On 8th December, HM Treasury issued a Notice notifying changes to its Libya sanctions regime following the publication of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 2017/2260, amending the details relating to the vessel “Capricorn”.
On 7th December EU Council Decision 2017/2265/CFSP announced amendment of the details for the vessel “Capricorn”, which is listed pursuant to UN SCR 1970.
CMS von Erlach Poncet AG of Switzerland has published an article about what has happened following the evaluation report (published December 2016) and referring to the Swiss Financial Markets Supervisory Authority (FINMA) publishing in September a draft amendment to its Anti-money Laundering Ordinance. Switzerland is in a follow-up process and must report to the FATF in February 2018 regarding the progress made. The article summarises the recommendations made in the report and the proposed changes to Swiss law and procedures.
In the US, a case highlights the risks of over-relying on simple screening software. Pilot Air Freight has suffered a $175,000 penalty ($75,000 suspended) for aiding and abetting attempted unlicensed export by a customer to IKAN Engineering Services (which is on the BIS Entity List). The company had multiple interfaces for customers’ shipping data and one, the main interface, was linked to proprietary screening software that would screen recipients against the Entity List and other relevant lists. However, the other interface allowed customers to enter shipment data, but this was not automatically linked to the screening software. So, in this case, the shipment was not flagged, and was then stopped by US Customs in Long Beach. It does not seem that Pilot Air Freight knew of the problem with their software, and the shipper would not have known either.
The Guardian reported on 6th December that 2 gang members who ran a so-called “county line” drug network have been convicted of human trafficking in the first case of its kind. They had pleaded guilty to trafficking a 19-year-old woman, who was forced to transport drugs from London to Swansea. It is believed to be the first time police have successfully used powers under the Modern Slavery Act to target members of city gangs, who use a phone line to facilitate their supply of Class A drugs into county or coastal towns. Their victim, from London, was contacted on social media before being lured into a car and driven to Swansea and her mobile phone was destroyed.
Article by visiting fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London on the new Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) that, he argues, went practically unnoticed in the West as much of the focus was on the current turmoil in the Middle East. He says that questions remain over its role and teeth, and if it is just a political tool wielded by the Saudis against the Iranians? He says it is obvious that some major Muslim nations are missing from the coalition (Iran, Iraq and Syria) leading to fears that it is merely an anti-Shia and ‘Sunni bloc’.
The European Court of Auditors has published a report (Special Report 19/2017) which states that important weaknesses and loopholes indicate that EU customs controls are not being applied effectively, and this has an adverse effect on EU finances. Goods entering EU Member States from outside the EU are subject to customs controls before they are released for free circulation within the EU. However, importers can deliberately reduce or evade customs duty liability by, for example, undervaluing their goods, declaring a false country of origin or shifting to a product classification with a lower duty rate. The auditors examined whether the Commission and the Member States had designed robust controls on imports. They visited the customs authorities of 5 Member States: Spain, Italy, Poland, Romania and the UK. They found serious weaknesses indicating that there are shortcomings in the legal framework, as well as ineffective implementation of customs controls on imports. This adversely affects the financial interests of the EU.