Panama coronavirus update – still under lockdown – though apparently the Minister of Health has said it is OK to walk your dog (if only I had one)… Too early to report latest statistics (daily press conference in half an hour), but have fingers crossed… reports of last “rescue flights”, by KLM and Iberia, of Europeans this weekend. On social media, people back home in Britain seem most shocked by decision of authorities here to ban sales of alcohol, which says something.
28 March 2020
AUSTRALIA: EVEN WHEN A PERSON DOES NOT HOLD A FORMAL “OFFICE” WITHIN A COMPANY, HE/SHE MAY STILL HAVE DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES AS AN “OFFICER” OF THE COMPANY
A briefing from Bird & Bird reports on a High Court case in Australia which it says has made it clear that even when a person does not hold a formal “office” within a company, that person may still have duties and responsibilities as an “officer” of the company. The case involved a director of who ceased being a director some 9 months prior to a decision; but had acted as the overall boss of the group, assumed overall responsibility for the group, and had substantial influence over personnel. The key question before the High Court was whether the man was an “officer” of MFSIM. If he was, he would be found to have breached his duties as an officer of a responsible entity. It is said that this case is an important reminder that individuals can have the obligations of a director or officer of a company even if they are not formally appointed to the office.
CORONAVIRUS CRISIS EXPOSES ANOTHER PANDEMIC IN HONDURAS – CORRUPTION
On 26 March, Al Jazeera reported that analysts worry corruption will exacerbate the crisis facing Honduras’s already strained healthcare system. They warned of a second pandemic that could exacerbate the public health crisis: “corruption”.
EGYPT AND TURKEY’S ENERGY FACE-OFF IN THE MEDITERRANEAN
On 27 March, the Al-Monitor carried an article saying that the US Geological Survey estimates there to be 122 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas reserves in the Mediterranean’s Leviathan Basin, and the countries in the region are on a quest to acquire their share of gas rights. It says that Egypt expects exploratory drilling to begin early next year, which has intensified tensions with Turkey, which in November signed controversial maritime and military MoU with Libya’s UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli. It says that Turkey constitutes an important transit point for oil and gas exports bound for Europe from Russian and the Caspian Sea countries, but lacks its own petroleum reserves, having to import 75% of its energy requirements.
DoJ IN US SUES ANTHEM HEALTH INSURER OVER ALLEGED DIAGNOSIS FRAUD SCHEME
On 27 March, the Washington Examiner reported that the DoJ has sued Anthem for alleged diagnosis fraud scheme totalling millions of dollars. It is among the largest Medicare fraud lawsuits yet.
PRETRIAL DETENTIONS CONTINUE TO PLAGUE LATIN AMERICAN PRISONS
An article in Insight Crime on 27 March says that a new US report documents how pretrial detentions are overcrowding Latin America’s prisons, leading to gang recruitment, violence and violations of prisoners’ human rights. A US State Department report says that countries use pretrial detention in order to deal with high crime rates, despite the fact that mass incarceration props up criminal organisations working inside prisons.
WANT TO KNOW IF A NEW DRUG CRISIS IS GROWING? CHECK THE WASTEWATER
An article from the RAND Corporation on 26 March says that to respond rapidly to a crisis in its early stages, we need real-time warnings when drug use patterns are shifting, but that current measures are too slow. The article proposes that wastewater checking could be the answer. It explains that when an individual takes a drug, the body metabolises it and excretes metabolites. Just as urine tests detect these metabolites for individuals, wastewater testing can reveal what drugs are being used in a city or region in the aggregate. When an individual takes a drug, the body metabolises it and excretes metabolites. Just as urine tests detect these metabolites for individuals, wastewater testing can reveal what drugs are being used in a city or region in the aggregate. It is said to be fast and cheap.
BLOCKCHAIN PROTOTYPE FOR SAFEGUARDING NUCLEAR MATERIAL UNVEILED & DEMONSTRATED
An article from the Stimson Center in the US says that the prototype was created by a partnership between the Stimson Center, Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK), and the University of New South Wales (UNSW). “SLAFKA,” tests whether distributed ledger technology has the potential to increase efficiency, trust, and transparency in the management of nuclear safeguards information. It is said that the project is important because nuclear regulatory authorities around the world often use outdated systems to track materials like spent nuclear fuel and account for material transfers between countries. It is said that the project team will test the prototype to review the technology’s suitability and to investigate its applicability for similar data management related to non-proliferation and disarmament.
COLOMBIA’S NARCO-SUBMARINES – A PHOTO ESSAY
On 23 March, the Guardian published an article saying that authorities on the country’s Pacific coast say crude semi-submersible craft have become a favoured tool to smuggle drugs toward the US, and even to Europe. 33 submarines were intercepted in 2019, an average of almost 3 a month, most of them along the Pacific coast.
Also available shortly, it seems –
AML PROGRAMME CONTINGENCY PLANNING DURING COVID-19: RECENT GUIDANCE FROM FINCEN AND THE FEDERAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS EXAMINATION COUNCIL
On 27 March, an article from Crowell Moring reported that FinCEN had issued guidance, asked if any firm would encounter delays in necessary filings and advised of some trends in scams and risks it had noted. It also said that the FFIEC had also issued guidance. FFIEC comprises the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Credit Union Administration, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the State Liaison Committee.
GENERAL PREVIOUSLY ACCUSED OF CORRUPTION HEADS RUSSIA’S LEADING RESEARCH INSTITUTE
UA Wire in Ukraine on 28 March reported that Major General Igor Bozhkov, who previously worked in the Russian Interior Ministry, was appointed the acting director of the Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics (ITEP). He had refuted the claims of corruption made against him in 2013, only to be dismissed in 2016.
RAISE COUNTRY RISK ON GUINEA?
In his blog on 28 March, Kenneth Rijock suggests compliance sections raise the risk rating for Guinea following street violence and a state of emergency. This followed a referendum which effectively extends the President Alpha Conde’s ability to remain in office for a third term spawned widespread protests.
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