Panama Covid-19 update – the end of the total lockdown remains due to be on Monday, 1 June – but with a nightly curfew from 7 pm. This is despite new cases reported continuing to be high – 103 in the last 24 hours (there seems to be some confusion – on my part anyway – over the daily new cases figures for the past few days, but the total remains over 12,500). There have been 6 more fatalities, taking us to 326.
Just to make one feel even better, we had a noisy fumigating team around the neighbourhood today, spraying to prevent mosquitoes bearing potential dengue propagating, it having been a rainy few days.
29 May 2020
FinCEN TO UPDATE METHODOLOGY FOR CALCULATING REGULATORY BURDEN OF SAR
On 26 May, the American Bankers Association said that Bank Secrecy Act reporting institutions in the US annually spend roughly $206 million and 5.4 million hours of work investigating, evaluating cases and filing SAR. Of this, approximately 52% of the dollar cost and burden hours are borne by banks, with credit unions, money services businesses and other businesses accounting for the rest. It says the FinCEN is re-analysing how it calculates the burden imposed on financial institutions for filing the form, trying to capture the impact that technology has on submitting these reports, and has asked for comments, the consultation closing on 27 July.
DoJ BLOCKS ‘ESSENTIAL’ MARIJUANA WORKERS FROM US COVID-19 BANKRUPTCY PROTECTION
On 28 May, the Wall Street Journal reported that the DoJ is preventing struggling cannabis businesses and their workers from accessing bankruptcy, even in states that determine medical marijuana is an essential industry during the pandemic.
PANAMA: LATEST COCAINE HAUL TAKES NAVAL SERVICE HAUL IN 2020 SO FAR TO OVER 21 TONS
On 28 May, Newsroom Panama reported on a further ton of cocaine seized by the naval service, SENAN, and US Coast Guard and 3 Colombians being arrested.
ZIMBABWE IMPOSES BANK TRANSFER LIMITS TO STOP ILLICIT TRANSACTIONS
On 29 May, KYC 360 reported a Bloomberg story that Zimbabwe’s central bank had imposed limits on the amounts banks may transfer via a payment platform with 2 million users, as it tries to curtail illicit transactions and money laundering. ZimSwitch Technologies, owners of the Zipi) system, has been told to implement daily and monthly limits of around $800 and around $4,000, respectively, with immediate effect. Zipt is used by mobile-phone users to send money to each other.
ITALY UNCOVERS MAJOR MAFIA FRAUD INCLUDING EU FUNDS
On 28 May, Barrons reported that Italian police say they had dismantled a major organised crime ring involving public works tenders valued at over €100 million, including EU funds. 11 public officials were identified among the 63 people targeted in the operation codenamed “Waterfront” against the powerful ‘Ndrangheta mafia of southern Italy.
RUSSIA: SCAMMERS EXPLOIT PANDEMIC TO LAUNDER MONEY USING MEDICAL GOODS PURCHASES
On 28 May, Reuters reported that the Russian central bank says people are using medical goods purchases as a front for a money laundering scam, with a small number of suspicious foreign purchases of protective gear.
INDIVIDUALS IN CROSS-BORDER INVESTIGATIONS OR PROCEEDINGS: THE UK PERSPECTIVE
Available online is a chapter from the Global Investigations Review by BCL Solicitors which looks at the key issues that can arise when acting for an individual who is present in the UK and subject to a criminal investigation or proceedings here or in one or more overseas jurisdictions.
GAME DEVELOPERS SHOULD TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR KEEPING THE VIRTUAL WORLDS THEY CREATE FREE FROM REAL CRIME
On 29 May, RUSI published a Commentary which says that with lockdowns continuing around the globe and people staying at home, it is no wonder that the popularity of online gaming has skyrocketed – and as in-game economies flourish, it has not taken criminals long to discover the appeal of virtual worlds. It says that, with increasing frequency, news reports of criminal exploitation of online games have a financial aspect to them – such as theft of personal data, stolen cards and game-related gambling and corruption. It says that it is essential for governments to clarify what is expected of game developers as best practice, and then work in partnership to mitigate criminal risks – a game that is only now beginning.
CAN DUE DILIGENCE ON SHIPPING CLIENTS DETER CONTRABAND TRAFFICKING IN KENYA?
On 25 May, ENACT Africa published an article saying that Kenyan authorities are struggling to identify the sources and destinations of contraband passing through the country’s ports. The DPP and Kenya Revenue Authority aim to improve investigative and law enforcement powers by adapting KYC processes used to curb banking fraud and money laundering to the shipping industry. They hope this system will help verify the identity and suitability of clients, and potentially illegal intentions. Conservation organisation Space for Giants is behind the push to introduce a KYC regime for import-export agents and shippers.
UK: YOU MUST GET PERMISSION TO EXPORT CERTAIN DRUGS AND MEDICINES
On 29 May, a news release from the Home Office advised that You need permission to export controlled drugs like opioids, certain stimulants or psychotropic substances; certain drugs that can be used in lethal injections outside the EU; and medicines for humans or animals. There’s a different process if you travel with controlled drugs for personal use – for example, taking medicine with you on holiday.
HOME OFFICE URGED NOT TO LET COVID-19 AFFECT PRE-CHARGE BAIL REFORM
On 29 May, the Law Society Gazette reported that the Law Society has urged the Home Office not to let Covid-19 halt work on reforming the legislation. The Home Office announced last year that it would review pre-charge bail laws and began a consultation on proposals in February. Pre-charge bail allows police to release a suspect from custody, usually subject to conditions, while officers continue their investigation or await a charging decision.
NETHERLANDS: POLICE ARREST BRAZILIAN NATIONAL WITH €500,000 IN A SHOPPING BAG
On 29 May, Dutch News reported that Rotterdam police have confirmed they have arrested a 51-year-old Brazilian national who was getting into a car carrying a Jumbo supermarket bag containing €525,000 in cash. It is said that the man has relinquished the money and been sent out of the country. No further details were given.
SUMMARY NOTE ON DISCLOSURE IN CIVIL PROCEEDINGS IN ENGLAND AND WALES
A briefing note from Hogan Lovells explains disclosure, which involves parties to litigation identifying and making available to each other (unless privileged) relevant documents in their control. It includes reference to the Disclosure Pilot operating in the Business and Property Courts at present.
US CUSTOMS REPORTS UPTURN IN TEXTILE ENFORCEMENT CASES
On 29 May, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that US Customs and Border Protection saw a major rise in duties collected on textile goods in the second quarter of fiscal year 2020 as well as increases in some enforcement measures over the previous year. Textile and apparel goods have some of the highest import duty rates in the US. It says that schemes designed to circumvent these tariffs include illegal transshipment and origin fraud, invalid importers of record, inaccurate descriptions, undervaluation, smuggling and overstuffing, and de minimis use of trade preference programs and free trade agreements.
UK: 3 CASES ON CONTEMPT OF COURT AND WHAT THEY MEAN FOR COMMERCIAL FRAUD LITIGATION
On 19 May, a brief from Radcliffe Chambers says that recent weeks have seen a spate of decisions on contempt of court, and 3 cases raise issues of general principle which can arise in the commercial fraud context – the right to silence at a committal hearing; whether threats to commit are an abuse of process?; and Proceeding in the Respondent’s absence.
UK: HIGH COURT ISSUES INNOVATIVE ORDERS TO MANAGE COMPLEX FRAUD CLAIM
On 29 May, an article from Out-Law says that the High Court in England has used its powers under the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) to help manage a complex fraud case involving a large number of victims, in order to help identify the owners of assets connected to an ongoing claim.
COCAINE SEIZURES EXPOSE FLAWS AT GUATEMALA AND HONDURAS PORTS
On 29 May, Insight crime reported that the discovery of large amounts of cocaine in cargo shipped from Honduran and Guatemalan ports has revealed the difficulties in securing maritime shipping operations on the northern stretch of Central America’s Caribbean coast.
UK AD CAMPAIGN SEEKS TO DETER YOUNG PEOPLE FROM CYBERCRIME
On 28 May, Krebs on Security published a post saying that online ads running in the UK are aimed at young people who search the Web for services that enable computer crimes, specifically trojan horse programs and DDoS-for-hire services. The ad campaign follows a similar initiative launched in late 2017 that academics say measurably dampened demand for such services by explaining that their use to harm others is illegal and can land potential customers in jail.
PAST SCANDALS HAUNT PAPUA NEW GUINEA’S POST-COVID 19 RESPONSE
On 29 May, Transparency International published an article saying that its local branch has heightened its efforts in calling on the government to implement measures to safeguard emergency funding against misuse and misappropriation. It mentions allegations that part of the initial €6 million released by the PNG government for the COVID-19 State of Emergency had been spent on hired cars and media consultants.
ATLETICO MADRID STRIKER DIEGO COSTA TO FACE TRIAL FOR TAX FRAUD IN SPAIN
On 29 May, the Evening Standard and others reported that the Brazilian-born former Chelsea forward is charged with defrauding the state of more than €1 million by not declaring payments of more than €5.15 million from his 2014 move to Stamford Bridge, and that he failed to declare €1 million in image rights.
DUO JAILED FOR A £2 MILLION ONLINE BANKING FRAUD
A news release from the CPS on 29 May advised that 2 men, who siphoned £2 million through fraudulent bank accounts, have been jailed. Victims who thought they were paying for goods or services were actually sending money to Krishnasamy and Nallayan, who were posing as the legitimate suppliers.
CYPRIOT COURT UPHOLDS HIZBULLAH SUSPECT EXTRADITION TO US ON MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES
On 29 May, Naharnet reported that Cyprus’ supreme court has upheld an order to extradite a suspected Hizbullah member, identified only by his surname Diab, to the US on money laundering charges, official media said. The suspect is wanted by authorities in Florida for alleged money laundering crimes. Diab was arrested at Larnaca airport in Cyprus when he arrived from Lebanon in March 2019.
NETHERLANDS TO GET TOUGHER ON TAX AVOIDANCE WITH NEW WITHHOLDING TAX
On 29 May, the NL Times reported that the Dutch Cabinet is proposing a new withholding tax which would cap dividend flows to tax havens effective from 2024. The new measure would make it less attractive for corporations to transfer their dividends from or via the Netherlands to international tax havens, defined as countries which offer a profit tax rate of less than 9%. It is reported that an estimated €37 billion was hidden from government reach in 2018.
JERSEY: CHANGES TO SAR AND MIR RESPONSE LETTERS FROM 1 JUNE
On 29 May, Jersey FSC issued a news release reminding institutions that the FIU is changing how they send response letters for suspicious activity reports (SAR) and miscellaneous information report (MIR). The change involves an email from the FIU to confirm they have received the report, which will replace the response letter that the unit previously sent out.
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