Panama Covid-19 update – Too early for government news conference, so no details of today’s figures on new cases etc. Last day before new, tighter lockdown rules start tomorrow – when only 2 hours every other day allowed. However, can still get some exercise using cross-trainer and ab bench machine, on the veranda downstairs, while watching the hummingbirds and other exotic birds in the garden. Makes me more aware, despite being (sort of) “stranded” here, I am in a far better situation than many others. Trying to stay positive and keep busy, which I guess is the secret.
31 March 2020
OVER 500 NORTH KOREAN WORKERS REMAIN IN RUSSIA
On 30 March, NK News reported that 511 labourers reportedly stranded in Russia, having had their work permits revoked, Russia said, in line with the country’s obligations under UN SCR Resolution 2397.
INSTEX HAS SUCCESSFULLY CONCLUDED ITS FIRST TRANSACTION, FACILITATING THE EXPORT OF MEDICAL GOODS FROM EUROPE TO IRAN
A news release from the FCO on 31 March advised that France, Germany and UK confirm that INSTEX has successfully concluded its first transaction, facilitating the export of medical goods from Europe to Iran. These goods are now in Iran. INSTEX is a mechanism designed to continue the supply of necessary goods to Iran, despite US sanctions.
ISLE OF MAN: CHANGES REGARDING THE REGISTRATION AND REGULATION CHARITIES
On 31 March, a news release in the Isle of Man advised that the changes affecting Manx-registered charities come into effect from 1 April. The Charities Registration and Regulations Act 2019 come fully into force on 1 April, as well as the Charities Regulations 2020, and the implementation of the Act will impact on all Manx registered charities.
US RENEWS WAIVERS ALLOWING FOREIGN FIRMS TO WORK AT IRANIAN NUCLEAR SITES
The Jewish News Syndicate and others on 30 March reported that the US State Department had announced that it has extended temporary waivers to continue allowing Russian, Chinese and European companies to keep operating at Iranian nuclear facilities. The waivers affect the Arak and Bushehr facilities, and the Tehran Research Reactor, where the fuel is provided by Russia, which also removes the facility’s spent fuel after it’s used in the reactor.
MORE THAN 10,000 AIRCRAFT HAVE BEEN MOTHBALLED SINCE THE START OF THE CRISIS
On 31 March, EurActiv reported that airlines are scrambling to find parking spots as the coronavirus outbreak slashes demand for air travel, as quarantine measures and border closures have cut air traffic by up to 90% in places. 40% of the global commercial fleet were out of service, with Europe’s runways and aprons hosting the most of any continent, across 210 airports.
EU FINALISES ITS OPERATION IRINI TO ENFORCE LIBYA ARMS EMBARGO
On 31 March, EurActiv carried an article saying that the EU will begin its operation in which ships will operate in the eastern Mediterranean, with authority to stop and board ships suspected of breaching the UN arms embargo.
TURKEY’S HALKBANK PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO HELPING IRAN EVADE US SANCTIONS
On 31 March, The National in UAE, and others, reported that Turkey’s state-owned Halkbank has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges in a US federal court over accusations that it helped Iran evade US sanctions. Halkbank is charged with embezzlement, conspiracy, money laundering, fraud and helping Iran evade sanctions. The bank is being accused of running a “brazen scheme” between 2012 and 2016 to evade US sanctions on Iran. Among those involved is Turkish-Iranian business mogul Reza Zarrab, who is accused of bribing senior Turkish officials, including a member of Mr Erdogan’s cabinet, to help evade sanctions via Halkbank.
MEXICO BUSTS FORMER PEMEX CHIEF FOR GRAFT
On 31 March, OCCRP reported that authorities in Mexico have reportedly arrested a former public official accused of embezzling more than $1 million from the country’s corruption-riddled state-owned oil company. OCCRP says that local reports have identified the man as Luis Alberto Núñez Santander, former deputy director of operations at Pemex Logistics.
IRELAND: OVER 25% INCREASE IN REPORTED FRAUD OFFENCES IN 2019
On 31 March, RTE reported that the annual crime statistics show that reported cases of fraud increased by more than 25% to almost 8,000 last year, more than 20 a day. There has also been an increase in drugs and gun crime, attempted murders and sexual offences.
JAPAN BUSINESSMAN PAID $8.2 MILLION BY TOKYO OLYMPICS BID LOBBIED FIGURE AT CENTRE OF FRENCH CORRUPTION PROBE
On 30 March, Reuters reported that a businessman who received millions of dollars for his work on Tokyo’s successful campaign to host the 2020 Olympics said he played a key role in securing the support of a former Olympics powerbroker suspected by French prosecutors of taking bribes to help Japan’s bid.
UK: CONSULTATION ON EXPANDING THE DORMANT ASSETS SCHEME – DEADLINE EXTENDED
A news release from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport on 31 March advised that the deadline for submissions on the consultation in order to gather views on its proposals to expand the dormant assets scheme to include new financial assets has been extended. The new deadline is 16 July. The public consultation follows 2 industry-led reports, which made a series of recommendations on broadening the current scheme beyond bank and building society accounts to include assets from the insurance and pensions, investment and wealth management, and securities sectors.
UK BAN ON RECREATIONAL FLYING
On 31 March, the UK Department for Transport issued guidance saying that government guidance on coronavirus precludes recreational general aviation flying.
UK WAIVES DUTIES AND VAT ON VITAL MEDICAL IMPORTS
On 31 March, HM Treasury advised that the Chancellor has waived import taxes on vital medical equipment including ventilators, coronavirus testing kits and protective clothing.
US BLOCKS TELECOM COMPANIES FROM FACILITATING ROBOCALL FRAUD
On 31 March, OCCRP reported that the DoJ has issued injunctions barring 2 telecom carriers from facilitating robocalls that led to people paying millions to fraudsters for solving made-up legal predicaments. They follow the first-ever DoJ complaints against robocall companies. It is said that, through the voice over internet protocol (VOIP) services offered by the companies involved, international call centres were able to forward robocalls to victims in the US.
UK: A STEP CLOSER TO PROSECUTIONS OF SUPPLIERS OF DRUGS FOR MANSLAUGHTER
A paper on 20 March from St Pauls Chambers considered a recent case where a person was convicted of manslaughter where the person who died was a 21 year old who suffered a number of mental disorders, bulimia nervosa, unstable personality disorder, depression and features of dependence syndrome. The defendant had supplied her with 2.4 Dinitrophenol (DNP) over the internet. She had consumed a number of capsules of DNP. The paper explains that DNP is technically classified as a food supplement, and the prosecution was for an offence under the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations for placing an unsafe food on the market intended or reasonably expected for human consumption, as well as 2 counts of manslaughter, unlawful act and gross negligence manslaughter. The defendant was convicted on all counts, but appealed the manslaughter convictions and that appeal was allowed. The Court of Appeal held that placing the product on the market was not sufficiently proximate to the victim’s death to provide a basis of an unlawful act manslaughter charge. A retrial was directed in respect of the gross negligence manslaughter charge. On 9 March, the defendant was convicted of gross negligence manslaughter, and the paper examines the background, details and implications of the case.
NEW ZEALAND – RECKLESS AND INSOLVENT TRADING: TIME TO ALLOW DIRECTORS SOME BREATHING SPACE?
On 31 March, an article from Dentons Kensington Swan says that current New Zealand law provides that directors are obliged not to continue trading in a reckless or insolvent manner. It says that several countries (including Australia and the UK) have decided that some of the obligations on directors in respect of reckless or insolvent trading should be relaxed in the current circumstances, where even a fundamentally sound business may face serious cashflow problems. The article asks if New Zealand will take the same approach?
If you’d like to help me buy that (badly needed) new laptop or, even better, a new desktop to replace the one now 5,000 miles away – https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y