Panama Covid-19 update – Day 3 of the 3-day New Year lockdown, ready to start 14-day gender-based restrictions tomorrow – Happy New Year!
Meanwhile, at least new cases down to “only” 1,972, with37 new fatalities, There are 47,780 active cases, with 218 in ICU and 2,081 in other wards.
3 JANUARY 2021
THE SECRETS THAT THE TIMES OF MALTA REVEALED DURING 2020
On 3 January, the Times of Malta looked back on some of the key stories Times of Malta exposed in 2020. 2 “jobs for the boys”, a scandal in Montenegro, “friends with benefits”, the WhatsApp chat that sparked a leadership election, taxes and a tax commissioner, Golden Passport scheme loses its lustre, “a cry for help” from migrants, and an offshore account in Jersey; plus gangland wars.
IRAN TO BOOST OIL OUTPUT VIA $1.2 BILLION DEAL WITH LOCAL COMPANIES
On 3 January, Bloomberg reported that Iranian energy companies have agreed deals worth $1.2 billion to raise the nation’s crude output, state-run National Iranian Oil has said.
LIBERIA MARITIME AUTHORITY: SANCTIONED COMPANIES WERE DELISTED IN 2013
On 2 January, Front Page Africa reported that the Authority has clarified recent news alleging that the US has recently imposed sanctions on several Liberian-registered shipping companies. The Authority rejects this information as misleading and inaccurate. The majority of the entities referred to in the publication named were non-shipping corporations sanctioned back in 2013 and were then removed from the Liberia Maritime and Corporate Registry, and 3 non-shipping corporations were sanctioned in 2019 also removed from the register.
SRI LANKAN POLICE BURN “SMUGGLED” TURMERIC AMID IMPORT BAN AND SOARING PRICES
On 2 January, the Tamil Guardian reported that police had seized a further 20 tonnes of turmeric, apparently smuggled from India. According to Sri Lanka’s Secretary to the Minister of Health Services, the turmeric was immediately incinerated due to its risk of COVID-19 contamination. The government recently imposed the import ban as part of a series of measures related to the coronavirus pandemic in an attempt to strengthen Sri Lanka’s economy by promoting domestic production, but the ban resulted instead created a turmeric shortage and a growing black market.
MALTA: COURT CHALLENGES TO ADMINISTRATIVE FINES FROM THE FIAU WILL REMAIN SECRET
On 28 December, The Shift News reported that court challenges by financial services operators to administrative fines being handed out by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU), will remain undisclosed thanks to a 2017 law introduced by the Labour government. It says that this effectively means that even court sentences against the FIAU will not be published by the court, keeping a veil of secrecy on any decisions, including those in which the AML regulator is found in breach of the law.
LIBYAN OFFICIAL KIDNAPPED FOR EXPOSING CORRUPTION
On 3 January, the Libyan Express reported that an official in the Administrative Authority kidnapped after appearing on the media to expose elements of corruption. The kidnapping of the Director of the Information Department in the Administrative Control Authority Emad Al-Mazogi by unknown culprits took place after he appeared in the media speaking openly about corruption in the Libyan Food and Drug Control Centre.
MOSCOW FOUNDATION WITH LINKS TO VAGNER GROUP SAYS RUSSIANS AND UKRAINIAN FREED IN LIBYA
On 2 January, Rferl reported that a Moscow-based foundation with links to the Vagner Group, a Russian military contractor force, says 3 Russians and 1 Ukrainian national have been freed from captivity in Libya. Russia has been accused of supporting mercenaries fighting against the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in the Libyan capital, Tripoli. The GNA is vying for power against strongman Khalifa Haftar, who is supported by the UAE, Russia, and Egypt.
MALTA “ON TRACK TO AVOID GREY LISTING”
On 3 January, the Times of Malta reported that the country is on track to make it through a crucial evaluation of its AML regime, the Prime Minister Robert Abela has said.
MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERRORIST FINANCING RISKS WITHIN THE BRITISH GAMBLING INDUSTRY
On 18 December, the UK Gambling Commission published a risk assessment which highlights the key risks associated with each of the sectors within licensed land-based and remote activity in Great Britain’s gambling industry.
BAHRAIN ACCUSES FUTURE BANK, IRANIAN BANKS OF MONEY LAUNDERING
On 1 January, Asharq Al-Awsat reported that the high criminal court of Bahrain has accused the Iran-owned Future Bank, 5 of its officials and several Iranian banks of money laundering. The Public Prosecution said that the Future Bank, which operated under the supervision of Bank Melli Iran and Bank Saderat Iran, carried out thousands of international financial transactions while providing cover for Iranian entities by concealing and deliberately removing basic information when transferring funds via the SWIFT network.
BARBADIAN DUE IN NEW YORK COURT ON MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES
On 31 December, Caribbean Life reported that a New York judge could soon have another Barbadian standing in court answering to money laundering charges relating to bribes received from a Barbados insurance company that had its headquarters in Bermuda, the same for which a former government minister, Donville Inniss, was convicted. It is alleged that 2 executives of the company, Insurance Corporation of Barbados, Alex Tasker and Ingrid Innes, were co-conspirators.
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