Panama CoVid-19 update – 63 additional cases bring the total of confirmed cases to 200, with now 3 deaths. Over 2,100 tests have been carried out, of which 91% were negative. The nightly curfew continues and “non-essential” businesses are closed. Other measures introduced include moves to enforce “social distancing” on public transport –
21 March 2020
PANAMA: SON OF SUPREME COURT JUDGE DETAINED OVER DRUGS TRAFFIKCING CASE
On 21 March, Newsroom Panama reported that the son of a Supreme Court judge already under house arrest facing weapons charges is one of 3 men ordered to preventive detention after the National Police seizure of 130 kg of drugs in Colon and the arrest of 9 people during a drug smuggling raid.
INDIA: FORMER CABINET MINISTER FOUND GUILTY IN MONEY LAUNDERING CASE
On 21 March, United News of India reported that a former Cabinet minister, Enos Ekka, had been found guilty in a special court.
MALTA: CREDORAX BANK FINED €51,000 BY FIAU FOR FAILING TO PROVIDE INFORMATION IN A TIMELY MANNER
On 21 March, the Times of Malta reported that Credorax Bank has been given a €51,000 fine by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) for failing to provide it with information in a timely manner. It is said that the bank specialises in cross-border e-commerce and processed €4.1 billion worth of payments in 2018.
KENYA: NEW ‘KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER’ LAW PROPOSED FOR SHIPPING AND FINANCE
On 20 March, HK TDC reported that more than 19 Kenyan government agencies are collaborating on a draft Bill intended to curb illegal trade, and bringing greater transparency to the country’s shipping industry. The Bill will also require banks and other financial institutions to identify who is sending and receiving money, and to assess the risk that the transaction might be used for illegal purposes. The new law proposes that importers and exporters are compelled to identify the individuals or companies sending or receiving shipments from around the world. Banks and other financial institutions will also have to identify the senders and receivers of funds, as well as assess the risk that the transaction might be used for illegal purposes. The article says that Kenya is the financial hub for the East African region and also its largest economic and transport centre. Mombasa Port is the major trade gateway for much of the region. As such, it has become susceptible to the smuggling of illicit drugs, counterfeit goods and weapons, illegal timber and charcoal, and the trafficking of wildlife parts.
THE STORY OF A GERMAN CONMAN
On 21 March, Deutsche Welle published a video report about Manfred Schmider and his company FlowTex which, in the 90s, took investors for more than €2 billion. Today, the conman himself can’t believe how easy it was to get away with a major fraud. The more than 3,000 tunnel-drilling machines that were allegedly in use on construction sites around the world existed for the most part only on paper.
SEC HALTS “META 1 COIN” SCAM PERPETRATED BY FORMER STATE SENATOR
Finance Feeds on 21 March reported that the SEC claims that Robert Dunlap and Nicole Bowdler worked with former Washington state senator David Schmidt to market “Meta 1 Coin” in an unregistered securities offering. The SEC has secured an asset freeze order and other emergency relief to stop the alleged fraud.
BVI: NORWICH PHARMACAL RELIEF IS AVAILABLE TO AID OVERSEAS PROCEEDINGS
On 19 March, an article from Ogier reported on a court case in which it was held by the BVI Commercial Court had delivered a judgment on the availability of Norwich Pharmacal relief for the purposes of overseas proceedings. A Norwich Pharmacal order is a court order for the disclosure of documents or information, and it is granted against a third party which has been innocently mixed up in wrongdoing, forcing the disclosure of documents or information. Whereas it had been argued that the persuasive precedent of English courts should be followed, the judgment upheld the ability of the BVI to grant Norwich Pharmacal relief in aid of foreign proceedings.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF LIBYAN ARMED GROUPS SINCE 2014
On 17 March, Chatham House published an article which explores armed group/community relations in Libya and the sources of revenue that have allowed armed groups to grow in power and influence. It draws out the implications for policy and identifies options for mitigating conflict dynamics. It notes that, to varying extents since 2014, Libya’s armed groups have developed networks that enmesh political and business stakeholders in revenue-generation models. It also says that armed groups in Tripoli have compensated for reduced financial receipts from state budgets by cultivating unofficial and illicit sources of income. They have also focused on infiltrating state institutions to ensure access to state budgets and contracts dispersed in the capital. In the south of the country, limited access to funds from the central state has spurred armed groups to become actively involved in the economy. This has translated into the taxation of movement and the imposition of protection fees, particularly on informal (and often illicit) activity. The paper recommends that, in order to reduce illicit activities, international policymakers should develop their capacity to identify and target choke points along illicit supply chains, with a focus on restraining activities and actors in closest proximity to violence; and that policymakers should also support the development of tailored alternative livelihoods that render conflict economy activities less attractive.
US PROVIDES $8 MILLION TO COMBAT ILLICIT FISHING AND IMPROVE SEAFOOD TRANSPARENCY IN MEXICO
Stimson in the US reports that the US Senate has agreed to provide $8 million in new funding to combat illicit fishing and improve the monitoring of seafood imported into the US as part of implementation of the US-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement. The new funding will be used by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) to address such things as illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing and enhancing the implementation of the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP). It acknowledges risks that IUU fishing poses to the environment, economies, and geopolitical security of the US and Mexico, as well as the need for sustained, multiyear partnership to succeed in those efforts. SIMP is a risk-based traceability program requiring the U.S. importer to provide documentation across the seafood supply chain from the point of capture to the point of entry into the US market on 13 species that NOAA has determined as the most likely to be at risk of IUU fishing and/or seafood fraud.
REDUCING FALSE ALARMS FROM RADIATION DETECTION DEVICES AT PORTS ETC
Published online on 8 February, an article available from the Journal of Science and Global Security explains that radiation detection technology is widely deployed to identify undeclared nuclear or radiological materials in transit. However, in certain environments the effective use of radiation detection systems is complicated by the presence of significant quantities of naturally occurring radioactive materials that trigger nuisance alarms which divert attention from valid investigations. The paper explores the potential of using data science techniques to provide new insights into the cause of alarms within the maritime shipping environment; to characterise shipments of naturally occurring radioactive materials at the primary scanning stage, significantly reducing time spent resolving nuisance alarms.
NATURALLY-OCCURRING RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS (NORM)
To explain what NORM are, for the purposes of the above paper – and updated in March 2019, this article on the World Nuclear Association website was concerned with radioactive materials which occur naturally and where human activities increase the exposure of people to ionising radiation are known by the acronym ‘NORM’. It explains that NORM results from activities such as burning coal, making and using fertilisers, oil and gas production; and that uranium mining exposes those involved to NORM in the uranium orebody. Furthermore, radon in homes is one occurrence of NORM which may give rise to concern and action to control it, by ventilation.
HOW THE CORONAVIRUS WILL IMPACT PANAMA’S ECONOMY
On 18 March, the Atlantic Council in the US published an article which include consideration of the effect of the virus on Canal traffic, lower tax collection and how the financial sector would suffer.
UK POLICE CHARGE MAN WITH MAKING AND SELLING FAKE CORONAVIRUS TREATMENT KITS
On 21 March, Reuters reported that British police said that they had charged Frank Ludlow, 59, with making counterfeit treatment kits for coronavirus, and sending them across the world. He has been charged with 1 count of fraud by false representation, 1 count of possession of articles for use in fraud, and 1 count of unlawfully manufacturing a medicinal product.
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