Panama Covid-19 update – main headline in leading local newspaper La Prensa is of an investigation by the anti-corruption office into the building of the new, modular hospital built very quickly in March to cope with potential virus victims. It cost $6.9 million, excluding equipment, and was reportedly chosen instead of converting a convention centre into a temporary hospital. Meanwhile, another bad day, with 257 new cases, taking us over the 11,000 mark – to 11,183, and 4 more fatalities, giving a total of 310, with 67 people in ICU.
25 May 2020
FLORIDA EX-CONGRESSMAN UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR ALLEGED CORRUPT DEALINGS WITH VENEZUELA GOVERNMENT
On 23 May, Univision reported that former Republican congressman, David Rivera, was hired by the Venezuelan state oil company, PDVSA, but the article asks what did he do with the $15 million he was paid? He says he diverted the funds to the enemies of the Maduro regime.
INDIA: FEDERAL INVESTIGATION AGENCY SAYS IT HAS PRELIMINARY EVIDENCE THAT UNITS OF JP MORGAN CHASE WERE INVOLVED IN CRIMES
On 23 May, Bloomberg reported that the Enforcement Directorate informed the High Court about the bank’s alleged role in financing the Amrapali Group, once one of India’s largest real estate groups.
HOW TO KEEP UP WITH EXPORT CONTROLS IN TIMES OF CHANGE
On 19 May, an article from Steptoe & Johnson LLP produced an article published in Export Compliance Manager saying that will all the changes caused by Covid-19, the US-China dispute etc, it has provided a few handy reminders to mitigate the export control risk arising from changes to your supply chain, with an emphasis on the US controls. It stresses that due diligence of new suppliers and customers is essential to identifying and controlling potential risks in your modified supply chain.
JERSEY: CORPORATE AND CELL MIGRATIONS
On 20 May, an article from Carey Olsen published an article saying that companies and cells can migrate from one jurisdiction to another. The firm says that in Jersey it is seeing an increased number of entity migrations (or ‘continuances’), both inbound and outbound, with a definite up-tick in the number of companies seeking to relocate to Jersey. It looks at the process involved and which jurisdictions allow migration.
UK FIRMS SHOULD SHARE CUSTOMER INFORMATION CROSS-BORDER INTRA-GROUP TO FIGHT MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERRORIST FINANCING
On 22 May, an article from Latham & Watkins on its Global Financial Regulatory Blog says that the UK government has published a statement endorsing the FATF recommendations that regulated financial institutions should be required to implement group-wide AML/CFT programmes that provide a framework for information to be shared within the group for AML and CFT purposes. The statement agrees with the FATF’s position on cross-border information-sharing. However, the statement also reminds firms that UK customers’ personal data should only be shared in a way that is compliant with the GDPR – and specifically refers to the ICO guidance on restricted transfers (i.e. transfers outside of the EEA) and the ICO draft data-sharing code of practice. The post concludes that it would be prudent for firms to review their intra-group data-sharing practices to ensure that AML/CFT documentation is shared in a compliant manner and that intra-group processes and policies are subject to the same rigour as external data-sharing practices.
POLICE RAID LONDON ADDRESSES AT REQUEST OF BRAZILIAN AUTHORITIES
On 21 May, a post from Kingsley Napley said that Metropolitan Police officers carried out 2 search and seizure warrants on behalf of Brazilian prosecutors investigating $5 million in alleged bribes paid to politicians in the state of Amapá in connection with a railroad contract. It says that the operation provides a good example of one of the ways in which mutual legal assistance (MLA) operates between jurisdictions – the UK having 40 such bilateral MLA agreements. Furthermore, subject to certain conditions, there is a presumption that the UK will accede to MLA requests where the requirements of UK law are met – but where refused no specific reason is given. It goes on to discuss European Investigation Order which became the legal framework applicable to the gathering of evidence between the UK and participating EU Member States (except Denmark and Ireland) and then Overseas Production Orders.
COVID-19 LOCKDOWN EFFECT ON DRUG SUPPLIERS IN THE US
On 25 May, an article in the Daily Mail reported on the apparent consequences of the Covid-19 lockdown on the illegal drugs market in the US. It says that, from 1 March to 8 May, the amount of cash seized in the Los Angeles area more than doubled from $4.5 million last year to $10 million in 2020. Cocaine prices are up more than 20% and the price of meth has doubled.
MACAO: 48 MONEY LAUNDERING INVESTIGATIONS CARRIED OUT IN 2019
Macau Business reported that the 2019 Public Prosecutions Office activity report indicates that despite difficulties in international cooperation for the investigation of money laundering crimes, some 48 investigations were initiated on possible money laundering offences last year and charges were put forward in 10 cases. The number of suspicious money laundering or terrorism financing transactions reported by gaming operators in the first quarter of this year has dropped by 30% year-on-year to some 356 reports.
RUSSIAN FIGHTERS FLOWN OUT OF WESTERN LIBYA AFTER HAFTAR RETREAT
On 25 May, Defence Web reported that Russian fighters in Libya were flow out a town south of Tripoli by their Libyan allies after retreating from frontlines at the capital, the town’s mayor said. The article says that Haftar’s forces, backed by Russia, Egypt and UAE, have been trying to capture the capital for 13 months, but suffered a string of defeats in recent weeks in fighting against Turkey-backed forces of the Tripoli government.
VIETNAM INVESTIGATES ALLEGED BRIBERY BY JAPANESE COMPANY
On 25 May, VN Express reported that Vietnamese authorities are investigating allegations that a Japanese plastics company paid $215,000 to avoid taxes and fines.
SWISS INVESTIGATION LAUNCHED INTO ALLEGED ‘COVID CREDIT’ FRAUD
On 25 May, Swissinfo reported that prosecutors in western Switzerland have opened an investigation into suspected fraud and money laundering linked to financial aid given to several Swiss businesses hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
US SUPREME COURT ON SUING A FOREIGN GOVERNMENT UNDER THE STATE-SPONSORED-TERRORISM EXCEPTION TO THE FOREIGN SOVEREIGN IMMUNITIES ACT
On 25 May, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP published an article saying that the Court has held holding that plaintiffs who sue a foreign government under the state-sponsored-terrorism exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act can seek punitive damages for conduct that predated its enactment. In the case, a group of victims and affected family members sued Sudan in US federal court under the then-recently-enacted state-sponsored-terrorism exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), alleging that Sudan provided shelter and support to al Qaeda in connection with the bombings of US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.
THE GERMAN BUNKER THAT BECAME A HUB OF INTERNATIONAL CRIME
On 22 May, Der Spiegel in Germany published an article about a former military facility in the Mosel region served as a hub for organized crime on the internet until 650 police shut it down in a raid in September 2019. It says that the bizarre story behind the bunker that is likely to produce countless criminal cases
INTERNATIONAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE JOINS FORCES WITH UN AND GOVERNMENTS TO IMPROVE FLOW OF REMITTANCES
On 22 May, the ICC advised its support for a multi-stakeholder initiative calling on policymakers, regulators and remittance services providers to improve migrants’ access to remittance services and reduce transfer costs during the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic. Led Switzerland and UK, the call is supported by the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), as well as the World Bank, the International Organization of Migration (IOM), the International Association of Money Transfer Networks (IAMTN) and the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD). It says that while COVID-19 has severely impacted the global economy. Some low- and middle-income countries may take an even greater hit due to the projected decline in remittances this year. Remittance inflows are expected to undergo the sharpest decline in recent history, shrinking by about 20%, a fall of around $110 billion. The call to action contains recommendations across policy, regulations and service provision that, in combination, will ensure migrant workers and their families are not left behind in the current crisis.
ARGENTINA FIU PUSHING FOR TIGHTER CONTROLS ON BITCOIN TRADING AS GOVERNMENT BATTLES “PARALLEL EXCHANGE MARKETS”
On 25 May, Decrypt reported that Argentina’s FIU has ordered stricter monitoring of Bitcoin trading and other crypto transactions, with financial institutions, exchanges, etc asked to be on high alert and report “suspicious” activity. It is said that the move comes as the government battles the flight of devalued pesos from its economy, as Argentines seek dollars and other more stable currencies.
PANAMA: ANTI-CORRUPTION OFFICE INVESTIGATION INTO NEW MODULAR HOSPITAL BUILT TO COPE WITH COVID-19
On 25 May, La Prensa reported that an investigation had been opened into the background to a modular hospital constructed to help cope with potential victims of the Covid-19 virus. This 100-bed unit was built in preference to a proposal to convert a nearby convention centre. The modular hospital is said to have costs $6.9 million, excluding equipment.
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