This is an important article from Australia about how organized crime infiltrates legitimate businesses and supply chain stakeholder companies. Australian Government is doing a good job to stop these activities.

This criminal modus has been known for a long time and the best way to attack it is through structured partnerships and cooperation with trade.

Everybody in the entire supply chain need to know the risks involved and how to minimize being infiltrated.

In addition, it is essential to implement early warning systems inside the supply chain – and within its stakeholders – to ensure and maximize detection of patterns revealing somebody on the inside bekng involved in criminal behaviour. This can be done through modern Authorized Economic Operator concepts.

The article states, that Intelligence gathered in multiple policing probes has found leading Australian freight, logistics and transport firms are being infiltrated by organised crime groups and bikies to import drugs and illegal tobacco then distribute them around Australia.

The information comes as Australian Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw will on Wednesday reveal that the cracking of the encrypted An0m app used by criminals has led to the arrest of 29 “trusted insiders”, including people working in “freight forwarding and logistics companies, couriers, trucking firms” and at “ports, airports and mail centres”.

“Intelligence reveals trusted insiders charged fees between 15 to 25 per cent of the drugs they were moving around the country,” Mr Kershaw will say in a speech to the National Press Club.

“Baggage handlers and postal workers” were having their assets targeted by police via proceeds-of-crime orders, he said, warning that “workers who have knowledge of logistics chains and facilitate crime” were being “methodically” identified by his agency.

Mr Kershaw will also reveal that at least 20 of the 29 insiders arrested previously held aviation or maritime security identification cards, giving them access to sensitive border sites. And he will say that “lawyers, accountants, and some government officials have been identified as enablers of Australia’s multibillion-dollar drug-trafficking industry”.

You can read the article here: Organised criminals are ‘trusted insiders’ in some of Australia’s biggest freight firms

Source: TheSydneyMorningHerald

A UK government scheme set up to help small businesses handle the disruption and paperwork associated with Brexit has awarded just a third of its total funds amid complaints that its complexity had discouraged companies from applying.

Ministers launched the SME Brexot support fund in February to support small exporters that were struggling to cope with the extra costs from selling their goods outside the EU single market, which Britain left on January 1.

The government offered up to £2,000 for every business to pay for practical support for importing and exporting, such as dealing with new customs, rules of origin, and VAT rules. An overall pot worth £20m was available to help up to 10,000 small companies.

But only 4,376 companies have been offered grants of about £6.8m, according to official data, with complaints over its complexity and ease of access for small businesses without specialist trade experience. A total of 5,414 companies applied.

The figures, which were revealed by Labour MP Hilary Benn in a parliamentary question, show that on average businesses who applied only received £1,555 rather than the £2,000 maximum amount available. 

Benn, who is co-chair of the UK Trade and Business Commission, a cross-party group of MPs and business leaders, said the government’s support scheme seemed “more of an obstacle course, which discourages applications by making SMEs jump through too many hoops for a very small return”.

He added: “We have heard first hand testimony from businesses continuing to face serious hardships since leaving the EU. If the government really wants to support them, they must hold another round of bidding with a simplified application process and more substantial grants.”

The administration of the fund, which was launched by cabinet office minister Michael Gove as a way to help businesses “seize new opportunities available to a fully independent global trading United Kingdom”, has been overseen by PwC.

Best for Britain, which acts as the secretariat for the UK Trade and Business Commission, said there were 600,000 exporting SMEs in the UK that could benefit from the scheme.

Applications for the scheme closed last month. Benn has written to the government to urge ministers to increase support for businesses by expanding the fund. 

Craig Beaumont, chief of external affairs at the Federation of Small Businesses, said small firms struggled to apply in the first round “because it was not a small business friendly, easy-to-use website — it was instead a repurposed customs intermediaries application which was confusing to navigate without knowledge”.

Source: FT

Boris Johnson has rejected Brussels’ latest attempt to iron out problems with the post-Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland, insisting that the withdrawal agreement signed last year must be renegotiated.

A series of proposals published by the European Commission on Monday with the aim of easing implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol were said to be insufficient for the scale of the problems.

A UK government spokesperson said the two sides instead needed “comprehensive and durable solutions”. David Frost, the minister responsible for Brexit issues, has said that without a major change to the legal text of the protocol, the government will consider triggering article 16 of the EU-UK agreement to suspend parts of the deal.

The government issued a command paper last week detailing the key changes it wishes to make to the arrangements under which Northern Ireland in effect stays in the EU’s single market and the bloc’s customs rules are enforced on goods passing across the Irish Sea.

The UK government spokesperson said it was only by engaging with Downing Street’s demands that the issues relating to a range of problems, which have caused political instability and violence in Northern Ireland in recent months, could be solved.

However, he said what the EU proposed represented “only a small subset of the many difficulties caused by the way the protocol is operating”.

“We need comprehensive and durable solutions if we are to avoid further disruption to everyday lives in Northern Ireland,” he added.

The UK’s outright rejection on Monday of the commission’s overtures on some of the difficult issues, including the flow of medicines from Great Britain to Northern Ireland and the movement of guide dogs and cattle, further sets the two sides on a collision course.

A series of grace periods are due to end in October and in January next year, while the commission has insisted that it will not rewrite the legal text agreed with Johnson in 2019.

Lord Frost has insisted that he is sincere in wanting the protocol to be successful but that he cannot envisage a situation that will gain the support of all communities in Northern Ireland without a new negotiation on the text. The command paper issued last week had suggested that political pressures in 2019 forced the government to agree to the protocol and sign it in 2020.

A UK government spokesperson said the proposal still fell short. “The EU’s proposal was a welcome start but it would be complex to operate, onerous and would not deal at all with those medicines, such as new cancer drugs, which under current arrangements must be licensed by the European Medicines Agency in Northern Ireland,” he said.

Source: TheGuardian