EU UPDATES LIST OF VESSELS SUBJECT TO NORTH KOREA SANCTIONS

On 13th January, EU Regulation 2018/53/EU amended Regulation 2017/1509/EU to add to the sanctions lists 4 vessels previously added to the relevant UN list – BILLIONS NO.18; UL JI BONG 6; RUNG RA 2; and RYE SONG GANG.

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2018.010.01.0001.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2018:010:TOC

THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 12

 POLITICAL BATTLE OVER PLANS TO AMEND US ARMS EXPORT CONTROLS

On 11th January The Hill in the US reported that the Trump Administration’s expected plan to transfer the licensing of gun exports from the State Department to the Commerce Department has Democratic lawmakers and foreign policy advocates readying for a fight amid fears it will lead to less oversight of commercial sales of assault weapons like submachine guns and flame throwers to foreign buyers.  The State Department said the goal of the change is to reduce regulatory burdens on manufacturers, small gunsmiths, and exporters.

http://thehill.com/regulation/overnights/368571-overnight-regulation-fight-heats-up-over-gun-export-rule-change-wh

http://thehill.com/regulation/368425-planned-shift-on-gun-exports-kicks-up-storm

KEY FINDINGS FROM THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT’S REPORT ON RULE OF LAW IN MALTA

Malta Today on 11th January published excerpts of what key witnesses told MEPs on a fact-finding mission to Malta in November 2017.  They include –

  • what are described as 2 conflicting positions on what the Police Commissioner told MEPs about investigations into reports of money laundering drawn up by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit;
  • the Attorney General defending his position as to why no criminal investigations were initiated on money laundering allegations against PEP;
  • Chief Justice Silvio Camilleri told MEPs “reasonable suspicion” was not a requirement to initiate an investigation;
  • Malta Financial Services Authority told MEPs it intensified its supervision of Pilatus Bank, a wealth management bank that catered for 130 clients, including PEP and Azerbaijani clients; and
  • FIAU worked on a ‘document’ concerning allegations on an offshore structure in Dubai that was to receive payments from a company managing the LNG terminal in Delimara but this was not conclusive.

http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/83638/key_findings_from_the_european_parliaments_report_on_rule_of_law_in_malta#.WlhPkEx2tZW

Meanwhile, Politico on 12th January reports that MEPs refer to a “culture of fear,” criticise the soft-ball approach to corruption allegations against senior officials and urge the creation of an independent prosecutor.  It has obtained a full copy of the report by the MEPs.

https://www.politico.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/ParliamentRuleOfLawReportMalta.pdf?utm_source=POLITICO.EU&utm_campaign=fd64d1cf30-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_01_12&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_10959edeb5-fd64d1cf30-190081609

COSTA RICA INVESTIGATION INTO SANCTIONED NICARAGUAN POLITICIAN

The Havana Times on 11th January reported that the Costa Rican Attorney General’s Office had opened an investigation against the president of the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE) of Nicaragua, Roberto Rivas, for what it considers the possible crime of money laundering in that country, where Rivas has several properties.  The US imposed sanctions on Rivas on December 21st, accusing him of corruption and electoral fraud.

https://www.havanatimes.org/?p=129772

HMRC COMPLIANCE FACTSHEET UPDATED RE ACCESS TO OPEN SOURCE MATERIAL

HMRC compliance checks factsheet CC/FS1f, which contains general information about compliance checks into tax advantage schemes, has been updated to include a “More information” section that explains what information HMRC may use when dealing with compliance checks.  HMRC may observe, monitor, record and retain “open source” material on the Internet which is available to anyone, such as news reports websites, Companies House and Land registry records, blogs and social networking sites where no privacy settings have been applied.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/compliance-checks-tax-advantaged-shares-schemes-ccfs1f

FRENCH ANTI-CORRUPTION AGENCY COMPLIANCE CHARTER

On 28th November White & Case issued a briefing about a Charter published by the new French Anticorruption Agency which has the power, inter alia, to inspect companies in order to assess the compliance of their anticorruption programmes with the provisions of the Sapin II Law since 9th December 2016.  The Charter specifies the rights and duties of both the Agency and the companies being controlled, and is clearly inspired by existing texts published by other authorities in the banking, financial and antitrust sectors.

https://www.whitecase.com/publications/alert/french-anticorruption-agency-released-its-inspection-charter

COULD THE CRYPTO-ROUBLE SPELL CRYPTO-TROUBLE FOR SANCTIONS?

On 10th January Sheppard Mullin published a briefing about the state-backed cryptocurrency that President Putin has apparently asked to be developed.  The briefing asks could Putin’s dream come true, and could Russia evade US sanctions through the establishment of a state-sponsored cryptocurrency?  It argues that the ability of a crypto-rouble to help Russia evade US sanctions is limited, if only because prohibited transactions would remain prohibited regardless of the means of exchange or currency used.

https://www.globaltradelawblog.com/2018/01/10/crypto-rouble/#page=1

COURT OF APPEAL TELLS FCA – THE MORE SERIOUS THE ALLEGATION THE MORE COGENT THE EVIDENCE

In an article dated 9th January, Allen & Overy report on a judgment handed down just before Christmas by the Court of Appeal in which it took the opportunity to remind the UK FCA that the more serious the allegation it makes about the conduct of a subject, the more cogent the evidence must be in order to overcome the ‘inherent improbability’ that it occurred.  It recounts the background to Burns v The Financial Conduct Authority.

http://www.aoinvestigationsinsight.com/serious-allegation-cogent-evidence-must-uk-fca-receives-reminder-court-appeal/#page=1

WHEN AN OWNER CAN SELL CARGO TO SETTLE A DEBT OWED BY THE CHARTERER OF A SHIP

On 10th January, Wikborg Rein of Norway reported on an English High Court judgment that recently confirmed when it will order the sale of cargo under a lien which is the subject of arbitration proceedings.  An owner’s lien on cargo does not typically afford it the right to sell the cargo in order to satisfy debts due from charterers. However, in Dainford Navigation Inc v PDVSA Petroleo SA (Moscow Stars) the Court confirmed that it has the power to order the sale of cargo in certain circumstances.  The authors say that this decision may be of interest to shipowners that are faced with a situation in which cargo belonging to a charterer remains on board a vessel for a long period without the owners receiving hire, while still incurring operating costs.

EU AMENDS AL-QAIDA/ISIL SANCTIONS LIST

On 12th January EU Regulation 2018/50/EU comes into force, amending 2 entries on the Al-Qaida/ISIL sanctions lists under Regulation 881/2002, deleting Zayn Al-Abidin Muhammad Hussein and replacing the entry for Seifallah Ben Hassine with one for Seifallah Ben Omar Ben Mohamed Ben Hassine.

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2018.007.01.0035.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2018:007:TOC

NEW CHINESE WASTE PAPER IMPORT REGULATIONS NOW IN EFFECT

On 12th January HKTDC in Hong Kong issued an article providing some detail of the new Chinese restrictions on imports of waste.

http://economists-pick-research.hktdc.com/business-news/freepdfdownloadservlet?articleID=1X0ACMIO&LANGUAGE=en

BANKS & BUILDING SOCIETIES IN UK START IMMIGRATION CHECKS

On 12th January a Home Office news release advises that banks and building societies have started carrying out checks on the immigration status of all personal current account holders  under government measures to encourage those in the UK illegally to leave. The checks will be done against the details of known illegal migrants which the Home Office is sharing with Cifas, an anti-fraud organisation.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/banks-and-building-societies-start-immigration-status-checks-on-personal-current-account-holders

ANOTHER FORMER MEXICAN GOVERNOR ACCUSED OF CORRUPTION

Prensa Latina reports that the former Governor of Nayarit, Roberto Sandoval, faces an impeachment before the state Congress for alleged diversion of resources of about $150 million.  The ex-leader (of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party or PRI) is accused of improper handling of public resources, illicit enrichment, cover-up and bribery.

www.plenglish.com/index.php?src=ilaw&o=rn&id=23204&SEO=another-former-mexican-governor-accused-of-corruption

HONG KONG GOVT ADVISER RESIGNS OVER ILLEGAL IVORY

On 11th January Customs Today reported that a Hong Kong ivory trader fined for illegal possession of ivory resigned from a government advisory panel to protect endangered species, a potentially embarrassing blow for a city fighting to stamp out smuggling of ivory.  The territory is a prime transit and consumption hub, with more than 90% of consumers from mainland China.  Hong Kong has the largest retail market for ivory, which it has traded for more than 150 years.  Lau Sai-yuan was a member of the Endangered Species Advisory Committee of Hong Kong‘s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD).

www.customstoday.com.pk/hong-kong-govt-adviser-resigns-over-illegal-ivory/

US CUSTOMS TOLD TO TIGHTEN RADIOLOGICAL MATERIAL IMPORT CONTROLS

On 12th January, US law firm Sandler Travis & Rosenberg reported that US Customs and Border Protection should develop a monitoring system and take other steps to help ensure that imported radiological material, which is used for medical, industrial, and research purposes, is being properly licensed, according to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office.  It points out that possession of radiological material requires a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or one of the 37 states to which NRC has relinquished licensing authority. In response, CBP says it plans to updates procedures etc by the end of August.

https://www.strtrade.com/news-publications-radiological-material-imports-CBP-GAO-011218.html

TRUMP SIGNS BILL TO ENHANCE OPIOID SCREENING TECHNOLOGY AT BORDER

The Jurist website reports that President Trump signed the International Narcotics Trafficking Emergency Response by Detecting Incoming Contraband with Technology, or INTERDICT ACT which is intended to afford border protection agents enhanced opioid screening technology.

www.jurist.org/paperchase/2018/01/trump-signs-bill-to-enhance-opioid-screening-technology-at-border.php

EXCHANGE OF OVER 1 MILLION MESSAGES USING EUROPOL SYSTEM IN 2017

Europol reports that, over the course of 2017, more than 1 million SIENA messages were exchanged among Europol, Member States and third parties.  SIENA is the Secure Information Exchange Network Application, managed by Europol which enables a swift and secure communication and exchange of operational and strategic crime-related information and intelligence.  SIENA, as an operative instrument allows law enforcement authorities to collaborate effectively on a daily basis, and more than 20,000 SIENA messages were exchanged per week in 2017 on thousands of investigations within the EU and beyond.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/more-one-million-operational-messages-shared-between-europol-member-states-and-third-parties-in-2017

SICILIAN SUPERMARKET CHAIN LINKED TO MAFIA SEIZED

On 11th January Xinhua reported that Italian authorities in the Sicilian city of Catania have seized a supermarket chain worth €41 million from a businessman with ties to a local Cappello-Bonaccorsi mafia clan.  The seizure of 13 stores belonging to a chain called G.M. Supermercati and other assets was carried out on orders of the anti-mafia division of the Catania prosecutor’s office.  It is alleged that the supermarkets and other assets belong to 48-year-old Michele Guglielmino, who built a retail empire by laundering money for the mob.

www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-01/12/c_136889039.htm

STORIES OF COLLABORATION: SCOURING THE PARADISE PAPERS, WITH THE HELP OF ALMOST 400 NEW FRIENDS

On The ICIJ website, on 11th January Michael Forsythe, an investigative reporter with The New York Times who worked on ICIJ’s most recent project, Paradise Papers, reflects on what it was like to collaborate across the world.

https://www.icij.org/blog/2018/01/michael-forsythe-paradise-papers-collaboration/

DEVELOPMENTS IN THE AUSTRALIAN MEDICINAL CANNABIS INDUSTRY

On 12th January Dentons carried a briefing which included mention of the change allowing the export of medicinal cannabis.

https://www.dentons.com/en/insights/alerts/2018/january/12/developments-in-the-australian-medicinal-cannabis-industry

FLYING WITH FIREARMS IN THE USA

Something different, from the Firearms Blog in the US a 3-part feature on how to fly with firearms in and around the USA…parts 1 and 2 are below. Federal regulations state that a passenger who is transporting a firearm in their checked luggage must declare, either verbally or in writing, that they are doing so.  In practice, you can reliably expect to do both.

http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2018/01/05/basic-training-flying-firearms/

http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2018/01/10/packing-friendly-skies-2/

Part 3 will follow in due course.

US EXERCISE BUYING PROHIBITED WEAPONS ON THE DARK WEB

Also in the Firearms Blog on 11th January, an account of a US Government Accounting Office investigation last year when it was tasked with seeing how it got on when trying to buy weapons on the Dark Web areas of the Internet.  In In the course of the study, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE, incidentally the agent that employed Elliot Ness) attempted to purchase firearms from different sources on the internet, after announcing they were a ‘prohibited person’ as defined by US law (which they achieved).

www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2018/01/10/gao-internet-firearm-sales/

CLAIM RE CHINA “ETHNIC CLEANSING” OF UYGHUR MUSLIMS

In Extra News Feed, a crowdfunded investigative journalism feature claims that China is carrying out a systematic campaign to ethnically cleanse up to 15 million Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, or rather what was East Turkistan until China began occupying and colonizing the region in 1949.

https://extranewsfeed.com/uyghur-muslims-victims-of-the-worlds-largest-ethnic-cleansing-ba2c4aa5ff53

US SENTENCES 3 FOR EXPORT OF AVIATION PARTS TO SYRIA (INCLUDING COMPANY’S EXPORT COMPLIANCE OFFICER)

On 20th December the US DoJ issued a news release advising that 3 Miami-Dade residents had been sentenced for their roles in a conspiracy to illegally export aviation parts and equipment to Syria.  The exports were sent to Syrian Arab Airlines.  Ali Caby ran the Bulgaria office of AW-Tronics, a Miami export company that was managed by Arash Caby, and which shipped and exported various aircraft parts and equipment to Syrian Arab Airlines.  Marjan Caby, as AW-Tronics’ export compliance officer and auditor, facilitated these exports by submitting false and misleading electronic export information to federal agencies.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdfl/pr/miami-dade-county-residents-sentenced-conspiracy-illegally-export-prohibited-articles

HOME OFFICE UPDATED MODERN SLAVERY AWARENESS GUIDANCE

On 12th January the Home Office issued updated training and awareness-raising resources available to public sector organisations to help their staff understand modern slavery and learn to spot the signs.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/modern-slavery-training-resource-page

IRISH BONDED WAREHOUSE FIRMS WIN CASES OVER EXCISE DEMANDS FOR DRINK THAT WENT MISSING

On 12th January, Breaking News in Ireland reported that 2 bonded warehouse companies – Citywest Logistical Ltd (formerly Cassidy Wines) and Monaghan Bottlers – have won High Court cases in Ireland over excise demands for €2 million and €1 million respectively which arose after they said they were the innocent victims of fraud committed when consignments of alcohol leaving their premises did not arrive at their mainland Europe destinations.

http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/bonded-warehouse-firms-win-cases-over-excise-demands-for-drink-that-went-missing-822506.html?src=ilaw

LAW ENFORCEMENT AND PRIVATE SECTOR JOIN FORCES TO SHUT DOWN ILLEGAL STREAMING NETWORK IN EUROPE

On 12th January a Europol news release reported that a crime group suspected of hosting a large-scale illegal IPTV streaming business has been dismantled. The investigations were led by the Cypriot Police – Intellectual Property Crime Unit, with the support of the Cybercrime Division of the Greek Police, the Dutch Fiscal Investigative and Intelligence Service (FIOD), the Cybercrime Unit of the Bulgarian Police, and Europol, and with the support of members of the Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance (AAPA).  In total, 4 individuals have been arrested and 17 houses searches have been carried out in Cyprus, Bulgaria and Greece.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/law-enforcement-and-private-sector-join-forces-to-shut-down-illegal-streaming-network?src=ilaw

FORMER SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT PARK HAS ASSETS FROZEN

The Korea Times reports that a Seoul court on 12th January accepted prosecutors’ request to freeze assets owned by ousted President Park Geun-hye who is on trial for corruption.

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/nation/2018/01/251_242382.html?src=ilaw

US EXPORT CONTROLS FAQ

Available on the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) website is this short FAQ guide to help one understand US export controls of the Commerce Department, the Export Administration Regulations (EAR)

https://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/forms-documents/pdfs/286-licensing-faq/file

FinCEN SAR RULES UNAFFECTED BY ATTORNEY GENERAL STATEMENT ON MARIJUANA

On 12th January law firm Fox Rothschild said it had received confirmation that, despite the recent statement by the US Attorney General on enforcing the federal law on marijuana even if individual states had legalized possession or use, that the pre-existing FinCEN rules on SAR etc from 2014 continue in force (at least for the time being).

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/more-on-status-of-fincen-s-marijuana-20428/

PARADISE PAPERS – HEAD OF ANGOLA SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUND SACKED

Risk & Compliance Hub on 12th January reported that the head of Angola’s sovereign wealth fund has been sacked, 2 months after he was named in connection with the Paradise papers.  José Filomeno Dos Santos, the son of the previous president, was fired after 6 years as chairman of the board of the Fundo Soberano De Angola (FSDEA) – having been appointed then by the then president, i.e. his father.  Leaked files showed how Dos Santos appointed a firm belonging to his friend, Jean-Claude Bastos, to manage the fund’s capital – who then invested in projects in which had an interest.

http://www.riskandcompliancehub.com/head-of-angolas-wealth-fund-fired-after-paradise-papers-revelations/

ISLE OF MAN TWEAKS ITS SOMALIA SANCTIONS

A news release from the Isle of Man confirmed that and a new order and regulations have given effect to EU Regulation 2017/2415, which amends EU Regulation 356/2010 to refer to the “United Nations Humanitarian Response Plan for Somalia” for the purposes of extending to it an exemption to the restriction on providing financing in the Somalia.

https://www.gov.im/news/2018/jan/12/financial-sanctions-somalia/

FCPA END OF YEAR REVIEW

Wilmer Hale on 12th January published its Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Alert – a Global Anti-Bribery Year-in-Review: 2017, Developments and Predictions for 2018. It identifies as key takeaways –

·        Statistics for enforcement actions may be slightly lower in 2017 than in years past, but significant activity continues and 2017 saw several blockbuster cases.

·        Prosecution of individuals was high in 2017, and individuals continue to be charged long after corporations settle.

·        Non-U.S. companies were predominantly the targets, intentionally or unintentionally, of FCPA enforcement in 2017.

·        International co-operation continues to be a hallmark of corruption enforcement worldwide, and non-U.S. enforcement continues to rise.

·        The new 2017 FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy is not a game changer, but it places more value on voluntary disclosure.

·        Recent enforcement cases indicate that bribery schemes continue to evolve and become more sophisticated.

https://www.wilmerhale.com/uploadedFiles/Shared_Content/Editorial/Publications/WH_Publications/Client_Alert_PDfs/2018-01-12-FCPA-Alert.pdf

BULGARIA’S PARLIAMENT OPENS WAY FOR AN ANTI-CORRUPTION UNIT

Reuters on 12th January reported that Bulgaria’s parliament has overturned a presidential veto on anti-graft legislation, clearing the way for the creation of a special unit to investigate individuals occupying high public office as well as assets and conflicts of interest.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bulgaria-politics/bulgaria-parliament-overturns-presidential-veto-on-anti-corruption-law-idUSKBN1F115T

US CONGRATULATES LIBYA FOR DESTROYING REMAINING CHEMICAL WEAPONS

Defence Web on 12th January reported that the White House had congratulated Libya for destroying its remaining chemical weapons stockpile and called on Syria to eliminate its chemical weapons programme.

www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=50375:us-welcomes-libyas-destruction-of-chemical-weapons-stockpile&catid=56:diplomacy-a-peace&Itemid=111

US RENEWS IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL

The Washington times on 12th January reported that President Trump has certified the JCPOA Iranian nuclear for another 120 days but warned that this is the last time, and the Administration imposed with fresh sanctions unrelated to the agreement.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/jan/12/trump-re-certifies-iran-nuclear-deal-last-time/?src=ilaw

ADDITIONAL US SANCTIONS, MOSTLY INVOLVING IRAN

On 12th January, OFAC in a news release added 5 new individuals and 9 new entities to its sanctions lists.  Most were persons and entities in Iran, but also included were BOCHUANG CERAMIC INC of China, GREEN WAVE TELECOMMUNICATION of Malaysia, and Shi Yuhua and Yuequn Zhu from China.

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20180112.aspx?src=ilaw

MALTA MINISTER WELCOMES TAX CO-OPERATION REPORT

Tax News on 12th January reported that Malta’s Minister of Finance has welcomed the OECD’s 2017 International Tax Co-operation Report saying it shows the island is amongst the world’s most tax-compliant countries.

https://www.lowtax.net/news/Malta-Welcomes-OECD-Global-Tax-Compliance-Report_76206.html

GRENADA HOPES TO BE OFF EU TAXBLACKLIST BY END OF JANUARY

On 12th January, Tax News reported that Grenada’s Prime Minister has said he expects the island will be removed from the EU’s tax “blacklist” by the end of the month.  It was included on the list published on 5th December because it had yet to sign and ratify the OECD’s Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance, and had not committed to do so by 31st December 2018.

https://www.lowtax.net/news/Grenada-Aiming-To-Be-Removed-From-EU-Tax-Blacklist_76207.html

SHOULD DOMINICA BE REGARDED AS A HIGH-RISK JURISDICTION?

After reading Kenneth Rijock’s blog entries about Dominica, the reported unfreezing of assets that had been frozen at the request of the US SEC, and issue of passports, should one regard the island nation as a high risk?

http://rijock.blogspot.com/

UK GOVERNMENT RESPONDS TO CONCERNS OVER SANCTIONS AND AML BILL

On 12th January the always useful European Sanctions Blog reported that the UK Government had responded to concerns expressed by the House of Lords Constitution Committee on constitutional grounds about the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill.   The blog posting includes a link to the letter sent to the Committee.

https://europeansanctions.com/

RUSSIA DETAINS MAN AT BORDER WITH 1.5 TONNES OF COINS

Customs Today on 12th January carried a story about Russian customs detaining a foreigner of unspecified citizenship tried to take 25-ruble World Cup and 10-kopek coins with a total worth of approximately €61,200 and weighing 1.5 tonnes out of Russia INTO Estonia.  He had acquired the coins legitimately from Moscow banks, but had not declared them.

http://www.customstoday.com.pk/russian-customs-prevents-1-5-tonnes-of-coins-from-entering-estonia/

BANGLADESH TO TEST IMPORTED FISH FOR HEAVY METALS

Customs Today on 12th January reported that Bangladesh Food Safety Authority has instructed testing of all imported fish for heavy metal from now after finding hazardous levels of lead, chromium and mercury in almost all the fishes brought in from abroad.

http://www.customstoday.com.pk/imported-fish-to-be-tested-for-heavy-metals/

EUROPOL AND SOCIAL MEDIA DAY OF ACTION AGAINST TERRORIST MATERIAL ONLINE

Europol reports that on 11th January Europol’s Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU) organised the 8th joint Referral Action Day with colleagues from the national referral units of Belgium, France and the UK, to identify and secure the swift removal of terrorist and violent extremism content uploaded on Facebook and Instagram.  It targeted content by terrorist groups and terrorist sympathisers, aiming at radicalising, recruiting and propagating terrorist activities.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/eu-law-enforcement-joins-together-facebook-against-online-terrorist-propaganda

FCA SERIOUS CONCERNS OVER CFD

Law news site Out-Law reports that in the UK the FCA has set out its “serious concerns” with contracts for difference (CFD) after a year-long review, and the way they are being promoted and sold to unsophisticated investors, which it has warned have the potential to cause “significant consumer harm”.  The piece notes that CFD are currently under review by EU regulators, as well as those in the UK.

https://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2018/january/fca-sets-out-serious-concerns-with-contracts-for-difference-after-year-long-review/

UK TO BE THIRD COUNTRY FOR DATA PROTECTION PURPOSES AFTER BREXIT

Out-Law on 12th January reports that a note from the European Commission has said that the UK will be a “third country” for personal data transfers from the point of Brexit, and so the flow of personal data from countries in the EU to the UK could be interrupted.

https://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2018/january/eu-the-uk-will-be-a-third-country-for-personal-data-transfers-from-the-point-of-brexit1/

US-SAUDI TALKS ON NUCLEAR CO-OPERATION TO RESUME

On 12th January the Bulletin for Atomic Scientists carried an article saying that negotiations will soon resume between the US and Saudi Arabia on an agreement for civil nuclear co-operation.  This, it points out, would enable US companies to participate in the ambitious plans of Saudi Arabia to build nuclear power reactors to meet its growing electricity requirements.  Previous negotiations stalemated over the treatment of uranium enrichment, with the US insisting on a legally binding commitment not to engage in enrichment or plutonium reprocessing and the Saudis refusing to foreclose what they regard as their sovereign right to pursue nuclear technologies of their choosing for peaceful purposes.

https://thebulletin.org/us-saudi-civil-nuclear-negotiations-finding-practical-compromise11426

RUSSIA REPORTS FIRST MASS-DRONE ATTACK IN SYRIA

Janes.com on 12th January provided further details about a previously-reported drone attack in Syria.  Russian bases in Syria were subject to the first mass attack by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) – fitted with IED by the insurgents – on the night of 5th/6th January, the Russian Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

http://www.janes.com/article/77013/russians-reveal-details-of-uav-swarm-attacks-on-syrian-bases

EMBRAER EXECUTIVE PLEADS GUILTY TO BRIBERY CHARGE IN US

On 12th January, AIN Online reported that Colin Stevens, 61, a former vice president of sales and marketing with Embraer Executive Jets and a UK national living in UAE, has pleaded guilty in the US in connection with a scheme to bribe a high-level Saudi Arabian government official in 2010 in exchange for assistance in selling Embraer aircraft to the country’s national oil company.  See the DoJ news release on 21st December.

https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/business-aviation/2018-01-12/former-embraer-exec-jets-vp-pleads-guilty-fraud

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/former-embraer-sales-executive-pleads-guilty-foreign-bribery-and-related-charges

MORE ON CONVICTION OF NEPHEW OF FORMER UN SECRETARY GENERAL

On 12th January, law firm Buckley Sandler carried a detailed article about the case involving the nephew of former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

https://buckleysandler.com/fcpa-scorecard

US RE-CERTIFIES IRAN DEAL BUT ADDS NEW NAMES TO ITS IRAN SANCTIONS LISTS

On the same day that President Trump re-certified the JCPOA-based deal with Iran for at least another 120 days..

ADDITIONAL US SANCTIONS – MOSTLY INVOLVING IRANIAN TARGETS

On 12th January OFAC in a news release notified the adding of 5 new individuals and 9 new entities to its sanctions lists.  Most were persons or entities in Iran.

 

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20180112.aspx?src=ilaw

 

EU AMENDS AL-QAIDA/ISIL SANCTIONS LIST

On 12th January EU Regulation 2018/50/EU comes into force, amending 2 entries on the Al-Qaida/ISIL sanctions lists under Regulation 881/2002, deleting Zayn Al-Abidin Muhammad Hussein and replacing the entry for Seifallah Ben Hassine with one for Seifallah Ben Omar Ben Mohamed Ben Hassine.

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2018.007.01.0035.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2018:007:TOC

HMRC COMPLIANCE FACTSHEET UPDATED RE ACCESS TO OPEN SOURCE MATERIAL

HMRC compliance checks factsheet CC/FS1f, which contains general information about compliance checks into tax advantage schemes, has been updated to include a “More information” section that explains what information HMRC may use when dealing with compliance checks. HMRC may observe, monitor, record and retain “open source” material on the Internet which is available to anyone, such as news reports websites, Companies House and Land registry records, blogs and social networking sites where no privacy settings have been applied.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/compliance-checks-tax-advantaged-shares-schemes-ccfs1f

FINDINGS OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT’S REPORT ON RULE OF LAW IN MALTA

Malta Today on 11th January published excerpts of what key witnesses told MEPs on a fact-finding mission to Malta in November 2017.  They include –

  • what are described as 2 conflicting positions on what the Police Commissioner told MEPs about investigations into reports of money laundering drawn up by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit;
  • the Attorney General defending his position as to why no criminal investigations were initiated on money laundering allegations against PEP;
  • Chief Justice Silvio Camilleri told MEPs “reasonable suspicion” was not a requirement to initiate an investigation;
  • Malta Financial Services Authority told MEPs it intensified its supervision of Pilatus Bank, a wealth management bank that catered for 130 clients, including PEP and Azerbaijani clients; and
  • FIAU worked on a ‘document’ concerning allegations on an offshore structure in Dubai that was to receive payments from a company managing the LNG terminal in Delimara but this was not conclusive.

http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/83638/key_findings_from_the_european_parliaments_report_on_rule_of_law_in_malta#.WlhPkEx2tZW

Meanwhile, Politico on 12th January reports that MEPs refer to a “culture of fear,” criticise the soft-ball approach to corruption allegations against senior officials and urge the creation of an independent prosecutor.  It has obtained a full copy of the report by the MEPs.

https://www.politico.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/ParliamentRuleOfLawReportMalta.pdf?utm_source=POLITICO.EU&utm_campaign=fd64d1cf30-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_01_12&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_10959edeb5-fd64d1cf30-190081609

THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 11

UN ALLOWS RUSSIA EXEMPTION FOR ARMS SALES TO CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

World Politics Review reports on 10th January that, in mid-December, the UN granted Russia an exemption to the arms embargo on the Central African Republic, after a petition from Moscow to supply the country’s embattled military with light arms and ammunition, according to reporting by the AFP.

RUSSIA’S ARMS EXPORTS TO AFRICA

In the same article as above, in an interview with Paul Stronski, a senior fellow in the Russia and Eurasia program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, discusses Russia’s arms trade with Africa, the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, and how arms sales fit into Russia’s broader approach to the continent are discussed.  The second-largest arms exporter in the world after the US, Russia already sells billions of dollars in weapons annually across Africa.  The article reveals that 12% of Russian arms exports went to Africa in 2016, but that Russia is by far the largest arms supplier to Africa, with 35% of the continent’s arms imports coming from Russian suppliers — mostly from Rosoboronexport, a state intermediary with exclusive rights to export the full range of permitted arms for sale.

https://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/trend-lines/23958/russia-looks-to-the-central-african-republic-to-beef-up-its-arms-sales-to-africa

ALLEGED USE OF “KAMIKAZE” ISRAELI DRONE IN AZERBAIJAN

Haaretz in Israel reports that in August 2017 the Defense Ministry there put out an unusual announcement saying that it would be suspending the sale and export licence issued to Aeronautics Defense Systems for the Orbiter 1K drone that the company was producing for a “substantial client”.                                                                                      That same month, it was reported that the Ministry had opened an investigation following a complaint that in demonstrating a “kamikaze” drone in Azerbaijan, Israeli representatives of the company were allegedly asked to deploy the drone, armed with explosives, against a manned Armenian army position. The two individuals operating the drone refused the request; ultimately, more senior company officials took control of the aircraft, which missed its target, the complaint states.  The company denied the claim at the time and said that any operational use of the aircraft was only carried out by the buyer of the drone.  The newspaper reports that, nevertheless, the company is one of those sending representatives with the Prime Minister on a visit to India.

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.834144

SOUTH KOREA POLICE RAID CRYPTOCURRENCY EXCHANGES

Quartz reports that authorities have raided some of South Korea’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges.  Coinone and Bithumb, 2 large exchanges for virtual currencies like bitcoin, ether, and litecoin, were raided by police and tax authorities.  A Coinone official said that the exchange has been under scrutiny since last year by local police who “think what we do is gambling”.  Such exchanges have sprung up rapidly in the past year or so in South Korea, servicing all kinds of people, everyone from college students to grandparents, with South Korea apparently accounting for some 20% of global bitcoin transactions.

https://qz.com/1177241/police-are-raiding-bitcoin-btc-exchanges-in-south-korea/

US FEDERAL CRACKDOWN ON POT CAUGHT FINCEN ON HOP

On 11TH January Reuters reported that when the US DoJ said it was reversing policy on the $7 billion marijuana business, it failed to first notify federal officials who advise banks in states where the drug is legal, sources in the Congress said, uncertainty led to a flood of phone calls to FinCEN, which had no answers.  The article reports that while marijuana is banned by federal law but it has become legal in one form or another in a number of states, and about 400 banks and credit unions do business with the U.S. marijuana industry – with most being small institutions with operations limited to states where marijuana has been legalised.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-justice-marijuana-exclusive/exclusive-justice-department-blindsided-banking-agency-on-pot-policy-flip-sources-idUSKBN1EZ2X5

NEW AML RESTRICTIONS FOR BRITISH COLUMBIA CASINOS

The Globe & Mail in Canada on 11th January reported on new restrictions aimed at money laundering in British Columbia casinos, following reports of widespread use of them and almost 2 years after similar recommendations were rejected by the BC Lottery Corporation.  The changes, brought in to disrupt the flow of suspicious transactions, had first been proposed in 2015 by regulators, and the province’s gambling and enforcement branch renewed calls for a clampdown the following year, documents show.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/bc-rolls-out-new-casino-rules-aimed-at-tackling-money-laundering/article37570414/

US SANCTIONS COMPLICATE IRANIAN TANKER CLAIMS

On 11th January Reuters reported that a reluctance of foreign banks to deal with Iran could complicate any compensation payments resulting from the collision of an Iranian oil tanker and a Chinese cargo ship, sources say.  Liability has yet to be established but lawyers and insurers say wherever the fault lies compensation payments risk getting bogged down or even blocked because the tanker, Sanchi, and most of its crew were from Iran, and the ship was being operated by NITC of Iran and the continuing restrictions imposed by the US.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-shipping-accident-compensation/china-oil-spill-compensation-claims-face-iran-payment-snags-idUSKBN1EZ28X

UK CHARITY DISQUALIFICATION RULES FOR TRUSTEES & MANAGERS TO CHANGE

On 10TH January CCH Daily reported on changes meaning to, from 1st August, the automatic disqualification rules for trustees and senior managers mean there will be more restrictions on who can run a charity in the UK in a bid to tighten governance, with the current automatic disqualification rules which only apply to trustees strengthened with new disqualification reasons and an extension of the scope of the rules.  Detailed guidance is due at the end of January.

https://www.accountancylive.com/charity-commission-set-disqualify-unsuitable-cfos-and-chief-executives

BREAKING NEW GROUND IN FRAUD RECOVERY CLAIMS

A briefing from law chambers 20 Essex Street concerns a series of public hearings in London in November and December, when the Commercial Court confirmed a suite of earlier interim orders to assist a global commodities company to trace and secure money that had been stolen from its bank accounts following a sophisticated payments fraud by unknown “ghost” perpetrators.  The hearings involved what is believed to be the first worldwide freezing order being initially granted against a specified class of “Person(s) Unknown” on the basis that the class could nevertheless be defined with sufficient precision and that it was known where the perpetrators had channelled the money. There was also a disclosure order against 35 international banks to or through which the proceeds of the fraud have been diverted, to assist with the tracing and securing of the misappropriated money and with the identification of the ghost fraudsters. There were also what are described as “groundbreaking” orders for service of documents by alternative methods including by means of Facebook against 2 of the alleged fraudsters for whom it was difficult to find reliable contact details, and on the alleged fraudsters and the banks by a combination of email notification and online data room document delivery.

www.20essexst.com/sites/default/files/Fraud%20bulletin_January%202018_0.pdf

THE DEFINITION OF ‘MERCHANT’ IN THE ERA OF BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY

A briefing from law firm Montgomery McCracken and concerned with maritime and shipping law discusses what the oft-used, and often widely interpreted, term “merchant” can mean in respect of shipping and cargo claims.  It refers to a recent case, Mediterranean Shipping Co, SA v. Best Tire Recycling Inc, and asks what is the implications of the continued application of the definition of “Merchant” in the modern day shipping industry?

https://www.mmwr.com/alert-resource/definition-merchant-era-blockchain-technology/

IRS CAN BEGIN REVOKING US PASSPORTS OF DELINQUENT TAXPAYERS

On 21st December US law firm Cole Schotz reported that w.e.f. January 1st, the IRS will begin implementing section 7345 of the Internal Revenue Code to certify tax debt to the State Department. This will allow the State Department to revoke or withhold the issuance of passports to delinquent US taxpayers.  After reviewing the criteria, the briefing concludes that a US citizen may be at risk of having their US passport revoked if they travel outside of the US without first addressing delinquent tax debts exceeding $50,000 through any administrative remedies and/or collection alternatives available.

https://www.cstaxtrustestatesblog.com/2017/12/articles/income-tax-2/irs-begin-revoking-u-s-passports-delinquent-taxpayers/#page=1

EU REMOVES 1 NAME FROM GUINEA-BISSAU SANCTIONS LIST

On 11th January, EU Regulation 2018/31/EU removed Sanha CLUSSÉ from the EU Guinea-Bissau sanctions list.  Council Decision 2018/36/CFSP also refers.

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2018.006.01.0001.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2018:006:TOC

HM Treasury also issued a public notice advising of the change to UK sanctions lists on 11th January.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/financial-sanctions-republic-of-guinea-bissau

10 PAKISTANIS ARRESTED BY KENYA POLICE

ANI News reports that Kenyan police have arrested 10 Pakistanis after raids for their alleged involvement in terrorism funding, money laundering and drug trafficking.  Among those seized is the father of a terror suspect arrested in Pakistan. He was identified as Mohammed Tasleem. The 50-year-old owns company that imports rice from Pakistan.

https://www.aninews.in/news/world/asia/10-pakistani-nationals-arrested-in-kenya-over-terror-links201801111244000001/?src=ilaw

ECB CURRENTLY ASSESSING LEAKED FIAU REPORTS ON PILATUS BANK

Malta Today reports that the European Central Bank is assessing information and leaked documents on alleged money laundering by Pilatus Bank supposedly from the country’s FIU, according to a Nationalist MEP.  Pilatus bank is chaired by Iranian-born Seyed Ali Sadr Hasheminejad, who holds a St Kitts & Nevis passport.  The bank has denied links to the Malta PM’s family.

www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/83532/ecb_currently_assessing_leaked_fiau_reports_on_pilatus_bank?src=ilaw#.WlclI0x2tZV

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS ON UK TRADE BILL

The House of Commons Public Bill Committee is calling for written comments on the UK Trade Bill, if the contributor has relevant expertise and experience or a special interest in the Trade Bill, which is currently passing through Parliament.  The first hearing is scheduled for 16th January, and written submissions may be accepted up to 30th January.  The Trade Bill aims to make provision about the implementation of international trade agreements; make provision establishing the Trade Remedies Authority and conferring functions on it; and make provision about the collection and disclosure of information relating to trade.

https://www.parliament.uk/business/news/2018/january/have-your-say-on-the-trade-bill/

IRELAND TO HAVE INDEPENDENT GAMBLING REGULATOR?

Calvin Ayre reports that Ireland’s gambling industry will be overseen by an independent regulatory body, assuming a new government proposal can meet with legislative approval.  In a further to the 2013 Bill, not yet in force, a Minister is proposing an independent statutory authority be established to oversee all gambling and betting activity in the Republic.

https://calvinayre.com/2018/01/10/business/ireland-seeks-independent-gambling-regulator/

COST OF UK FOBT CLAMPDOWN OVERSTATED?

Intergame reports on 11th January that the cost of a clampdown on fixed-odds betting terminals in the UK is being exaggerated, new independent research suggests.  Analysis from the Centre for Economics and Business Research, commissioned by BACTA, the trade association representing the UK amusements sector, shows that the economic impact on bookmakers of lower FOBT stakes could be significantly less than existing estimates have suggested.  Perhaps up to 47% lower than suggested by the government’s initial impact assessment, with a £335 million reduction in annual gross gambling yield to high street betting shops, against the government’s estimate of £639 million.

https://www.intergameonline.com/coin-op/news/cost-of-fobt-clampdown-exaggerated

JAPAN OUT ON A LIMB IN IVORY TRADE; SMUGGLING TO CHINA IS RIFE

On 10TH January the Asahi Shimbun in Japan carried an article which said that although Japan boasts a domestic trade in ivory that it claims is completely above board, it cannot evade calls to shut down the thriving activity on grounds it encourages illegal poaching driven by high demand in China.  Global NGO and other interested parties say Japan should do more to crack down on smuggling.  According to experts, ivory smuggling from Japan to China is rampant, although authorities here rarely make an arrest.  The article relates information from TRAFFIC, a British-based international NGO which said in a report in December that there were 113 cases of illegal ivory exports from Japan to China between 2011 and 2016, involving seizures totalling about 2.3 tons.  Seizures by authorities in China accounted for 106 of the cases, the report said.

www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201801100001.html

 2017 FCPA YEAR IN REVIEW

In the latest TRACE podcast, Billy Jacobson describes the key FCPA enforcement actions of 2017, what surprised him last year and his assessment of enforcement under President Trump.

https://www.traceinternational.org/bribe_swindle_or_steal

CYBERSECURITY OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS SYSTEMS: THREATS, VULNERABILITIES AND CONSEQUENCES

Another cheery article from Chatham House that says that at times of heightened tension, cyberattacks on nuclear weapons systems could cause an escalation, which results in their use.  It points out that nuclear weapons systems were first developed at a time when computer capabilities were in their infancy and little consideration was given to potential malicious cyber vulnerabilities. It says that it is the responsibility of nuclear weapons states to incorporate cyber risk reduction measures in nuclear command, control and communication systems.  Although some information is publicly available on US weapons systems, there is very little information regarding other nuclear weapons states.  Academia and civil society, it contends, should be encouraged to bring this issue to the attention of their government.

https://www.chathamhouse.org/publication/cybersecurity-nuclear-weapons-systems-threats-vulnerabilities-and-consequences

THE ZARRAB AFFAIR DRIVES WEDGE BETWEEN TURKEY AND US

The European Council on Foreign Relations has published an article saying that the saga of an Iranian gold trader has driven a wedge between Turkey and its allies.  In the Zarrab case, an Iranian gold-trader who married a Turkish pop-star in 2010 and rapidly climbed his way up Turkey’s power ladder (with several yachts, flashy homes and a fondness for celebrity status) and made important friends.  In December 2013 he found himself at the center of a massive corruption investigation in Turkey involving illegal gold transfers and fake exports that had siphoned billions of dollars to Iran, circumventing international sanctions.  Several sitting ministers were accused of accepting bribes from Zarrab, and the scheme allegedly centered on the state-owned Halkbank.  However, the Turkish government, seeing the investigation as a Gülen-linked attempt to bring down the Erdogan government, swiftly buried the case and arrested those who brought up the charges. But an FBI inquiry was also quietly underway, and Zarrab was arrested in March 2016 when he landed in Miami to visit Disneyland with his family.  He seems to have accepted a plea bargain deal in the US.

www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_the_zarrab_affair

LUX LEAKS WHISTLEBLOWER WINS APPEAL

The Parliament magazine on 11th January reports that Luxembourg’s highest court overturned the sentence against the Lux Leaks whistleblower who was convicted of leaking thousands of documents that revealed tax breaks for multinational firms. His case will now go to appeal.

https://www.theparliamentmagazine.eu/articles/news/luxembourg-overturns-luxleaks-whistleblower-guilty-verdict?src=ilaw

PWC “FACES INDIAN BAN”

Sputnik of Russia reports that India’s market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), has imposed a 2-year ban on global accountancy firm Price Waterhouse (PwC) from auditing listed companies in the country after it failed to check irregularities in a $1.7 billion auditing fraud at the defunct Satyam Computer Services.

https://sputniknews.com/business/201801111060669467-india-bars-audit-firm/?src=ilaw

HMRC AEO GUIDANCE

On 11th January, HMRC reissued its guidance on Authorised Economic Operator status and how to apply for it.  AEO status is an internationally recognised quality mark indicating that your role in the international supply chain is secure, and that your customs controls and procedures are efficient and compliant. HMRC explains that while it is not mandatory, but it gives quicker access to certain simplified customs procedures and in some cases the right to ‘fast-track’ your shipments through some customs and safety and security procedures.  You can apply for AEO status for customs simplification (AEOC), AEO status for security and safety (AEOS) or both.  It, or similar, exist in many other jurisdictions, and co-operation agreements recognising one another’s AEO programmes exist and will become more common.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/authorised-economic-operator-certification

RUSSIANS GAINING EU CITIZENSHIP THROUGH MALTA

EU Observer on 11th January reports on Russia’s business elite who are snapping up Maltese passports amid EU and US sanctions, and saying that those who forked out for Maltese and – by default – EU citizenship last year included Arkady Volozh, the founder of Yandex, a Russian Uber-type firm, and his entire family.

GREECE SEIZE SHIP CARRYING EMBARGOED EXPLOSIVES MATERIALS BOUND FOR LIBYA

Defence Web on 11th January reported that Greek authorities seized a Tanzanian-flagged ship sailing near Crete and heading for Libya carrying materials used to make explosives.  Authorities found 29 containers carrying materials including ammonium nitrate, non-electric detonators and 11 empty LPG tanks.  According to the ship’s bill of lading, the cargo was loaded in the Turkish ports of Mersin and Iskenderum and was destined for Djibouti and Oman.  The captain was ordered by the vessel’s owner to sail to Misrata to unload and deliver the entire cargo.

http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=50361:libyan-bound-ship-carrying-explosive-material-seized-in-greece&catid=51:Sea&Itemid=106

ANGLO IRISH BANK CHIEF TRIAL DELAYED

On 11th January the Belfast Telegraph announced that the trial of former Anglo Irish Bank chief, David Drumm, has been postponed for 2 weeks to allow legal arguments.

UKRAINE PLANS TO TAKE CONTROL OF CRYPTOCURRENCY MARKETS

112 UA in Ukraine reports that the National Security and Defense Council has announced plans to take control over the cryptic currencies market in Ukraine, because of the “absence of domestic control over the cryptic currencies might result in laundering money and create opportunities for funding terrorism” – including the activity of Russian militants in Donbas.  The National Coordination Centre for Cyber Security has instructed respective governmental agencies to create a working group to solve respective legal issues and the National Bank is also to consider the option to issue its own cryptic currency.  Law enforcement agencies are to have access to databases of cryptic currency stock markets, while the customers will be obliged to store the information about all transactions and release the information about clients when requested by the respective services.

https://112.international/politics/ukrainian-government-plans-to-seize-control-over-market-of-cryptic-currencies-24502.html?src=ilaw

DERIPASKA SUING PAUL MANAFORT

UA Wire in Ukraine reports that a company owned by Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska has filed a lawsuit in New York against Paul Manafort, former head of Trump’s electoral campaign, and his assistant Richard Gates. Deripaska’s Cyprus-based company Surf Horizon Limited accuses Manafort and Gates of fraud involving a portion of the $18.9 million which Surf invested in the Ukrainian telecommunications companies known as the Black Sea Cable Group.

http://uawire.org/russian-oligarch-deripaska-sues-manafort-for-26-million-fraud?src=ilaw#

US SETS UP HEZBOLLAH NARCO-TERRORISM TASK FORCE

On 11th January, the Times of Israel reported that the US DoJ had announced the creation of a special task force to investigate what it called “narco-terrorism” by the powerful Lebanese organisation Hezbollah.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/attorney-general-sessions-announces-hezbollah-financing-and-narcoterrorism-team?src=ilaw

SCOTTISH LIMITED PARTNERSHIPS EXAMINED

On 11th January STV reported that “dozens of Scottish firms using a business model linked to a $1 billion fraud have been probed by Police Scotland at the behest of overseas law enforcement agencies”.  The force confirmed it had received 48 international requests to research Scottish Limited Partnerships (SLP) since 2016.  The article notes that SLP with registered addresses in Scotland have been linked to a number of high-profile international corruption and money laundering cases in recent years.  Another related article notes that SLP have been labelled the “UK’s homegrown secrecy vehicle” by campaigners Transparency International.  This second article looks at the origins and growth in numbers of SLP.

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1406010-scots-firms-with-business-model-tied-to-1bn-fraud-probed/?src=ilaw

https://stv.tv/news/features/1406022-slps-scotland-s-corruption-linked-homegrown-secrecy-vehicle/?src=ilaw

EGYPTIAN COURT QUASHES CORRUPTION CONVICTION OF FORMER MINISTER

On 11th January Middle East Eye reported that an Egyptian court had quashed the conviction and prison sentence for alleged $100 million corruption against ex-interior minister Habib al-Adly and ordered a retrial.  A criminal court had sentenced Adly, who served under former president Hosni Mubarak before his fall to a popular uprising in 2011, to 7 years in prison in April after convicting him on charges of abusing public funds.

www.middleeasteye.net/news/egypt-court-quashes-ex-interior-ministers-100m-corruption-conviction-1001023710?src=ilaw

SERBIAN MINISTER SUES OVER PARADISE PAPERS

OCCRP on 11th January reported that a Serbian minister – Nenad Popovic, a minister without portfolio – is suing OCCRP partner KRIK for revealing he owns offshore companies and assets worth $100 million. KRIK’s story is based on the Paradise Papers. Law firm Appleby had declared Popovic a high-risk person after having dug into his background, according to leaked email exchanges between staff members.  He has been a legal resident and taxpayer in Switzerland since 2008 and the leaked documents show that he controls offshore companies registered in Cyprus and the BVI, companies in Russia, and property in at least 3 countries.

https://www.occrp.org/en/27-ccwatch/cc-watch-briefs/7472-serbian-minister-sues-journalist-over-paradise-papers

FACEBOOK PHOTO OF TATTOOED OLD MAN LEADS TO YAKUZA BOSS ARREST

OCCRP also reports that after a Thai published on Facebook a photo of the torso of a fully-inked old man playing board games with other retirees on the side of the road a former Yakuza boss has been arrested.  The photo went viral and Japanese authorities recognized 74 year-old Yakuza boss Shineharu Shirai by his tattoos and his missing little finger, a common self-inflicted punishment among the Yakuza.

https://www.occrp.org/en/27-ccwatch/cc-watch-briefs/7468-thai-police-arrest-yakuza-boss-after-gang-tattoos-go-viral

BELARUS DIGITAL CURRENCY DECREE

Jurist reports that on December 21st, the President of Belarus signed Decree No. 8, “On the Development of the Digital Economy”, aimed at the development of the digital economy in Belarus by regulating blockchain, cryptocurrencies, tokens, mining, smart contracts, and defining the legal status of such new subjects as crypto-platform operators and cryptocurrency exchange operators. The rules of the Decree are said to be unique, and is in some ways more advanced than even the most highly developed jurisdictions.

http://www.jurist.org/hotline/2018/01/Iryna-Chelyshava-Belarus-cryptocurrency.php

FREEZING ORDERS: A LITIGATOR’S NUCLEAR WEAPON

On 10th January law firm Walker Morris provided a briefing comprising a guide to freezing orders, described as “the litigator’s nuclear weapon”.  The briefing following, the firm says, the strict obligations facing a freezing order applicant having hit the legal headlines in several recent cases.

https://www.walkermorris.co.uk/publications/freezing-orders-litigators-nuclear-weapon/

MAN ARRESTED FOR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT IN GADDAFI-SARKOZY CASE GIVEN BAIL IN UK

On 11th January the Guardian reported that a French businessman wanted for questioning in relation to an inquiry into the alleged illegal financing of Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential election provided by the late Libyan dictator Gaddafi has been granted £1 million bail by the high court in London.  France is looking to extradite Alexandre Djouhri, who is resident in Switzerland, and who was arrested on 7th January by the Metropolitan police at Heathrow airport on a European arrest warrant issued by the French in December.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/10/uk-court-grants-1m-bail-to-man-arrested-over-sarkozy-gaddafi-inquiry

TEXAS MAYOR ARRESTED IN HEALTH CARE FRAUD AND LAUNDERING CASE

Risk & Compliance Hub reports that 4 individuals, including the mayor of Rio Bravo [wasn’t that a John Wayne movie?] in Texas – who was a licensed physician and medical director – have been charged by federal prosecutors for their alleged roles in a $150 million health care fraud and money laundering scheme.  Francisco Pena was accused of taking kickbacks to refer patients for services for which they did not qualify. He is alleged to have conspired with 3 owners of a health care company, Merida Health Care Group, according to officials.

http://www.riskandcompliancehub.com/texas-mayor-charged-in-150-million-medicare-fraud-money-laundering-scheme/

ESTONIAN UNMANNED GROUND VEHICLE (UGV)

After unmanned air vehicles (UAV or drones) and unmanned boats (as employed by Iran and Houthis, it seems), comes unmanned ground vehicles (or UGV).  On 11th January, Janes.com reported that Estonia’s Milrem Robotics has demonstrated the autonomous operation of its THeMIS UGV during a live-fire event held at the Kolgu range in December 2017.

http://www.janes.com/article/76942/milrem-demos-themis-autonomy-outlines-roadmap

See also –

https://www.army-technology.com/projects/themis-hybrid-unmanned-ground-vehicle/

FRANCE LOOKS TO USE BLOCKCHAIN FOR UNLISTED SECURITIES

On 11th January, Clifford Chance carried a briefing saying that France endeavours to take the lead in financial innovation by becoming the first country to introduce a legal framework for the use of blockchain technology for the transmission and representation of unlisted securities.

https://www.cliffordchance.com/content/dam/cliffordchance/PDFDocuments/Client%20Briefing%20-%20France%20-%20Blockchain%20for%20unlisted%20securities%20180750-4-2….pdf

 

GREECE SEIZES SHIP CARRYING EMBARGOED EXPLOSIVES MATERIALS BOUND FOR LIBYA

Defence Web on 11th January reported that Greek authorities seized a Tanzanian-flagged ship sailing near Crete and heading for Libya carrying materials used to make explosives.  Authorities found 29 containers carrying materials including ammonium nitrate, non-electric detonators and 11 empty LPG tanks.  According to the ship’s bill of lading, the cargo was loaded in the Turkish ports of Mersin and Iskenderum and was destined for Djibouti and Oman.  The captain was ordered by the vessel’s owner to sail to Misrata to unload and deliver the entire cargo.

http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=50361:libyan-bound-ship-carrying-explosive-material-seized-in-greece&catid=51:Sea&Itemid=106

EU REMOVES 1 NAME FROM GUINEA-BISSAU SANCTIONS LIST

On 11th January, EU Regulation 2018/31/EU removed Sanha CLUSSÉ from the EU Guinea-Bissau sanctions list.

HM Treasury also issued a public notice advising of a change to UK sanctions lists on 11th January

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2018.006.01.0001.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2018:006:TOC

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/financial-sanctions-republic-of-Guinea-Bissau

 

THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 10

LEGAL BIDS TO BLOCK CANADIAN WEAPON SALES TO SAUDI ARABIA

On 9th January the Globe & Mail reported on 2 attempts by University of Montreal law professor Daniel Turp’ to mount a legal challenge of the $15 billion sale of armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia, after evidence emerged of Canadian-made Terradyne armoured vehicles taking part in a fight with residents of the Saudi kingdom’s Eastern Province, and saying the sales broke the government’s own export control rules.  Federal government attempts to lock the challenges have so far failed.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/court-rejects-ottawas-bid-to-halt-saudi-arms-deal-lawsuit/article37550869/

US CUSTOMS CAN STILL DOWNLOAD YOUR PHONE IF LOCKED OR ENCRYPTED

An article on Law.com repeats a Twitter message from a law professor re the recently updated US Customs rules on examining mobile phones etc.  University of California Davis law professor Elizabeth Joh is reported as tweeting that the agency now requiring “reasonable suspicion” before searching devices may not mean a whole lot — it can still download your phone if it’s not “readily accessible for inspection” (i.e. locked or otherwise encrypted).

https://www.law.com/sites/almstaff/2018/01/09/whats-next-decrypting-iran-phone-frisking-legal-meltdown/

CHANGES TO CHARITY AND CROWDFUNDING LAWS IN SINGAPORE

Channel News Asia reports on 10th January that members of the public in Singapore who appeal for funds on crowdfunding platforms and charities that raise funds will face more scrutiny in ensuring their processes are in order, following changes to the Charities Act.  A minister said that the changes come as the charity landscape has evolved since the last time the Act was amended in 2010.  The amendments are designed to, among other things, strengthen the governance, accountability and transparency of charities and fundraisers, and are expected to take effect within the first half of 2018.  https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/crowdfunding-platforms-charities-to-face-more-stringent-9846284

TRIAL IN WALES OF BERMUDA MONEY LAUNDERING CASE

Bernews Reports that 4 people – Jeffrey Bevan, 50, Samantha Bevan, 52, Joel Ismail, 42, and Paul Charity, 52 – are to stand trial in Wales in connection with allegedly money laundering $2.5 million stolen from the Bermuda Government.  The charges are said to stem from a number of financial transactions conducted by Mr. Bevan whilst employed in the office of the Accountant General in Bermuda.

www.bernews.com/2018/01/2-5m-money-laundering-trial-to-begin-in-wales/

SURVEY: A THIRD OF BRITS WOULD APPLY FOR “MONEY MULE” JOBS

The Mirror reports on 10th January that 1 out of 3 people would apply for a job as a “money mule”, with some even going ahead if they knew it was to launder cash, a new study from Santander bank shows.  A survey of 2,000 adults found that only 15% spotted that a fake advert for a financial transaction control analyst at a fictitious company transferring funds to accounts was actually for a money mule.  Once they heard the job was a front for criminal activity, 7% said they would accept it anyway.

www.mirror.co.uk/money/third-brits-would-apply-job-11825020

AUSTRALIAN TAX TASK FORCE ON CRYPTOCURRENCIES

Financial Review reports that the Australian Tax Office is to create a task force and consult with tax experts and lawyers to help it identify and track cryptocurrency transactions to ensure all taxes are being paid.  It says that a top team of industry specialists will work with the tax officials to “explore common queries and practical issues” involving transactions using the digital distributed ledgers that have no central data storage, which make it difficult to trace and track.  The ATO is also believed to be also working closely with banks, Austrac, state revenue offices, which collect revenues, particularly for property transactions.

http://www.afr.com/news/policy/tax/ato-creates-specialist-task-force-to-tackle-cryptocurrency-tax-evasion-20180109-h0fyaz#ixzz53l9R2b2q

US ACTION AGAINST “PILL MILLS” AND RED FLAGS FOR MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS

In the light of the US “opioid crisis”, the over-prescription and overuse of prescription-type opioid painkillers, US law firm Burr Forman has been running a multi-part series of articles by a former prosecutor on the DoJ attention on the aggressive investigation and prosecution of so-called “pill mill” cases (being described as a pain management clinic that allegedly prescribes narcotics for illegitimate purposes) –

Part1 – http://www.burr.com/2017/11/14/burr-alert-white-collar-courier-delivering-news-providing-guidance-white-collar-matters/

Part 2 – http://www.burr.com/2017/11/28/burr-alert-white-collar-courier-delivering-news-providing-guidance-white-collar-matters-2/ – on what consequences doctors and other medical professionals could face as the result of a “pill mill” investigation;

Part 3 – http://www.burr.com/2017/12/13/burr-alert-part-iii-white-collar-courier-delivering-news-providing-guidance-white-collar-matters/- a detailed explanation of how the government investigates these cases; and

Part 4 – http://www.burr.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/ALERT_Part4_White-Collar-Courier_Pill-Mill-Red-Flags-and-Strategies-to-Avoid-Them_AO.pdf – the “red flags” investigators look for and suggest practices that pain management professionals can implement in order to avoid government scrutiny.

Part 4 says that the US government will heavily rely on evidence of these supposed red flags at trial to establish that the doctor was prescribing drugs for an illegitimate purpose and outside the usual course of professional medical practice, and for that reason it is important for medical professionals to identify those red flags.
NEW YORK REGULATOR PENALTY FOR SOUTH KOREAN BANK

On 5th January Paul Weiss reported that the New York Department of Financial Services on 21st December announced a consent order against NongHyup Bank, a major South Korean bank, and its New York branch that imposed an $11 million penalty for failing to maintain an adequate AML programme.  The New York branch processes approximately $2 billion worth of US dollar transactions each year.  Deficiencies mentioned include in transaction monitoring (including alleged inadequate rules, manipulation of rule thresholds solely to reduce workload, and failure to timely review alerts for potentially suspicious activity), inadequate CDD (including of the NongHyup Head Office and other foreign correspondent bank accounts), and inadequate compliance personnel expertise.

https://www.paulweiss.com/practices/litigation/economic-sanctions-aml/publications/new-york-dfs-issues-11-million-fine-for-aml-deficiencies?id=25768

WHY RUSSIA’S LEADERS ARE HAPPY TO CELEBRATE THE CENTENARY OF ITS SECRET POLICE

In the Power Vertical podcast from Rferl on 22nd December, those Kremlin-watchers taking part discuss why, though it felt it had problems celebrating the Russian Revolution of 1917, Putin and co had less problem in celebrating 100 years of the Cheka (which became MGB, OGPU, NKVD and, eventually, KGB)- the Cheka secret police itself was the successor to the Tsar’s Ochrana.

https://www.rferl.org/a/28933768.html

WHO CLASSIFIES VIDEO-GAMING ADDICTION AS ILLNESS

EurActiv on 10th January reports that World Health Organisation has classified addiction to video-gaming as an illness, in another sign that the condition is gaining recognition from medical professionals and mental health experts around the world.  WHO included gaming addiction in its 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), the global basis for the identification and classification of diseases due for publication in mid-2018.

http://www.euractiv.com/section/health-consumers/news/experts-urge-cautious-approach-as-who-classifies-gaming-addiction-as-illness/

STRUGGLE TO REPLACE DUBLIN’S KINAHAN DRUGS GANG

Dublin Live reports that rival gangs have started to take over Kinahan drugs territory as that cartel begins to implode.  3 gangs are identified.

http://www.dublinlive.ie/news/dublin-news/rival-gangs-begin-taking-over-14133852?src=ilaw

2017 MARITIME PIRACY REPORT PUBLISHED

The International Chamber of Commerce reports that a total of 180 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported to the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) International Maritime Bureau (IMB) in 2017, according to the latest IMB report.  This is the lowest annual number of incidents since 1995, when 188 reports were received.  In 2017, 136 vessels were boarded, while there were 22 attempted attacks, 16 vessels fired upon and six vessels hijacked.  The report highlights the continued risks in the Gulf of Guinea off Africa, and in SE Asia piracy off the Philippines doubled.

https://icc-ccs.org/index.php/1240-maritime-piracy-and-armed-robbery-reaches-22-year-low-says-imb-report

UK NATIONAL REPORT ON RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT

In the UK, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has published the 6th national report to be submitted by the UK in compliance with Article 32 of the Joint Convention on the safety of spent fuel management and the safety of radioactive waste management. It includes reference to the  Transfrontier Shipment of Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel Regulations 2008 which transposes into UK law the requirements of Directive 2006/117/Euratom (the Shipments Directive), which provides a regulatory framework for supervision and control of shipments of radioactive waste and spent fuel into, out of, or through the EU.  In the UK, the Environment Agency (EA) is the competent authority for authorising shipments into and out of England; National Resources Wales (NRW), the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) are the competent authorities for their respective parts of the UK.  One interesting point is that there is a standing ban on shipments to destinations south of latitude 60 degrees south.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-uks-sixth-national-report-on-compliance-with-the-obligations-of-the-joint-convention-on-the-safety-of-spent-fuel-and-radioactive-waste-management

KOI SMUGGLING CASE IN CHINA

Customs Today on 10th January reports Chinese customs officials show koi fish smuggled from Japan in Shenzhen City, after the discovery of 23 koi carp, measuring up to 100 centimeters in length, and 120 koi fry in a vehicle, the first such smuggling case in recent years.

TOWER HAMLETS ALLEGED CORRUPTION CASE

The latest edition of the Dorsey Anti-Corruption Digest includes an item saying that a businessman with links to London’s Labour Party-led Tower Hamlets Council offered to obtain planning permission for the development of 2 skyscrapers on Alpha Square in Canary Wharf in exchange for the payment of a £2 million premium, according to recordings obtained by the Sunday Times. Former London Mayor Boris Johnson approved the 600-home development in April 2016, but the plans did not come to fruition.  The Council has referred the case to the NCA.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/dorsey-anti-corruption-digest-january-96468/

HONG KONG CORRUPTION WATCHDOG CONVOY CASE

The latest edition of the Dorsey Anti-Corruption Digest also reports that 3 senior executive officers of Convoy Financial Services were arrested on corruption charges by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), the Hong Kong corruption watchdog. Convoy is one of Hong Kong’s largest international financial adviser firms.  Convoy also announced that it will commence a civil lawsuit against 28 individuals, including its executive director, directors in other Convoy affiliating companies, and other third parties for “gross breach of fiduciary duty and illegitimate diversion of the company’s funds” in connection with the corruption scandal.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/dorsey-anti-corruption-digest-january-96468/

341 AFRICAN PARROTS SEIZED IN ISTANBUL

Customs Today on 10th January reported that Turkish Customs seized 341 rare African grey parrots that were smuggled via Iraq from the Congo and kept at a warehouse in Istanbul, State-run Anadolu News Agency reported, later to be sold to markets in Turkey.  Turkey remains a key transit route for illegal trafficking of endangered species, especially from Africa and Asia, to European markets.  Trading African grey parrots was banned in 2016 under CITES.

http://www.customstoday.com.pk/turkish-customs-seize-340-rare-parrots-smuggled-from-congo/

GUERNSEY-BASED PFI COMPANIES PAY LITTLE OR NO TAX

Guernsey Press on 10th January carries an article on 3 Private Finance Initiative (PFI) companies based in Guernsey are in the spotlight after claims they have made more than £1 billion in profit between them while paying little or no corporation tax either here or in the UK.

https://guernseypress.com/news/2018/01/10/pfi-firms-based-here-in-the-spotlight-over-tax/#3OottQ8wxCrXaU78.99

US POLICE AGENCIES CLAIMED TO USE ILLEGALLY-OBTAINED EVIDENCE

On 9th January website Jurist reported that US authorities are deliberately concealing information about how they obtained evidence in criminal proceedings, according to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report. It says that HRW investigated a police practice known as “parallel construction,” in which law enforcement illegally obtain evidence and then hide the illegality through legally obtaining supporting evidence.  It claims that, in April 2016 to October 2017, HRW suspected 95 criminal cases of parallel construction.  The group also utilised interviews, court records, documents disclosed by the government and media reports to prove the practice. The nature of secrecy for the illegal activity makes it hard to prove.

http://www.jurist.org/paperchase/2018/01/hrw-us-authorities-concealing-information-about-how-evidence-was-obtained.php

ONLINE MARKETPLACE CONTROLS ON HAZARDOUS/DANGEROUS MATERIALS INADEQUATE

Project Alpha carries a thought-provoking paper from Christina Krawec that says that, in attempts to regulate the trade of hazardous materials used in explosives or weaponry, internet marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon, and Alibaba have all implemented seller policies on their sites.  Alibaba, for example, has a list of 410 radioactive, poisonous, toxic, flammable, explosive, and ozone-depleting substances that are prohibited from being listed.  eBay has a list of 16 “explosives precursors” that are also restricted.  However, her study shows that eBay’s listing policies are not effective in deterring users from selling what the site considers to be hazardous material.

https://projectalpha.eu/a-terrorists-stockroom-the-effectiveness-of-e-marketplace-prohibited-item-policies/

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF THE CBSA SEIZES MY CURRENCY/MONETARY INSTRUMENTS?

On 9th January the Mondaq online service published an article from Lex Sage dealing with what one could do is Canadian customs seized currency or monetary instruments from you, bearing in mind that Canada has a CA$10,000 declaration threshold similar to that in place in the EU.

www.mondaq.com/canada/x/662004/international+trade+investment/What+Should+I+Do+If+the+CBSA+Seizes+My+Currency+Monetary+Instruments

VENEZUELA PARLIAMENT SAYS NEW CRYPTOCURRENCY ILLEGAL

Flipboard carries a Reuters report saying that Venezuela’s opposition-run parliament has outlawed a “petros” cryptocurrency promoted by socialist President Nicolas Maduro, calling it an effort to illegally mortgage the cash-strapped country’s oil reserves.  He had said his government would issue nearly $6 billion of petros as a way to raise hard currency and to evade financial sanctions imposed by the US.

https://flipboard.com/@flipboard/-venezuelas-congress-declares-petro-cryp/f-48d73f8a5d%2Freuters.com

VIDEOS: RADIOLOGICAL RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH CESIUM-137 BLOOD IRRADIATORS

NTI on 9th January said that the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has released a series of educational videos to address the risks posed by high-activity radioactive material used in hospitals, specifically cesium-137 blood irradiators.  These videos—designed for hospital staff and administrators as well as others interested in the issues–feature presentations and discussions from a June 2017 event.

www.nti.org/newsroom/news/new-video-resources-available-addressing-radiological-risks-associated-cesium-137-blood-irradiators/

FCPA CORPORATE ENFORCEMENT POLICY

On 10th January, Baker McKenzie published the latest issue of the Ethics & Compliance in the Americas newsletter which covers the new FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy, which replaced the FCPA Pilot Program that had been in effect since April 2016.

https://globalcompliancenews.com/fcpa-latin-america-corporate-enforcement-policy-20180109/

TRADER FINED FOR ILLEGAL IVORY SITS ON HONG KONG GOVERNMENT BOARD

On 10th January KYC 360 reported that a Hong Kong ivory trader recently fined sits on a government advisory group for protecting endangered species, potentially an embarrassing blow as Hong Kong fights ivory smuggling.  Lau Sai-yuan, a member of the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and the Hong Kong Art Craft Merchants Association, has pleaded guilty to illegal ivory possession and was fined £755.  His conviction came less than 2 weeks after China implemented a total ban on ivory sales in the country.

https://kyc360.com/news/h-kong-trader-fined-illegal-ivory-sits-government-board/

US TO MAKE DIPLOMATS ARMS SALESMEN?

Defence Web on 10th January reports that the Trump administration is nearing completion of a new “Buy American” plan that calls for US military attaches and diplomats to help drum up billions of dollars more in business overseas for the US weapons industry, going beyond the limited assistance they currently provide, officials said.  A key policy change would call for embassy staffers around the world to act essentially as a sales force for defence contractors, actively advocating on their behalf. It was unclear, however, what specific guidelines would be established.  This change is or would be accompanied by a review and further revision of export control laws.

www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=50336:trump-to-call-on-pentagon-diplomats-to-play-bigger-arms-sales-role&catid=113:international-news&Itemid=248

By coincidence, at the same time the non-partisan Stimson Center in the US has published a report. This starts by saying that human rights groups and research organisations have documented numerous cases of diversion and instances of civilian harm caused by arms and munitions sold by the US, suggesting that existing legal, regulatory, and policy controls may not be adequate. This report assesses existing controls and identifies ways to modify the US arms sales process to reduce civilian harm associated with US-sold weapons, while preserving the intended policy benefits of international arms sales.

The report also includes the 2 charts below.

https://www.stimson.org/content/great-power-modifying-us-arms-sales-reduce-civilian-harm-0?src=ilaw

CHART

TABLE

ADVOCATE GENERAL: FISHERY AGREEMENT WITH MOROCCO DUE TO PROBLEM WITH WESTERN SAHARA

A reminder of the continuing dispute in north-west Africa in an Opinion from the EU Advocate General in ECJ Case C-266/16 – By concluding a Fisheries Agreement between the EU and Morocco, the EU was in breach of its obligation to respect the right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination and not to recognise an illegal situation resulting from breach of that right and has not put in place the safeguards necessary to ensure that the exploitation of the natural resources of Western Sahara is for the benefit of the people of that territory.  The news release 01/18 of 10th January reminds one that Western Sahara is a territory bordered by Morocco to the north, Algeria to the north-east, Mauritania to the east and south and the Atlantic to the west.  Currently, the greater part of Western Sahara is occupied by Morocco, which considers it to be an integral part of its territory. A smaller part of that territory, in the east, is controlled by the Front Polisario, a movement which seeks to achieve the independence of Western Sahara.

https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2018-01/cp180001en.pdf

https://www.monckton.com/eu-advocate-general-delivers-landmark-opinion-western-sahara-campaign-uk-v-commissioners-majestys-revenue-customs/

SWISS COURT REFUSES INFORMATION EXCHANGE REQUEST

Switzerland’s highest court has ruled that information relating to certain third parties of a tax evasion case cannot be handed over to US tax authorities, upholding a decision of a lower court.  The US citizen involved was not named in the article.  The information involved that of the US citizen residing in Switzerland and details of third-party individuals including bank employees and lawyers.  The court held that there had been no convincing argument that the information was absolutely necessary for proving that tax evasion had taken place, and that there was no legal basis for requesting specific information about these individuals through administrative assistance channels, even if tax evasion had taken place.

https://www.tax-news.com/news/Swiss_Court_Refuses_Information_Exchange_Request____76189.html?src=ilaw

BANKS SUE US FAMILY BEHIND COCOA TRADER

In an article dated 11th January the Sydney Morning Herald reports that Macquarie Group is chasing $US40.7 million from an American family that ran a billion-dollar-plus cocoa trading business, after emails between staff allegedly revealed one of the biggest fraud cases in recent US history.  Macquarie has joined forces with several other banks including Dutch financial giant ABN AMRO to sue the father-son duo that ran one of the world’s largest suppliers of cocoa products, Transmar.  The civil lawsuit filed in the US alleges that the banks were hoodwinked into believing Transmar was financially sound ahead of lending the company a total of $US360 million in 2016.  Former Transmar chief executive Peter G Johnson and his son Peter B Johnson, who ran Transmar’s Euromar Commodities business were charged in the US over their alleged fraud in August. The charges include bank fraud, wire fraud affecting a financial institution and conspiracy to commit fraud. Both men have denied any wrongdoing.

http://www.smh.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/macquarie-group-sues-family-of-alleged-us-fraudsters-for-50-million-20180110-h0g9u5.html?src=ilaw

JURY SELECTION FOR TRIAL OF FORMER ANGLO IRISH BANK CHIEF

The Irish Independent reports that the selection of a jury has begun in the trial of former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm for allegedly conspiring to defraud depositors and investors. The trials is expected to last 5 months.  He pleaded “not guilty” to 2 charges relating so-called €7.2 billionn “back to back” transactions involving Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Life and Permanent (IL&P) in 2008, and dishonestly creating the impression that deposits in 2008 were €7.2 billion larger than they were.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/former-anglo-boss-david-drumm-arrives-in-court-to-begin-trial-36474605.html

UK CONSULTATION ON DEFAULT COUNTY COURT JUDGMENTS

A reminder that in the UK the MoJ launched a consultation on 27th December on ensuring the default county court judgments process works fairly, for both creditors and debtors, in particular in limiting the circumstances in which an individual may have a judgment made in default against them without their knowledge.  It closes 24th February.

https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/default-county-court-judgments-2/

MICROSOFT EMAILS APPEAL REACHES SUPREME COURT

On 10TH January US law firm Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler reported that the court case involving Microsoft and concerning the privacy of electronic communications and the US government’s ability to reach emails stored abroad in criminal investigations and the applicability of warrants issued under the Stored Communications Act is scheduled for oral argument before the Supreme Court on 27th February.  Meanwhile, it reports that Google has put its own SCA warrant appeal on hold.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/google-puts-its-sca-warrant-appeal-on-35960/

TEMPORARY IMPORT OF YACHTS INTO SPAIN: PROCESS CLARIFIED

Superyacht News reports that the process by which yachts qualify for Temporary Admission (TA) in Spain has been confirmed following uncertainties.  The article explains that The TA Customs regime is used by non-EU flagged yachts entering the Customs Territory of the EU and allows yachts to enjoy total relief from import duties and be exempt from VAT on imports in Spain and other Member States.  The Union Customs Code in 2016 threatened to affect the process under which yachts qualify for the regime.  This article examines how the requirements have been affected in Spain.  However, it also cautions that it would be necessary to ensure that the Spanish simplified procedure is also acceptable for the yacht to be considered under the TA customs regime in other Member States.

http://www.superyachtnews.com/business/back-to-the-future-ta-process-in-spain-clarified

THIRD COUNTRIES ALIGN THEMSELVES WITH EU DRC SANCTIONS

On 9th January the EU announced that the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland and Liechtenstein, members states of the EEA, as well as the Republic of Moldova and Armenia had aligned themselves with a Council Decision imposing and extending sanctions against the Democratic Republic of Congo to 12th December 2018.

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2018/01/09/declaration-by-the-high-representative-on-behalf-of-the-eu-on-the-alignment-of-certain-third-countries-concerning-restrictive-measures-against-the-democratic-republic-of-the-congo/pdf

CAYMAN YACHTS MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR COMMERCIAL CHARTER IN EUROPEAN WATERS

Superyacht News on 10th January reported that the Cayman Islands Shipping Registry (CISR) has followed the lead of the Marshall Islands by introducing a Yacht Engaged in Trade (YET) certification.  This allows a yacht registered in the jurisdiction and over 24 metres to charter up to 84 days per calendar year in European waters (though currently limited to France and Monaco).  The YET certification was introduced in December.

http://www.superyachtnews.com/owner/cayman-islands-offers-yet-registration

SPECIAL REPORT ON RHINO POACHING

BBC special report on rhino poaching asks what do Thai lap dancers, Vietnamese criminals, wealthy Chinese, poor Mozambicans, ex-cops from South Africa and North Korean diplomats have to do with the demise of the African rhinoceros?

www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/rhino_poaching

ISRAELI HUMAN ORGAN TRAFFICKER ARRESTED

News 24 reports that that Kosovo police have said that the Israeli ringleader of a global gang of organ traffickers has been arrested in Cyprus.  Moshe Harel is suspected of organising dozens of illegal kidney transplants at the Medicus clinic in the capital Pristina in 2008 and is the man being held, according to local media.  Recipients, mainly Israelis, would pay up to €100 000 for the transplant. The organ trafficking network came to light in 2008 after a Turkish man collapsed at Pristina airport after having a kidney removed.  Police raided the Medicus clinic, which shut down following the scandal.

https://www.news24.com/World/News/police-arrest-israeli-organ-smuggling-mastermind-20180106

APPLE AND ONION SMUGGLING IN ZIMBABWE

Newsday in Zimbabwe reports that the smuggling of onion and apples from South Africa is depriving the state of millions of dollars in potential tax revenue, the Fresh Produce Marketers’ Association of Zimbabwe has said.

https://www.newsday.co.zw/2018/01/millions-lost-to-smuggling-of-onions-apples/

IS LEBANON SET FOR AN OIL BONANZA?

Chatham House reports that the Lebanese government is banking on oil and gas discoveries to fuel a bright new future. But the challenges are just starting for the small country beset with public mistrust in politicians and ongoing geopolitical disputes.  Lebanon holds estimates of potential natural gas reserves of 25 trillion cubic feet (tcf) based on seismic studies of its share of the Mediterranean Sea, but these have not have been confirmed by drilling and may not amount to reserves that are commercially viable.

https://www.chathamhouse.org/expert/comment/lebanon-set-oil-bonanza