Panama Covid-19 update – protests on the news by trainers and gym staff – which seems to be about the only business sector not yet reopened. However, unlike others, I have some doubts about adequate biosecurity, at least for that proportion of their membership that is more at risk – the young, fit people (which gyms always seem to be mostly catering for) are the least at risk, I guess. I have a gym membership, and used to go every weekday morning, but that (and the fee) has been suspended by law since March or April, and (though I would like to return, I am not sure I’d feel happy doing so…).
The daily statistics seem to be slowly ameliorating – although another 551 new cases today and 5 more fatalities. Another 3,655 tests carried out, with now said to be 21,403 active cases.
26 October 2020
UBS CUTS TIES WITH IVORY COAST CLIENTS
On 25 October, Bloomberg reported that a Swiss newspaper says that UBS Group AG has severed ties with customers in Ivory Coast. It is said that Switzerland’s biggest wealth manager is closing the accounts and credit cards of all clients who live in the country.
IN US LAWSUIT TO SEIZE JET ENTREPRENEUR’S $22 MILLION BEL AIR MANSION
On 23 October, Bloomberg reported that the US is seeking to confiscate a $22 million Los Angeles mansion from a company controlled by a private-jet entrepreneur, as it goes after assets it says the home’s previous owner bought with the spoils of corrupt Nigerian oil deals. The case involves Sarbonne Estate Inc., or SEI, and Nigerian businessman Kolawole Aluko. Aluko. Court documents have named Thomas Flohr as the sole owner of SEI, which he controls through an entity registered in the BVI. SEI counters in filings that Flohr understood the Nigerian to be a man of legitimate means and had no reason to believe the businessman had acquired the property with ill-gotten gains.
PANAMA: CASE AGAINST 102 ODEBRECHT CORRUPTION CASE DEFENDANTS BEFORE COURTS IN DECEMBER
On 25 October, Newsroom Panama reported that until now 102 individuals have been investigated but legal manoeuvres have enabled some high profile figures to dodge the bullet and others like former President Ricardo Martinelli have an army of prominent lawyers to stave off prosecutors. The investigation of the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office in the Odebrecht case is concerned with bribes that the Brazilian company gave in exchange for the allocation of public infrastructure works.
ENFORCING US JUDGMENTS IN CANADA: A PRACTICAL GUIDE
On 1 August, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP published an article poses the question: how does one enforce a US judgment against a Canadian party in Canada? The article says that there have been significant developments in Canadian law respecting the recognition and enforcement of US and other foreign judgments in Canada over the past 30 years. As a result of these developments, it is now easier, faster and cheaper to enforce foreign judgments in Canada. However, it says, strict legal and procedural requirements remain. The purpose of this article is to provide US lawyers practical advice respecting the legal and procedural requirements which will need to be met before a Canadian court will recognise and enforce a US judgment. More unusual topics like foreign state immunity are beyond the scope of the paper.
CIVIL LIABILITY FOR MONEY LAUNDERING IN SWITZERLAND: NEW CASE LAW IN THE FIELD OF ASSET RECOVERY COMES TO THE AID OF VICTIMS OF FINANCIAL CRIME
On 23 October, Baldi & Caratsch published an article saying that a recent judgment of the Swiss Federal Supreme Court comes to the aid of victims of financial crimes with a Swiss connection, as it extends and clearly defines the limits of civil liability for money laundering in Switzerland. To understand the full significance of the new judgment, it is worthwhile to start with a review of the general principles of Swiss tort law and the earlier case law of the Swiss Federal Supreme Court before turning to the most recent developments. It is said that the new case law is likely to lead to an increase in legal claims against banks and other providers of auxiliary services used by fraudsters, as it introduces a more reasonable burden to prove their ancillary liability.
LAWSUIT AGAINST QATAR IN US FOR HAMAS FUNDING
On 25 October, the Saudi Gazette reported British newspaper reports that Palestinian terror group Hamas is secretly operating a facility in Turkey where it is carrying out cyberattacks and counterintelligence operations. The headquarters, which is separate from Hamas’s official offices in the city, was set up without the knowledge of Turkish authorities, the report said. According to the lawsuit, several Qatari financial institutions, controlled to a large extent by Emir Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, provided millions of dollars to the Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements under the cover of “charitable donations.”.
RUSSIA SENDS MORE MILITARY EQUIPMENT TO CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
On 26 October, Defence Web reported that Russia has opened a representative office in the Central African Republic and donated 10 armoured vehicles to the country, the RIA news agency has said. Russia has been solidifying its presence in the CAR in recent years, sending weapons and contractors and political advisors.
EU ONE STEP CLOSER TO GLOBAL HUMAN RIGHTS SANCTIONS REGIME
On 23 October, an article from White & Case reported that the European Commission and the EU Foreign Policy High Representative have put forward a proposal for a new, non-country-based sanctions programme to address human rights violations and abuses with asset freezes and travel bans. This proposal must be approved by all 27 Member States within the EU Council before it becomes law, and before any designations can be made under the programme.
BANGLADESH: 36 TONNES OF BABY FOOD SEIZED OVER ‘SIGNATURE FORGERY’
On 26 October, the Daily Star reported that Customs had seized 36 tonnes of baby food items, citing of finding evidence of the importer – Siam Enterprise – using a fake website and forging the commerce ministry’s seal and signature. Importers are required to secure a clearance permit (CP) from the commerce ministry for non-declared goods as well as restricted items such as baby food.
PRIVATE TRUST COMPANIES – OWNERSHIP AND GOVERNANCE STRUCTURES
On 26 October, an article from Appleby explores aspects of private trust companies, as well as the formation and ownership structures of US and non-US private trust companies.
UK – FRESHWATER 5: RADAR CASTS DOUBT ON GUILTY VERDICT FOR £53 MILLION COCAINE HAUL
On 26 October, the Guardian reported that compelling new evidence from the radar of a Border Agency surveillance vessel casts doubt over the safety of the convictions of 5 men who were jailed in June 2011 for up to 24 years each for conspiracy to import cocaine. Not disclosed during the original trial, the nautical navigation data from the vessel’s Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) appears to show that information presented to the jury was incorrect.
‘UNTOUCHABLE’ ATTORNEY ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH HUMAN TRAFFICKING
On 25 October, USA Today reported that, following its investigation, Michael Mearan, 74, a former Portsmouth, Ohio, city councilman and still-practising attorney, trapped his victims in a cycle of drug abuse and sexual servitude. After decades of rumours and investigations, Mearan was arrested on human trafficking, racketeering and related charges.
UK SPECIAL FORCES STORM TANKER AND DETAIN STOWAWAYS IN ENGLISH CHANNEL
On 26 October, Hellenic Shipping News reported that British special forces stormed a Greek-operated oil tanker in the English Channel to wrestle control of the vessel from seven stowaways who had threatened the crew in a suspected hijacking. Refinitiv vessel tracking data showed the Liberia-flagged Nave Andromeda had been expected to arrive in the English port of Southampton and the vessel had left from Lagos.
UK: SANCTIONS (EU EXIT) (CONSEQUENTIAL PROVISIONS) (AMENDMENT) REGULATIONS 2020
On 26 October, a briefing from the House of Lords Library was concerned with the above Regulations, which would make amendments to 3 existing sets of regulations made under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018. These amendments would allow the 2019 sanctions regulations to amend other existing pieces of primary and secondary legislation to ensure they contain up-to-date references to counter-terrorism sanctions legislation. These changes form part of the legislative preparations for the UK to implement sanctions under domestic law after the end of the Brexit transition period. They would make amendments to the 3 regulations that have already been made under the 2018 Act.
THE COUNTY LINES MENACE, ITS FINANCIAL SYSTEM DEPENDENCE: A SOCIAL OBLIGATION TO DETECT VIA TECHNOLOGY
A briefing note from Themis International Services briefing note examines “county lines” drugs supplies as a financial crime typology, highlighting and educating the importance to understand its nuances and its dreadful impact. Therefore, the briefing says, there is a call to action, to initiate and continue the conversation for a more practical, technical and data science-led response as well as addressing what steps need to be taken in ensuring a sufficiently informative SAR that could lead to the rapid safeguarding of our most vulnerable in society. It says that, in the UK, the National County Lines Coordination Centre (NCLCC) estimated there have been 11,000 active deal lines reported as operational at any one time; and the principal commodity remains crack cocaine and heroin. It is further said that the business model is very much reliant on exploiting the UK’s most vulnerable in society, predominantly children and vulnerable adults. The majority of those involved in the operations are coerced and intimidated, representative of the tactics involved in cases of human trafficking, such as fear and violence. Often forced into committing risky activities, such as acting as a drugs mule; carrying and transporting money, drugs, and weapons; street dealing, and perpetrating violence.
US: ELECTRONIC EXPORT INFORMATION (EEI) IN THE AUTOMATED EXPORT SYSTEM (AES) – FILING GUIDE
Torres Law has produced a guide to EEI, saying that the Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR) establishes the “mandate” for reporting all US export information via the Electronic Export Information (EEI) in the Automated Export System (AES). The FTR requires that the United States Principal Party In Interest (USPPI), the USPPI’s authorised agent, or the authorised US agent of the Foreign Principal Party In Interest file an EEI through AES for all exports of physical goods. It explains when an EEI filing is required.
AL-QAEDA REMAINS CLOSE TO TALIBAN, SAYS UN OFFICIAL
On 17 October, Tolo News reported that a UN official had said the Taliban consulted with Al-Qaeda during the peace negotiations with the US, and that Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has maintained close ties with the Taliban despite the Taliban’s assurance to the US to cut ties with the group.
PANAMA: REPORTING RELIEF FOR COMPANIES REGISTERED IN THE PANAMA-PACIFIC AREA
On 23 October, KPMG reported that Panama’s tax authority has issued Resolution No. 201-5503 (September 2020) that authorises an exemption for registered companies from having to use certain tax processes (equipos fiscales).
PODCAST: THE ORDER THAT COULD POLITICISE THE US CIVIL SERVICE
On 26 October, Government Executive released a podcast in which former OMB official Robert Shea joins the podcast to discuss the latest executive order. President Trump has signed an executive order that would create a new classification of “policy-making” federal employees; which it says is arguably the biggest effort in history to change more than 100 years of government policy promoting professional expertise in government. The order has been roundly criticized by governance experts, employee groups and lawmakers, with many saying it could have far-reaching consequences on the federal workforce and the way government is executed.
MONEYVAL KEEPS ISLE OF MAN IN ENHANCED FOLLOW-UP BUT NOTES IMPROVED AML COMPLIANCE
On 26 October, STEP reported that MONEYVAL has kept the Isle of Man in its ‘enhanced follow-up’ special measures regime, although its evaluation report found the jurisdiction is fully or largely compliant on 20 of the FATF 40 recommendations. It is reported that the remaining ‘serious’ deficiency relates to FATF Recommendation 23, largely concerning the reporting obligations on designated non-financial businesses and professions (DNFBP) when handling certain transactions, on which the jurisdiction remains partially compliant. The rating on group-wide requirements for DNFBP is being put on hold, pending a FATF decision on the issue.
NETHERLANDS: HILVERSUM TRADERS GET UP TO 2½ YEARS FOR MONEY LAUNDERING AND €25 MILLION IN BITCOIN SEIZED
On 26 October, the NL Times reported that a court in Rotterdam sentenced a man and woman from Hilversum to 2 years and 2½ years in prison for money laundering. The court forfeited a total of 2,532 bitcoins, currently worth around €25 million, and €250,000 in cash. According to the Public Prosecution Service (OM), the Hilversum couple laundered over €16 million in 2½ years.
CANADA: LOTTO CORPORATION STAFF WERE TOLD NOT TO INTERVENE IN SUSPICIOUS CASINO TRANSACTIONS
On 26 October, Global News reported that the restarted inquiry into money laundering through casinos in British Columbia has been told that investigators at the BC Lottery Corporation were ordered not to question high-rollers about massive cash transactions at a casino in Richmond.
FinCEN OFFICIAL ACCUSED OF LEAKING SECRET BANK RECORDS REQUESTS TIME SERVED
On 26 October, OCCRP reported that a former US Treasury employee, Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, convicted of leaking confidential bank intelligence documents to a journalist has asked a federal court for leniency, portraying herself in a court filing as a dedicated public servant and frustrated whistleblower who wanted to expose misconduct in the agency and protect national security. She also claims FinCEN may not have been providing complete information to a congressional committee probing Russian interference in the 2016 election. BuzzFeed News published a series of reports in 2018 that appear to be based on leaked SAR, shared by Edwards.
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