OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MARCH 25

Panama CoVid-19 update – 558 cases now confirmed, a big jump over yesterday.  Total lockdown in force, with non-essential people only allowed out 2 hours per day – at set times linked to your ID card or passport number.  I didn’t use my 0630-0830 slot today.

25 March 2020

 UK: COMPANIES TO RECEIVE 3-MONTH EXTENSION PERIOD TO FILE ACCOUNTS DURING COVID-19

On 25 March, a news release from Companies House announced the change to permit company to prioritise managing the impact of Coronavirus.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/companies-to-receive-3-month-extension-period-to-file-accounts-during-covid-19

 

MOZAMBIQUE: 64 BODIES FOUND IN FREIGHT CONTAINER

Various media reported on 25 March that at least 64 people have reportedly been found dead and stuffed inside a container cargo, together with a number of survivors, in Mozambique’s north-west Tete province along the Malawi-Mozambique highway.  The Ethiopian Foreign Affairs Ministry said its embassy in South Africa had informed it that those involved had been travelling to South Africa via Malawi and Mozambique. Mozambique has been on the spot severally as the hub for smuggling immigrants to South Africa, the continent’s most industrialised nation. https://www.tuko.co.ke/347891-64-ethiopians-dead-cargo-container-malawi-mozambique-highway.html

 

NORTH KOREA’S STATE-RUN SMUGGLING ACTIVITIES CONTINUE DESPITE CORONAVIRUS

On 25 March, NK News reported that North Korea has intensified its disease control measures, especially for individuals engaging in state-sponsored smuggling activities at the Sino-North Korean border.

https://www.dailynk.com/english/n-koreas-state-run-smuggling-activities-continue-despite-coronavirus/

 

FATHER OF INTERNATIONAL SHOW JUMPER IS TOLD TO PAY BACK £217,000 AFTER TRYING TO SMUGGLE COCAINE WORTH £4 MILLION INTO BRITAIN HIDDEN INSIDE A HORSEBOX

On 25 March, the Daily Mail reported that Mari Van Gerwen, 54, received a 17-year sentence in 2018, and he now has to pay £217,000 within 28 days or face another 2 years in prison.  He is the father of a world-renowned showjumper Jody Van Gerwen.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8150933/Father-international-jumper-told-pay-217-000-trying-smuggle-cocaine.html

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/drug-smuggler-saddled-with-217k-confiscation-order

 

PODCAST: THE OCH-ZIFF CASE

In THE latest TRACE podcast, Jeff Clark — a partner with Willkie, Farr & Gallagher —-discusses the novel aspects of the 2016 Och-Ziff US bribery case, including the claim for restitution under the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act.

https://traceinternational.org/resources-podcast

 

INDIA BANS EXPORT OF HYDROCHLOROQUINE AMID CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK

On 25 March, EurActiv reported another virus-related export restriction, as India announced a ban on this drug and its formulations as experts test the efficacy of treatment using it.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/india-bans-export-of-hydroxychloroquine-amid-coronavirus-outbreak/

 

RUSSIA RECORDS $1 BILLION IN MILITARY ORDERS FROM AFRICA OVER THE LAST 6 MONTHS

On 25 March, Defence Web reported that African countries have ordered around $1 billion worth of military hardware from Russia over the last 6 months, according to Russian officials.  The article goes on to look more widely at Russian export arms data, including what types of weaponry and equipment are being supplied to Africa.

https://www.defenceweb.co.za/daily-news/international-news/russia-records-1-billion-in-military-orders-from-africa-over-the-last-six-months/

 

ISLAMIC STATE CLAIMED RESPONSIBILITY FOR ATTACK IN MOZAMBIQUE OF GAS PROJECTS WORTH $60 BILLION UNDER DEVELOPMENT BY EXXON MOBIL AND TOTAL ETC

On 25 March, Defence Web reported that the insurgents attacked Mocimboa da Praia town, briefly occupying areas and its army barracks before being pushed out.  The article says that Islamic State has claimed a spate of recent attacks in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, home to the gas developments following one of the biggest gas finds in a decade off its coast.

https://www.defenceweb.co.za/security/national-security/islamic-state-claims-mozambique-attack/

 

UK: RESPONSE TO LAW COMMISSION’S RECOMMENDATIONS ON SIMPLIFICATION OF THE IMMIGRATION RULES

On 25 March, the Home Office published its response to the Law Commission report and recommendations.  It says that it has already begun the process of reviewing, simplifying and consolidating the Rules, based on the principles identified.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/875205/24-03-2020_-_Response_to_Law_Commission_for_publication.pdf

 

UK: $500 MILLION COMMERCIAL TRIAL TO BE HEARD IN ‘VIRTUAL COURT ROOM’

On 25 March, the Law Society Gazette reported that the multi-party commercial trial could be heard entirely online and streamed on YouTube as a result of the coronavirus lockdown.  The case will now be heard remotely, with preparations being made to allow barristers, solicitors and the judge to work from home.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/500m-commercial-trial-to-be-heard-in-virtual-court-room/5103612.article

 

OECD: SECOND BEPS PEER REVIEW REPORT ON PREVENTING TREATY SHOPPING

On 25 March, Accounting Daily reported that the latest report had been issued assessing countries’ efforts to implement the Action 6 minimum standard as agreed under the OECD/G20 BEPS Project.  It is said that a large majority of members the framework are translating their commitment on treaty shopping into actions and are modifying their treaty network.

http://www.oecd.org/tax/oecd-releases-second-peer-review-report-on-preventing-treaty-shopping-beps-action-6.htm

 

OFAC: AMENDED NICARAGUA-RELATED GENERAL LICENSES

On 25 March, OFAC advised 2 new General Licenses related to its Nicaragua sanctions regime – one relating to official business of the US Government, the other authorizing the wind down of transactions involving the Nicaraguan National Police.  The changes are described as being technical in nature.

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20200325.aspx

 

BAHAMAS: PRIVY COUNCIL REFUSES ATTORNEY GENERAL’S BID TO APPEAL THE ACQUITTAL OF SENATOR FRANK SMITH ON BRIBERY AND EXTORTION CHARGES

On 25 March, the Nassau Guardian reported that the Court of Appeal in August had already unanimously refused to order that Smith be retried, as it dismissed an “unsustainable” appeal by the Crown.  Smith had originally been charged in 2017 with abusing his position as chairman of the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA), by demanding and receiving bribes from cleaning company owner Hanna over the award of a 2016 contract.

https://thenassauguardian.com/2020/03/25/privy-council-refuses-appeal-bid-in-frank-smith-case

 

BULGARIA SHUTS DOWN VASIL BOZKHOV’S EUROFOOTBALL BOOKMAKER OVER UNPAID TAXES

On 25 March, Calvin Ayre reported that Bulgaria’s gambling regulator has suspended the licence of the bookmaker after concluding that the operator had failed to pay its necessary taxes to the state.  The revocation will last a minimum of 3 months.  The operator was among the Bulgarian gambling companies owned by Vasil Bozhkov, who has been indicted in January and detained in UAE in February, but who has denied any wrongdoing while fighting extradition to Bulgaria.

https://calvinayre.com/2020/03/25/business/bulgaria-shuts-eurofootball-unpaid-gambling-taxes/

 

MORE AIRLINES USE PASSENGER AIRCRAFT FOR CARGO-ONLY OPERATIONS

On 25 March, Lloyds Loading List reported that United, LATAM and Turkish join Cathay Pacific, Korean, Delta, and IAG (which owns BA, Iberia etc) in using some of their passenger aircraft on cargo-only services.

https://www.lloydsloadinglist.com/freight-directory/news/More-airlines-use-pax-aircraft-for-cargo-only-operations/76247.htm#.XnuIdW5FzIU

 

CUSTOMS OFFICIALS AT ZIMBABWE AIRPORT WALK OUT OVER CORONAVIRUS FEARS

On 25 March, IOL in South Africa reported that Customs officials at Harare, Airport, Zimbabwe’s biggest airport, stopped reporting for work, fearing exposure to coronavirus and a lack of measures to prevent its spread.

https://www.iol.co.za/news/africa/customs-officials-at-zimbabwe-airport-walk-out-over-coronavirus-fears-45532543

 

AN INTRODUCTION TO CRYPTOCURRENCY

Leigh Sagar, a barrister at New Square Chambers in London, has produced an 8-page briefing providing a short introduction to the subject.

www.newsquarechambers.co.uk/ImageLibrary/Introduction%20to%20Cryptocurrencies%20-%20LS%202020.pdf

 

THE “WEB LISTINGS SCAM” IN THE US – CLAIMED LINKS TO UK

On 25 March, the blog site KrebsonSecurity published a follow-up on how dozens of US political campaigns, cities and towns had paid a shady company called Web Listings Inc.  Part I of its report in 2018 had concluded that this service had been scamming people and companies for more than a decade.  It says that, since at least 2007, Web Listings Inc has been sending snail mail letters to domain registrants around the world. The missives appear to be an $85 bill for an “annual search engine listing” service.  The new report claims to have found links to a man who appears to be located in Scotland.

https://krebsonsecurity.com/2020/03/whos-behind-the-web-listings-mail-scam/

 

ONE OF THE WORLD’S LARGEST SUPPLIERS OF DISPOSABLE RUBBER GLOVES MAY RESUME EXPORTS TO THE US AFTER RESOLVING FORCED LABOUR CONCERNS

A highly topical news item in American Shipper on 25 March combines both the coronavirus pandemic and recent news of tightening enforcement of US laws on overseas forced labour laws.  Revoking an earlier “withhold release order” means that the disposable rubber gloves manufactured by the Malaysian company after March 16 will now be admissible at all US ports of entry.

https://www.freightwaves.com/news/us-customs-order-ensures-more-rubber-glove-imports

 

LONDON CITY AIRPORT CLOSES

In response to the obvious decline in passenger flights, business and airline, London City Airport has announced that it will close totally until (at least) the end of April.

 

TURKEY CHARGES 20 SAUDIS OVER JAMAL KHASHOGGI MURDER

On 25 March, the Guardian reported that Turkish prosecutors have formally charged 20 Saudi nationals over the murder of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul in 2018, including 2 men close to the powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/turkey-charges-20-saudis-over-jamal-khashoggi-murder/ar-BB11GTtU?ocid=spartanntp

 

ALL PASSENGER FLIGHTS AND FERRIES TO ISLE OF MAN STOPPED

On 25 March, the Chief Minister announced that no persons would be allowed to arrive on scheduled or private flights – the only flights allowed to continue would involve mail deliveries.  In addition, no passengers, residents or otherwise, would be allowed to disembark the regular ferry service from the UK.  This steps up controls that hitherto restricted arrivals to residents only.

https://www.gov.im/news/2020/mar/25/statement-by-the-chief-minister-on-covid-19-25-march-2020/

 

UK CORONAVIRUS ACT 2020

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2020/7/pdfs/ukpga_20200007_en.pdf

 

ALGERIA CONFIRMS JAIL SENTENCES FOR 2 FORMER PRIME MINISTERS

On 25 March, Middle East Monitor reported that an Algerian appeals court has upheld 15-year and 12-year sentences for former prime ministers Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal, jailed in corruption cases that were brought in response to mass protests against the ruling elite

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200325-algeria-confirms-jail-sentences-for-two-former-pms

 

WORLD BANK: SWITZERLAND BENEFITS FROM CORRUPTION IN INTERNATIONAL AID

On 25 March, Swissinfo reported that a World Bank study claims that concludes that 7.5% of the development funds it disburses end up in bank accounts in tax havens as a result of corruption in the recipient countries. Switzerland, with its banking centre, is the main destination.  The article also points out how Switzerland benefits in other ways from its heavy involvement in the international aid structure.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/development-banks_how-switzerland-benefits-from-development-aid/45637138

The World Bank study is at –

http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/493201582052636710/Elite-Capture-of-Foreign-Aid-Evidence-from-Offshore-Bank-Accounts

 

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

 

 

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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