Panama Covid-19 update – start of holiday week for independence day(s), while the weather proves that there is more than Covid to worry about – we just had rain here, but further north they had a deluge, with more than 100 families affected by floods triggered by the side effect of a hurricane in the Caribbean affecting Nicaragua and Honduras (hurricanes don’t come this far south, fortunately).
Meanwhile, another 579 new cases, as 4,613 tests carried out; 14 additional fatalities and 19,630 active cases – 115 in ICU and 529 in other wards.
2 NOVEMBER 2020
SFO REACHES DEFERRED PROSECUTION AGREEMENT WITH AIRLINE SERVICES
On 30 October, the Wall Street Journal reported that the UK SFO had reached a deferred prosecution agreement with commercial aircraft interior refurbisher Airline Services Ltd of Manchester, and now no longer in the airline business, which will also pay £3 million. This resolves allegations the company failed to prevent bribery. The company admitted to 3 counts of failure to prevent bribery arising from its alleged use of an agent to win contracts to re-equip airliners for Lufthansa.
AFRICA AND THE WORLD CONTINUE TO ALLOW ILLEGAL CAPITAL FLIGHT
On 6 October, ENACT Africa carried an article says that it has been 5 years since former South African president Thabo Mbeki and a high-level panel published their landmark report on illicit financial flows (IFF) from Africa, mostly also tax dodges by multinational enterprises and said to be costing Africa at least $50 billion yearly in lost revenue. However, this month the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) published a report that suggests that if anything, the problem has worsened – which estimates that from 2013 to 2015, annual capital flight from Africa averages about $88.6 billion (noting that combined official development assistance and foreign direct investment inflow amounts to only $102 billion).
CHINA’S MIXED MESSAGES SPELL DANGER FOR WILDLIFE
On 15 October, ENACT Africa reported that a failure to address wildlife products in traditional Chinese medicine presents opportunities for the illegal wildlife trade to flourish. It says that China had decided to ban the consumption of wildlife and shut down meat markets and upgraded pangolins’ protection status to Class 1 – the highest level of protection, which pandas also fall under. The government also announced the removal of pangolin scales from the country’s official list of ingredients approved for use in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Despite the ban on wildlife species for consumption, many species can still be used for other purposes, such as traditional medicine, ornaments and pets; including bear bile for treating coronavirus.
SOUTH AFRICAN POLICE PROBING EX-STEINHOFF CEO
On 2 November, KYC 360 reported that South African authorities are reported to have launched a probe into suspected new fraud and money laundering allegations against former Steinhoff International Holdings NV CEO, Markus Jooste. The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, an elite crime busting force, applied for access to bank records dating back to between 2000 and 2009 belonging to Jooste’s company, Mayfair Speculators. He has also been fined $9.9 million by a South African regulator for insider trading ahead of the retailer’s near collapse almost 3 years ago.
OVER 11,000 CREW CHANGES CONDUCTED IN PANAMA
On 2 November, Seatrade Maritime News reported that Panama has facilitated more than 11,000 crews changes between 19 March and 28 October this year. There are said to be some 400,000 seafarers left stranded either on vessels or ashore due to Covid-19 travel bans and restrictions.
UK ICO REDUCES THE SIZE OF A DATA BREACH PENALTY FOR HOTEL BUSINESS MARRIOTT FROM £99 MILLION TO £14 MILLION
On 30 October, Tech Crunch reported that the fine relates to a data breach suffered by the hotel giant that dates back to 2014 (involving the network of Starwood hotels, which it had acquired in 2015) — but which wasn’t discovered until November 2018. The breach is thought to have affected around 30 million users across the EU.
EU DATA WATCHDOG ‘STRONGLY ENCOURAGES’ INSTITUTIONS TO AVOID US DATA TRANSFERS
On 29 October, EurActiv reported that the EU’s data protection watchdog, EDPS, has warned the EU institutions that they should refrain from embarking on new activities that involve transferring personal data to the US, in the wake of a decision from the CJEU earlier this year. EDPS said that an order has recently been sent to EU institutions, instructing them to complete “a mapping exercise identifying which on-going contracts, procurement procedures and other types of cooperation involve transfers of data”, and institutions are required to inform the EDPS of such transfers.
PANAMA, GUYANA TAKE FIRST STEPS TO JOIN LATIN AMERICAN HEMP RUSH
On 2 November, the Hemp today website reported that the governments of Guyana and Panama say they are looking into establishing hemp sectors. Guyana’s government is reviewing feasibility studies, and has discussed hemp trials. In Panama, government representatives and deputies in the National Assembly agreed to form a committee to analyse hemp’s potential for industrial development during discussions about a proposed hemp law.
DUBLIN AIRPORT – REVENUE OFFICERS SEIZE 60 KG OF SMUGGLED TOBACCO AFTER BAG SEARCH
On 2 November, Dublin Live reported that the smuggled tobacco was found following a search of the checked baggage of a British national that had disembarked a flight from Alicante.
CAYMAN ISLANDS INTRODUCE REGULATIONS FOR VIRTUAL ASSET SERVICE PROVIDERS (VASP)
On 2 November, coin Telegraph reported that the Ministry of Financial Services of the Cayman Islands Government has announced that it has commenced a regulatory framework for virtual asset service providers. The first phase of the implementation focuses on compliance with and enforcement of AML/CFT rules. The VASP framework will be submitted for consideration prior to the re-rating by the FATF-style regional body CFTAF, due in November.
SPORTPESA’S KENYAN SHAREHOLDER CLAIMS BILLIONS TRANSFERRED TO OFFSHORE ACCOUNTS
On 2 November, Kahawa Tungu reported claims by a 17% shareholder in sports betting company Sportpesa held large sums in its accounts by the time its licence was revoked in Kenya in July 2019. He alleged wrongdoing may have been involved in transfers out of the country. It is also said that officers from the UK SFO also visited Sportpesa’s Nairobi office, but that efforts to have a forensic audit have continued to be frustrated.
REPORTING DUTIES UNDER THE GERMAN MONEY LAUNDERING ACT – REAL ESTATE
On 30 October, an article from Beiten Burkhardt was concerned with new reporting duties for legal and tax advisory professionals in real estate transactions. On 1 October, a new regulation on reporting duties under the German Money Laundering Act – Real Estate came into force. It seeks to extend the already existing duties to report suspicions of money laundering or terrorist financing in the area of real estate transactions to the FIU.
US RETURNS 9th CENTURY MANUSCRIPTS AND ROMAN COIN TO ITALY
A news release from US Immigration & Customs Enforcement on 30 October advised that the US had returned 2 9th Century Italian manuscripts and a Roman coin, a Contorniato, during a repatriation ceremony at the Italian Embassy in Washington. In addition, Italy and the US renewed an MoU between Italy and the US on cultural property, first signed in 2001. The manuscripts, originating in Benevento and dating from 821 AD and 823 AD respectively, record the sale of lands, including vineyards and orchards, to a man named Bonepertus and his sons. The manuscripts were gifted to the University of Pennsylvania in 2010 but were found to be stolen from the Biblioteca statale del Monumento Nazionale Badia di Cava in Cava de’ Tirreni. The Roman coin, a “Contorniato di Traiano,” was a reward given to soldiers or civilians during the rule of the Roman emperor Trajan (98-117 AD) and was stolen from the Oliveriano Museum in Pesaro in 1978. In April 2016, an auction house contacted the museum to report that a coin, believed to be the stolen object, had recently been consigned by the executor of an estate. The auction house surrendered the coin.
INDONESIA: 2 POLICE GENERALS INDICTED FOR ACCEPTING BRIBES
On 2 November, the Jakarta Post reported that they have been indicted for accepting bribes to assist graft convict Djoko Soegiarto Tjandra evade capture when he was a fugitive. The former head of the National Police international relations division and the former senior officer at its Criminal Investigation Division are involved.
HEATHROW AIRPORT TO LAUNCH LEGAL REVIEW OVER VAT-FREE SHOPPING BAN
On 2 November, Yahoo Finance reported that Heathrow Airport is preparing to launch a legal challenge against the government’s decision to ban VAT-free shopping for tourists to the UK from the end of this year. It would affect items such as electronics, food and clothing for international visitors (but not the traditional alcohol and tobacco duty-free).
ALASKAN WHITE SUPREMACISTS FACE RICO CHARGES
On 2 November, OCCRP reported that new charges have been added in an ongoing investigation against a white supremacist gang, known as the 1488s, treating them as not just as hate group, but a criminal organisation involved in drug and weapons trafficking.
STOWAWAY THREAT TO SHIPPING
On 2 November, Hellenic Shipping News reported that, in the wake of the recent incident off the UK coats involving special forces, the incidence of attacks against the crew of commercial ships has unfortunately seen an increase over the past year. In fact, the International Maritime Bureau recently reported a rise in piracy and armed robbery on the world’s seas in the first nine months of 2020 (including a 40% increase in the number of kidnappings reported in the Gulf of Guinea, compared with the same period in 2019. Information from The Standard Club (a P+I Club) is that stowaway-related claims can be numerous and costly. Since 2010, The Standard Club has experienced 517 stowaway claims and these claims have involved 1,040 stowaways and resulted in costs totalling over $11 million. It says that individuals may stowaway because of economic pressure, political unrest, opportunism, desire for adventure or criminal purposes. The majority of stowaway incidents for the ships entered in the club came from West Africa, South Africa and waters of the Red Sea. There are other significant areas including Italy, west coast of South America (Chile, Ecuador, and Peru) and East Africa (Mombasa and Dar-es-Salam). The Club says that members are encouraged to review their stowaway procedures and assist Masters and crew in preventing stowaways from boarding and, should any stowaway gain access to the ship, then the Master and crew should be aware of how best to respond and from where they can get further support.
MONETARY AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE (MAS) HAS ISSUED PROHIBITION ORDERS AGAINST 2 FORMER BANK EMPLOYEES FOR FRAUD AND DISHONEST CONDUCT
A release on Mondo Visione on 2 November advised that the orders were issued against the individuals following their convictions in the State Courts of Singapore, in 2 court cases that were not related. The orders took effect from 29 October.
HUSBAND OF ISABEL DOS SANTOS, BILLIONAIRE DAUGHTER OF FORMER ANGOLA PRESIDENT, DIES IN DIVING ACCIDENT
On 2 November, a report from AFP advised that Sindika Dokolo, the husband of Isabel dos Santos, billionaire daughter of Angola’s former president, had drowned while free diving off the coast of Dubai. Dokolo, a business tycoon and art collector, a citizen of Democratic Republic of Congo, became entangled along with his wife in an anti-corruption investigation launched after her father, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, left office in 2017. He was the son of Augustin Dokolo Sanu, a highly-influential Congolese banker during the era of dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, and Hanne, a Dane who still lives in Kinshasa.
LAWYER WHO DEFENDED THE ONECOIN SCAMMER KNOWN AS THE “CRYPTOQUEEN” DEBARRED IN NEW YORK
On 2 November, Decrypt reported that Mark Scott, formerly an attorney for Locke Lord LLP, was banned from practicing law in New York due to his involvement in the OneCoin fake blockchain project. Scott was convicted for conspiracy to commit money laundering and bank fraud last November and is awaiting sentencing.
GOLDMAN SACHS: 5 TAKEAWAYS FOR COMPLIANCE OFFICERS EVERYWHERE
A post from the FCPA Blog on 2 November reflects on the 1MDB scandal and the resulting $3.3 billion penalty it cost Goldman Sachs. It says one sees the failure of a sophisticated and influential financial institution to maintain strong internal controls. How did it happen? The post provides 5 biggest takeaways every company in any industry can benefit from.
AUSTRAC AND UAE FIU SIGN FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE MoU
On 2 November, a news release from AUSTRAC in Australia advised that it and the UAE FIU had signed an MoU through which both countries will cooperate in the development, exchange and analysis of financial intelligence related to suspected money laundering, terrorism financing, and other serious crimes. AUSTRAC now has 100 international memoranda of understanding which help to strengthen our capacity to exchange financial intelligence and regulatory information with foreign counterparts.
GERMANY UPDATES ITS DUAL-USE AND MILITARY EXPORT LIST
On 2 November, the EU Sanctions Blog reported that, with effect from 29 October, Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has issued a new regulation. The post mentions the new addition to the list of goods subject to control, including certain small firearms and components relating to hunting and sports, software specially designed or modified for the conduct of military offensive cyber operations, and items required for environmental testing facilities in which weapons, ammunitions and armaments are evaluated.
GAO TELLS CBP TO STREAMLINE ENFORCEMENT APPROACH TO COUNTERFEIT GOODS
ON 27 October, Homeland Security Today reported that the number of small packages sent each year to the US since fiscal year 2013 has more than doubled, and small packages seized often contain counterfeit goods. US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is trying to combat the increasing numbers of small packages containing counterfeit goods that are being sent directly to consumers, but its officials say the seizure and forfeiture processes that US law requires are time and resource intensive. Now a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report sets out how the EU and US approach to enforcing intellectual property rights (IPR) differ with respect to counterfeit goods in small packages, noting the streamlined process used by EU customs authorities. GAO recommended that CBP develops a streamlined enforcement approach to counterfeit goods in small packages and the Department of Homeland security agreed and, by January 2021, the CBP Office of Trade will implement a policy to streamline its forfeiture process for seized merchandise valued under $2,500.
The GAO report is at –
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