Panama Covid-19 update – everyone heading to one of the popular beach areas were tested at road blocks as they arrived – with 2 positive tests discovered. These will be added, no doubt, to the 738 new cases reported today, after a further 6,482 tests, with 19,996 people now said to be actively infected. 6 more fatalities take the running total to date to 2,706.
We are heading into holiday week(s), with the Independence (from Colombia) Day on 3 November, the first of 3 days of public holidays leading to Colon Day (commemorating the events of 1903, when the citizens of Colon averted a march on Panama City by the Colombian army) on 5 November, and the anniversary of the Los Santos uprising on 10 November (when the people of the Azuero province declared their separation from the Spanish Empire). Then on 28 November, another Independence Day (this time commemorating independence from Spain in 1821). Lots more Panama flags around… I recall reading an article for US businessmen once waring them not to expect to do much business from now until after Christmas and the New Year…
1 November 2020
UK: POLICE FIND NO CRIME IN ALLEGED $3 MILLION CRYPTO ‘STAKING’ SCAM
Coindesk on 30 October reported that investors who say they lost hundreds of thousands of pounds in an alleged cryptocurrency fraud have had no luck persuading the police that there was, in fact, a crime committed. It is said that a number of investors said they had invested in a cryptocurrency project called Lyfcoin on promises of hefty returns, but had not received their money back.
PODCAST: VENEZUELA – BLOCKCHAIN AND CRYPTO-ASSETS: A LEGAL APPROACH
A new podcast series on blockchain (in Spanish) and cryptoactives in Venezuela analyses and discusses the issues related to the implementation and use of this technology, its impact on different industries and the challenges that economic actors come across from a legal perspective.
FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT REVIEWS 2020: A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE
On 30 October, White & Case published its latest review which provides a comprehensive look into the evolving foreign direct investment (FDI) laws and regulations in a number of key jurisdictions around the world. In this 5th edition, the firm has added 4 new jurisdictions — India, Mexico, Spain and Sweden. It has also expanded the section dedicated to the EU, with essential information related to European FDI developments at the macro level and in various jurisdictions. It says that FDI reviews worldwide are extending their reach into transactions in healthcare, high-tech, real estate and a growing list of other sectors. FDI considerations now reside among the top 5 major issues in any cross-border M&A transaction. In the US, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has expanded its jurisdiction to reach certain pure real estate transactions, as well as certain noncontrolling but non-passive investments in sensitive companies referred to as “TID US businesses”. Some investments in TID US businesses are even subject to mandatory filing requirements.
UK: CIVIL JUSTICE COUNCIL LAUNCHES REVIEW OF PRE-ACTION PROTOCOLS
On 28 October, Local Government Lawyer reported that the Civil Justice Council in England has launched a review of Pre-action Protocols (PAP) under the courts’ Civil Procedure Rules. It will consider at all aspects including their purpose, whether they are working effectively in practice and what reforms, if any, are required. The survey is open to 18 December. A link to a list of Pre-Action Protocols on the MoJ is provided, as well as a link to the survey itself. Pre-Action Protocols are a series of steps to be taken by a person who wishes to bring a claim to court in a number of certain types of claims. These steps are intended to be easy to follow and to ensure that everyone involved is aware of the problem in dispute and what each ‘side’ states has happened. They include protocols for debt claims, judicial review applications and allegations of professional negligence.
CENTRAL BANK DIGITAL CURRENCIES (CBDC) AND STABLECOINS – HOW MIGHT THEY WORK IN PRACTICE?
On 21 September, Clifford Chance published an article saying that advocates hail these as the future for payments – an unmatched tool for financial inclusion and limiting financial crime, by linking payments to identity – while critics have concerns around regulatory standards and financial stability (in the case of global stablecoins) and whether the improvements are as impressive or distinct as supporters argue. The report considers how adoption of a global stablecoin or a retail CBDC would look in practice, and explore the legal structures that might be employed.
COVID: THE 400,000 SEAFARERS WHO CAN’T GO HOME
On 30 October, the BBC published an article saying that an estimated 400,000 seafarers are waiting to go home. Most are trapped on ships because port authorities fear new Covid-19 infections and don’t want them ashore. In some countries, crew changes are banned outright, while in others restrictions make them difficult to carry out. Many are stuck on ships, often beyond the maximum of 11 months allowed under international treaty.
THE ILLEGALITY DEFENCE – STOFFEL v GRONDONA REVISITED
On 30 October, an article from RPC looks at the background to the illegality defence, saying that in 2016 the UK Supreme Court replaced the former reliance test with a set of guidelines that should be applied when considering the illegality defence, with 3 criteria when assessing whether an illegality defence may succeed. The new ruling concerned a case involving mortgage fraud and held that a claimant who satisfied the ordinary requirements of a claim for unjust enrichment should not be debarred from enforcing his claim by reason only of the fact that the money which he seeks to recover was paid for an unlawful purpose.
“THE MOLE” – FILM ABOUT AN UNDERCOVER INVESTIGATION INTO HOW NORTH KOREA EVADES SANCTIONS
The BBC has released a 2-part documentary by Danish director, Mads Brügger, about infiltrating an undercover investigator and having recorded covert meetings masquerading as would-be western contacts for sanctions-busting.
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