Panama Covi-19 update – number of news cases down slightly today, at 179 (of 951 new tests carried out), giving a total infections detected to date as 6,200. There are still 88 in the ICU (unchanged), with another 270 hospitalised (others still unwell are at home or in requisitioned hotel rooms). Sadly, the number of fatalities have risen by 9 to a total of 176. A “man” day today, and I ventured out , just to the local supermarket (if only because of a craving for ice cream – which turned out to be genuine, imported Italian ice cream). It was odd to see that all customers, queuing and inside to be entirely male.
28 April 2020
BRITAIN’S BIGGEST GAMBLING OPERATORS WILL STOP ALL TV AND RADIO ADVERTISING DURING CORONAVIRUS LOCKDOWN
The Daily Mail reported on 27 April that Britain’s largest gambling businesses will remove all TV and radio advertising for games and products during the coronavirus lockdown, with existing TV and radio advertising slots to be replaced by safer gambling messages, donated to charities or removed from broadcast for at least 6 weeks.
HIGHEST-RANKING MH17 SUSPECT IDENTIFIED AS SENIOR FSB OFFICIAL, COLONEL GENERAL ANDREY BURLAKA
On 28 April, investigative website Bellingcat reported that its investigation team, in cooperation with Russian colleagues, and with additional reporting from Kevin Hall from McClatchy Newspapers (DC), has been able to identify the person of “Vladimir Ivanovich” as one of the top officials within Russia’s FSB security service: Colonel General Andrey Ivanovich Burlaka. This FSB general is the highest-ranking Russian official identified as a person of interest in the criminal investigation into the downing of MH17.
US COMMERCE DEPARTMENT TIGHTENS RULES ON EXPORTS TO CHINA, RUSSIA AND VENEZUELA
On 27 April, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Trump administration is tightening the country’s export control restrictions to prevent U.S. companies from sending products abroad that could strengthen China’s military. The new rules announced by the Commerce Department expand the list of US-made products and technology that need to be reviewed by national security experts before shipments can be sent overseas. Meanwhile, the EU Sanctions Blog reported that the Commerce Department has also announced amendments to technology export controls relating to Russia and Venezuela in response to concerns that goods intended for civilian use are being diverted for military applications. The new rules come into effect on 26 June, remove the licence exception for civil-end users (CIV), and imposes licence requirements on national security-controlled items for export to civilian end-users in China, Russia, Venezuela and other so-called D:1 countries.
See also the comprehensive Client Alert from Crowell Moring.
The list of “D1” countries can be found at –
US STATE DEPARTMENT RENEWS WAIVER TO ALLOW IRAQ TO CONTINUE IMPORTING IRANIAN ELECTRICITY
On 28 April, the EU Sanctions Blog and Reuters on 26 April reported that the extended waiver will run to 26 May.
PAKISTAN’S ANTI-GRAFT BODY ISSUES ARREST WARRANT FOR FORMER PM NAWAZ SHARIF IN LAND CORRUPTION CASE
On 28 April, KYC 360 reported that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has issued arrest warrants of PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif in a case involving Jang Group editor-in-chief Mir Shakilur Rehman. Sharif was served notices and questionnaire but no response came from him, as he is in London for medical treatment. It says that the Jang Group, aka Geo Group, is a subsidiary of Dubai-based company Independent Media Corporation. Nawaz Sharif left for London in November after the Lahore High Court granted him 4-week permission to leave for a heart condition. He had been given bail in the Al-Azizia Mills corruption case in which he was serving 7-year imprisonment.
FALCON PRIVATE BANK COULD LOSE SWISS LICENCE IN WAKE OF 1MDB CASE
On 28 April, KYC 360 reported that Falcon Private Bank, a wealth manager that was at the centre of Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal, could lose its Swiss banking licence. In 2015, investigators found nearly $700 million had been transferred from an account at the bank’s Singapore outpost to accounts in Malaysia linked to then Prime Minister Najib Razak.
US: CALL FOR CHANGE IN UAV EXPORT LICENSING RULES
In its 1 May edition, Air Force Magazine says that unmanned air vehicles (UAV) are crucial technologies for modern military operations – for persistent intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, or integrated overwatch and strike operations. However, the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which was established to control nuclear proliferation, restricts the export of UAV, treating them as missiles – and, as a result, the US defence industrial base is restricted from exporting these systems, even to key US allies and security partners.. It is said that at least 101 nations operate UAV in a military capacity today. The article warns that export restrictions are driving security partners into the arms of China, which is using this market vacuum to expand its influence, gain an intelligence advantage, and, perhaps, surreptitiously compromise the ability of potential partners to integrate with US forces. It uses Jordan as a case study, looks at the MTCR and the advantages of having common UAV with allies. It ends by calling for a change whereby one would redefine UAV as aircraft, not cruise missiles, and therefore not subject to the MTCR guidelines, annexes, or any other US policy driven by the MTCR.
UKRAINE: ILLEGAL EXPORT OF COMPONENTS TO ARMOURED TO ASIAN COUNTRIES PREVENTED
On 28 April,, Interfax Ukraine reported that officers of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) have identified and stopped an attempt to illegally export military equipment to Asian countries at Boryspil International Airport. It said that officers seized various units for armoured vehicles in the baggage of a non-resident, and that it was planned to take them out as auto parts.
CHINA: MONEY LAUNDERING FINES SOAR
On 28 April, claiming an exclusive, Caixin Global reported that the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) handed down nearly 4 times more fines in the first quarter of 2020 than it did over the same period last year. It is said that PBOC penalised 93 institutions and their staff a total of $25.9 million for violations of money laundering regulations in the period. This total is almost as much as for the whole of 2019. It is said that the reason some institutions have faced such large fines is that the PBOC now calculates fines based on how many times a given institution has violated regulations, and institutions will be fined more than once if they violate several rules at a time, accumulating escalating penalties.
BOOKLET SUMMARISES KEY FINANCIAL CRIME RELATED LEGAL AND REGULATORY CHANGES EXPECTED OVER THE NEXT 18 MONTHS TO 2 YEARS
On 28 April, Eversheds Sutherland published the latest edition of its Horizon Scanner. It summarises key financial crime related legal and regulatory changes expected over the next 18 months to 2 years, as well as providing electronic links to key resources.
US: COURT UPHOLDS PENALTIES ON WELLS FARGO BANK FOR TAX SHELTER SCHEME
On 28 April, a release on Mondo Visione reported a decision that a transaction designed to generate massive foreign tax credits (referred to as the STARS tax shelter) lacked economic substance and business purpose, and the court agreed with the government that “STARS was an elaborate and unlawful tax avoidance scheme, designed to exploit the differences between the tax laws of the US and the UK and generate US tax credits for a foreign tax that Wells Fargo did not, in substance, pay”.
6 WAYS TO PREPARE FOR THE COMING SURGE IN INTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS
A post on the FCPA Blog by a former Senior Crown Prosecutor for the UK CPS, and Principal Investigative Lawyer for the SFO, says that an immediate impact for compliance professionals following the worst of the covid-19 crisis will be a surge in investigations, and what may be uncovered once the dust settles. She offers 6 principles to keep in mind about the covid-19 investigations aftermath.
US COURT REJECTS APPLICATION TO DISMISS HELMS-BURTON CASE AGAINST VISA AND MASTERCARD
On 28 April, the EU Sanctions Blog reported that a court in the US had dismissed a motion to dismiss a complaint lodged by a Cuban-American citizen seeking compensation for unlawful trafficking in his property which was confiscated by the Castro regime. It is also said that the same claimant has also filed complaints against travel websites including Booking.com and Tripadvisor for facilitating the reservations.
WORLD BANK: CORONAVIRUS – HOW DO WE KEEP REMITTANCES FLOWING?
On 23 April, the World Bank released a 30-minute video report including an interview with Dilip Ratha, Lead Economist, Migration and Remittances Unit at the World Bank. It is predicted that remittances are expected to fall as a result of COVID-19. What can be done to help the poorest and most vulnerable who rely on these payments? A 20% drop in remittances, vital for many poorer, developing countries, is predicted – with COVID-19 only adding to existing difficulties that remittance flows were encountering. It points out that not only have travel restrictions and closed-down economies affecting the issue, but also the money transfer services relied upon (e.g. the local shops providing transfer services) may not be “essential services” and be shut.
AL-SHABAAB CRAFTS NEW WAYS TO REPLENISH FUNDS
On 27 April, Homeland Security Today reported that local Al-Shabaab terrorists are leading a vicious extortion ring for the Somali-based terror organisation within Kenyan borders. It says an article from the Daily Nation in Kenya reports the organisation finding new ways to make vast sums of money, something that could boost its capacity to carry out more terror attacks.
THE NEXUS BETWEEN FAR-RIGHT EXTREMISTS IN THE US AND UKRAINE
An article in the CTC Sentinel, the magazine of the Combat Terrorism Center at West Point, says that neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups in the US and Europe have become more active and dangerous in the last decade and have developed a much deeper online presence. This has helped them establish closer transnational contacts. One common preoccupation for both individuals and groups has been the conflict in Ukraine, where a well-established far-right extremist movement and its associated militia have consistently engaged with and welcomed far-right ideologues and fighters from other parts of Europe and North America. The links between white supremacists in North America and Europe continue to deepen, it says, with Ukraine’s National Corps, formed in October 2016 at a conference in Kyiv, a key facilitator.
SWISS TO TRY PSG CHIEF AND QATARI BEIN SPORTS CEO, NASSER AL-KHELAIFI, IN SEPTEMBER
On 28 April, Al-Arabiya reported that Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser al-Khelaifi and FIFA’s former secretary general Jerome Valcke will be tried in September in a corruption case linked to the attribution of broadcasting rights. They are to be tried, along with a third, unnamed man, for criminal mismanagement, incitement to criminal mismanagement, falsifying documents and corruption. The third man, described as “a businessman in the sports rights sector”, is charged with bribery over a $1.35 million payment to Valcke’s company Sportunited LLC.
SEC AWARDS OVER $18 MILLION TO WHISTLEBLOWER
A release on Mondo Visione on 28 April advised that the SEC had announced an award of more than $18 million to a whistleblower whose significant information prompted an examination that resulted in an important enforcement action. The whistleblower repeatedly reported the problem internally before contacting the SEC. The SEC has awarded over $448 million to 81 individuals since issuing its first award in 2012. All payments are made from an investor protection fund established by Congress that is financed entirely through monetary sanctions paid to the SEC by securities law violators.
SEC CHARGES COMPANY AND ITS CEO OVER ALLEGED COVID-19 SCAM
A release on Mondo Visione on 28 April reported that charges had been laid against Praxsyn Corporation and its CEO for allegedly issuing false and misleading press releases claiming the company was able to acquire and supply large quantities of N95 or similar masks to protect wearers from the COVID-19 virus. The SEC previously issued an order in March which suspended trading in the securities of Praxsyn. The SEC’s complaint, filed in federal court in the Southern District of Florida, charges Praxsyn and CEO Frank J Brady with violating anti-fraud provisions of the federal securities laws, and seeks permanent injunctive relief and civil penalties. The SEC also seeks an officer and director bar against Brady.
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