Panama coronavirus update – the weather seems to be changing as the “summer” seasons is ending – mind you, it’s still 34 degrees and the rainy season is still months away. The lockdown continues, and the new-ish big copper mine has closed due to the virus, and my favourite (though not closest) supermarket has closed for a 2-day full sanitising effort. No statistics update, as the daily news conference delayed…
7 April 2020
ENI DISCUSSES CORRUPTION SETTLEMENT WITH SEC
On 7 April, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Italian oil company is in discussion with the SEC about a potential resolution to the regulator’s corruption investigation. It disclosed in 2012 allegations of bribery around gas pipeline contracts awarded to its former subsidiary Saipem SpA in Algeria. It has already resolved the matter with the DoJ, which closed a parallel criminal investigation into ENI without taking any action.
DESPITE ROUTE LOG DATA, NORTH KOREAN VESSEL DID NOT VISIT AUSTRALIA
On 7 April, NK Pro reported that the Kum Dae, a bulk cargo vessel owned by a North Korean company did not visit an Australian port in February, an informed government source confirmed, despite AIS route log data which showed it docking there for over a day, presumed evidence “spoofing”.
UK JOINS US IN RESISTING A PLAN BY THE NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT TO HAND OVER NEARLY $110 MILLION OF FUNDS US AUTHORITIES SAY WAS STOLEN BY LATE DICTATOR SANI ABACHA
On 7 April, KYC 360 reported that the 3 governments are involved in a dispute over investment portfolios worth €141 million traced to Abacha and held in trust for Abubakar Bagudu, the governor of Nigeria’s northern state of Kebbi, and his family. Bagudu, 58, was part of a network controlled by Abacha that “embezzled, misappropriated and extorted billions from the government of Nigeria,” according to the DoJ.
THE EU AND UN PROGRAMME TO HELP EASTERN PARTNERSHIP COUNTRIES CLAW BACK ASSETS LINKED TO ORGANISED CRIME
On 7 April, EurActiv reported that the EU and the UN’s Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) have launched a programme to help Eastern Partnership countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine – claw back assets linked to organised crime. The EU-funded €1.5 million project will focus on financial crime investigations, providing “highly-specialised training”, “peer-to-peer mentoring” and legal advice to tackle issues such as cooperation across borders.
IN AUSTRIA, BULGARIA, GERMANY AND SERBIA, OPERATIONS AGAINST 2 ORGANISED CRIMINAL GROUPS SUSPECTED OF LARGE-SCALE INVESTMENT FRAUD IN CYBER-TRADING
A news release from Eurojust on 7 April reported that, on 2 April, with the support of Eurojust, authorities in Austria, Bulgaria, Germany and Serbia have successfully carried out operations against 2 organised criminal groups suspected of large-scale investment fraud in cyber-trading. Arrests and the freezing of assets took place in several countries. The operations were part of an ongoing long-term investigation conducted by several national authorities against groups which lured thousands of victims in several countries into investing in non-existent financial products, using advertising banners and mass emails promising above-average profits.
OECD GUIDANCE ON IMPLICATIONS OF THE COVID-19 CRISIS ON CROSS-BORDER WORKERS AND OTHER RELATED CROSS-BORDER MATTERS
On 7 April, Accountancy Daily reported that the OECD Secretariat had issued guidance based on a careful analysis of the international tax treaty rules.
FORMER GREEK GOVERNMENT MINISTER GIANNOS PAPANTONIOU TO BE RELEASED FROM PRISON
On 7 April, Greek Reporter reported that he served 17 months after being found guilty of money laundering, a charge that he continues to deny. The veteran Greek politician was a member of Parliament for a total of 19 years and served as Minister of National Defence between 2001 and 2003 and Minister of Economy and Finance from 1994 until 2001.
US SHIPPERS CALL FOR URGENT ACTION ON ‘PUNITIVE’ DEMURRAGE CHARGES
On 7 April, Lloyds Loading List reported that 80 agriculture associations have jointly called on the US government to accelerate stalled rulemaking ‘to protect agriculture exporters from ocean carrier abuse’ that is compounded by the damage coronavirus is doing to US agriculture.
UK: COMPANY MUST DISCLOSE DOCUMENTS HELD BY SUBSIDIARIES
On 7 April, Legal Futures reported on a case under the current “disclosure pilot” rules in the UK, where the High Court has ruled that a company must disclose documents held by subsidiaries and which it controls. It is said that although ownership of subsidiaries did not always mean control over documents, in this case the subsidiaries provided the parent company with “standing consent” to provide documents.
US INVOKES THE DEFENSE PRODUCTION ACT TO LIMIT EXPORTS OF CRITICAL US MEDICAL SUPPLIES
On 6 April, Baker McKenzie reported that the Presidential Order is said to be is in the wake of numerous countries around the world implementing export bans on PPE and other medical supplies. The Order says it is necessary to “prevent hoarding, price gouging, and profiteering by preventing the harmful export” of critically needed materials.
CORONAVIRUS: CIVIL PROCEEDINGS AND EXPIRY OF TIME LIMITS IN FRANCE
On 7 April, Out-Law published an article saying that France has introduced new laws impacting time limits expiring during the current coronavirus emergency period in the country, and how civil courts in France will operate during the crisis despite confinement restrictions.
LIBYA’S “OFFICIAL” GNA SAYS JORDAN SOLD UAV TO ITS ENEMY, THE “REBEL” LNA
On 7 April, Janes.com reported claims by Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) has said that Jordan has sold Chinese-made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to the Libyan National Army (LNA).
INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR OF NEW BOOK: CRUDE INTENTIONS: HOW OIL CORRUPTION CONTAMINATES THE WORLD.
On 7 April, a post on the FCPA Blog consisted of a Q&A with Alexandra Gillies, who said that the 2008-2014 oil boom offered the perfect petri dish for observing how corruption works across a diverse set of countries and players, from Goldman Sachs to the national oil company of South Sudan. She said she thus set out to see what we could learn from all these cases about how to build a smarter fight against corruption in the future.
PODCAST: DRUG PROHIBITION AND NORMS IN ASIA
On 7 April, CSIS released its latest “Asia Chessboard” podcast, in which Diana Kim discusses her new book, Empires of Vice, a look at how colonial administrations came to ban drugs across Asian territories. How did this process affect the development of governing norms in Asia? What impacts did these models of prohibition have on contemporary illicit markets across Asia? Are norms generated on the local level or with central governments? A transcript is also provided.
UK: STRONG CUSTOMER AUTHENTICATION: NEW FCA GUIDANCE
On 7 April, Bird & Bird published an article saying that on 13 March the FCA updated its guidance to firms on Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) in light of the possible disruption to the implementation of SCA and the high risk of fraud during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. It explains first that SCA rules have generally applied in the UK since 14 September 2019 although further extensions had already been granted in respect of online banking and card transactions until respectively 14 March 2020 and 14 March 2021.
RFE/RL AND PARTNERS WIN ‘TOM RENNER AWARD’ FOR CENTRAL ASIA MONEY LAUNDERING REPORT
On 7 April, RFE/RL reported that it, OCCRP, and OCCRP member center Kloop have received the prestigious 2019 Tom Renner Award from Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) for “Plunder and Patronage in the Heart of Central Asia”, a 6-part report revealing the operations of a massive underground network that funnelled more than $700 million from Kyrgyzstan. An illicit cargo empire run by a secretive Uyghur clan, over 5 years systematically moved undeclared and falsely labelled goods into Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and other Central Asian states, and then funnelled hundreds of millions of US dollars out of Kyrgyzstan into Turkey and beyond.
CAMBODIA: FURTHER POSTPONEMENT OF VERDICT IN CRIMINAL FRAUD TRIAL OF AUSTRALIAN MISSIONARY
9 News in Australia reported on 7 April that a provincial court in Cambodia has again postponed the verdict in the 3-year long criminal fraud trial of Australian missionary Martin Chan. The case involves a dispute between Chan and a local contractor over construction of a multi-million-dollar school.
UN SHERLOC NEWSLETTER ON ELECTRONIC RESOURCES AND CRIME
The UN Office for Drugs and Crime has released the latest edition of its SHERLOC newsletter containing information regarding the implementation of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its attached Protocols, and the international legal framework against terrorism.
BLOCKCHAIN FOR EXPORT CONTROL
On 6 April, the Stimson Center in the US published an article saying that distributed ledger technology (DLT), of which blockchain is a subset, has the potential to strengthen the implementation of export controls. It says that the Stimson Center is investigating potential applications for export controls in 3 areas –
- sensitive data management;
- detection and prevention of falsified documents and valid identities; and
- traceability of sensitive items and data.
THEFT OF $20 MILLION FROM BERMUDA CHARITABLE TRUST ALLEGED
On 7 April, Offshore Alert reported that an Australian barrister has been accused of theft from a trust set up by a deceased US billionaire – and that the trust itself is apparently the target of a US investigation into possible tax evasion and money laundering.
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