Panama Covid-19 update – while the stand-off continues at the closed border with Costa Rica (due to unrest on the Costa Rican side), we now sees lorries ramming one another, as others throw rocks at the wagons, I just hope those involved remembered to wear their face masks…
Meanwhile, it seems all the tight biosecurity controls at the airport may have worked, as the first positive case picked up.
Still, elsewhere 494 new cases, giving 21,488 active cases at present, 124 in ICU, 667 in other hospital wards and 450 in hotel rooms. 9 more fatalities, 2,511 to date. Also noted that the large number of tests continue, now with a 9.6% positive results.
13 October 2020
OECD DRAWS UP PRINCIPLES FOR A UNIFIED GLOBAL CORPORATE TAX SYSTEM
The Financial Times reports that the OECD has sought consensus between more than 135 nations on the reforms, which it said would enable tax authorities to collect up to 4% more corporate tax, and thus avoid damaging trade wars that could cost 1% of global GDP. The principles are designed to ensure that multinationals — including highly profitable US technology giants and European luxury goods companies — pay corporate taxes on profits where they operate and cannot shift them to tax havens. Meanwhile, a news release from the OECD advised that the international community has made substantial progress towards reaching a consensus-based long-term solution to the tax challenges arising from the digitalisation of the economy, and agreed to keep working towards an agreement by mid-2021
UK – DISCLOSURE PILOT SCHEME: A FURTHER STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION?
On 9 October, Hausfeld & Co LLP published an article about a pilot scheme trialing an entirely new set of disclosure rules commenced for an initial period of 2 years in the Business & Property Courts of England and Wales. Kept under continuous review, on 22 September, the Disclosure Working Group announced proposed updates to the scheme. The proposed updates include a 1-year extension (such that the scheme will expire at the end of 2021 unless renewed or made permanent, which is the eventual expectation) and important amendments to the scheme rules as well as the supporting documents. A working group has proposed amendments to the scheme rules and produced a simplified version of the Disclosure Review Document, a key document that supports the operation of the Pilot. The article says that the changes proposed by the Disclosure Working Group go some way to resolving the practical difficulties and inevitable teething issues experienced with the Pilot to date. However, beyond the proposed amendments, the more important requirement is to achieve a shift in mindset amongst practitioners.
UK FREEPORTS – THE TAX ANGLE
On 9 October, Squire Patton Boggs published an article saying that, on 7 October the UK government published the Response document to the Freeports Consultation that was originally launched in February 2020. In broad terms, UK freeports will benefit from a medley of “long-term” (undefined but, ultimately, time-limited) tax and customs incentives.
UK: UNDERSTANDING PRIVILEGE IN THE CONTEXT OF CRIMINAL AND REGULATORY INVESTIGATIONS
On 9 October, an article from DLA Piper says that, in recent years, much of the law around legal professional privilege (LPP) has been developed in cases involving regulatory bodies and investigations, and refers to another article in the October 2020 issue of Butterworths Journal of International Banking and Financial Law which considers how the law around limited waiver, collateral waiver and “cherry picking” documents has developed to the position we find ourselves in today. Drawing on relatable case-studies, presented in key judgments, for this rapidly developing area of law. Because it is important to know “what might happen if we disclose that document”.
BITCOIN-THEMED CRUISE SHIP TO SETTLE DOWN IN PANAMA GULF AS FLOATING CONDO
On 13 October, Decrypt and others reported that a company led by an early Bitcoin adopter plans to turn a cruise ship into a floating condominium and technology hub. The Pacific Dawn, a ship that previously belonged to P&O Australia is about to begin its new life as Satoshi. It will host a cryptocurrency-themed floating community off the coast of Panama.
MALTA: 23 POWERBOATS DESTINED FOR LIBYA CONFISCATED DUE TO SMUGGLING SUSPICIONS
On 13 October, the Times of Malta reported that 23 powerboats destined for Libya have been confiscated by the Strategic Trade and Sanctions Monitoring Unit within the customs department on suspicion that they were to be used to transport migrants to Europe. They were stored in 23 different containers together with other items at the Malta Freeport.
SOUTH KOREA BEING USED AS TRANSIT HUB FOR SMUGGLERS
On 13 October, the Korea Herald reported that it has been claimed that the use of South Korea as a transit point for international drug trafficking has increased sharply over the past few years. 107 kg of narcotics bound for overseas destinations had been seized by the Korea Customs Service on 6 occasions over the past 5 years. For 98.5% of the drugs confiscated Korea was not the final destination but a transit point.
TURKEY: NEW RULES FOR IMPORT AND END-USE CERTIFICATES FOR DUAL-USE MATERIALS AND TECHNOLOGIES
On 13 October, Herdem, Attorneys at Law, published a short article about new procedures and principles re the approval of the Certificate of Import and End-Use requested from the importer by an exporting country or exporter to import into Turkey (including into free zones) dual-use materials and technologies that can be used in the manufacture, development, processing, storage, transportation and distribution of WMD.
INDIA: LICENCES OF 19 FOREX DEALERS CANCELLED AHEAD OF FATF SCRUTINY
On 13 October, Times Now reported that the Reserve Bank of India recently cancelled licences of 19 foreign exchange dealers as part of an effort to ensure India’s compliance with FATF norms; the dealers having allegedly issued large amounts of foreign currencies in cash to some high net-worth individuals.
PODCAST: THE HISTORY AND POLITICS OF THE CLOUD
On 13 October, BBC Radio released a documentary podcast asking what it does, where it is, who controls it – impact our own agency in the digital world? It looks at its background, its large-scale energy consumption etc.
MALTA SUBMITS ITS FINAL REPORT TO MONEYVAL
On 13 October, the Times of Malta reported that Malta on 5 October sent its final progress report to Moneyval experts in a bid to avoid being placed on a grey list of countries that pose a high-risk of financial crime. A team of experts from the FATF will visit Malta between December and early 2021, for an assessment on whether Malta is put on the grey list.
UK: NETWORK OF LEICESTER GARMENT FACTORIES INVOLVED IN MONEY LAUNDERING
On 13 October, Fashion United reported that a network of garment factories in Leicester, some of which have supplied retailers Boohoo and Select Fashion, have been involved in a money laundering and VAT fraud scandal, according to an investigation by BBC Radio 4, and brought to attention by a civil court case between 2 wholesalers.
MACAU: REPORTS OF SUSPECTED MONEY LAUNDERING TRANSACTIONS DROP 20% JANUARY-SEPTEMBER 2020
On 13 October, Macau Business reported that the number of suspicious money laundering or terrorism financing transactions reported in Macau in the first 9 months of this year has dropped by 20% year-on-year to some 1,663 reports. Those reported by the gaming sector dropped by 32.2% but still represented more than half of the total number of reports. It is noted that China has tightened regulations for cross-border transfers in order to reduce capital outflows from the country, measures analysts have pointed as having reduced the usual channels used by VIP players to finance gambling in the Macau SAR via junket operators.
BRAND-OWNERS CANNOT USE IP RIGHTS TO RESTRICT CROSS-BRODER SALES OF GOODS IN THE EU
An article from Bird & Bird on 13 October about 3 EU decisions, including that earlier this year involving NBC Universal over its non-exclusive licensing agreements concerning, inter alia, “the Minions” and “Jurassic World” merchandise.
EU COUNCIL DECISION 2020/1464/CFSP SETS OUT ARMS EXPORT CONTROL OBJECTIVES
On 13 October, this EU Council Decision set out the objectives for EU arms export controls and provides for a German-led project for the promotion of responsible arms export policies.
GERMAN PROSECUTORS DROP MONEY LAUNDERING PROBE AGAINST DEUTSCHE BANK MANAGERS
On 13 October, Reuters reported that German prosecutors have said that they were dropping a money laundering investigation against managers at Deutsche Bank, over its relations with Danske Bank’s Estonian subsidiary, citing a lack of evidence.
UK: NEW HOTLINE LAUNCHED TO REPORT COVID FRAUDSTERS
On 13 October, the Cabinet Office announced that a new hotline has been launched to stop fraudsters illegally targeting COVID stimulus schemes – the COVID Fraud Hotline (0800 587 5030).
UK – COMMERCIAL SPACEFLIGHT: INSURANCE AND LIABILITIES REQUIREMENTS
On 13 October, the Department for Transport issued a news release advising of a consultation on insurance proposals, liabilities regulations and charging proposals as part of the package of regulations required to implement the Space Industry Act 2018 and which will enable commercial spaceflight launches to take place from the UK. The closing date is 10 November.
INDIAN POLICE ARREST 14 IN MAJOR IPL CRICKET BETTING CRACKDOWN
On 13 October, Calvin Ayre reported that, after a lengthy investigation, local authorities arrested 14 people in connection with illegal betting on the Indian Premier League.
BOSNIA CHARGES 7 SUSPECTS FOR SMUGGLING 6.8 TONS OF DRUGS
On 12 October, OCCRP reported that prosecutors in Bosnia and Herzegovina have laid against 7 people, Bosnian and Croatian nationals, for trafficking 6.8 tons of marijuana from Montenegro via Bosnia and Herzegovina to the EU 2016-19.
ONE OF THE LARGEST ILLEGAL CIGARETTE FACTORIES DISMANTLED IN THE NETHERLANDS
A news release from Europol on 13 October reported that Dutch tax authorities had raided an illegal tobacco factory in West-Betuwe, south of Utrecht. It is one of the largest illegal cigarette factories uncovered in the Netherlands and was in full operation when law enforcement entered the premises. 13 suspects were arrested comprising mostly of nationals from Eastern Europe. Investigators seized 3.6 million cigarettes and 32 000 kg of tobacco along with packaging material, cigarette paper, filters and glue.
A COURT ORDER AND CONFIDENTIALITY IN THE ART WORLD
On 13 October, an article from Out-Law was concerned with a civil case where an art agent who arranged the purchase of an impressionist painting that was allegedly stolen must disclose details of its current owner and location in a rare example of a court order overriding confidentiality in the art world. The he High Court granted a “Norwich Pharmacal” Order applied for by the painting’s original owner against the art dealer.
UK: EFFICIENCY AND MODERNISATION AT HEART OF PROPOSED REFORMS TO SEARCH WARRANT PROCESSES
An article on 13 October from Out-Law considered the current Law Commission review of search warrants in England and Wales. The Law Commission made 64 recommendations to strengthen law enforcement powers, improve the search warrant process, clarify the rules around electronic material, and strengthen safeguards for those being investigated. These include updating law enforcement powers so that they more clearly apply to electronic devices and data and allow digital evidence to be seized and copied effectively.
EUROPEAN DRUG REPORT SHOWS ADVANCES IN TRANS-ATLANTIC DRUG TRAFFICKING
On 12 October, Insight Crime said that the European Drug Report 2020 on drug trafficking and consumption in Europe has provided key insights into how record highs in cocaine production in Latin America has impacted the supply of the drug across the Atlantic. It is said to include 4 major takeaways –
- The flow of cocaine into Europe has increased during the pandemic;
- Record cocaine seizure suggests that an “unprecedented” amount of cocaine is entering Europe, leading to increased availability for consumers;
- Cocaine usage in Europe has been increasing for the past decade; and
- European synthetic drug production is strong, carrying implications for Latin America through smuggling from Europe.
CONFISCATION PROCEEDINGS – PECUNIARY ADVANTAGES
On 13 October, a blog post from Corker Bining says that, on occasion, the Court of Appeal in England hands down a judgment which serves both as a useful reminder of the limits of the confiscation regime and as a warning to overambitious prosecutors. This happened recently in the case of R v Bajaj, which concerned the interpretation of a “pecuniary advantage”. Welcoming the decision in the case, the post argues that to extend its ambit so as to allow expansive interpretations of key concepts such as “pecuniary advantage” – which are not reflected in any established legal duties or obligations – would be to stretch the legislation beyond its purpose.
CYPRUS OFFICIALS “IMPLICATED IN PLAN TO SELL PASSPORT TO CRIMINALS”
On 12 October, in its ongoing coverage of perceived problems with the passports-for-sale activities in the Cyprus Papers Undercover investigation, claims that several high-ranking Cypriot officials, politicians, lawyers and real estate developers are implicated in a scheme that allows criminals to buy a European passport using the country’s CBI programme.
JAPAN COURT CONVICTS EX-ADVISERS OF CHINESE GAMBLING FIRM IN BRIBERY SCANDAL
On 12 October, the South China Morning Post reported that the 2 men were associated with 500.com Ltd, a Chinese entity that was lobbying for a casino licence and are said to have given a lawmaker a total of $72,000 in bribes between 2017 and 2018, including covering travel expenses to China and Hokkaido.
WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM (WEF) VOLUNTARY ESG REPORTING NOW INCLUDES ANTI-CORRUPTION METRICS
A post on the FCPA Blog on 13 October advised that the WEF’s International Business Council has released a new report containing voluntary metrics – Measuring Stakeholder Capitalism: Towards Common Metrics and Consistent Reporting of Sustainable Value Creation. It is said to contain voluntary Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) metrics and disclosures that are aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The post says that the detailed and timely voluntary ESG reporting framework and report, with anti-corruption components, will likely be an influential source and reference for any future required governmental or other reporting.
The WEF report is at –
EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES AND TRADE CONTROLS
A report from the Strategic Trade Research Institute at the Center for International and Security Studies in Maryland says that while trade controls on dual-use technology transfer can promote peace and mitigate security threats, overly cumbersome policies may impose economic burdens on the private sector that threaten competitiveness and innovation; and striking a balance between these opposing agendas has become especially challenging in the context of emerging technologies that have elicited significant interest in both the military and civilian markets. A new report offers policymakers data, findings, and recommendations to strengthen the effectiveness of individual policies and to work towards a comprehensive technology strategy. The report applies a mapping methodology to 3 emerging technologies whose level of emergence and security relevance qualifies them as “chokepoint” technologies: position, navigation, and timing (PNT), quantum computing, and computer vision. It is said that the research, data, analysis, and findings presented in this report are useful to the formulation of an effective policy approach to emerging technologies and the development of a comprehensive technology management regime.
FinCEN FILES PROVE THE US NEEDS AN AML WHISTLEBLOWER PROGRAMME
On 13 October, a blog post on the Compliance & Enforcement blog from the Program on Corporate Compliance and Enforcement at the School of Law of the New York University, says that evidence in the leaks suggest that the SAR in the FinCEN Files could be just the tip of the iceberg — who knows how many suspicious financial transactions were never reported at all? Currently, there is no mechanism for whistleblowers to disclose money laundering concerns in the US, and the post argues that there needs to be one.
FBI SEEKING EX-ARIZONA TROOPER IN $9 MILLION FRAUD SCHEME
On 13 October, Mail Online reported that the FBI is looking for Frederick Arias, 54, a retired Arizona Department of Public Safety trooper who is wanted in connection with a $9 million fraud scheme, and a reward of up to $25,000 is being offered for information. It is said that between December 2015 and October of 2017, Arias allegedly told investors that The Joseph Project was a safe and secure investment with guaranteed profits.
UK: LAW COMMISSION ANNOUNCES PROJECTS ON ACCOMMODATING SMART CONTRACTS AND DIGITAL ASSETS INTO ENGLISH LAW
On 21 September, an article from Shearman & Sterling was concerned with 2 new projects designed to ensure that English law is able to accommodate smart contracts (automated contracts such as distributed ledgers which are produced without human intervention) and digital assets. The Law Commission is seeking input from the business and technology sectors and intends to publish a call for evidence in late 2020. On digital assets, the Law Commission intends firstly to consider the issue of possession, with a view to publishing a consultation paper in the first half of 2021.
MEXICO FREEZES 1,352 ALLEGED CRIMINAL ACCOUNTS IN MEXICO CITY
On 13 October, ABC News reported that police and the federal AML agency said that they have frozen 1,352 bank accounts that allegedly moved about $125 million on behalf of 14 crime gangs, including some of Mexico’s biggest drug cartels.
HOW DANSKE IS CLEANING UP AFTER A €200 BILLION MONEY LAUNDERING SCANDAL
On 13 October, Compliance Week reported that, at some point before the end of this year, Danske Bank is due to finish its own investigation into what went so badly wrong with the organisation’s internal governance that it allowed more than €200 billion of dirty money to flow through its Estonian subsidiary undetected. During a 9-year period from February 2007 up until the end of January 2016, Denmark’s biggest bank failed to spot billions of euros of illicit funds from countries including Azerbaijan, Moldova, and Russia were being laundered through one of its Baltic operations.
SPAIN: CHIEF PROSECUTOR ‘DISAPPOINTED’ AS PLANS TO PUT CHRISTY KINAHAN AND SONS ON TRIAL FOR MONEY LAUNDERING DROPPED
On 13 October, the Irish Independent reported that chief prosecutor for the Marbella area of Spain’s Costa del Sol, forced to drop plans to put Christy Kinahan and his sons on trial for money laundering has spoken of his “disappointment” over the case. It has emerged none of the original 31 suspects arrested in high-profile police raids in May 2010 would be tried for money laundering or criminal association.
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