Panama Covid-19 update – still the figures continue to be worrying and too high, although so far the government has held back from reimposing new general restrictions.
Today another 1, 276 new infections reported and 21 fatalities (much higher than recent days). There are now 18,053 active cases, with 151 in ICI, 987 in other wards and 651 in the hotels. Another 8,698 tests were carried out, with a hit rate of 14.7% resulting in detection of new cases.
29 NOVEMBER 2020
CAMBODIA ENACTS LAW TO REGULATE LOCAL GAMING INDUSTRY TO APPEASE FATF
On 29 November, Regulation Asia reported that the new law seeks to address a FATF requirement for Cambodia to implement risk-based supervision for casinos, while also helping to further develop the gaming sector. Cambodia returned to the FATF’s ‘grey list’ in February 2019 after being removed in 2015, amid concerns the country was highly vulnerable to money laundering. The new law implements a FATF requirement to provide for risk-based supervision of casinos.
“SECRETIVE” LICENSING SYSTEM ALLOWS UK WEAPONS TO REACH REPRESSIVE REGIMES
On 29 November, the Observer carried an article saying that a new report from the Campaign Against Arms Trade says that most UK arms are being sold via a secretive and opaque licensing regime that allows for the mass transfer of deadly weapons to “sensitive locations”. Researchers found tens of billions of pounds worth of missiles, bombs and machine guns had been sold under open licences, a mechanism that makes the tracking of arms sales more difficult, with around £44 billion of the total £86.1 billion have been sold through open licences 2010-19, and that the UK government had approved at least 10,390 open licences since 2010, many to countries with poor human rights records. These include more than 200 to Saudi Arabia. More than 1,800 open licences involved small arms – including sniper rifles, assault rifles and ammunition – included 87 to Sri Lanka, 49 to Egypt, the Philippines and 199 open licences for teargas with destinations including Hong Kong whose police have been accused of brutality in clashes with pro-democracy protesters.
CONSTRUCTION ON GERMAN SECTION OF NORD STREAM 2 TO RESUME IN DECEMBER
On 29 November, Rferl reported that, despite US sanctions, construction on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline running under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany will resume in early December after a 1-year pause. Undersea pipe-laying work will resume on a 2.6-kilometer section of each of the gas pipeline’s branches within Germany’s exclusive economic zone. US sanctions targeted any vessel building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, forcing Switzerland-based pipe-laying company Allseas to suspend operations shortly before its completion and it is unclear what pipe-laying ship will be involved in finishing Nord Stream 2.
SWISS COURT ORDERS FULL ACCESS TO RECORDS FOR VATICAN FINANCIAL INVESTIGATION
On 27 November, the Catholic News Agency reported that Vatican investigators have been granted full access to Swiss banking documentation related to long-time Vatican investment manager Enrico Crasso, as part of the investigation about the purchase of a London building by the Secretariat of State in 2018. The documents to be turned over to the Vatican include financial records of the company to Az Swiss & Partners. Az Swiss owns Sogenel Capital Holding, the company Crasso founded after leaving Credit Suisse in 2014.
MORE THAN 700 MEMBERS OF TRANSNATIONAL ORGANISED CRIME GROUPS ARRESTED IN CENTRAL AMERICA IN US-ASSISTED OPERATION
A news release from the US DoJ on 27 November about the detention of more than 700 members of transnational criminal organisations, primarily MS-13 and 18th Street gangs under Operation Regional Shield (ORS). ORS began in 2017 and is a DoJ-led initiative to combat transnational organized crime that brings together gang prosecutors and investigators from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and the US. Through quarterly meetings, this group has coordinated multi-country investigations and simultaneous takedowns throughout the region. Authorities also announced the arrest of 36 individuals in El Salvador and Honduras involved in human smuggling networks that span Central America and the US, and including, in Honduras, a police commissioner, a police deputy inspector, and 3 law enforcement agents.
LICENCE BAN FOR HIGH-END LONDON CASINO TRIGGERS CONCERN OVER SECRET IDENTITY OF NEW OWNER
On 28 November, an article in the Evening Standard is concerned with the Park Lane Club, situated in the world-renowned Hilton hotel, and one of the most prestigious casinos for high-rollers in London. It has been dogged with controversy in recent years, culminating in the Gambling Commission revoking its licence last month over concerns over the source of funds used to buy and operate the club. It is said that the ban raises serious questions over whether the owner’s auditors, Deloitte, and bankers NatWest had raised red flags earlier at the business which has a long track record of run-ins with the regulator over money laundering controls. It is said that the identity of the actual owner of the company, or “controller” in legal terms, is impossible to tell.
SECOND SWISS COMPANY ALLEGEDLY SOLD ENCRYPTED SPYING DEVICES
On 26 November, Swissinfo reported claims that a second company besides Crypto AG was involved in manufacturing manipulated devices allegedly used for spying by foreign intelligence, with Omnisec AG having ties to US intelligence services. It explains that Crypto AG was at the heart of a huge international spying operation led by the CIA, and to a lesser extent by the German BND spy agency. Omnisec was one of the largest competitors of Crypto AG, was founded in 1987, manufactured voice, fax and data encryption equipment and was dissolved a few years ago.
DRAFT CHINESE LAW RAISES CONFLICT RISK IN SOUTH CHINA SEA
On 28 November, the Indo-Pacific Defense Forum reported that Chinese legislators have drafted a law that would give the People’s Republic of China’s coast guard permission to fire upon foreign vessels in disputed waters of the South China Sea, ratcheting up tensions in an already contested environment.
THE WORLD’S NETWORK OF SUBMARINE CABLES
50 YEARS OF GAMING HISTORY, BY REVENUE STREAM (1970-2020)
On 23 November, the Visual Capitalist published an illustrated chart mapping the rise in gaming revenues and showing that while the tidal wave of gaming has only continued to swell, the driving factors have shifted over the course of gaming history.
UK MOVES TOWARD MANDATORY CLIMATE-RELATED DISCLOSURES BY 2025
On 29 November, the Compliance & Enforcement Blog at the Program on Corporate Compliance and Enforcement at the New York University School of Law carried a post saying that on 9 November a taskforce chaired by HM Treasury and made up of UK regulators and government officials published the Interim Report of the UK Joint Government-Regulator TCFD Taskforce, along with a roadmap to achieving its recommendations. TFCD referred to the Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TFCD). The Roadmap presents a 5-year timeline of planned or potential regulatory actions or legislative measures across 7 categories of organizations: listed commercial companies; UK-registered large private companies; banks and building societies; insurance companies; asset managers; life insurers and regulated pension schemes; and occupational pension schemes. The UK Government expects a significant portion of mandatory requirements to be in place by 2023. The Taskforce was established as part of the UK’s 2019 “Green Finance Strategy”.
CRIMINALS TARGET POKER MACHINES IN NEW SOUTH WALES AMID PANDEMIC
On 29 November, the Sydney Morning Herald reported claims that money laundering during 5 months of COVID-19 restrictions drove a $305 million increase in poker machine profits – a spike that experts say shows the need for a gambling card. Latest figures from Liquor and Gaming NSW show profits increased more than 10% compared to the same period last year despite the lockdown and restrictions on pubs and clubs. It is proposed that poker machines should become cashless and gamblers required to register and pre-load money to the card, which would operate in a similar way to Opal cards for public transport.
UAE TO SET UP NEW COURTS TO HEAR MONEY LAUNDERING CASES
In its 30 November, Gulf News reported that the Minister of Justice has issued ministerial decisions to establish specialised courts to look into money laundering crimes in the federal judiciary in the courts of Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah.
MEASURING EFFECTIVENESS OF ANTI-CORRUPTION PROGRAMMES IN THE HEALTH CARE SECTOR
On 26 November, the Basel Institute on Governance reported a set of indicators that health care companies may wish to consider when reporting on the effectiveness of their anti-corruption efforts to external stakeholders. A guidance note containing the indicators was developed over 7 months by a group of health care companies under an innovative project of Norges Bank Investment Management. It says that the health sector is especially vulnerable to compliance risks because of the complexity of its value chain and the size of the financial flows in the sector.
The guidance note is available at –
TAX EVASION COSTS MOROCCO OVER $521 MILLION PER YEAR
On 29 November, Morocco World News reported that Morocco loses $521,534,833 per year to tax evasion, according to the Global Alliance for Tax Justice, the eighth-highest corporate tax loss in Africa. The African country with the highest losses from corporate tax evasion is Nigeria, losing $10.57 billion per year. Following are South Africa ($2.71 billion), Egypt ($2.12 billion), and Angola ($2.05 billion). Sudan loses $644 million, Kenya $502.4 million, Mozambique $452 million, Morocco $451 million, Algeria $434.75 million, and Ethiopia $362.66 million.
MEXICO ISSUES WARRANT FOR EX-SECURITY CHIEF ACCUSED OF AIDING CARTEL
On 29 November, Metro reported that Mexico has issued an arrest warrant for a former security minister, Genaro Garcia Luna, wanted on corruption charges and may request his extradition from the US where he is being held awaiting trial. He pleaded not guilty last month to charges involving a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme allegedly designed to boost the Sinaloa cartel once headed by jailed drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
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