Panama Covid-19 update – waiting with bated breath for the further relaxation of restrictions on Monday, meanwhile new infection numbers up a bit to 1,143, with 19 new fatalities (1,878 to date), 23,074 active cases include 152 in ICU and 1,482 in other wards.
The health ministry says doing as many daily tests on samples that would have been done in 6 months (for flu etc) in the past…
22 August 2020
3 OFFICERS INDICTED, SHEIKH AND LAWYER ON WATCH LIST AS MONEY LAUNDERING CRACKDOWN CONTINUES IN KUWAIT
On 22 August, Gulf News reported on an alleged Hezbollah-linked money laundering gang masterminded by an Iranian. In July, Kuwait’s Security agencies arrested the head of a money laundering network who is said to be linked to Hezbollah – an Iranian national married to a Kuwaiti citizen with apparent ties to Iran-backed militant group, Hezbollah.
2,600 BELGIAN CLIENTS INVOLVED IN CREDIT SUISSE TAX INVESTIGATION
On 22 August, Brussels Times reported that the federal prosecutor’s office in Brussels has opened a criminal investigation into the Swiss bank Credit Suisse, in particular the dealings of 2,600 Belgian clients suspected of using Swiss bank accounts to evade taxes. The investigation was triggered by leaked documents, passed on by France, and detailing 2,600 Belgian clients of the bank who held accounts there between 2003 and 2014.
IRELAND: A NEW STATUTORY EXCEPTION TO THE RULE AGAINST HEARSAY
On 20 August, Irish law firm Matheson published an article about the Civil Law and Criminal Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2020, recently passed by the Dáil to deal with a number of practical issues arising as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Act introduces a variety of reforms in both civil and criminal law, including provision for remote hearings and electronic filings. Of particular interest for creditors in summary proceedings, is the introduction of a new statutory exception to the rule against hearsay which now allows for the admission of business records as evidence in civil proceedings in certain circumstances. Section 13 provides for circumstances in which any record in document form compiled in the ordinary course of business is presumed to be admissible as evidence of the truth of the facts asserted in such a document – with a rebuttable presumption that the information contained in documents is admissible as evidence of the facts contained in those records. The onus therefore shifts to the other party to establish that the evidence contained in those records is untrue or incorrect.
KYRGYZSTAN COURT UPHOLDS SENTENCE FOR FORMER KYRGYZ PRIME MINISTER SAPAR ISAKOV FOR CORRUPTION
On 21 August, Jurist reported that a District Court in Bishkek convicted Isakov last month of misusing funds allocated to the renovation of the State History Museum and the hippodrome in Cholpon-Ata. The court convicted high profile officials including President Almazbek Atambaev for embezzlement of large sums of money from these funds. It is said that the cases have emerged from the tensions between current President Sooronbay Jeenbekov and his former ally Almazbek Atambayev.
A LEGAL ROADMAP FOR CANNABIS – UPDATED EXPERT GUIDE
On 18 August, CMS Law published a report saying that the first half of 2020 confirmed that the cannabis industry is a vibrant and constantly evolving sector. The report sets out to provide high-level and updated information on differences in approach across different countries about medical use, recreational use, industrial use and the patentability of cannabis-based products. It examines cannabis regulation across 27 different (EU and non-EU) jurisdictions.
WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION AND INTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS IN EUROPE
In July, CMS Law produced a report based on a series of webinars held between November 2019 and May 2020 and resulting in a manual seeking to offer a variety of solutions, hands-on experience and insights.
MEXICO CITY FENTANYL SEIZURES MAY POINT TO SHIFTING TRAFFICKING TRENDS
On 21 August, Insight Crime reported that authorities in Mexico have recently seized large quantities of fentanyl and precursor chemicals used to make the synthetic drug at the Mexico City international airport. This and other seizures suggest a potential operational shift for Mexico’s organized crime groups, which have long used the country’s seaports to move such chemicals from Asia in order to produce fentanyl and other synthetic drugs. UNODC has noted that a “reduction in trade from southeast Asia” due to the coronavirus pandemic had “limited the supply of chemical precursors in Mexico, where it seems to have disrupted the manufacture of methamphetamine and fentanyl”.
NUCLEAR NONPROLIFERATION AND THE US-INDIA NUCLEAR AGREEMENT
On 14 August, the Stimson Center released a podcast saying, 15 years after the US-India nuclear deal was first proposed, it provides an insight into the debate about its impact on the non-proliferation regime and on the US-India relationship. It considers such things as the history behind nuclear non-proliferation, the main treaties and laws governing sharing nuclear energy and controlling nuclear weapons development and usage, the changing global position on Indian nuclear weapons after 1998 tests and the state of nuclear non-proliferation today.
MEXICAN CARTELS ARE ARMING THEMSELVES TO THE TEETH WITH POWERFUL US SNIPER RIFLES
On 20 August, Vice News reported that high-powered .50-caliber rifles can be purchased legally in most of the US — and they keep showing up in the hands of cartel gunmen in Mexico. These large rifles can be lethal at distances of over a mile, firing large bullets that are capable of punching through armour, passing through the engine block of a truck, or taking down a helicopter with a well-placed shot. The Mexican Army recovered 554 .50-caliber rifles from 2010 to 2018, and all but one were traced back to the US, and overall, around 70% of all weapons seized in Mexico are traced back to the US.
Q&A: THE MILITARY COUP IN MALI
On 20 August, the International Institute for Strategic Studies published an article saying that following months of anti-government protests and a worsening security situation in the Sahel, the Malian military initiated a coup, forcing President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign. This article seeks to explain what this means for the country and the wider international community.
SAUDI-PAKISTAN RIFT DEVELOPS OVER INDIA
On 21 August, the Washington Institute says that growing tensions between the allies have both Islamic and nuclear angles. The tensions followed the Saudi decision to freeze the $3.2 billion oil credit facility it had previously granted to Pakistan and insist that the country pay back parts of a $3 billion loan early, and were due to disagreement over the status of Kashmir which seems to stem from a shift in Saudi foreign policy. It says that the shift is apparently because the regime sees the kingdom’s relations with India’s world-class economy as more important than its ties with Pakistan — despite years of financing Islamabad’s nuclear program to such a degree that many assume the Saudis could call on this foreign arsenal in the event of a dire security crisis in the Gulf.
LIVE FRENCH AIR-TO-AIR MISSILE FOUND AT FLORIDA AIRPORT
On 17 August, Military Times reported that a bomb disposal team was called out to Lakeland Linder International Airport in Florda after it was shut down in the wake of the discovery of the missile, which had been delivered to a company called Draken International, which uses about 150 former military aircraft under contracts for military pilot training. It was found after the company was evaluating a shipment of equipment it had received. The missile Was a French-made Super 530 air-to-air missile.
ARREST OF AZERBAIJANI AMBASSADOR POSSIBLY LINKED TO ARMS SALES BY SANCTIONED ENTITY
On 21 August, Sayari reported that the Azerbaijani ambassador to Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina had been arrested on corruption charges, saying that the arrest of Eldar Hasanov Humbet oglu is the latest in a string of recent arrests of government officials for alleged corruption in Azerbaijan. It is said that local journalists suggest his arrest could be connected to the recent arms shipment, which was delivered to Armenia via Georgia.
FBI AND CISA WARNINGS ON ‘VISHING’ THREAT TO VPN
On 21 August, a post on the Krebs on Security blog about a joint alert to warn about the growing threat from voice phishing or “vishing” attacks targeting companies. This is said to have been in the wake of the blog warning about at a crime group offering a service that people can hire to steal VPN credentials and other sensitive data from employees working remotely during the Coronavirus pandemic – something which the FBI/CISA alert refers to.
COVID-19 FRAUD CONCERNS ACROSS LATIN AMERICA
On 5 August, Latinvex published an article saying that companies and individuals must remain focused on compliance and risk mitigation. It says that business disruptions and opportunist misconduct throughout Latin America related to the shockwave of COVID-19 continue to attract attention from enforcement authorities across the region and in the US. The article identified recent developments that suggest heightened vigilance is warranted in these unprecedented times. It warns that companies must ensure that procedures are evaluated and updated to reflect the new risk environment and that employees are appropriately educated and trained.
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO REGULATORS ON THE MARKETING OF PYRAMID SCHEMES IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
On 21 August, the CFATF carried a news release from Trinidad and Tobago Regulators, the SEC, the FIU and the Central Bank, which have jointly issued a caution to the public to be aware of “Pyramid Schemes” currently being marketed in Trinidad and Tobago.
ESG DISCLOSURES: THE PUSH FOR CONSISTENT AND COMPARABLE STANDARDS – EUROPE
On 22 August, the Compliance & Enforcement blog from New York University School of Law published an article saying that the EU has taken a leading role in advancing environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure requirements across the full spectrum of sustainability topics. Some of the initiatives are focused largely on climate issues, while others address the broader sustainability landscape. In the absence of international consensus on ESG disclosure requirements, EU regulations and guidance could begin to shape disclosure in other jurisdictions. It introduces the current ESG regulatory disclosure frameworks of the EU and a high-level overview of the EU ESG frameworks. Over 60 governments and international institutions, including the UN, have developed guidelines and regulations that require a range of market participants to improve non-financial reporting in order to quantify and disclose ESG issues. The article says that the EU has emerged as a leader in ESG, and more and more companies may begin to follow its standards whether or not they are required to do so by their local jurisdictions.
JHO LOW PAID $8 MILLION TO SOME OF DONALD TRUMP’S MOST SENIOR REPUBLICAN FUNDRAISERS, IN ORDER TO GET EX-PM NAJIB RAZAK A MEETING WITH THE PRESIDENT
On 22 August, Sarawak Report carried an article about “golf diplomacy” saying that the planned meeting would have taken place on Trump’s Bedminster golf course, with the aim of persuading the President to interfere in the DoJ 1MDB investigation and close it down. This is said to have emerged in a case against Hawaii-based lobbyist Nickie Mali Lum Davis.
US CITIZENS HAVE LOST $100 MILLION TO STIMULUS CHEQUE FRAUD
On 22 August, the Digital Journal in Canada reported that, although reports of fraud have trended down since May, it is expected they will spike again as another stimulus cheque is on the horizon. Data showed some 160,000 fraud applications filed during May 2020 alone. Within the broad statistic, California endured the highest number of COVID-19 fraud losses with over $15 million. The article lists the main types of fraud uncovered. Consumers between the ages of 30 and 39 posted the highest number of fraud reports, but only had the fourth-highest dollar losses. Those in the 40–49 age group had the largest losses with over $12 million.