Panama Covid-19 update – another lockdown Sunday nearly over, and a “woman day” tomorrow, so I have to stay in and continue to wrestle with the unfamiliar keyboard of this new desktop PC…Meanwhile, it seems next weekend will be another total lockdown, but at least the authorities have warned the men (who lose their Saturday) in advance this time. After a low figure yesterday, higher number of new cases at 194 today – bringing it up to a total of 4,467 cases in all, with 126 fatalities (6 more than yesterday). On the good news front, the daily news conference included a nice video of the new hospital now up and running, which looks good, and includes a further 100 ICU beds.
19 April 2020
HONG KONG: COMPANY DIRECTOR JAILED FOR BANK LOANS FRAUD
On 17 April, The Standard reported that the Independent Commission Against Corruption has said that Irene Ng Sio-I, 44, an operator of a SME, who had pleaded guilty to 14 counts of conspiracy to defraud, has been sentenced to 44 months of imprisonment. She defrauded 5 banks of 33 loans t, as well as deceiving a government department and a public body into acting as guarantors for loans and trade facilities granted by the banks.
TAX EVASION IN THE REAL ESTATE SECTOR: USING APPRAISALS AS A RED FLAG
On 19 April, an article on VOX, the policy portal of the Centre for Economic Policy Research in the EU argues that tax authorities should use valuation appraisals to identify potentially fraudulent real estate transactions. Transactions with an appraisal value that is low compared to the sales value are shown to have a higher likelihood of involving fraud. It says that this is because low appraisals indicate an unconstrained buyer who, in contrast to a liquidity constrained buyer, is able to afford an (illegal) side payment to lower the sales value and thus the tax payment without resorting to a high mortgage.
UN EXPERTS WANT TO BLACKLIST 14 MORE SHIPS OVER NORTH KOREA SANCTION EVASIONS
On 19 April, Associated Press and others reported that the UN Panel of Experts has made 39 recommendations to the Security Council and has recommended blacklisting 14 vessels for violating UN sanctions against North Korea. 1 vessel is registered in Sierra Leone and 6 were previously registered there, while 2 are North Korean, o1ne is Chinese, 1 Vietnamese, 1 was formerly registered in Togo, 1 was formerly registered in St. Kitts and Nevis, and the flag of another ship is unknown. A report accuses North Korea of increasing illegal coal exports and imports of petroleum products, and continuing to perpetrate cyber attacks against financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges. It also accuses North Korea of importing luxury vehicles, watches and liquor and other sanctioned items including robotic machinery.
SOUTH AFRICA: REGULATORS AND FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS PROPOSE 30 GUIDELINES TO REGULATE CRYPTOCURRENCY
Fintech Zoom on 19 April reported on a paper which is a joint initiative by the South African Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group (IFWG) and the Intergovernmental Crypto Belongings Regulatory Working Group. It outlines 30 suggestions for the regulation of cryptocurrency and initial coin offerings (ICO). The paper calls for submissions re the recommendations by 15 May.
The paper is at –
“MONUMENTAL” BREACH OF TRUST BY SOLICITOR TURNED CROOK
In its 20 April, Legal Futures reported that the breach of trust by a solicitor, David Grant, jailed for stealing nearly £100,000 from clients who were his friends has been described as “monumental” by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). He had been an equity partner at Tracey Barlow Furniss & Co in Worksop before, in May 2014, becoming sole partner and manager.
SAUDI ARABIA: CONTROL AND ANTI-CORRUPTION AUTHORITY – FINANCIAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE CORRUPTION CASE SPENDING CONNECTED TO THE CORONAVIRUS
On 19 April, the Saudi Press Agency reported that the authority has initiated a financial and administrative corruption case involving 2 senior health department officials at the health affairs in conjunction with 6 others – one of whom is a hotel owner, and said to have exploited state spending to contain Covid-19 by providing adequate accommodation for citizens returning from abroad to spend the quarantine period.
CHINA’S TOP HONG KONG SECURITY OFFICER FACES CORRUPTION PROBE
On 19 April, the South China Morning Post reported that deputy public security minister Sun Lijun is under investigation, this following the jailing of former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei in January.
COMPANY SAYS EMPLOYEES MISAPPROPRIATED $500,000 FROM MYANMAR UNIT
On 19 April, the Strait Times in Singapore reported that Memories Group has discovered a case of fraud at its wholly-owned Myanmar subsidiary, Asia Holidays Travels & Tours Company (AHTT). The employees concerned were immediately dismissed, and the case is under investigation by the police in Myanmar.
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