Panama Covid-19 update – the Government warned today that it might reimpose the alcohol ban, following reports of people said to be drinking in the street (which remains illegal), and unauthorised places selling it. Meanwhile, 174 new cases took the country over the 9,000 figure, to 9,118, with 4 more fatalities (260 total now) and an Rt contagion figure of 1.025. Mind you, I noted that the other day that more people died in shooting incidents (drugs-related, we presume) than from the virus…
14 May 2020
MEXICO ALERT: SMUGGLING OF ILLEGAL NARCOTICS – RISK OF SHIP DETENTION AND CREW ARREST
The Swedish Club, a P+I Club (a mutual insurance society for shipowners), has issued a Member Akert saying that the International Group of P&I Clubs, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), BIMCO and InterManager draw Members’ attention to the series of recent ship detentions and crew arrests in Mexico and, in the case of the UBC Savannah, the lengthy and continuing detention in custody of the ship’s Master without any formal charges against him, following the discovery of illegal narcotics on board. It says that since July 2019, organisations have recorded a number of cases where ships have been detained upon arrival in Mexican ports. Members’ attention is drawn to the Mexican Federal Code of Criminal Procedure, where anyone accused of drugs related offenses must remain in prison for the duration of the pre-trial and trial detention, even if innocent. Pre-trial and trial detention in Mexico can be lengthy, and further protracted in the current COVID-19 circumstances.
US FEDERAL RESERVE FRESH REBUKE OVER DEUTSCHE BANK AG’S MONEY LAUNDERING CONTROLS
On 13 May, the Wall Street Journal reported that the move comes as Deutsche Bank tries to prove to investors and regulators that it is cleaning up its act under an overhaul that started last year. The bank posted a huge loss in 2019 but reported better-than-expected results in the first quarter, sticking to cost-cutting goals and a plan to streamline its businesses.
JERSEY ROYAL COURT IMPOSES SUBSTANTIAL FINE FOR INADEQUATE AML POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
An article from Ogier on 12 May provided a report on a rare decision by the Royal Court which has underscored the critical importance of firms establishing and maintaining effective AML policies and procedures. In imposing a £475,000 fine, the Court also made clear that the focus is on risk of harm, and not whether that risk goes on to crystallise. It says that this is an important judgment. The Court has made clear the high expectation on firms to ensure they are fully compliant with Jersey’s AML regime, and that there is a low tolerance for failure and should prompt all firms to review their AML policies and procedures as a matter of priority.
WEBINAR: INTRODUCTION TO THE WTO – PART 1
Gowling WLG has released an online webinar, the first in a series on the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Free Trade Agreements (FTA), which aims to introduce participants to the WTO and the key legal mechanisms that govern international trade. In light of the UK’s exit from the EU, the law firm says, many individuals would like to gain a greater understanding of both international trade law in general, as well as the UK’s future position and involvement in the international trade landscape. The introductory webinar covers membership of the WTO; origins of the WTO; the WTO’s mandate; and decision-making.
SPAIN: SMUGGLERS IMPREGNATED CARDBOARD WITH COCAINE
On 14 May, the Guardian reported Spanish police news that 18 people arrested over scheme in which chemists were sent to extract drug from boxes. A gang smuggled cocaine into Europe from Colombia by impregnating it into the cardboard used in boxes carrying pineapples and limes, and then sending chemists to extract it. 18 people were arrested in Spain, Bulgaria, the Netherlands and Colombia.
ESTONIA HAS NOT FULLY IMPLEMENTED THE EU FOURTH ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING DIRECTIVE
ERR in Estonia on 14 May reported that the EU Commission has sent a letter of formal notice to Estonia stating that it, in the Commission’s opinion, has not correctly transposed the 4MLD, into domestic law. Estonia has 2 months to respond to the formal notice.
CORONAVIRUS: SANCTIONS AND HUMANITARIAN CRISES
On 14 May, the House of Commons Library published a briefing paper asking if sanctions against countries like Iran hindering them in their efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic?
FORMER DIRECTOR OF STATE COMMUNICATIONS AGENCY OF KYRGYZSTAN ARRESTED
On 14 May, AKI Press reported that the former Director of the State Communications Agency of Kyrgyzstan Natalia Chernogubova has been detained, said a spokesperson for the Prosecutor General’s Office, after a probe into corruption was launched on in April.
MALAYSIA TO RECOVER $107.3 MILLION AFTER SETTLING 1MDB CASE AGAINST ‘WOLF OF WALL STREET’ PRODUCER
On 14 May, Reuters reported that prosecutors have dropped money laundering charges against Riza Aziz – a Hollywood producer and the stepson of Malaysia’s former prime minister Najib Razak – after a deal that officials said included the recovery of $107.3 million of overseas assets.
VIJAY MALLYA FACES EXTRADITION TO INDIA AFTER UK HIGH COURT REFUSES PERMISSION TO APPEAL TO SUPREME COURT
On 14 May, The Hindu and others reported that Vijay Mallya’s plea attempting to challenge the dismissal of his appeal challenging a lower court’s approval of his extradition to India in IDBI Bank fraud case.
EU STARTS LEGAL ACTIONS AGAINST LUXEMBOURG OVER MONEY LAUNDERING AND TAX AVOIDANCE
On 14 May, Reuters reported that the EU Commission has launched legal action against Luxembourg for failure to properly implement the 4th AML Directive. The Commission has also said that Luxembourg’s rules allowed firms “unlimited deductibility of interest” from tax bills, which is not in line with EU rules. A similar legal action was also launched against the government of Portugal.
US TRADE WITH SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA INCREASING
On 14 May, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that a new International Trade Commission report reviews US exports to and imports from sub-Saharan Africa. With trade increasing, it also examines the state of IP rights enforcement (saying that Intellectual property rights infringement is generally higher as a whole than in more developed markets) and the digital economy.
HOW COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS AND CONSEQUENCES ARE LIKELY TO IMPACT MIGRANT SMUGGLING AND CROSS-BORDER TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS TO EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICA
A research brief from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime concludes that the COVID-19 crisis is likely to make smuggling of migrants riskier and more expensive for people fleeing persecution, violence and conflict; and that unemployment and economic downturn are likely to result in more cases of human trafficking.
ARGENTINA SMUGGLERS TURN TO CIGARETTES IN CORONAVIRUS LOCKDOWN
On 14 May, Insight Crime reported that, amid a shortage of cigarettes in Argentina after factory closings due to the coronavirus pandemic, the black market cigarette trade has surged — an illegal economy with relatively low risk and high return.
CONGOLESE CITIZENS BRING CIVIL ACTION IN BELGIUM AGAINST PASSPORT MAKER
On 14 May, Reuters reported that Congolese citizens and international campaign groups have filed a civil action in Belgium against passport manufacturer Semlex, which is being investigated by prosecutors for possible money laundering and corruption. In a 2017 special report from Reuters detailed how Semlex, which supplies passports to various African countries, won a contract to produce biometric passports in the Democratic Republic of Congo – a deal which it is said greatly increased the price citizens have to pay for passports, and documents showed a Gulf company owned by a relative of Congo’s then-president received almost a third of the revenues. Belgian prosecutors raided the company’s headquarters in 2018, but they have not made any further comment on the investigation since then.
US FAQ ON REVISED EXPORT CONTROL RULES
On 13 May, Crowell Moring reported that the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) had released 9 new FAQ on 11 May concerning on certain exemptions for Contractors Supporting US Government Agencies, including US foreign assistance and cooperative programmes, and under federal regulations dealing with prohibited exports, imports, and sales to or from certain countries.
The FAQ are at –
WHAT IS ESG AND ESG COMPLIANCE?
A very good online webinar from The Red Flag Group which provided detailed advice on why you should review your compliance programme and how to build a visible ESG framework to effectively measure the sustainability and the ethical impact of the suppliers as well as business partners that you engage with. The sides, one of which is shown below, are available online.
TAX ADVISOR WHO STOLE ALMOST £250,000 IN COURT FOR CONFISCATION HEARING
On 14 May, the Eastern Daily Press reported that Timothy Bash, 58, took the money over 7 years from more than 25 clients while working as a tax manager and used the money to feed his gambling addiction. He was jailed at Norwich Crown Court in July 2019 for 3 years.
SEC CHARGES IN 2 CASES INVOLVING COMPANIES THAT CLAIMED TO OFFER PRODUCTS TO COMBAT THE COVID-19 VIRUS
On 14 May, a release on Mondo Visione advised that the SEC has announced charges in 2 cases involving companies that claimed in press releases to offer products to combat the COVID-19 virus – one against Applied BioSciences Corporation and one against Turbo Global Partners Inc and its CEO, Robert W Singerman.
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