EU SANCTIONS: GUIDANCE NOTE ON THE PROVISION OF HUMANITARIAN AID TO FIGHT THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

On 11 May, the EU published a Notice containing guidance which says that EU sanctions are not meant to stand in the way nor impede the supply of humanitarian aid, including medical activities.  After outlining the general principles involved, the Notice sets out to give practical guidance, in Q&A form, on compliance with EU sanctions when providing humanitarian aid, in particular medical assistance, to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/business_economy_euro/banking_and_finance/documents/200511-syria-humanitarian-aid-guidance-note_en.pdf

 

 

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OREGON MAN CHARGED WITH SMUGGLING AND IMPORTING MISBRANDED CHLOROQUINE FROM CHINA FOR ATTEMPTED RESALE

 

A news release from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement on 11 May advised that Matthew Owens, 42, an Oregon man, has been charged with illegally purchasing, importing, and offering for sale chloroquine, the active pharmaceutical ingredient in prescription drugs used to treat malaria.  The substance imported via Fedex was declared as ammonium polyphosphate but was later determined to be chloroquine.  An invoice included with the substance described it as a “sample” having “no commercial value,” statements it says are commonly used by persons improperly importing items and attempting to avoid detection. A forensic search of Owens’ cell phones and Facebook Messenger messages associated with his cell phone number revealed conversations discussing the purchase and receipt of chloroquine from Alibaba.com. Other messages discussed the offering of chloroquine for sale as a treatment for COVID-19.

https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/ice-hsi-law-enforcement-partners-joint-investigation-results-oregon-man-being-charged

 

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MAY 11

Panama Covid-19 update – the Government has announced the next phase in a gradual re-opening, with e-commerce premises, mechanical workshops, plumbers, electricians, air conditioning maintenance, elevators and pool maintenance included in the latest list. Last week hardware stores (operating only online or by telephone) and laundries were among those in the first list.  However, otherwise the tight rules and general lockdown continues, as 168 new cases take us to 8,616, with 5 more fatalities taking us to a total to date of 249.  The ministry of health says the overall death rate is 2.88%.  In other news, the Government says that 277 Panama citizens are marooned overseas.

11 May 2020

CREW KIDNAPPED IN 2 ATTACKS OFF EQUATORIAL GUINEA

On 11 May, Seatrade Maritime News reported that there were 2 reported kidnappings of seafarers from vessels at anchorages in Equatorial Guinea on 9 May.  However, doubts are expressed that the incidents may be more than mere pirate attacks, with links between the vessels involved, and one of them apparently having links to a Lithuanian businessman who allegedly was part of a network that laundered money looted by the dictator of Equatorial Guinea

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/9575-lithuanian-tied-to-money-laundering-funds-kremlin-s-church

WHITE HOUSE IDENTIFIES AMAZON FOREIGN DOMAINS AS “NOTORIOUS MARKETS” FOR COUNTERFEIT GOODS

On 7 May, Kelley Drye published a post saying that the Trump Administration is targeting the sale of counterfeit goods on e-commerce platforms.  Now, on 29 April, the Office of the US Trade Representative released its latest “Notorious Markets Review” which includes Amazon’s marketplace domains in Canada, UK, Germany, France, and India. This is the first time that the foreign domains of a US-based e-commerce platform have been included in the USTR’s annual Notorious Markets Review. The Review says that submissions by IP rights owners highlighted the challenges they face with high levels of counterfeit goods being sold through the Amazon foreign domains.

https://www.adlawaccess.com/2020/05/articles/update-white-house-identifies-amazon-foreign-domains-as-notorious-markets-for-counterfeit-goods/#page=1

BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS AND BIOSECURITY: LESSONS FROM THE COVID-19 “WAR”

On 11 May, an opinion piece from an Indian perspective in Eurasia Review says that conflicting claims on whether the Novel Coronavirus is a natural mutation or is human engineered—and was accidentally released from the high-security Level 4 Wuhan Institute of Virology and the US investigation into it — have raised alarms on biosafety.  It says that some experts fear that bioterrorism is likely to get encouragement from the demonstration effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. While biosafety (of such facilities) is key, it says, to prevent and counter bioterrorism, so is non-proliferation and export control on biological materials. Implementing the UN SCR 1540 — on general and complete disarmament measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring WMD, their means of delivery, and materials and technologies related to their manufacture, and that the latter assumes urgent and new significance.  It also comments on the apparent intelligence failure, as US and Western intelligence organisations are introspecting on possible bio-intelligence failures before the start of the pandemic in China and possible missteps that led towards the novel coronavirus becoming a global pandemic.  The article warns that no effective and credible international bio-surveillance mechanisms for early warning on potential bioweapons threats currently exist. It urges action on this front, with countries taking urgent action to comply with Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention provisions, as well as countries reviewing national coordination mechanisms with all institutions and agencies to ensure that they are well integrated.  The article claims that the COVID-19 Pandemic marks the beginning of a new geostrategic era where biosecurity and health security will take centre stage in national and international goal setting, policy and action.

https://www.eurasiareview.com/11052020-biological-weapons-and-biosecurity-lessons-from-the-covid-19-war-oped/

NORTH KOREAN OFFICIAL PROPOSED CLAM SMUGGLING OPERATION TO JAPAN TRADING COMPANY

On 11 May, The Mainichi reported that a man who called himself a “director of the North Korean foreign ministry” proposed in spring 2019 a clam smuggling deal to a Japanese trading company employee in Bangkok, and smuggling clams from North Korea to Japan by falsifying them as from China.  Seafood exports from North Korea are banned under UN sanctions.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20200511/p2g/00m/0in/064000c

EU COMMISSION PROPOSES POSTPONEMENT OF TAXATION RULES DUE TO CORONAVIRUS CRISIS

On 11 May, the EU issued a news release saying that the Commission has decided to postpone the entry into force of 2 EU taxation measures to take account of the difficulties that businesses and Member States are facing at the moment with the Coronavirus crisis

  • Firstly, the Commission has proposed to postpone the entry into application of the VAT e-commerce package by 6 months: to apply as of 1 July 2021 instead of 1 January 2021; and
  • Secondly, it has decided to propose deferring certain deadlines for filing and exchanging information under the Directive on Administrative Cooperation (DAC). Member States will have 3 additional months to exchange information on financial accounts of which the beneficiaries are tax residents in another Member State, and will have 3 additional months to exchange information on certain cross-border tax planning arrangements.

The Commission has also proposed the possibility to extend the deferral period once, for a maximum of 3 further months. However, the beginning of application of DAC 6 will remain 1 July 2020.

https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/news/taxation-commission-proposes-postponement-taxation-rules-due-coronavirus-crisis_en

KENYA: TOP PORT MANAGER CHARGED WITH FRAUD

On 11 May, The Standard reported that the Kenya Ports Authority General Manager in charge of finance Patrick Wambugu Nyoike and his colleague Isaac Obunga have been arrested by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and charged before for Sh214 million corruption-related scandals.

https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/business/article/2001370906/top-port-manager-charged-with-sh214m-fraud

NETHERLANDS: DUAL NATIONALS MORE STRICTLY SCRUTINISED BY THE TAX OFFICE

On 11 May, NL Times reported that over 11,000 Netherlands citizens with dual nationality were subject to stricter inspections by the Tax Authority than other Dutch people. Their second nationality was an official selection criterion to determine whether they were an increased risk of fraud, the Tax Authority has acknowledged.  According to the Tax Authority, stricter inspections were done if citizens met 5 criteria of the selection rules. Other criteria included whether someone had declared high deductions.

https://nltimes.nl/2020/05/11/dual-nationals-strictly-scrutinized-tax-office

AMBITIOUS NEW EU AML ACTION PLAN

A briefing from Eversheds Sutherland on 11 May was concerned with an announcement from the EU on 7 May.  The article outlines the 6 “pillars” on the action plan –

  • Effective application of EU rules;
  • A single EU rulebook by Q1 2021;
  • EU-level supervision by Q1 2021 to plug gaps in how the rules are supervised by individual Member States;
  • New proposals for a support mechanism for FIU in Member States by Q1 2021;
  • Enforcing EU-level criminal law provisions and information exchange, with better judicial and police cooperation, and guidance on the role of public-private partnerships to enhance data sharing; and
  • The EU to adopt a global role.

https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/Financial-services-and-dispute-investigation/EU_Blacklist

The EU guidance is available at –

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_800

HOW TO CURB CORRUPTION IN NATURAL DISASTER SITUATIONS – AND PANDEMICS

On 11 May, an article from the Basel Institute on Governance reviews a blog post on corruption risks in natural disaster situations saying that there are striking similarities in the response Covid-19 and the response to earthquakes, tsunamis and other natural disasters in the past, although there are important differences too.

https://www.baselgovernance.org/blog/how-curb-corruption-natural-disaster-situations-and-pandemics

USMCA PREFERENTIAL TARIFF TREATMENT

On 11 May, Baker McKenzie published a Client Alert saying that, subject to formal notifications issued by Mexico, Canada and the US, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, referred to as the USMCA in the US, the CUSMA in Canada, and the T-MEC in Mexico, will enter into force on 1 July.  The article warns that most provisions in the USMCA will take effect upon entry into force.  Consequently, it is important that businesses take immediate steps to review and understand the implications of the implementation of the USMCA, and the termination of the NAFTA.  This Client Alert focuses on the implications of the USMCA that relate to the importation of goods, and deals with some common questions and answers, which it says are worthy of immediate attention:

https://bakerxchange.com/rv/ff0060d41e2102c7858e5f81c840961b603d13a4

THE ORIGINS OF THE TERM “WHITE COLLAR CRIMINAL”

Just had to mention this item that caught my eye, a blog post revealing that Edwin Sutherland, a noted criminologist, coined the phrase “white-collar criminal” in an address entitled ”White-Collar Criminality” to the American Sociological Association on 27 December 1939.  It is also said that 10 years later, Sutherland published a book, White Collar Crime, which also had a tremendous influence in the field.

https://www.targetletterlaw.com/2019/12/27/this-day-in-white-collar-history-the-origins-of-the-white-collar-criminal

You can read Sutherland’s paper at –

https://www.asanet.org/sites/default/files/savvy/images/asa/docs/pdf/1939%20Presidential%20Address%20(Edwin%20Sutherland).pdf

ISRAEL: HEAD OF CHIEF RABBINATE KASHRUT TO BE INDICTED FOR BRIBERY

On 11 May, the Jerusalem Post reported that Rabbi Yitzhak Cohen Arazi, the exclusive authority for granting kashrut approval to imported food, is to be indicted on charges of receiving bribes from food importers who demanded kosher certification and preferential treatment in return for their money.

https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/head-of-chief-rabbinate-kashrut-to-be-indicted-for-bribery-627651

ARMS PROCUREMENT AND CORRUPTION IN THE GULF MONARCHIES

On 11 May, the Center for Strategic and International Studies published a report saying that the Gulf monarchies – and, more broadly, the governments of the Arab world, Iran, and those of most developing states – need not observe such rules or operate under the restrictions that most democracies have in place.  It points out that The International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) estimates that 3 Gulf and Middle Eastern states were among the top 15 military spenders in the world in 2019, and that several Gulf states were also among the world’s largest arms importers.  It is said that in the monarchies of the Gulf where only members of the ruling family have the authority to condemn improprieties, weapons procurement has often gone hand-in-hand with large-scale corruption.  It repeats what has been said before about “cultural disparities”, saying that “corruption” is perceived quite differently in the Gulf than in western societies and corporate environments.  Those with long experience in the Gulf business dealings suggest that the modus operandi in the Arabian peninsula has always been what westerners call “corruption” – distributing tribal resources, making sure everybody gets his share, and rewarding those who “make things happen” – but for Gulf Arabs, it is simply the cost of doing business and the way transactions are conducted.

https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/publication/200511_Gulf_Arms_Corruption.pdf?F.i7QhjPpeFrcpnmZ1G2OzLyEmPZo.7X

DUBAI FINANCIAL SERVICES AUTHORITY (DFSA) DECISION NOTICES IN RESPECT OF 2 FIRMS AND 3 INDIVIDUALS

A release on Mondo Visione on 11 May advised that the Decision Notices were in respect of Al Masah Capital Limited and Al Masah Capital Management Limited; and individuals Shailesh Dash, Nrupaditya Singhdeo and Don Lim Jung Chiat. The Decision Notices have been referred to the Financial Markets Tribunal (FMT) where the parties will present their respective cases.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/dubai-financial-services-authority-action-against-two-firms-and-three-individual/

HONG KONG: SFC DISQUALIFICATION ORDERS AGAINST 3 FORMER DIRECTORS OF EGANAGOLDPFEIL (HOLDINGS) LTD (EHL) FOR THEIR ROLES IN THE COMPANY’S MISAPPLICATION OF FUNDS

A release on 11 May advised that the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has obtained disqualification orders in the Court of First Instance against 3 former directors of EganaGoldpfeil (Holdings) Ltd (EHL) for their roles in the company’s misapplication of funds.  The directors were disqualified from being a director or taking part in the management of any corporation in Hong Kong, without leave of the Court, for a period of 9 years, 6 years and six years respectively, from 7 May.  The SFC also sought compensation orders against the 3 former directors.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/hong-kong-securities-and-futures-commission-obtains-disqualification-orders-agai-2/

 

 

 

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