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.

MH17 Joint Investigation Team Names Four Suspects in the Case

Friday, June 28, 2019
Author: 
Michael Plachta
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
7
Abstract: 

On June 19, 2019, the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine in July 2014 held a press conference. For the first time since the investigation’s initiation, prosecutors have announced charges against suspects in the case. The criminal investigation of the JIT – which includes officials from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, and Ukraine – has been ongoing since 2014. On September 28, 2016, the JIT announced that flight MH17 was shot down by a missile from the 9M38 series, which was launched by a BUK TELAR system. The system was transported from the Russian Federation to an agricultural field near the town of Pervomaiskyi in Eastern Ukraine, from where the missile was launched. After firing, the system - with one missing missile – was returned to the Russian Federation. In May 2018, the JIT announced its conclusion that the BUK TELAR used to shoot down MH17 came from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, a unit of the Russian armed forces from Kursk in the Russian Federation. It added that it had a “long list” of persons of interest and appealed again for witnesses as the investigation continues.

Austrian Supreme Court Affirms Lower Court’s Decision to Extradite Ukrainian Tycoon to U.S. on Corruption Charges

Friday, June 28, 2019
Author: 
Bruce Zagaris
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
7
Abstract: 

On June 25, 2019, the Austrian Supreme Court affirmed a lower court’s decision granting a request from the United States government to extradite Ukrainian tycoon Dmytro Firtash, where a U.S. grand jury in Chicago has indicted him for bribery. In 2014, a federal grand jury in Chicago indicted Firtash for his alleged role in bribing Indian officials in an unsuccessful effort to obtain mining contracts that would put him in a position to furnish titanium to Boeing, a U.S. aviation company, which has its headquarters in Chicago.  In March 2014, Austrian authorities arrested Firtash some days after Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich fled to Russia after the Maidan Revolution deposed him. An Austrian lower court ruled Firtash can be extradited notwithstanding arguments by his lawyers that he is the victim of political “persecution” by the U.S., where he has never been. The interest of U.S. authorities in Firtash started in the early 2000s, after he appeared as a trusted and influential partner of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s administration in controlling the Ukrainian-Russian gas trade.

Walmart Inc. and Brazilian Subsidiary Agree to Pay $137 Million and Sub Pleads Guilty to FCPA Violations

Friday, June 28, 2019
Author: 
Bruce Zagaris
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
7
Abstract: 

On June 20, 2019, Walmart Inc. (Walmart), a U.S.-based multinational retailer and its wholly owned Brazilian subsidiary, WMT Brasilia S.A.R.L. (WMT Brasilia), settled Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)  charges by agreeing to pay a combined criminal penalty of $137 million and a guilty plea by WMT Brasilia to end a seven-year inquiry. Walmart admitted that, from 2000 until 2011, certain Walmart personnel responsible for implementing and maintaining the company’s internal accounting controls related to anti-corruption were aware of certain failures involving these controls, including relating to potentially improper payments to government officials in certain Walmart foreign subsidiaries, but still failed to implement adequate controls.  Such controls would have, among other things, ensured: (a) that adequate anti-corruption related due diligence  was conducted on all third-party intermediaries (TPIs) who interacted with foreign officials; (b) that sufficient anti-corruption-related internal accounting controls concerning payments to TPIs existed; (c) that proof was required that TPIs had performed services before Walmart paid them; (d) that TPIs had written contracts that included anti-corruption clauses; (e) that donations ostensibly made to foreign government agencies were not converted to personal use by foreign officials; and (f) that policies concerning gifts, travel and entertainment sufficiently addressed giving things of value to foreign officials and were implemented.  Although senior Walmart officials responsible for implementing and maintaining the company’s internal accounting controls related to anti-corruption knew of these issues, Walmart did not start to change its internal accounting controls related to anti-corruption to comply with U.S. criminal laws until 2011.

OECD and IBA Issue Report on Proper Roles of Lawyers and International Commercial Structures

Friday, June 28, 2019
Author: 
Bruce Zagaris
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
7
Abstract: 

On May 31, 2019, the International Bar Association and the Secretariat of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development published a Report of the Task Force on the Role of Lawyers and International Commercial Structures. The background to the Report was the publication by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) of the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers. Following on from the London Anti-Corruption Summit which took place in May 2016, the OECD and the International Bar Association (IBA) agreed to form a task force to develop professional conduct standards and practice guidance for lawyers involved in establishing and advising on international commercial structures and recommended actions for governments.[4]  As a result of the ICIJ reports, the media has shone a spotlight on offshore commercial structures and the role of lawyers in the establishment and conduct of those structures that may facilitate potentially illegal conduct.  Hence, the media has focused on the alleged conduct and/or responsibility of lawyers and the law firms involved in those structures.

Trump Administration Concludes Migration Enforcement Accords with Guatemala and Mexico

Saturday, June 22, 2019
Author: 
Bruce Zagaris
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
6
Abstract: 

On June 1, 2019, Kevin K. McAleenan, the acting secretary for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), signed a two-year agreement with Guatemala to send up to 80 homeland security agents to Guatemala to help train the local authorities and combat human trafficking rings. DHS officials will work as “advisers” to Guatemala’s national police and migration authorities, attempting to disrupt and interdict human smuggling operations.  The idea is to cut off popular routes to the U.S. and deter migrants from starting their trips north through Mexico. The U.S. and Guatemala have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation.  DHS says the agreement permits “concrete actions” including “law enforcement training and collaboration to improve criminal investigations.” In a predawn raid on May 29, the investigators jointed Guatemalan policy to break a human trafficking ring.  Guatemala served 10 arrest warrants, including for Luis Augusto Torres Rosales, known as “Bimbo.”  Authorities suspect him of illegally transporting dozens of migrants from El Salvador and Honduras through Guatemala to Mexico.

New Zealand Stops Chinese Extradition on Human Rights Concerns

Friday, June 21, 2019
Author: 
Bruce Zagaris
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
6
Abstract: 

On June 11, 2019, the New Zealand Court of Appeal ruled against returning South Korean national and New Zealand resident Kyung Yup Kim, who is accused of murdering a 20-year-old Chinese woman while he was visiting Shanghai a decade ago, ordering the New Zealand executive to reassess its decision to extradite him on the basis he could be subjected to human rights abuses if returned. The Court of Appeal quashed a ministerial order and raised concerns over torture and the chances of a fair trial.  It ruled the justice minister Andrew Little to reconsider the case, taking into account evidence about whether Kim, who denies the charge, is at risk of torture and whether he would obtain a fair trial. The strongly worded ruling came two days after hundreds of thousands of people in Hong Kong protested a plan by the local government to permit extraditions to China. It further followed a decision by Australia two years ago to refuse to sign a proposed extradition treaty with China due to concerns about international human rights.

Prosecutors from U.S., Colombia and Mexico Meet for Transnational Criminal Organizations Working Group

Friday, June 21, 2019
Author: 
Bruce Zagaris
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
6
Abstract: 

From June 12 to 14, 2019, prosecutors from Colombia, Mexico, and the U.S. met for the second Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCO) Working Group.  The goal of the Working Group is to participate in specialized training, as well as develop joint strategies and best practices to dismantle the transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) that threaten the three countries. Experienced prosecutors from the countries benefited from trainings on international judicial cooperation and money laundering, and began crafting a road map for the development or dissemination of best practices and effective strategies to dismantle these dangerous enterprises.  With the increasing interconnectedness between Mexican cartels and Colombian drug trafficking organizations, which collaborate to improve their profits and ability to traffic narcotics, humans, weapons and other contraband into the U.S., threatening its national security, the cooperation among the prosecutors in the three countries has become even more important.

U.S. Unseals 2 Indictments Charging Iranian Citizen with Violating U.S. Export Controls and Iran Sanctions as a Related Conspirator Pleads Guilty

Friday, June 21, 2019
Author: 
Bruce Zagaris
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
6
Abstract: 

On June 4, 2019, U.S. law enforcement officials announced that two separate indictments against Peyman Amiri Larijani, 33, a citizen of Iran and former resident of Istanbul, Turkey, have been unsealed. Meanwhile, on June 16, 2019, Joyce Eliabachus, an alleged co-conspirator with Larijani, pleaded guilty in Newark, New Jersey. On April 22, 2015, a 34-count indictment was returned, charging Larijani and a Turkish based company, Kral Havacilik IC VE DIS Ticaret Sirketi (Kral Aviation), with conspiracy to acquire U.S. origin aircraft parts and goods to furnish entities and end-users in Iran, as well as conceal from U.S. companies and the U.S. government that the U.S.-origin goods were destined for Iranian aviation business end users. The indictment also charged Larijani and Kral Aviation with conspiracy to make financial profit for defendants and other conspirators, and to evade the regulations, prohibitions, and licensing requirements of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR), and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).

Mass Protests Against Controversial Hong Kong Extradition Bill

Friday, June 21, 2019
Author: 
Michael Plachta
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
6
Abstract: 

Between June 9 and June 12, 2019, Hong Kong witnessed massive and violent protests attended by up to one million. They demonstrated against a proposed extradition law that would allow suspects to be handed over to mainland Chinese authorities for prosecution. Demonstrators were shocked by the violence, when police charged on protesters, firing rubber bullets and tear gas on them. At least 72 people were hospitalized, two of which were in serious condition. Human Rights Watch, an NGO, accused the police of using "excessive force" against protesters. An immediate result of the protests was that the debate on the controversial extradition law was not held on June 12. Instead, Hong Kong's Legislative Council (LegCo) delayed a second reading of the controversial extradition bill and it is unclear when it will take place. Another victory was that the government raised the proposed threshold for extradition to crimes that carried sentences of seven years in prison, compared with a three-year threshold initially. The proposed amendments to the extradition law should be seen in a broader legal and political context. The “one country, two systems” framework, agreed to when Hong Kong was handed over to China from Britain in 1997, was meant to guarantee the territory’s civic freedoms and legal system – unique in China – for 50 years. The policy has helped preserve Hong Kong’s civil service, independent courts, freewheeling press, open internet, and other features that distinguish it from the Chinese mainland.

Recent Reports Reinforce Slow Rate of Progress in Balkan Transitional Justice

Friday, June 21, 2019
Author: 
Alex Psilakis
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
6
Abstract: 

On June 17, 2019, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) issued a new report titled “War Crimes Case Management at the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina.” The report analyzes some of the systemic issues limiting the Prosecutor’s Office in Bosnia (PO BiH), as well as the root causes of those systemic issues. However, it remains somewhat optimistic, offering conclusions and recommendations to Bosnia’s judicial institutions on how to improve their overall capacity to prosecute war crimes. Just weeks before this, in May 2019, the Humanitarian Law Centre – a Serbia-based NGO – released a new report titled “Report on the War Crimes Trials in Serbia.” While their report focuses more so on monitoring specific war crimes cases in Serbia, it offers a number of general findings which discuss why the cases are moving forward in such an inefficient manner. In tandem, these reports reinforce the worrying trend that has plagued the Balkan region for years – internal intransigence has all but prevented states from prosecuting their own war criminals.

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