The International Enforcement Law Reporter

The International Enforcement Law Reporter is a monthly print and online journal covering news and trends in international enforcement law.

Since September 1985, the International Enforcement Law Reporter has analyzed the premier developments in both the substantive and procedural aspects of international enforcement law. Read by practitioners, academics, and politicians, the IELR is a valuable guide to the difficult and dynamic field of international law.

South Sudan and the Legal Inconsistence of Corporate Complicity in War Crimes

Friday, March 22, 2019
Author: 
Evan Schliecher
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
4
Abstract: 

On February 20, the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, a United Nations Human Rights Council investigative body, released a report documenting continuing conflict and potential war crimes and crimes against humanity, despite the signing of a peace agreement in October of last year. The report is notable from a legal perspective because it labels the oil industry as “a major driver for…the violations of international humanitarian law witnessed there.”[3] In fact, the three major joint oil ventures in the country, between Nile Petroleum Company and Chinese National Petroleum Company, Petronas of Malaysia and the Indian Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, have already been designated by the U.S. Department of Commerce as violators of American policy and national security interests.

European Parliament Adopts New Directive to Fight Non Cash Payment Fraud

Friday, March 22, 2019
Author: 
Michael Plachta
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
4
Abstract: 

On March 13, 2019, the European Parliament adopted a legislative resolution by which it adopted the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on combating fraud and counterfeiting of non-cash means of payment. The Directive updates the existing rules to ensure that a clear, robust, and technology-neutral legal framework is in place. It also gets ride of operational obstacles that hamper investigation and prosecution, and foresees actions to enhance public awareness of fraudulent techniques such as phishing or skimming. The Directive includes provisions on: (i) expanding the scope of the offences to include, for example, transactions through virtual currencies; (ii) harmonizing the definitions of some online crime offences, such as hacking a victim's computer or phishing; (iii) harmonized rules on penalties for natural persons: Council and Parliament agreed minimum penalties ranging from 1 to 5 years depending of the type of offense; (iv) assistance and support to ensure victims are sufficiently informed of their rights and citizens are advised on how to protect themselves from such frauds; (v) clarification of the scope of jurisdiction to ensure cross border fraud is tackled more effectively; (vi) collection of statistics on, as a minimum, the number of offenses and the number of persons prosecuted and convicted.

Federal Reserve Board Bars 2 Former Employees of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. from Banking Industry

Friday, March 22, 2019
Author: 
Bruce Zagaris
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
4
Abstract: 

On March 22, 2019, the Federal Reserve Board announced it has prohibited Ng Chong Hwa, also known as Roger Ng, and Tim Leissner from the banking industry due to their participation in a scheme to illegally divert billions of dollars from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.  In addition, the Board fined Leissner $1.42 million.  Leissner has consented to the permanent ban. Foreign subsidiaries of the Goldman Sachs Group Inc. hired Ng and Leissner to coordinate bond offerings arranged by Goldman for 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1Mdb) in 2012 and 2013.  The funds diverted from 1MDB were allegedly used for the conspirators’ personal benefit and to bribe certain government officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi. In August 2018, Leissner pleaded guilty to criminal charges brought by the Department of Justice in the Eastern District of New York for conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and to commit money laundering.  In October 2018, Ng was indicted on similar charges.

Pursuing Extradition of Hassan, Germany Stands Strong on Human Rights

Saturday, March 16, 2019
Author: 
Alex Psilakis
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
3
Abstract: 

On February 23, 2019, the German publication Der Spiegel reported that Germany asked Lebanon to extradite Jamil Hassan, a former high-level official in Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime. Hassan, who was the chief of the Air Force Intelligence Directorate, reportedly entered Lebanon for medical treatment, though no Lebanese official has confirmed his location since. German federal prosecutors have had an arrest warrant out against Hassan since June 2018, alleging that he carried out crimes against humanity while serving as intelligence chief. The Air Force Intelligence Directorate is viewed as one of the most powerful positions in Syria, as it oversees many detention centers that torture thousands of individuals. The U.S. and European powers have long had their eyes on Hassan: France issued an international arrest warrant for Hassan in May 2018, and in 2011, the U.S. sanctioned him for his alleged involvement in the violent suppression of Syrian protestors. Nevertheless, this move by Germany is the strongest step yet taken by a Western power to arrest and try Hassan for his alleged crimes.

Bemba Seeks $77 Million in Compensation from the International Criminal Court

Saturday, March 16, 2019
Author: 
Michael Plachta
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
3
Abstract: 

On March 8, 2019, Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, a former vice president and rebel leader in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), submitted a brief at the Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC) seeking €68.6 million. Specifically, he demands: (i) a sum of not less than €12 million for the period of his detention; (ii) a further sum of €10 million by way of aggravated damages; (iii) €4.2 million for his legal costs; and (iv) a sum not less than €42.4 million for damage to his property. To put it is a perspective: it is more than a third of the Court’s annual budget. This case is only the third claim to have been made under Article 85 of the Rome Statute, only the second to have been made following the acquittal of an accused, and the first to have been based substantially on losses consequent to the claimant’s arrest and detention and/or caused by the misfeasance of the court in managing an accused’s frozen assets.

3rd Largest Israeli Bank Agrees to Pay $195 Million and Enters into DPA with US on Tax Violations

Saturday, March 16, 2019
Author: 
Bruce Zagaris
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
3
Abstract: 

On March 12, 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Mizrahi-Tefahot Bank Ltd. (Mizrahi-Tefahot) and its subsidiaries, United Mizrahi Bank (Switzerland) Ltd. (UMBS) and Mizrahi Tefahot Trust Company Ltd. (Mizrahi Trust Company), agreed to pay $195 million to the United States and enter into a deferred prosecution agreement. Mizrahi-Tefahot is the third-largest bank in Israel, having more than 4,000 employees, and is publicly trade on the Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange.  During the relevant period of over a decade of criminal activity, Mizrahi-Tefahot had branches in Los Angeles, California, the Cayman Islands, and London, England.  In 2014, the Cayman Islands branch surrendered its license and closed.  UMBS, a subsidiary of Mizrahi-Tefahot, had one branch in Zurich, Switzerland.  Mizrahi Trust Company, a fully owned subsidiary of Mizrahi-Tefahot, operated under the regulatory authority of the Bank of Israel.  Together, Mizrahi-Tefahot, UMBS, and Mizrahi Trust Company provided private banking, wealth management, and financial services to high-net-worth individuals and entities around the world, including U.S. citizens, resident aliens and permanent residents.

UK Court Lifts an Obligation to Seek Assurances from USA in a Death Penalty Case

Saturday, March 16, 2019
Author: 
Michael Plachta
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
3
Abstract: 

On January 18, 2019, the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division (Divisional Court), in a rolled-up hearing by Lord Chief Justice Burnett and Mr Justice Garnham, dismissed the claim brought by Maha El Gizouli – the mother of the ISIS terrorist Shafee El Sheikh – against the Home Secretary’s decision to provide mutual legal assistance (MLA) to the U.S. without requiring an assurance that the death penalty would not be imposed. While having rejected all grounds of challenge to the decision of the Home Secretary and the subsequent transfer of materials (including personal data) to the U.S. authorities, the Lordships nevertheless grant permission to apply for judicial review. The issue raised in this claim for judicial review is whether it is lawful for the Home Secretary to authorize mutual legal assistance (“MLA”) to a foreign state in support of a criminal investigation which may lead to prosecution for offences which carry the death sentence in that state, without requiring an assurance that the prosecution would not seek the death sentence. Assurances of this type are routine in extradition cases to territories where capital punishment exists. They are also required by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

Canada Proceeds with Extradition of Huawei CFO While She Sues Canada and China Accuses Canadian Former Diplomat of Espionage

Saturday, March 16, 2019
Author: 
Bruce Zagaris
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
3
Abstract: 

On March 1, 2019, Canada’s Justice Department authorized an extradition hearing for Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei, the Chinese telecom and electronics company, on 13 criminal counts of conspiracy, fraud, and obstruction.  The extradition hearing will start on March 6 at the British Columbia’s Supreme Court.  On that day the court will set a date for the start of her extradition hearing. Meanwhile, Ms. Meng has sued the Canadian government for violating her constitutional rights when she was detained, as authorities seized and reviewed her electronic devices. Additionally, the Chinese government has recently charged two Canadians – one a former diplomat – of espionage and violating state secrets.

Russian Mobile Telesystems Pjsc and Its Uzbek Subsidiary Make Settlements with U.S. over Bribery and Money Laundering

Saturday, March 16, 2019
Author: 
Bruce Zagaris
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
3
Abstract: 

On March 7, 2019, Moscow-based Mobile TeleSystems PJSC (MTS), the largest mobile telecommunications company in Russia and an issuer of publicly traded securities in the United States, and its wholly owned Uzbek subsidiary, KOLORIT DIZAYN INK LLC (KOLORIT), have settled with the U.S. Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), wherein they agreed to pay a combined total penalty of $850 million to resolve charges arising out of a scheme to pay bribes in Uzbekistan.  Additionally, the DOJ unsealed charges against a former Uzbek official who is the daughter of the former president of Uzbekistan and against a former CEO of Uzdunrobita LLC, another MTS subsidiary, for their participation in a bribery and money laundering scheme concerning more than $865 million in bribes from MTS, VimpelCom Limited (now VEON)and Telia Company AB (Telia) to the former Uzbek official in order to secure her assistance in entering and maintaining their business operations in Uzbekistan’s telecommunications market

EU Adds 9 Jurisdictions to Tax Haven Blacklist

Saturday, March 16, 2019
Author: 
Bruce Zagaris
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
3
Abstract: 

On March 12, 2019, the EU finance ministers updated the EU list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions.  The list now has 15 countries and is part of the EU’s fair taxation initiative. The Commission explained that it assessed 92 countries based on three criteria:  tax transparency, good governance and real economic activity, and the existence of a zero corporate tax rate.   As a result of the assessment and pressure to avoid the blacklist, 60 countries acted and eliminated over 100 harmful regimes. The ministers blacklisted 15 countries.  5 have taken no commitments since the first blacklist adopted in 2017:  American Samoa, Guam, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  3 others were on the 2017 list, but were moved into the grey list following commitments they had taken. However, they have been blacklisted again for not following up:  Barbados, the United Arab Emirates and the Marshall Islands.

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