Panama Covid-19 update – first day without the gender-based and time restrictions today, and the curfew cut from 1900 to 0500 to 2300 to 0500. The traffic, to me, seemed noticeably busier on the main roads – let’s see how we get on…
Meanwhile, we still had 459 new cases, giving us a current total of 25,249 active cases, of which 167 are in ICU (a bit higher) and 976 in other wards (a bit lower), and 554 in those requisitioned hotel rooms. The figure for new fatalities was notably lower at 7, making it a total of 2,173 deaths since March.
I also noted, in a visit to a clothes and general merchandise store, alongside the usual array of baseball caps a fine selection of fancy face masks, as well as baseball caps with their own, attached facial shields…a sign of the times?
14 September 2020
COURT RULES IN JAPAN’S FIRST PLEA BARGAINING CASE
On 14 September, an article from Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu reported that Japan’s first bribery conviction involving plea bargaining has been successfully appealed to the Tokyo High Court. Both the defendant and the Tokyo District Prosecutors Office have appealed the Tokyo High Court’s decision to the Supreme Court. The plea-bargaining system was created by an amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code in May 2016 and came into effect in June 2018. The system covers white collar crimes such as fraud, bribery and embezzlement and certain offences relating to tax matters and the trade in financial products and instruments.
FCA DROPPED HALF OF ITS CRIMINAL MONEY LAUNDERING CASES IN 2020
On 14 September, KYC 360 reported that the UK’s FCA has dropped half of its criminal probes into alleged violations of money laundering rules since the beginning of the year and has yet to bring a single prosecution of the crime. It is said to be now pursuing only one single-track criminal investigation into money laundering and 6 dual-track cases, which could end with only civil outcomes.
DEUTSCHE BANK COMPLIANCE PROCEDURES LIMIT DAMAGE OF SANCTIONS SETTLEMENT
The Wall Street Journal has reported that Deutsche Bank Trust Co Americas will pay $583,100 to resolve the claims, instead of the $75 million maximum civil penalty it could have faced. The violations involved payment related to purchases of fuel oil in which a sanctioned oil company in Cyprus had an interest, and processing dozens of payments destined for a sanctioned Russian financial institution.
CANADA: COURT ORDERS MEXICAN BUSINESSMAN TO PRODUCE DOCUMENTS IN ALLEGED MONEY LAUNDERING CASE
On 11 September, the Vancouver Sun reported that the civil forfeiture office has said the requested documents should include the source of funds used to purchase and maintain a house and a condo. Britich Columbia alleges the properties were used to launder money linked to a $200+ million international stock fraud.
HONG KONG CRIME FAMILY ARRESTED IN HK$3 BILLION MONEY LAUNDERING INVESTIGATION
On 14 September, the South China Morning Post reported that the parents and 3 children had over 100 personal bank accounts between them, with officials looking into 6,000 suspicious transactions, and the owner of money exchange company also arrested in biggest case of its kind for 5 years.
BOTSWANA: CHURCHES’ DIRTY MONEY RISKS
On 11 September, Mmegi in Botswana reported that religious societies earned many millions in 2018, while paying no taxes and being one of the sectors in the country with the highest risks for money laundering and financing of terrorism, a Finance and Economic Development ministry report has said. It says that religious societies have emerged as a hotspot for dirty money and financing of terrorism. It is said that ministry researchers assessed the country’s non-profit sector, which includes burial societies, youth groups, charitable organisations and sporting clubs, and found that religious societies carried the highest risks for dirty money and funding of terrorism.
MALTA: ATTORNEY GENERAL REFUSES TO PUBLISH INQUIRY INTO KICKBACKS FROM SELLING OF PASSPORTS
On 14 September, Newsbook reported that the Attorney General has refused to hand over a copy of the inquiry report into allegations of bribery the subject of an inquiry held to investigate allegations of kickbacks on passport sales based on an FIAU report that was leaked.
PLANS FOR MALTA CENTRE TO FIGHT MONEY LAUNDERING IN SMALL STATES
On 14 September, the Times of Malta reported that a centre to help combat money laundering in small states is being planned for Malta under an MoU between the government and the Institute for Islands and Small States at the University of Malta, for joint cooperation on a number of projects.
NEW ZEALAND: 3 FACING SMUGGLING CHARGES AFTER CUSTOMS SEIZES CASH AND CIGARETTES
On 14 September, Radio New Zealand reported that 3 men, Malaysian nationals, are due to appear in court after Customs arrested them for allegedly trying to smuggle millions of cigarettes into New Zealand. In mid-July, Customs intercepted 2.2 million cigarettes that had been exported from Malaysia and declared as 175 roof extension units. A second shipment of 2.39 million smuggled cigarettes was intercepted in early August. A third shipment of 2.31 million cigarettes, was intercepted late last month.
PHILIPPINES: 21 TONS OF SMUGGLED VAPE PRODUCTS AND OTHER GOODS DESTROYED
On 14 September, the Manila Bulletin reported that 21 tonnes of unregistered vape products and other hazardous goods that arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) without the necessary permits have been destroyed. Also destroyed were condemned expired food supplies, dietary supplements, medicines, medical kits and devices, glutathione products, animal feeds, cement, electrical items, bulbs and batteries.
SUSPECTED LIBYA ARMS EMBARGO BUSTER BOARDED
On 14 September, Defence Web reported that the EU Naval Force tasking in the Mediterranean, Operation Irini, conducted what is believed to be its first inspection of a vessel suspected of violating the UN arms embargo on Libya. The merchant vessel Royal Diamond 7 was boarded and inspected in international waters, and which had left Sharjah in the UAE heading to Benghazi.
FinCEN FINAL RULE TO REQUIRE CUSTOMER IDENTIFICATION PROGRAMME, AML PROGRAMME AND BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP REQUIREMENTS FOR BANKS LACKING A FEDERAL FUNCTIONAL REGULATOR
On 14 September, a news release from FinCEN said that, to ensure consistent Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) coverage across the banking industry, a new Final Rule requires minimum standards for AML programmes for banks lacking a Federal functional regulator. The final rule also extends customer identification programme and beneficial ownership requirements to those banks.
COSTA RICA: NEW REGULATION ON ANTI-CORRUPTION AND ANTI-BRIBERY PROGRAMMES
On 14 September, an article from Dentons about a new Executive Decree which aims to promote the establishment of the “Optional model for the organisation, crime prevention, management, and control” and offer the regulatory framework for its adoption, both in private companies and in public entities. This is to involve an evaluation of the risks of committing criminal conduct, derived from the context in which the legal entity operates, internal regulatory tools and internal control systems, channels through which suspicions can be reported, and the need to designate a person or entity, whether internal or external to the company, responsible for the Model.
POLISH POLICE TAKE CRIMINAL GANG SELLING FAKE IMPOTENCE TREATMENTS OFF THE MARKET
A news release from Europol on 14 September announced that Polish National Police, supported by Europol, have dismantled an organised criminal group involved in the trafficking of counterfeit medicines and money laundering. The investigation uncovered that the criminal group, which had been active since 2016, was selling counterfeit erectile dysfunction drugs online. The investigators estimate that the suspects made at least €260 000 in profit, which was then laundered through virtual currencies.
US CUSTOMS SEIZES $3.6 MILLION OF COUNTERFEIT CURRENCY IN NORTH DAKOTA
A news release from US Customs & Border Protection on 14 September that it had targeted a commercial shipment described as toy guns. Inspection of the shipment resulted in the discovery of 9 toy guns as well as 36,000 $100 bills.
CUSTOMS IN NORTH-EAST CHINA CONFISCATE GIANT BEETLES
On 14 September, MENA FN reported that Chinese customs had confiscated 9 live Hercules beetles, one of the biggest beetle species, hidden inside a parcel. Live insects are banned from import into China through the mail, as a threat to the eco-system, customs said, but Hercules beetles become popular among the rare pet lovers in China.
US WELCOMES SERBIAN DECISION TO DESIGNATE HIZBOLLAH A TERRORIST ORGANISATION
A news release from the US State Department on 13 September advised that Serbia will designate Hizballah as a terrorist organisation in its entirety. It joins the US, UK, Canada, Germany, Netherlands and Lithuania in making such a designation.
UK CONSULTING ON WHETHER TO ALLOW NPO TO MAKE DATA PROTECTION COMPLAINTS AND BRING COURT CLAIMS ON BEHALF OF INDIVIDUALS WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT
On 14 September, Out-Law published an article saying that the consultation is part of a statutory review of the existing remit of NPO to make regulatory complaints and to bring court actions, as well as potentially extending the remit of non-profits in this area. The change would accommodate “opt-in” group actions. Responses are due by 22 October.
HIGH COURT REJECTS CHALLENGE TO FOREIGN IN-HOUSE LAWYERS’ PRIVILEGE
On 14 September, Legal Futures reported that the High Court in London had held that legal advice privilege extends to communications with foreign lawyers working in-house even if they are not recognised or regulated as “professional lawyers” and the only criteria is that they should be acting in the capacity or function of a lawyer. The case involved the assertion of privilege for communications for an in-house team in Russia.
FCA REMINDER: COMPLIANCE DEPARTMENTS MUST KEEP INFORMATION REQUESTS FROM THE REGULATOR STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL TO AVOID COMPROMISING INVESTIGATIONS
On 14 September, an article from Out-Law reported that the FCA, in its latest Market Watch newsletter, said it wanted to avoid the inappropriate dissemination of knowledge of its enquiries, which it said can tip off potential subjects and lead to evidence being destroyed. It also reminded firms that material that could be subject to legal professional privilege should not be included in suspicious transaction and order reports or market observations submitted to the FCA – another thing that can adversely affect the FCA’s work.
HUMAN SMUGGLERS CONTINUE TO CASH IN ON HAITIAN MIGRANTS
On 14 September, Insight Crime reported that a sophisticated human smuggling ring that illegally moved migrants from Haiti across a number of Latin American countries into Chile shows that the crisis in Haiti remains a gold mine for criminal gangs. Large numbers of Haitians have been detained in Bolivia and Chile in recent weeks.
CFTC COMPLAINT IN TEXAS AGAINST 4 INDIVIDUALS FOR FRAUDULENTLY SOLICITING FUNDS FROM CUSTOMERS TO SPECULATE IN BITCOIN PRICE MOVEMENTS
A release on Mondo Visione on 14 September advised that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has filed a complaint naming 3 Texans and a Florida man, saying that they falsely represented to actual and potential customers that their business, Global Trading Club (GTC), employed “master traders” who had years of experience trading “crypto currency”, and used “cutting edge trading robots” to trade Bitcoin for customers “24 hours a day, 7 days a week”.
SEC: $10+ MILLION AWARD TO WHISTLEBLOWER
A release on Mondo Visione on 14 September advised that the SEC had announced an award of more than $10 million to a whistleblower whose information and assistance were of crucial importance to a successful SEC enforcement action. The SEC has awarded approximately $520 million to 94 individuals since issuing its first award in 2012.
FORMER FIFA EXECUTIVE ON TRIAL IN SWITZERLAND ACCUSED OF CRIMINAL MISMANAGEMENT AND ACCEPTING MORE THAN $1 MILLION IN CASH IN RETURN FOR AWARDING OF MEDIA RIGHTS
On 14 September, Bloomberg Quint reported that Jerome Valcke, ex-secretary general of FIFA, has gone on trial in Switzerland, accused of criminal mismanagement and accepting more than $1 million in cash in return for favourable awarding of media rights to future World Cups. A Greek businessman, Konstantinos Nteris, is charged with bribing Valcke, and Nasser Al-Khelaifi, chairman of BeIn Media Group, is accused of inciting Valcke to not tell FIFA about favours he received.
IRAN MAY FUND CAR IMPORTS WITH CRYPTOCURRENCY MINING
On 14 September, Coindesk reported that, with Iran’s national currency, the rial, suffering from hyperinflation, some in the nation are proposing locally mined cryptocurrency might be a way to fund car imports.
PwC GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRIME AND FRAUD SURVEY
PwC has released the results of this survey, saying that nearly half of the more than 5,000 respondents reported a fraud in the past 24 months.
SON OF THE FORMER HEAD OF WORLD ATHLETICS DENOUNCED THE CORRUPTION AND MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES AGAINST HIMSELF AND HIS FATHER AS “CONSPIRACY”
On 14 September, the Mail Online reported that Papa Massata Diack, the son of the former head of world athletics, Lamine Diack, denounced the corruption and money laundering charges against himself and his father and called their trial in France a “conspiracy” by the “Anglo-Saxons”. Lamine Diack, was president of the IAAF, now known as World Athletics, from 1999-2015 and his son worked under his father as a consultant for the athletics body.
ALERT ISSUED AS MARITIME THREATS INCREASE IN RECENT WEEKS
On 1 September, the P+I Club, the American Steamship Owners Mutual Protection and Indemnity Association (aka The American Club) has issued an Alert calling for continued security vigilance for vessels transiting the Arabian Gulf, Straits of Hormuz, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Indian Ocean. It says that “Members with vessels, particularly tank vessels, transiting these regions are encouraged to remain thoroughly vigilant”.
MALAWI’S FORMER INFORMATION MINISTER ARRESTED FOR STEALING DONATED COMPUTERS
In its 15 September edition, The Observer in Uganda reported that police in Malawi have arrested 2 former Information officials for allegedly stealing computers and generators that were meant for a state-owned news agency. The arrest of minister of Information Henry Mussa came a day after police arrested former director of Information Gideon Munthali in connection to the stolen items. A total of 10 people have been arrested for alleged acts of corruption during the Mutharika administration.
COSTA RICA POLICE CHIEF ARRESTED AND FOR HIS ‘ROLE’ WITH A LOCAL DRUG TRAFFICKING RING
On 14 September, the Mail Online reported that the police chief of a town in Costa Rica has been arrested for allegedly working with a drug trafficking ring tied to the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico.
MEXICO: PRESIDENT TO HOLD REFERENDUM TO ALLOW PROSECUTION OF FORMER PRESIDENTS
On 14 September, Telesur reported that Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador confirmed that he would request a referendum to prosecute former presidents if citizens fail to collect the number of signatures in the petition needed to call for such a vote. Since August, activists from different political parties have been asking people to sign a petition to demand that former presidents Carlos Salinas de Gortari, Felipe Calderón, and Enrique Peña Nieto be judge over corruption charges.
7 PEOPLE ACCUSED OF TRYING TO LAUNDER MONEY THROUGH CASINO IN NORTH CAROLINA
On 15 September, Focus Gaming News reported that 7 people have been charged in North Carolina for allegedly attempting to launder $2.1 million, including $350,000 through Harrah’s Cherokee Hotel and Casino. They are accused of having fraudulently acquired funds from paycheck protection programme loans supposedly for coronavirus relief.