Panama Covid-19 update – a warning that Sunday lockdown might return, as Rt infection rate increased to 1.07. Meanwhile, it is reported that 173 cases of Covid-19 were detected by test units at airport in month to 10 November.
Meanwhile, 887 new cases reported and 7 new fatalities, with 18,452 active cases and another 7,093 tests carried out.
12 NOVEMBER 2020
ISRAELI MAYOR, A FORMER LIKUD MINISTER, ARRESTED FOR CORRUPTION
On 10 November, Haaretz reported that 12 others were arrested alongside the mayor of Or Akiva, Yaakov Edri, the 4-time minister, who is being charged with accepting bribes, fraud and breach of trust, conspiracy, money laundering and tax offences. Among those arrested are the former director general of a government ministry, city employees and a businessman. He served 3 terms in the Knesset, first as a Likud lawmaker and later for Kadima. He was a cabinet minister and had 4 portfolios.
COMPANIES NEED TO BETTER ALIGN RISK AND COMPLIANCE DEPARTMENTS
On 10 November, the Wall Street Journal reported that an influential organization has said that companies should create closer links between their compliance departments and risk managers who focus on an array of corporate hazards. The Committee of Sponsoring Organizations (COSO) of the Treadway Commission, whose recommendations are followed closely by public companies, issued voluntary guidance which encourages organisations to better coordinate risk management, compliance and ethics functions to strengthen protections against legal and regulatory pitfalls.
QATAR ALLEGEDLY ORCHESTRATING A CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY TO PERVERT BRITISH JUSTICE THROUGH BRIBERY, WITNESS INTIMIDATION AND THE PLANTING OF ILLEGAL TRACKING DEVICES
On 12 November, The Times reported that it was claimed in the High Court in London that such steps were ordered in an attempt to shield the emir of Qatar from being held accountable for terrorist financing during the Syrian civil war. 8 Syrian refugees have brought an action seeking damages for torture and acts of terrorism they allegedly suffered at the hands of an al-Qaeda affiliate, the Nusra Front, and they claim that 2 wealthy Qatari brothers, Moutaz and Ramez al-Khayyat, used their accounts at Doha Bank to channel extensive funds to the Front during the civil war. The bank denies the allegations.
REPORT: POLITICAL VIOLENCE AND VIOLENT ORGANISED CRIME
On 12 November, Control Risks released its third quarter report on political violence and violent organised crime incidents around the world. The report draws upon and highlights the extensive incident mapping data available within CORE; the essential risk monitoring platform that helps organisations gain a better understanding of their operating environment.
UK PROPOSES NEW POWERS TO CURB FOREIGN TAKEOVERS OF STRATEGIC COMPANIES
On 11 November, the Wall Street Journal reported that the UK government proposed new legislation to bolster its powers to block foreign takeovers of British companies, the latest effort to shield industries that are deemed strategic or important to the country’s national security. Under the proposed rules, investors would have to notify the government about transactions involving 17 sectors including nuclear, artificial intelligence, transport, energy and defence. The rules update a takeover regime dating back 20 years that the government says is no longer adequate. The government estimates that the new system would result in 1,000 to 1,830 transaction being flagged per year, a marked contrast to the 12 transactions reviewed on national security grounds since the current regime was introduced in 2003. The UK is rare among major Western economies in not already having stand-alone foreign investment legislation in place. Separately, Linklaters has produced a guide to the new Bill.
COVID-19 PROFITEERS ABOUND ON DARK WEB
On 11 November, Bloomberg reported that hundreds of thousands of advertisements touting products, services, medicines and other pandemic-related scams have flooded the dark web. It has now become a marketplace where almost $100 million worth of COVID-19-related goods have been listed for sale, according to a forthcoming report by the CTI League, a coalition of cybersecurity researchers investigating the intersection of COVID-19 and the internet.
SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA GAS PIPELINE INCLUDED IN ANNUAL US DEFENCE BILL
On 11 November, Reuters reported that sanctions that could hinder one of Moscow’s most important projects in Europe, the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, have been included in the annual US defence policy Bill. Sanctions in the National Defense Authorization Act would penalise companies facilitating the construction of the pipeline, including ships helping operations to lay pipelines or moving rock formations on the seabed.
FinCEN AND FEDERAL RESERVE PROPOSE TO SIGNIFICANTLY LOWER THRESHOLD FOR INTERNATIONAL FUNDS TRANSFERS UNDER RECORDKEEPING AND TRAVEL RULES
A post on the Compliance & Enforcement Blog from the Program on Corporate Compliance and Enforcement at the School of Law at New York University is concerned with FinCEN and the Federal Reserve have published a joint notice of proposed rulemaking to amend the Recordkeeping Rule and Travel Rule regulations under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). The proposed amendments would reduce the applicable threshold for international funds transfers from $3,000 to $250 and, consistent with FinCEN’s existing guidance, formally extend these rules to cover convertible virtual currencies (CVC) and digital assets used as legal tender. The threshold for domestic funds transfers would remain unchanged at $3,000.
IMF HAS RECOMMENDED THE AMENDMENT THAT THE BANGKO SENTRAL NG PILIPINAS (BSP) GETS “ADDITIONAL TEETH” IN REGULATING FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS
A release from the Philippines News Agency on 12 November announced that the central bank’s regulatory framework “is broadly effective for the size and complexity of the Philippine banking system, but legislative gaps continue to hinder effective supervision of banks”. And that bank secretary laws in the country “restrict the BSP’s ability to undertake effective supervision”. The IMF also says that, although BSP makes use of its enforcement tools (issuing directives, letters of commitment, etc.), it needs to ensure it is effectively utilizing its monetary penalty regime for AML/CFT non-compliance issues on a consistent basis.
MALAYSIA: 2 CONTAINERS OF SMUGGLED E-WASTE INTERCEPTED IN PENANG
On 12 November, the New Strati Times reported that 2 containers filled with a mixture of e-waste, as well as crushed plastic and metal waste, found their way to the North Butterworth Container Terminal (NBCT) on mainland Penang. The containers, declared as e-waste, arrived from Japan recently. Since the third quarter of last year, Malaysia had returned 150 containers of plastic wastes, weighing 3,737 metric tonnes, to their countries of origin. 40 containers involved exporters from France, the UK (42), US (17), Canada (11), Spain (10) and Hong Kong (9), with others from Japan, Singapore (4), Portugal (3), China (3). Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Lithuania.
SERBIA’S ANTI-TERRORISM LAWS BEING MISUSED TO TARGET AND CURB WORK OF NGO
On 12 November, Scoop reported that human rights experts have expressed concern that the Serbian authorities are using oversight powers designed to target the financing of terrorism to obtain banking information and information on financial transactions of more than 50 NGO, media associations and other non-profit organisations.
OVERVIEW AND ANALYSIS OF NEW EU WHISTLEBLOWER DIRECTIVE
On 12 November, Bird & Bird published a briefing about a Directive which obliges the member states to implement whistleblower rules which cover companies and public authorities and oblige these to introduce whistleblower protection schemes that include all employees in the company or authority. The deadline for the implementation is 17 December 2021.
GREECE TO OFFER 50% TAX BREAK FOR RETURNING PROFESSIONALS AND ‘DIGITAL MIGRANTS’
On 12 November, EurActiv reported that Greece is preparing a law that will offer a hefty tax incentive to workers who move there from abroad, with the aim of creating more professional jobs and reversing its crisis-era brain-drain. A worker from abroad who moves to Greece will be eligible for a 50% exemption on income earned there for 7 years under the plan, and legislation will be brought to parliament by the end of the year.
THE WORSENING OF THE GENERALISED DEFICIENCIES AFFECTING JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE IN POLAND DO NOT JUSTIFY THE AUTOMATIC NON-EXECUTION OF EVERY EUROPEAN ARREST WARRANT
A news release containing advice from the from the Advocate General on 12 November said that the execution of an EAW may also be suspended where there is evidence that, if the requested person is surrendered, there is a real risk that that person’s fundamental rights will be breached. However, providing advice to the European court on a Dutch application concerning EAW for extradition to Poland, the Advocate General notes that even though the threat to the independence of Polish courts may have worsened, it is not possible simply to suspend, automatically and indiscriminately, the application of the Framework Decision in respect of any EAWs issued by those courts.
BREXIT: IRELAND CLOSES EU DOOR TO BRITISH SOLICITORS
On 12 November, the Law Society Gazette reported that England and Wales-qualified solicitors who invested in Irish qualifications in order to protect their EU practising rights after the end of the Brexit transition period appear to have wasted their money; as the Law Society of Ireland has ruled that such solicitors will not be entitled to practising certificates unless they have a presence in the Republic.
IRAQ (SANCTIONS) (OVERSEAS TERRITORIES) ORDER 2020
ZIMBABWE (SANCTIONS) (OVERSEAS TERRITORIES) ORDER 2020
CYBER SANCTIONS (SANCTIONS) (OVERSEAS TERRITORIES) ORDER 2020
VENEZUELA (SANCTIONS) (OVERSEAS TERRITORIES) ORDER 2020
These Orders extends with modifications the various “(Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020” as amended from time to time to all British Overseas Territories except Bermuda and Gibraltar (which implement sanctions under their own legislative arrangements). The Overseas Territories includes Anguilla, Cayman Islands and BVI.
BREXIT: ANTIQUE INDUSTRY URGED TO CHECK GUIDANCE FOR TRADE OF ANIMAL AND FURNITURE PRODUCTS FROM 1 JANUARY
A news release from DEFRA on 12 November advised that consumers and antique industry check latest CITES guidance ahead of 1 January. Popular antique and vintage products such as furniture made from rosewood, reptile skin accessories and tortoiseshell boxes will all need documentation from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) in order to be legally transported between Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Great Britain and the EU from 1 January. Other commonly traded antique products that will also be affected include taxidermy, whale teeth, whalebone used in vintage garments and worked ivory such as that found in carvings, piano keys, jewellery, furniture and inlay in various decorative items.
BREXIT: HORTICULTURE AND ARBORICULTURE INDUSTRIES TO CHECK GUIDANCE AROUND IMPORTING AND EXPORTING PLANTS AND PLANT PRODUCTS
Another news release from DEFRA on 12 November advised that from 1 January, all regulated plants and plant products exported from England, Scotland or Wales to the EU will be subject to EU import controls, in line with goods exported from the rest of the world.
ITALY: POLICE INVESTIGATION HAS UNCOVERED AN ILLEGAL WORKFORCE OPERATING IN LOCAL SHIPYARDS IN LA SPEZIA
The Superyacht Report on 11 November reported that the Guardia di Finanza has made 8 arrests and seized over €900,000 in connection with an investigation into a criminal recruitment gang operating between La Spezia, Savona, Ancona and Carrara. It is said that several dozen workers, said to be immigrants from the Bengal region, were being exploited by a company that operates in shipyards building luxury yachts in La Spezia.
BREXIT: CUSTOMS CLEARANCE SOFTWARE PROVIDER FOR FREIGHT FORWARDERS SAYS THAT THERE IS AN UNACCEPTABLE LEVEL OF RISK WITH CUSTOMS DECLARATION SERVICE (CDS) FOR SHIPMENTS IN AND OUT OF NORTHERN IRELAND (NI)
On 12 November, Lloyds Loading List reported that Agency Sector Management (ASM), a Customs clearance software provider for freight forwarders, has written to HMRC stating it will not be offering or supporting a software solution that uses the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) for shipments in and out of Northern Ireland (NI) – and saying there is an unacceptable level of risk… with no workable contingency plan, and little support for users.
EU: RESTRICTIONS WILL BE PLACED ON THE EXPORT OF DUAL-USE PRODUCTS AND TECHNOLOGIES, INCLUDING CYBER SURVEILLANCE TOOLS, IN AN EFFORT TO LIMIT HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
On 11 November, Jurist reported that the EU Parliament had approved new rules to govern the export of dual-use goods, software and technology — for example, high-performance computers, drones and certain chemicals — with civilian applications that might be repurposed to be used in ways which violate human rights. The update, made necessary by technological developments and growing security risks, includes new criteria to grant or reject export licences for certain items. The agreement needs to be endorsed by the International Trade Committee, the Parliament as a whole, and the European Council before it can take effect.
355 PROTECTED REPTILES SAVED IN SPAIN FROM WILDLIFE TRAFFICKERS
A Europol news release on 12 November advised that an investigation, led by the Spanish Civil Guard and supported by Europol, led to the dismantling of a large organised crime group involved in wildlife trafficking, document fraud, smuggling and money laundering. The suspects smuggled reptiles from Australia, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and the Middle East and used a group of couriers to smuggle the animals across borders. They concealed the reptiles in personal luggage or even under their clothes and introduced protected species into the legal market by falsifying CITES documents.
$7.7 MILLION STOLEN FROM WESTERN GERMAN CUSTOMS OFFICE
On 11 November, AP reported that German authorities have offered a €100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a group of burglars who made off with €6.5 million in cash from a customs office near the Dutch border earlier this month.
US AND SINGAPORE CUSTOMS SIGN HISTORIC LETTER OF INTENT TO EXPLORE SINGLE WINDOW CONNECTIVITY
On 10 November, Homeland Security Today reported that US Customs and Border Protection and Singapore Customs have signed a letter of intent that will enable closer cooperation in the areas of trade facilitation, revenue protection and risk management. It formalises the commitment to sharing trade data and to exploring the possible connection of the countries’ national Single Windows for trade facilitation. Single Windows are electronic systems that automate and expedite the processing of import and export data by allowing traders to input standardized information in a single entry point to fulfil all import and export requirements.
BREXIT: INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RULES ARE CHANGING
On 12 November, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy issued an alert reminding one that in just 50 days, i.e. 31 December, there will be changes to how the Intellectual Property (IP) system and the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) will operate. These changes will affect trade marks and designs, parallel trade from the UK to the EEA and unregistered designs. It refers one to an October news release.
TEXAS AGENCY ALLEGES EXOTIC WILDLIFE COMPANY VENTURE A ‘FRAUD’
On 12 November, LMT reported that the family of convicted felon Brian Alfaro apparently had a handy template in preparing marketing materials to pitch investors on buying interests in a company that would breed exotic wildlife in South Texas. They used materials that originally were designed to solicit investments in oil and gas development programs, the Texas State Securities Board said in a cease and desist order it issued against the Alfaros and ARCA Wildlife Development and Conservation Inc. For years, Brian Alfaro wooed investors to buy units in oil and gas wells before a federal jury convicted him in February of defrauding some to support an extravagant lifestyle that included expensive automobiles and Spurs season tickets for seats behind the team’s bench; and he has not been sentenced to 10 years and a month and ordered him to pay almost $10 million in restitution.
FRENCH MAN ACCUSED OF BINARY OPTION FRAUD ARRESTED IN ISRAEL
On 12 November, Finance Magnates reported that Ilan Abraham Marco, a French-Israeli man linked to a high-profile binary options fraud scheme is under police custody in Israel for defrauding French citizens, most of them were elderly, in a follow-up scam. News sources reported that, who immigrated from France 10 years ago. He allegedly impersonated French police officers and tax inspectors to approach victims of binary options fraud and claimed that, for a fee, he can help them recover the sums invested or the losses incurred on unlawful trading platforms.
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