OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 9

Panama Covid-19 update – Martyrs’ Day in Panama today, commemorating the shooting of students by US forces in 1964. Quieter and more sombre than usual, with everyone in weekend-long total lockdown.

Meanwhile, another 3,735 new cases – have we/when will we see the end of any Christmas/New Year spike? 43 new fatalities. There are now 54,818 active cases, of whom 219 are in ICU, 2,176 in other wards and 777 in hotels.

9 JANUARY 2021

EL SALVADOR: PUBLIC PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE FORMALLY ACCUSES FORMER MINISTER OF MONEY LAUNDERING AND EMBEZZLEMENT

On 9 January, Amico Hoops reported that the former minister Rene Figueroa is accused of receiving $ 3,757,000 from the ex-president’s accounts, but that it comes from money taken from state accounts. Figueroa’s wife is also accused of receiving illegal funds in excess of $ 100,000.  He is the former Secretary of Security in the SACA administration.

https://amicohoops.net/the-public-prosecutors-office-formally-accuses-rene-figueroa-of-money-laundering-and-embezzlement-news-from-el-salvador/

UK: HAULIERS TOLD TO EXPECT MUCH TOUGHER FRENCH BORDER CONTROLS

The British International Freight Association has reported that haulage companies have been told to brace themselves for much tougher controls at French customs, raising the prospect of the first significant border disruption since the new post-Brexit controls were introduced.

https://www.bifa.org/news/articles/2021/jan/hauliers-told-to-expect-much-tougher-french-border-controls?l=y

PANAMA ATTORNEY GENERAL TO SEEK ODEBRECHT’S UNPAID FINES

On 8 January, Metro in the US reported that Panamanian authorities fined Odebrecht in 2017 for paying bribes in exchange for construction contracts but has not paid recent instalments, and he AG office will request a hearing before a judge to establish that Odebrecht has not paid the fees established and impose a 5% delinquency charge.

https://www.metro.us/panama-attorney-general-to

PALAU – WHY WAS IT INCLUDED IN US MAGNITSKY SANCTIONS?

On 9 January, Japan Forward carried an article saying that in December, on International Anti-Corruption Day, OFAC issued a press release detailing sanctions on criminal networks in Africa and Asia, including Palau.  The article asks why Palau?  In its elections one question is whether to switch diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China – Palau is one of only 15 countries that continue diplomatic relations with Taiwan.  The article says that it is evident that Chinese infiltration has been corrupting Palauan society and causing unease amongst the people, and it is said that illegal online gambling operations have also skyrocketed with the influx of Chinese money.  Hundreds of Chinese were arrested last year and reports linked the Chinese workers to a prominent Palau senator.  While law enforcement authorities are fighting daily to arrest Chinese cybercriminals, officials are protecting them and it is claimed by multiple sources that the Vice President and Minister of Justice instructed a task force to return all confiscated computers and equipment to the Chinese, and to only charge the Chinese with labour violations (working without a permit), and not to charge them with online gambling.  Drug trafficking is also widespread in Palau.

https://japan-forward.com/targeting-palau-and-other-island-countries-china-puts-human-rights-and-pacific-security-at-risk

DUTCH REGULATOR €600,000 PENALTY FOR CURACAO BETTING SITE

On 8 January, Calvin Ayre reported that Netherlands gambling regulators have imposed a €600,000 penalty on a Curacao-licensed online gambling site – Virtual Coin Gaming NV, the Curacao-based firm behind the Futgalaxy.nl and nl.futgamer.com gambling sites – for serving Dutch punters without local permission. 

https://calvinayre.com/2021/01/08/business/dutch-gambling-regulator-600k-penalty-esports-betting-site/

WILL THE IRISH GAMBLING REGULATOR BE ESTABLISHED IN 2021?

On 7 January, an article from McCann Fitzgerald said that recent media reports suggest that the long-awaited Irish gambling regulator will be established by the summer of 2021, with additional gambling legislation to follow.  The Government plans to introduce additional gambling legislation at an unspecified time in 2021 – but the Minster of State ruled out the gambling legislation covering video game “loot boxes” where players exchange money for unknown prizes specific to each relevant video game. 

https://www.mccannfitzgerald.com/knowledge/betting-and-gaming/will-the-irish-gambling-regulator-be-established-in-2021

GIBRALTAR: POLICE SEIZE DRUG BALES AND SEARCH EASTERN BEACH AFTER RHIB APPROACHES SHORE

On 8 January, the Gibraltar Chronicle reported that police seized drug bales and searched Eastern Beach and the runway area after a rigid-hulled inflatable boat of the sort used by smugglers approached the shore in stormy weather.  A total of 32 bales weighing approximately 1.3 tonnes had been recovered from the scene.  Earlier during the day, a RHIB had been seen travelling up and down the coastline between Gibraltar and Estepona seeking shelter from the rough seas.

https://www.chronicle.gi/police-seize-drug-bales-and-search-eastern-beach-after-rhib-approaches-shore/

THE IMO 2021 CYBER GUIDELINES AND THE WORK THAT REMAINS TO SECURE PORTS

On 8 January, the Center for International Maritime Security carried an article saying that The new guidelines, a milestone for maritime safety and security, are the product of collaboration and hard work among shipping industry leaders and IMO Member States, and implementation of this new model is a vital step toward forging a uniform approach for combating cyber threats against vessels.  The IMO guidelines for managing cyber risks on vessels are a key development for the shipping industry. Flag States and shipping companies worldwide now have an industry-sponsored framework from which to recurringly assess cyber safeguards on ships – but there is more work to be done.

https://cimsec.org/the-imos-2021-cyber-guidelines-and-the-work-that-remains-to-secure-ports/47149

CALIFORNIA MINE BECOMES KEY PART OF PUSH TO REVIVE US RARE EARTHS PROCESSING

On 31 December, Voice of America reported that, in 2021, a more than 70-year-old mine in California’s Mojave Desert will become the centre of an effort to revive an American mineral refining system that some say is critical to the country’s national security.  17 elements deemed critical to modern society were discovered at the Mountain Pass deposit, which, shortly after its discovery by American engineers in 1949, came to provide more than half of the world’s needs for rare earth minerals.  In its 2020 annual report, a government agency said although some 20 countries worldwide are currently mining rare earths, the US, with its 1.4 million-ton reserve, remains home to one of the largest rare earth deposits in the world.

https://www.voanews.com/usa/california-mine-becomes-key-part-push-revive-us-rare-earths-processing

RUSSIAN HACKER SENTENCED TO 12 YEARS IN PRISON FOR INVOLVEMENT IN MASSIVE NETWORK INTRUSIONS AT US FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS, BROKERAGE FIRMS, A MAJOR NEWS PUBLICATION, AND OTHER COMPANIES

A news release from the US Secret Service on 7 January advised that ANDREI TYURIN, aka Andrei Tiurin, was sentenced to 144 months in prison for computer intrusion, wire fraud, bank fraud, and illegal online gambling offences in connection with his involvement in a massive computer hacking campaign targeting US financial institutions, brokerage firms, financial news publishers, and other American companies.  He was charged with committing these crimes with others in furtherance of securities market manipulation, illegal online gambling, and payment processing fraud schemes perpetrated by Shalon, Aaron, Orenstein, and their co-conspirators.   He previously pled guilty to these charges. 

https://www.secretservice.gov/newsroom/releases/2021/01/russian-hacker-sentenced-12-years-prison-involvement-massive-network

BREAKING THE CYCLE OF E-COMMERCE PAYMENTS FRAUD

Total Retail on 7 January provided an article containing a round-up that outlines the most common forms of retail payments fraud and how you can break the fraud cycle.

https://www.mytotalretail.com/article/breaking-the-cycle-of-e-commerce-payments-fraud/

WILL NEW FinCEN RULES DRIVE CRYPTOCURRENCY USERS UNDERGROUND?

On 7 January, the Basel Institute of Governance published an article about the so-called “travel rule” introduced in June 2019 by FATF.  FinCEN has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that pushes the idea behind the travel rule yet further and has significant implications for VASP.  What, it asks, does the proposed FinCEN rule mean and why is there controversy?

https://baselgovernance.org/blog/will-new-fincen-rules-drive-cryptocurrency-users-underground

CORRUPTION, ILLICIT TRADE AND ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION

On 6 January, an article from the Basel Institute of Governance about a recent virtual meeting that examined the “vicious triangle” that undermines sustainable development: corruption, illicit trade and environmental degradation.  The event launched a new dialogue series organised by the OECD and Basel Institute on Governance.

https://baselgovernance.org/news/unpicking-vicious-triangle-corruption-illicit-trade-and-environmental-degradation-oecdbasel

UK GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES MAJOR BOOST TO CORONAVIRUS RECOVERY THROUGH EXPANSION OF DORMANT ASSETS SCHEME

On 9 January, the HM Treasury announced that the UK Government has announced that dormant assets across the insurance and pensions, investment, wealth management, and securities sectors are set to be unlocked, with the potential for more than £800 million to be made available to support the UK as it recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.  Since 2011, 30 banks and building societies participating in the current scheme have enabled the release of over £745 million from dormant accounts that have been inactive for at least 15 years. 

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-government-announces-major-boost-to-coronavirus-recovery-through-expansion-of-dormant-assets-scheme

FORMER ALGERIA PRIME MINISTERS BACK ON TRIAL FOR CORRUPTION

On 9 January, Al Arabiya reported that 2 former Algerian prime ministers have gone on trial again for corruption, the official APS news agency said, after the supreme court annulled their earlier convictions.  Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal both served under former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/north-africa/2021/01/09/Former-Algeria-prime-ministers-back-on-trial-for-corruption

If you would like to make a (polite) gesture and make a (very) modest contribution to my ongoing with my relocation, removal and computer costs, I have a page at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

PANAMA IN WORLD WAR 2

Having completed a “scrapbook” about the Panama’s experience of WW2 – though such an effort is never really complete, as one continues to find odds and ends that require addition or amendments – I thought I should try to convert its content into somewhat more organised text, and try to make it a story that someone might want to read.

Apologies (as well as grateful thanks) are due to those whose material I may have used.  I have attempted to identify the sources of as much material as I could, although I may have lost track of the origin of some in compiling the scrapbook and then translating it into this form.  Much of it came from books and reports published some time ago – some dating back to World War 2 and before.  Much useful and interesting material came from veteran’s organisations’ websites.  Also invaluable were the CZ Brats webpages[1], for former “Zonians” (as Americans in the Canal Zone were called), a fascinating and invaluable resource, as well as material from the Panama Canal Museum[2], which is dedicated to commemorating the US role in the history of Panama.


[1]  www.czbrats.com

[2]  The Panama Canal Museum in Seminole, Florida, closed in July 2012, and transferred its collection to the George A Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida: https://cms.uflib.ufl.edu/pcm/Home.aspx

NEW REPORT ON RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS AND ANTI-CORRUPTION COMPLIANCE IN SOUTH-EAST ASIA

On 7 January, an article from the Basel Institute of Governance about a new report which illustrates 3 points we have long emphasised at the Basel Institute.  The report’s authors Sofia Tirini and Leah Ambler have summarised the main findings of the report.  The article also says that a larger version of the report will be published by the OECD containing more interesting findings on anti-corruption risks and challenges in SE Asia; and in this broader publication, the OECD will provide information on other issues such as gender policies, risk areas for businesses and the impact of technology among others.

https://baselgovernance.org/blog/oecd-blog-new-report-responsible-business-and-anti-corruption-compliance-southeast-asia

The OECD report is at –

mneguidelines.oecd.org/Responsible-Business-Conduct-and-Anti-Corruption-Compliance-in-Southeast-Asia.pdf

OECD South East Asia business responsibility survey framework

If you would like to make a (polite) gesture and make a (very) modest contribution to my ongoing with my relocation, removal and computer costs, I have a page at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

LISTING THE 11 TYPES OF EU LAW OPERATING IN THE UK AFTER BREXIT

On 8 January, an article from the University of Oxford Faculty of Law says that EU law in the UK is now a matter of a multiple and overlapping legal instruments. Post-Brexit legal arrangements are very complex, perhaps surprisingly so.  Although it says that it is not possible to set out these matters here in detail, it would perhaps be worth listing the 11 types of EU law operating in the UK after Brexit.  

https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/business-law-blog/blog/2021/01/eleven-types-post-brexit-eu-law

If you would like to make a (polite) gesture and make a (very) modest contribution to my ongoing with my relocation, removal and computer costs, I have a page at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

HM TREASURY CONSULTS ON UK REGULATORY APPROACH TO CRYPTOASSETS AND STABLECOINS

On 8 January, an article from Hogan Lovells examined a paper issued on 7 January and what the proposals entail, and why the consultation represents an important opportunity to provide clarity in this space.  The paper follows a consultation which closed in October and the Chancellor committing to consulting on bringing cryptoassets within the scope of financial promotions regulations; and consulting on broader regulatory approaches to cryptoassets and stablecoins.  The paper consists of a further consultation until 21 March on the current regulatory landscape for cryptoassets, and puts forward a policy with specific proposals regarding the regulation of cryptoassets for payments purposes.  There is also a call for evidence covering a broad range of questions in relation to cryptoassets.

The paper is at –

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/uk-regulatory-approach-to-cryptoassets-and-stablecoins-consultation-and-call-for-evidence

https://www.engage.hoganlovells.com/knowledgeservices/news/hm-treasury-consults-on-uk-regulatory-approach-to-cryptoassets-and-stablecoins

If you would like to make a (polite) gesture and make a (very) modest contribution to my ongoing with my relocation, removal and computer costs, I have a page at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y