South Africa Publishes More About Money Laundering Vulnerabilities

South African Mandela notes with coinsAs noted in a prior blog post, South Africa’s Financial Intelligence Centre (“FIC”) periodically releases financial crime typologies and case studies. Recently it published information about typologies in two different lines of business: (1) casinos and the gambling industry, and (2) the property sector, discussed in this post.

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“Cum-Ex” Tax Scandal Arrives in Strasbourg and Ensnares International Law Firm

It is said that the history of tax avoidance is as long as the history of tax. One of the latest tax avoidance strategies, which has seemingly crossed the line to illegal tax evasion, is that of “Cum-Ex” share trading, sometimes referred to as “dividend stripping.” For the past few years, German authorities have led the investigation into the practice and many other European countries are now embarking upon enquiries of their own. It is estimated that tax losses to European treasuries resulting from “Cum-Ex” schemes run to more than EUR 50 billion (more than USD 60 billion).

The German lawyer purported to have formulated the practice has challenged his indictment by German authorities for aggravated tax evasion in the European Court of Human Rights. Most recently, the administrator for a now-defunct German subsidiary of a foreign bank has filed a suit against an international law firm, seeking damages for incorrectly opining as to the legality of the trades. That action has precipitated another probe by German authorities into whether the law firm in question may be guilty of aiding and abetting tax fraud. It seems likely that other professional advisers will be subject to similar scrutiny. Continue Reading

Travelers Beware – Compelled to Open Your Phone?

Phone Message On Social NetworkRecent rulings conflict on whether police can force individuals to unlock their smartphones. The result depends upon where you are located, with differing rulings from Massachusetts and California. Further, there is an international dimension, illustrated by a recent decision from Israel. In short, as described below, the traveler must beware. Continue Reading

New OFAC CAPTA List Targets Foreign Banks

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) recently announced the creation of a new list of sanctioned parties specific to foreign financial institutions (“FFIs”). The Correspondent Account of Payable-Through Account Sanctions (the “CAPTA List”) identifies FFIs that are prohibited or severely restricted from opening or maintaining a U.S. correspondent account. Continue Reading

United Arab Emirates Removed From Tax Havens List

The European Union recently removed the United Arab Emirates from the list of Uncooperative Tax Havens. The UAE achieved this goal after enhancing the substance and transparency of its taxation procedures. Tax analysts believe this action will make the UAE an even more attractive destination for foreign investment in future.

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Supreme Court Applies Excessive Fines Clause to States

The Supreme Court today held the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause applies to the states. A wide variety of groups from the American Civil Liberties Union to the Chamber of Commerce of the United States supported the result.

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Linguistic Clues Narrow Identity of Country A in Mueller Probe

Fascination continues about the identity of Country A in Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference.  An unidentified corporation is a witness in the investigation and is owned by Country A.

Recent developments provide clues in the unredacted portions of unsealed court rulings and party filings.  Based on linguistic analysis of court rulings and pleadings, Kristina Arianina, a senior associate with a linguistics background, narrows the number of potential candidates.  Continue Reading

DOJ 2018 Policy Shifts in Review

Department of JusticeIn 2018, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) issued many important policy updates and rollouts that will have far-reaching impact. Our firm’s Alert provides an easily navigated yet detailed summary of developments. Policy Shifts at the Department of Justice – 2018 in Review focuses on government investigations and white collar prosecutions.

The Alert covers: Continue Reading

Will Russia Provide Missing Links to Murder, Kickbacks, Bribery?

The case against Leonid Teyf, a Russian citizen, in a federal court in North Carolina has enough juicy facts for an international crime novel. The U.S. prosecutors need evidence to convict Teyf and his accomplices of the central charges, stemming from an alleged kickback scheme in Russia. Will Russia provide missing links?

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Russia Continues Anticorruption Efforts in 2019

Russia continues its anticorruption efforts in 2019. These efforts build upon numerous convictions last year.  In January 2019, despite the two-week public winter break, two significant cases developed. Beyond seeking additional convictions, the Russian government will implement public anticorruption outreach this year. Continue Reading