Panama Covid-19 update – another 156 new cases, about the average for daily rates now, taking us to 10,577 in total, with 4 more fatalities, taking us to 299 total.
23 May 2020
GROUP PROCEEDINGS: THE NEW LEGAL PROCESS COMING TO SCOTLAND
On 21 May, an article from law firm Morton Fraser explains that, in the near future, the Civil Litigation (Expenses and Group Proceedings) (Scotland) Act 2018 will introduce a type of class action to Scotland, known as “group proceedings”. Under the new provisions, where 2 or more people have separate claims on the same, similar or related grounds to each other, the court will be able to authorise a representative party to bring proceedings on their collective behalf. Like class actions in other parts of the world, the proceedings will either take place on an “opt in” basis, where all the members of the group or “class” give their express consent to proceedings being raised, or on an “opt out” basis where proceedings are proposed on behalf of a group and if someone does not want to participate, they can decline to do so.
BELGIUM: STRICT CONTROLS ON COVID-19 AID FOR COMPANIES WITH TAX HAVEN LINKS
The Brussels Times on 23 May reported that Belgian tax authorities will use all of the information at their disposal to check that state aid linked to the coronavirus crisis is not awarded to companies that work via tax havens.
ZIMBABWE CENTRAL BANK CHARGES ECOCASH DIRECTORS WITH MONEY LAUNDERING
On 23 May, the Zimbabwe Mail reported that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s FIU has brought charges against Ecocash, the company’s CEO Natalie Jabangwe and director Eddie Chibi, who is CEO of parent company Cassava Smartech, for failure to comply with obligations imposed on financial institutions and their officers, employees, directors and agents.
SUDAN RECOVERS $4 BILLION OF ASSETS FROM EX-PRESIDENT BASHIR
On 23 May, BNN Bloomberg reported that Sudan has confiscated assets valued at $4 billion from former President Omar al-Bashir, his family members and associates. Bashir was overthrown by the army a year ago and was jailed in December.
KYRGYZSTAN: SPOUSE OF ESCAPED FORMER DEPUTY SHADIEV SUSPECTED OF MONEY LAUNDERING
On 23 May, 24KG in Kyrgyzstan reported that the State Committee for National Security of Kyrgyzstan is said to be investigating Asel Shadieva (spouse of the runaway ex-deputy of the Parliament Askarbek Shadiev) on suspicion of money laundering. It is alleged that Askarbek Shadiev registered his wife Asel Shadieva as owner of property to hide its criminal source of origin.
CHANGES TO UK START-UP, INNOVATOR AND SOLE PROPRIETOR VISA ARRANGEMENTS
Dixcart has published a briefing about changes to UK Immigration Rules from 4 June.
THE NEVER-ENDING LIST OF ALLEGATIONS AGAINST MEXICO’S FORMER TOP COP
On 22 May, Insight Crime carried an article saying that the former head of Mexico’s federal police has been implicated in a money laundering scheme that moved millions in suspected bribes from drug traffickers. This is said to be just the latest revelation showing the staggering collusion between Genaro García Luna and the criminal groups he was supposed to fight.
COULD CHINA’S DIGITAL CURRENCY UNSEAT THE DOLLAR?
On 20 May, an article from the Belfer Center in the US saying that in late April, China reached a significant milestone: after more than 5 years of research by its central bank, China became the first major economy to conduct a real-world test of a national digital currency – described as a clear sign that China is years ahead of the US in the development of what is likely to become a central component of a digital world economy. It warns that the advent of such digital currencies will degrade the efficacy of US sanctions, limiting the country’s options to respond to national security threats from Iran, North Korea, Russia, and others. It will also hamper the ability of U.S. authorities to track illicit financial flows. It calls for the US to act now to protect its economic advantage in the coming era of national digital currencies.
THE NORTH KOREAN ECONOMY UNDER SANCTIONS AND COVID-19
On 22 May, 38 North published an article saying that, before covid-19 hit, Kim Jong Un had proposed at the end of 2019 a new approach to economic policy and management, one that reflected the harsh political realities and emphasised rational economic management. One of its conclusions is that, in the near term, prospects look bleak, given the stalled US-DPRK nuclear negotiations and dormant inter-Korean relations. Looking at the effect of covid-19 on the country, and other major issues it faces, it suggests North Korea will need to find a way to relate to the post-crisis changes and seek its future place in the international environment.
HOW THE US CAN BETTER SUPPRESS ILLEGAL DRUG TRAFFICKING IN THE CARIBBEAN
On 22 May, the Center for International Maritime Security published an article in the wake of President Trump announcing in April that he intended doubled counter-narcotics enforcement in the Western Hemisphere. It says that the move includes forces in the Caribbean and eastern Pacific, but the Trump Administration appears particularly concerned with Venezuela. The article argues that a more sustainable solution requires more than increased assets on the water for search and seizure. Furthermore, it argues, without supporting local organizations and addressing the conditions driving so many Venezuelans to illicit activities, the impacts of the effort will not be sustainable. The article suggests a number of options that could be adopted, warning that aiming to control drug trafficking will not make these criminal groups disappear – they will merely take alternate routes and capitalise on trading other illicit goods. It proposes that the US must take a holistic approach to maritime security threats and empower local organisations to solve regional security challenges at their source.
NEW DATA ON RADICALISATION IN THE US
On 14 May, START (the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland) published a new research brief and an update to its Profiles of Individual Radicalization in the United States (PIRUS) dataset, which now includes information on 2,226 Islamist, far-left, far-right and single-issue extremists who have radicalized to violent and non-violent extremism in the US from 1948 through 2018.
US – CFIUS AND EXPORT CONTROLS: A DETAILED ANALYSIS OF THE PROPOSED MANDATORY FILING CHANGES
On 23 May, Torres Law published an article following the publication of a proposed new rule that introduces important changes. In the US, CFIUS is authorised to review and take action to address national security concerns arising from certain investments and real estate transactions involving foreign persons. The mandatory filing applies to certain investments involving certain US businesses that produce, design, test, manufacture, fabricate, or develop one or more identified, critical technologies. The article explains the changes being made which revises the scope of the mandatory filing for certain critical technologies to put the focus on export control requirements, and whether certain “U.S. government authorization” would be required to export, re-export, transfer (in country), or retransfer the critical technology or technologies produced, designed, tested, manufactured, fabricated, or developed by the US business to the foreign persons involved in the transaction or certain foreign persons in the ownership chain. The article details the new test to be applied to determine whether a mandatory filing is required. Consultation of the proposed rule change runs to 22 June.
COVID-19: ARE YOUR TERMS AND CONDITIONS READY FOR TRADE POST-LOCKDOWN?
On 21 May, an article from Ince posed this question, as well asking such things as: can I make my contract conditional on the COVID-19 restrictions being lifted?
ISRAEL: BENJAMIN NETANYAHU TRIAL BEGINS AT JERUSALEM DISTRICT COURT
On 23 May, various media reported that, after entering the record books last year as Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu will once again make history when he becomes the country’s first sitting leader to go on trial. He is to appear in Jerusalem’s district court for arraignment on a series of corruption charges.
FATF EVALUATION OF RUSSIA
Tom Keatinge of RUSI had alerted everyone to the November issue of Financial Security from the Russian Federal Financial Monitoring Service which is concerned with the FATF evaluation of Russia, with on-site visits in March 2019. The Service’s website includes links to Russia’s money laundering and terrorist financing national risk assessments. The mutual evaluation report was published in December.
US NAVY SHIP TAKES DOWN DRUG VESSEL, SEIZES 1.5 TONS OF COCAINE
On 22 May, an article from the US Department of Defense published an article, with great photographs, saying that the guided-missile destroyer USS Pinckney, with an embarked US Coast Guard law enforcement detachment team, seized an estimated 3,000 lb of cocaine in the eastern Pacific Ocean. The cocaine was aboard a small, low-profile vessel.
CROWDFUNDING-AN UNORTHODOX WAY OF MONEY LAUNDERING?
An article from January, republished on LinkedIn, claiming that, in a growing number of cases, crowdfunding websites are being used for illicit purposes — including money laundering. It says that there are more than 450 crowdfunding platforms currently in existence and a World Bank report states that revenue from this method could reach $96 billion by 2025.
If you would like to say thanks by making a small contribution, in case I need to upgrade or replace my computers and other paraphernalia, I have a page at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y