Panama Covid-19 update – in the news today, the government to enact a new decree whereby those caught on the street when positive for covid-19 can be detained and taken into custody, perhaps to taken to a requisitioned hotel – the health ministry saying that young people are underestimating “the problem we have” and “there are irresponsible people”.
Meanwhile, 807 new cases take us to 70,231 to date and currently 23,886 active cases. fatalities up again, to 31 – making a total of 1,553 to date. 1,504 are hospitalised, with 164 being in ICU.
5 August 2020
EAST AFRICAN REGIONAL ORGANISATION COMBATING IUU FISHING
FISH-I Africa is a partnership of 8 East African countries – Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Somalia and Tanzania – that brings together national enforcement authorities, regional organisations and international technical and legal experts to combat large-scale illegal fishing in the Western Indian Ocean through information-sharing and regional cooperation. 1 in 4 fish in Africa is caught illegally, this threatens the sustainability of fish stocks, damages the ecosystem and deprives governments of income and people of livelihoods.
THE HUNT FOR THE FISH PIRATES WHO EXPLOIT THE SEA
On 5 June, the BBC published this feature focusing on the Andrey Dolgov – saying that for 10 years, a rogue fishing vessel and its crew plundered the world’s oceans, escaping repeated attempts of capture. Then a dramatic pursuit across the high seas finally netted the one that got away.
FLAG, COASTAL AND PORT AUTHORITIES FROM 8 COUNTRIES HAVE MET VIRTUALLY LAUNCH THE MARITIME AUTONOMOUS SURFACE SHIPS (MASS) IN PORTS
On 5 August, Seatrade Maritime News reported that MASSPorts is a network formed by like-minded states and organisations to address the challenges and achieve alignment of standards for the trials and operation of MASS in ports to allow for autonomous operations for vessels.
US POSTAL SERVICE URGED TO STOP DELIVERING MYSTERIOUS SEEDS
On 4 August, the Wall Street Journal reported that state agriculture officials in the US are urging the USPS to stop delivering the mysterious seed packages that have been arriving in mailboxes across the country, and that federal officials believe are coming from China. Officials are concerned the seeds could introduce weeds, pests etc.
US DoJ SEEKS AS MUCH AS $18.1 BILLION FROM PURDUE PHARMA
On 4 August, the Wall Street Journal reported that the DoJ is seeking as much as $18.1 billion from bankrupt opioid maker Purdue Pharma LP, in a demand that could disrupt the company’s months long effort to reach a settlement with states and local communities that accuse it of helping fuel the opioid crisis. Federal prosecutors are investigating both whether its marketing and distribution of opioids violated criminal statutes including anti-kickback laws, misbranding and conspiracy, and whether Purdue offered kickbacks to doctors and pharmacies to encourage them to prescribe and dispense more OxyContin, as well as whether the company transferred cash to hide money from creditors.
MORE THAN 200 INSTITUTIONS AROUND THE WORLD AFFECTED BY BLACKBAUD RANSOMWARE ATTACK
On 4 August, the Dallas Morning News reported that the George W Bush Presidential Center, Boy Scouts of America, the Texas Tech Foundation and the University of Texas at Austin have notified donors that they are a part of a growing list of non-profits and universities affected by a ransomware attack. South Carolina-based Blackbaud, one of the world’s largest cloud-based data storage and software providers for institutions of higher education and non-profits, has revealed that it was the subject of a ransomware attack in May.
SOUTH AFRICAN ANTI-CORRUPTION WATCHDOG PROBES COVID-19 TENDERS
On 5 August, KYC 360 reported that the Public Protector has said that it was investigating irregularities in coronavirus-related tenders, the latest in a series of scandals that trade unions said showed the government’s failure to tackle graft, with separate inquiries into the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) in Gauteng province, the country’s economic heartland.
SAUDI ARABIA HAS BUILT YELLOWCAKE URANIUM PROCESSING PLANT
On 4 August, Al Jazeera reported a Wall Street Journal article claiming that Saudi Arabia, with help from China, has built a facility for the extraction of uranium yellowcake, a potential precursor to fuel for a nuclear reactor, in a remote desert location. It has raised concern that the nuclear programme is moving ahead, and that the country is keeping open an option to develop nuclear weapons, according to the report. Yellowcake is processed from naturally occurring uranium ore and can be further enriched to create fuel for nuclear power plants and, at very high levels of enrichment, nuclear weapons.
NEW YORK CITY BAR ASSOCIATION DENOUNCES TRUMP THREAT OF SANCTIONS AGAINST INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT LAWYERS
On 5 August, Law.com reported that the New York City Bar Association is urging the Trump administration’s and the US Congress to resist an executive order that it says “particularly targets” ICC lawyers who are investigating, in part, war crimes allegedly committed by US forces in Afghanistan and at CIA “black sites”.
MALAYSIA: 25 ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS ARRESTED FOR ABETTING IN SMUGGLING ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS
On 5 August, the New Strait Times reported that since 1 May a total of 25 enforcement personnel have been arrested for abetting the illegal immigrants – 18 policemen and officers, 5 members of the Malaysian Armed Forces and 2 immigration officers. It is also reported that a total of 3,597 individuals, comprising 2,625 illegal immigrants, 602 others and 370 informants who abetted in the smuggling of illegal immigrants into the country had been arrested.
GERMANY HAS A COMPLIANCE AND ENFORCEMENT PROBLEM
On 5 August, a post on the FCPA Blog asks why Germany applies double standards in respect of white collar crime.
INSIDE THE ILLICIT GOLD TRADE – USING FINANCIAL TOOLS AND PUBLIC POLICY TO FIGHT MONEY LAUNDERING
On 4 August, Global Financial Integrity reported that 2 webinars are available online. The first looks at the use of trade data and other financial tools to examine how the illicit trade in gold can be more effectively understood and tracked. It demonstrates investigative techniques to identify trade-based money laundering risks, as well as other red flag indicators of heightened money laundering risks. The second webinar examines the policy options for the US government and the private sector to address the risks of money laundering in the illicit gold trade and the effectiveness of ongoing policy measures.
RELYING ON DIGITAL ID FOR AML/CFT PURPOSES IN JERSEY AND GUERNSEY
On 5 August, an article from Walkers says that financial services regulators in Guernsey and Jersey have for several years officially recognised that regulated firms may, subject to appropriate safeguards, use electronic or digital means to meet their AML/CFT obligations to identify and verify the identities of their customers. Introducing a Client Alert, the article says that, in the last few months, lockdowns imposed around the world in response to the Covid-19 pandemic have made it highly impractical or impossible to verify customers’ identities by such means, which has brought digital systems for identification and verification of identity into focus, and may well accelerate the transition from paper based to digital systems as the default means of verifying identity.
PODCAST – 1MDB: BRADLEY HOPE
In the latest TRACE podcast, Bradley Hope of the Wall Street Journal describes his team’s in-depth and ongoing research into Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal–and where Leonardo DiCaprio fits in.
EU-VIETNAM TRADE AGREEMENT ENTERS INTO FORCE
On 31 July, a news release from the EU advised that the agreement that will ultimately scrap duties on 99% of all goods traded between the 2 parties. It also says that doing business in Vietnam will also become easier for European companies: they will now be able to invest and pitch for government contracts with equal chances to their local competitors.
SON OF ITALY’S FORMER TOP MAFIA BOSS ARRESTED ON BRAZILIAN WARRANT
On 5 August, Reuters reported that Leonardo Badalamenti, 60, the son of the top boss of the Italian mafia in the 1970s, has been arrested in Sicily on an international warrant from Brazil. A fugitive in Brazil since 2017, is wanted on charges of drug trafficking and bank fraud allegedly committed while living there under an alias.
HONG KONG POLICE BUST LOAN SHARK SYNDICATE THAT TARGETED FILIPINO DOMESTIC WORKERS
On 5 August, the South China Morning Post reported that victims would discover they owed inflated amounts and the syndicate made HK$23 million in loans between January 2019 and February 2020, according to police.
US PRIVACY SHIELD: “WE’VE LOST THE EU BUT WE’VE STILL GOT SWITZERLAND!”
On 5 August, an article from Foley Hoag LLP says that, in the wake of the Schrems II CJEU decision invalidating the EU-US Privacy Shield, the US Commerce Department recently issued a set of FAQ, which go on at length about how the Swiss-US Privacy Shield is still in place and the steps that businesses can take to participate.
THE RISE OF E-SPORTS BETTING
On 5 August, an article from Sheppard Mullin said that, while initially large-scale esports events were also cancelled, professional gaming competitions soon began taking place online. As one of the only professional “sports” competitions being broadcasted with any consistency, esports competitions filled the gap for many sportsbook operators. The article says that, while esports gambling is having a moment with no apparent slow-down on the horizon, only a return to normalcy will determine its place in the broader fabric of sports betting.
BRAZIL HUMANITARIAN LAW FEEDS ACTIVE BLACK MARKET IN VENEZUELA
On 5 August, an article in Insight Crime reported that food sent into Venezuela from Brazil under a law allowing it to be transported for humanitarian needs is being diverted to Venezuela’s black market. Border authorities are also reportedly trying to take a cut of this lucrative contraband trade. A Brazilian decree was meant to allow Venezuelans to have access to food from Brazil, but it has mainly favoured government authorities, vendors with links to officials and members of the Bolivarian National Guard.
AFTER SCHREMS II: THE FUTURE OF CROSS BORDER DATA FLOWS FOR THE INDUSTRIALS SECTOR
On 5 August, an article from Eversheds Sutherland says that if you transfer personal data from the EU/UK to countries which lack a so-called “adequacy” determination, like the US or India, or if your trusted service providers do, the Schrems II European Court decision has seismic significance — even if you do not rely on Privacy Shield. Examining the fallout, the article says that same logic, analysis and way forward for the Standard Contractual Clauses (which the Court appeared to “save” while rejecting the Privacy Shield) applies to those companies that rely on Binding Corporate Rules to transfer data to the US. The article urges businesses to examine what data transfers take place (or should take place) and the level of protection that exists or should exist.
AFTER SCHREMS II: THE IMPACT OF GDPR ON DATA FLOWS AND NATIONAL SECURITY
On 5 August, a post from VOX, the website of the Centre for Economic Policy Research, sets out to address the implications for adequacy and standard contractual clauses as well as the broader issue of how to balance national security and privacy goals. It concludes with observations about the potential impact of the decisions for the US and beyond and suggests some ways forward. It argues that what is needed is an international agreement on how to balance national security and access to data, with other key goals such as privacy. Such an outcome could be deemed an international agreement under GDPR.
BEIRUT’S DEVASTATING BLAST LINKED TO SEIZED RUSSIAN-OWNED CARGO SHIP
On 5 August, Rferl reported that media reports say a large supply of ammonium nitrate that exploded at a warehouse in the port of Beirut was likely unloaded there years earlier from a cargo ship that had been seized from its Russian owner, businessman Igor Grechushkin. The fertiliser had been stored at the dockside warehouse since it was confiscated from a cargo ship in 2014. The MV Rhosus was initially confiscated by Lebanese authorities in 2013 under an order by local inspectors in Beirut after it reportedly entered the port due to technical problems. It had been transporting ammonium nitrate from Batumi in Georgia to Mozambique.
Reports on Hellenic Shipping News on 5 August also said that –
the explosion damaged the city’s largest grain elevator nearby and caused material damage to other structures in the area; and that beside the grain silos, a grain terminal was seen damaged in the explosion, according to various reports and analysts. The port handles 60% of all Lebanon imports.
the wheat in Beirut’s port granaries cannot be used and that Lebanon will import wheat – the country said to currently have enough wheat until it begins importing it.
ISLE OF MAN: FSA ADVISES 3 CIVIL PENALTIES FOR INSURANCE COMPANIES FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH REQUIREMENTS RE RISK ASSESSMENTS ETC
On 5 August, the FSA published 3 news releases advising that 3 separate insurance companies had seen civil penalties imposed – 2 quite modest, but with one (even after a 30% discount) of over £87,000. The penalties related to failings in respect of a governance code and the AML/CFT Code, including failure to undertake or record adequately risk assessments, and ongoing CDD processes. In all 3 cases, the irregularities were aggravated due to the long-standing period of time over which non-compliance occurred and because a number of the matters identified by the FSA had previously been reported.
FIREARMS EXPORTS TO BRAZIL SURGE AS GUN OWNERSHIP INCREASES UNDER BOLSONARO
On 31 July, the Guardian reported that firearms exports from Austria to Brazil have surged by more than 377% in the first half of this year as gun ownership increases under the President Bolsinaro. It is said that nearly 140,000 new guns had gone into circulation in Brazil in the first half of 2020 compared with just over 138,000 in the whole of 2018, and fewer than 84,000 in 2016.
SOMALIA ESTABLISHES OIL REGULATOR AS BIDS OPEN FOR FIRST LICENSING ROUND
On 5 August, Hellenic Shipping News reported that Somalia has set up the Somali Petroleum Authority to regulate the of its nascent oil sector and bids can be submitted up to 12 March 2021, for the 7 offshore oil blocks on offer. Oil exploration in Somalia began in the 1950s, but the civil war brought activity — both offshore and onshore — to a standstill.
US: COMPANY THAT HELPS TELEMARKETING BUSINESSES AVOID GETTING SUED FOR VIOLATING A FEDERAL LAW THAT SEEKS TO CURB ROBOCALLS SUFFERS DATA LEAK
In the Krebs on Security blog on 5 August it was reported that the company, the Blacklist Alliance, lost the phone numbers, email addresses and passwords of all its customers, as well as the mobile phone numbers and other data on people who have hired lawyers to go after telemarketers.
PAKISTAN: GOVERNMENT AIMS TO PLUG LOOPHOLES LEADING TO “LEGAL” MONEY LAUNDERING
On 5 August, the Express Tribune reported that the government has moved to repeal a 28-year old law that facilitated billions of dollars money laundering and tax evasion every year, having been put in place for the purpose of “creating a liberal environment for savings and investments in Pakistan”. However, it was reportedly used by industrialists and politicians to “clean” illegal money, according to court records and statements.
US DARKNET VENDOR AND COSTA RICAN PHARMACIST CHARGED WITH NARCOTICS AND MONEY LAUNDERING VIOLATIONS
A news release from the DoJ on 4 August advised that a dual US-Costa Rican citizen and a Costa Rican citizen, both of whom reside in Costa Rica, have been indicted by a federal grand jury for their illegal sales of opioids on the darknet. It names David Brian Pate, 44, a US and Costa Rican citizen, and Jose Luis Fung Hou, 38, a Costa Rican citizen. The indictment alleges that Pate illegally purchased narcotics, including OxyContin and morphine pills, primarily from Fung, a pharmacist in Costa Rica. Pate would launder payments to Fung to purchase narcotics. Pate then sold these narcotics on numerous darknet markets, including Silk Road and AlphaBay, in exchange for bitcoin.
GERMANY DISBANDS KSK SPECIAL FORCES COMPANY BECAUSE OF RIGHT-WING TENDENCIES
On 4 August, Janes.com reported that a company of the German Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK) special forces was disbanded on 1 August. It is said to be part of a restructuring of the KSK due to rising right wing and anti-constitutional attitudes among its members since 2017 and 48,000 rounds of ammunition and 62 kg of explosives being unaccounted for by the KSK.
THE INTEGRATED REVIEW: HARNESSING THE UK’S FINANCIAL CAPABILITIES IN SUPPORT OF NATIONAL SECURITY
On 5 August, a Briefing Paper from RUSI argues that the UK’s finance capabilities can – and should – contribute to a far greater extent to national security. This comes as the UK government undertakes its Integrated Review of foreign policy, defence, security and international development to re-examine the UK’s priorities and objectives.
FREE-FOR-ALL ZONES: THE CASE OF DUBAI
On 5 August, an article from Global Financial Integrity refers to a report in July, Chaper 3 of which examined the role of free zones in Dubai as gateways for illicit financial flows and how a lax regulatory climate fosters a fertile environment for a multitude of illegal activities. It points out that some of the challenges with accurately mapping free zones anywhere in the world is the myriad names under which the free zones operate, as well as the absence of any international register, or even national register, of the zones. It then looks at Dubai –
- some free zones in Dubai have websites while others do not, despite having been operational for over a decade;
- some of the free zones are supposedly still under construction, but there are already companies operating out of them; and
- some of the free zones have merged, while others have spawned free zones within free zones.
The article says that obfuscations such as these place significant limitations on the ability to accurately quantify and map free zones within the UAE.
OFAC ENFORCEMENT CASES FOCUSED ON “SCREENING ERRORS”
In the second of a series of 3 articles, Michael Volkov says that in the last 2 years, OFAC has brought 4 enforcement actions that focus on an organisation’s “screening errors”. These include American Express; Cobham Metalics; Apple; and Amazon. This article reviews the cases involving American Express and Cobham Metalics.
OBLIGATIONS OF A BOARD MEMBER REGARDING THE FOREIGN CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT (FCPA)
On 5 August, an article from Thomas Fox seeks to answer a number of questions – what are the obligations of a Board member regarding the FCPA?; are the obligations of the Compliance Committee under the FCPA at odds with a director’s “prudent discharge of duties to shareholders”?; and do the words prudent discharge even appear anywhere in the FCPA?
IRELAND: FORMER SOLICITORS CHARGED WITH CONSPIRING TO DEFRAUD A NUMBER OF BANKS
On 5 August, Echo Live reported that 2 former solicitors have appeared before Cork District Court charged with a fraud offence following a garda probe into the theft of sums, totalling several hundred thousand euros from a number of banks – by creating false identities for the purpose of obtaining credit dishonestly with the effect of causing financial loss to the banks. Both accused are former solicitors who practiced as Keith Flynn & Company, the Capel Building, Mary’s Street in Dublin.
FORMER VANUATU PM CONFIDENT OF BEATING CORRUPTION CHARGES
On 5 August, Radio New Zealand reported that the lawyer for former Vanuatu prime minister Charlot Salwai says his client is confident of winning a corruption trial in the Supreme Court. Salwai, 2 former ministers and a former MP are to stand trial next month. All are facing corruption and bribery charges while Salwai had also been charged with perjury. It is alleged that in November 2016, the defendants bribed MPs to sign an ultimately failed motion of no confidence.
IRELAND: GARDAÍ SURRENDER 13 PEOPLE TO POLISH POLICE
On 5 August, the Irish Times reported that Gardaí have surrendered 13 people to the Polish police at Dublin Airport on European arrest warrants. Another person was surrendered by the PSNI from Northern Ireland. These extraditions were sought by Polish Police in respect of a number of offences including sexual assault, attempted murder, fraud, extortion, assault, theft, kidnap and armed robbery.
US: FORMER GUATEMALAN OFFICIAL WHO USED DRUG TRAFFICKING PROCEEDS AND OTHER DIRTY CASH TO BRIBE CORRUPT POLITICIANS CHARGED
On 5 August, a news release from the DoJ advised that former Economics Minister of Guatemala, Asisclo Valladares Urruela, 44, has been charged in Miami with helping to launder close to $10 million of illegal drug proceeds and other ill-gotten money. Prosecutors allege that during a 4-year conspiracy, he enabled the illegal drug trade by creating a demand for untraceable cash, cash that Valladares Urruela used to bribe corrupt Guatemalan politicians.
MULTIPLE GROUPS INVOLVED IN OHIO $60 MILLION CORRUPTION SCHEME
On 5 August, AP reported that an FBI affidavit has detailed an alleged $60 million corruption scheme led by one of Ohio’s most powerful elected officials and provides painstaking detail about groups and individuals who played roles in spending mostly corporate cash.
US AIR FORCE PRODUCES FIRST 3D-PRINTED METAL PART FOR AIRCRAFT ENGINES
On 5 August, Flight Global reported that Tinker AFB maintenance personnel in Oklahoma City have produced and tested the first 3D-printed metal part on a USAF aircraft engine. They reverse engineered and reproduced an anti-ice gasket for the TF33 turbofan engine which powers the E-3 Sentry, B-52 Stratofortress and Northrop Grumman E-8.
UK: HOW HAS CORONAVIRUS IMPACTED THE JUSTICE SYSTEM?
The Justice Select Committee of the House of Commons published on 5 August a report which highlighted –
- 3 ways in which the pandemic has affected probation services in England & Wales – backlogs of work have built up; it has exacerbated already present staffing issues within the probation service; and it has created a very different environment for those released from prison to enter;
- 3 ways it has affected prisons in England & Wales – the prison estate was placed in lockdown; the prison population needed to be reduced; and the prison population may rise again;
- 3 ways that it has affected the courts in England & Wales – courts have rapidly adopted remote hearings in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; there has been a significant rise in the number of outstanding cases in the magistrates’ courts and the Crown Court; and every effort must be made to ensure there is effective public debate on the measures introduced; and
- 3 ways it has affected the legal profession – less legal activity has meant less income for legal providers; legal professionals have adapted impressively quickly to working from home and holding and attending hearings remotely; and it is important that the legal professions are in good shape to deal with the increase in demand for legal advice and representation that is on the horizon.
The Committee has made its recommendations to Government, which now has 2 months to response.