Panama Covid-19 update – the regular Tuesday Government press conference offers more detail that the daily updates on the TV news – such as the Rt rate now being 0.92 (i.e. less than the 1.0 crucial reinfection rate). In other news, a body representing the Kuna indigenous people have launched a legal challenge (thought unlikely to succeed) against mask wearing, saying that it is contrary to their culture…but their lawyer and representatives interviewed on TV all wore masks anyway, it seemed.
Meanwhile, another 671 new cases – boosted perhaps by the aggressive testing regime – with over 638,000 of the country’s 4.3 million people already tested (with a 9.6% positive result overall in the 6,999 tests carried out in the previous 24 hours). Sadly, there were 12 new fatalities, being above the 11.5 daily average since March, with 21, 332 active cases, of whom 121 are in ICU and 561 in other wards.
This screenshot shows ICU and other hospital occupation to date –
27 October 2020
PANAMA SPEARHEADS NEW VISION FOR DIGITAL ENTREPRENEURS
On 27 October, Newsroom Panama carried a report saying that a new business concept of a floating luxury business operating centre developed by an US entrepreneur will be launched in Panama in December. The MS Satoshi cruise ship will position the country as a pioneer in adopting leasing for “digital nomads”. Its apartments are aimed at entrepreneurs of new technologies, influencers, and managers of cryptocurrencies; who carry out their functions over the internet and remotely.
SANCTIONS LICENCES OR AUTHORISATIONS GRANTED IN THE BRITISH OVERSEAS TERRITORIES, ISLE OF MAN OR THE CHANNEL ISLANDS
The Sanctions (EU Exit) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (No.3) Regulations 2020 and the Sanctions (EU Exit) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (No. 4) Regulations 2020 in the UK make Brexit-related amendment of existing legislation to give effect to licences or authorisations granted in Overseas Territories, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, taking effect from 1 January.
US SANCTIONS OVER HONG KONG LIKELY TO POSE FEWER HEADACHES FOR INTERNATIONAL BANKS THAN FIRST FEARED
On 27 October, the Wall Street Journal reported that banks have been on notice since July, when President Trump signed a law targeting those the US sees as undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy, and those handling their finances.
MALTA: ACCOUNTANTS TO FUEL SMUGGLING RING FINED €59,000 BY FIAU
On 27 October, Malta Today reported that an accountancy firm, Chris Baldacchino & Associates was fined for lax AML controls, having provided corporate services to ADJ Trading and audited Oceano Blu Trading. companies implicated in the Operation Dirty Oil fuel smuggling ring, has been fined €58,900 by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU).
CHINA TO SANCTION 3 US COMPANIES OVER TAIWAN ARMS DEAL
On 26 October, the South China Morning Post reported that China is to sanction 3 US companies over a US-Taiwan arms deal, with Boeing Defence (no word of any action against its parent company, which has significant mainland business interests), Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are targeted. Other individuals and entities that “played a bad role” in the deal would also be punished.
THE EXERCISE OF JUDICIAL DISCRETION IN FOREIGN LAW CASES
On 23 October, an article from 1 Chancery Lane chambers about the Rome II Regulation and the exercise of discretion by an English court discusses some of the recent English case law in which tensions between the application of a substantive foreign law and the use of English procedure/evidence has been explored in the context of judicial discretion.
US SANCTIONS AND EXPORT CONTROL ACTIONS TARGETING VARIOUS CHINESE ENTITIES
An article in Global Trade Magazine on 26 October discusses the China “Military End Use” and “Military End-User” Rule and the US Department of Defense List.
US MOVES CLOSER TO EXPANDING TECH EXPORT CONTROLS LIST
On 26 October, Yahoo News reported a South China Morning Post article saying that the US has completed a public comment period on finalising a list of technologies critical to US national security that will be subject to stringent export control rules. It is part of the Trump administration’s ramped-up efforts to control tech exports as competition with China over next-generation tech heats up. The technologies, once finalised, will be added to the Department of Commerce Control List and be restricted from being exported to certain countries.
CANADA: HIGH-PROFILE HELLS ANGEL ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH DRUG SMUGGLING
On 27 October, the Vancouver Sun reported that Jason Cyrus Arkinstall, of the Mission chapter of the Hells Angels was arrested with another man. The men allegedly ran back into Canada after being spotted south of the border in Idaho with close to 5 duffel bags of cocaine and methamphetamine worth more than US$2 million.
KENYA: 2 SUSPECTED ILLEGAL SUGAR SMUGGLERS CHARGED OVER TAX EVASION
On 27 October, KBC reported that 2 men have appeared in court charged with smuggling 8,000 kg of sugar from Uganda. It is said that the load lacked a certificate of origin from the East African Community with applicable import duty of 100% and VAT at 14%.
FORMER ZIMBABWE FOOTBALL BOSS IN GOLD SMUGGLING SCANDAL
On 27 October, Report Focus News reported that controversial former Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) Chief Executive Officer, Henrietta Rushwaya was arrested at Robert Mugabe International Airport after she allegedly attempted to smuggle 6 kg of gold to Dubai. She is president of the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF).
CHINA: DRAFT AML RULES FOR BEIJING REAL ESTATE SECTOR
On 27 October, Regulation Asia reported that the PBOC (People’s Bank of China) has released draft guidelines seeking to better ensure that real estate in Beijing is not used for money laundering of terrorism financing. Last year FATF criticised the real estate sector in China. The guidelines impose obligations on real estate developers and intermediaries to strengthen AML supervision and management in real estate transactions, including to perform customer identity verification obligations during the process of conducting such transactions, internal control systems, maintain records of customers and transactions, and file reports for large-value and suspicious transactions.
CHINA ISSUES AML/CFT GUIDELINES FOR MICROFINANCE INSTITUTIONS
On 27 October, Regulation Asia reported that the guidelines from the NIFA (National Internet Finance Association) take immediate effect and are require microfinance institutions to report any transaction above a set threshold within 5 working days. The guidelines require microfinance institutions to follow the risk-based approach, carry out AML/CFT risk assessments, and improve AML risk management mechanisms, and also impose obligations on practitioners to establish and improve AML risk management systems, internal control mechanisms and operating procedures.
UK: HOW TO COMPLY WITH REACH CHEMICAL REGULATIONS AND PREPARE FOR 1 JANUARY
On 27 October, DEFRA published guidance on how to comply with the EU REACH chemical regulations when using, making, selling or importing chemicals in the EU, and how to prepare for post-Brexit arrangements from 1 January. It explains that “UK REACH”, the UK’s independent chemicals regulatory framework, starts on 1 January and anyone making, selling or distributing chemicals in the UK and the EU needs to follow UK REACH AND EU REACH rules. EU REACH registrations held by UK-based companies will carry across directly into UK REACH, legally ‘grandfathering’ the registrations into the new regime.
RESEARCH SHOWS BIG TECH AVOIDED $2.8 BILLION IN TAX DUE TO DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
On 26 October, OCCRP reported that 20 countries across Asia, Africa, and South America are missing out on as much as $2.8 billion in tax revenue from Facebook, Apple, and Google alone, new research from ActionAid has revealed. It is said to be part of the larger issue of how multinationals rely on tax havens to lower their tax bills – depriving countries of desperately needed revenue amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
AS A SLOVENIAN TYCOON’S EMPIRE CRUMBLED, HIS BANK ACCOUNTS SWELLED
A report from OCCRP on 26 October said that Darko Horvat, whose Aktiva Group made him one of the richest people in Slovenia, is a product of that era when Slovenia gained independence from Yugoslavia. Based on the FinCEN Files leaks, the report says that his debt-ridden empire collapsed, leaving Slovenian taxpayers liable for a nearly €100 million bailout. Horvat, who stepped away from his businesses in 2009, has faded from the public scene — but he did not leave as a poor man. It is said that Barclays filed a SAR on Horvat in 2017 due to the unexplained sources of his wealth, media reports naming him, and his relationship with the Hassans international law firm in Gibraltar, which had been mentioned in previous, likely unrelated, SAR.
4 THINGS INVESTIGATORS CAN LEARN FROM WIRECARD
On 27 October, a post on the FCPA Blog from a former Principal Investigative Lawyer for the SFO, and as a Senior Crown Prosecutor for the CPS reflects on the lessons of the Wirecard scandal. She says that there are 4 learning points for investigators (and for compliance professionals and lawyers) – look for a “personnel leak”; stay curious; there are no shortcuts; and take a bird’s eye view. She also recommends taking some time to do an evidential and investigative evaluation and, if, appropriate subject the investigation to a peer review. She says that this pause and review will help ensure that the investigation is on the right track and will continue with renewed clarity and focus.
See also –
7 REASONS WHY THE WIRECARD FRAUD MATTERS
On 25 October, Promarket published an article saying that the company — treated like a rock star by regulators and key players in finance — fabricated customers, invented profits and lied about the whereabouts of about €1.9 billion of cash. Meanwhile, journalists and short sellers who raised questions about the company were accused of collusion and investigated.
JERSEY NATIONAL RISK ASSESSMENT: TRUST COMPANY BUSINESS WEBINAR
On 27 October, the Jersey FSC published a YouTube recording of a webinar which covered:
- what the National Risk Assessment means for the Trust Company Business sector in terms of risks/ threats/ vulnerabilities relevant to the sector;
- what action the FSC will be taking following the assessment;
- what action it expects trust company businesses to be taking; and
- what this means for interactions with the supervisor.
The participants also answered a number of questions from Industry, and the accompanying news release summarises responses to additional questions that were received during the webinar.
CURBING WILDLIFE TRAFFICKING IN UGANDA – LESSONS FOR PRACTITIONERS
On 27 October, a policy brief from the Basel Institute on Governance offers a fresh perspective for practitioners and policymakers seeking to curb wildlife trafficking in Uganda. It emphasises context-sensitive interventions that are based on understanding the behaviours of individuals and social networks. It is said that research shows that individuals engaging in the first stages of the trading route are driven predominantly by aspirations of wealth to overcome socio-economic hardships. This is reinforced by stereotypes that depict wildlife trade as benign and legitimate. It also says that trafficking is also facilitated by weak governance systems that generate high levels of corruption and impunity.
US: UP TO $10 MILLION REWARD OFFER FOR INFORMATION ON HIZBALLAH’S FINANCIAL NETWORKS
On 23 October, Homeland Security Today reported that the State Department’s Rewards for Justice (RFJ) programme, which is administered by the Diplomatic Security Service, has a standing reward offer of up to $10 million for information leading to the disruption of the financial mechanisms of the global terrorist organisation, Lebanese Hizballah. RFJ is seeking information on the activities, networks, and associates of Hizballah that form a part of its financial support, which includes financiers and facilitators like Muhammad Qasir, Muhammad Qasim al-Bazzal, and Ali Qasir – all 3 individuals have previously been designated by the US Treasury as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT).
THE EVOLUTION OF DOMESTIC TERRORISM IN THE US
On 25 October, Homeland Security Today carried an article about a report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, which contains analysis that provides new data on the domestic terrorist threat in the US. It asks several questions: what are the main trends in domestic terrorism in 2020 in such areas as terrorist motivation, tactics, and targets?; and how did 2020 compare to previous years? To answer these questions, the authors constructed a data set of terrorist attacks and plots in the US from 1 January to 31 August, which updated a broader CSIS data set of terrorist incidents in the US from 1994 to 2020.
DARPA CONDUCTS CHEMICAL, BIOLOGICAL THREAT DETECTION SENSORS TESTS IN INDIANAPOLIS
On 26 October, Homeland Security Today reported that in October the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency conducted a week-long deployment of advanced chemical and biological sensing systems in the Indianapolis metro region in August, collecting more than 250 hours of daily life background atmospheric data across 5 neighbourhoods that helped train algorithms to more accurately detect chemical and biological threats. The testing marked the first time in the program the advanced laboratory grade instruments for chemical and biological sensing were successfully deployed as mobile sensors.
FORMER CORK SOLICITORS USED WIGS, DISGUISES, FORGED PASSPORTS TO DEFRAUD BANKS
On 27 October, the Irish Examiner carried an article about the case against 2 former solicitors – Keith O’Flynn, 46, and Lyndsey Clarke, 37 – saying that they used wigs, disguises, costumes, forged drivers licences and passports in a targeted campaign to defraud banks and credit unions of almost €400,000. But the sentencing judge had particular criticism for one of the banks defrauded by the couple, namely AIB.
UK: EXTRADITION (PROVISIONAL ARREST) ACT 2020
On 27 October, this Act was published. It creates a power of arrest, without warrant, for the purpose of extraditing people for serious offences and, like the Extradition Act 2003 itself, extends to the British Overseas Territories, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.
BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY’S OFAC SETTLEMENT UNDERSCORES RISKS OF SUBSIDIARIES’ COMPLIANCE FAILURES AND BENEFITS OF VOLUNTARY DISCLOSURES
An article from Vinson & Elkins LLP on 27 October is concerned with a $4.1 million settlement between OFAC and Berkshire Hathaway Inc, the multinational conglomerate holding company controlled by Warren Buffett, and its Turkish subsidiary, Iscar Kesici Takim Ticareti ve Imalati Limited Sirket, for the subsidiary’s violations of US economic sanctions against Iran. This settlement underscores OFAC compliance risks associated with foreign subsidiaries, and the significant financial benefit of voluntarily disclosing violations and cooperating with OFAC investigations.
BEAM SUNTORY INC AGREES TO PAY OVER $19 MILLION TO RESOLVE CRIMINAL FOREIGN BRIBERY CASE
A US DoJ news release on 27 October advised that the Chicago-based company that produces and sells distilled beverages, has agreed to pay a criminal monetary penalty of $19,572,885 to resolve the DoJ investigation into violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The resolution arises in part out of Beam’s scheme to pay a bribe to an Indian government official in exchange for approval of a license to bottle a line of products that Beam sought to market and sell in India, and related internal controls and books and records violations, which included efforts by a then-member of Beam’s legal department to affirmatively avoid uncovering information related to improper activities and practices by third-parties engaged by Beam in India that presented corruption risks.
REPUTATION LAUNDERING: A PROBLEM FOR US ALL
An Opinion piece in the Law Society Gazette on 26 October, starts with a quote from the FT – The habit of major London law firms working for nefarious foreign individuals and companies to immediately question the motives and character of journalists for a standard request for comment never ceases to amaze. It is said that it is the role of English law firms in the FT reporting of the Wirecard scandal which should make solicitors think – almost all the external professionals hired by the company to protect its reputation were based in London.
STOWAWAYS’ TANKER RAIDED BY BRITISH FORCES WAS DENIED PORT ACCESS BY FRANCE AND SPAIN
On 27 October, Lloyds List reported that, despite passing through the jurisdiction of France, Spain and Portugal, the Nave Andromeda ended up becoming the responsibility of UK authorities. Amid claims that France denied a request from the master to berth, Spain has confirmed it was contacted about access to Las Palmas port. It is reported that France and Spain refused a request by the master of an aframax product tanker to allow 7 Nigerian stowaways found on board to disembark.
US COAST GUARD IN WESTERN PACIFIC TO COUNTER CHINA’S ILLEGAL FISHING
On 27 October, real clear Defence carried an article from Stars & Stripes said that the US Coast Guard is “strategically homeporting” its newest fast-response cutters in the Western Pacific to police illegal fishing in the region by China.
GOLD MINING’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE UN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
A new report from the World Gold Council claims to show how the gold mining industry is contributing across nearly all of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. The report sets out to look at how Council Members are bringing about positive change across 4 thematic areas: global partnerships; social inclusion; economic development and responsible energy use and environmental stewardship.
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