Panama Covid-19 update – while this Sunday is due to be the last lockdown day (for now?) for us, it is to continue in some other, worse-affected, provinces. On the other hand, cinemas and casinos are due to reopen on Monday.
The new cases, and fatalities, remain stubbornly high – but over 5,000 tests are being carried out each day and a handful of provinces are obviously doing less well than the rest of the country, which may explain the figures. Anyway, there have been 754 new cases reported and 15 more fatalities. There are 21,200 active cases, of which 117 are in ICU and 742 in wards.
8 October 2020
CORONAVIRUS ELEVATES COMPLIANCE RISKS FOR MOST COMPANIES
On 7 October, the Wall Street Journal reported that a survey shows 90% of companies say they have experienced new or amplified risks related to the pandemic. Almost half of respondents reported both, and 1 in 4 said compliance programs have taken a hit during the pandemic.
US ACCUSED OF VIOLATING INTERNATIONAL LABOUR LAWS AND FORCED LABOUR PROTECTIONS
On 7 October, the Washington Post reported that the Service Employees International Union and the AFL-CIO trade union filed a case at the Geneva headquarters of the UN International Labour Organisation alleging that the US under President Trump has violated international labour standards during the coronavirus pandemic.
CONSULTATION ON THE CRITERIA FOR IDENTIFYING “FOUNDATIONAL TECHNOLOGIES” THAT ARE ESSENTIAL FOR US NATIONAL SECURITY
On 8 October, the EU Sanctions Blog reported that the US Bureau of Industry and Security is seeking comments on proposed rules by 9 November
BOLSONARO DECLARES BRAZIL CORRUPTION-FREE AND ENDS CARWASH PROBE
On 8 October, KYC 360 reported that President Jair Bolsonaro said he’s put an end to the country’s long-running Carwash probe, which has sent hundreds of Brazil’s political and business power brokers to jail, because corruption is no longer an issue in his government. It says that while the operation is still ongoing Bolsonaro’s administration has been dismantling the structure behind it for months, with many of its members resigning of moving to other positions.
THE UK TRADE BILL 2019-21: SCOPE AND CONCERNS
An article from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringger LLP on 22 September examined the Bill intended to provide key measures required for the development of trade policy now that the UK has left the EU. This Bill is substantially similar to the Trade Bill introduced in the 2017-2019 Parliamentary session, which fell with the prorogation of Parliament in October 2019.
AUSTRALIA: FEMALE POLICE OFFICER JAILED AFTER $2.6 MILLION FRAUD – THE LAW, DEFENCES AND PENALTIES
A blog post from Astor Legal on 28 September reported thatSergeant Rosa Rossi recently became the first female police officer from the state of Victoria to be sentenced to jail. She pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining 6 properties worth $2.6 million. A Court heard that she used the internal Police system to find empty houses where the owners were interstate or overseas and claim them under the law of ‘adverse possession’, also known as squatter’s rights. She would then pay locksmiths to attend the houses change the locks. Following this, she would submit a change of address form to the local council so that any mail for the actual owner of the house would be redirected to her. On occasion she would pose as the homeowner.
FCA’S FIRST CRIMINAL CASE OF DESTROYING EVIDENCE UNSUCCESSFUL
On 5 October, a post from Charles Russell Speechlys LLP reported that the prosecution of Konstantin Vishnyak for destroying documents relevant to an FCA investigation has been unsuccessful. He had been charged under an offence which criminalises a person who knows or suspects that an investigation is being or is likely to be conducted and then falsifies, conceals, destroys or otherwise disposes of a document which he or she knows or suspects is or would be relevant to such an investigation, unless he or she shows that he had no intention of concealing facts disclosed by the documents from the investigator; and this is the first time that the FCA has exercised these powers. The article says that the FCA has made clear that the FCA will not be dissuaded in appropriate cases.
TAIWAN TELLS SHIPPERS TO FOLLOW NORTH KOREA SANCTIONS
On 8 October, Reuters reported that Taiwan government officials have inspected one of the island’s major ports at Taichung after allegations of UN sanctions violation with a network behind the vessels involved that was primarily based in Taiwan (which is not itself a UN member state). It is said that the investigation did not find any evidence of wrongdoing related to North Korea, but authorities urged all shipping companies and operators to continue to comply with UN sanctions.
NORTH KOREA UN PANEL OF EXPERTS: HOW THE PANEL CAN BETTER ENFORCE SANCTIONS GOING FORWARD
On 8 October, members of the UN Panel of Experts provided, in a series of articles in NK Pro, their views on what the Panel can hope to achieve as the will to implement sanctions wanes – saying that, with no new UN sanctions or designations issued relating to North Korea since 2017, it appears that the support for the Panel of Experts is declining. Provided in 3 parts, this was the third part.
ISRAEL: CELLEBRITE HALTS PHONE-HACKING SERVICES TO HONG KONG AND CHINA
On 8 October, the Jerusalem Post reported that Israeli technology company Cellebrite has said that it will stop selling its services to customers in Hong Kong and China. Hong Kong pro-democracy activists said Cellebrite was used by the Hong Kong Police Forces to hack into their phones, and a document from the Hong Kong police backed up their claim.
US MOVING FORWARD WITH ONLINE EXPORT LICENSING PLATFORM
On 7 October, Janes.com reported that the US State Department is continuing to develop and improve its online Defence Export Control and Compliance System (DECCS) export licensing platform and following on from its successful rollout online of registration and licensing in February. To date, almost 19,000 licences have been issued through the DECCS platform, with 16,701 organisations registered to use the system.
GAMBLING OPERATORS CONSIDERING ISLE OF MAN SWITCH AFTER POGO TAX HIKE
On 8 October, European Gaming reported that a significant tax hike for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) could lead to an influx of companies looking to move to the Isle of Man. E-gaming companies in the Philippines are facing a more-than-double tax hike after new rules were signed into law, and will have to pay 5% tax on turnover, replacing the previous 2% gross revenue tax.
EU TAPS MARITIME PREDICTIVE INTELLIGENCE TO COMBAT DRUG SMUGGLERS
On 7 October, Marine Link reported that predictive maritime intelligence company Windward said it has partnered with The Maritime Analysis and Operations Center-Narcotics (MAOC (N)), an EU Law Enforcement unit created to respond to the threat of illicit drug trafficking by maritime and air conveyances. With air traffic down due to COVID-19, drug smugglers are relying heavily on maritime shipping to transport illegal contraband around the world.
MALAYSIA: HUNDREDS OF DUMMY COMPANIES DETECTED IN MONEY LAUNDERING SYNDICATE
On 8 October, the Malaysia Reserve reported that hundreds of dummy companies were created by a money laundering syndicate linked to the businesses of some of the country’s celebrities to deceive the authorities. It is said that members of the syndicate used the illegally earned money to become unlicensed moneylenders (Ah Long) and 730 bank accounts containing RM80 million believed to belong to the syndicate have been frozen. There have been 11 arrests of members of the public and 8 from the authorities suspected of providing protection to the syndicate.
MALAYSIA: NORTH KOREAN MAN FAILS TO HALT EXTRADITION OVER MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES
On 8 October, Coconut in Malaysia reported that a North Korean man, Mun Chol Myong, who had been living in Malaysia for over a decade and is accused of money laundering has failed to prevent his extradition to the US. He accused of money laundering and conspiring to launder money related to his work in Singapore between 2014 and 2017, when he was hired by now-defunct Singapore firm Sinsar Trading. Sinsar Trading was removed from Singapore’s business registry list in 2017.
MALTA: 5 REMITTANCE AGENTS INVESTIGATED FOR MONEY LAUNDERING IN LAST 4 YEARS
On 8 October, Malta Today reported that 5 cases of suspected money laundering using remittance agents were referred to the police for investigation by the FIAU over the past 4 years. This has been revealed in an FIAU analysis released recently which shows that between January 2017 and May 2020, remittance agents submitted 98 STR.
US REQUIRES EXPORT LICENCE FOR WATER CANNON SYSTEMS
On 7 October, Baker McKenzie reported that on 6 October, the US Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) had published a Rule that amends the EAR to impose a licence requirement on exports and reexports of water cannon systems for riot or crowd control and parts and components specially designed therefor.
UK: HIGH-PROFILE MONEY LAUNDERING CASE EXPOSES ‘HUGE GAPS’ IN AML
On 8 October, Property Industry Eye reported that some companies may not be applying adequate CDD measures when carrying out estate agency work – reaching this conclusion in the wake of the news that a Leeds businessman has been found to be laundering £10 million through property deals.
BREXIT: UPDATED BORDER OPERATING MODEL
On 8 October, HMRC published an updated guide to how the border with the EU will work after the transition period, with new border controls introduced in 3 stages up until 1 July 2021.
IRELAND: DENTAL PRACTICES AND MOTOR DEALERSHIP RAIDED AS PART OF CAB OPERATION
On 8 October, The Journal reported that the Criminal Assets Bureau had raided 14 premises across Dublin as part of an operation targeting the proceeds of crime. Houses, a sports club, business premises, a motor dealership, dental practices and other professional premises were searched during the operation.
SWISS PROSECUTORS INVESTIGATE BANQUE CRAMER OVER BRAZIL ‘CAR WASH’ PROBE
On * October, Swissinfo reported that Swiss federal prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation of Geneva-based Banque Cramer & Cie as part of a wide-ranging corruption probe surrounding Brazilian state oil company Petrobras and construction firm Odebrecht.
BREXIT: SERIOUS SHORTAGE OF CUSTOMS STAFF ‘UNAVOIDABLE’ AT UK FORWARDERS
On 8 October, an article in Lloyds Loading List reported that recruiting the 40,000-50,000 extra employees by the end of this year to handle more than 200 million UK-EU customs declarations annually looks impossible and is leading to wage inflation, a leading recruitment agency warns.
SOMALI PIRACY AND THE INTERNATIONAL LAW OF THE SEA
On 8 October, an article in Jurist discusses Somalian piracy from the perspective of international law, after the last 3 hostages held there were finally released.
BELGIUM: ARREST OF 3 RWANDAN INDIVIDUALS CHARGED WITH SERIOUS INTERNATIONAL LAW VIOLATIONS LINKED TO THE 1994 RWANDA GENOCIDE
On 8 October, Jurist reported that the Belgium federal prosecutor has announced the arrest of 3 Rwandan individuals who were charged with serious international law violations linked to the 1994 Rwanda genocide.
LAW SOCIETY URGES REVIEW TO PROTECT 6 FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF JUDICIAL REVIEW
On 7 October, the Local Government Lawyer reported that the Law Society of England & Wales has set out 6 fundamental principles of judicial review that it says the Independent Review of Administrative Law (IRAL) “must protect”, arguing that judicial review is “a pillar of democracy and a vital check on power”. The IRAL was set up in July and is chaired by former government minister Lord Faulks QC.
UK GOVERNMENT IS TO COMMISSION AN INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS ACT
On 8 October, the Law Society Gazette reported that the Lord chancellor Robert Buckland has revealed that the government is to commission an independent review of the Human Rights Act – although he said the UK remained committed to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and would continue to fully abide by its obligations.
JERSEY MAKES FINAL PREPARATION FOR INTRODUCTION OF LLC
An article from Appleby on 8 October reported that it is expected that by December 2020, the framework would be in place in order to allow the first LLC to be registered in Jersey. The introduction of LLC is primarily designed with the US market in mind, but also with the possibility that other jurisdictions will be attracted to the LLC structure or that fund managers from outside the US will use Jersey LLC to attract US investors.
OPERATION STOP: THE WCO OPERATION HITS HARD THE ILLEGAL TRAFFICKING LINKED TO COVID-19
A news release from the WCO on 6 October advised that the WCO and its Members have successfully run a global emergency operation called “STOP” against illegal trafficking linked to COVID-19, the report on which was presented at an online conference. It says that Operation STOP is the WCO’s immediate and urgent response, working with 99 Member administrations and its network of Regional Intelligence Liaison Offices (RILO), to the resurgence in illegal trafficking of medicines and medical supplies, including those linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.
MAJORITY OF REGULATED FIRMS ARE FACING PENALTIES FOR NON-COMPLIANCE WITH THE FIFTH MONEY LAUNDERING DIRECTIVE (5MLD)
On 8 October, a release on Mondo Visione advised that research reveals that on average, those in the banking, lending, wealth management and estate agents sectors are only 55% of the way through their 5MLD implementation plans, and therefore are facing fines from the FCA, for not fully complying with the Directive.
ISLE OF MAN: NEW ORDER APPLIES 3 EU REGULATIONS IN RELATION TO SANCTIONS TO THE ISLAND
The Order paper for the 20 October sitting of the Isle of Man legislature includes the European Union (Terrorism Sanctions and Miscellaneous Amendments) Order 2020, which applies 3 EU Regulations amending existing sanctions Regulations as they apply in the Island.
ISLE OF MAN GAMBLING SUPERVISION COMMISSION ANNUAL REPORT
The Order paper for the 20 October sitting of the Isle of Man legislature includes this report.
NEW REPORT ON FOREIGN BRIBERY ENFORCEMENT IN 47 MAJOR ECONOMIES
On 7 October, Transparency International announced that a new study by Transparency International to be published on 13 October rates 47 countries on how actively they fulfil their obligation to investigate, prosecute and punish companies that bribe officials in foreign countries.
IVORY COAST POLICE RESCUE 11 CHILDREN WORKING ON COCOA FARMS
On 7 October, Reuters reported that police had rescued 11 children and two teenagers working on cocoa plantations in southwestern Ivory Coast and arrested 3 farmers on suspicion of people trafficking. Child labour increased in the world’s top cocoa producer during the coronavirus lockdown, according to a report in June by the Swiss-based International Cocoa Initiative (ICI).
KYRGYZSTAN’S CENTRAL BANK SUSPENDS SWIFT TO PREVENT CAPITAL OUTFLOW
On 7 October, Coin Telegraph reported that the central bank has disabled cross-border transactions on the SWIFT financial network amid widespread unrest over the country’s disputed parliamentary elections.
KAZAKH OPPOSITION LEADER CHARGED IN FRANCE WITH EMBEZZLEMENT
On 8 October, Rferl reported that Kazakh opposition leader Mukhtar Ablyazov has been charged in Paris with embezzling $7.5 billion in a case brought by Kazakhstan authorities. He was recently granted political asylum in France. The Kazakh government filed the complaint in Paris in 2017 against the former oligarch and accused him of having embezzled more than $7.5 billion from Kazakh bank BTA, where he served as CEO before it was nationalised in 2009. In a separate trial in absentia in Kazakhstan that ended in 2017, Ablyazov was convicted of embezzlement, abuse of office, and organizing a criminal group and sentenced to 20 years in prison. He denies all charges.
GLOBAL WITNESS AND OTHER CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS CALL ON UK GOVERNMENT NOT TO LEAVE FINANCE OUT OF A PROPOSED NEW LAW ON DEFORESTATION
On 7 October, Global Witness published a news release saying that over 20 organisations have sent an open letter to the UK Government calling for the finance industry not to be left out of a proposed new law to tackle the UK’s contribution to global deforestation. The letter coincides with the end of the government’s consultation on the new legislation, which aims to address deforestation in the supply chains of products such as beef, palm oil and soy that are imported into the UK.
US: HOMELAND THREAT ASSESSMENT
The US department of Homeland Security has released its October 2020 threat assessment which lists the threats facing the US as being –
1. The Cyber Threat to the Homeland
2. Foreign Influence Activity in the Homeland
3. Threats to U.S. Economic Security
4. The Terrorist Threat to the Homeland
5. Transnational Criminal Organization Threats to National Security
6. Illegal Immigration to the United States
7. Natural Disasters
UK INFORMATION COMMISSIONER LAUNCHES CONSULTATION FOCUSED ON DRAFT STATUTORY GUIDANCE
On 7 October, Security Matters reported that the ICO has launched a public consultation on its draft statutory guidance, which itself details how the organisation will regulate and enforce data protection legislation in the UK. The consultation is open to 12 November.
US STATE DEPARTMENT OFFERS $5 MILLION REWARD FOR INFORMATION LEADING TO ARREST, CONVICTION OF FORMER VENEZUELAN GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL
On 8 October, a news release from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that that Samark Jose Lopez Bello, a former Venezuelan official and member the ICE Most Wanted List, has been designated as a target of the State Department’s Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program.
THE DIRTY SECRETS OF ‘CLEAN’ ELECTRIC VEHICLES
On 2 August, Forbes published an article that says that the use of critical mineral commodities such as cobalt, graphite, lithium, and manganese and are concentrated in a small number of countries where environmental and labour regulations are weak or non-existent. For example, small-scale or “artisanal” cobalt production in the Democratic Republic of Congo which supplies two-thirds of global output of the mineral.
TRUMP AND REPUBLICAN FUND-RAISER CHARGED WITH ILLEGAL LOBBYING ON BEHALF OF MALAYSIAN FRAUD SUSPECT
On 8 October, an article from Microsoft News (sourced from the New York Daily News) reported that Elliott Broidy, a prominent fund-raiser for President Trump and the Republican Party, has been charged with leading a “back-channel” effort to lobby the White House on behalf of a fugitive Malaysian businessman.
SEC CHARGES HOUSTON-BASED SEISMIC DATA COMPANY, SAEXPLORATION HOLDINGS INC AND 4 FORMER EXECUTIVES FOR A MULTI-YEAR ACCOUNTING FRAUD
On 8 October, a release on Mondo Visione reported that it is alleged that falsely inflating the company’s revenue by approximately $100 million allowed and and concealed the theft of millions of dollars by the executives. The company provides geophysical services to the oil and gas industries.
UK TELLS INDIA MALLYA CAN’T BE EXTRADITED TILL RESOLUTION OF SECRET LEGAL MATTER
In its 9 October edition, the New Indian Express reported that India has been pressing the UK to extradite Mallya after he lost his appeals in the Supreme Court in May. He is facing money laundering and fraud charges. The UK has told India that he cannot be extradited till the resolution of a “secret legal” matter, the Ministry of External Affairs has said.
BANGLADESH: COURT ORDERS AUTHORITIES TO FREEZE 88 BANK ACCOUNTS OF 5 ACCUSED, INCLUDING A FORMER AWAMI LEAGUE LEADER IN MONEY LAUNDERING CASE
In its 9 October edition, the Daily Star reported that the accused are: Sajjad Hossain alias Barkat, former general secretary of Faridpur unit Awami League, and his brother Imtiaz Hasan alias Rubel, former president of Faridpur Press Club, Rubel’s wife Soheli Imroz Punam, Barkat’s wife Afroza Akhter and their accomplice Abdus Sadek Mukul.
IRELAND: CAB SEIZES CASH AND 2 VEHICLES AND FREEZE BANK ACCOUNT IN RAID OF DENTAL PRACTICES LINKED TO MONEY LAUNDERING FOR DUBLIN DRUG GANG
On 8 October, the Irish Independent reported that 2 Dublin city dental practices that gardaí believe are used for money laundering by one of the capital’s most notorious drugs gangs were raided by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB).
OPCW: 2 FACT-FINDING MISSION REPORTS ON CHEMICAL WEAPONS USE ALLEGATIONS IN ALEPPO AND SARAQIB, SYRIA
On 2 October, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons advised that its Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) had issued 2 reports on the FFM investigation regarding separate incidents of alleged use of toxic chemicals as a weapon in Aleppo, Syrian Arab Republic, on 24 November 2018 and in Saraqib, Syrian Arab Republic, on 1 August 2016. It is said that the results of the analysis of all available data obtained up until the issuance of this report did not allow the FFM to establish whether or not chemicals were used as a weapon in either incident.
PARAGUAY: CONGRESSWOMAN WHO DENOUNCED ALLEGDLY CORRUPT LAWMAKERS SUSPENDED
On 8 October, Telesur reported that the Liberal Party had repudiated the 60-day suspension that the Lower House imposed on congresswoman Celeste Amarilla who claimed that the majority of lawmakers entered parliament using illicit financing. It is said that her statements have fostered public debate about the alleged financing of Paraguayan political campaigns through money from drug trafficking.
UK: FORMER UNAOIL EXECUTIVE SENTENCED OVER IRAQ BRIBERY
On 8 October, Al Jazeera reported that a British former executive at Monaco-based oil and gas consultancy Unaoil, Iraqi-born Basil al-Jarah, has been sentenced to 3 years and 4 months in prison for bribing Iraqi public officials to clinch $1.7 billion worth of oil projects in post-occupation Iraq. The former Iraq country manager admitted to paying $17 million in bribes to secure contracts after the fall of ex-president Saddam Hussein in 2003. Former Unaoil managers Stephen Whiteley, 55, and 45-year-old Ziad Akle have already been sentenced.
SOUTH AFRICA: PUBLIC PROSECUTOR OFFICE FACING BUDGET CUTS DUE TO COVID-19
On 8 October, News 24 reported that the Office of the Public Prosecutor is facing budget cuts that would debilitate the agency. Ironically, it is investigating huge frauds linked to the Covid-19 crisis, while the crisis threatened to hamstring it.
I had omitted the following link (as it did not seem to generate much interest!), but it seemed time to add it again and say that, if you would like to make a (polite) gesture and help me with my removal and computer costs, I have a page at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y