Panama Covid-19 update – Sunday lockdown, just as well with heavy rain, lightning and thunder like the crack of doom in the afternoon… Meanwhile, it has been announced that 157 new cases, taking us closer to the 10,000 mark at 9,606. There have been 6 more fatalities, making it 275 to date in the just over 2 months since the state of emergency began. 69 people are in ICU, a considerable reduction on previous totals – though whether this reflects those recovered or died is unclear. However, the Rt rate is still quoted at 1.336, so I guess there won’t be any major changes to controls in the near future.
17 May 2020
HOW CHINESE PROSPECTORS EXPLOIT LOCAL MINERS TO CASH IN ON NIGERIA’S GOLD
On 17 May, Punch in Nigeria reported that the The absence of a ready market for Nigerian artisanal miners to sell their products paved the way for Chinese nationals to take over the illegal mining of gold in the country, and the Chinese are largely behind the smuggling of gold out of Nigeria, a lucrative venture which has resulted in the loss of billions of dollars in revenue for the Federal Government.
CHINESE POLICE UNCOVER SCAM THAT STOLE 46,000 BITCOIN FROM VICTIMS
On 17 May, Zycrypto reported what it described as a scam called WoToken. The police investigators uncovered more than 500 levels of the hierarchy inside the Ponzi scheme, with over 700,000 registered users. The scheme is alleged to have stole more than 46,000 bitcoins, 56,000 BCH coins, 2.039 million ETH, 292,000 Litecoin, and 684,000 EOS; and obtained over $1 billion.
US: PROTECTING ATTORNEY WORK PRODUCT IN INTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS – WHAT IS PROTECTED BY PRIVILEGE
An article from Hogan Lovells on 16 May concerned a case involving interview memoranda drafted following an internal investigation conducted on behalf of a company’s audit committee to address issues that independent auditors flagged and, the company argued, in anticipation of potential litigation with the SEC. However, the district court rejected the argument, and found that outside counsel’s memoranda were not created in anticipation of litigation and thus, the work product protection did not apply.
MEDIA IN THE EAST CARIBBEAN BUZZING ABOUT THE EXPOSURE OF CORRUPTION IN CARIBBEAN CRICKET
On 17 May, Kenneth Rijock in his blog said that Michael Holding, one of the world’s most prominent bowlers, and a well-known commentator, has exposed 3 specific instances of corruption. Also involved is a $134,000, reportedly made from an anonymous offshore account, in Dominica that is said to be disappeared.
EXEMPTIONS FROM LIABILITY UNDER THE UN CONVENTION ON CONTRACTS FOR THE INTERNATIONAL SALE OF GOODS (CISG) IN A SITUATION WHERE THE SELLER BREACHES THE CONTRACT BY FAILING TO DELIVER THE GOODS DUE TO COVID-19
On 17 May, Jurist carried a guest article asking if there are any exemptions from liability under the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) in a situation where the seller breaches the contract by failing to deliver the goods due to COVID-19. It says that international trade of goods across borders is conducted within a complex web of international and domestic regulations and involves a complex set of arrangements between sellers/exporters and buyers/importers. However, it concludes that any successful application of an exemption, due to COVID-19, would be decided on a case by case basis.
BILLIONAIRE DIVORCE UNCOVERS SECRETIVE WORLD OF TRUSTS IN SOUTH DAKOTA
On 6 May, CNBC carried an article saying that the divorce case offers a rare window into the highly secretive world of asset trusts in South Dakota and says that South Dakota is fast becoming a mini-Switzerland for the world’s rich trying to shield their assets. It is said that analysts and local politicians estimate that $250 billion to $900 billion is now stashed in South Dakota trusts by the likes of Chinese billionaires looking to keep their fortunes out of reach of the government, Europeans looking to avoid taxes and Americans looking to shield wealth from spouses. In the divorce case, it is alleged before the divorce, according to the lawsuit, the husband transferred assets into new trusts that limited or shut out the wife’s interests and, in keeping with South Dakota law, he was not required to notify her of the changes, according to the lawsuit.
MANAGING SEMICONDUCTOR US EXPORTS TO CHINA
On 5 May, a paper from the Center for Strategic and International Studies discussed the problem of controlling semiconductor exports to China, arguing that the goal is (or should be) not to prevent China from building its own semiconductor industry. The US can slow this, but it cannot stop it – the goal is (or should be) to keep the US semiconductor industry strong. It argues that the Trump Administration should base decisions on 2 general criteria the measures should not harm US companies more than China, and the measures should not be symbolic, attempting to restrict sales or transfers of commodity technologies or technologies available from foreign sources. It goes on to provide 7 conclusions that can help guide US policy on semiconductors and China. It does say that export controls should be part of a larger strategy, and that the best outcome would let US companies continue to sell to China to protect market share and revenue in ways that do not give China strategic advantage, and that export regulation is essential but not sufficient.
GERMANY EXPORTS MILLIONS IN ARMS TO LIBYA WAR BELLIGERENTS, DESPITE EMBARGO
On 17 May, Deutsche Welle reported that despite supporting an embargo, Germany has exported €330 million in weapons to countries involved in the war in Libya. Between 20 January and 3 May, Germany approved €308.2 million in arms destined for Egypt alone. It also approved €15.1 million in arms exports for Turkey and €7.7 million for the UAE. Turkey supports the Government of National Accord (GNA), which is backed by the UN, while Russia, Egypt, and the UAE support rival forces led by Khalifa Haftar.
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