Panama Covid-19 update – new infections remain stubbornly high, with another 1,206 today, and with the Minister quoted as saying that most people are complying with biosecurity measures, but regretted “that some insist on parties and other activities outside the family bubble”. 11 more fatalities were recorded, with 15,864 active cases, of whom 146 are in ICU and 780 in other wards, with 699 in the requisitioned hotel rooms. The good news is that another 1,602 people are recorded as having recovered.
22 NOVEMBER 2020
RUSSIA IMPOSES RECIPROCAL SANCTIONS AGAINST 25 BRITISH OFFICIALS
On 22 November, 112 UA in Ukraine reported that a Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman accused the UK of interfering in Russia’s internal affairs by issuing in July sanctions against individuals thought to be involved in the mistreatment and death of a Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. Russia announced the imposition of personal sanctions against 25 British representatives.
ZIMBABWE: MNANGAGWA’S TOP CIO FIRED FOR BEING INVOLVED IN GOLD SMUGGLING SYNDICATE
On 22 November, Zimeye reported that Tichafa Victor Hwacha, a deputy director with the Counter Intelligence unit of the Central Intelligence Organisation has been fired for allegedly working with a cartel in the gold sector. Hwacha is a relative of the President and is understood to be linked to a syndicate of gold dealers and influential officers in the Prosecutor-General’s office, and is also said to be linked to suspended Criminal Investigation Department boss Crispen Charumbira. However, Zimeye says, other sources said Hwacha was sacked for talking bad things about the First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa and her son in the ongoing gold scandal involving Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation president Henrietta Rushwaya.
THE SOUTH PACIFIC CENTRAL BANK GOVERNORS HAVE COMPLETED AN INITIAL PHASE OF WORK ON A KYC FACILITY FOR THE REGION
On 22 November, Regulation Asia reported that the KYC facility will improve CDD processes and AML/CFT compliance, and support the provision of correspondent banking services to Pacific Island nations. It is a collective effort from the central banks of Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, and Vanuatu.
GERMAN CUSTOMS SEIZES 10 TONS OF SHISHA TOBACCO
On 19 November, AP reported that German authorities have seized 10.2 tonnes of water pipe tobacco they say was being smuggled into Berlin from the Middle East to avoid import taxes. This was the culmination of an investigation that began during the summer of a German-Iraqi network that distributed illegal tobacco to hookah bars Europe-wide.
COUNTRIES LOSE MORE THAN $427 BILLION IN REVENUE EACH YEAR FROM TAX DODGING BY COMPANIES AND WEALTHY INDIVIDUALS
On 20 November, ICIJ reported that the Tax Justice Network has published its “State of Tax Justice” report which estimates that global tax losses could pay for the salaries of almost 34 million nurses around the world. The report says that a global tax system that loses over $427 billion a year is not a broken system, it is a system programmed to fail. It also says that governments have programmed the global tax system to prioritize the desires of the wealthiest corporations and individuals over the needs of everybody else. While rich countries lost the most tax revenue in overall terms, poorer countries lost disproportionately more than wealthier countries, TJN found. Latin America and Africa’s tax losses equal 20.4% and 52.5% of those regions’ public health budgets respectively, according to the report.
The report is at –
LATVIAN STATE POLICE FIND HUMAN TRAFFICKING AT CONFECTIONERY FACTORY
On 20 November, the Baltic News Network reported that Latvian State Police Organized Crime Enforcement Unit have detained an organised group under suspicion of human trafficking, money laundering and infliction of light physical harm. Members of this group had exploited guest workers from third countries in a confectionery company, using their hopeless situation and putting them in a state of material dependence, using threats and physical violence, police explain. State Police had received information from a foreign embassy regarding some Latgale-based confectionery company employees complaining about forced labour. During the investigation it was found that the company had been exploiting third country citizens for a long time, using their hopeless situation, not paying them wages and pulling them into a life of debt.
AUSTRALIA: ‘QUEEN’ OF HEROIN SMUGGLING CRIME SYNDICATE JAILED
On 19 November, a news release from the Australian Federal Police advised that the self-described ‘queen’ of a criminal drug smuggling syndicate who has been convicted for her role in attempting to import high grade heroin into Melbourne was sentenced to prison in the Melbourne County Court. A 49-year-old woman was charged with a string of serious illicit drug offences, including importing and trafficking commercial quantities of heroin, and was handed a jail term of 18 years with a non-parole period of 13 years. Involved was a large-scale heroin smuggling operation believed to be responsible for the importation of an estimated $6 million dollars’ worth of illicit drugs using international airline cabin crew, operating into Melbourne.
SURVEY OF CHINESE-LINKED ESPIONAGE IN THE US SINCE 2000
The Center for Strategic & International Studies has produced this list of 147 publicly reported instances of Chinese espionage directed at the US since 2000. It does not include espionage against other countries, US firms or persons located in China, nor an additional 50 cases involving attempts to smuggle munitions or controlled technologies from the US to China. We also did not include more than 1200 cases of intellectual property litigation brought by US companies against Chinese entities in either the US or Chinese legal systems. 25% of the cases involved were before 2009 and 75% after 2009. CSIS says that this could reflect an increase in the number of incidents after 2009, but it may also reflect variances in the public reporting of espionage cases, as greater attention was paid to the problem and the US government reportedly became less resultant to publicly identify China as the perpetrator after 2007.
MARITIME REGULATORS TO INVESTIGATE CONTAINER SHORTAGE IMPACT ON US EXPORTERS
In its 23 November edition, Hellenic Shipping News reported that the US Federal Maritime Commission will investigate whether shipping lines are impairing the ability of American farmers to reach foreign markets by holding back empty containers needed to export goods. The FMC says that it would investigate actions by ocean carriers at the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and New York, as a crush of imports has triggered bottlenecks at the country’s biggest export gateways and buffeted inbound and outbound supply chains. The shortage is partly due to imbalance in the value of the goods moving across the Pacific.
PANDEMIC-INDUCED CONTAINER SHORTAGE PRESSURES FREIGHT RATES FROM ASIA TO US AND LATIN AMERICA
Another report in the 23 November edition says that efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) across the globe have disrupted normal trade patterns, causing delays and contributing to higher freight rates from Asia, largely because of a shortage of shipping containers in major export ports.
CAMBODIA: KING ENACTS GAMBLING LAW TO TIGHTEN CONTROLS
On 22 November, the Phnom Post reported that the King had promulgated a long-awaited gambling law that aims to create jobs, boost the economy and bolster tourism as well as establish safeguards against money laundering and corruption. The law will dictate how casinos and gambling operators conduct business, and was written to manage commercial gaming centres, like casinos, and all commercial gaming activities in the country. The law sets out the authority and procedures for managing commercial gaming and the rights and duties of individuals and entities that own and operate gaming businesses. It refers to money laundering, bribery, corruption and the financing of terrorism and operators must keep strict accounting records and submit them to the committee for scrutiny.
THE NEXT 4 YEARS OF FCPA ENFORCEMENT: WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION
On 22 November, an article from Sheppard Mullin says that the Trump Administration Department of Justice imposed record penalties under the FCPA from 2017 to 2020. But in each of those years, fewer and fewer new FCPA investigations were initiated. The firm says that it expects the Biden Administration to continue the trend of increasing FCPA enforcement settlement values, while also increasing the pace of initiating new FCPA investigations. Another thing the firm mentions is that it expects strong moves to re-populate key DoJ offices, left undermanned by Trump, such as the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, which has exclusive authority over FCPA cases. It also expects that Covid-19 and downturn to generate more cases.
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