Panama Covid-19 update – now, if you want to get away, or on an airliner, or arrive here, you need a Covid test within 96 hours (not 48 hours, as was formerly the case). In other news, from Monday, 7 September further businesses, including car washes) can open up (I would have thought a car wash, with all that soap and water flying around would have been safer anyway…).
Meanwhile, we have exceeding the 100,000 cases level at last, with 709 new cases taking the total on Day 181 to 100,305. 12 new fatalities take that total to 2,075. Of the 25,007 active cases, 150 are in ICU, 1,091 in other wards and 398 in requisitioned hotel rooms.
5 September 2020
FRENCH TOURIST GETS €1,000 FINE FOR SMUGGLING 2 KG OF SAND FROM SARDINIA BEACH
Modern Ghana carried a story on 5 September saying that a French tourist has been fined on the Italian island of Sardinia after authorities seized 2 kg of sand he had taken from the beach. It said that authorities in Sardinia confiscated the plastic bottle of fine sand from the man’s luggage at Elmas airport. Since 2017, the white grains of sand are considered a protected resource.
US JUDGE DECLARES THAT EX-GREEN BERET CAN BE EXTRADITED TO JAPAN TO FACE CHARGES OVER CARLOS GHOSN ESCAPE
On 5 September, the Daily Mail reported that a judge in Boston has said that 2 American men accused of smuggling Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn out of Japan by concealing him in a custom-made box and placing it onto a private jet can be sent back to Japan to face criminal charges.
CAMEROON: CUSTOMS AGENTS SEIZE 800 KG OF SMUGGLED NON-BIODEGRADABLE PLASTIC BAGS
On 4 September, Business in Cameroon reported that customs officers found the plastic bags, smuggled from Nigeria, hidden inside a truck transporting other goods. Since 2014, the production, importation, or sales of non-biodegradable plastic bags was officially prohibited in Cameroon. However, they are still sold in markets and stores countrywide.
MAURITIUS FSC FLAGS FIRM OVER FORGED LICENCE ON WEBSITE
On 4 September, Finance Magnates reported that the Financial Services Commission has warned investors that the Conventus Group is falsely claiming to hold a local registration while not actually licensed by the FSC or any other competent authority. The FSC warned that it is posting on its website a certificate of incorporation carrying its name and purporting to be incorporated in Mauritius, yet this certificate is a complete forgery, the FSC says.
COLOMBIA: PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE FORMALLY ACCUSED NICOLÁS MADURO’S FRONT MAN, ALEX SAAB, OF MONEY LAUNDERING AND ILLICIT ENRICHMENT
On 5 September, Explica reported that Colombia had laid charges against Alex Saab, who is being held in Cape Verde at US request, and accused of bring the “front man” for Venezuela’s President Maduro.
FORMER BARBADOS GOVERNMENT MINISTER TO FORFEIT $36,000 IN US MONEY LAUNDERING CASE
On 4 September, Caribbean Life reported that former Barbados minister, Donville Inniss, will have to pay $36 536.73 under a forfeiture order after being found guilty of illegally receiving from an insurance company on the island and seeking to launder to New York accounts through wire transfers.
PONZI SCHEMES, FRAUD, BANK DISBURSEMENTS AND THE “QUINCECARE DUTY OF CARE”
On 4 September, Morton Fraser published an article about Stanford International Bank Ltd (in liquidation) v HSBC Bank plc, connected to Robert Stanford who was found guilty in the US in 2012 of fraud through his running of a $7 billion Ponzi scheme. The liquidators of Stanford International Bank have brought an action against HSBC claiming, amongst other things, that HSBC was in breach of its “Quincecare duty of care” to SIB by disbursing several payments from those bank accounts totalling £118 million after HSBC ought to have been aware that SIB was engaged in fraudulent activity, and therefore seeking damages from HSBC in the total amount of those disbursements. The article explains what the so-called “Quincecare duty of care” means. It also notes that the judge left the door open for SIB to bring a further claim based on dishonest assistance if it can find evidence that there was knowledge within HSBC.
US: BIS REQUESTS COMMENTS ON “FOUNDATIONAL TECHNOLOGIES” WITH THE GOAL OF DEVELOPING NEW EXPORT AND CFIUS CONTROLS
On 4 September, an article from Dentons reported that the US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPROM) seeking comments from the public concerning the criteria for defining “foundational technologies”. BIS has been charged with defining the terms “emerging technologies” and “foundational technologies” to then impose heightened export controls on these technologies to control and safeguard these technologies deemed under ECRA to be “essential to the national security of the United States”.
US: JOINT STATEMENT CDD EXPECTATIONS FOR PEP
An article from Ballard Spahr LLP on 4 September reported that in August FinCEN and banking regulators had issued a joint statement that provides additional guidance in applying Bank Secrecy Act due diligence requirements to customers who may be “politically exposed persons” (PEPs).
ALL TAX ADVISERS SHOULD BE PROFESSIONALLY QUALIFIED, SAYS CHARTERED INSTITUTE OF TAXATION
On 27 August, CIOT published a release saying that it has given a cautious welcome to a government proposal for an ultimate legal requirement for anyone who wants to provide tax advice on a commercial basis to belong to a recognised professional body, and that an alternative proposal for a new government regulator of tax advisers would be costly and ineffective.
UK: TACKLING CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY SCHEME (CIS) ABUSE
On 27 August, the Chartered Institute of Taxation published its response to a HMRC consultation published on 19 March. The consultation concerns ways HMRC might tackle abuse of the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) and sets out various suggestions to prevent tax loss within construction supply chains, invite feedback, and it is intended to build on the VAT reverse-charge for the construction industry, which is due to come into effect on 1 March 2021, and Off-Payroll Working rules for the private sector which take effect from 6 April 2021.
The consultation paper is at –
CMS EXPERT GUIDE TO CONCURRENT DELAY
CMS Law has produced this guide to the legal situation in a number of countries when there are delays in construction projects and for each jurisdiction the authors have answered the standard set of questions set out below and also considered how the law on their jurisdictions would treat the scenario referred to.
INJUNCTIONS AND CRYPTOCURRENCIES
On 4 September, CMS Law published an article saying that, in a recent decision an English court has refused to continue an interim injunction that restrained the defendant from dealing with bitcoin held in a coin depot account, over which the claimants had asserted a proprietary right. The case is said to highlight the factors that the court will take into account when considering matters relating to injunctive relief for cryptoassets – and also reiterates the need to establish that damages is not an adequate remedy when seeking injunctive relief.
NEW RUSSIAN LAW ON DIGITAL FINANCIAL ASSETS AND DIGITAL CURRENCY
On 1 September, an article from Gowling WLG discussed a new law which comes into force in January. Some important concepts are said to be included in the new law, and a separate Bill that will further regulate the issuance and operations of digital currency is expected later in this year. The article says that, although the law legitimises the operations of digital financial assetsand locally issued digital currency, it poses a number of regulatory and tax issues that are yet to be clarified by the Central Bank and Tax Service.
FROM OCTOBER ONLY 2 PACKS OF CIGARETTES WILL BE ALLOWED TO BE BROUGHT INTO CROATIA FROM COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE EU
On 3 September, TJI reported that, until now, Croatians living close to the Bosnian or Serbian border were able to cross over and import up to 10 packs (200 cigarettes) saving a large amount of money in the process. It says that studies estimate around 7% of Croatian tobacco consumption is made up of non-taxable cigarettes hailing mainly from Bosnia and Herzegovina or Serbia, which may be worth up to $94.4 million.
POSTPONEMENT OF THE 2021 COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW OF THE STATUS OF IMPLEMENTATION OF UN SCR 1540
On 27 August, IAEA reported the postponement of a comprehensive review of the UN Security Council Resolution concerned with countering the proliferation of WMD, due to delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
LEGAL IMPLICATIONS OF LIFE AFTER BREXIT DISCUSSED IN PODCAST SERIES
On 2 September, CMS Law announced a podcast series to bring one up to date with the legal implications of Britain’s departure from the EU’s Single Market and customs union. In the first 2 episodes a former UK trade advisor, discusses the state-of-play and key issues surrounding a future EU/UK free trade deal as well as the implications for Germany, Europe and the USA.
INDIAN NUCLEAR FORCES 2020
On 1 July, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists published an analysis of the state of Indian nuclear forces.
UAE OVERHAULS ECONOMIC SUBSTANCE REGULATIONS
On 3 September, DLA Piper reported that the UAE has published revised legislation overhauling its Economic Substance Regulations (ESR). The overhaul addresses specific aspects of the ESR, and the article says that UAE-based entities which are covered by the ESR are taking note of these changes ahead of the first ESR Report filing deadline on 31 December.
UK: “STREAMLINING” JUDICIAL REVIEW – THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF ADMINISTRATIVE LAW
On 3 September, a post from the Faculty of Law at the University of Oxford looks at the independent review of UK administrative law, more specifically of judicial review, to be conducted by an expert panel of lawyers and academics.
TURKEY’S BLACK SEA GAS DISCOVERY AND RELATIONS WITH EUROPE
On 3 September, the European Council on Foreign Relations published an article saying that Turkey’s discovery of a large gas reserve in the Black Sea could benefit its economy in 6 or 7 years, but it will not ease Turkish-European tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean. In the Mediterranean, competing claims on maritime borders, exclusive economic zones (EEZ), and energy resources have put Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus at loggerheads with one another.
PROTRACTED, NEGLECTED, AND INEFFECTIVE: LESSONS FROM THE LEBANON TRIBUNAL
On 4 September, the European Council on Foreign Relations published an article about the eventual findings of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) investigating the killing of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri 15 years previously. The article concludes that international courts are no substitute for politics – not least when the countries that set them up fail to back them.
MEETING OF 18 COUNTRIES ON THE DJIBOUTI CODE OF CONDUCT – A KEY TOOL IN REPRESSING PIRACY AND ARMED ROBBERY AGAINST SHIPS IN THE WESTERN INDIAN OCEAN AND THE GULF OF ADEN
On 2 September, the IMO reported that the event saw many proposals presented, such as the development of a regional information-sharing network, based on the existing national maritime information-sharing centres in all the participating countries. Other propositions called for better coordination of capacity-building efforts, based on regional needs and priorities.
UNDERSTANDING THE WORLD OF ENCRYPTION USERS
The Center for Strategic and International Studies has produced this useful (essential) and easy to follow guide saying that, with the spread of encrypted communications, countries must balance privacy, security, and safety. It says that encryption serves a variety of purposes for individuals, governments, and organisations in protecting their data and information, whether “at rest” when stored on computers, smartphones, and other devices or “in transit” in communications between users, devices, and applications. In the guide, CSIS sets out to present a dynamic, user-centric breakdown of these considerations, explaining the basics of encryption and its uses.
TOWARD A MORE PROLIFERATED WORLD?
A report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies looks at the geopolitical forces that will shape the spread of nuclear weapons. It says that while the US and the international community have been relatively successful at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, but there are new reasons to question whether this track record will last into the future.
A GUIDE TO CHOLINESTERASE INHIBITORS IN WAKE OF SUSPECTED ALEXEI NAVALNY POISONING
On 28 August, Bellingcat published this guide looks at what is an “cholinesterase inhibitor”. Frequently termed as “nerve agents,” this category of chemicals includes, among other things, some military chemical warfare agents, some drugs, and numerous pesticides.
WHITENESS, SCAPEGOATING, AND SCARCITY: MEDICALISING ‘THE US OPIOID CRISIS’
On 31 August, this paper was published by the Journal of Illicit Economies & Development characterises the successful civil lawsuits brought in the US against multinational pharmaceutical companies to recover the costs of public expenditures (goods and services) incurred as they attempt to manage the ‘opioid crisis,’ as a scapegoating strategy whose function is to deflect attention from governance failures. Criminalising the pharmaceutical companies and executives for peddling prescription medicines to inadequately trained (in the treatment of pain) physicians, it argues, medicalises the white opioid crisis and identifies consumers as victims – and this distinguishes them from the Americans of colour whose ‘drug use’ has been criminalised.
ARGENTINA AS A SUCCESS CASE AGAINST DRUG TRAFFICKING 2016–2019
On 31 August, another paper published by the Journal of Illicit Economies & Development says that Argentina was for many years identified as an essential cocaine transhipment country especially bound to Europe. This phenomenon gave place to the consolidation of an internal cocaine market that had a profound impact on crime levels in the country. However, it says that in December 2015, a new strategy to counter drug trafficking was introduced – and this included policies aimed at reducing the supply of drugs, generating an environment hostile to organised crime, reducing demand, and improving control of money laundering by criminal organisations.
US: TEXAS AUTHORITIES ISSUES CEASE & DESIST ORDER AGAINST BITCOIN POPE
On 5 September, ATOZ Markets reported that the Texas Securities Commissioner has issued the cease and desist order to Bitcoin Pope for a crypto fraud scheme that promises large returns. It is said that the alleged masterminds behind the scheme are Kumar Babu Bondesi and Darwin Eric Balusek – the latter calling himself “Bitcoin Pope” in advertisements and among investors.
UK: CHARITY BOSS WITH MBE ORDERED TO PAY BACK £286,000 DEFRAUDED FROM PENSION SCHEME
On 5 September, Plymouth Live reported that the head of Yateley Industries for the Disabled, who was awarded an MBE for his charity work, has been jailed for 5 years and ordered to pay back more than £286,000.