Panama Covid-19 update – received notice from my gym about its reopening on Monday…can’t say I’m enthusiastic, though could do with the exercise. The complication is the monthly fee, which was suspended during the mandatory closure – do I keep it up until things get better (i.e. when the vaccine is here) or do I just save the money? Probably the least of problems at the moment really, especially for those districts threatened by imminent Tropical Storm Iota, with $100 million allocated for repairs and recovery after the floods caused by Hurricane Eta.
Meanwhile, La Prensa reports that that the positivity rate of Covid-19 tests rose by 2.4% in the week between 1 and 7 November. The health ministry (Minsa) has also explained the indicators that could trigger re-imposed restrictions – the average Rt should be at 1 or less than 1 (the last I heard it was 1.07); lethality must be at less than 3% (which is is at present); less than 20% capacity available ICU beds and 15% capacity in special respiratory care (UCRE) units (as with other countries, the chief concern is an overloading, and resulting collapse of the health services). The measures that could be imposed include returning to the lockdown for Saturdays and Sundays, re-imposed gender-based restrictions and longer curfews, in order to contain the spread of the virus.
For today, 4 areas reported more than 30 new cases, causing concern. There were 832 new cases in total, with 11 more fatalities and 18,171 active cases.
14 NOVEMBER 2020
UK WASTE EXPORTED TO SRI LANKA
On 13 November, an article on Let’s Recycle was concerned with a question asked by the British MP about the export of containers of waste to Sri Lanka and which have been deemed illegal by Sri Lanka’s Environmental Authority. The Sri Lankan authorities have said that the importers appeared to be taking apart the imported products (which include mattresses and carpets) for onward materials despatch out of Sri Lanka. The MP asked a minister what discussions he has had with his Sri Lankan counterpart on the 21 containers of waste returned to the UK from that country in September 2020. The ministers said that the 21 containers had arrived back in England, having been shipped to Sri Lanka in 2017. The Environment Agency will seek to confirm the types of waste shipped, who exported it and the producer of the waste and those responsible could face a custodial sentence of up to 2 years, an unlimited fine, and the recovery of money and assets obtained as the proceeds of the activity.
WESTERN UNION TO SHUT CUBA OFFICES 23 NOVEMBER
On 14 November, RTL reported that Western Union is to close its Cuba operation on 23 November, following new US sanctions that prevent it from working with Havana’s military financial firm, Fincimex.
GUATEMALAN AUTHORITIES ARREST A MEXICAN PILOT FOR SMUGGLING $14 MILLION WORTH OF COCAINE AND SHOOTING AT POLICE
Breaking Belize News on 13 November reported that Guаtеmаlаn аuthоrіtіеѕ hаvе аrrеѕtеd a Мехісаn ріlоt, Јоеl Аmауа, 60, fоr ѕmugglіng $14 mіllіоn wоrth оf сосаіnе аnd gеttіng іntо а ѕhооt оut wіth роlісе following a crash landing that killed his co-pilot. Guatemalan aviation authorities had detected the illegal flight, which had come in from Venezuela, and ordered it to land.
MAURITIUS: CODE ON THE PREVENTION OF MONEY LAUNDERING & TERRORIST FINANCING REPLACED
On 14 November, Axis Fiduciary Ltd reported that a Circular Letter from the Mauritius FSC had advised that the country’s Code on the Prevention of Money Laundering & Terrorist Financing 2012 had been repealed. This followed the enactment of the Financial Intelligence and Anti-Money Laundering Regulations 2018, which provide a new framework of AML/CFT controls.
US: FOCUS ON FORCED LABOUR FOR IMPORTED PRODUCTS
On 13 November, an article from Greenberg Traurig said that recently, US Customs & Border Protection significantly increased enforcement of the import prohibition on goods made from forced labour, including issuing a “finding” of forced labour, the first since 1996, its first civil penalty, and additional withhold release orders (WRO) on the importation of specific products. In fact, in 2020 CBP issued 13 WRO, which are promulgated when CBP has reason to believe that the imported products are made with forced labour. More detentions and penalties are expected from CBP and importers should review supply chains and internal controls, do risk assessments and onsite visits, ensure all suppliers adhere to a code of conduct including provisions on forced labour, and edit customer agreements to protect against late or missed delivery.
EDPB GUIDANCE ON SUPPLEMENTARY TRANSFER MEASURES AND SURVEILLANCE CALLS IN QUESTION THE FUTURE USE OF SCC FOR DATA TRANSFERS TO THE US
On 12 November, an article from Greenberg Traurig said that the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) had published recommendations, with public comments due by 30 November. This follows the Schrems II decision of the European courts on data transfers between the US and EEA. After the court decision the EDPB had said it would provide guidance on the “supplementary measures” an exporting organization could consider taking to ensure an adequate level of data protection when using SCC in relation to such transfers.
MEXICAN STEEL TYCOON ON THE RUN WILL BE EXTRADITED FROM SPAIN
On 14 November, Merco Press reported that Spain’s high court has said it had rejected an appeal lodged by Alonso Ancira, chairman of the board of Altos Hornos de Mexico (AHMSA) and ordered his extradition to his home country where he faces corruption charges. He had been accused of involvement in “a series of crimes that gravely hurt” Pemex, according to a statement from the Mexican attorney general.
SLOVAKIA: TOP-RANKING OFFICIALS HAVE BEEN REMOVED FROM OFFICE OR ARRESTED IN THE PRIME MINISTER’S ANTI-CORRUPTION DRIVE
On 14 November, Remix News reported that the latest person to be stripped of his position and arrested is the former head of the Office of Special Prosecutions, Dušan Kováčik, who is accused of malfeasance in office, corruption, taking bribes and assisting a criminal organization. He has been taken into custody by officers from the Slovakian National Criminal Agency (NAKA). Questions are said to be being raised as how a person with such extensive ties to organised crime as Kováčik could hold an office for over 16 years, throughout the terms of several governments. A wave of anti-corruption arrests was part of 2 major investigations named, while a third one called promises to target more corrupt police officers, politicians and judges. The article says that, although the arrests of high-ranking officials and criminal figures is extremely popular among many Slovakians, the entire affair has unmasked a deep-rooted systemic corruption that reaches into the top-tiers of the political establishment.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA PASSES ANTI-CORRUPTION LEGISLATION
On 14 November, Raio New Zealand reported that the Papua New Guinea parliament has passed legislation to establish an Independent Commission Against Corruption.
UKRAINIAN ANTI-CORRUPTION STRATEGY FOR 2020-2024 PASSED ON FIRST READING
On 13 November, CMS Law published an article saying that, on 5 November, the Ukrainian parliament passed Draft Law No. 4135 “On the fundamentals of the state anti-corruption policy for 2020-2024” after the first reading, which presents a new anti-corruption strategy for the next 4 years. The new strategy provides an analysis of the Ukraine’s current anti-corruption situation, sets expectations for anti-corruption policymaking over the next 4 years, and identifies the spheres where overcoming corruption is considered a high-priority task, which includes the judiciary system, state regulation of all sectors of the economy, ensuring economic competition, customs and tax authorities, healthcare system, the sponsoring of the political parties, etc.
SENEGAL: SHIPWRECK OFF COAST PRODS UN TO CALL FOR DISMANTLING TRAFFICKING AND SMUGGLING NETWORKS
On 14 November, the Eurasia Review reported that the deadliest shipwreck of the year occurred most recently off the coast of Senegal where at least 140 people drowned after a boat carrying around 200 migrants sank. The government in Senegal has warned of a “resurgence” in migrants attempting to reach Europe via a perilous crossing to Spain’s Canary Islands. An estimated 11,000 migrants have reached the Canary Islands so far this year, compared to 2,557 arrivals during the same period last year.
UK INFORMATION COMMISSIONER IMPOSES SECOND SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED GDPR PENALTY
On 13 November, Clifford Chance reported that the ICO has issued a Penalty Notice, fining Marriott International Inc the sum of £18.4 million for various infringements of the GDPR, a significant reduction from the £99 million penalty originally proposed. The Penalty Notice comes just a few weeks after the ICO announced it was reducing to £20 million the size of the penalty imposed on British Airways PLC, down from the £183 million indicated in 2019. The article identifies key takeaways.
FRAUDULENT CLIENTS CAN SUCCESSFULLY SUE THEIR SOLICITORS – BUT NOT NECESSARILY IN ALL CASES
On 9 November, an article from Clyde & Co says that should a client involved in a fraudulent property transaction be able to recover compensation from its solicitor for a failure to register title? After more than 5 years of litigation the trial judge, the Court of Appeal and now the Supreme Court has considered this question and the answer is “Yes”. It is said that it is a well-established principle that a claimant cannot rely on its own illegal conduct to pursue a cause of action against another person. The legal profession had sought guidance from the Supreme Court as to when a client’s illegal conduct will prevent it from successfully pursuing a negligence claim. The article says that the guidance provided by the Supreme Court ought to be helpful in assessing the application of illegality in the future. The decision clarifies that the court will be guided by policy factors and that claims are only likely to be denied if they would not result in an inherent contradiction in la, and that solicitors may also look for different ways to protect themselves.
TRAFIGURA SAYS EMPLOYEE DETAINED IN CHINA OVER CARGO SHIPMENT
On 14 November, Hellenic Shipping News reported that customs officers from the city of Zhanjiang, in southern China’s Guangdong province, had detained a suspect in Shanghai in a solid waste smuggling case. China has launched a sweeping crackdown on solid waste imports in recent years and smuggling busts are frequent. The country is prohibiting all imports of all material designated as “foreign garbage” from the end of 2020. A Geneva-based Trafigura spokeswoman said the investigation centred on the quality of the cargo, which had come from a supplier in the EU and was shipped in July.
SWITZERLAND RETURNS STOLEN ARTEFACTS TO ITALY
On 12 November, Swissinfo reported that Switzerland is now working closely with the Italian authorities to secure the return of such treasures and the latest handover comprises 27 objects of inestimable historic and artistic value. Swiss authorities handed over 26 Etruscan artefacts from a private collection and a 2,000-year-old marble bust which was found at the Geneva free port. The illicit trafficking of cultural artefacts is the world’s third-largest illegal market, after drugs and weapons.
TAIWAN CONTRIBUTES TO BIGGEST DRUG BUST IN THAILAND HISTORY
On 13 November, Taiwan News reported that Taiwanese investigators have cooperated with Thailand law enforcement authorities to help make the largest drug seizure recorded in Thailand. 11,650 kg of ketamine were seized at a warehouse in Chachoengsao Province. This followed a tip-off from Taiwanese officials about a recent smuggling case from Thailand to Taiwan. Authorities said the market value of the seized drugs was an estimated $960 million and added that ketamine is not popular in Thailand and is mainly sold overseas.
‘PROPHET’ WANTED FOR FRAUD FLEES TO MALAWI FROM SOUTH AFRICA
On 14 November, Al Jazeera reported that self-proclaimed prophet and controversial millionaire Shepherd Bushiri says he returned to his native country with his wife as he feared for his life. Released on bail in South Africa in a case of alleged fraud and money laundering, he has fled to his native Malawi. He was arrested for alleged fraud and money laundering in October and his wealth is said to come from donations from followers of his Enlightened Christian Gathering church in Pretoria.
QUICK GUIDE 13: FINANCIAL CRIME IN ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE
This Quick Guide from the Basel Institute of Governance is now also available in French, Spanish and Portuguese.
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