Panama Covid-19 update – it appears that 5 townships, between Panama and Panama Oeste, have registered the highest incidence of Covid-19 cases in recent days as new case numbers spike. Meanwhile, on the first night of a re-imposed longer curfew in Panama Oeste, police arrested 12 people. The authorities are also assembling a new 40-bed hospital in Panama Oeste to cope with Covid-19 cases, to open next week and will supplement the existing local hospital.
Another 2,300 new cases reported today, almost reaching yesterday’s record total of 2,388. 19 new fatalities takes the total to date to 3,173. With an Rt rate now at 1.24, there are 21,487 active cases, of which 161 are in ICU and 1,129 in other wards.
5 DECEMBER 2020
US REGULATORY COMPLIANCE FOR NON-PROFITS
On 4 December, a post on the Compliance & Enforcement blog from the Program on Corporate Compliance and Enforcement from the New York University School of Law. This constituted a reminder that regulatory compliance is key not just for corporate organizations, but for non-profit ones as well. The post describes the major risks facing non-profits who fail to meet regulatory requirements. A few regulatory areas (safety, cybersecurity, and international trade and sanctions) are also discussed, as examples of compliance challenges facing non-profits. Finally, the post considers basic general steps non-profit organisations can take to examine their regulatory responsibilities and compliance procedures as a whole. It says that by regularly evaluating risks, identifying relevant legal provisions, and acting to implement any necessary changes or preventative measures, a non-profit organisation can more effectively promote compliance and protect the welfare of its employees and other stakeholders.
BAHAMAS: ATTORNEY GENERAL TO MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS TO EU FINANCE OFFICIALS ON THE WAY FORWARD CONCERNING THE REMOVAL FROM ITS BLACKLIST
On 4 December, The Tribune reported that Attorney General Carl Bethel is expected to make recommendations to European finance officials on the way forward concerning the country’s removal from the European blacklist. In October, the EU confirmed The Bahamas’ inclusion on a list of nations deemed to have deficiencies in their anti-financial crime defences, which makes it “high risk”.
MALDIVES: EX-PRESIDENT HEARING ON MONEY LAUNDERING AND BRIBERY CHARGES
On 5 December, Raajje reported that the Criminal Court has scheduled a hearing in the 2 additional charges raised against jailed former President Abdulla Yameen. Fresh charges have been laid against Yameen, in relation to the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) corruption scandal, earlier this year; he is accused of money laundering and accepting bribes. Yameen was convicted on money-laundering charges in November 2019, for laundering $1 million through state-owned MMPRC via a private company SoF, during his presidency. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison and fined $5 million to be paid within 6 months.
DATA PROTECTION: LAW FIRMS, BARRISTERS AND SOLICITORS
On 4 December, law firm Greenberg Traurig published 2 articles asking –
· Are barristers and solicitors “separate controllers” or “joint controllers”?; and
· Are law firms considered “processors” or “controllers” of the personal data that they collect from third parties as part of a representation of a client?
LAWFULLY PRODUCED CBD FROM ONE EU MEMBER STATE CANNOT BE BANNED IN ANOTHER MEMBER STATE
On 4 December, Greenberg Traurig reported on a recent European court case which held that the rules on the free movement of goods within the EU “must be interpreted as precluding national legislation which prohibits the marketing of CBD lawfully produced in another Member State when it is extracted from the Cannabis sativa plant in its entirety and not solely from its fibre and seeds”. According to the CJEU, the CBD in the case did not qualify as a “narcotic drug”. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (commonly called THC), another hemp cannabinoid, the CBD in this case did not appear to have any psychotropic or harmful effect on human health. The Alert says that the judgment is a clear signal that EU law provides strong protection for free movement of CBD within the EU, but warns that producers and importers of CBD in the EU should, however, remain cautious with respect to (additional) restrictions in individual Member States.
SOUTH AFRICA: ARMED FORCES AND POLICE CONFISCATE ABALONE IN COMBINED OPERATION
On 4 December, Defence Web reported that a multi-disciplinary task team consisting of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), SA Police Service and other law enforcement carried out a combined operation in the Gansbaai area of the Western Cape that netted several suspects and confiscated abalone with an estimated export value of more than $330,000.
UK ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING: THE BASICS: COMPANY FORMATION
On 4 December, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales published number 3 in its series of briefings on AML basics. It looks at how professional accountants can apply a risk-based approach in the company formation process, identify key red flags, and know when to walk away and/or file a suspicious activity report.
Number 2 covered the risk-based approach
Number 1 covered the introduction to anti-money laundering for professional accountants
BUSINESSMAN LINKED TO SARKOZY-GADDAFI CORRUPTION CASE ARRESTED
On 5 December, the Libyan Express and others reported that Lebanese authorities have reportedly arrested Lebanese-French businessman who allegedly funnelled millions of euros from former Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi to former French President Nicolas Sarkozy during the French of elections of 2007. Ziad Takiedinne, a suspected arms dealer, was arrested by Lebanon’s elite Information Branch.
CZECH REPUBLIC: 3 SUSPECTS CHARGED OF SUBSIDY FRAUD
On 5 December, Radio Prague International reported that police have charged 3 men of subsidy fraud worth €11.5 million which is supposed to have taken place from 2012 to 2013 and used both state and EU funds. It is said that they allegedly used their positions as company executives to inflate the value of an IT system which they purchased through a subsidy granted by the Ministry of Industry and Trade. They then intended to use their contacts within the company selling the IT system to enrich themselves.
CZECH REPUBLIC: POLICE CHARGE PRAGUE HIGH COURT JUDGE WITH CORRUPTION
On 5 December, Radio Prague International reported that detectives from the National Centre for Combating Organised Crime (NCOZ) have charged 5 individuals of corruption, and among them are a judge from the High Court in Prague and an attorney. The judge in question is accused of manipulating court cases.
UK: LAW COMMISSION RECOMMENDS REFORM OF OUTDATED OFFENCE OF MISCONDUCT IN PUBLIC OFFICE
On 4 December, the Law Commission reported that outdated and unclear laws governing misconduct in public office should be reformed, with 2 new offences – an offence of corruption in public office, and an offence of breach of duty in public office. These new offences would make the law clearer and easier to follow. It also says that there should be a focus the criminal law on the worst forms of misconduct, leaving space for other consequences such as disciplinary proceedings in less serious cases. It also recommended the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions for the prosecution of the offences, to ensure that the right cases are prosecuted, and to prevent vexatious private prosecutions.
EU: MORE WARNINGS ON CIGARETTE PACKS
On 4 December, TJI reported that the EU is set to introduce new warning symbols to cigarette packs to bring attention to the plastic contained in cigarette filters. Cigarette filters and the cellulose acetate they are made of are a huge problem for the environment and not a problem many smokers are aware of. The new warnings are to be added to cigarette packs as early as next summer. One warning on a red background shows a finger flicking away a stub, another on a blue background shows a turtle and a crossed-out cigarette. The text “Plastic in Filter” is written underneath.
OIL AND GAS OPERATIONS IN LATIN AMERICA
On 3 December, DLA Piper published this Handbook saying that oil and gas companies operating across Latin America share the challenges of this constant change, while facing further challenges that are unique to that region. This handbook looks at these key operational and commercial challenges.
eSIGNATURE AND ePAYMENT NEWS AND TRENDS
On 3 December, DLA Piper published its latest update which includes reports on state regulatory activities, fresh judicial precedent and other important news.
TIGRAY CONFLICT: SHORT-LIVED BUT WITH LONG-TERM IMPACTS SIGNIFICANT
On 2 December, Control Risks published an article looking at the likely effects of the Tigray conflict in Ethiopia, including on internal politics and business. The latter are likely to deter investors and thereby diminish the attractiveness of the prime minister’s planned reforms designed to attract foreign capital, including the liberalisation of sectors such as telecommunications and finance. However, federal authorities appear to be pushing ahead with reforms.
RUSSIA ARRESTS HYPERSONIC AIRCRAFT SCIENTIST FOR HIGH TREASON
On 4 December, Eurasia Review reported that a Russian court has ordered the arrest of Anatoly Gubanov, a physicist specialising in hypersonic aircraft on suspicion of high treason. Gubanov is alleged to have handed over secret aviation development data abroad.
MOZAMBIQUE: DISPLACED NEARING 400,000 IN ISLAMIST INSURGENCY
On 4 December, Eurasia Review reported that aid groups in northern Mozambique say attacks on civilians have displaced close to 400,000 people during 3 years of Islamist terrorism. The province of Cabo Delgado has vast oil and gas deposits estimated to be worth $60 billion. Due to the threats from militants, though, development of the natural resource has been slow. The Islamist attacks began in October 2017 when armed men overran police stations and have been fighting for territory ever since, leaving up to 2,000 people dead and hundreds of thousands displaced.
INCREASING THE SECURITY OF RADIOACTIVE SOURCES
On 20 October, the Stimson Center published a Policy Memo intended for the US Administration saying that radioactive materials remain notably vulnerable to use by violent groups. It says that such sources number in the hundreds of thousands and exist in every country in the world. They help fight cancer, protect crops, make food and buildings safer, acquire resources buried deep underground and much more. Their ubiquity makes lives better, but that accessibility also increases the risk they will be used as a weapon to kill, create fear, and cause significant economic harm. As terrorist groups, criminal organisations, and individuals have become more willing to cause mass casualties, concern about the security of radioactive sources has grown. It also says that in 2004, the IAEA created guidance for securing these sources – but more than 15 years later, many countries do not have the necessary laws, interagency coordination, or resources for detection and training. As a result, radioactive materials remain notably vulnerable to use by violent groups.
SAHEL CLIMATE CONFLICTS? WHEN (FIGHTING) CLIMATE CHANGE FUELS TERRORISM
On 4 December, a briefing from the EU Institute for Security Studies says that levels of armed violence in the Sahel are skyrocketing. Conflict metrics show that the region is caught in a spiral of insecurity. Communal violence and jihadist insurgencies have significantly undermined local states’ grip over large parts of their territories, particularly in the three-border area straddling Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. Amidst the proliferation of non-state armed groups, attacks by terrorist groups linked to al-Qaeda or the Islamic State networks have risen sharply since 2015. The briefing sets out to illustrate that misconceived environmental security policymaking, especially when based on rhetorical shortcuts that overlook and contradict the most recent evidence, is not only ineffective, but can have radically adverse impacts. Even if well-intentioned, climate change mitigation and environmental protection measures based on false premises may result in conflict exacerbation, rather than resolution: a situation that violent jihadist entrepreneurs exploit.
EXPERTS: TAX CHEMICALS INDUSTRY TO HELP CURB POLLUTION INTERNATIONALLY
On 1 December, an article from ICIJ reported that, as scrutiny by scientists and consumers grows on chemicals polluting our soil, water and air, experts are asking: why shouldn’t manufacturers bear the costs of managing it to prevent damage to health and the environment? It says that an international group of environmentalists and lawyers is pushing for a tax on manufacturers to finance the safer management and disposal of chemicals across borders and have submitted the proposal last month to an international forum under the umbrella of the UN Environmental programme.
US POISED TO OVERHAUL THE COUNTRY’S AML LEGISLATION
On 4 December, ICIJ reported that the US Congress has released the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes reforms that would effectively end fully anonymous shell companies. However, President Trump has threatened to veto the legislation over other concerns. The relevant reforms, based on proposals by bipartisan groups of lawmakers from both the Senate and the House of Representatives, would mandate that companies in the US report their ultimate owners to the US Treasury. The ownership data would not be made public.
CRUISE MISSILES CONTINUE TO MAKE THEIR MARK IN THE MIDDLE EAST
On 5 December, an article from the International Institute for Strategic Studies considers recent developments in regional land-attack cruise missile (LACM) capabilities. It says that a recent Iranian attack reflects the wider adoption of LACM in the region, with 2 or 3 more states either having recently acquired such weapons or on the cusp of joining the ‘cruise-missile club’. The article says that the developments show the difficulty of managing the proliferation of conventional systems where there are regional security drivers that encourage the introduction of such capabilities into national inventories. It considers the use of, and shortcomings of, the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) to slow the proliferation of missiles systems capable of delivering a 500 kg payload a distance of 300 km or more.
INDONESIAN PAPER COMPANY MAY HAVE MISREPORTED ITS WOOD PULP EXPORTS WHILE SHIFTING LARGE PROFITS OVERSEAS, ENABLING IT TO AVOID TAX
On 5 November, ICIJ reported that Indonesian paper company APRIL may have misreported its wood pulp exports while shifting large profits overseas, enabling it to avoid tax, a new report by a consortium of 25 organisations claims. APRIL, or Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings Ltd, and its affiliates have been involved in past conflicts with local communities over forest and peatland clearing on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. The report alleges that, from 2016 to 2018, APRIL classified exports of dissolving pulp ー typically used to manufacture viscose fibre for textiles ー as paper-grade pulp, a less valuable type used to make tissues and packaging. The alleged scheme could have allowed APRIL to understate its revenues by as much as $242 million and to reduce its tax bill.
CHINA: CHINA’S BELT AND ROAD INITIATIVE (BRI) AND LATIN AMERICA – A NEW WAVE OF INVESTMENTS?
On 5 December, an article from Baker McKenzie says that China played a key role in supporting Latin America to recover after the 2008-2009 global financial crisis. It asks will that be the case again after the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis?
UK: THE FUTURE OF UK TRADE – MERGED REALITIES OF BREXIT AND COVID-19
On 5 December, Baker McKenzie announced a new report which explores how the pandemic, coupled with an eventual deal or No-Deal Brexit, will impact the bottom-line of UK businesses and the economy. Together with Oxford Economics and insights from Baker McKenzie’s experts, the report quantifies how a deal versus a No-Deal Brexit will affect four UK goods manufacturing sectors — automotive, consumer, healthcare and technology — as well as UK GDP over the next decade. It says that research reveals the real costs of both Brexit and the COVID-19 crisis in the long-term, forecasting a potential £134 billion (6%) reduction in UK GDP over the next decade as compared with 2019, as a result of the impact of the pandemic and a potential No-Deal Brexit. This sobering statistic highlights the long-term, dual challenges of Brexit and COVID-19 for many businesses and the vital need to prepare for both deal and no-deal scenarios. The report also explores some crucial issues for the business community, including the impact of non-tariff barriers on post-Brexit Britain, as well as the anticipated productivity gap as a result of the UK’s change in approach to migration.
ISLE OF MAN INCLUDES 21 SETS OF SANCTIONS REGULATIONS ON ORDER PAPER FOR DECEMBER
The Order paper for the December sitting of the Island’s parliament includes not less than 21 Regulations which apply UK Statutory Instruments made under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 which will replace the existing EU Sanctions Regulations which currently have effect in the Island, as a consequence of the UK departure from the EU.
UN RENEWS AUTHORISATION FOR INTERNATIONAL NAVAL FORCES FIGHTING PIRACY OFF SOMALI COAST
A news release from the UN on 4 December advised that the Security Council had renewed for an additional 12 months its authorisation for States and regional organisations cooperating with Somalia to use all necessary means to fight piracy off the coast of the East African country, with voting results announced virtually in accordance with the temporary silence procedure* adopted for the COVID-19 pandemic. It also affirmed that the arms embargo on Somalia does not apply to supplies of weapons and military equipment or the provision of assistance destined for the sole use of Member States, international, regional and subregional organisations undertaking measures in to fight maritime piracy.
REPTILES SMUGGLED FROM MEXICO FOUND AT GERMAN AIRPORT STITCHED INSIDE DOLLS
On 3 December, the BBC reported that German airport customs officers have found 26 rare reptiles – 10 of them dead – smuggled inside parcels of toys and sweets from Mexico. Some of the dead animals had suffocated as they had been stitched inside cloth dolls. The 16 surviving reptiles might be returned to their Mexican habitat.
IBM UNCOVERS GLOBAL PHISHING CAMPAIGN TARGETING THE COVID-19 VACCINE COLD CHAIN
On 3 December, Security Intelligence reported that IBM created a threat intelligence task force dedicated to tracking down COVID-19 cyber threats against organisations that are keeping the vaccine supply chain moving. It recently uncovered a global phishing campaign targeting organizations associated with a COVID-19 cold chain. The cold chain is a component of the vaccine supply chain that ensures the safe preservation of vaccines in temperature-controlled environments during their storage and transportation.
INDIA PLANS TO TAX INCOME FROM BITCOIN INVESTMENTS
On 5 December, Coindesk reported that India-based investors may soon have to pay taxes on returns earned from bitcoin investments. It says that reports indicate that the tax authority is all set to demand taxes. The tax department collected information about bitcoin trades executed through banking channels before the Reserve Bank of India’s (the country’s central bank) crypto ban took effect in April 2018. The Supreme Court overturned the ban in early March.
POPE REVAMPS VATICAN FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE AFTER SCANDALS AND CORRUPTION PROBES
On 5 December, Global News reported that the Pope has revamped the Holy See’s financial intelligence and AML unit following financial scandals, including an ongoing in-house corruption probe. The changes involve the governance and organisation of the unit, AIF, which has been renamed the Supervisory and Financial Information Authority, or ASIF. ASIF’s activities are being divided into 3 units: vigilance, rules and legal affairs, and financial information.
JERSEY: BREXIT – UPDATED POSITION AHEAD OF THE UK LEAVING THE EU
On 3 December, the Jersey FSC has created a paper which summarises the changes it is are making to the Alternative Investment Fund (AIF), Fund Services Business and Certified Funds Codes. These changes reflect legislative changes in Jersey which are due to come into effect on 1 January.
REPORT: FINANCIAL CRIME IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
Refinitiv has published its 6th annual survey, conducted in the fourth quarter of the year, and which tracks changing norms, standards and attitudes around compliance and the management of financial crime, helping compliance practitioners and senior executives to benchmark their programmes.
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