BREXIT: A CUSTOMS UNION – WHAT IS IT, OR MIGHT IT BE, AND WHAT MIGHT IT MEAN?

On 27th February, Gowling WLG produced a helpful Q&A document intended to boost understanding of the key issues and terminology.

https://gowlingwlg.com/en/insights-resources/articles/2018/a-uk-eu-customs-union-half-in-or-all-out?utm_source=insight&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=insights

UN LINKS NORTH KOREA TO SYRIA’S CHEMICAL WEAPON PROGRAMME

On 27th February, the New York Times reported that North Korea has been shipping supplies to the Syrian government that could be used in the production of chemical weapons, UN experts contend.  The supplies from North Korea include acid-resistant tiles, valves and thermometers, according to a report by UN investigators. In addition, North Korean missile technicians have also been spotted working at known chemical weapons and missile facilities inside Syria, according to the report, which was written by a panel of experts who looked at North Korea’s compliance with UN sanctions.  The possible chemical weapons components were part of at least 40 previously unreported shipments by North Korea to Syria between 2012 and 2017 of prohibited ballistic missile parts and materials that could be used for both military and civilian purposes, according to the report.  The report gives fresh details of a military relationship between North Korea and Syria that goes back decades (including North Korea pilots flying Syrian warplanes in the 60s and 70s in wars against Israel).  North Korean technicians helped to develop Syria’s arsenal of ballistic missiles and to build a nuclear power plant capable of producing plutonium, which can be used to make nuclear weapons (but destroyed by Israel in 2007).

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/27/world/asia/north-korea-syria-chemical-weapons-sanctions.html?smid=tw-share

JAPAN PUBLISHES FURTHER EVIDENCE OF NORTH KOREAN SHIP-TO-SHIP ACTIVITY

NK News on 27th February reported that the Japanese government had published further evidence of North Korean vessels engaged in ship-to-ship (STS) transfers on the high seas, a practice prohibited by UN Security Council sanctions. The posts on multiple government websites include photographs of the STS transfer taking place on the morning of February 24th between a North Korean ship and a vessel flying a Maldives flag.  The Chon Man San – the North Korean oil tanker photographed by Japan – was one of the vessels designated on February 23rd, as was its registered DPRK owner, Korea Achim Shipping Co.  The other ship involved – the Xin Yuan 18 – is also an oil tanker.  While flying the flag of the Maldives, it is owned by a Hong Kong company called Ha Fa Trade International.

https://www.nknews.org/2018/02/japan-publishes-further-evidence-of-north-korean-ship-to-ship-activity/?c=1519732429167

UN RENEWS YEMEN SANCTIONS REGIME TO FEBRUARY 2019

On 26th February, a news release from the UN advised that the Security Council had unanimously decided to renew a travel ban, assets freeze and arms embargo against those threatening peace and security in Yemen.  UN SCR 2402 (2018) renewed until 26th February 2019 the travel ban and assets freeze first imposed in UN SCR 2140 (2014).  It also reaffirmed the arms embargo — as laid out in UN SCR 2216 (2015) — against several individuals, including former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

https://www.un.org/press/en/2018/sc13225.doc.htm

OFAC ADDS TO ITS ISIS-RELATED TERRORISM SANCTIONS

On 27th February, OFAC added 2 new names and 7 ISIS-related groups in Bangladesh, Egypt, the Philippines, Somalia, Tunisia and West Africa.

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20180227.aspx

For background, see Reuters at –

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-usa-islamic-state-sanctions/u-s-treasury-slaps-sanctions-on-more-islamic-state-targets-idUKKCN1GB20X?src=ilaw

MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERRORIST FINANCING CONTROLS IN OVERSEAS JURISDICTIONS – UK ADVISORY NOTICE

On 27th February, HM Treasury published a news release following the recent FATF plenary meeting and concerned with money laundering and terrorist financing controls in higher risk jurisdictions, and the requirement to apply Enhanced Due Diligence for higher risk jurisdictions.

hmt

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/money-laundering-and-terrorist-financing-controls-in-overseas-jurisdictions-advisory-notice