Panama Covid-19 update – 138 arrested at an illegal cockfighting event (which presumably broke both the anti-cockfighting and covid-19 laws…).
Meanwhile, numbers still a bit on the high side(?), despite relaxation of lockdown, with 741 new cases and 23,557 active cases, of which 156 in ICU and 725 in other wards. Another 16 fatalities (2,229 to date), although 79,093 said to have recovered – though news reports today highlighted apparent re-infections…
18 September 2020
ESTONIA: FOREIGN STUDENTS FALLING VICTIM TO FICTITIOUS REAL ESTATE ADVERTS
On 18 September, ERR reported that a TV documentary has revealed that fraudsters are offering foreign students imaginary apartments for rent and police are all but powerless and urge people to stay vigilant as the scheme crosses more than one national border.
JAMAICA: BANKS EASING ACCOUNT OPENING RESTRICTIONS
On 18 September, the Jamaica Observer reported that , following amendments to the Proceeds of Crime Act regulations in late 2019, several commercial banks have started to ease the account opening requirements for newly-designated low-risk bank accounts which previously excluded thousands of people from joining the formal banking system due to the inability to satisfy the KYC requirements.
LEAKED EU DRAFT PROPOSES ALL-ENCOMPASSING LAWS FOR CRYPTO ASSETS
Coindesk on 16 September reported that a leaked EU draft legislation proposes all-encompassing laws for crypto assets across all Member States. It says that the EU intends to treat crypto the same as any other regulated financial instrument, which will doubtless provide legal clarity. It says that there is a particular focus on stablecoins in Europe, which are defined as either asset-referenced tokens or e-money tokens. The 168-page draft EU Regulation would not likely be transitioned into EU law until 2022 at the earliest.
DATA PROTECTION CONTRACTS
An article from Gowling WLG on 18 September sets out to explain what needs to be included in the various types of data protection contracts, based on the positions of the European Data Protection Board and the UK ICO with regards to joint controllers, controller to processor transfers of data and international transfers of personal data. This is particularly important in the light of the Schrems II CJEU decision.
HONG KONG: FREEZING OF CUSTOMER BANK ACCOUNTS FOR MONEY LAUNDERING REASONS
On 17 September, an article from Deaons was concerned with the freezing of bank accounts in Hong Kong exploring why Hong Kong banks may be required to do so for money laundering reasons.
WHAT DOES US DoJ RECENT GUIDANCE ON COMPLIANCE PROGRAMMES MEAN FOR COMPANIES OPERATING IN AFRICA?
On 16 September, an article from Covington & Burling LLP asks the question, why does guidance issued by US law enforcement authorities matter to companies operating in Africa? It says that for companies operating in Africa that have the most significant exposure to US law (e.g., affiliates or partners of US-headquartered or US-listed companies), the reasons for heeding the DoJ Guidance are obvious – the Guidance will provide the “rules of the game” in the event that the company finds itself defending its compliance programme before DoJ.
NEW ZEALAND: CHANGES TO EXPORT CONTROLS FOR GOODS AND TECHNOLOGY DESTINED FOR A MILITARY END-USE
On 18 September, Voxy reported that changes to New Zealand’s “catch-all” export controls for goods and technology destined for a military end-use, and which could be put to military or police uses or used to support military or police operations, will enter into force on 9 October. It is said that limiting the scope of our catch-all controls to those few countries under a UN arms embargo is no longer sufficient to manage the risks from exports to military and police users in a wider set of countries of concern.
FRENCH AUTHORITIES DISMANTLE RING OF CHINESE HUMAN SMUGGLERS WHO BROUGHT COMPATRIOTS IN ON TOURIST VISAS ONLY TO HAVE THEM WORK FOR A PITTANCE IN PARISIAN RESTAURANTS
On 18 September, Macau Business carried an AFP report saying that the network worked with a travel agency in China for the issuing of tourist visas and some 200 illegal immigrants are believed to have arrived in France from China using the network over the past 3 to 4 years.
NEW ZEALAND CUSTOMS CONCERNED ABOUT CIGARETTE SMUGGLING FROM MALAYSIA
On 18 September, Free Malaysia Today reported that New Zealand Customs Service is increasingly concerned about the record volume of illegal cigarettes entering the country through Malaysian criminal syndicates. It is said that said the emergence of Malaysian cigarette smugglers was hardly surprising as Malaysian syndicates are already involved in trafficking drugs and smuggling illegal immigrants; and that Australia had seen large-scale illegal cigarette importation over many years, and it is believed that the same criminal groups targeting Australia are now targeting New Zealand.
AIDE TO TANZANIA PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE ARRESTED FOR MONEY LAUNDERING
On 18 September, The East African reported that Jerome Luanda, an aide to Tanzanian presidential candidate for Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT-Wazalendo) Bernard Membe, is being held by the police for questioning on money laundering allegations. He was arrested after arrival from Dubai where he had gone with his boss.
RARE BOOKS RECOVERED IN ROMANIA IN €2 MILLION LONDON WAREHOUSE HEIST INVESTIGATION
A news release from Eurojust on 18 September advised that, following the execution of a European investigation order, a house search led by the Romanian authorities uncovered rare books buried underground. Reported stolen from a warehouse in the UK in 2017, the priceless historical antiques included first editions of Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton from the 16th and 17th Centuries. The books will now be sent to Italy for examination in order to confirm their authenticity.
UK REVIEW OF ILLEGAL DRUGS: PHASE ONE REPORT
A news release from the Home Office on 17 September is concerned with an independent review of drugs commissioned in 2019 to inform the UK government’s thinking on what more can be done to tackle the harm that drugs cause. The Phase 1 report provides a detailed analysis of the challenges posed by drug supply and demand, including the ways in which drugs fuel serious violence. It finds that the illicit drugs market is big business, worth an estimated £9.4 billion a year. Drug deaths have reached an all-time high and the market has become much more violent. Most drugs consumed in the UK are produced abroad but interventions to restrict supply have had limited success. The use of new psychoactive substances among the general population has fallen but has increased in vulnerable populations such as those sleeping rough and those in prison.
UK: INFORMATION FOR PROSPECTIVE GROWERS OF INDUSTRIAL HEMP FOR THE PRODUCTION OF SEED AND FIBRE ONLY
A news release from the Home Office on 18 September contained updated information for prospective growers of low-THC cannabis (industrial hemp), for the production of seed and fibre only.
IRAQ: ALLEGED $49 MILLION IN KIRKUK
Iraq Business News reported that the country’s Commission on Integrity has issued warrants for the arrest of the governor of Kirkuk, the director of school buildings in the governorate, along with 23 employees, with accusations relating to $49 million in for a school-building programme.
MONEY LAUNDERING: 13 RICH NIGERIANS UNDER PROBE
The Sun Online in Nigeria reported on 18 September that, after it froze accounts of 38 companies over forex infractions, the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) has ordered banks to provide details of the domiciliary account statements of some high profile customers and other accounts linked to them.
MALTA: DUE DILIGENCE REPORT WEIGHS IN ON GRECH AND DELIA ALLEGATIONS
Lovin Malta on 17 September reported that allegations concerning Adrian Delia’s ties to suspected Caruana Galizia assassination mastermind Yorgen Fenech are dealt with in a due diligence report for the PN political party ahead of the party’s leadership election. It is said that the numerous allegations against Delia take up 10 pages.
The report is available at –
FCA POLICY ON LISTINGS OF CANNABIS-RELATED BUSINESSES IN UK
A news release from the FCA on 18 September says that, n response to queries from cannabis-related companies interested in listing in the UK, it has set out its approach to assessing these applications. This is pending a guidance consultation which will follow in due course. It explains that, while medicinal cannabis was legalised in the UK in 2018, investment in overseas-licensed medicinal cannabis businesses remains a legally complex area. We consider that there remains a risk that the proceeds from overseas medicinal cannabis business may constitute ‘criminal property’ for the purpose of PoCA 2002. This includes where the company possesses a licence issued by an overseas medicines or pharmaceuticals licensing authority. However, UK-based medicinal cannabis companies can be admitted to the Official List if the company has the appropriate Home Office licences for their activities where they are required.
MILAN JUDGE SEIZES €2.3 MILLION FROM NOVARTIS IN FRAUD PROBE
On 18 September, Reuters reported that the money has been sequestered from the company’s Italian unit Novartis Farma SpA, suspected of selling medicines to hospitals at inflated prices as part of a scheme to fraudulently obtain reimbursement funds from the regional government.
A POTENTIAL RESOLUTION TO CURB THE RISING TENSIONS BETWEEN GREECE AND TURKEY OVER INTERNATIONAL MARITIME CLAIMS
On 17 September, an article on Jurist discusses the seemingly never-ending disputes between the countries and, in the light of the most recent disagreement over Turkish drilling, discusses a potential resolution to curb the rising tensions between Greece and Turkey over international maritime claims.
VAT ON SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES AND TERMINATION OF CONTRACTS
On 18 September, an article from Out-Law was concerned with VAT issues that commonly arise on out of court settlements of commercial disputes and terminations of contracts. It does not discuss court settlements.
NEW FRENCH FOREIGN INVESTMENTS SCREENING SCHEME
On 18 September, Dentons provided a guide to the FDI screening regime under which any foreign investor (either from EU/EEA or outside of EU/EEA) who wants to invest in sensitive business sectors in France must obtain the FDI prior approval of the French Ministry of Economy and Finance.
JAMAICA: OVER HALF MILLION DOLLARS FORFEITED BY MAN SUSPECTED OF TERRORISM OFFENCES
On 17 September, a release on the CFATF website was concerned with money seized by the Jamaican Constabulary Force (JCF) in 2017 from Abdullah el-Faisal, who was the subject of an extradition warrant from the US, and which alleged his involvement in terrorism offences. The money was found at his home following his arrest. The courts have now ordered the money – $524,000 and £1,850 – to be forfeit.
US: IRANIAN HACKERS INDICTED FOR STEALING DATA FROM AEROSPACE AND SATELLITE TRACKING COMPANIES
A news release from US DoJ on 17 September claimed that 3 computer hackers, all of whom were residents and nationals of Iran, had been indicted for engaging in a coordinated campaign of identity theft and hacking on behalf of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in order to steal critical information related to US aerospace and satellite technology and resources. They are all residents in Iran. The defendants’ hacking campaign, which targeted numerous companies and organizations in the US and abroad, is said to have begun in approximately July 2015 and continued until at least February 2019.
NETHERLANDS: A COLOMBIAN WOMAN AND 2 ALBANIANS SENTENCED TO PRISON TERMS OF 3½ TO 5 YEARS FOR LAUNDERING ALMOST €13 MILLION
A NEWS RELEASE FROM THE Dutch FIU on 17 September advised that a Colombian accomplice was also given a 2-year prison sentence for his involvement.
US AND CYPRUS TO CONSTRUCT BORDER SECURITY TRAINING HUB
On 15 September, Homeland Security Today reported that the US and Cyprus have agreed to construct a regional border security training hub in Cyprus. Construction will begin later this year and it will be known as the Cyprus Center for Land, Open-seas, and Port Security (CYCLOPS). The US will provide equipment, trainers, and other capacity-building support, while Cyprus will contribute land, facilitate travel, and provide additional trainers. It will enable regional partners to learn best practices for securing critical infrastructure and to engage in cross border, counterproliferation cyber investigations.
THE FRENCH LAWYER AND INTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS
The National Council of Bars and Law Societies/Research and Study Centre (CNB les Avocats) has published a Guide said to be necessary in the increasing use of internal investigations, and which says that internal investigations have their own methodology and techniques, which this guide aims to summarise through the joint work of experienced lawyers who have compared their concerns and their practices in order to formulate recommendations.
EU COMMISSION REPORT ASSESSING WHETHER MEMBER STATES HAVE IDENTIFIED AND MADE SUBJECT TO THE OBLIGATIONS OF THE 4MLD ALL TRUSTS AND SIMILAR LEGAL ARRANGEMENTS
On 16 September, the European Commission published a report assessing whether Member States have duly identified and made subject to the obligations of the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (4MLD) all trusts and similar arrangements governed under their laws. This report is said to provide a first attempt at EU level to analyse legal arrangements that could be considered similar to the common law trust under Member States’ law and custom. It concludes that a preliminary analysis of the obligations imposed on such legal arrangements by Member States shows that the aim of establishing a consistent monitoring and registration framework might not have been achieved yet.
DEVELOPMENTS IN THE DISCLOSURE AND PROVISION OF LEGAL ENTITY INFORMATION IN JERSEY
Walkers have published an Advisory in the light of recently closed consultation by the Jersey Government on its Registry Law. The Registry Law applies to all types of legal entities which have legal personality, namely companies, LLC, foundations, incorporated and separate limited partnerships, and LLP. It does not apply to limited partnerships. It was adopted in July, and is expected to be brought into force on 1 December, unless there are any further delays resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. Although the Regulations stipulate that the publication of significant persons information on the Companies Register may not take place before 1 June 2021. It says that further clarity on the developments will be provided when guidance is published by the FSC but, for now, it would seem that the biggest adjustment will be a new register of directors.