The Irish Independent on 24th April reported that Irish landowners have been alerted to the operation of a ‘scam’ through which ownership to their property could be undermined online by high-tech international fraudsters – with the ending of the traditional deeds documents for land and property in Ireland over recent years, and all registrations of ownership now online. The problem was first detected in the UK and measures have now been put in place in Ireland to provide an additional guard against interference with the titles to farm property.
On 18th April, an article from MacFarlanes and Outer Temple Chambers explores a new power introduced by the Criminal Finances Act 2017 and which has recently been used for the first time by UK authorities: Account Freezing Orders (AFO). It contends that the recent spate of AFO show that they might in fact be the more significant development arising from the Act than the Unexplained Wealth Order and one that ends up affecting more people.
On 18th April, Baker McKenzie published an article saying that on 3rd April the National Bank of Ukraine unveiled the details for operation of current accounts by foreign companies in Ukrainian banks – the operation of such offshore accounts by foreign companies became possible under the new foreign currency rules that came into effect in February. It defines what a “shell company” is in Ukraine law, and says that the bank must assess the account holder and form its own opinion regarding the treatment of a foreign legal entity as a “shell company”. Current accounts cannot be operated by a “shell company” and the commercial bank must ensure that the account holder is not regarded as such.
The Henry J Kaiser Foundation on 23rd April reported a report from Quartz Africa saying that African health care systems are in an arms race with a rising fake medicine problem. The scope and scale of substandard and counterfeit medical products, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, is huge, and its impact wide-ranging, it is reported. One example quoted is that the WHO Global Surveillance and Monitoring System for Substandard and Falsified Medical Products issued an alert in March over the circulation of confirmed fake meningitis vaccines in Niger. The report also says that the value of Africa’s pharmaceutical industry will double or triple to between $40 billion and $65 billion by 2020. This makes the sector attractive to pharmaceutical industry players but also some bad actors. WHO says that Africa alone accounts for 42% of globally detected cases of substandard and fake medical products; and the penetration of counterfeit pharmaceuticals is much higher in the developing world, reaching 30%, as opposed to less than 1% in the developed world.