Panama Covid-19 update – it is reported that the health ministry is evaluating the mandatory use of face shields, as well as face masks, particularly on public transport (where it is already recommended).
Today’s statistics – new cases down somewhat at “only” 2,424, but still 42 new fatalities. There are 55,597 active cases, with 225 in ICU and 2,257 in other wards.
10 JANUARY 2021
PROPOSING A NUCLEAR DIALOGUE WITH NORTH KOREA
On 17 December, the Asia-Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (APLN) published a Policy Brief which says that there is no question that the denuclearisation of North Korea is an ultimate diplomatic and security objective. North Korea’s progressive accumulation of nuclear facilities and technologies presents a number of nuclear security dangers. For instance, it says, the illegal overseas transfer of nuclear materials may result in nuclear or radiological terrorism. It also says that it is important to detect and prevent the illegal transactions or cross-border transfers of North Korean nuclear materials and technologies.
Another Policy Brief on 23 December was concerned with –
NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENT THROUGH SANCTIONS RELIEF: OPTIONS FOR THE KOREAN PENINSULA
This says that neither diplomacy nor sanctions have been successful in preventing DPRK from acquiring nuclear weapons as well as projection capabilities through its ballistic missile programme; but that nonetheless, the status quo is not beneficial for the DPRK. The country declares that it wants to advance its economic development, but it is isolated on the international stage and its civilian population faces serious economic problems, partly attributable to international sanctions. The Policy Brief sets out to make concrete suggestions for a pragmatic middle-of-the-road approach, where some sanctions relief is granted in exchange for progress towards de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, with full termination of sanctions and the creation of a nuclear-free zone as the end goals.
PANAMA- DEFAULTING ODEBRECHT WILL PAY MILLIONS MORE
On 8 January, MENA-FN reported that the Panamanian anti-corruption prosecutor explained that in 2019, the company only paid $ 1.1 million instead of the $18.3 million annual instalment of the $220 million penalty imposed, while in 2020 it did not pay anything. Consequently, under a provision of a 2017 agreement an additional 5% will be charged for the amounts not paid annually. So far, the government of Panama is said to have recovered $48 million as a result of the investigation into the payment of bribes from Odebrecht to officials and individuals – $21.3 million in cash and $15.3 million in assets.
TURKISH POLICE SEIZE 479 ANCIENT COINS IN ANTI-SMUGGLING OPERATION
On 10 January, Xinhua reported that Turkish police seized 479 ancient coins in an anti-smuggling operation in Turkey’s largest city of Istanbul and detained one suspect. It is said that that the bronze, lead, and copper coins belonging to the Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman periods and were handed over to the Istanbul Archaeology Museum.
THE RETURN OF ILLICIT SMUGGLING OF FOREIGN RICE IN NIGERIA
PR Nigeria reported that while the Nigerian Government may have gone tough on import restrictions, but massive smuggling of foreign rice still remains a thriving and booming trade in Nigeria. It is said that about 10 Vessels with rice from India and Thailand are currently headed to neighbouring Benin and most of the goods will find their way through various smuggling routes into Nigeria.
SMUGGLERS MINTING MILLIONS IN KENYAN CAR THEFT SYNDICATE
On 10 January, the Kenyans website reported that a group of highly connected smugglers have been minting millions using forged documents to slip stolen cars into Kenya, and that platforms of the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) have been infiltrated. According to a recent investigation, most of the high-end vehicles are stolen from parts of South and East Africa – including in 2018 a vehicle attached to Uganda President Yoweri Museveni which was stolen only to be found and recovered in Kenya a year later. The car theft has reportedly expanded its network to the UK, revealed when 16 luxury vehicles were intercepted at the Port of Mombasa in May 2019.
ISRAEL: TAX ALLEGATIONS COULD END MINISTER ARYE DERY’S POLITICAL CAREER
On 10 January, Haaretz reported that the Shas leader is expected to do anything to cut a deal to avoid going to trial. It is reported that the Attorney General has decided to indict Minister of the Interior Aryeh Deri for taxation offences, subject to a hearing. Deri, who is the leader of the Shas party, has already served a prison term after being convicted on bribery charges. This latest decision comes 5 years after the current investigation of real estate transactions involving Deri began.
ALGERIA’S EX-PM ADMITS SELLING GOLD BARS ON BLACK MARKET
On 10 January, Al Jazeera reported that former Algerian premier Ahmed Ouyahia, on trial for corruption, has admitted receiving gold bars from Gulf donors then selling them on the black market. Ouyahia and fellow ex-prime minister Abdelmalek Sellal are accused of covertly financing the 2019 re-election bid of then-president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who resigned shortly afterwards amid mass anti-government protests.
NEPALI INVESTORS MAKE MILLIONS FROM OPAQUE SHARE DEALS
On 9 January, The Himalayan reported that a handful of Nepali investors have made fortunes buying and selling Ncell shares using funds which appear to have flowed covertly to them via tax havens from the Malaysian telecom giant, Axiata, and Sweden’s Telia. It says that some transactions by Nepali investors appear to challenge Nepal’s laws on foreign exchange controls, taxation, and foreign ownership.
ADDITIONAL DUE DILIGENCE MAY BE REQUIRED FOR MANY US EXPORTS TO CHINA
An article from Thompson Coburn LLP on 8 January says that the US continues to tighten controls on dealings with China, and the article addresses 3 regulatory changes that highlight the need for enhanced due diligence when dealing with China: restrictions on recent additions to the Entity List; controls on military end-use and military end-users; and elimination of Hong Kong as a separate destination under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). It concludes that companies should take a proactive approach: understand the risks in the export marketplace, many of which are new, and take the time to assess how these risks may (or may not) threaten present and future business.
2020 GLOBAL CANNABIS GUIDE – ENGLAND
On 8 January, a chapter in the Global Cannabis Guide from the World Law Group briefly outlines information on the most important legal issues, from relevant legislation and general information to special requirements and risks.
The entire guide can be accessed at –
IRELAND: MAN ARRESTED AFTER €1 MILLION IN CASH SEIZED
On 8 January, the Belfast Telegraph reported that a 45-year-old man has been arrested after gardai found more than €1 million in cash when stopping a van in Co Kildare.
NEW ZEALAND: HOW A KIWI DRUG SYNDICATE HID THEIR CASH
On 9 January, Stuff carried an article about a growing tally of suspects they believed were active in laundering cash made from New Zealand’s largest cocaine importing operation. This followed an international syndicate of Australian and Eastern European smugglers landing a total of 76 kg of cocaine into the Port of Tauranga, drugs with a value in excess of $10 million, where those involved were sentenced in February 2020.
INDIA: FOREIGN ASSET INVESTIGATION UNITS (FAIU) SET UP
In its 11 January edition, The Telegraph in India reported that a special unit has been created by the government in the countrywide investigation wings of the income tax department for a focussed probe in the cases of undisclosed assets held by Indians abroad and possession of black money in foreign shores – Foreign Asset Investigation Units (FAIU). India is now getting voluminous data in this context by way of various treaties, an officer is quoted as saying, with automatic exchange of tax information being the norm.
CHARTING THE 2021 MARITIME REGULATORY LANDSCAPE -INCLUDING CYBER
On 10 January, Hellenic Shipping News reported that the introduction of the requirement to address cyber risks in a vessel’s safety management system is just one of the many regulations that enter into force this year. The article looks at a number of the more important international regulations that enter into force in the period from January until July 2021, as well as some key domestic regulatory changes in relation to ship recycling and other environmental issues such as air emissions. It starts with the IMO encouraging administrations to ensure that cyber risks are appropriately addressed in existing safety management systems (SMS) no later than the first annual verification of a company’s Document of Compliance (DOC) after 1 January. Another starting now is the requirement for non-EU flagged ships or an EU flagged existing ships to have onboard an approved inventory of hazardous materials (IHM) when visiting an EU port or anchorage.
DATA SHARING MYTHS BUSTED
The UK Information Commissioner’s Office has produced a release addressing 5 common data protection “myths”.
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