Panama Covid-19 update – first day of partial release from lockdown and noticeably busier out (although only walked, a bit further, to a nice supermarket…). Mind you, there remains a nightly full curfew from 1900 to 0500. The bad news is that the number of new cases remain worryingly high at 374 (13,837 total so far), with 8 more fatalities (taking the total to 344). 305 patients are in hospital wards, with another 78 in ICU.
1 June 2020
BRAZIL: PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE FINDS MILLIONS IN TRANSFERS TO ENVIRONMENT MINISTER’S ACCOUNTS
On 30 May, the Rio Times reported that an inquiry was opened in August last year to investigate suspected unjust enrichment between 2012 and 2017. The São Paulo Prosecutor’s Office has lifted the bank confidentiality of Brazil’s Environment Minister, Ricardo Salles, and uncovered millions of reais of transfers in his accounts.
TIPS TO SEC SURGE AS WORKING FROM HOME EMBOLDENS WHISTLEBLOWERS
On 1 June, the Wall Street Journal reported on a side effect from remote working, layoffs and furloughs stemming from the coronavirus pandemic: more whistleblowers, up 35% on last year. It says that lawyers chalk up the increase to the fact that many would-be tipsters are working from the privacy of their home, out of view of snooping colleagues and managers and thus safer from being exposed as whistleblowers.
THE HUAWEI CASE AND CANADIAN EXTRADITION LAW IN THE SPOTLIGHT
An article from Australian law firm, Nyman Gibson Miralis is concerned with Canada’s extradition law, saying that the double criminality principle prevents extradition where the alleged conduct would not amount to a criminal offence in the requested state. In this case, the Canadian Supreme Court considered the proper construction of the double criminality test and the extent to which the foreign legal context could be taken into account.
PRACTICAL ANTI-CORRUPTION ADVICE PUBLISHED FOR INVESTORS
On 27 May, MacFarlanes published an article saying that the International Corporate Governance Network published updated Guidance on Anti-Corruption Practices. The Guidance calls on investors to use their voice to take a stand on anti-corruption. It seeks to help them make better informed decisions regarding anti-corruption practices of the companies in which they invest. Investors are also encouraged to challenge companies on their commitment to tackling corruption, acknowledging that “corruption corrodes corporate culture and undermines the quality of management”.
The Guidance itself is at –
DIRECTOR DISQUALIFICATION AND THE UK COMPETITION REGULATOR
On 28 May, Bristows published an article first published in a bulletin from the American Bar Association. It points out that, since 2003, the UK Competition and Markets Authority has had the power to disqualify directors of companies that have been found to have infringed competition law., but that it is a power that had scarcely been exercised — as of the end of 2018, only 3 directors had been disqualified through its use. However, in 2019, a further 9 directors were disqualified, and 5 cases are now proceeding through the courts for the first time.
SOUTH AFRICA: TOBACCO TRADE BRED INDUSTRY WITH ‘CRIMINALITY, POLITICAL LINKS EMBEDDED IN DNA’
News 24 in South Africa on 1 June carried an article about a new book, Dirty Tobacco, by a former state prosecutor, state law advisor and SA Revenue Service (SARS) executive – an illicit trade specialist who has worked in 25 countries around the world. It includes reference to “ghost smuggling” and a recent case where imported cigarettes, allegedly re-exported, were actually diverted to the home market without payment of tax. Claiming to reveal the machinations of the industry, it says that by 2011, tax evasion in the tobacco industry was costing SARS around R3 billion a year – then SARS launched Project Honey Badger, targeting various tobacco industry players, including BAT. It made enormous inroads in the tobacco smuggling industry. They raided plants, closed illicit factories and targeted corrupt manufacturers – contraband tobacco dropped from around 26% of the total market in 2013 to 17% in 2014. After pressure caused the project to end, the illicit cigarette trade spiked again, and by 2017 illicit cigarettes held a market share of between 30 to 35%, and in the space of only 2 years there was a steep drop of 26% in the quantities of cigarettes declared to the taxman.
RICH RUSSIANS JETTED TO CYPRUS DURING COVID-19 LOCKDOWN
On 1 June, the National Herald reported that wealthy Russians who wanted to get out of their hard-hit country during the still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic took private jets to Cyprus. It says that passengers have been heading for countries such as the UK and Cyprus, where they own property, have residency rights or have close relatives.
SINGAPORE POLICE ARREST SUSPECT IN COVID-19 MONEY LAUNDERING CASE
On 1 June, Regulation Asia reported that an overseas distribution company was defrauded of more than $646,000 for the purchase of N95 masks and personal protection gowns from a supposed supplier in Singapore. It also said that last month, police arrested another man who was said to have defrauded an overseas pharmaceutical company of over €6.6 million for the purchase of surgical masks and hand sanitisers.
CAMBODIA: AML LEGISLATION NEARS FORMAL ADOPTION
On 1 June, HKTDC reported that Cambodia’s draft law on Anti-Money Laundering and the Combating of Terrorism (AML/CFT) has received cabinet approval and is to be forwarded to the National Assembly for its endorsement. Once that has been formally secured, it will face a final review by the Senate before being given the assent of the country’s Head of State.
UK: COMMONS LIBRARY ANALYSIS OF THE CORPORATE INSOLVENCY AND GOVERNANCE BILL
On 1 June, the House of Commons Library published a briefing paper and report on this Bill.
UK: GUIDANCE ON AEO STATUS APPLICATIONS PUBLISHED
On 31 May, Accountancy Daily reported that HMRC has published guidance on the information that businesses will need to apply for Authorised Economic Operator AEO) status, which must be submitted through the EU Customs Trader portal from 1 June.
EU VAT E-COMMERCE REGULATIONS DELAYED TO JULY 2021
On 1 June, Tamebay reported that the EU has stated that the new VAT e-commerce regulations will now apply from the 1 July 2021 rather than 1 January, giving Member States and businesses more time to prepare, but it says it should not be seen as a “breathing space” by postal operators.
CARGO CRIME SPIKE PREDICTED AS CRIMINALS GET BACK TO ‘BUSINESS AS USUAL’
Lloyds Loading List on 1 June reported that thieves have found it harder during the lockdowns to target goods in warehouses or trucks, according to transport trade body TAPA, but it expects a substantial rise in criminal activity in newly changed or disrupted supply chains.
THE IMPACT OF THE CLOUD ACT REGIME ON THE UK’S DEATH PENALTY ASSURANCES POLICY
On 1 June, an article published by the UK Constitutional Law Association discusses the impact of the new CLOUD Act international data sharing regime on the UK’s death penalty assurances policy. From July 2020, following the signing of a bilateral US-UK agreement a quicker alternative can be provided for law enforcement seeking access to electronic data overseas, beyond the existing mutual legal assistance (MLA) process. However, the article notes, its implementation weakens the UK’s existing death penalty assurances policy and thus risks exposing the UK and others to significant liability.
MAKING SENSE OF TSA’S HIGHER FIREARM DETECTION RATE AT US AIRPORTS
An article from Homeland Security Today on 27 May sets out to explain why, in March/April of this year, 1.24 firearms were detected per 100,000 passenger screenings this year, compared to 0.46 firearms detected per 100,000 passenger screenings in 2019. It suggests that, given that the number of screenings has dropped by more than 90% in the past month, there are fewer distractions and less fatigue for TSA staff, resulting in higher firearm detection capabilities and performance.
MAGAZINE FOR ISIS SUPPORTERS RECOMMENDS IMPROVED SECURITY OR NOT USING SMARTPHONES
On 26 May, Homeland Security Today reported on a new 24-page cybersecurity magazine for ISIS supporters that walks jihadists through step-by-step security for smartphones — while encouraging them to use a computer instead for more secure terror-related business — and warns of “nightmare” Windows collecting user data from geolocation to browsing history.
US IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT ADDS VENEZUELAN OFFICIAL TO MOST WANTED LIST AND OFFERS $5 MILLION REWARD
On 1 June, a news release from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement advised that up to $5 million is being offered for information leading to the arrest or conviction of Joselit de la Trinidad Ramirez Camacho, a Venezuelan government official accused of having deep political, social and economic ties to multiple alleged narcotics kingpins.
POPE ISSUES NEW VATICAN CONTRACT LAWS TO COMBAT CORRUPTION
On 1 June, the Catholic Herald reported that to prevent fraud and corruption, uphold Catholic principles and save money, Pope Francis has issued a new set of laws covering contracts for the purchase of goods, property and services for both the Roman Curia and Vatican City State offices. In more than 30 pages of procedures and norms for purchasing property, goods and services, the new laws specify that ethics and Catholic social teaching must be part of determining what to purchase and from whom.
CYPRUS-BASED INVESTMENT COMPANY WHICH WAS ONCE THE “TRADING PARTNER” OF MANCHESTER CITY BARRED IN UK BY FCA
On 1 June, AOL reported that the FCA said it would bar 4 Cyprus-based companies from the UK after investors lost hundreds of thousands of pounds with the firms. One of them, which traded as iTrader, became the “official online trading partner” of Premier League football side Manchester City in 2016. It says that iTrader had also used a fake endorsement from Dragons’ Den presenter Deborah Meaden, forcing the businesswoman to deny her involvement with the scheme on Twitter. The barred firms also have links to a series of other sports teams. The barred companies were all using a licence from Cyprus that allowed them to operate in the UK through the EU rule known as passporting, and this is the first time the FCA has acted against a firm passporting.
US: FORMER CHINESE OFFICIAL EXTRADITED TO US ON MONEY LAUNDERING, FRAUD CHARGES
On 1 June, Reuters reported that a former Chinese official and fugitive has been extradited from Sweden to Los Angeles to face charges of money laundering and immigration fraud. Jianjun Qiao is accused of immigration fraud and the international transport of stolen money and money laundering.
US: FOREIGN NATIONAL CHARGED WITH FRAUDULENTLY APPLYING FOR $20 MILLION IN COVID-19 LOANS
On 1 June, an article from Arent Fox reported that a US Attorney in New York announced the arrest of a foreign national for allegedly making misrepresentations to the Small Business Administration (SBA) and five banks in an attempt to fraudulently obtain more than $20 million in government-guaranteed loans meant for businesses affected by COVID-19, under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program.
The news release is at –
JERSEY FSC FINES TRUST FIRM £115,000 FOR REGULATORY AML/CFT FAILINGS
On 1 June, a news release from the Jersey FSC advised that it had imposed the fine (at a 50% discount for early agreement). Equity Trust (Jersey) Limited is part of the TMF Group. The fine followed the board having informed the FSC that it had identified a number of issues relating to its compliance with the regulatory and AML/CFT regime.
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