Belgium prosecutes 3 companies for unlicensed chemical exports to Syria

Chemicals.jpgBelgian authorities have announced that 3 Flemish companies – AAE Chemie (Belgian chemical group), Anex Customs and Danmar Logistics (2 handling companies) – are being prosecuted for the unlicensed export of chemicals to Syria.

It is alleged that between May 2014 and December 2016, the 3 companies had shipped 24 deliveries to Syria (without an export licence), containing 168 tonnes of isopropanol, 219 tonnes of acetone, 77 tonnes of methanol, and 21 tonnes of dichloromethane. The trial is set to commence in Antwerp on 15 May 2018.

China’s ZTE denied US export privileges for 7 years

ZTE.jpgIn March 2017, we reported that Chinese telecoms company ZTE (Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corporation and ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications Ltd) had agreed to a combined civil and criminal penalty and forfeiture of $1.19bn after shipping telecommunications equipment to Iran and North Korea in violation of US sanctions, making false statements, and obstructing justice including through preventing disclosure to and misleading the US Government. In addition to those monetary penalties, ZTE also agreed a 7-year suspended denial of export privileges, which could be activated if any aspect of the agreement was not complied with.

Yesterday (16 April 2018), the US Department of Commerce announced that it had activated ZTE’s 7-year denial of export privileges order on the basis that the company had made false statements to the Department during settlement negotiations in 2016, and during the probationary period in 2017. Those statements had only been reported to the US Government after the Department had requested certain information from ZTE.

HMRC fines UK exporter £109k for unlicensed exports of military goods

HMRC.jpgThe UK’s Export Control Joint Unit has announced that Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has recently fined a UK exporter £109,312.50 for unlicensed exports of military goods controlled by the Export Control Order 2008. No further details were provided.

UK issues new ‘Information Security Items’ export licence

ECOThe UK Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU) has published today a new open general export licence (OGEL) on Information Security Items. Its purpose is to allow ‘low risk’ information security items deploying encryption to be exported to a wide range of destinations.

Furthermore, a total of 26 existing military and dual use OGELs have been updated to reflect new contact details of the ECJU and the Ministry of Defence. Otherwise, the scope of those OGELs remain the same. ECJU Notice here.

US couple, company & Syrian national indicted for conspiracy to violate US-Syria export laws

US Department of JusticeLast week, a US couple (Anni Beurklian and Antoine Ajaka), their company (Top Tech US Inc.), and a Syrian national (Amir Katranji) were indicted in a federal court in Boston for (inter alia) conspiracy to violate US export laws and regulations. In particular, for being involved in a scheme to smuggle goods out of the US and to supply services to Syria. Following plea negotiations in January 2018, Ms. Beurklian and Mr. Ajaka are alleged to have fled the US to avoid prosecution, and have yet to return. US Department of Justice press release here.

US subjects 23 companies to export restrictions for threatening US interests

The US Bureau of Industry and Security has added 23 companies to its Entity List, which lists entities the US believes to be acting contrary to its national security or foreign policy interests. As a consequence, a licence will be required for any export or transfer to the 23 companies, including where they act only as an intermediate consignee, and no licence exceptions are available for transactions they are involved in.

The additions comprise 15 companies from South Sudan, listed for being government, parastatal, or private entities acting contrary to US foreign policy interests, 7 from Pakistan, listed for their involvement in the nuclear trade, and 1 from Singapore, also listed for its involvement in the nuclear trade.

As part of the same action, BIS has also de-listed Ecuadorian company Corporacion Nacional de Telecommunicaciones and UAE company Talaat Mehmood.

The details of the changes are here.

EU draft guidance on ‘specially designed for military use’

ECOThe EU has published draft guidance on the meaning of ‘specially designed for military use’, an expression widely used in export control legislation. The guidance is intended to assist Member State competent authorities and the European defence industry establish whether a particular item is specially designed for military use by achieving a common EU-wide interpretation of the term.

The Commission has invited industry comments on the draft guidance via an online survey. Notice from the UK’s Export Control Joint Unit here.