THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 19 (PART 2)

Having sorted out uploading problems (by switching to Chrome!), here are some extra postings…

19th January 2018

GUNS, KNIVES, SWORDS AND OTHER OFFENSIVE WEAPONS: UK BORDER CONTROL

HMRC and UK Border Force on 19th January released guidance which summarises the requirements, controls and sanctions that Border Force applies to firearms and offensive weapons when they are imported into the UK.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/import-controls-on-offensive-weapons

US LAWMAKERS AIM TO TIGHTEN TERMS OF IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL

EurActiv reports that a Bill, the  Iran Freedom Policy and Sanctions Act, was introduced in the US House of Representatives on 18th January aimed at tightening the terms of the Iran nuclear deal, despite Tehran’s rejection of changes to the accord.  The proposed legislation “makes clear what any effective agreement would have to contain”.  A parallel Bill aimed at toughening the nuclear deal is under consideration in the Senate.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/us-lawmakers-aim-to-tighten-terms-of-iran-nuclear-deal/

LICENSING OF PRECURSOR CHEMICALS IN THE UK

On 19th January the Home Office released an updated wallchart detailing guidance contains information on the domestic licensing and registration requirements for 3 categories of chemical substances which are potential drugs precursors.  Plus another chart outlines the authorisation requirements for importing chemicals into the UK and the requirements for exporting them to different countries across the world.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/precursor-chemicals-wallchart-for-domestic-licensing

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/precursor-chemical-import-and-export-authorisation-wallchart

TURNAROUND SPECIALIST RESIGNS FROM ALLEGED PONZI COMPANY

Reuters reports that a turnaround specialist has resigned as chief restructuring officer of the Woodbridge Group of Companies, a property development business that the US SEC has charged is a $1.2 billion Ponzi fraud.  He was hired by Woodbridge in October, replacing the company’s founder, after the SEC began investigating Woodbridge’s fund-raising.  Woodbridge filed for bankruptcy in December and was subsequently had its assets frozen and accused of selling unregistered securities to raise funds to repay earlier investors.  The SEC alleges the commercial property developers were actually entities controlled by Woodbridge’s founder, Robert Shapiro.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bankruptcy-woodbridge-executive/executive-resigns-from-u-s-firm-accused-of-1-2-billion-ponzi-scheme-idUSKBN1F828I

OFAC FAQ ON VENEZUELAN DIGITAL CURRENCY

On 19th January OFAC published updated FAQ regarding US persons’ involvement in the Venezuelan government’s proposed digital currency –

  1. In December 2017, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced plans for the Government of Venezuela to launch a digital currency.  According to public reporting, Maduro indicated that the digital currency would carry rights to receive commodities in specified quantities at a later date.  Were the Venezuelan government to issue a digital currency with these characteristics, would U.S. persons be prohibited from purchasing or otherwise dealing in it under E.O. 13808?

A currency with these characteristics would appear to be an extension of credit to the Venezuelan government.   Executive Order 13808 prohibits U.S. persons from extending or otherwise dealing in new debt with a maturity of greater than 30 days of the Government of Venezuela.  U.S. persons that deal in the prospective Venezuelan digital currency may be exposed to U.S. sanctions risk. [1/19/2018]

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20180119.aspx?src=ilaw

https://blogs.wsj.com/riskandcompliance/2018/01/19/u-s-warns-on-venezuelan-digital-currency/

UK GUIDE TO EXPORTING TO CYPRUS

The Department for International Trade has published the latest updated export guide – this time for exports to Cyprus.  It is described as a guide for UK businesses who are interested in developing their overseas trade and doing business in Cyprus.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/exporting-to-cyprus

US REGULATOR FILES CHARGES AGAINST 3 CRYPTOCURRENCY OPERATORS

City AM on 19th January reported that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in the US has filed charges against 3 separate cryptocurrency operators with allegations of fraud – New York resident Patrick McDonnell and his company CabbageTech;  Dillon Michael Dean of Colorado and his UK-registered company Entrepreneurs Headquarters, which it says ran a Ponzi scheme, through which they solicited at least $1.1 million worth of Bitcoin from more than 600 members of the public; and a third unnamed accused.

ZIMBABWE: CONVICTED EX-MINISTERS TO LOSE ILL-GOTTEN GAINS

Pindula in Zimbabwe reports that the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has said that it intends to conclude at least 20 high profile corruption cases as part of a 100-day work plan, which will result in the “forfeiture of illegally acquired wealth on conviction of economic and corruption cases”.  This comes after a number of former ministers have been arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission on various charges of corruption and criminal abuse of office, including – Ignatius Chombo; Walter Mzembi; Walter Chidhakwa; Makhosini Hlongwane; Joseph Made; Samuel Undenge; Jason Machaya.

https://news.pindula.co.zw/2018/01/19/govt-confiscate-illegally-acquired-wealth-former-ministers-convicted-corruption/?src=ilaw

UK TREATMENT OF THOSE AFFECTED BY SANCTIONS TRAVEL BANS

On 18th January the UK released an updated version of UK Visas and Immigration guidance for staff on how to manage individuals who are, or are suspected of being, subject to a UN or EU travel ban.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/international-travel-bans

UK-BASED CRYPTOCURRENCY HAS BANK ACCOUNT FROZEN IN MALAYSIA

On 19th January, BTC Manager reported that on January 12th the London-based cryptocurrency exchange Luno released a statement acknowledging that local authorities have frozen its bank account in Malaysia.

https://btcmanager.com/malaysian-tax-authority-freeze-bank-account-cryptocurrency-exchange-luno/

US CUSTOMS EXAMINATION OF ELECTRONIC DEVICES

On 19th January, US law firm Mitchell, Silberberg and Knupp published a further briefing providing greater detail and information about searches of electronic devices by US Customs.  Given, it says, the increasing likelihood of any traveller’s electronic devices being subjected to a search, whether arriving or departing the US by air, ocean or land, these recent changes warrant a deeper examination.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/border-searches-of-electronic-devices-61949/

UN RENEWS DESIGNATION OF SHIP UNDER LIBYAN SANCTIONS

On 19th January, the European Sanctions Blog reported that the UN Security Council had renewed the designation of a vessel (named ‘Capricorn’) under its Libya sanctions list pursuant to UN SCR 2146 relating to the illicit exportation of petroleum from Libya.

https://europeansanctions.com/

HSBC TO PAY $101.5 MILLION UNDER DEFERRED PROSECUTION AGREEMENT IN US

Law 360 on 19th January reported that HSBC Holdings PLC had agreed to pay $101.5 million as part of a deferred prosecution agreement filed in New York federal court to settle claims it defrauded 2 clients in a multimillion-dollar scheme to manipulate currency exchanges.  It agreed to pay a $63.1 million criminal penalty and $38.4 million in disgorgement and restitution to settle charges contained in a 2-count criminal information alleging wire fraud.

https://www.law360.com/articles/1003606

SPANISH POLICE AND GUARDIA CIVIL JOIN WITH EUROPOL TO ACT AGAINST IRAQI ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION

A Europol news release on 19th January reports that it supported 7 mixed teams of Spanish National Police (Policía Nacional) and Guardia Civil in a successful strike against Iraqi illegal immigration in which 6 individuals were arrested in Spain. The criminal organisation transferred Iraqi illegal immigrants from their country into the EU Schengen Zone.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/spanish-national-police-and-guardia-civil-join-forces-europol-in-hit-against-iraqi-illegal-immigration-to-eu

SPREAD BETTING FIRMS URGED TO GET INVOLVED IN EU CALL FOR EVIDENCE ON INTERVENTION

An article from legal news site Out-Law on 19th January is concerned with the news that EU regulators (ESMA) have set out proposals to restrict or prohibit the marketing or sale of certain contracts for difference (CFD) financial products to non-sophisticated investors.

https://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2018/january/spread-betting-firms-urged-to-get-involved-in-eu-call-for-evidence-on-intervention/

US CUSTOMS SEIZES £1 MILLION OF COUNTERFEIT STAINLESS STEEL SINKS

On 19th January US Customs and Border protection reported that officers had seized 2,990 stainless steel sinks that if authentic would have an MSRP of more than $1 million, for displaying a counterfeit UPC shield design.  The shipment of sinks arrived from Malaysia.

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/baltimore-cbp-seizes-1m-counterfeit-stainless-steel-sinks

US GUIDE TO FOREIGN DESTINATIONS FOR TRAVELLERS

On 19th January the New York Times produced what it described as a primer to the new country rankings published by the State Department with the aim of helping travelers choose safe destinations, and which classifies every country from A to Z on a scale of 1 to 4 on its Travel.state.gov website.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/19/travel/new-state-department-travel-advisories.html

CANNABIS LOLLIPOPS FROM ICELAND DETAINED IN US

On 18th January a US Customs and Border Protection news release reported that officers seized lollipops laced with marijuana at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) on January 11th.  During an inspection of baggage delivered a day late after the traveler arrived from Iceland, CBP officers discovered 10 lollipops in a plastic container. The lollipop packaging was adorned with artwork marijuana leaves. The lollipops field tested positive for THC, and weighed a combined 186 grams.

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/baltimore-cbp-puts-wrap-cannabis-lollipops

SRI LANKA BANK CHIEF ACCUSED OF INSIDER TRADING

Risk & Compliance Hub on 19th January reports that a former governor of Sri Lanka’s central bank has been accused of insider trading by a damning presidential report into a high-profile bond scandal.  The long-awaited inquiry recommended the state recover a $4.4 million loss caused by the actions of then bank chief Arjuna Mahendran in 2015, who is sad to have leaked sensitive information to his son-in-law Arjun Aloysius, a bond trader.

http://www.riskandcompliancehub.com/former-sri-lanka-bank-chief-engaged-in-insider-trading-probe/

GAMBLING (ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING AND COUNTERING THE FINANCING OF TERRORISM) ACT 2018

CASINO (AMENDMENT) ACT 2018

In The Isle of Man, the Gambling (Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism) Act 2018, in operation we.f. 16th January, is now available on the island’s legislation website, and described as being to provide the necessary powers to conduct regulatory oversight of the gambling sector’s compliance with AML/CFT legislation; to provide sanctions for non-compliance; and for connected purposes.  Also in operation at the same time is the Casino (Amendment) Act 2018 which, amongst other things, permits the revocation of a casino licence (there is only 1 at the moment…) in cases of non-compliance with AML/CFT legislation.

https://legislation.gov.im/cms/images/LEGISLATION/PRINCIPAL/2018/2018-0002/GamblingAnti-MoneyLaunderingandCounteringtheFinancingofTerrorismAct2018_1.pdf

https://legislation.gov.im/cms/images/LEGISLATION/PRINCIPAL/2018/2018-0001/CasinoAmendmentAct2018_1.pdf

POLAND TO RETURN ALL NORTH KOREAN WORKERS NEXT YEAR

On 19th January an unconfirmed blog post on a usually reliable site reported that the Polish government has confirmed that it has decided to return all North Korean workers by next year in accordance with UN SCR 2397 on North Korea. There were 462 NK workers in Poland last year.

NEW LAW GIVES CBP MORE RESOURCES TO CURB FENTANYL TRAFFICKING

Homeland Preparedness on 19th January reported that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers will soon have access to new resources to detect fentanyl and other synthetic opioids that are being trafficked into the United States under a Bill – International Narcotics Trafficking Emergency Response by Detecting Incoming Contraband with Technology (INTERDICT) Act – that was signed into law.  It provides additional chemical screening devices at ports of entry and mail and consignment facilities, and also provides additional personnel, including scientists to discern test results from the field during all hours of operation.

https://homelandprepnews.com/stories/26285-new-law-gives-cbp-resources-curb-fentanyl-trafficking/

SOUTH KOREA TO AVOID VIOLATING SANCTIONS WITH NORTH’S OLYMPIC PARTICIPATION

The Yonhap News Agency reports that South Korea’s foreign minister has said that South Korea is working closely with the international community to make sure North Korea’s PyeongChang Olympic participation does not run afoul of international sanctions imposed on the North.

http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2018/01/19/35/0401000000AEN20180119009500315F.html

OFAC FAQ ON VENEZUELAN DIGITAL CURRENCY

On 19th January OFAC published updated FAQ regarding US persons’ involvement in the Venezuelan government’s proposed digital currency.

551. In December 2017, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced plans for the Government of Venezuela to launch a digital currency.  According to public reporting, Maduro indicated that the digital currency would carry rights to receive commodities in specified quantities at a later date.  Were the Venezuelan government to issue a digital currency with these characteristics, would U.S. persons be prohibited from purchasing or otherwise dealing in it under E.O. 13808?

A currency with these characteristics would appear to be an extension of credit to the Venezuelan government.   Executive Order 13808 prohibits U.S. persons from extending or otherwise dealing in new debt with a maturity of greater than 30 days of the Government of Venezuela.  U.S. persons that deal in the prospective Venezuelan digital currency may be exposed to U.S. sanctions risk. [1/19/2018]

 

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20180119.aspx?src=ilaw

THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 19

After a slight setback with Windows Edge and uploading posts…here are the latest.

 

BLOCKCHAIN, TRADE FINANCE AND SANCTIONS ISSUES

An article by 3 representatives of law firm Clifford Chance in Financier Worldwide explains how blockchain technology could help with trade finance, but then cautions that the export ad use of technology originating in the US could be subject to US sanctions, and/or sanctions imposed by the EU or other countries.  It cautions that failure to enter all relevant information (i.e. relevant information that is currently in the bills of lading, letters of credit and other shipping documents, such as inspection reports, certificates of origin and the commercial invoices) could also create problems with sanctions controls (particularly OFAC’s “should have known” knowledge standard.  The article proposes 4 sanctions-specific functionalities that we believe developers should consider when creating and building blockchain for trade finance, and although focused on trade finance, these same sanctions-specific functionalities could be used in the development of other blockchain solutions.

https://www.financierworldwide.com/blockchain-trade-finance-and-sanctions-issues#.WmA3qEx2tZU

SAN MARINO AML/CFT AND THE IMF

On 17th January, in its concluding statement on the preliminary findings of a staff visit to San Marino, the IMF included a comment relevant to AML/CFT.  It said that “San Marino’s continued efforts to engage with the international community and enhance transparency are crucial.  The recently ratified regulatory update of the AML/CFT framework will help improve the credibility of the system.  A framework for due diligence should be developed for the new residency programs to safeguard financial integrity.  Further co-operation with Italy, including establishing a memorandum of understanding with the Bank of Italy, will be important to strengthen institutional capacity of San Marino”.

http://www.imf.org/en/News/Articles/2018/01/17/ms011718-san-marino-staff-concluding-statement-of-the-2018-article-iv-mission

THE IMF ROLE IN AML SURVEILLANCE

Meanwhile, a factsheet from the IMF published in October outlines the IMF role in respect of AML/CFT.

http://www.imf.org/en/About/Factsheets/IMF-Surveillance

NIGERIAN BUSINESSMAN JAILED IN UK FOR MONEY LAUNDERING

PM News in Nigeria reports that Nigerian businessman Walter Wagbatsoma, 47, has been sentenced to 3½ years imprisonment for money laundering in the UK, and disqualified from being a company director for 6 years.  His fraudulently obtained funds in the UK were laundered through an account in Dubai under the control of a co-conspirator convicted in his absence at an earlier trial in April 2017 and sentenced to 7 years imprisonment.  The investigation was conducted by Lincolnshire Police Economic Crime Unit under Operation Tarlac, in which over £12 million was defrauded from public bodies including hospital trusts, housing associations and councils around the UK.  Wagbatsama was arrested in Germany in 2016; an oil and gas businessman, he was then already on trial in Nigeria and sentenced to 10 years in absentia for his part in a £1.9 billion oil subsidy fraud in January 2017.  This conviction is the thirteenth following a 4-year investigation and 4 trials involving Operation Tarlac.

https://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2018/01/17/nigerian-oil-tycoon-wagbatsoma-jailed-uk-money-laundering/

MULTILATERAL CONVENTION TO IMPLEMENT TAX TREATY RELATED MEASURES TO PREVENT BASE EROSION AND PROFIT SHIFTING (MLI)

An article from law firm Gowling WLG on 17th January discusses the above treaty in the context of Canada. In passing it mentions that to date only Austria and the Isle of Man have ratified the MLI, though the OECD had announced that 5 countries were expected to ratify the MLI by the end of 2017 (with 5-country ratification is the first step in the MLI’s coming into effect).

https://gowlingwlg.com/en/global/insights-resources/multilateral-instrument-update?lang=en-CA

For more information on the MLI –

http://www.oecd.org/tax/treaties/multilateral-convention-to-implement-tax-treaty-related-measures-to-prevent-beps.htm

RUSSIAN COURT SAYS PARALLEL IMPORTATION IS LEGAL

An article from Gowling WLG on 17th January deals with a December court case in Russia where an appeals court that appears to indicate that attempts to prevent parallel importation of goods would amount to unfair competition.  A parallel import (aka “grey imports” or “grey goods”) is a genuine, non-counterfeit product imported from another country without the permission of the intellectual property owner.  The article concludes by saying that parallel importation has been a hot topic in Russia and in the Eurasian Economic Union for some time, and if this court decision is upheld and if the Constitutional Court aligns with it, parallel importation may become entirely legal in Russia.

https://gowlingwlg.com/en/global/insights-resources/russian-court-says-parallel-importation-is-legal?lang=en-CA

UPPER TRIBUNAL REFUSES PERMISSION FOR JUDICIAL REVIEW OF HMRC’S POLICY ON PRIOR MISAPPLICATION OF LAW

On 12th January, RPC published a briefing reporting that the Upper Tribunal has refused an application for permission to judicially review HMRC’s decision not to compensate the taxpayer beyond the scope of its published policy.  The claimants ran residential care homes for profit and until 2002 HMRC had erroneously treated the supplies of services provided by residential care homes as being exempt from VAT.  Business Brief 28/04 in 2004 said that care homes did not have to register for VAT for the period prior to 2002, but that a care home could register if it so wished and it would then have to account for VAT to HMRC.  The Upper Tribunal found there was no representation that HMRC would apply a more favourable policy than had been published, and the only legitimate expectation created was that supplies made before 2002 would be treated as exempt.  That expectation had been fulfilled by HMRC’s policy of not insisting that care homes register for VAT.

https://www.rpc.co.uk/perspectives/tax-take/upper-tribunal-refuses-permission-for-judicial-review-of-hmrcs-policy-on-prior-misapplication-of-law#page=1

UPPER TRIBUNAL REJECTS APPLICATION FOR DISCLOSURE RELATING TO INTERNAL FCA DECISION-MAKING

On 16th January law firm Dentons reported that the Upper Tribunal dismissed an application for disclosure of materials relating to the FCA’s internal decision-making processes around initiating and pursuing action against approved individuals.  The Complaints Commissioner did, however, say that the FCA’s failings in the case had been considerable but he did not believe the complainant’s request for damages was justified.

https://www.dentons.com/en/insights/newsletters/2018/january/16/financial-markets-disputes-and-regulatory-update/financial-markets-disputes-and-regulatory-update/regulatory-developments

CE MARKING AFTER BREXIT

Squire Patton Boggs on 16th January in its Trade Practitioner newsletter reported that on 10th January, the European Commission published an important notice warning of the consequences that Brexit will have in the field of industrial products, which are subject to CE Marking requirements when placed on the EU market.  Companies that wish to continue placing products on the EU market after Brexit day in 2019, and that previously relied on conformity assessments carried out by a UK Notified Body, will no longer be able to rely on those – but would need conformity carried out by a body on one of the other 27 Member States.  The article also lists those products requiring CE marking.

https://www.tradepractitioner.com/2018/01/ce-marking-post-brexit/#page=1

SWISS CONSULTATION ON BEARER SHARES

Reuters on 18th January reported that the Swiss government, wary of being branded a tax avoidance pariah, said it was launching a public consultation on measures to convert anonymous bearer shares in private companies into registered shares which have owners’ names attached.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-swiss-tax-secrecy/swiss-secrecy-could-slip-further-under-plan-to-scrap-anonymous-shares-idUSKBN1F61K0

HEZBOLLAH BOMBING IN ISRAEL: TRIAL BEGINS IN BULGARIA

Novinite ON 18TH January reports that the trial in absentia of 2 Hezbollah operatives, who allegedly blew up an Israeli tour bus in 2012, killing 5 Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver and injured 32 others, has begun in Sofia.  The suspects Lebanese-Australian Meliad Farah and Lebanese-Canadian Hassan El Hajj Hassan fled to Lebanon but authorities there refused to extradite the men to Bulgaria, though Interpol has issued arrest warrants for them.

www.novinite.com/articles/187116/Hezbollah+Terrorist+Trial+Starts+in+Bulgaria?src=ilaw

GHANA: “MISSING” BILLIONS OF GOLD EXPORTS

Pulse in Ghana reports that $5 billion were unaccounted for in gold exports from Ghana to the United Arab Emirates. According to a statement by the President, Ghana’s estimated gold exports to the UAE amounted to over $7 billion – however, official records suggest only $2 billion was accounted for in the government coffers.  He blamed unscrupulous persons were also criminally disposing the nation off the value from illegal mining.

http://www.pulse.com.gh/news/local/5-billion-missing-from-ghana-s-gold-exports-to-uae-id7859210.html?src=ilaw

SINGAPORE TO CRACK DOWN ON WHITE COLLARE CRIME

Bloomberg on 18th January reported that Singapore says it is getting more serious about tackling white-collar crime.  The police force’s financial crime-fighting unit — the Commercial Affairs Department – has declared a goal to target ill-gotten gains “more proactively,” especially those from overseas.  This follows several high-profile cases, notably involving troubled Malaysian state fund 1MDB.  The article also provides useful briefs on the 1MDB case, the Commercial Affairs Department, etc.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-18/meet-singapore-s-white-collar-crime-busters-quicktake-q-a?src=ilaw

UK COURT OF APPEAL CONSIDERS DISCLOSURE AND BARRING SERVICE (DBS)

On 15th January the Law Society Gazette carried an article reporting on 2 recent cases the Court of Appeal which considered the application of ECHR Article 8 (the right to respect for private and family life) to Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks undertaken on persons applying for certain jobs and positions.  Both considered the interface of 2 important rules of public policy: an individual’s right to privacy in relation to events which have occurred in the past; and the public’s right to protection from harm through the regime for the disclosure of criminal records in relation to those working in certain professions, including with children and vulnerable adult.  The Court of Appeal held that certain aspects of the current scheme were not ‘in accordance with law’.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/legal-updates/privacy-and-disclosure/5064281.article

FORMER ROCK BAND GUITARIST ARRESTED FOR FRAUD IN US

On 18th January the Guardian reported that the former bassist of the rock band the Ataris a woman were indicted on federal conspiracy and fraud charges in the US.  Michael Sean Davenport, 49, was arrested last month and accused him of running a telemarketing business in Santa Barbara, California, for 8 years.  The indictment alleges the business advertised houses and apartments it did not own at low prices and defrauding more than 100,000 people out of $27 million.  He and  Cynthia Rawlinson, his sales manager, are charged with wire and mail fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/18/former-ataris-bassist-indicted-in-27m-telemarketing-case

BUSINESSMAN JAILED FOR SELLING THOUSANDS OF COUNTERFEIT SKY REMOTE CONTROLS

Business MK in Milton Keynes reports that a businessman has been jailed for 28 months after a raid by trading standards officers made the biggest seizure of counterfeit Sky products in the UK.  Stephen Usher, director of Super Satellite Man Ltd and Sky Satellites Ltd, was sentenced at Luton Crown Court after previously pleading guilty to 4 offences including fraudulent trading.

http://www.businessmk.co.uk/news/art/2840/Businessman-jailed-for-selling-thousands-of-counterfeit-Sky-remote-controls.html

NORTH KOREAN MALWARE HIJACKS COMPUTERS TO MINE MONERO CRYPTOCURRENCY

On 17th January a briefing reported that researchers at cybersecurity firm AlienVault have discovered a computer virus of North Korean origin which infects and hijacks computers in order to mine Monero, a private digital currency which styles itself as “secure, private and untraceable.”

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/another-hitch-in-the-crypto-boom-north-85533/

COMORO ISLANDS “CANCELS 170 PASSPORTS ON GROUNDS OF ABUSE”

On 17th January, Kenneth Rijock reports that the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Comoros Islands has revoked and cancelled 170 Comoros passports, all issued by Albert Karaziwan’s Semlex Group, to foreign nationals, on the grounds of abuse.  Additionally, he has cancelled Karaziwan’s diplomatic passport, which names Karaziwan as a traveling Ambassador and Counselor to the President of the Comoros Islands, as well as all those passports issued to his wife and child.  Rijock has previously Cast doubts on the credibility of Semlex.

http://rijock.blogspot.com/

BARCLAYS FOREX TRADER CHARGED WITH FRAUD IN US

Law 360 on 17th January reported that Robert Bogucki, 45, the former head of foreign currency exchange trading for a New York office of Barclays PLC has been charged with fraud and conspiracy for a purported scheme to defraud Hewlett-Packard out of millions of dollars by manipulating the market for foreign exchange options.

https://www.law360.com/articles/1002692

US CUSTOMS FIRST SALE RULE ENFORCEMENT

Sandler Travis & Rosenberg on 18th January advised importers to review transactions taking advantage of the first sale rule to ensure they are consistent with US Customs requirements. CBP is scrutinising imports using this valuation methodology more closely as part of a broader increase in enforcement efforts.  Under the first sale rule, the entered value of a qualifying transaction may be based on the purchase price between the middleman/vendor and the manufacturer rather than the importer and the middleman/vendor.

https://www.strtrade.com/news-publications-first-sale-rule-enforcement-CBP-011818.html

PORTUGAL/SPAIN CRACK PINEAPPLE COCAINE GANG

Reuters on 17th January reported that Police in Portugal and Spain said they had seized hundreds of kilograms of cocaine hidden inside fresh pineapples, and arrested 9 members of a gang that had transported the drug from South America.  The seizure, from shipping containers, was said to be part of an ongoing investigation across both countries that started April 2017.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-portugal-drugs-pineapples/portuguese-spanish-police-bust-huge-pineapple-cocaine-ring-idUKKBN1F625XtHE

TERRORISTS USING DARK WEB TO SOURCE WEAPONRY

Cipher Brief on 17th January reports that terrorists are turning to the Dark Web’s crypto-bazaars, social media channels and e-commerce sites to buy more coveted military equipment than the usual rocket launchers and AK-47 in the traditional black market. These digital black markets are also allowing terrorist organizations from Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen, as well as self-radicalized individuals in the West, to access a larger assortment of arms, explosives material and expertise from the comfort and anonymity of their home computers. 

https://www.thecipherbrief.com/article/tech/terrorists-stalk-dark-web-deadlier-weaponry

 UK REVIEW OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY IMPACT OF FOREIGN INVESTMENT

On 18th January, Clifford Chance reported an article concerning the fact that the UK government has published proposals to strengthen its powers to review, and potentially block or unwind, investments on national security grounds.  The impacts for infrastructure assets and projects can be significant.  What should investors and investment managers know about this process and how to manage it going forward?  The article takes the form of an interview with a partner from Clifford Chance.

https://irei.com/sponsor-profiles-interviews/

ISIS IS STILL IN BUSINESS

On 17th January, Chatham House published a thought-provoking and important briefing claiming that, despite its defeat on the battlefield, ISIS is using Iraq’s black market to stockpile millions of dollars to fuel its coming insurgency.  Once dubbed ‘the world’s richest terrorist organization’ by the UN, it has also lost an estimated 80% of the funds it acquired by conquering territory and mimicking the functions of a state, collecting taxes and tariffs from the citizens under its control; but the corrupt war economies of Iraq and Syria will allow ISIS to continue on and finance a dangerous insurgency. For example, it is claimed that ISIS has smuggled an estimated $400 million out of Iraq and Syria during its recent retreat.  As ISIS returns to its insurgent roots, it has invested at least $250 million in legitimate businesses. Both in Baghdad and in recently liberated areas, it is relying on middlemen who are inspired not by its ideology but by the prospect of economic gain.  It is claimed that many of the middlemen are tribal leaders or businessmen who have clean records and can hide their links to the terrorist organization. They are given a lump sum of cash to invest in a given business, and ISIS then takes a cut from the profits.  Front companies include car dealerships, electronics shops and pharmacies — but the business of choice is currency exchanges.

https://www.chathamhouse.org/expert/comment/isis-still-business

MUTUAL TRADE RESTRICTIONS BETWEEN THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION AND UKRAINE WERE BROADENED AND EXTENDED FOR 2018

A briefing from Sayenko Kharenko from Ukraine reports on ongoing restrictions that were mutual restrictions, which had been snowballing between countries since 2015, were due to expire by 31st December 2017.  It rehearses how both countries reached the current situation, how they continue and concludes that, the renewal of the active trade between Ukraine and the Russian Federation is not likely to be forthcoming in 2018 [which seems rather an understatement…].

http://www.sk.ua/news/4473

CAPITAL FLIGHT FROM RUSSIA SOARS

On 18th January, rferl in its “Morning Vertical” email alert reported that the Russian Central bank claimed that capital flight soared to $31.3 billion in 2016, a 160% increase from 2016, and that foreign investors continued to flee Russia in 2017, withdrawing nearly $1 billion – claiming that this points to shaky economic foundations of the Russian economy.

RUSSIA PREPARES SANCTIONS AGAINST WADA OFFICIAL

It is reported via rferl that a preliminary sanctions list is circulating in the Federation Council that targets World Anti-Doping Agency President Craig Reedie and US Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and others involved in the removal of Russia from the 2018 Olympics.

https://www.rbc.ru/politics/17/01/2018/5a5f5eab9a79470191ecb9a8?from=newsfeed

SFO INVESTIGATION INTO DEFENCE COMPANY

On 18th January, the Independent reported that the SFO has opened a bribery, corruption and money laundering investigation into Hampshire-based defence company Chemring, saying that it would investigate Chemring as well as its subsidiary, Chemring Technology Solutions Limited (CTSL), after a self-report was made by the latter.  Chemring, in a statement, said that the investigation relates to 2 historic contracts. The first was awarded to CTSL prior to the group’s ownership of the business concerned, it said.  The second dates back to 2011.

www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/chemring-sfo-investigation-serious-fraud-office-ammunition-maker-manufacturer-a8165506.html

REGISTER TO CRACK DOWN ON CRIMINALS LAUNDERING DIRTY MONEY THROUGH UK PROPERTY MARKET TO GO LIVE BY EARLY 2021

A news release from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on 18th January reports that a world-first register revealing owners of overseas companies buying property in the UK will go live by early 2021 to crack down on criminal gangs laundering dirty money in the UK, the government has announced, and will publish draft laws this summer and the register will go live by early 2021.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/world-first-register-to-crack-down-on-criminals-laundering-dirty-money-through-uk-property-market-to-go-live-by-early-2021

“NO EVIDENCE OF WRONGDOING BY GERMAN BANKS” INVOLVED IN PANAMA PAPERS

Expatica reports that Germany’s financial watchdog has said it has found no evidence of any large-scale wrongdoing by the German banks identified in the “Panama Papers” scandal.

https://www.expatica.com/de/news/country-news/Germany-economy-banking-regulator-Bafin_1651364.html

US SEEKS DENATURALIZATION OF MAN WITH ALLEGED PARTICIPATION IN EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS DURING THE BALKANS CONFLICT

In a DoJ news release of 18th January about action against a 51-year old man who allegedly obtained his naturalized US citizenship by fraud. Eso Razic, a native of the former Yugoslavia and subsequently a citizen of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, allegedly concealed his service in multiple paramilitary organizations during the conflict in the Balkans in the early 1990s.  It is alleged that while serving as a member of those combatant groups, Razic participated in the extrajudicial killing of 3 individuals, including a wounded prisoner of war.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-seeks-obtain-denaturalization-man-alleged-participation-extrajudicial?src=ilaw

PORTUGUESE GOVERNMENT CRITICISED OVER PLANS TO OUST PROSECUTOR

Politico reports that the Portuguese government is under fire over plans to oust a prosecutor, Joana Marques Vidal, with a reputation for rooting out corruption among the political and business elite, after it said it would not renew his mandate.  This followed criticism by the president of Angola – and anxious to avoid harming relations with that oil-rich former colony and major trading partner.

https://www.politico.eu/article/portuguese-backlash-against-plan-to-remove-corruption-busting-prosecutor/?src=ilaw

CZECH GOVERNMENT RESIGNATION EXPLAINED

Hromadske in Ukraine reports on the future of the 2 top positions in Czech politics — the prime minister and the president after the government of Prime Minister Andrej Babis failed a vote of confidence. As a result, the government has resigned and assumed an acting role until the new government can be appointed.  He was named in an OLAF report into alleged misuse of EU funds.

https://en.hromadske.ua/posts/the-czech-governments-resignation-explained?src=ilaw

SRI LANKA TO SET UP ACTION PLAN ON BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION

Colombo News in Sri Lanka reports that a gathering has been held to discuss setting up of an action plan for elimination of bribery and corruption, chaired by Secretary to the President.  The action plan is aimed at ensuring sustainable development in economic, social, cultural, legal and environment fields in Sri Lanka through the elimination of bribery and corruption.

www.colombopage.com/archive_18A/Jan18_1516296261CH.php?src=ilaw

MALTESE BLOCKCHAIN REGULATOR TO LAUNCH WITHIN WEEKS

Tax News on 18th January reported that Malta is to introduce a dedicated legal framework and regulator for the blockchain, artificial intelligence, and Internet of things industries.  The Unlock Blockchain conference at the Dubai International Financial Centre was told that Malta’s Government had worked closely with industry to come up with a legal framework that satisfies AML/CFT regulations without stifling technological innovation.

https://www.lowtax.net/news/Maltese-Blockchain-Regulator-To-Launch-Within-Weeks-76261.html?src=ilaw

FORMER RUSSIAN BANKER DETAINED IN MONACO OVER $8.8 MILLION FRAUD
TASS in Russia reports on 18th January that former Investtorgbank management board chairman Vladimir Gudkov has been detained in Monaco on fraud charges, a law enforcement source told TASS.
http://tass.com/economy/985724?src=ilaw

LATVIAN LOGISTICS COMPANY BOSS DETAINED UNDER POLISH-ISSUED ARREST WARRANT

Radio Poland reports that the former chairman of the board of LDZ Logistics, a subsidiary of Latvian Railways, has been detained in Lithuania under a European Arrest Warrant issued by Poland.  Verners Lūsis may have been detained over suspected involvement in an organized crime ring that was smuggling oil products and in fraud against Poland.

http://www.thenews.pl/1/10/Artykul/344928,Latvian-logistics-company-boss-detained-under-Polishissued-arrest-warrant?src=ilaw

REPORT: UNDERSTANDING THE COSTS OF CYBER CRIME

On 18th January the Home Office released a report that outlines the development of an overarching framework for estimating costs and makes a number of recommendations on the design of future research into the costs of cyber crime.  It results from the findings from the Costs of Cyber Crime Working Group, which ran between Autumn 2014 and Spring 2016. The Working Group was set up following a commitment in the Serious and Organised Crime Strategy (2013) to improve data quality associated with the costs of the cyber crime. The Working Group involved academics, officials from government departments, representatives from law enforcement and other industry bodies responsible for helping to tackle cyber crime.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/understanding-the-costs-of-cyber-crime

COUNCIL OF EUROPE: ROMANIA MADE LITTLE PROGRESS AGAINST CORRUPTION

On 18th January Reuters reported that Romania has made little progress against corruption in state institutions in 2017 and concern persists about lack of transparency in the legal process, according to the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption agency, GRECO.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-romania-corruption/romania-making-little-progress-fighting-corruption-european-agency-says-idUSKBN1F71W7

ALL THE SCANDALS INVOLVING NETANYAHU, AND WHERE THEY STAND

On 18th January Haaretz published this article summarizing the current position.

1018316866.jpg

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/all-scandals-involving-netanyahu-where-they-stand-1.5448174?src=ilaw

CLAIM THAT NORWAY VIOLATED PRIVACY LAWS IN ONLINE GAMBLING CRACKDOWN

On 18th January, Calvin Ayre reported that Europe’s online gambling industry trade group, EGBA, is challenging Norway’s efforts to block payments between gamblers and internationally-licensed gambling sites, as it announced that it had asked the Norwegian Data Protection Inspectorate (DPI) to investigate efforts by the Norwegian Gaming Authority (NGA) to prevent local gamblers from funding their online activity.  The Norwegian Payment Act formally banned unauthorized online gambling transactions in 2010, but it wasn’t until last May that the NGA ordered Norwegian banks to stop processing transactions for 7 companies deemed to be facilitating online gambling transactions.  The EGBA claims the NGA violated Norway’s privacy protection rules in order to obtain the account info that led them to the offending payment processors.

https://calvinayre.com/2018/01/18/business/norway-violated-data-protection-online-gambling-fight/

https://www.intergameonline.com/igaming/news/egba-urges-norway-privacy-investigation

UK MINISTER ATTEMPTS TO CLARIFY DATA PROTECTION PLANS AFTER WATCHDOG’S CONCERNS

On 18th January, the Out-Law website reported that concerns that proposed new UK data protection laws threaten the independence of the country’s data protection watchdog are “misplaced”, a government minister has said.

https://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2018/january/-uk-minister-attempts-to-clarify-data-protection-plans-after-watchdogs-concerns/

ESMA CONSULTS ON POTENTIAL CFD AND BINARY OPTIONS MEASURES TO PROTECT RETAIL INVESTORS

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published a call for evidence on 18th January on potential product intervention measures relating to the provision of contracts for differences (CFD), including rolling spot forex, and binary options to retail investors.  For binary options, it is proposed to prohibit the marketing, distribution or sale of binary options to retail investors.

https://www.esma.europa.eu/press-news/esma-news/esma-consults-potential-cfd-and-binary-options-measures-protect-retail

ITALY’S “CHINESE MAFIA” PROBLEM

IBT Times reports that Italian anti-mafia police swooped on 33 suspected Chinese gang members involved in gambling, prostitution, drugs and the transport of Chinese goods across Europe.  Detectives launched a series of dawn raids, codenamed Operation ‘China Truck‘, targeting the group who they say use mafia methods, such as intimidation, extortion and violence.  The gang is based in Prato, Tuscany, but police said it had managed to extend its influence to Rome, Florence, Milan, Padua and Pisa. The criminal network also operates in parts of France and Germany.  The network is “a dangerous organisation that had used force to take control of trucking, and was financed by its illegal activities,” said Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti.  The suspects originally come from the Zhejiang and Fujian eastern coastal provinces in China.

www.ibtimes.co.uk/italy-now-has-chinese-mafia-problem-well-1655794

DIRTY GOLD IS THE NEW COCAINE IN COLOMBIA

The Bradenton Herald in the US reports that Colombia’s illicit mining industry, like the far-flung operation that police raided late last year, generates about $2.4 billion a year in criminal cash — 3 times more than the country’s notorious cocaine industry, according to some intelligence estimates; and like cocaine, the vast majority of illegal gold is being sent overseas to cities in Europe and the US.  In the process, the precious metal has become the lifeblood of gangs and guerrillas and is turning once-pristine jungles into toxic landscapes tainted with mercury and cyanide.  Criminal mining brings more money to criminal groups, to guerrilla groups, to mafias … than drug trafficking, the president of Colombia claimed in 2015.

http://www.bradenton.com/news/nation-world/world/article194839904.html#storylink=cpy

 

19th January 2018

 SRI LANKA GLYPHOSATE IMPORT BAN

Eurasia Review on 19th January reported that Sri Lankan tea workers are being affected by a government import ban on a popular weedicide as large plantations become overgrown with weeds.  The country banned the import of glyphosate in 2015 under the Import and Export (control) Act over concerns that it could cause chronic kidney disease.  Environmental groups say commonly used pesticides including glyphosate have been blamed for the deaths of more than 20,000 farmers in Sri Lanka over the past 2 decades because of their higher levels of cyanide, mercury and arsenic.

https://www.eurasiareview.com/19012018-sri-lanka-weedicide-ban-hits-tea-workers/

INDIAN BANK RAIDED ON ALLEGED MONEY LAUNDERING SUSPICIONS

On 18th January, the Hindustan Times in India reported that Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officers had searched the Pune Muslim Co-operative Bank headquarters, with simultaneous searches were conducted at the bank headquarters in Bhavani peth and its Azam campus branch.  A CBI spokesperson from New Delhi said that the action was carried out on the basis of a complaint related to alleged money laundering in the aftermath of demonetization in India.

www.hindustantimes.com/pune-news/cbi-searches-pune-muslim-co-op-bank-alleges-cases-of-money-laundering/story-GJrfCaGHM5AZiwTSxiY8LJ.html

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS EASED FOR RUSSIAN CITIZENS

Baker McKenzie has published a briefing advising that on 28th December the President of the Russian Federation had signed a law which eases certain Russian currency control restrictions for Russian citizens living abroad by amending a law of December 2003.  The changes including use of funds from foreign accounts in Russia, and transfers of funds to accounts in OECD/FATF member states.

http://www.bakermckenzie.com/en/insight/publications/2017/12/currency-control-regulations

DISCLOSURE IS CHANGING: GET READY

On 18th January, law firm Clyde & Co issued a briefing saying that proposals have been announced in the UK for a 2-year pilot scheme, starting later this year, involving the introduction of new disclosure rules in the Business and Property Courts in England and Wales.  The Disclosure Working Group (was established in May 2016 by the then Chancellor of the High Court) is currently seeking views on the proposals in a consultation which is open until the end of February 2018.  The briefing outlines the key defects with the current system found by the Working Group, and the key points of interest of the new proposals.  The briefing concludes that the Working Group’s reference to the need for a “wholesale cultural change” suggests that the proposed new rules will require a major shift in professional attitudes towards disclosure and entail a move towards more proactive, robust judicial management of this part of the litigation process; and, if the proposals are implemented, litigants will no longer be automatically entitled to search-based disclosure.

https://www.clydeco.com/insight/article/disclosure-is-changing-get-ready

The Law Society Gazette on 19th January reported that the “radical new disclosure regime” for the Business and Property Courts will have a ’far-reaching effect on civil litigation’, a leading City lawyer has claimed.  Ed Crosse, president of the London Solicitors Litigation Association and a member of the working group behind the proposals for disclosure reform, said the changes went ‘to the heart’ of civil litigation.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/radical-new-disclosure-regime-to-spell-out-lawyers-duties/5064382.article

FRAUD: CRIMINAL CONDUCT – A PRIMER

On 17th January, Canadian law firm Blakes published the latest in its 6-part series of articles on corporate and financial crimes that seek to outlines basic principles of criminal and quasi-criminal law that may arise in the running of a business.  The series consists of – 1. Criminal Law 101; 2. Criminal Fraud; 3. Bribery & Corruption Offences; 4. Money Laundering; 5. Securities-Related Offences; and 6. Competition.

This article is designed as a primer on criminal fraud, and it deals with what conduct gives rise to criminal liability for fraud.

http://www.blakesbusinessclass.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Corporate-and-Financial-Crimes-Criminal-Fraud.pdf

Other articles can be found at http://www.blakesbusinessclass.com/

COUNCIL OF EUROPE: ROMANIA, LITTLE PROGRESS ON CORRUPTION

The Council of Europe’s anti-corruption body, GRECO, in its latest report concludes that Romania has made very limited progress to implement its recommendations to prevent and combat corruption in respect of members of parliament, judges and prosecutors.

https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/-/romania-little-progress-in-corruption-prevention-in-respect-of-mps-judges-and-prosecutors

NEW UN FRAMEWORK TO MEASURE AND EVALUATE ORGANISED CRIME

The Emirates News Agency reports that the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has announced the creation of a new framework for measuring and evaluating organised crime based on a set of indicators used to collect and analyse data on the activities and methods of criminal groups, the size of illegal markets, and factors that help to enable organised crime such as corruption, obstruction of justice.  The analysis of such data will lead to more focused preventive methods to combat crime.

http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302661126?src=ilaw

POLAND CRACKDOWN ON TAIWAN/CHINESE TELECOMS FRAUD RING

Taiwan News on 19th January reported that Poland has announced a crackdown on a fraud ring comprised of 48 Taiwanese and 2 Poles, who have been arrested.  The ring was said to have made €1.8 million in a year from phone scams targeting Chinese nationals, pretending to be local police officers and threatening to initiate tax investigations if the victims refused to transfer money at their request.  It reports that Polish police searched 5 villas in the capital city Warsaw, Krakow and Lublin to bust the ring.  1 Taiwanese and 1 Polish female are reportedly the ringleaders and are now under questioning.

https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3344878?src=ilaw

POLICE ARREST AUTHENTICATORS, AUCTION STAFF IN COUNTERFEIT ART CASE

China.org on 19th January reports that Chinese police have arrested 24 suspects, including art authentication and auction personnel, in a case involving the production and sale of counterfeit copies of artworks by well-known Chinese painters and calligraphers.  They are said to have cracked 3 art fraud rings and seized 1,165 counterfeit works and more than $4 million.  The network covered the production, authentication, brokerage and auction of counterfeit copies of works by prestigious Chinese painters and calligraphers.

http://www.china.org.cn/arts/2018-01/19/content_50246393.htm?src=ilaw

US COURT IMPOSES PENALTIES IN EXCESS OF $83 MILLION ON COMPANIES RUN BY BITCOIN SCAMMER

Finance Feeds on 19th January reported that the US SEC has secured an important victory against Bitcoin fraud.  On January 18th a judge of the New York Southern District Court signed a number of orders granting SEC’s applications for final default judgements against 3 entities run by Bitcoin scammer Renwick Haddow: Bar Works, Bitcoin Store and Bar Works 7th Avenue.

https://financefeeds.com/ny-court-imposes-penalties-excess-83m-companies-run-bitcoin-scammer-renwick-haddow/

SWITZERLAND CONSULTS ON TAX TRANSPARENCY MEASURES

Customs Today on 19th January reports that the Swiss Federal Council is consulting on recommendations made by the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, to improve the transparency of beneficial ownership information.  In 2016, the Global Forum rated Switzerland “largely compliant” with international standards for tax transparency and the exchange of information.  The Federal Council has now proposed the conversion of bearer shares into registered shares. It has also proposed the introduction of a system of sanctions for shareholders who fail to comply with their duty to report beneficial ownership and for companies that breach their obligation to keep a register of shareholders and beneficial owners.

http://www.customstoday.com.pk/switzerland-consults-on-tax-transparency-measures/

US IMPORT RESTRICTIONS SOUGHT ON URANIUM PRODUCTS

Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg on 19th January reports that the US Department of Commerce has received a petition requesting an expedited investigation of uranium products. The petition asserts that “excessive levels of imports” of such products, particularly from China, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Uzbekistan, are threatening US national security by destroying the domestic uranium mining industry.

https://www.strtrade.com/news-publications-232-national-security-petition-uranium-011918.html

UKRAINE PARLIAMENT PASSES BILL TO RECOVER REGIONS OCCUPIED BY RUSSIA

Jurist reports that the Ukraine parliament (Verkhovna Rada) passed a Bill that recognises regions currently under Russia-backed separatist control as “occupied” and supports retrieving those areas through political and diplomatic means while allowing for military action.

http://www.jurist.org/paperchase/2018/01/ukraine-parliament-passes-bill-to-recover-regions-occupied-by-russia.php

WORLDWIDE FREEZING ORDER: BANK CAN NOTIFY THIRD PARTIES

Out-Law on 18th January reports a case where a worldwide freezing order, obtained by a Cypriot bank in Cyprus, was fully enforceable immediately upon registration in England and Wales, the Court of Appeal has confirmed.  Notifying third parties of the terms of the freezing order was not in breach of a Brussels 1 Regulation provision preventing the applicant from taking ‘measures of enforcement’ other than protective measures before the subjects of the order had exercised their right to appeal.  The appeal court confirmed that notifying other banks of the existence of the freezing order was not a ‘measure of enforcement’.

https://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2018/january/cypriot-bank-entitled-to-notify-bank-of-freezing-order-pending-appeal-appeal-court-confirms/

DIRTY ENTANGLEMENTS: CORRUPTION, CRIME AND TERRORISM

In the latest TRACE podcast, Louise Shelley, founder of the Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center, discusses her book about the links between the 3 international scourges.

https://www.traceinternational.org/bribe_swindle_or_steal

CZECH BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP CHANGES

On 18th January, Eversheds Sutherland reported the second phase of registering beneficial ownership in the Czech Republic that was implemented on 1st January.  In order for entities to comply with these new duties, the company must register information on its beneficial owners, including the reasons why a particular person is considered beneficial owner.  This information will be captured in the special Register of Beneficial Owners. The record will not be made public and will only be available to legally stated persons/state bodies.  Companies have until 1 January 2019 to register this information.

https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/Corporate_secretarial_unit/RBO_Czech_Republic

TRUMP REBUKED CHINA FOR NORTH KOREA’S OIL SMUGGLING. IT’S MORE COMPLICATED.

The New York Times on 18th January ran a story about the alleged involvement of Chinese ships in illegal trade with North Korea.  Trafficking on the high seas has become what these officials regard as a pernicious subversion of the sanctions, as North Korea turns more and more to illicit means to support itself.  A United Nations diplomat said transfers were happening frequently in the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea and possibly the Sea of Japan.  But the article claims that the “opaque” nature of the shipping industry complicates things – in one case, the ship’s flag showed that it was from Hong Kong, the oil originated with a multinational commodities trader, Trafigura Group, and was sold first to a company in Hong Kong, then to a company in Taiwan, the shipowner was a Hong Kong company whose owner lives in Mainland China, but the ship was leased by a Taiwanese fishing magnate whose company until last month was registered in the Marshall Islands.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/18/world/asia/north-korea-oil-smuggling.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

US REPORT ON TERRORISM CONVICTIONS OF FOREIGN NATIONALS TO MAKE CASE FOR ENHANCED VETTING, SCREENING

On 18th January, Homeland Preparedness reported that 75% of those convicted of international terrorism or related charges in US federal courts from 2001 to 2016 were born in foreign countries, according to a report released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and DoJ.

https://homelandprepnews.com/stories/26274-dhs-doj-issue-report-terrorism-convictions-foreign-nationals-make-case-enhanced-vetting-screening/

WARNING – ISIS IS STILL IN BUSINESS

On 17th January, Chatham House published a thought-provoking and important briefing claiming that, despite its defeat on the battlefield, ISIS is using Iraq’s black market to stockpile millions of dollars to fuel its coming insurgency.  Once dubbed ‘the world’s richest terrorist organization’ by the UN, it has also lost an estimated 80% of the funds it acquired by conquering territory and mimicking the functions of a state, collecting taxes and tariffs from the citizens under its control; but the corrupt war economies of Iraq and Syria will allow ISIS to continue on and finance a dangerous insurgency. For example, it is claimed that ISIS has smuggled an estimated $400 million out of Iraq and Syria during its recent retreat.  As ISIS returns to its insurgent roots, it has invested at least $250 million in legitimate businesses. Both in Baghdad and in recently liberated areas, it is relying on middlemen who are inspired not by its ideology but by the prospect of economic gain.  It is claimed that many of the middlemen are tribal leaders or businessmen who have clean records and can hide their links to the terrorist organization. They are given a lump sum of cash to invest in a given business, and ISIS then takes a cut from the profits.  Front companies include car dealerships, electronics shops and pharmacies — but the business of choice is currency exchanges.

https://www.chathamhouse.org/expert/comment/isis-still-business

THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 17

CHEMICAL WARFARE AND NERVE AGENTS: THE G SERIES

Website Compound Interest, which has some interesting stuff on it, has a cheery infographic focusing on nerve agents in the so-called G series (so named due to their origin, with all of them originally discovered in Germany in the 30s and 40s, the site reports).

www.compoundchem.com/2014/10/07/nerveagentspart1/

Chemical-Warfare-The-Nerve-Agents

 

PREVIOUSLY BANNED COMPANY DIRECTOR GIVEN NEW, LONGER BAN

On 17th January, CCH Daily reported that Robert Murphy, a director of a London-based construction company, Silverview Developments Ltd, who was previously disqualified for 4 years in 2011, has been banned for 14 years after continuing to run the company with no change in control (despite resigning), along with his mother who has been given an 8-year ban.

https://www.accountancylive.com/banned-director-given-additional-14-year-disqualification

GUERNSEY OUTLINES NEW INCENTIVES TO ENCOURAGE RELOCATION TO THE ISLAND

Carey Olsen on 5th January published a briefing set out the plans announced in the island’s annual budget, which was approved on 8th November. These focused on a new tax incentive, making sure there are reliable and affordable sea and air links, and removing barriers for businesses while maintaining the island’s high standards of regulation.

https://www.careyolsen.com/briefings/guernsey-outlines-new-incentives-encourage-relocation-island

NEW RUSSIAN NUCLEAR WEAPON – THE UNDERWATER DRONE

Defense News in the US on 13th January reported that a draft of the Pentagon’s nuclear posture review confirmed the existence of an underwater nuclear drone made and operated by Russia, a capability the US Defense Department had not previously publicly acknowledged.  This is described as an AUV, or autonomous underwater vehicle, called Status-6.  The article also says that US intelligence detected Status-6 in November 2016 after it was launched from a Sarov-class submarine, and that Russian sources indicate it has a 100 megaton payload.

https://www.defensenews.com/space/2018/01/12/russias-nuclear-underwater-drone-is-real-and-in-the-nuclear-posture-review/?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTnpoaU4yWTRZVFJsTkRaayIsInQiOiJ2WW5iZ0VYVWtHalwvMVRzODVJK2lpUk1OVnczUzE0VlwveGt0RzlwOW5ENWJwbmF4UEMyXC9hYnhVTUdzUHFUMDZna1VmRWlMWTZUblY5bjFRU3BCMmFHbWVMUDdDTFBUXC85ajZDSlE4UlBcL0E4YWw4bTc4Wm90NFFad2J5alwvS3BvSSJ9

FORMER US EXECUTIVE INDICTED IN URANIUM BRIBERY CASE

Corporate Counsel on 16th January carries a report concerning charges laid against the former co-head of a Maryland company with bribing an official of Russia’s state-owned atomic energy company, known as Rosatom, in order to win contracts for his company to transport uranium from Russia to the US.  The charges arise from the so-called “Uranium One” case, and involve Mark Lambert, former co-president of Transport Logistics International Inc, on 11 counts, including 7 counts of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  As previously reported, this case appears to be more a straightforward logistics bribery case, and not one affecting US national security.

https://www.law.com/corpcounsel/sites/corpcounsel/2018/01/16/former-u-s-executive-indicted-in-russia-bribery-scheme-over-uranium/?kw=Former%20U.S.%20Executive%20Indicted%20in%20Russia%20Bribery%20Scheme%20Over%20Uranium&et=editorial&bu=Corporate%20Counsel&cn=20180117&src=EMC-Email&pt=Daily%20Alert

See also –

https://www.factcheck.org/2017/10/facts-uranium-one/

IRAN MISSILES TO YEMEN: IS THERE ROOM FOR CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE IN UN SANCTIONS?

The website Pass Blue, which reports on UN-related matters, on 17th January carried a piece pointing to separate items carried in the New York Times and Washington Post about apparent violations of the UN arms embargo on Yemen by Iran- and saying that it was “was probably no coincidence that the articles appeared on the same day that President Trump announced his new Iran strategy”.  The article criticises what the author sees as circumstantial evidence being used or accepted by UN experts, and one-sided interpretation based on such evidence by the US.

http://www.passblue.com/2018/01/16/iran-missiles-to-yemen-is-there-room-for-circumstantial-evidence-in-un-sanctions/

RUSSIA MIGHT LOSE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN IRAQ DUE TO KURDISTAN LINKS

Intersection magazine on 15th January reports that Rosneft’s contracts with Iraqi authorities in Baghdad — and an investment deal with secessionist authorities in Iraqi Kurdistan — are both in jeopardy, and billions are at stake because of its actions last year in the autonomous region of Kurdistan.  In October, in a gesture of recognition with the claim for independence, the management of Rosneft signed contracts with the leadership of Iraqi Kurdistan to invest up to $4 billion in the energy sector.  The article reports that at least $1.3 billion has already been transferred.  However, after the Kurds’ referendum, Iraqi forces retaliated and seized the “disputed” provinces of Kirkuk and Sinjar in October.  The Kurds lost 40% of their territory, and nearly two-thirds of their oil and gas reserves.  Only 2 of the 5 blocks where Rosneft was supposed to drill are still controlled by the Iraqi Kurds.

http://intersectionproject.eu/article/russia-world/russia-might-lose-billions-dollars-iraq

ISLE OF MAN UPDATES ISIL/AL-QAIDA AND NORTH KOREA SANCTIONS

For the ISIL/Al-Qaida sanctions: Zayn Al-Abidin Muhammad HUSSEIN, is removed from sanctions lists, and the entry for Seifallah Ben Omar Ben Mohamed BEN HASSINE, is amended.

For the North Korea sanctions: the 4 vessels named in EU Regulation 2018/53/EU are added to the sanctions lists.

https://www.gov.im/news/2018/jan/16/financial-sanctions-democratic-peoples-republic-of-korea-north-korea/

https://www.gov.im/news/2018/jan/16/financial-sanctions-isil-daesh-and-al-qaida-organisations/

MILITARY USE OF CLOUD SERVICES

An article on Quwa.org on 16th January calls for all military stakeholders, from department officials to equipment manufacturers and in-service support providers, to watch out for and respond to movements on 3 fronts in 2018 including the use of Cloud services – saying that developments in cyber-security will help boost military cloud adoption but under the watchful eye of regulations and export control; and the need to be wary of critical data stored in the cloud being accessed by unauthorised personnel.  The article reports that, despite challenges and concerns, the US Military have been working on refining its cloud strategy to address information assurance and security concerns.  In 2017, IBM announced it was working with the US Army to build and manage a secure private cloud data centre; and the Defense Department has also begun discussions with commercial information technology leaders around updating the rulebook that’s governed its security demands for firms that have provided it with cloud computing services.

https://quwa.org/2018/01/16/guest-contribution-technical-tactical-and-political-developments-in-defense-logistics-for-2018/

NEW CHANGES TO WASSENAAR ARRANGEMENT EXPORT CONTROLS WILL BENEFIT CYBERSECURITY

On 16th January, Forbes Magazine reported that in December, new export control rules for computer network intrusion software were published by the Wassenaar Arrangement, an international body that governs trade in goods with military and civilian (i.e. dual-use) applications for 42 member states.  The article points out that offensive network intrusion tools such as exploit toolkits have come under scrutiny by regulators.  These tools are sometimes used by regimes with poor human rights and civil liberties records.  However, there were complaints that the original Wassenaar rules interfered with the ability of security researchers to disclose information about vulnerabilities to software vendors in other countries in order to get them fixed, those who formulated the rules having thought such disclosures would have been in the public domain.  The article refers to new create exemptions for defenders who are engaged in the international co-ordination of information about security vulnerabilities and malware, and the revised rules also create clearer carve-outs for software update mechanisms that have nothing to do with system and network intrusion.  These changes are described as “significant improvements and remove many of the obstacles these regulations posed to industry collaboration in the fight against cyber threats”.  A problem the article notes is that in implementing the new rules, individual member states may apply or interpret them slightly differently.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2018/01/16/new-changes-to-wassenaar-arrangement-export-controls-will-benefit-cybersecurity/#38e2b4895ed6

E-KYC STANDARDS ISSUED BY CENTRAL BANK OF MALAYSIA

On 16th January, Baker McKenzie reported that in September, the Assistant Governor of the Central Bank of Malaysia (BNM) announced that BNM would issue regulatory parameters for the conduct of electronic KYC (e-KYC) processes for remittance transactions.  Then in November BNM issued a supplementary document to its policy document on AML/CFT.  This will apply to remittance service providers licensed under the Money Services Business Act 2011 which undertake remittance business through online or mobile channels.  The article reports that, in the long term, e-KYC will replace the existing manual and paper-based KYC processes with paperless verification of the customer through the Internet.

www.bakerinform.com/home/2018/1/9/central-bank-of-malaysia-issues-standards-for-electonic-know-your-customer-e-kyc#page=1

NEW CHARGE BROUGHT IN £100,000 FRAUD CASE OF JERSEY LAWYER

On 16th January, the Jersey Evening Post reported that a lawyer who is alleged to have criminally and fraudulently used more than £100,000 of client money is facing a total of 39 charges.  It is alleged that the firm K R Manning and Co and Kevin Manning failed to comply with money-laundering laws by not adopting or applying any internal policies or procedures designed to prevent and detect money laundering. https://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2018/01/17/new-charge-brought-in-100000-fraud-case/#f1FtzGBZ4IUiurKi.99

AUSTRAC OPENS CONSULTATION ON NEW RULES FOR DIGITAL CURRENCY EXCHANGE PROVIDERS

On 16th January, Finance Feeds reported that in Australia AUSTRAC published its draft AML/CFT Rules for consultation, with the consultation period lasting until 13th February.  The new draft Rules include detailed information on the Digital Currency Exchange Register, as well as requirements for information to be reported about a threshold transaction.

https://financefeeds.com/austrac-opens-consultation-new-rules-digital-currency-exchange-providers/

UK TO SET TIMETABLE FOR DISCLOSURE OF FOREIGN OWNERSHIP OF UK PROPERTY

On 17th January, the Guardian reported that Theresa May will set out a timetable to break the secrecy surrounding the foreign ownership of British property worth billions after facing a House of Lords defeat at the hands of 2 Conservative peers who have been calling on the government to establish a register exposing the beneficial owners of overseas companies and legal entities, and want it done within 12 months. The peers put forward an amendment to the Sanctions and AML Bill, which would have been likely to inflict a government defeat.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/jan/17/theresa-may-set-timetable-reveal-foreign-owners-uk-property

CYPRUS JOINS MALTA IN SEEKING ARREST OF WHISTLEBLOWER

EU Observer on 17th January reports that Cyprus has issued an EU arrest warrant against a whistleblower on high-level corruption in Malta.  It acted on a criminal complaint against Maria Efimova, the Malta whistleblower, according to the Cyprus Business Mail.  It is alleged that Efimova, a Russian national, stole money from Fragrance Distribution, a Cypriot firm where she used to work 4 years ago.  Maltese authorities had already alleged that she had defrauded expenses at Pilatus Bank, a Maltese firm where she used to be an intern.  She fled Malta in August after telling journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia (since murdered), that the PM’s wife had a secret account at Pilatus Bank that received dirty money from Azerbaijan.

https://euobserver.com/justice/140588

MEP VOTE IN FAVOUR OF TIGHTER EXPORT CONTROLS ON SURVEILLANCE TECHNOLOGY

EU Observer reports that the European Parliament on 17th January voted in favour tighter rules on the export of cyber surveillance technology through an amendment of an EU Regulation on dual-use technology.  Member States, it says, must now formulate their positions for negotiations to begin.

https://euobserver.com/tickers/140586

NEW UK-FRANCE IMMIGRATION AGREEMENT

EurActiv reports that France and UK will sign a new immigration treaty at a summit on 18th January), and it will “complement” but not replace the 2003 Le Touquet border agreement, which has drawn criticism in France after the town of Calais became a hub for migrants and refugees.  France wants the UK to provide more money and resources to tackle the migrant flows and has suggested that the existing agreement may have to be ended if a compromise or a new set of arrangements cannot be reached.  Under Le Touquet, Britain has its border in France and France runs border checks in Britain, a deal that French officials say favours the UK.

www.euractiv.com/section/future-eu/news/macron-may-to-sign-new-immigration-treaty-at-bilateral-uk-summit/

MILITANTS’ THREAT TO ATTACK NIGERIAN OIL FACILITIES

Defence Web on 17th January reported that Nigerian militant group, Niger Delta Avengers, said it will launch attacks on the country’s oil sector in the following few days. In November the group, which attacked oil facilities in 2016, said it had ended a ceasefire.

http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=50411:delta-avengers-to-attack-oil-sector–claim&catid=49:National%20Security&Itemid=115

CAMEROON UNREST FUELLING COCOA SMUGGLING

On 17th January, Defence Web reported that unrest in Cameroon’s English-speaking regions, which is said to be the cocoa-growing heartland, is fueling bean smuggling into neighbouring Nigeria, farmers and buyers said.  The country has been afflicted by violence since November 2016 after a crackdown on peaceful protests by the Anglophone minority. http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=50408:cameroon-unrest-fuels-cocoa-smuggling&catid=3:Civil%20Security&Itemid=113

UK CONSOLIDATED EXPORT CONTROL LIST UPDATED

On 17th January the UK Department for International Trade issued a news release about Notice to Exporters 2018/1, which reported that the consolidated list of strategic military and dual-use items that require export authorisation has been updated.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/notice-to-exporters-201801-consolidated-list-updated

NEW RESTRICTIONS ON WHO CAN RUN A CHARITY: PREPARE NOW FOR THE CHANGE

On the Gov.uk blog, Nick Mott (Deputy Head of Guidance & Practice at the Charity Commission) talks about the automatic disqualification rules coming into force on the 1st August, and how you can prepare.

https://charitycommission.blog.gov.uk/2018/01/17/new-restrictions-on-who-can-run-a-charity-prepare-now-for-the-change/

THE UK FORENSIC EXPLOSIVES LABORATORY

The UK Civil Service Quarterly blog carried an interesting entry on the Forensic Explosives Laboratory (FEL), established in 1870 and the world’s oldest one of its kind.  It is funded by the Home Office to provide an impartial laboratory that supports the needs of the criminal justice system. Each year the lab investigates around 200 cases, involving around 2,000 pieces of evidence.  FEL scientists have supported the investigations into terrorist atrocities, and such other things as the illegal use of fireworks to cause harm to people or damage to property, or people illegally producing explosives in their sheds or kitchens from recipes found on the Internet.

https://quarterly.blog.gov.uk/2018/01/17/from-crime-scene-to-court-the-science-of-explosives/

UK IMPLEMENTATION OF EU PORT SECURITY DIRECTIVE

On 17th January the UK Department for Transport published its post-implementation review, summary report of findings and Regulatory Policy Committee report on the UK’s implementation of the EU Port Security Directive, which inter alia extended to an entire port (as opposed to a port facility) the relevant security regime requirements, in order to obtain maximum protection for maritime and port activities.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/port-security-directive-post-implementation-review

ALIBABA CLOSED OVER 240,000 ONLINE SHOPS SELLING FAKES IN 2017

Drinks Business on 17th January reported that Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba closed down over 240,000 online shops selling counterfeit products from designer bags to fake wines during 2017.

https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2018/01/chinas-alibaba-shuts-down-240k-shops-for-selling-fakes/

FAKE MEDICINES FLOURISH IN AFRICA DESPITE KILLING THOUSANDS

The Daily Mail on 17th January carried a feature on the sale of counterfeit medicines in Africa.  It reports that WHO estimates that 1 out of 10 medicines in the world is fake but the figure can be as high as 7 out of 10 in certain countries, especially in Africa.  Also, the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene estimated in 2015 that 122,000 children under 5 died due to taking poor-quality anti-malarials in sub-Saharan Africa, which, along with antibiotics as the 2 most in-demand, are the medicines most likely to be out-of-date or bad copies.  In a large operation in August, Interpol co-ordinated the seizure of 420 tons of fakes in West Africa.  However, the huge potential profits appeal to the unscrupulous.  Labs producing the fakes are said to be chiefly in China, but also include other places such as Indonesia, Poland and Ukraine.

www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-5277729/Fake-medicines-flourish-Africa-despite-killing-thousands.html

CHECKLIST OF CURRENT UK PENALTIES APPLYING TO TAX AVOIDANCE AND OFFSHORE TAX EVASION AND NON-COMPLIANCE

The Chartered Institute of Taxation has produced a checklist to ensure that members have considered the implications in relation to their practice and their clients.

https://www.tax.org.uk/policy-technical/technical-news/penalties-checklist-current-penalties-applying-tax-avoidance-and

“NO PAKISTANI BANK INVOLVED IN MONEY LAUNDERING”

On 17th January, Customs Today reported that Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan, categorically rejected reports about the involvement of Pakistani banks in money laundering, saying, no Pakistani bank is involved in any sort of act of money laundering…  This followed the case of Habib Bank in New York being hit with a large penalty in 2017.

http://www.customstoday.com.pk/no-pak-bank-involved-in-money-laundering-rana-afzal-khan/

EFFORTS ADVANCE TO COMBAT TRADE IN GOODS MADE WITH FORCED LABOUR – US PERSPECTIVE

After reporting on the UN Security Council voting recently to require UN member states to send all North Korean nationals earning income in their jurisdictions back to North Korea by 22nd December 2019, and reminding one that, in the interim, countries will be able to continue to employ North Korean workers.  Sandler Travis & Rosenberg on 17th January remarks that this could pose headaches for US companies sourcing abroad in light of restrictive US sanctions and forced labour laws (which it then goes on to discuss).

https://www.strtrade.com/news-publications-forced-labor-import-North-Korea-011718.html

MEDICAL CANNABIS PRODUCTS IN JERSEY

On 17th January, the Jersey Evening Post reported that 2 suppliers of cannabis-based products are likely to be reclassified to allow their prescription in Jersey, while Sativex – a cannabis-based painkiller – will be available free of charge when prescribed by a hospital specialist, the Health Minister has said https://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2018/01/17/assent-for-medicinal-cannabis-products/#axqhz6Tx8UKcQF1W.99

JERSEY WARNING OVER HITMAN THREATS

International Adviser on 17th January reported that Jersey’s regulator and financial crime unit have warned of email threats to send hitmen to people’s homes unless they make a substantial payment in Bitcoins.

https://international-adviser.com/hitman-using-facebook-data-bitcoin-scam-jersey-warns/

AUSTRALIAN AGENCIES RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ENFORCEMENT OF FOREIGN BRIBERY LAWS RELEASE SELF-REPORTING GUIDELINES

Allen & Overy on 15th January published a briefing on recently released joint best practice guidelines that indicate how Australian agencies will approach self-reporting by companies voluntarily seeking to disclose suspected foreign bribery and related offences and provide greater clarity on the expectations of the Australian Federal Police and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

http://www.allenovery.com/publications/en-gb/Pages/Australian-Agencies-Responsible-for-the-Enforcement-of-Foreign-Bribery-Laws-Release-Self-Reporting-Guidelines.aspx

THE ICTY

On 16th January the Jurist website published a feature on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), an ad hoc international criminal tribunal established by mandate from UN Security Council officially came to its end on December 21st. It was created in response to atrocities committed in former Yugoslavia.  The feature states that the ICTY, being first international war crimes tribunal established after Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals, has lived up to the expectations and hopes of the international community.  It has successfully discharged its function by strengthening criminal jurisprudence, which will be inherited and taken forward by International Criminal Court.

http://www.jurist.org/dateline/2018/01/Mohit-Gupta-ICTY.php

HIGH COURT APPLIES GUINNESS PRINCIPLES IN RULING THAT DIRECTORS HAVE TO REPAY FUNDS TAKEN FROM COMPANY IN LIQUIDATION

In a briefing, legal news site Out-Law reports that 2 directors of a company which was in liquidation breached their fiduciary duties to the company by taking money out of the business when creditors were being left unpaid.  The High Court said that the 1990 ruling in Guinness v Saunders was more relevant in deciding on this issue than the more recent case of Global v Hale. The 2 directors of PV Solar Solutions Ltd were found to be jointly and severally liable to repay the company the sum of £758,020, together with interest.

https://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2018/january/directors-must-repay-sums-withdrawn-from-company-in-liquidation-rules-high-court/

NEW IRISH GAMBLING LAW BY END OF 2018?

On 16th January, Out-Law reported that new gambling laws could be in force in Ireland before the end of this year, a government minister has said.  Plans to update Irish gambling laws have been in place for years (since at least 2013), but have failed to materialise.  The government intends to bring almost all forms of betting, gaming and lotteries under one legislative programme for the first time and to create a one-stop-shop licensing regime for all forms of gambling.  A new independent statutory gambling authority is to be (probably) set up within the Department of Justice.

https://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2018/january/new-gambling-laws-could-be-in-force-in-ireland-before-the-end-of-20181/

EGYPTIAN PROVINCIAL GOVERNOR ARRESTED

Risk & Compliance Hub on 17th January reported that Egypt’s State Security prosecutors have charged Governor of Menufia Hesham Abdul Basset with bribery and wasting public money, the latest corruption case uncovered in the country in recent months.

http://www.riskandcompliancehub.com/egyptian-provincial-governor-charged-with-bribery/

US REPORT ON MARKETS INVOLVED IN PIRACY AND COUNTERFEITING

Baker McKenzie on 17th January reported that on January 11th the US Office of the US Trade Representative published a report on “notorious markets”.  The Notorious Markets List, it reminds one, highlights prominent and illustrative examples of online and physical marketplaces that reportedly engage in, facilitate, turn a blind eye to, or benefit from substantial piracy and counterfeiting.  A goal of the List is to motivate appropriate action by owners, operators, and service providers in the private sector of these and similar markets, as well as governments, to reduce piracy and counterfeiting.

http://www.internationaltradecomplianceupdate.com/2018/01/17/us-ustr-releases-2017-out-of-cycle-review-of-notorious-markets/

APPLE FORCED TO USE CHINSE CLOUD FOR CHINESE CUSTOMSERS’ DATA

On 17TH January, Janes.com reported that US technology firm Apple announced that it would relocate Chinese mainland customers’ (excluding Hong Kong, Macau, and additionally Taiwan) data stored on iCloud, the company’s cloud data storage system, from Apple’s servers in the US to China, said to comply with China’s Cybersecurity Law, enacted in June 2017.  This highlights, it argues, indicates increased government control and data embargo risks during diplomatic disputes.

www.janes.com/article/77114/chinese-state-owned-enterprise-managing-apple-s-user-information-indicates-increased-government-control-and-data-embargo-risks-during-diplomatic-disputes

DUE DILIGENCE TO PREVENT CYBER SECURITY INCIDENTS

The Stimson Center, World Institute for Nuclear Security, and law chambers 39 Essex from the UK explore ways nuclear industry actors can demonstrate ‘Duty of Care’ to prevent cyber security incidents, and how this could affect nuclear liability determinations.

https://www.stimson.org/content/lifting-lid-nuclear-liability-perspectives-judicial-bench

MINE BAN TREATY REPORT AND MEETING

The Arms Control Association reported on 10th January that the Mine Ban Treaty (more fully, the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction) had added 2 new members in December, as the convention marked 20 years since it was opened for signature Sri Lanka and Palestine.  However, at a meeting delegations reacted to a report that casualties from landmines, cluster munition remnants, and other remnants of war had risen to at least 8,605 in 2016, the second year of sharp increases from the 3,993 casualties identified in 2014.  The 2016 toll was near the number recorded in 1999, when the treaty entered into force.  Much of the increase was due to mines used in armed conflicts in countries such as Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine, and Yemen, according to the annual “Landmine Monitor” report.  The article also noted the use of landmines by armed forces in Myanmar along border crossings with Bangladesh and the resulting harm to fleeing Rohingya civilians drew international attention and outcry in 2017and the Landmine Monitor report identified Myanmar and Syria (neither of which is party to the treaty, nor is the US –though it says it permits their use only in Korea) as the only countries where it could be confirmed that government forces used landmines in the year prior to the meeting.  Non-state armed groups were responsible for much of the new use of mines, often improvised devices (IED), in at least 9 countries.

https://www.armscontrol.org/act/2018-01/news/mine-ban-membership-grows

See also –

http://www.the-monitor.org/en-gb/the-issues/mine-ban-treaty.aspx

http://www.un.org/Depts/mine/UNDocs/ban_trty.htm

NUCLEAR BAN TREATY – BRIEFING

On 17th January the EU Parliament Research Service produced a briefing paper on the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (the “Ban Treaty”) adopted in July 2017.

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2018/614664/EPRS_BRI(2018)614664_EN.pdf

HOW TO EXPLORE NETWORKS AND ENTITY METADATA IN THE ICIJ OFFSHORE LEAKS DATABASE

In the second of a 3-part series of articles the ICIJ (the people behind the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers) is publishing on ways to search its database that now includes more than 680,000 entities from 55 secrecy jurisdictions.

https://www.icij.org/blog/2018/01/how-to-explore-networks-and-entity-metadata-in-the-offshore-leaks-database/

THE EFFECT OF EU UKRAINE SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA

On 17th January the EU Parliament Research Service produced a briefing paper on the effect on Russia of EU sanctions over Ukraine – an updated version of its March 2016 briefing.  It concludes that most observers agree that sanctions are costing Russia billions of euros a year and holding back a return to higher rates of economic growth.

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2018/614665/EPRS_BRI(2018)614665_EN.pdf 

LEGAL PRIVILEGE IN INTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS: AN UPDATE FROM SWITZERLAND RE MONEY LAUNDERING CASES

Baker McKenzie says that a Swiss Federal Criminal Court shined some light on the Swiss approach regarding the scope of the legal privilege. It starts by saying that Switzerland took a rather narrow approach to the scope of legal privilege in connection with AML investigations in a 2016 case, suggesting that no privilege could be claimed with respect to a bank’s internal monitoring, controlling and documentation duties arising as a matter of prudential regulation, namely in relation to PEP.  However, it now seems the appeal courts have reasserted the original, more traditional, position, i.e. that it is generally considered that fact-finding activities required to identify and analyze potential breaches of law must be, and are according to established practice in fact, fully protected by legal privilege.

https://globalcompliancenews.com/legal-privilege-switzerland-20180117/

THE “SIXTH EU AML DIRECTIVE”

KYC 360 on 17th January considers further amendments to EU AML laws that would, inevitably, be referred to as 6AMLD, or the “6th ML Directive”.  The main thrust would be the better harmonise AML laws across the EU – the most significant element of 6MLD would be to provide a harmonised list of 22 predicate offences, including environmental crimes.

https://kyc360.com/article/eu-sixth-anti-money-laundering-directive-6amld-whats/

AUSTRALIA GROUP GUIDANCE – BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS

Produced by the US Government, this guidance is concerned with biological weapons, and potentially very useful is perhaps the sections dealing with related production and testing equipment that a state (or non-state actor) might require – such as fermenters, specialist centrifuges etc.

http://www.australiagroup.net/en/documents/Australia-Group-Common-Control-List-Handbook-Volume-II.pdf

THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 16

UNREST IN BURUNDI

The Daily Maverick on 15th January carried a piece reporting on ongoing unrest in Burundi, saying that since President Pierre Nkurunziza announced that he would run for a third term in early 2015, political instability across the country has tested the limits of global conflict prevention responses.  This instability has included a failed coup d’état, violent clashes between government and opposition forces, increasing suppression of the media and civil society, as well as targeted assassinations.  The violence has resulted in more than 400,000 Burundians fleeing to neighbouring states and over 55,000 internally displaced, amid allegations of serious human rights violations in the country.  The International Criminal Court has opened an investigation into alleged crimes.

https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2018-01-15-iss-today-do-global-actors-have-what-it-takes-to-help-burundi/#.Wl2OmUx2tZU

CHANGES TO AUSTRALIAN AML/CFT RULES

On 15th January, law firm Herbert Smith Freehills published a briefing on a number of practical changes that are included in a set of amendments to AML/CTF Rules that were registered with immediate effect by AUSTRAC in Australia on 11th January.  These include changes to the rules for identification of customers, customer due diligence, ongoing risk assessments and independent review.

https://www.herbertsmithfreehills.com/latest-thinking/practical-changes-to-the-amlctf-rules-will-benefit-affected-businesses

ANOTHER PANAMA BRIBERY SCANDAL

Swissinfo on 16th January reported that Panama is investigating over 30 people suspected of bribery offences in the so-called “Blue Apple” affair – accused of taking bribes of around £29 million in 2011-12 for public works projects, with the money sent to Blue Apple Services or laundering through banks. The network is said to include lawyers, public officials and businessmen.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/reuters/panama-probes-ex-officials-in-graft-network-suspected-of-taking-bribes/43826162

BAR COUNCIL CRITICISES NEW UK AML/CFT QUANGO

On 15th January, the Law Society Gazette in the UK reported that the Bar Council (which represents barristers in England & Wales) has poured further scorn on plans to set up new AML quango, saying its members could be asked to foot the bill for a body that is irrelevant to most of their practices.  It said the ‘low-risk’ profile of the bar must be taken into account when determining the level of fees to pay for the Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS), for which it is said there is ‘little justification’.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/law/bar-scathing-over-need-for-of-new-aml-quango/5064346.article

FAL CONVENTION – E-REPORTING BY SHIPS

On 16th January, Shipping Insight carries an article on the beginning of mandatory electronic reporting of ships – a result of the 2016 changes to the 1965 Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (aka FAL Convention) it owes much to the EU’s determination to digitise shipping.  It points out that changes are, at least for the present, limited to details on cargo crew and passengers, whereas ships visiting most ports are obliged to complete a general declaration, a crew list plus a crew effects and a ships stores declaration and up to 3 further FAL-compliant forms depending upon whether they have cargo, passengers or hazardous goods on board – the general declaration and cargo declarations are generally completed by the ship’s agent but only the ship has full details about crew, crew effects and ships stores on board.  The article says that under the new IMO FAL rules, there is an obligation on public authorities to establish systems for the electronic exchange of information, within a period of 3 years, with a transitional period of 12 months from the date of the introduction of such systems to make electronic transmission mandatory, during which period both paper and electronic documents will be allowed.  Looking at electronic shipping documents more generally, according to the IMO, only 7 flag states are listed as issuing electronic certificates that would be required for presentation to port authorities – Bahamas, Denmark, Germany, Isle of Man, Liberia, Marshall Islands and Sierra Leone.

https://shipinsight.com/the-fal-convention/

BBC: ‘STAGGERING’ TRADE IN FAKE DEGREES REVEALED

On 16th January the BBC reported that thousands of UK nationals have bought fake degrees from a multi-million pound “diploma mill” in Pakistan, a BBC Radio 4’s File on Four programme investigation has found (link below).  Buyers are said to include NHS consultants, nurses and a large defence contractor.  One British buyer spent almost £500,000 on bogus documents.  Axact, which claims to be the “world’s largest IT company”, operates a network of hundreds of fake online universities run by agents from a Karachi call centre.  with names such as Brooklyn Park University and Nixon University.

The broadcast also reveals buyers of fake qualifications apparently being effectively held to ransom, with a sort of blackmail, by the company as well.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09ly731

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42579634

CENTRAL BANK OF IRELAND PUBLISHES SUBMISSIONS ON THE REFORM OF IRELAND’S WHITE COLLAR CRIME LAWS

Law firm A&L Goodbody on 12th January reporting that the Central Bank had published its response to a 2016 Law Reform Commission Issues Paper which had called for submissions on the reform of Ireland’s laws regarding white collar crime, with recommendations largely consistent with recent changes in the UK: including a criminal offence for senior management of financial institutions whose reckless decisions cause the institution’s failure, a new agency to deal with financial crime, more regulation of senior personnel, enhancing the “fit and proper” requirements.

https://www.algoodbody.com/insights-publications/cbi-publishes-submissions-on-reform-of-irelands-white-collar-crime-laws

NEW GUIDANCE POINTS TO POTENTIALLY AGGRESSIVE APPLICATION BY THE US OF SECONDARY SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA

In a briefing dated 11th January, Steptoe & Johnson LLP refers to recent US Treasury and State Department guidance.  It refers to the CAATSA legislation, which the guidance that State and OFAC have issued suggests that they intend to implement CAATSA, as required by the statute.  The briefing says that this calls for caution by those engaged in commerce or financial transactions involving Russia, and the firm expects continued pressure from Congress in 2018 to ensure aggressive implementation of these statutory mandates.  The situation, it says, is not helped by the fact the agencies interpret the same terms from CAATSA differently, depending on the context of the specific statutory provision.

https://www.steptoe.com/publications-12416.html

WHAT COULD HAPPEN TO IMPORTS IF THE US GOVERNMENT SHUTS DOWN: 2018 VERSION

Law firm Arent Fox on 12th January ponders what is likely to happen if US Government agencies run out of money.  It points out that the government is funded until January 19th and the prospect of a shutdown is growing.  It says that cargo clearance operations would continue, and entry review screening for cargo security and screening for illegal imports would continue.  However, CBP staff not directly connected to processing cargo (mainly at headquarters and regional offices) would be furloughed and as a result, some non-essential trade activity would stop.

https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=c843fc3f-1723-4f94-a46f-1836149e4edf&utm_source=Lexology+Daily+Newsfeed&utm_medium=HTML+email+-+Body+-+General+section&utm_campaign=Lexology+subscriber+daily+feed&utm_content=Lexology+Daily+Newsfeed+2018-01-16&utm_term=

RUSSIAN COMPANIES SUPPORTING NEW CRUISE MISSILE ADDED AS DESIGNATED ENTITIES BY THE US

On 12th January, Crowell & Moring reported that, on December 20th, the US Bureau of Industry and Security added 2 Russian companies to its Entity List because they provided technology which aided the development of a new Russian cruise missile — the nuclear-capable Novator 9M729 missile (designated by NATO as the SSC-8, codename “Slingshot”) — which the US alleges is a violation of the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).  It points out that this action is part of the new Trump Administration INF Treaty Integrated Strategy.  The designated parties are:

  • JSC Experimental Design Bureau Novator; and
  • JSC Federal Scientific and Production Center Titan-Barrikady.

https://www.crowell.com/NewsEvents/AlertsNewsletters/all/The-Month-in-International-Trade-December-2017

USE OF RELATED PARTY TRANSFER PRICES FOR CUSTOMS VALUE UNDER EU LAW

In its monthly international trade newsletter for December, on 12th January Crowell & Moring reported that the EU ECJ had Significantly Limited the Use of Related Party Transfer Prices for Customs Value, when it decided that a company may not use transaction value for customs valuation purposes when a transfer price consisted of both an amount initially invoiced and declared, and a flat-rate adjustment made after the end of the accounting period.  The 20th December decision involved German company Hamamatsu Photonics Deutschland GmbH (Hamamatsu Deutschland), a subsidiary of Hamamatsu Photonics of Japan.  It points out that the fact that the judgment is based on the old Community Customs Code rather than the current Union Customs Code, which entered into force in 2016, is unlikely to affect the applicability of the conclusions.

https://www.crowell.com/NewsEvents/AlertsNewsletters/all/The-Month-in-International-Trade-December-2017#ITB01

CANNABIS: A BUDDING CANADIAN INDUSTRY

On 11th January Norton Rose Fulbright published a briefing starting with a quotation from a recent EY report which said –This is an unprecedented opportunity for the country to be the global leader in the cannabis space, to shape the regulatory framework for cannabis around the world and to spur innovation and economic productivity “.   It goes on the briefly review the content and implications.

http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=663212&email_access=on&chk=2293288&q=1630076

CANADIAN APPEAL COURT DECIDES “VIRTUAL PRESENCE” IS ENOUGH FOR PRODUCTION ORDER FOR USER INFORMATION AGAINST NON-CANADIAN COMPANY

In a briefing dated 12th January, McInnes Cooper reported on a Canadian case where the RCMP sought a production order for information from a non-Canadian business, Craiglist, with only a “virtual” existence in the country in British Columbia (Attorney General) v. Brecknell.

http://www.mcinnescooper.com/publications/the-legal-reality-canadian-appeal-court-decides-virtual-presence-is-enough-for-production-order-for-user-information-against-non-canadian-company-in-british-columbia-attorney-gener/

CRIMINAL PROSECUTION TO POLICE FOREX TRADING ACTIVITIES IN THE US

In a briefing on 11th January, the Brattle Group reports that 2 of its principals have co-authored an article on Law360 discussing the use of criminal prosecution to police trading practices in institutional financial markets in the US and the recent case involving HSBC’s former foreign exchange executive, Mark Johnson, who was convicted for misappropriating inside information in a large foreign exchange (FX) trade.

http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=655096&email_access=on&chk=2285172&q=1630076

UNMANNED VESSELS AND THE CARRIAGE OF GOODS – CONTRACTUAL AND INSURANCE CONSIDERATIONS

On 12th January, Clyde & Co reported that in 2017 Clyde & Co partnered with the Institute of Marine Science, Engineering and Technology (IMarEST) to research the adoption of new technologies in the shipping sector.   Its research on unmanned vessels revealed that while the industry is in the early adoptive stages, best practice for regulating, insuring and managing liability need to be clarified before the industry will see wide spread adoption.  It suggests that, if unmanned vessels are the future of shipping, the legal and insurance position will need to respond to the precise way in which the technology operates, but that for carriage of goods, the key contractual considerations are likely to remain broadly the same.

See also its “Technology in Shipping” report from November 2017 –

https://www.clydeco.com/insight/reports/technology-in-shipping?utm_source=Mondaq&utm_medium=syndication&utm_campaign=inter-article-link

http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=663230&email_access=on&chk=2293306&q=1630076

CANADA’S INDIRECT ECONOMIC SANCTIONS: THE ROLE OF EXPORT DEVELOPMENT CANADA (EDC)

On 15th January LexSage produced an interesting article detailing the indirect role of EDC in limiting or preventing Canadian exports to certain destinations – not just those subject to UN sanctions.  The EDC is Canada’s export credit agency/trade finance agency.  It extends credit to Canadian businesses (big and small) to facilitate export sales.  If the EDC will not provide trade insurance, export financing or bonding products for exports to certain countries, many Canadian businesses are not able to pursue opportunities in those markets (unless the business is able to self-fund or obtain banks financing and insurance).  A prominent example quoted is Russia – Canadian companies cannot get EDC financing or insurance to do business in Russia.  Many countries are subject to restrictions and some (e.g. Afghanistan, Algeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tunisia) are not subject to Canadian economic sanctions.

http://www.lexsage.com/?utm_source=Mondaq&utm_medium=syndication&utm_campaign=web-link

http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=663988

EU PROPOSES REMOVING 8 COUNTRIES FROM BLACKLIST

Reuters on 16th January reported that EU officials have proposed removing 8 jurisdictions from the blacklist of tax havens the bloc adopted in December, after they offered to change their tax rules, according to EU documents seen by Reuters – Panama, South Korea, UAE, Barbados, Grenada, Macao, Mongolia and Tunisia.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-eu-taxavoidance-blacklist/eu-to-remove-panama-korea-uae-5-others-from-tax-haven-blacklist-idUKKBN1F4235

EU OPPOSES EXCISE TAX ON E-CIGARETTES AND NOVEL TOBACCO PRODUCTS, FOR NOW

EurActiv reports on 16th January that the European Commission has decided not to propose a harmonised approach for excise taxation of e-cigarettes and other novel tobacco products until further information about these products is available.  It said that it would re-examine the situation in the next regular report on tobacco taxation due in 2019.

http://www.euractiv.com/section/health-consumers/news/commission-opposes-excise-tax-on-e-cigarettes-and-novel-tobacco-products-for-now/

CYPRUS: BETTING COMPANY SEEKS ENDING OF INVESTIGATION INTO REVENUE STREAMS

The Cyprus Mail reports that the Cypriot Supreme Court has given the green light to betting giant Opap Cyprus to file for a second injunction to stop police investigations into its revenue stream.  It reports that the probe into Opap’s revenue stream was launched after the Auditor-General, while looking into the agreement between the betting company and the state, reported that he had found information on suspicious financial transactions between Opap Cyprus and an individual living overseas.  This information was passed on to police, who opened an investigation.  In November Opap secured an initial court injunction that stopped a first police search warrant, after the court found fault with police procedures.

http://cyprus-mail.com/2018/01/15/betting-giant-given-go-ahead-stop-police-probe/?src=ilaw

BIRMINGHAM MORTGAGE FRAUD GANG ORDERED TO REPAY £13 MILLION

Birmingham Mail reports that 3 men – including the brother of a feared Birmingham criminal – have been ordered to pay back £13 million after a huge mortgage fraud or face more jail time.  They are the 2 brothers and a sister-in-law of Mohammed Suleman Khan (aka MSK).  It says that this marks the culmination of an operation by a crack team combining the strengths of the Regional Organised Crime Unit’s Regional Assets Recovery Team West Midlands (RART) and the Economic Crime Unit of West Midlands Police.

www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/mortgage-fraud-gang-including-brother-14159775

REVISED UK AML/CFT GUIDANCE

Shearman & Sterling on 15th January reported that the UK Joint Money Laundering Steering Group has published final revised guidance on AML/CFT for the financial services sector. The revised guidance released on 21st December will only replace the existing guidance once it has been approved by HM Treasury.  However, the JMLSG notes that firms may use the revised version if they wish to.

http://www.jmlsg.org.uk/news/further-amendments-to-jmlsg-guidance1

RUSSIA LOOKS TO IMPOSE SANCTIONS ON WADA OFFICIALS

On 16th January, the European Sanctions Blog reported that Russian lawmakers have begun formulating sanctions against officials of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) responsible for banning the Russian national team from participating in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang in South Korea.

https://europeansanctions.com/

MALAYSIAN PLASTIC RECYCLERS HOPE TO CLEAN UP AFTER CHINA IMPORT BAN

Customs Today reports that Heng Hiap Industries is just one of the SE Asian plastics recycling companies gearing up to benefit from China’s decision to ban imports of plastic waste from the start of 2018.  Before the ban China was the world’s dominant importer of such waste. In 2016, it imported 7.3 million tonnes of waste plastics, valued at $3.7 billion, accounting for 56% of world imports.

http://www.customstoday.com.pk/malaysian-plastic-recycler-hopes-to-clean-up-after-china-ban/

FRENCH WEALTH TAX LIMITED TO REAL ESTATE

Customs Today on 16th January announced that French residents no longer have to pay a wealth tax on savings and investment income, after sweeping tax reforms came into effect limiting it to real estate. In September 2017, the French Government announced that a number of tax reforms, including significant tax cuts for investment assets and income.

http://www.customstoday.com.pk/french-wealth-tax-restricted-to-real-estate/

NEW HONG KONG AIRCRAFT LEASING AND FINANCING ARRANGEMENTS

Berwin Leighton Paisner has published a briefing saying that Hong Kong is expected to become one of the world’s most attractive jurisdictions for aircraft leasing and financing following changes to tax rules.   The article focusses on leases for Russian airlines.

http://www.blplaw.com/expert-legal-insights/articles/hong-kong-russia-an-alternative-structure-for-operating-leases-opens-for-russian-airlines

PROBLEMS PERSIST FOR BRITISH LORRIES IN CALAIS

Lloyds Loading List on 16th January reports that British lorries are still being attacked on a daily basis in Calais.  RHA says migrants and traffickers continue to threaten safety of drivers, claiming it has evidence of French authorities allowing stowaways to pass undetected.

https://www.lloydsloadinglist.com/freight-directory/news/Calais-UK-trucks-‘still-being-attacked-on-a-daily-basis’/71120.htm#.Wl3Q40x2tZU

MEGAUPLOAD FOUNDER LOSES EXTRADITION FIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND

On 14Th January the Jurist website reported that Internet pirate Kim Dotcom suffered another legal setback last month in his fight to avoid extradition from New Zealand to the US, where he is facing charges relating to a massive copyright infringement when the High Court rejected all of Dotcom’s contested arguments against extradition.  He was behind Megaupload, one of the world’s biggest Internet sites when it was shut down by the DoJ in 2012.  Ostensibly a cloud-based storage system for large files, the site produced more than $175 million per year in revenue generated by its premium subscribers and third-party advertising attracted by the site’s 50 million daily visitors.

http://www.jurist.org/hotline/2018/01/Curt-Levey-copyright-infringement.php

TRACE PODCAST: US SOCCER GOVERNANCE

In the latest TRACE podcast, Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated discusses power, governance and the upcoming election at the US Soccer Federation as Sunil Gulati steps down.

https://www.traceinternational.org/bribe_swindle_or_steal

VENEZUELAN MILITARY “INVOLVED IN CONTRABAND MINERALS TRADE”

Insight Crime on 15th January reported that 2 congressmen in Venezuela allege that members of the armed forces play a central role in the country’s contraband mineral trade, and claimed that there is no coltan, gold or diamond operation that the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (Fuerza Armada Nacional Bolivariana — FANB) do not control, so the contraband of minerals is sponsored, orchestrated and executed by members of the FANB.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/brief/venezuela-blind-eye-military-criminality/

WEAPONS OF RUSSIAN SNIPERS

The Firearms Blog in the US has an interesting entry analyzing photos of Russian army snipers’ weaponry during a recent military exercise.

www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2018/01/15/weapons-russian-snipers-seen-live-fire-exercise/

Weapons-of-Russian-Snipers-Seen-in-a-Live-Fire-Training-4

LITHUANIA BLACKLIST BANS 49 RUSSIANS FOR ALLEGEDLY VIOLATING HUMAN RIGHTS OR ENGAGING IN CORRUPTION AND MONEY LAUNDERING

FFERL published an article on 16th January about the Magnitsky Law sanctions list issued by Lithuania and banning 49 Russians for allegedly violating human rights or engaging in corruption and money laundering, and including Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Russia’s Chechnya region.  It reports that also targeted on the Lithuanian blacklist are Russian Investigative Committee chief Aleksandr Bastrykin, who is accused of carrying out numerous politically charged cases against Putin opponents, and Russian lawmaker Andrei Lugovoi, who is accused in the poisoning death of Kremlin critic Aleksandr Litvinenko at a hotel in London in 2006.

https://www.rferl.org/a/lithuania-bars-kadyrov-other-prominent-russians-under-new-magnitsky-law/28977709.html

STRINGENT NEW SOLID WASTE IMPORT AND REPROCESSING REGULATIONS ADOPTED BY CHINA

On 16th January HKTDC in Hong Kong reports that new regulations regarding the import of solid wastes and their subsequent reprocessing into raw materials have been introduced by China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection with effect from 15th December.

http://economists-pick-research.hktdc.com/business-news/freepdfdownloadservlet?articleID=1X0ACMKM&LANGUAGE=en

BRITISH POLICE DROP FRAUD CHARGES AGAINST EX-RABBI

The Times of Israel on 16th January reported that an investigation has been dropped against a British banker in Manchester who heads an investment firm and was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit fraud.  Benji Silverstone, who heads the HBFS Wealth Management office in Manchester, has worked there for nearly 5 years after serving over 9 years as a rabbi and the Manchester director of the Jewish outreach group Aish Hatorah.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/investigation-dropped-against-manchester-banker-held-for-alleged-fraud/?src=ilaw

TRADE UNIONS WELCOME FREEZING OF GUPTA-RELATED ASSETS

News 24 in South Africa reports that the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) said on 16th January that it hoped freezing the assets of Gupta-linked companies McKinsey and Trillian, combined with the Commission of Inquiry into state capture, would signify the “beginning of the end of the Gupta patronage network that has wreaked havoc on our economy”.

https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/cosatu-hopes-freezing-of-assets-commission-is-beginning-of-end-of-gupta-patronage-network-20180116?src=ilaw

29 ARRESTS OVER $300 MILLION VAT FRAUD IN ISRAEL

The Times of Israel reports the arrest of 29 people over a $300 million VAT fraud in Israel that is said to have begun in 2015.  The suspects, including a senior official at a major bank, are believed to have issued fictitious receipts in the construction industry.  It is reported that among the detainees were several people — including 2 heads of an unnamed crime family — who were arrested in Spain. More arrests are expected.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/police-arrest-29-accused-of-massive-billion-shekel-fraud/?src=ilaw

CZECH PM WANTS TO DEFEND HIMSELF AGAINST FRAUD CHARGES

Prensa Latina reports that the Czech Prime Minister, Andrej Babis, requested that Parliament withdraw immunity to defend himself against the charges against him of misuse of EU funds.

http://www.plenglish.com/index.php?src=ilaw&o=rn&id=23419&SEO=czech-prime-minister-charged-with-corruption

See also –

http://www.dw.com/en/czech-government-loses-confidence-vote-in-parliament/a-42169927?src=ilaw

144 INTELLIGENCE REPORTS SENT TO POLICE BY MALTA FIU SINCE 2013

Malta Independent reports that the answer to a question in parliament reveals that the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit submitted a total of 144 intelligence reports on money laundering to the police since 2013.  The data shows that 26 intelligence reports were passed on to the police by the FIAU in 2013, 27 in 2014, 20 in 2015, 39 in 2016 and 32 by 30 November 2017.

http://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2018-01-16/local-news/FIAU-passed-on-144-intelligence-reports-regarding-money-laundering-to-the-police-since-2013-6736183701?src=ilaw

UK LIST OF THOSE BANNED FROM RUNNING AN EMPLOYMENT BUSINESS

On 16th January the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy issued an updated list containing details of people who have been banned from running an employment agency or business, including the period of the ban.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/list-of-people-banned-from-running-an-employment-agency-or-business

AMENDMENTS TO UK SANCTIONS AND AML BILL

The always on the ball European Sanctions Blog on 16th January reported on the state of the UK’s Sanctions and AML Bill as it enters the Report Stage of its passage through the House of Lords.  The blog entry lists the various amendments proposed by the government after discussions with the members of the upper house.  These include an express requirement to provide details (subject to national security restrictions) of the case against the person designated to that person, and an enhanced requirement to provide guidance and review designations.  2 government amendments were defeated, so that (for the moment) the Bill makes more explicit the purposes for which sanctions regulations can be made (including for human rights violations), and there is now no power for the Government to create new criminal offences.

https://europeansanctions.com/

ISLE OF MAN Q&A ON ICO

On 21st December, the Isle of Man FSA published a Q&A on initial coin offerings (ICO).

https://www.iomfsa.im/consumer-material/initial-coin-offerings-questions-and-answers/

TRANSLATING POLITICAL WILL INTO ACTION: THE FIGHT AGAINST CRIMINAL FINANCES IN THE UK

In an article on the Royal United Services Institute it is said that political will to tackle criminal proceeds was on prominent display last month, as the UK government held the inaugural meeting of the Global Forum on Asset Recovery and launched its Anti-Corruption Strategy.  However, it asks, will this be enough to tackle the flow of criminal proceeds into the UK?  The author of the article shares Transparency International UK’s concerns that this political and legislative landscape is not backed up by the necessary resources to translate it into action.

https://rusi.org/commentary/translating-political-will-action-fight-against-criminal-finances