Panama Covid-19 update – the high numbers of new infection cases continue – hopefully due to increased and proactive effort being put into tracing and testing. Nevertheless, a new record number of 848 new cases (the highest daily total to date) is a concern. There have now been a total of 20,059 identified cases, with 8 more fatalities, giving a total to date of 429. 97 patients are in ICU beds, 1 more than yesterday – despite the daily news conference revealing that 2 of the new fatalities were of patients in ICU.
The screenshot below is from the daily news conference, detailing the fatalities, their underlying risk factors, age, gender and where they were located in the hospital system. One can see that 6 of the 8 are in the 60+ age bracket, with a 44-year-old and one 4-year-old. 6 of the victims were male and only 1 female (if we ignore the child).
13 June 2020
FRESH SWISS INVESTIGATION TARGETS EX-FIFA PRESIDENT BLATTER
On 13 June, an AP report said that Sepp Blatter is the target of a new investigation in Switzerland for suspected criminal mismanagement of a $1 million payment from soccer funds. He has been notified by Swiss federal prosecutors he is an “accused person”.
US SANCTIONS AT A TIPPING POINT?
An article in Modern Diplomacy starts by saying that the ever-expanding use of US sanctions to regulate the conduct of foreign companies trading in foreign markets has alienated US trading partners and could ultimately unleash a wave of counter-retaliation by foreign governments; and it warns that changes may result that will badly damage US interests and erode US power. It notes that the US government has required even non-US companies to obey the primary sanctions whenever their transactions involve US persons, the US financial system or US-origin goods. It argues, re so-called secondary sanctions, that the Trump Administration’s restoration and expansion of the secondary sanctions on Iran and use of similar extraterritorial sanctions measures against a wide range of other targets, US sanctions policy now conflicts with European and global norms to an unprecedented degree. It says that now, such things as foreign purchases of Venezuelan crude oil, foreign participation in Russian pipeline projects and foreign transactions with literally thousands of persons blacklisted by the US government under a range of sanctions programs, even if unrelated to Iran (or Syria or North Korea),could all trigger a boycott of a foreign company by the US Government, without any need to tie the sanctionable activity to the US. It warns that, amongst other things, relying on secondary boycotts to achieve US policy objectives is dangerous not only because it invites retaliation but also because it invites imitation.
INDIA: 480 LITRES OF COUGH SYRUP SEIZED AND 2 SMUGGLERS HELD
On 13 June, the Times of India reported the seizure of 40 boxes of syrup which is often consumed as a cheap alternative to get high. Police also seized 127 kg of marijuana.
IRANIAN JUDGE GHOLAMREZA MANSOURI ARRESTED IN ROMANIA
On 13 June, the Tehran Times reported that the former judge was arrested on an Interpol notice. It is said that Mansouri cannot be transferred to Iran at the moment due to the coronavirus. He is among several judges who were accused of corruption during the high-profile trial of a former senior Judiciary official – Akbar Tabari, a deputy head of Iran’s judiciary.
UK: 3 RECEIVE JAIL TERM FOR DUMPING MUSTARD GAS BOMBS IN A LINCOLNSHIRE LAKE
A news release from the Environment Agency on 12 June advised that they are the first people in the UK to be charged with possession of a chemical weapon. The men were a trio of wartime memorabilia hunters have received jail sentences for dumping the WW2 mustard gas bombs. They all pleaded guilty to breaching environmental laws by dumping hazardous material in the lake in addition to a chemical weapons charge. They had dug up a half-buried box of mustard gas bombs in 2017.
DATA PROTECTION: GDPR PROHIBITS A COMPANY FROM PROCESSING PERSONAL DATA UNLESS A “LAWFUL PURPOSES” IS PRESENT – IS INVESTIGATION OF FRAUD A LAWFUL PURPOSE?
On 9 June, Bryan Cave Leighton & Paisner published an article saying that the GDPR prohibits a company from processing personal data unless one of 6 “lawful purposes” is present. One of those lawful purposes occurs when processing is necessary for a “legitimate interest pursued by the controller or by a third party”. Included is the processing of information necessary to “prevent…fraud”.
GOLDEN VISAS: CYPRUS TO TIGHTEN REGULATIONS
On 12 June, OCCRP reported that Cyprus plans to tighten requirements for its ‘citizenship by investment’ programme following a warning from European authorities earlier this year that the scheme is vulnerable to exploitation by criminals. It reports that the Cyprus’ cabinet had approved the new regulations and that the measures would subsequently be referred to parliament for further review.
INVESTMENT BY GUERNSEY VEHICLES INTO CANNABIS AND OTHER DRUG-RELATED ASSETS
On 11 June, an article from Ogier reported that the Policy & Resources Committee of the States of Guernsey has clarified in a statement that the proceeds derived from the cultivation and production of cannabis for recreational purposes in countries where such activities are lawful will not fall foul of Guernsey’s AML legislation.
THE RISE IN LITIGATION FUNDS IN THE CHANNEL ISLANDS
An article from Ogier on 10 June says that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economic climate has led to litigation funds becoming more topical and in demand than ever, providing clients with the opportunity to access justice despite the financial difficulties they may be facing as a result of the worldwide restrictions imposed on businesses. Such funds, it explains, provide a mechanism whereby an investor that is otherwise unconnected with a legal action may finance all or part of the costs associated with that legal action, in return for a pre-determined share of the proceeds arising from such action.
WHAT DOES THE UK CORPORATE INSOLVENCY AND GOVERNANCE BILL MEAN FOR REAL ESTATE FINANCE?
On 11 June, Field Fisher published an article saying that the Bill represents a significant change to the insolvency and restructuring landscape under English law. For the real estate finance sector, it says, one needs to consider its implications including the effect on borrower groups, tenants and building contractors among others. However, the article also notes that the speed at which the measures are being deployed brings with it an unavoidable lack of detail, and the firm says that it anticipates a busy period ahead as stakeholders across the real estate finance industry navigate the new regimes.
AUSTRALIA WINS TOBACCO PLAIN PACKAGING CASE AT WTO
On 10 June, TJI reported that the WTO appeals body has ruled that Australia’s tight laws on tobacco packaging were justified, rejecting complaints by Honduras and the Dominican Republic that they are unfair restrictions on trade. This confirmed an original 2018 ruling.
GAMBLING LAW REVIEW: IRELAND
Irish law firm McCann Fitzgerald provided access on its website to the Ireland chapter of the Review, which was authored by 2 lawyers from the firm.
CHINA: PLANS AIMED TO DEVELOP FREE-TRADE PORT AT HAINAN ISLAND
On 12 June, KPMG reported that the Chinese government has released a master plan for policies that would support the creation and development of the Hainan free-trade port. The goal is to develop Hainan island (located on China’s south coast) into a globally significant free-trade port by 2050.
WEBINAR RECORDING: RESTRICTED PARTIES SCREENING: COMPLIANCE ISSUES AND BEST PRACTICES UNDER US, EU, AND CANADIAN TRADE SANCTIONS AND EXPORT CONTROLS
Baker McKenzie made available on 12 June a recording of a webinar which explored compliance issues and best practices under US, EU, and Canadian trade sanctions and export controls.
4 WAYS MICROTRAFFICKERS ARE GETTING AROUND CORONAVIRUS RESTRICTIONS
On 12 June, Insight Crime reported that strict lockdowns are restricting foot and vehicle movement across the region, transporting illicit substances is riskier than ever, but that microtraffickers are nevertheless finding creative ways to continue doing business. The 4 ways identified in the article are “takeaway”, masquerading as essential services, “narco-ambulances” and using social media.
TURKEY TURNS THE TIDE IN LIBYA – FOR NOW
On 7 June, the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University published a paper saying that Turkey’s military intervention in Libya has recently enabled a series of victories for the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), to the detriment of Khalifa Haftar and his backers in Egypt, Abu Dhabi UAE and Russia. It says that should the recent developments prove durable, Turkey will exert significant influence in the, enabling it to project power across the Eastern Mediterranean region. However, it warns that the success is by no means a foregone conclusion, given the myriad twists and turns of Libya’s post-2011 trajectory, and the possibility that pandemic-related economic woes could force Turkey to temper its ambitions. The paper, understandably, considers implications for Israel and its policies and relationships.
THE WTO’S INTERIM APPEAL ARBITRATION ARRANGEMENT
An article from Clifford Chance on 12 June considers interim arrangement agreed by the EU and 19 other WTO member states enabling appeals of WTO panel decisions to be decided in the absence of a functioning WTO Appellate Body. The Multi-Party Interim Appeal Arbitration Arrangement’ (MPIA), aims to provide a temporary solution to practical and systemic issues arising as a consequence of the failure by WTO members to reach consensus on the appointment of new Appellate Body members.
SAVING AFRICA’S SEAS: THE IUU FISHING INDEX
On 4 June, the EU-funded ENACT Africa organisation published a policy paper which examines the problem of illegal, unregulated and unregistered fishing activities through the prism of the IUU Fishing Index, which was launched in 2019. The paper asserts that the prevalence of IUU fishing in Africa is higher than the global average, with weaker government responses, suggesting the need for a greater focus on improving response measures; recognising IUU fishing as a transnational organised crime and its links to other crimes is a necessary step towards fighting it effectively; regionally coordinated responses are required to tackle the problem of the increasing involvement of international actors and the growing sophistication of IUU fishing operations in Africa; and greater national political will is required to increase regional and global cooperation and coordination through information sharing, surveillance and knowledge building.
MALAYSIA: FORMER UNIT TRUST CONSULTANT JAILED FOR 6 MONTHS AND FINED $920,000 FOR SECURITIES FRAUD
A release on Mondo Visione on 13 June advised that a court in Kuala Lumpur had convicted Afkariah Md Norani, 49, of defrauding 4 individuals and sentenced her to imprisonment for a period of 6 months and a total fine of approximately $920,000. Afkariah is also to serve a further 4 months jail in default of the fine. The victims were duped into investing in an investment scheme which was purportedly guaranteed by RHB Investment Bank Bhd (RHBIBB) and promised monthly dividend payments of 2% to 3%. The investment scheme never existed
HOW CHINA GOT SHIPMENTS OF VENEZUELAN OIL DESPITE US SANCTIONS
On 12 June, CNAS published an article saying that China never stopped buying oil from PDVSA, which kept arriving at Chinese ports with the help of a Switzerland-based unit of Rosneft, Russia’s state-owned oil company, and a roundabout delivery method that made it appear as if the oil’s origin was Malaysia.
2 ARRESTED AFTER €800,000 SEIZED IN AMSTERDAM HOMES
On 13 June, the NL Times reported that a 48-year-old man and a 70-year-old woman were arrested after investigators found over €800,000 in cash in 2 Amsterdam-Zuid homes.
COLOMBIAN BUSINESSMAN CLOSE TO VENEZUELA’S MADURO ARRESTED IN CAPE VERDE
On 13 June, Reuters and others reported that, according to the US DoJ, authorities in Cape Verde have arrested Alex Saab, a Colombian businessman close to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. It is said that Saab was arrested pursuant to an Interpol red notice issued with respect to his US indictment. In July 2019, US prosecutors charged Saab and another Colombian businessman with money laundering.
INDIA: CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS OVER BODY BAGS PURCHASE IN MUMBAI
On 13 June, the New Indian express reported that, after the controversy over a body bag purchase order, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) – which governs greater Mumbai – scrapped the tender and decided to place a new order.
ALBANIA ORDERS EXTRADITION OF TAJIK TERROR SUSPECT WANTED IN GERMANY
On 13 June, Rferl reported that a court in Albania has ordered the extradition of Komrom Zukhurov, 24, a Tajik man sought by Germany for suspected membership in a cell of the Islamic State (IS) group. The court also decided he should not be extradited to Russia, where he is also wanted, or to his native Tajikistan, where he claims he was tortured.
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