Panama Covid-19 update – as we prepare for an end to the total lockdown and gender-based 2-hours per day restrictions on going out from tomorrow, 347 new cases reported and 6 more fatalities – the latter figure taking us to 336 to date. It appears the confusion over new cases reported is due to late reporting of some cases by the social security minister. meanwhile, 79 people are in ICU, 279 in other hospital wards and 526 in requisitioned hotel rooms. It is also reported that now 9,514 people who were identified as having the virus have recovered.
31 May 2020
IRELAND: SEIZURE OF CONTAINER LOAD OF SMUGGLED CIGARETTES IN COUNTY ARMAGH LEADS TO CROSS-BORDER INVESTIGATION
On 30 May, Echo Live in Ireland reported that investigations on both sides of the border continued after the seizure of a container load of illicit, smuggled cigarettes worth £3million in Co Armagh. A number of premises were raided in Co Louth as part of the joint cross border operation, involving the gardaí, the PSNI, Revenue Commissioners and HMRC.
MALTA: ECONOMIC CRIMES POLICE GETS MANPOWER BOOST AS MONEYVAL TEST LOOMS
On 31 May, Malta Today reported that the police force has assigned 18 more officers to the economic crimes unit as Malta braces itself for the follow-up Moneyval report in the coming months. The police force now has 79 officers assigned to the unit tasked with investigating financial crime, a 51% increase in human resources since March. It has issued a call for cybercrime analysts and will shortly be doing the same to recruit financial crime analysts from outside the force to strengthen its analytical capacity; and the specialist unit is shortly expected to move into a dedicated building.
RUSSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER CRITICISES SWISS ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR ‘TOO CLOSE CONTACT’ WITH RUSSIAN PROSECUTOR GENERAL’S OFFICE
On 31 May, Swissinfo reported that Alexei Navalny has criticised in a newspaper interview the Swiss Attorney General’s Office (OAG), claiming that that personal and tight contact between the offices had slowed or even halted important investigations into alleged money laundering cases in Switzerland.
PLAYTECH, MOR WEIZER AND THE UK GAMBLING COMMISSION
On 31 May, the Daily Mail published an article attacking Isle of man-based gambling giant Playtech and its chief executive, mainly over the case of a Chris Bruney, a 25-year-old electrical engineer from Sheffield who took his own life in 2017 having lost almost £35,000 playing on the company’s casino websites, and the shareholders rejecting Weizer’s hefty pay award. It is said that Bruney — who earned a salary of £60,000 — was then allowed to gamble on the site’s blackjack and roulette games, placing bets that eventually totalled an astonishing £4,458,782; and the Gambling Commission report notes that the company involved ‘failed to carry out any responsible gambling interaction’ with him. The report also says that only 3 of the 40 most active gamblers on the site were given any responsible gambling advice, investigators found (while 39 of them were accorded ‘VIP’ status). A mere 0.26% of all customers were ever sent responsible gambling emails. Playtech closed the site down and the company’s chairperson has agreed to make a personal apology to the family.
STIFF NEW PENALTIES FOR CORRUPTION OFFENCES COME INTO FORCE IN MALAYSIA
On 31 May, the Malay Mail reported that the Malaysian Institute of Integrity (IIM) is committed to helping companies to formulate sufficient procedures to prevent corrupt practices as the section 17A of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 will come into force on 1 June, imposing steep penalties for corporate corruption. It will criminalise commercial organisations if their employees or associates had committed corrupt practices. It provides a fine of not less than 10 times of the value of the gratification, or $230,000, whichever is higher or imprisonment of up to 20 years, or both.
“ITAR-FREE SATELLITES” AND THE IMPACT OF ITAR REGULATIONS ON US SATELLITE MANUFACTURERS
On 15 May, CSIS published a paper which explains that from in 1976, the US has generally regulated commercial satellites as a defence article and, for 34 out of the last 44 years, controlled exports through the State Departments International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) which regulates the US Munitions List (USML). However, during the other 10 years, 1996-98 and from 2014 to the present, commercial satellites have been regulated by the Commerce Department Export Administration Regulations (EAR) as a dual-use item on the Commerce Control List (CCL). According to both industry leaders and government officials, these regulatory changes have had significant impacts on the global satellite industry. The paper explores the emergence of ITAR-free satellites in the early 2000’s and evaluates the impacts of ITAR regulations on US satellite manufacturers. For example, even though commercial satellites and satellite components were removed from ITAR, they could still not be sold to China and, as a result, the majority of customers who only wanted ITAR-free satellites in order to sell them in China still faced the same obstacle. The paper makes policy recommendations for a more global approach to studying export regulations moving forward.
IRAN FUEL REACHES VENEZUELAN STATIONS AS FIFTH TANKER HEADED TO CARIBBEAN
On 31 May, Hellenic Shipping News reported that PDVSA has begun supplying the nation’s stations with fuel provided by ally Iran as drivers wait anxiously for the gasoline to be sold. Meanwhile, the fifth cargo of Iran’s 5-vessel flotilla heads to the Caribbean Sea and is expected to reach Venezuelan waters on 31 May.
CAYMAN ISLANDS NOW INDIA’S TENTH-LARGEST SOURCE OF FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT
On 31 May, the Business Standard reported that the Cayman Islands is now the 10th largest source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for India, leaving behind major nations like South Korea and UAE. It also reported that the BVI contributed in $262.5 million, a small figure until someone considers that it only sent $46 million in 2018-19.
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