the shaping of a future state order in its territory and the implications of the trends evolving in this arena for Israeli national security.  It warns that, though “Syria” under Assad has, or appears to have, survived the internal Syrian system is likely to be left with “hybrid” features, since years of war and the crystallization of different competing forces in this divided country will make it difficult for the central government to achieve broad legitimacy and institutionalize effective governance throughout all its territory; and it is to be expected that different forces in Syria — some in sectarian and ethnic enclaves (Alawite – Assad’s clan, Sunni, Kurdish), and others in chaotic regions with an active Jihadist presence — will continue to take form and operate.  One important factor is the accelerated establishment of Shiite militias and Iranian dominance on the ground.  It also warns that Israel will, from time to time, need to use military force to prevent the transfer of weapons to Hezbollah and the military solidification of Iran and its proxies in the Syrian-Lebanese region.

www.inss.org.il/publication/syria-state-hybrid-system-implications-israel/?offset=1&posts=99

US INTERNATIONAL BANKING TRADE BODY SUPPORTS REVISION OF AML LAWS

BAFT is the US association for organiSations actively engaged in international transaction banking.  On 31st January it announced that it signed a joint trades letter that supports the Counter Terrorism and Illicit Finance Act (AML/CFT reform) proposed by US Representatives Pearce and Luetkemeyer.  The Bill seeks to address the issue of beneficial ownership, and reduce the reporting inefficiencies under FinCEN rules.

https://baft.org/docs/default-source/default-document-library/2018-aml-cft-reform-bill-joint-letter-of-support-final.pdf?sfvrsn=2

CHINA’S NEW SINGLE WINDOW PLATFORM

On 5th January, Ince & Co produced a briefing on China’s New Single Window Platform.  One of a number of major announcements of changes to Chinese customs procedures, is the national roll out of a “standard” Single Window system.  This article looks at the changes this brings to the old system and the implications for traders.

www.incelaw.com/en/knowledge-bank/chinas-new-single-window-platform?event=reloadPublications&currentPagePiD=58ef56d8c6fe1b0e9cddff00&assetType=PUBLICATION&orderBy=datedesc&take=8&skip=0&ajaxbranchid=58ef614fc6fe1b266450fe10

POTTERS BAR, UKRAINE’S STOLEN BILLIONS AND THE EUROVISION CONECTION

KYC 360 on 6th February reported that a UK company helped the circle of Ukraine’s disgraced ex-president profit from last year’s Eurovision Song Contest, according to a BBC investigation. A Kiev exhibition centre paid to host some Eurovision events is owned through a Hertfordshire-registered company.  At least £1.2 billion is said to have been funnelled through companies registered at the same Potters Bar address.

https://kyc360.com/news/potters-bar-ukraines-stolen-billions-eurovision-connection/

INDIA TO BAR CRYPTOCURRENCIES FROM PAYMENTS SYSTEM

KYC360 reported on 6th February that India is planning steps to ensure cryptocurrencies are illegal within its payments system, while at the same time appointing a regulator to oversee unregulated exchanges that trade in “crypto assets,” a finance ministry official is quoted as saying.

https://kyc360.com/news/india-bar-cryptocurrencies-payments-system-government-official/

US AND RUSSIA CLASH AT UN OVER SYRIAN CHEMICAL WEAPONS USE

Rferl on 6th February reported that Russia and the US have clashed at the UN Security Council over allegations the Syrian government has again used chemical weapons in rebel-held areas of the country.  The exchange mirrored similar accusations and denials between the two sides in November when Russia vetoed a proposal to temporarily keep alive a UN investigation into who is responsible for chemical weapons attacks in Syria after blocking a one-year extension of the inquiry.

https://www.rferl.org/a/usa-russia-un-syria-chemicals/29021508.html

CPTPP TRADE DEAL SIGNED

On 2nd February, Clayton Lutz reports that on 23rd January, senior government officials from 11 countries – Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam – reached agreement on the final Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in Tokyo. The deal has been tweaked to take into account Canadian concerns that prevented it signing in November.  From an Australian perspective, even with the absence of the US, the articles says that this is a landmark moment for enhancing economic growth for Australia, as the CPTPP will vastly improve market access for Australian businesses to a regional free trade area representing 13.5% of the global economy.

http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=669942&email_access=on&chk=1630766&q=960824

THE POSSIBILITY OF HAVING DIFFERENT NAMES FOR THE SAME SHIP IN A BAREBOAT-OUT REGISTRATION

Law firm Ganado on 1st February published an article on a useful feature of Maltese shipping law that is often overlooked by operators of Maltese ships.  Bareboat charter registration (dual registration) has been a common feature of the shipping industry as it has developed in the last 10 years or so.  Dual registration takes place for various commercial and operational reasons.  It comments that owners, operators, charterers and managers have various options when considering trading a vessel under dual registration; with one such option relates to naming their ship. (as I know from experience, those with no contact with the maritime industry get worried or confused over such arrangements).

http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=669664&email_access=on&chk=1630488&q=960824

WHY DO ENTITIES GET INVOLVED IN PROLIFERATION? EXPLORING THE CRIMINOLOGY OF ILLICIT WMD-RELATED TRADE

On 1st February, this paper was published which seeks to provide an original approach to WMD-related illicit trade by drawing on criminology and focusing on the transactional level.  Specifically, the article discusses the “rational-choice” model as a way to understand an entity’s involvement in illicit trade, and considers also the limitations of this approach, as well as the role that opportunity plays in an actor’s decision to engage in illicit trade.  Worryingly (but not unexpectedly – see Dr Brewer’s recent piece on proliferation financing that makes the same point), the article draws the conclusion that the prospects of deterring illicit trade using export controls and related criminal sanctions are limited; and that the prospects of deterring illicit WMD trade are limited by the low levels of certainty in export-control enforcement (i.e. it won’t get checked and/or you won’t get caught).  Another conclusion is that non-proliferation successes are more likely to be found in further efforts to develop tools to address proliferation opportunities.  If you have $157 to spare (or $42.50 for 24 hours’ access), well worth getting, I think.

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10736700.2018.1423718

MARITIME RISKS IN 2017: A REVIEW

On 6th February, Control Risks published its review of maritime risk stories from 2017 and relevant statistics. It summarises that it sees global maritime security incidents continue to decline, but new threats are emerging.   Amongst the headlines are –

  • 5% decrease in global maritime security incidents
  • 25% of piracy incidents took place in the Gulf of Guinea
  • 83% decrease in kidnap incidents in South-East Asia
  • Spike in Somali piracy and a new threat off Yemen
  • 2-fold increase in incidents off Venezuela

https://www.controlrisks.com/our-thinking/insights/reports/maritime-risk-2017-in-review

ISLE OF MAN UPDATES LIBYAN AND SOUTH SUDAN SANCTIONS LISTS

On 6th February, the Isle of Man published 2 news releases advising of updates to its sanctions programmes – the updating of details of the Lynn S for the purposes of Libyan sanctions; and the listing of 3 names for the purposes of the South Sudan sanctions regime.

https://www.gov.im/news/2018/feb/06/financial-sanctions-libya/

https://www.gov.im/news/2018/feb/06/financial-sanctions-south-sudan/

THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – FEBRUARY 5

5th February 2018

 UK BREXIT SECRETARY WELCOMES FREE PORT STUDY

Multimodal reports that the UK’s Brexit Secretary of State has welcomed a proposal for a study into the benefits of free port status for the Tees region – which contains Teesport. Free ports, though inside a country’s geographical boundary, are seen as outside the nation for customs purposes and remove customs duties.  None currently remain in the UK, having been phased out several years ago due to lack of interest and use, and because alternative customs arrangements under applicable EU law existed that appeared to make them superfluous.

https://www.multimodal.org.uk/news/uk-brexit-secretary-welcomes-free-port-study?dm_i=2J31,179F8,5EODT1,3S86P,1

CHINA CONSTRUCTION BANK FINED FOR INADEQUATE AML/CFT CONTROLS IN SOUTH AFRICA

FT.com reports that South Africa has imposed fines on the China Construction Bank $6 million for lax AML/CFT controls.

https://www.ft.com/content/a17d7dea-0a34-11e8-8eb7-42f857ea9f09

MAJOR BANKS BAN USE OF CREDIT CARDS TO BUY CRYPTOCURRENCY

The Verge reports that 3 major banks in the US (Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup) have said that they won’t allow cryptocurrency purchases on their credit cards.  Lloyds Banking Group in the UK have also done so.  The move is said to be to protect customers from unnecessary exposure to losses.

https://www.theverge.com/2018/2/4/16971666/cryptocurrency-bitcoin-jpmorgan-chase-bank-of-america-citigroup-credit-card

https://www.forbes.com/sites/naeemaslam/2018/02/05/banks-banning-cryptocurrency-purchase-on-credit-cards-why/#43ab2cba3cf9

HUGE CANADIAN MONEY LAUNDERING INVESTIGATION IN BRITISH COLUMBIA

The Times Colonist on 4th February carried an extensive and interesting article about the RCMP “E-Pirate” money-laundering investigation that delved into metropolitan Vancouver’s underworld of fentanyl labs, gun sales and violent “dial-a-dope” gangs (including the Red Scorpions). It says that an offshoot investigation, code-named “Prophet”, grew from extensive surveillance of the many alleged employees of E-Pirate’s primary target.  Documents allege a network of organized criminals established a massive underground banking channel between Richmond and Mainland China, using VIP gamblers from Macau to buy chips, mostly at River Rock Casino, in order to launder hundreds of millions in drug cash. The operation allowed ultra-wealthy Chinese businessmen, some allegedly with ties to organised crime, to move money from China to Canada while evading China’s tight capital export controls.  The articles says that Postmedia News has pieced together the story of Prophet through extensive investigation of property in British Columbia, lending and legal documents, including 2 major civil forfeiture claims, and interviews with law enforcement sources not authorized to be identified on the record.

http://www.timescolonist.com/news/b-c/huge-b-c-money-laundering-investigation-plvots-to-drugs-and-guns-1.23164180

PETER CONLON: INVESTIGATORS LOOKING FOR MISSING FUNDS IN MALTA, BELGIUM, ISLE OF MAN

On 5th February, in an article about the ongoing investigation into the alleged misappropriation of €3.8m for large charities by Irishman Peter Conlon in the Irish Independent, it is mentioned that it is understood investigators are looking into assets held by Peter Conlon in Malta, Belgium and the Isle of Man.  Conlon is said to be in custody in Switzerland, having been arrested in December.  The liquidator for his company, Pembroke Dynamic Internet Services, said that “it would appear that at least 800 charities may be affected by the liquidation of the company, which is connected to the Ammado Foundation”.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/i-dont-know-where-he-lives-brother-of-boss-in-38m-probe-36567277.html

IRISH COURT OF APPEAL BROADENS AMBIT OF THE DOCTRINE OF CONTEMPT OF COURT

On 1st February, law firm Ronan Daly Jermyn published an article in which the firm said, in discussing Director of Public Prosecutions v Independent News and Media PLC, Claire Grady, Stephen Rae and Internet Interactions Limited, the Court explored the doctrine of contempt of court and indicated that a publication may be found to be in contempt of court even where the material published does not deal directly with the subject of the charges against an accused.

https://www.rdj.ie/insights/court-of-appeal-broadens-ambit-of-the-doctrine-of-contempt-of-court?s=0.214000188657

WHAT A COMPANY SHOULD DO WHEN CONFRONTED WITH A WARRANT?

In a briefing on 2nd February, Rahman Ravelli in the UK says that, if the police, HMRC, SFO, FCA or other agency arrive at a business premises with a  search warrant, it is a challenge for any corporate.  What, it asks, should a company do next?  The briefing covers such elements as digital “seizures”, legally privileged material, and examining the terms of the warrant and challenging it.

https://www.lexology.com/library/document.ashx?g=d4d10edf-0ccc-4cce-be3d-c30e23969422

MARINE FINANCE: BANKING HANDY GUIDE

On 2nd February, Brodies LLP produced a 5-page pdf guide to marine finance – a form of asset finance used in the maritime industry, particularly to finance the construction or purchase of ships.  Funding can be provided for a single ship, for multiple ships and/or for ships under construction or already operational.

http://www.brodies.com/sites/default/files/marine_finance_banking_handy_guide_web.pdf

THE MAKING OF A “SUPER-SAR”: A CASE STUDY

On 1st February, White & Case produced a briefing about submitting a report to the NCA jointly with another regulated firm, i.e. a so-called “Super-SAR”.  However, the firm cautions that the new regime is complicated and the drafting within the amended sections of POCA 2002 is not clear.  The new information sharing scheme was introduced with the aim of improving the provision of SAR intelligence by providing consolidated information to the NCA. It remains to be seen how effective this will be in practice.

https://www.whitecase.com/publications/alert/making-super-sar-case-study

BRAZIL AND UK AUTHORITIES SIGN MOU TO STRENGTHEN EFFORTS AGAINST WHITE COLLAR CRIME

Mayer Brown on 1st February reports on the SFO and Brazil’s Office of the Prosecutor General (PGR) entering into a MoU to strengthen international co-operation and exchange of information between these agencies in fraud, corruption and other white-collar crime investigations and enforcement actions.

https://www.mayerbrown.com/brazil-and-uk-authorities-sign-mou-to-strengthen-efforts-against-white-collar-crime-02-01-2018/

HEAD OF NIGERIA’S ANTI-CORRUPTION COURT CHARGED WITH BRIBERY

The Times of Israel on 5th February reported that a senior judge handling country’s graft cases accused of demanding kickback from suspect in return for lighter sentence.  Danladi Umar was accused by the country’s anti-graft body EFCC of demanding $27,800 from a suspect “for a favour to be afterwards shown to him in relation to the pending charge,” according to court documentation.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/head-of-nigerias-anti-corruption-court-charged-with-bribery/?src=ilaw

BILLION-DOLLAR BUST: HOW AUSTRALIA HELPED TRAP THE WORLD’S MOST WANTED MONEY LAUNDERER

Radio Australia on 5th February carried an article outlining how more than $1 million was handed to a known criminal and hope to catch him laundering it, and the work of the little-known Australian Crime Commission attempting to track large sums leaving the country, with Altaf Khanani named as the launderer based in Dubai.  A Gujarati who had originally settled in Karachi after the partition of India and Pakistan, and who was thought to launder money for a range of organisations, including Lebanese mafia syndicates in western Sydney, Hezbollah financiers, ice traffickers, and “bikies” gangs. He had been behind Khanani and Kalia International, or KKI, formed in the 80s and, by the late 90s, one of the largest currency traders in Pakistan, with a web of remittance agents across the world – in 2007 and 2008 alone, KKI’s official banking records showed the company handled $2.3 billion.  It was said that Khanani was shifting huge volumes of hard currency across the border into war-ravaged Afghanistan, much of it going to heroin producers.  Eventually he was lured to panama, where the DEA had him arrested.

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2018-02-05/billiondollar-bust-how-australia-helped-trap-the-worlds-most-wanted-money-launderer/1733784?src=ilaw

PETROFAC UPDATES ON SFO INVESTIGATION

Proactive Investor reports that Petrofac Ltd has told the market that it continues to engage with the UK SFO in relation to an investigation launched last year.  The investigation into suspected bribery, corruption, and/or money laundering – is wide-ranging in time and scope, and relates to the activities of the company, its subsidiaries and officers; and engagement with the SFO has involved the interview of company directors including the chairman and executive directors.

www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/191131/petrofac-updates-investors-on-uk-serious-fraud-office-probe-191131.html

SINGAPORE SEEKS TO AMEND LAW AFTER ‘TOO LOW’ MEGACHURCH FRAUD SENTENCES

Reuters on 5th February reported that Singapore’s government is seeking to amend a law that led to shortened sentences for church leaders – including City Harvest Church’s co-founder Kong Hee, convicted of using funds to support his wife’s pop-singing career – convicted of misusing millions of dollars, in a case that has gripped the city-state where there is little tolerance for corruption.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-singapore-church-lawmaking/singapore-seeks-to-amend-law-after-too-low-megachurch-fraud-sentences-idUKKBN1FP0N8?rpc=401&

RUSSIAN CENTRAL BANK NEARS CLOSURE OF INVESTIGATION INTO FRAUDULENT FOREX COMPANIES

Finance Feeds reports that the regulator will soon publish the results of its probe into a number of illegal forex dealers with no licences to offer forex services in Russia but are targeting Russian clients using foreign websites. The damage caused by their activities is said to exceed several billion roubles.  It is said that Bank of Russia has managed to transfer 142 cases of illegal FX companies to the prosecutors’ office last year

https://financefeeds.com/russian-c-bank-nears-closure-investigation-fraudulent-forex-companies/

AUSTRALIAN COSMETICS AND HEALTH COMPANY BEGINS IMPORTING CANNABIS PRODUCTS

Customs Today reports that natural medicine and cosmetics company Bod Australia has announced it will be importing cannabis extracts to use in its latest product. Under its permit issued by the Office of Drug Control, Bod will now begin importing cannabidiol (CBD) powder to create a new cannabis-based wafer which is absorbed under the tongue.

http://www.customstoday.com.pk/cosmetics-and-health-company-begins-importing-cannabis-products/

DUBAI ADVISER CONVICTED IN LANDMARK CRIMINAL CASE

International Adviser on 30th January reported that a financial adviser from the UK has been convicted of running a business in Dubai without a licence, in what is understood to be the first conviction of its kind in the UAE.  Neil Grant, originally from Scotland, was convicted by the Dubai Criminal Court of not registering his company Prosperity Offshore Investment Consultants with the Insurance Authority.

https://international-adviser.com/dubai-adviser-convicted-in-landmark-criminal-case/

STATUS AND TRENDS IN SPENT FUEL AND RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT

IAEA has this new report (at €39) available.  Based on the outcome of a collaborative project undertaken by the IAEA OECD NEA and the European Commission it provides a global overview of the status of radioactive waste and spent fuel management concerning inventories programmes current practices technologies and trends. It includes an analysis of national arrangements and programmes for radioactive waste and spent fuel management an overview of current waste and spent fuel inventories and estimates of future amounts. International and national trends in these areas are also addressed.

https://www.iaea.org/publications/11173/status-and-trends-in-spent-fuel-and-radioactive-waste-management

GANGS AS TERRORISTS PROPOSAL “IS A SMOKE SCREEN” IN GUATEMALA

Insight Crime on 2nd February reports that in what it says appears to be a smokescreen to distract from efforts to undermine anti-corruption initiatives, Guatemala’s new interior minister asked Congress to reform the penal code in order to designate the country’s gang members as terrorists.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/brief/terrorist-gangs-smoke-screen-guatemala-institutional-crisis/

EL SALVADOR CONVICTS FIRST MAYOR FOR TIES TO GANGS

On 2nd February, Insight Crime reported that a former El Salvador mayor has become the country’s first mayor to be convicted of illicit association with gangs.  José Elías Hernández, the former mayor of El Salvador’s Apopa municipality on the outskirts of the capital San Salvador, was convicted  of illicit association with the Barrio 18 gang and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/analysis/elsalvador-convicts-mayor-ties-gangs/

UK POLICE OFFICERS COULD LOSE 28 DAYS A YEAR DUE TO SILOED DATA

Tech UK on 31st January reported that each UK police officer could potentially be losing up to 28 working days a year due to siloed data, according to new research.  he study was conducted to explore how police forces are using data and what the barriers are to doing so more effectively. Front-line and senior employees from 34 regional police forces across the UK were surveyed. The white paper and news release are available at the following link –

http://www.techuk.org/insights/opinions/item/12203-police-officers-could-lose-28-days-a-year-due-to-siloed-data

OUTLOOK FOR ANTI-GRAFT INITIATIVES IN HONDURAS AND GUATEMALA

In a video available on its website, Insight Crime addressed the current status and outlook of anti-corruption initiatives taking place in Honduras and Guatemala.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/analysis/weekly-insight-outlook-anti-graft-initiatives-honduras-guatemala/

ARRESTS AGAIN POINT TO PARAGUAY PRESIDENT’S CONTRABAND CIGARETTES

Insight Crime on 31st January reported that cigarettes manufactured by a firm belonging to the family of Paraguay’s president have once again been seized after being smuggled across the border into Brazil, firmly pointing, it says, towards the involvement of powerful Paraguayan elites in the booming business.  The Tabacalera del Este company is owned by the family of Paraguay President Horacio Cartes.  According to ABC Color, smugglers transport cheaper Paraguayan cigarettes across the border to Brazil with the intention of selling them at a marked-up price.  With members of Brazil’s powerful PCC found to be distributing cigarettes manufactured by Tabacalera Del Este, there are substantial implications that criminal groups may be allied with political elites in Paraguay to benefit from the lucrative industry.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/brief/arrests-point-paraguay-president-contraband-cigarettes/

ISRAELI WEAPONS HOUSE RAFAEL HAS ASIAN NATIONS IN ITS SIGHTS

Flight Global on 5th February reported that India and Australia are among the Asia-Pacific nations that Israeli company Rafael has firmly in its sights with its current and in-development weapons and targeting systems.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/analysis-israeli-weapons-house-rafael-has-asian-nat-445133/

UKRAINE NATIONAL POLICE ANNOUNCES CREATION OF NEW UNIT TO COMBAT ORGANISED CRIME

Interfax on 5th February reported that the National Police of Ukraine have agreed to create a new unit to combat organised crime, the completion of the formation is expected before the end of the year

http://en.interfax.com.ua/news/general/482478.html

GIBRALTAR COMMITTED TO COMPLIANCE POST-BREXIT

On 5th February, the Gibraltar Chronicle reported that Gibraltar will not embark on a “bonfire of regulations” as it prepares to leave the European Union, according to the Chief Minister who also said that the “digital generation” was ready for post-Brexit trade with the world.  He made the comments while addressing a City forum of insurance professionals during a visit to London.

http://chronicle.gi/2018/02/gib-committed-to-regulatory-compliance-and-digital-trade-post-brexit-picardo-says/

NORTH KOREAN FERRY NEEDS APPROVAL FROM SEOUL TO SAIL TO SOUTH

The Yonhap News Agency in South Korea tells the story of the 9,700-ton North Korean ferry Mangyongbong-92 which is set to carry a North Korean art troupe across the inter-Korean border for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea, having been cleared of questions over whether it would violate international sanctions.  However, it needs an exemption from South Korean sanctions in order to enter a South Korean port, while Seoul said it is ready to approve.  The vessel’s South Korean trip runs counter to the South’s blanket ban, imposed in 2010, on inter-Korean exchanges and transactions, according to government officials, and imposed in retaliation for the North’s torpedoing of a South Korean Navy Corvette in March 2010.

http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2018/02/05/70/0401000000AEN20180205009000315F.html

DU3jY28WkAEM11f

 

ACCUSED VISA FRAUD ORGANIZER REACHES $84 MILLION SEC SETTLEMENT

The Daily Business Review reports that a Miami businessman has reached an $84 million settlement with the SEC after he was accused of organizing ​an EB-5 visa fraud by recruiting investment in development at Vermont’s Jay Peak ski resort. The agreement covers $50 million in investor funds that Jay Peak-owner Ariel Quiros was accused of misdirecting to his personal use and $30 million held back from 2 Jay Peak construction projects, which jeopardised visa eligibility for as many at 700 investors from 74 countries.  Under the EB-5 programme, foreign investors are entitled to US visas for them and their immediate family when they put $500,000 into rural areas like northern Vermont and $1 million in other areas where at least 10 new jobs are created. https://www.law.com/dailybusinessreview/sites/dailybusinessreview/2018/02/02/%E2%80%8Baccused-eb-5-visa-fraud-organizer-reaches-84-million-sec-settlement/?kw=Accused%20EB-5%20Visa%20Fraud%20Organizer%20Reaches%20%2484%20Million%20SEC%20Settlement&et=editorial&bu=Daily%20Business%20Review&cn=20180205&src=EMC-Email&pt=E-Review

HMRC MONEY LAUNDERING SUPERVISION: ENFORCEMENT MEASURES

On 5th February, HMRC issued updated guidance about its approach to enforcement of AML/CFT controls.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/money-laundering-supervision-enforcement-measures

EX-FORMULA 1 BOSS BERNIE ECCLESTONE “QUESTIONED UNDER CAUTION BY HMRC”
The Daily Mail reported on 4th February that former Formula 1 racing chief Bernie Ecclestone has been questioned as authorities intensified scrutiny in a £1 billion probe, it has emerged.  It says that the 87-year-old was reportedly quizzed under caution by HMRC at a police station in central London.  He was allegedly quizzed over his £2.5 billion empire.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5349145/Bernie-Ecclestone-questioned-caution-HMRC.html#ixzz56FaaddZS

ANOTHER OIL TANKER MISSING IN GULF OF GUINEA

Defence Web reports that a second oil tanker has gone missing in the Gulf of Guinea, weeks after a tanker was hijacked off Nigeria and subsequently released, in a potential uptick in regional piracy.  Contact with the Marine Express, managed by Hong Kong-based Anglo-Eastern, was lost on 2nd February, carrying 22 Indian crew and 13,500 tons of gasoline, and was last seen in Benin’s waters.

www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=50601:another-oil-tanker-missing-in-gulf-of-guinea&catid=108:maritime-security&Itemid=233

INDIAN BILLIONAIRE JEWELLER INVESTIGATED OVER BANK FRAUD

On 5th February, Reuters reported that Indian federal agents said that they had launched an investigation into billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi, one of the country’s richest men, over accusations that he and others defrauded a state bank of $44 million.  The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said it was acting on a complaint from the Punjab National Bank that Modi and others had conspired with bank officials to fraudulently obtain advances for making payments to overseas suppliers.

https://www.reuters.com/article/india-billionaire/indian-billionaire-jeweller-investigated-over-bank-fraud-idUSL4N1PV4G5?src=ilaw

UK AMENDS LYNN S DETAILS UNDER LIBYAN SANCTIONS

On 5th February, HM Treasury issued a Notice advising of amendment of the details of the vessel, Lynn S, subject to Libyan sanctions.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/679274/2018.166_Libya.pdf

SEARCHING FOR THE OWNER OF UNREGISTERED LAND

On 5th February the UK Gov blog carried an entry from HM Land Registry on obtaining information about unregistered land in England & Wales.

https://hmlandregistry.blog.gov.uk/2018/02/05/search-owner-unregistered-land/

UK ADDS 3 NAMES TO SOUTH SUDAN SANCTIONS LIST

On 5th February, HM Treasury published a Notice advising that 3 new names had been added to its South Sudan sanctions list –

LEUTH, Michael, Makuei (Group ID: 13610); MALONG, Paul (Group ID: 13609); and RIAK, Malek, Reuben (Group ID: 13611).

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/679277/2018_164_South_Sudan.pdf

£5 MILLION APPRENTICESHIP FRAUD RUN BY FORMER FOOTBALLERS

The Belfast Telegraph reported on 5th February that ex-footballers Mark Aizlewood and Paul Sugrue embezzled £5 million of public money reserved to train vulnerable young people. The pair, who have been found guilty of fraud, ran a company, Luis Michael Training Ltd (LMT), which claimed to provide apprenticeships in football coaching which they claimed included training, work experience and payment of £95 per week.  In total, the scheme took £5 million of money from the government-run Skills Funding Agency, set up to train young people.

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/the-5m-apprenticeship-fraud-run-by-former-footballers-aizlewood-and-sugrue-36569575.html

SAFEGUARDING BRITAIN’S NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION OBLIGATIONS AFTER BREXIT

On 5th February, RUSI published an article about the Nuclear Safeguards Bill.  The UK departure from the EU in March 2019 will have an impact on safeguards at civil nuclear facilities, and to provide the legal basis for a new safeguards system after Brexit the Nuclear Safeguards Bill is currently undergoing parliamentary scrutiny.  The articles refers to empowerment of the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) – an existing, independent statutory body – and the conclusion of a new safeguards agreement with the IAEA.

https://rusi.org/commentary/safeguarding-britain’s-nuclear-non-proliferation-obligations-after-brexit

DARK WEB FENTYNYL SUPPLIER JAILED IN UK

An NCA news release on 5th February reported that Kyle Enos, 25, from Gwent, boasted he could arrange for a highly toxic synthetic opioid, fentynyl, to be shipped anywhere in the world the same day as receiving an order.  He used the Dark Web to advertise his business of selling bespoke packages of fentanyl, and such was his customer service, he also promised that if any packages were seized by customs, he would refund them or “re-ship the order again completely free”.  He has now been jailed for 8 years.

http://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/1284-my-priority-is-your-satisfaction-we-ll-find-the-perfect-custom-concentration-for-you

DATA-HACKING TOOL TAKEN OUT OF CIRCULATION

On 5th February, the NCA reported that a cyber-hacking tool that allowed criminals to take full control of victims’ machines is no longer available after an operation co-ordinated by the NCA.  The Luminosity Link RAT (a Remote Access Trojan) enabled hackers to connect to a victim’s machine undetected.  They could then disable anti-virus and anti-malware software, carry out commands such as monitoring and recording keystrokes, steal data and passwords, and watch victims via their webcams.  The RAT cost as little as £30 and users needed little technical knowledge to deploy it.  A small network of UK individuals supported the distribution and use of the RAT across 78 countries and sold it to more than 8,600 buyers via a website dedicated to hacking and the use of criminal malware.

http://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/1283-data-stealing-hacking-tool-taken-out-of-use

See also Europol news release – International crackdown on anti-spyware malware

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/international-crackdown-anti-spyware-malware

CRIMINALS SMUGGLING GOLD INTO JAPAN CONCEALED BARS IN AIRLINER TOILETS AS GANGS GROW MORE SOPHISTICATED IN THEIR TACTICS

Customs Today reports that Japanese authorities have warned international gold smuggling rings are becoming more sophisticated after cracking a scheme to conceal gold bars in aircraft toilets. Police in Nagoya have arrested 6 people in connection with the latest in a growing number of smuggling attempts. The men were accused of illegally importing 5 gold bars on a Japan Airlines flight from Taiwan to Nagoya’s Chubu Airport in July 2017.

http://www.customstoday.com.pk/criminals-smuggling-gold-into-japan-concealed-bars-in-aeroplane-toilets-as-gangs-grow-more-sophisticated-in-their-tactics/

VLADIMIR KOKOREV UPDATE

On 5th February, Kenneth Rijock in his blog reported that Vladimir Kokorev  (65), a Spanish entrepreneur of Russian-Jewish origins, who in 2015 was arrested and put in pre-trial detention together with his wife Yulia (67) and son Igor (35), had been released to house arrest. No charges have yet been laid.  He and his family had been detained on the orders of Spanish Judge , and the family have spent over 2 years in prison on Canary Islands without a trial, a formal indictment, nor any evidence of wrongdoing and with the case declared “secret” by the Judge de Vega for 18 months while the family remained in prison.

http://rijock.blogspot.com/

HBOS FRAUD REVIEW BULKS UP TEAM AS IT AIMS TO FINISH PROBE

Law 360 on 5th February reports that an independent team reviewing Lloyds Banking Group PLC’s handling of a £245 million fraud and assess whether Lloyds adequately investigated fraud involving former employees at HBOS and reported it to the authorities at its subsidiary HBOS PLC has hired 5 barristers as it gears up to deliver its findings by the end of 2018.
https://www.law360.com/articles/1008905

UK HIRES 5 ADDITIONAL TREASURY LAWYERS TO PROSECUTE MAJOR CRIME

On 5th February, Law 360 reported that the UK Attorney General announced the appointment of 5 new members to the Treasury’s counsel team, where they will be responsible for prosecuting some of the most serious crimes in Britain.  He said that veterans from the SFO have been added to the team, which handles major corruption cases and serious and organised crime in addition to high-profile murder and terrorism prosecutions.

https://www.law360.com/articles/1008891

DEFINING REMOTE CYBER WARFARE

On 5th February, VERTIC reported that the Remote Warfare Programme, part of the Oxford Research Group, has recently released a briefing paper which attends to cyberwar and investigates how cyber could fit into traditional understandings of military doctrine and strategy.  It discusses the treatment of cyber in the military doctrines of the permanent members of the UN Security Council. It then examines the opportunities and barriers posed by the integration of cyber capabilities into national deterrence strategies.

https://remotecontrolproject.org/publications/defining-remote-warfare-cyber/

ACCUSED UK COMPUTER HACKER WINS APPEAL AGAINST EXTRADITION TO US

Jurist on 5th February reported that accused computer hacker, British student Lauri Love, had won an appeal preventing his extradition to the US.  He is accused of hacking into US government websites in 2013, along with other unnamed co-conspirators, and stealing huge amounts of data. He argued that as he suffers from Asperger’s, anxiety and depression the extradition would cause him to commit self-bodily harm and that there was no reason UK courts were not legally sufficient.

http://www.jurist.org/paperchase/2018/02/accused-uk-computer-hacker-wins-appeal-against-extradition-to-us.php

See also Corker Binning briefing at –

https://www.corkerbinning.com/will-love-change-everything-extradition-and-the-forum-bar/

NEW UK LAW TO PROHIBIT BETTING ON EUROMILLIONS DRAWS TO COME INTO FORCE IN APRIL

On 5th February, Out-Law reminds one that new laws to prohibit gambling operators from accepting bets from consumers in Britain on the outcome of EuroMillions draws taking place outside of the UK will come into force on 6th April.

https://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2018/february/new-laws-to-prohibit-betting-on-euromillions-draws-to-come-into-force-in-april/

PAKISTAN CONTACTS POLAND TO DETECT SUSPECTS BEHIND SMUGGLING OF ACETIC ANHYDRIDE

Customs Today reports that Pakistan customs has approached the officials of Poland to seek assistance to trace out the actual culprits involved in the smuggling of dual purpose chemical acetic anhydride which is used to make heroine, explosives and bombs.  The consignment was shipped from Poland under description of “summer fluid” which is used in manufacturing of shampoos, adding that irrelevant description was used to hoodwink the customs authorities in order to get the consignment cleared from port. The value of the consignment has been reported as $1.5 million.  Acetic anhydride is importable only by authorised industrial consumers.

http://www.customstoday.com.pk/customs-port-qasim-seeks-help-of-polish-authorities-to-trace-culprits-involved-in-smuggling-of-acetic-anhydride/

CHINESE NATIONAL AND 3 OTHERS PLEAD GUILTY IN APPLE COUNTERFEITING SCHEME

Gizmodo on 5th February reported that a Chinese national who was living in the US on a student visa pleaded guilty to charges of trafficking in counterfeit goods and conspiracy over a plot to sell Chinese-made Apple fakes to US customers.  A DoJ news release claims 43-year-old Jianhua “Jeff” Li’s company, Dream Digitals, conspired with at least 3 others to smuggle over 40,000 Chinese-made “electronic devices and accessories, including iPads and iPhones, along with labels and packaging bearing counterfeit Apple trademarks.

https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2018/02/chinese-national-three-others-plead-guilty-in-apple-counterfeiting-scheme/

HIGH COURT: LEGAL PRIVILEGE CAN APPLY TO INTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS ON THE RIGHT SET OF FACTS

On 5th February, law news site Out-Law reported that the High Court has confirmed that legal privilege can apply to investigations on the right set of facts, restoring some certainty to a position that has been up for debate since May 2017.   It says that the decision in Bilta & Ors v RBS & Anor also serves as a reminder that large companies seeking to launch an investigation should seek specialist legal advice at the earliest opportunity.  The fact that RBS had instructed a specialist tax litigation team at the outset to lead the investigation was one of 3 factors that led to the judge finding in favour of the bank.

https://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2018/february/high-court-legal-privilege-can-apply-to-internal-investigations-on-the-right-set-of-facts/

TOP 4 RISKS FOR BUSINESSES IN RUSSIA FOR 2018

In its Russia/CIS Riskwatch newsletter, Control risks identified the 4 top business risks for Russia in 2018 – terrorism; the expansion of US sanctions; the escalation of elite in-fighting to further erode corporate governance and increase investor risks; and popular protests (in what is an election year).

https://www.controlrisks.com/our-thinking/insights/newsletters/russia-issue-13-february-2018/welcome-top-4-risks

 VENEZUELA: FORMER PDVSA EXECUTIVES ACCUSED OF SIPHONING OFF $60M

On 5th February, Baker McKenzie reported that 3 former directors of state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) allegedly transferred $60 million to offshore accounts in Andorra between 2008 and 2014, El Pais reports.  The newspaper claims that transactions were made under the names of ex-subsidiary director Luis Carlos Leon Perez; former PDVSA Director Eudomario Carruyo, and Francisco Antonio Jimenez, former president of Bariven – a PDVSA subsidiary.

http://www.riskandcompliancehub.com/venezuela-former-pdvsa-execs-accused-of-siphoning-off-us60m/

ABILITY OF FOREIGN FIGHTERS TO ENTER EUROPE UNDETECTED INDICATES HEIGHTENED RISK OF MULTI-SITE MASS-CASUALTY ATTACKS IN 2018

Janes.com on 5th February reported that, according to the Guardian, Interpol had circulated a list of 50 Tunisian suspected Islamic State foreign fighters who had arrived recently in Italy, some of whom may be intending to travel on to other European countries. It goes on to say that suspected Islamic State fighters are thought to have arrived on small vessels, on a beach near Agrigento in Sicily.  The Interpol list of suspects was originally sent to Italy’s interior ministry,

www.janes.com/article/77596/ability-of-foreign-fighters-to-enter-europe-undetected-indicates-heightened-risk-of-multi-site-mass-casualty-attacks-in-2018

THE TRUE STORY OF HOW THE US COAST GUARD AND NAVY TOOK DOWN THE HEAD OF THE CUBAN MAFIA

The Task & Purpose website carries this story of how, in 2004, the US seized Jose Miguel Battle Senior and Junior. The article explains that Battle Jr ran La Corporación, a powerful criminal organisation in cahoots with the Italian mob that started in New York and New Jersey, then later expanded to Miami. The elder Battle, a CIA-trained Cuban exile, was a former police officer under deposed dictator Batista and was a part of 2506 Brigade that participated in the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion.  Following his capture and subsequent release by Fidel Castro’s men, he entered organised crime and built a syndicate from illegal gambling operations known as bolitas, or little balls, which are essentially numbers games. The father died in custody, but the son was released on probation in Miami in 2017.

https://taskandpurpose.com/true-story-coast-guard-took-head-cuban-mafia/

DIFFERING CRIMINAL PENALTIES FOR FAKE MEDICINES IN THE EU RAISE CONCERNS

On 5th February, In-Pharma carries an article concerned with a recent EU report on the divergent criminal penalties for production and sale of counterfeit medicines.

https://www.in-pharmatechnologist.com/Article/2018/02/05/Fake-meds-on-trial-EU-report-weighs-up-Member-State-punishment

 ICIJ ARTICLE ON THE RECENT US LIST OF RUSSIANS WHO MAY BE SUBJECT TO FUTURE SANCTIONS

On 5th February the ICIJ website carried an article about the list of wealthy Russians with close ties to the government of Vladimir Putin, and intended to help policymakers decide on a new round of sanctions against Russia for both the country’s meddling in the US presidential election and its annexation of Crimea.  It said that, in response to questions from ICIJ about its oligarch list, the US Treasury responded with a press release stating that, while the list it released was drawn from publicly available sources, it was submitted to congress with “classified annexes” that contained additional information. The Panama Papers and Paradise Papers drew attention to Russian oligarchs’ connections to both American interests and tax havens around the world, underscoring the sensitivity for the Trump Administration of compiling an Oligarch sanctions list with any bite, the article says.

https://www.icij.org/blog/2018/02/the-u-s-list-of-wealthy-russians-and-our-offshore-investigations/

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MONEY LAUNDERING: PHILIPPINE SENATOR SEEKS LEGISLATIVE PROBE OF DUTERTE’S TRANSACTIONS

On 5th February, KYC 360 reported that a Philippine senator and staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte filed a resolution seeking a legislative inquiry into whether Duterte and his eldest daughter had concealed assets amounting to almost $2 million.

https://kyc360.com/news/money-laundering-senator-seeks-probe-philippine-president-dutertes-transactions/

IMPLEMENTING THE 2020 SULPHUR LIMIT

On 5th February, the International Maritime Organisation published an article about the 0.50% limit on sulphur in fuel oil on board ships (outside designated emission control areas) will come into effect on 1st January 2020, with a meeting being held at IMO HQ in London.

http://www.imo.org/en/MediaCentre/WhatsNew/Pages/default.aspx

http://www.imo.org/en/MediaCentre/HotTopics/Pages/Sulphur-2020.aspx

CHINA LAUNCHES THE POLAR SILK ROAD

On 2nd February, the Center for Strategic & International Studies published an article about a 28th January white paper from the State Council Information Office in China detailing the country’s official Arctic policy for the first time.  The document plotted the course for future Chinese development goals in the region — including scientific, commercial, environmental preservation, and resource extraction efforts — and aligned Chinese Arctic interests with the Belt and Road Initiative.  In 2017, the research vessel Xue Long became the first Chinese ship to navigate the 3 major Arctic shipping routes: The Northwest Passage, Northeast Passage, and Transpolar Sea Route.

https://www.csis.org/analysis/china-launches-polar-silk-road

ISLE OF MAN GUIDANCE IN RESPECT OF REGULATED ENTITIES UNDERTAKING CRIMINAL RECORDS CHECKS

On 5th February, the Isle of Man Financial Services Authority has updated its guidance in respect of regulated entities undertaking criminal records checks.  The guidance is intended to provide additional clarity around how a regulated entity, or an applicant to become a regulated entity, may undertake criminal records checks on its controllers and key persons.

https://www.iomfsa.im/fsa-news/2018/feb/guidance-updated-in-respect-of-regulated-entities-undertaking-criminal-records-checks/

PROOF OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS USE IN SYRIA SHOULD BE MET WITH ‘MEANINGFUL RESPONSE,’ UN DISARMAMENT CHIEF

On 5th February, the UN News service reported that evidence of the use, or likely use, of banned chemical weapons in Syria should be met with a “meaningful response” within the UN Security Council, the UN disarmament affairs chief said, when briefing the Council on the work being undertaken by the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Fact Finding Mission (FFM) to look into all allegations of the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=58533#.Wni4Bkx2ucw

UNDERSTANDING RUSSIA’S APPETITE FOR URANIUM

On 5th February, the Intersection website carried an article saying that Russia is quietly competing with China for influence over global nuclear energy production, whether that means jostling for nuclear plant construction contracts, or securing access to uranium extraction in Central AsiaRussia is the third0-largest consumer of uranium, and the country aims to be a key driver of growth in uranium markets over the next few years.  Amongst the matters mentioned are the China-Russia rivalry in Central Asia, the privatisation of Kazakhstan’s state-owned Kazattomprom, and the small number of players in uranium production with its limited market, and Beijing and Moscow’s status as the key drivers of demand growth, mean that competition for market share may well be contentious.  The article mentioned that 39% of global supplies are mined in Kazakhstan, while another 4.8% is mined in Russia. Canada and Australia are also notable producers, responsible for 22% and 10%, respectively.

http://intersectionproject.eu/article/economy/understanding-russias-appetite-uranium

US TREASURY SANCTIONS INDIVIDUALS DESTABILISING THE EASTERN DRC

On 5th February, OFAC sanctioned 4 individuals who have engaged in destabilising activities responsible for prolonging the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and contributing to widespread poverty, chronic food insecurity, and population displacement.

  • Muhindo Akili Mundos (Mundos)
  • Gédéon Kyungu Mutanga (Gédéon)
  • Guidon Shimiray Mwissa (Mwissa)
  • Lucien Nzabamwita (Nzabamwita)

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20180205.aspx

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-release/sm0279

VLADIMIR’S VENEZUELA – LEVERAGING LOANS TO CARACAS, MOSCOW SNAPS UP OIL ASSETS

A Special Report from Reuters on 5th February is concerned with Venezuela’s unraveling socialist government which is increasingly turning to ally Russia for the cash and credit it needs to survive – and offering prized state-owned oil assets in return.  It claims that Venezuela’s state-owned oil firm, Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), has been secretly negotiating since at least early this year with Russia’s biggest state-owned oil company, Rosneft, offering ownership interests in up to 9 of Venezuela’s most productive petroleum projects.  Rosneft currently owns substantial portions of 5 existing PDVSA oil projects.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-russia-oil-specialreport/special-report-vladimirs-venezuela-leveraging-loans-to-caracas-moscow-snaps-up-oil-assets-idUSKBN1AR14U

FAMILIES SETTLE WITH CHIQUITA OVER DEATHS OF AMERICANS IN COLOMBIA

On 5th February, the Daily Business Review reports that families of 6 Americans kidnapped and killed in Colombia during the 1990s by FARC settled before the scheduled start of jury selection in West Palm Beach federal court.  The families were seeking potentially tens of millions of dollars in damages from the banana giant because of payments the company made to the group.  Chiquita has admitted paying FARC about $220,000 but insists it did so only to protect its employees and interests from violence.

https://www.law.com/dailybusinessreview/sites/dailybusinessreview/2018/02/05/families-sue-chiquita-over-deaths-of-americans-in-colombia/?et=editorial&bu=Daily%20Business%20Review&cn=20180205&src=EMC-Email&pt=Breaking%20News