Panama Covid-19 update – 627 more new cases today, taking us to 20,686 to date, with 8 more fatalities (437 to date) and 102 in ICU. To date there have been 68,280 tests, with a 25% being positive. The details for the latest 8 fatalities, show all were over 50 and had underlying medical complications, with 1 dying in the ICU and 1 at home. 5 were male and 3 female. It was also reported today that there had been 834 prosecutions for price gouging over face masks etc, there being a telephone tip-off line to inform on those profiteering.
14 June 2020
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION PLANNING TO PROMOTE FINANCING OF OVERSEAS NUCLEAR PROJECTS
On 13 June, Executive Intelligence Review reported that the US International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC) has opened a consultation on a proposal to lift restrictions on the US financing of civilian nuclear energy projects overseas. This would overturn an explicit prohibition of any nuclear power plant projects. The article also notes that a change in policy would permit the US to compete against China’s and Russia’s state-backed nuclear energy projects, singling out such companies as Russia’s Rosatom, which builds nuclear reactors in many developing nations.
VENEZUELAN OIL HIDDEN EN ROUTE TO CHINA AND BYPASSING US SANCTIONS
On 14 June, the Japan Times carried an article saying that last year China replaced the US as the number 1 importer of oil from Venezuela. Through the first six months of 2019, it imported an average of 350,000 barrels per day of crude from Venezuela. Following tightened US sanctions, the State-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) stopped loading oil at Venezuelan ports in august 2019. China’s import data showed purchases started to slow, and by late 2019, abruptly stopped. But China never stopped buying. Crude from PDVSA. It 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.
COURT IN FRANCE TO RULE IN CORRUPTION PROBE TARGETING SYRIAN EXILE RIFAAT AL-ASSAD
On 14 June, Middle East Eye carried an article saying that a Paris court is to rule in the corruption trial of Rifaat al-Assad, 82, after a near 7-year investigation into the provenance of the exiled uncle of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s multimillion-dollar property fortune. He is alleged to have misappropriated with hundreds of millions of dollars from Syrian state funds when he was forced out of the country in 1984 amid accusations that he had sought to organise a coup against his older brother Hafez al-Assad, Bahar Al-Assad’s father.
KUWAIT: LOOPHOLE IN DUAL CITIZENSHIP ALLOWS MONEY LAUNDERING AND TAX EVASION
On 14 June, Gulf News carried n article claiming that a loophole in Kuwait’s tax compliance laws relating to foreign accounts and the US FATCA may be resulting in money laundering and tax evasion. While Kuwaiti law require citizens to disclose any other nationality they might be holding, foreigners are not required to do so. Hence, it is said, foreigners who live in Kuwait have accounts in local banks bear details of passports of countries and have names other than the ones used otherwise in Kuwait or elsewhere. It gives the example from a recent case where a man entered and lived in Kuwait on an Armenian passport but also held a US passport, but did not disclose this, in an attempt to evade the jurisdiction of the FATCA.
CHINA PEOPLE’S LIBERATION ARMY OFFICER CHARGED WITH VISA FRAUD WAS ‘TRYING TO STEAL MEDICAL RESEARCH’ FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
On 14 June, the Daily Mail reported that Xin Wang, a scientist and high-ranking military officer with PLA was arrested at LA International Airport, allegedly with stolen research material. Wang is said to have lied on his visitor visa application in 2018 and worked at the University of California’s San Francisco lab.
IRELAND: KINAHAN CARTEL “STILL POSES SERIOUS THREAT AND REMAINS ONE OF MOST DANGEROUS GANGS IN THE WORLD”
On 14 June, Dublin Live reported the comments of the Head of the EU anti-drugs smuggling agency, Michael O’Sullivan. He made the claim following the announcement that Daniel Kinahan – believed to be the cartel’s leader, helped broker the heavyweight boxing clash between champion Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua in the UAE. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar urged TV companies not to screen the multi-million euro bout if organisers go ahead with Kinahan’s involvement.
OVER €2.4 MILLION CAUGHT AT DUTCH BORDER IN 2019
On 14 June, NL Times reported that the amount taken was only seized in situations where more than €10,000 was being carried over the border in cases where either money laundering or other illegal activity was suspected.
UKRAINE SEIZES $5 MILLION BRIBE RELATED TO BURISMA FOUNDER
On 14 June, Axios and others reported that Ukrainian law enforcement officials have announced that they were offered $5 million in bribes to end a probe into Mykola Zlochevsky, the founder of energy company Burisma. It is said that the bribe had no connection to former Burisma board member Hunter Biden, the son of former US Vice-President Joe Biden. The case involving Zlochevsky involved allegations of bank fraud and 3 people have been detained over the alleged bribe, including a current and a former tax official.
ALEX SAAB ARRESTED WHEN HIS BUSINESS JET, TRAVELLING FROM VENEZUELA TO IRAN, STOPPED AT CAPE VERDE TO REFUEL
On 14 June, in his blog, Kenneth Rijock reported more details of the arrest of Alex Saab Moran, a Colombian indicted in the US for alleged money laundering on behalf of the Maduro regime in Venezuela. He says that there is no extradition treaty between Cape Verde and the US, but Saab could be expelled by local authorities and taken into custody by US authorities.
JIHADISTS IN THE SAHEL AND NIGERIA
On 14 June, Lawfare carried a Foreign Policy Essay which sets out to provide a primer on the most important groups in West Africa and how they might respond to negotiations. It starts by pointing out that, while US involvement has reduced, France has boosted troop numbers in the region from 4,500 to 5,100. The increase came as a response to a January meeting with the G5 Sahel (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger) that affirmed the Sahel’s top security threat is the Islamic State’s local affiliate, popularly known as the Islamic State in Greater Sahara (ISGS), which is formally part of the Islamic State’s West African Province. It points out that al-Qaeda’s regional affiliate, Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM), shares an interest in combating and overcoming ISGS, and has expressed willingness to negotiate with the Malian government and possibly cooperate in countering ISGS. The Essay sets out to try to explain the complex situation.
JORDAN EXPANDS POWERS OF ANTI-CORRUPTION AGENCY
On 14 June, The National in UAE reported that legislation amendments will grant the anti-corruption body greater autonomy and legal backing to investigate a wider scope of potential crimes, the government has announced at a press conference. Key amendments include giving the Jordanian Integrity and Anti-Corruption Commission (JIACC) greater financial and administrative independence from the government and it will be able to independently investigate suspected money laundering, tax evasion, the improper exchange of “favours”, as well as the right to “settle” with individuals and groups who return embezzled funds, with greater legal backing and tools to investigate political corruption.
54 YEARS SINCE THE MIRANDA SUPREME COURT DECISION ON A SUSPECT’S RIGHTS
On 13 June, the American Bar Association noted that on that date in 1966 the Supreme Court decided the case of Miranda v Arizona, from which the mandatory “Miranda rights” advice derives.
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