WEAKNESSES AND LOOPHOLES IN EU CUSTOMS CONTROLS

The European Court of Auditors has published a report (Special Report 19/2017) which states that important weaknesses and loopholes indicate that EU customs controls are not being applied effectively, and this has an adverse effect on EU finances.  Goods entering EU Member States from outside the EU are subject to customs controls before they are released for free circulation within the EU. However, importers can deliberately reduce or evade customs duty liability by, for example, undervaluing their goods, declaring a false country of origin or shifting to a product classification with a lower duty rate.  The auditors examined whether the Commission and the Member States had designed robust controls on imports. They visited the customs authorities of 5 Member States: Spain, Italy, Poland, Romania and the UK.  They found serious weaknesses indicating that there are shortcomings in the legal framework, as well as ineffective implementation of customs controls on imports. This adversely affects the financial interests of the EU.

https://www.eca.europa.eu/Lists/News/NEWS1712_05/INSR_CUSTOMS_EN.pdf

EUROPOL STRATEGIC REPORT: HOW ILLEGAL DRUGS SUSTAIN ORGANISED CRIME IN THE EU

EUROPOL STRATEGIC REPORT: HOW ILLEGAL DRUGS SUSTAIN ORGANISED CRIME IN THE EU

On 6th December, Europol released the above report that included the following points –

  • €24 billion in revenue each year: The drugs trade in the EU is estimated to generate at least €24 billion in revenue each year, which makes it the EU’s largest criminal market.
  • Highly poly-criminal organised crime groups: Around 35% of the organised crime groups active in the EU are involved in the production, trafficking or distribution of illegal drugs. 75% of these groups deal in more than just one illegal drug.
  • 620 new substances: The market for synthetic drugs and new psychoactive substances (NPS) remains the most dynamic drugs market in the EU; over the last 5 years 620 new substances were detected.
  • Fentanils, highly potent opioid narcotic drugs: There has been a large increase in the availability of fentanils on the European illicit drug market. Since 2012, a total of 24 new fentanils have been identified on Europe’s drug market, including 14 already since January 2016.
  • Darknet marketplaces: Drugs are now widely traded online on various platforms. The sale of drugs via Darknet marketplaces is a significant threat and continues to expand.
  • Poor success rate in fighting money laundering: The scale of money laundering activities in the EU is significant, reflecting the profits generated by the drugs trade. However, the global anti-money laundering framework has shown to have a poor success rate. Barely 1% of criminal proceeds are confiscated by relevant authorities at EU level.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/europol-strategic-report-how-illegal-drugs-sustain-organised-crime-in-eu

VENEZUELA (EUROPEAN UNION FINANCIAL SANCTIONS) REGULATIONS 2017 COME INTO FORCE IN UK

VENEZUELA (EUROPEAN UNION FINANCIAL SANCTIONS) REGULATIONS 2017 COME INTO FORCE IN UK

These UK Regulations came into effect on 6th December.  However, to date no names have been listed.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/financial-sanctions-venezuela#history

UK IMPORT BAN ON BUMP STOCKS FOR FIREARMS

NOTICE TO IMPORTERS 2896: UK BAN ON THE IMPORT OF BUMP STOCKS

On 4th December this Notice announced a UK import ban on so-called “bump stocks”.  These are devices which, when fitted or added to a self-loading firearm, utilise the recoil forces to automate repeated pressure on the trigger, increasing the rate of fire of the firearm.  This decision was taken on the grounds of public safety as there is a risk that such items can be used on legally-held rifles.  The import ban will remain in force whilst tests take place on the ability of these devices to be used on legally-held firearms.  Bump stocks came into the public consciousness following the recent Las Vegas shooting tragedy.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/664452/DIT_Notice_to_importers_2896_UK_ban_on_import_of_Bump_stocks_4_December_2017.pdf

EU PUBLISHES LIST OF NON-COOPERATIVE TAX JURISDICTIONS

On 5th December the EU finally published its awaited list of “non-cooperative” jurisdictions.

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-17-5121_en.htm

See also accompanying Memo and Factsheet –

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-17-5122_en.htm

https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/sites/taxation/files/eu_list_factsheet_en.pdf

American Samoa, Bahrain, Barbados, Grenada, Guam, South Korea, Macao, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, Palau, Panama, St Lucia, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, UAE

LATEST HM TREASURY ADVISORY NOTICE

LATEST HM TREASURY ADVISORY NOTICE REGARDING THE RISKS POSED BY UNSATISFACTORY MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERRORIST FINANCING CONTROLS IN A NUMBER OF JURISDICTIONS

On 5th December, HM Treasury’s latest Advisory Notice was published. It refers to 2 statements issued by FATF in November 9these are annexed to the Advisory Notice).

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/664503/Money_laundering_and_terrorist_financing_controls_in_overseas_jurisdictions___advisory_notice.pdf