Panama Covid-19 update – with infections remaining stubbornly high, the authorities are said to be working to try to combat the continued spread, while avoiding another general lockdown that might damage the economy further.
Meanwhile, another 1,709 new cases have been reported and 9 more fatalities. There are currently 17,542 active cases, with 145 in ICU and 950 in other wards. Over 10,000 tests were carried out again (nearly 11,000) in the previous 24 hours, with a hit rate of 15.6%.
28 NOVEMBER 2020
RECAST OF THE EU DUAL-USE REGULATION
On 27 November, Field Fisher published an article saying that the EU is close to approving a significant update of its controls on exports and transfers of ‘dual-use’ goods, software and technology – items with civilian applications that also have potential military or security uses. Driven by rapidly evolving technological developments, security risks and threats to human rights, a revised text has now been agreed and is expected to be formally adopted by the end of 2020. The brief article considers the content of the recast, and the fact that it is likely to demonstrate the first divergence between EU and UK law post-Brexit – with Northern Ireland caught by it and the rest of the UK not.
HONG KONG: COVID-19 PANDEMIC FORCES ENDANGERED SPECIES SMUGGLERS INTO USING CARGO SHIPMENTS
On 28 November, the South China Morning Post reported that the value of seizures is already 12% higher this year than for the whole of 2019 as cargo shipments usually carry larger volumes of illicit goods, but wildlife smuggling cases detected at passenger channels at local control points dropped dramatically. In monetary value terms, the biggest amount seized was 46.4 tonnes in total of American ginseng worth HK$61.8 million – while last year 600 kg of American ginseng was seized, with Totoaba fish maws – a gas-filled organ that helps control the fish’s buoyancy – second this year, with 307 kg seized and valued at HK$49 million.
BENGAL COAL SMUGGLING CASE: CBI RAIDS AT 30 LOCATIONS
On 28 November, Yahoo News and others reported that authorities have learnt that huge amount of illegal coal was not only smuggled across West Bengal but also outside the state and the large sums of money were then transferred to influential politicians in West Bengal and also the ongoing probe has pointed towards the alleged involvement of top-ranking officers. The raids involve illegal mining and theft of coal from Eastern Coalfield Limited (ECL) that operates in West Bengal and Jharkhand.
FAIR AND EFFECTIVE TAXATION: EU COUNCIL ADOPTS CONCLUSIONS
A news release from the EU on 28 November advised that the Council of Ministers had approved conclusions setting out its comprehensive assessment of the main tax policy issues to be addressed over the coming years (direct and indirect), to shape the EU policy agenda in the field of taxation. The conclusions outline the Council’s priorities and provide guidance to the Commission in different areas of EU action, including addressing the challenges of the digitalisation of the economy, enhancing administrative cooperation between Member States’ tax authorities and promoting tax good governance in the EU and beyond.
AUSTRALIA: HIGH-FLYING BUSINESSWOMAN ACCUSED OF SWINDLING TAXPAYERS OUT OF $15 MILLION WITH ELABORATE CHILD CARE SCAM
On 28 November, the Daily Mail reported that Ola Ouda, 42, a glamorous businesswoman has been charged after allegedly swindling up to $15million dollars in a day care centre fraud scheme that used ‘phantom children’. She, her partner Amjad Shehada, 47, and 3 other co-accused were detained after a year-long investigation.
INDIA, MALDIVES AND SRI LANKA AGREE TO EXPAND INTELLIGENCE SHARING
DNA reported on 28 November that the countries will share intelligence on issues such as terrorism, radicalization, extremism, drugs, arms and human trafficking, money laundering, and effects of climate change on the maritime environment.
UK: PRESIDENT OF THE CHARTERED INSTITUTE OF TAXATION – REVENUE PROTECTION, CONSUMER PROTECTION, AND THE REPUTATION OF THE TAX PROFESSION ALL DEMAND THAT TAX AVOIDANCE SCHEMES ARE ‘STAMPED OUT’
On 17 November, the Chartered Institute of Taxation reported that its President also welcomed a government proposal that all tax advisers should be required to have professional indemnity insurance – as professional body members already do – to provide basic protection for their clients.
CORPORATE CRIMINAL LIABILITY IN THE UK: A NEW ERA IS COMING… ISN’T IT?
On 18 November, Bryan Cave Leighton Paiser published an article posing this question. It says that various jurisdictions have grappled with the question of how to hold a company criminally liable and recent developments in the UK have increased the likelihood that the English common law corporate criminal liability regime may change significantly, even if not in the near future. In this article, we consider the problems with the “identification principle” doctrine, the alternative options being considered by the Law Commission, and give our view on what the future should look like.
AIRLINE USED BY US GOVERNMENT WAS ONCE PART-OWNED BY 2 RUSSIAN ORGANISED CRIME FIGURES, AND IS STILL OWNED BY THE SON OF THEIR BUSINESS PARTNER
On 27 November, an article from OCCRP reported that an American airline that has been transporting protected witnesses for the US Government was once part-owned by 2 Russian organised crime figures – Anatoly Golubchik and Vadim Trincher, and is still owned by the son of their business partner. The pair were said to be part of a group known as the Taiwanchik-Trincher Organization, under the protection of notorious Russian crime boss Alimzhan “Taiwanchik” Tokhtakhounov. 2 other investors who ran the airline afterwards also had legal troubles, and one fled a warrant for his arrest in the US. The airline, Monarch Air Group and its affiliate WAB International, have been awarded contracts for sensitive jobs.
US BURKINA FASO TRAVEL WARNING OVER TERRORISM AND ETHNIC VIOLENCE
On 28 November, Eurasia Review reported that the US State Department red level “Do Not Visit” warning against travel to Burkina Faso has been posted online, as rising rates of COVID-19, terrorism, crime and kidnapping are said to endanger visitors to that country.
SCHREMS II: REACTIONS TO THE JUDGEMENT AND THE SUPERVISORY AUTHORITIES’ RECOMMENDATIONS – UPDATE
On 27 November, CMS Law published a further update on reaction etc to the CJEU Schrems II decision on cross-border data protection.
UK: REALITY OF LAW FIRMS’ APPROACH TO AML NOT LIVING UP TO THEIR POLICIES
On 26 November, Legal Futures reported that there is a difference between many law firms’ AML policies and procedures, and what actually happens in practice, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has found.
FRANCE: CORPORATE CRIMINAL LIABILITY AND TAKEOVERS
On 27 November, an article from Simmons & Simmons reported on a recent court case in France in which the Criminal division of the French Supreme Court ruled that in the case of a merger by absorption the absorbing company can face criminal fines or confiscation for an offence committed by the target before the transaction. This reversed the previous position.
THE CHINA COAST GUARD (CCG) AND ROYAL MALAYSIAN NAVY (RMN) ARE INVOLVED IN ANOTHER STANDOFF OVER HYDROCARBON EXPLORATION IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA
On 25 November, an article from the Center for Strategic and International Studies said that a China Coast Guard ship harassed a drilling rig and its supply ships operating just 44 nautical miles from Malaysia’s Sarawak State. Malaysia deployed a naval vessel in response. The incident seems to have followed 2 weeks of increasing tensions between the CCG and RMN in the area. An analysis of AIS data from Marine Traffic and satellite imagery from Planet Labs reveals this high-stakes game of chicken that would otherwise have remained under the radar.
MYANMAR: MILITIAS AND CUSTOMS OFFICERS DRUG TRAFFICKERS
On 28 November, Illicit Trade reported claims that the Burmese army turns a blind eye to the actions of drug-trafficking militias and customs officers in Shan State. It says that the army has disarmed hundreds of militiamen and seized 18 tons of methamphetamine. Chemical precursors were also recovered and fentanyl was discovered. The situation in this region has been complicated for a long time, but the explosion in drug production is said to have started in 2016. Today, drug-trafficking customs officers rub shoulders with armed groups with dubious loyalty.
WHERE ARE THE OLDEST COMPANIES IN EXISTENCE?
This website says that, in the 1960s, a typical S&P 500 company was projected to last for more than 60 years. However, with the rapidly transforming business landscape today, it is down to just 18 years. The website provides a series of interactive maps showing the oldest companies in countries around the world.
TAJIK GOVERNOR’S “FRIENDS AND RELATIVES ILLEGALLY GET FREE LAND”
On 28 November, an article from Rferl reported that an investigation by RFE/RL’s Tajik Service has revealed that the high demand has led to corruption in the distribution of land in the Rudaki district around the country’s capital, despite measures announced by state to root out “illegal land sales” in the sought-after district. It is alleged that claim that former district Governor Rustam Akramzoda has fast-tracked several of his own relatives and acquaintances to obtain free land parcels.
PERU’S OUSTED EX-PRESIDENT MARTIN VIZCARRA TO RUN FOR CONGRESS
On 28 November, BNN Bloomberg reported that Martin Vizcarra, who was impeached from Peru’s presidency earlier this month, will run for a seat in congress. The unexpected impeachment, which Vizcarra lost in a 105 to 19 vote, plunged Peru into political crisis as it recovers from one of the world’s deepest economic slumps.
‘CANNABIS CLUBS’ OPERATING IN SPAIN LINKED TO IRISHMAN JOHN GILLIGAN DRUG TRAFFICKING GANG
On 28 November, The Journal reported that cannabis clubs based in Spain are suspected of helping to facilitate money laundering as well as drug trafficking by a gang being led by John Gilligan. It is said that laws have allowed hundreds of such clubs, which operate as private members clubs, to open in Spain. People can join and then legally buy and consume the drug on site.
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