Panama Covid-19 update – Tuesday is the day of the big weekly news conference, but that is later, and before that it was announced the new restrictions from 15 January, when the current ones expire. From Friday, the gender-based controls remain (men only allowed out Tue/Thur, women Mon/Wed/Fri) and weekends total lockdown. However, the 2-hour time slot based on ID number (or old age) dropped, so you could stay out all day, but nightly curfew 2100-0400. Also getting to work staggered, to avoid congestion on public transport, with construction workers starting 0700, private sector 0800 and public sector 0900.
It is planned to start “asymmetrical” opening up of retail etc from 1 February…we’ll see. But vaccines are due to be here and start being used from next week.
As for today’s figures, still not looking too good – with average Rt rate up again, to 1.18. 3,740 new cases and 50 new fatalities. 56,897 active cases, with 223 in ICU, 2,341 in other wards and 716 in hotel rooms. Interesting to note that, of over 280,000 cases since March only 2.3% were in the 80+ age range, but nearly 18% of those affected died. 11.5% of the cases fell in the 60-79 age range, with the 2,225 deaths representing 6.8% of these cases. However, the 3,415 deaths patients of 60+ represent nearly 75% of all fatalities, when the overall fatality rate is only 1.6%.
12 JANUARY 2021
AUSTRALIA: FORMER LEIGHTON EXECUTIVE CHARGED OVER UNAOIL BRIBERY SCANDAL
On 11 January, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that David Savage, the former chief operating officer of the prominent Australian infrastructure company Leighton Holdings, has been charged over his alleged role in the Unaoil scandal, which involved bribery of senior officials in oil-producing nations to secure lucrative contracts. The investigation discovered approximately $US77.6 million in suspicious payments channelled through Monaco-based consultancy Unaoil and other third parties.
CANADA: TD BANK FACES STANFORD PONZI SCHEME LIQUIDATORS SEEKING $5.5 BILLION IN TRIAL
On 11 January, Reuters reported that Toronto-Dominion Bank is facing a trial in a Canadian court in which liquidators of the collapsed Antigua bank of former Texas financier Robert Allen Stanford are seeking $5.5 billion in damages. The joint liquidators of Stanford International Bank (SIB) allege “negligence and knowing assistance” by TD, Canada’s second-biggest lender, in allowing SIB to maintain correspondent accounts.
BVI: “BLACK SWAN” LEGISLATION FOR FREEZING INJUNCTIONS
Walkers Global reported that, on 31 December, the BVI House of Assembly passed the so-called “Black Swan” Bill amending the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (Virgin Islands) Act so as to confer jurisdiction on the BVI Court to grant interim relief in support of foreign proceedings. The Bill is expected to pass into law and come into force early in 2021. The amendment followed a ruling that the BVI Court lacked jurisdiction to grant a free-standing freezing injunction against a BVI company where that company was not a party to substantive proceedings either in the BVI or elsewhere and that legislation would be required before the BVI Court could grant such relief.
COVID-19: A REVIEW OF THE SECOND WAVE OF SEC SECURITIES FRAUD ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS
On 11 January, the Compliance & Enforcement blog from the Program on Corporate Compliance & Enforcement from the New York University School of Law said that the SEC has remained keenly focused on monitoring the market “for frauds, illicit schemes and other misconduct affecting US investors relating to COVID-19”. The SEC has reiterated and expanded on its guidance for public companies, emphasising that it will pay attention to “how companies are disclosing the effects and risks of COVID-19 on their businesses, financial condition, and results of operations” and the SEC has also continued to file COVID-19-related securities fraud enforcement actions. It considers enforcement actions against issuers purporting to manufacture COVID-19-related products, and against issuers that made statements related to the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses.
CANADA CONSIDERS LABELLING PROUD BOYS AS ‘TERRORIST ORGANISATION’ AFTER US CAPITOL HILL RIOTS
On 12 January, WION reported that Canada is planning to label far-right and white supremacist group Proud Boys as a ”terrorist organisation” alongside ISIS, al-Qaeda and Boko Haram over its role in the US Capitol riots. The Canadian Proud Boys had already split into factions last year with many members forming a far-right nationalist group called Canada First.
UK REJECTS EU REGULATIONS TO REDUCE ILLEGAL ANTIQUITY TRAFFICKING
On 11 January, the Hyperallergic website reported that, as part of its post-Brexit trade deal with the EU, the UK is said to have rejected new import licensing regulations imposed by the EU designed to safeguard cultural heritage from illegal trafficking. The EU legislation requires import licenses for art, antiques, books, and other artifacts that are more than 250 years old before they can enter any EU country, and to acquire the rights, importers must prove that their goods were legally exported from the country of origin.
The EU Regulation in question is at –
BREXIT: CHANGES TO SANCTIONS, SAR AND AML MATTERS
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales has produced a newsletter which contains details of changes to sanctions lists and legislation following the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December.
BRIBERY & CORRUPTION RISKS TO UK INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS: CASE STUDIES AND RED FLAGS
In October, the National Economic Crime Centre in the UK issued an Amber Alert issued with the support of the Home Office, the Independent Schools Council, the Independent Schools Bursars Association and OFSI. The purpose of the Alert is to review the methods through which the proceeds of bribery and corruption may be placed into the independent school sector.
EU WATCHDOG LAUNCHES PROBE INTO FRONTEX BORDER AGENCY OVER MISCONDUCT
On 12 January, the Daily Sabah in Turkey reported that OLAF had launched a probe into the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) due to the agency’s role in the pushback of migrants from Greece to Turkish territorial waters and other charges including harassment and misconduct. While both OLAF and Frontex confirmed the probe was launched, none of them shared further details.
UK: FORMER CABINET MINISTERS OPPOSE EXTRADITION OF TECH ENTREPRENEUR TO US ON FRAUD CHARGES
On 12 January, ITV News reported that former cabinet ministers have urged the Government not to allow a Cambridge tech tycoon to be extradited to the US over fraud charges. Michael Lynch is the former head of a Cambridge software company called Autonomy, and he sold the company to Hewlett Packard in 2011 for $11 billion dollars. Hewlett Packard claims he overstated the value of the firm and wants him extradited to face legal action in the US.
BRAZILIAN MEATPACKING COMPANY SETTLES MULTIPLE INVESTIGATIONS BY US AUTHORITIES
An article from the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics on 11 January reported that Brazil’s J&F Investimentos and JBS SA agreed to pay fines to the US DoJ and SEC for bribery and insider trading. J&F, owned by 2 Brazilian brothers, controls JBS, the largest meatpacking company in the world. The brothers admitted to bribing Brazilian politicians in order to gain financing and other benefits for the company, and the bribery scheme involved multiple subsidiaries of J&F, including Pilgrim’s Pride.
US: DETENTION OF TUNA AND ANY SEAFOOD HARVESTED BY TAIWANESE-FLAGGED AND OWNED DISTANT WATER FISHING VESSEL
On 12 January, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that US Customs & Border Protection a new withhold release order which requires the detention at all US ports of entry of tuna and any seafood harvested by the Lien Yi Hsing No. 12, a Taiwanese-flagged and owned distant water fishing vessel due to allegations of forced labour.
SPAIN AND GIBRALTAR IN RAFT OF CANNABIS BUSTS
On 12 January, OCCRP reported on a busy weekend for authorities in Southern Spain and Gibraltar, with 3 separate busts against cannabis smuggling networks in the region seeing more than 24 alleged conspirators arrested and more than 1,700 kg of the drug seized. One group allegedly used an industrial estate in Spain as a shipping hub for cannabis grown in urban areas throughout Andalusia, usually in small-scale batches, which were then logged as consumer goods and shipped to countries including Holland, Italy, Poland, France, the UK, Belgium and Hungary. It is said that smuggling operations continue to see large quantities of the drug brought in from Latin America and Morocco, while the decriminalisation of personal cultivation and use has corresponded with a significant uptick in the amount originating in Spain for export elsewhere, usually as part of smaller-scale schemes.
EXPERT: CRIMINALS INCREASINGLY INTERESTED IN DEEP FAKE TECHNOLOGY
On 11 January, an article in OCCRP reported that a San Francisco-based cyber analytics specialist warned that the use of deep fake video and audio technologies could become a major cyber threat to businesses within the next 2 years. Deep fake technology creates convincing fictional video or audio content that can easily be used to spread misinformation.
DEPARTING FROM RETAINED EU CASE LAW
On 11 January, an article from the UK Constitutional Law Association starts by saying that, following the end of the UK’s transition period for withdrawing from the EU, the status of earlier case law on retained EU law is somewhat complicated. It considers how proposed changes might work and their impact on legal certainty and the separation of powers.
IRELAND BEGINS OVERHAUL OF GAMBLING LAWS
On 12 January, an article from Out-Law says that the Irish government has passed amendments to its Gaming and Lotteries Act in an interim measure ahead of a more significant overhaul of gambling legislation expected later this year. New legislation introduces a more coherent permit and licensing application process and formalises the minimum age of 18 for all forms of betting, among other measures.
CONSULTATION: UK REGULATORY APPROACH TO CRYPTOASSETS AND STABLECOINS
On 7 January, HM Treasury says that this exercise represents the first stage in the government’s consultative process with industry and stakeholders on the broader regulatory approach to cryptoassets and stablecoins. It seeks views on how the UK can ensure its regulatory framework is equipped to harness the benefits of new technologies, supporting innovation and competition, while mitigating risks to consumers and stability. The consultation closes on 21 March.
USING SATELLITE IMAGES AND MACHINE LEARNING TO TRACK ILLEGAL AMBER MINING IN UKRAINE
The Skopenow website has published an article about illegal miners who are digging up the earth searching for amber. A few years ago, prices spiked, driven by demand from China. Each year more than 300 tonnes of amber are unearthed in Ukraine but more than 90% of that is illegally mined resulting in lost revenue of nearly $300 million, according to some estimates. Northern Ukraine is full of amber. To mine it, people dig up the trees, then pump water into the sandy earth, and the amber, which is lighter than water, simply floats to the top. While the harvest is easy, the aftermath is a landscape that looks like it was shot with a giant shotgun.
‘NDRANGHETA: ITALY PREPARES FOR MAFIA ‘MAXI-TRIAL’ WITH 355 DEFENDANTS
On 11 January, The Local reported that hundreds of suspected members of the ‘Ndrangheta, Italy’s most powerful mafia group, will face a judge in Calabria as the country’s biggest “maxi-trial” of the past 3 decades gets underway. The trial against the crime syndicate and its accomplices – among them politicians, civil servants, police and white-collar businessmen – is expected to last more than 2 years.
MAPPING THE INTERNATIONAL PRESENCE OF THE WORLD’S LARGEST ARMS COMPANIES
A research paper from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in December uses a new data set to examine the results of this internationalization in terms of the international presence of major arms companies. It presents a mapping comprising 400 foreign entities linked to the world’s largest arms companies. It is said to reveal that the international presence of major Chinese arms companies and the 1 Russian company included in the study remains limited.
PROFITEERS, VULTURES, AND THE FAILURE OF THE UN ARMS EMBARGO ON LIBYA
A Commentary in War on the Rocks on 12 January says that the UN arms embargo prohibiting shipments to Libya is an abject failure. Its decade-long prohibitions have been openly flouted by various countries, to include states who are members in good standing of the so-called “international community” and the UN Security Council itself. They are joined by an assembly of foreign commercial profiteers exploiting Libya’s carnage for their own gain. In June 2016, the UN Security Council passed UN SCR 2292, which authorised member states to inspect suspected weapons shipments entering Libya, but only through the high seas. This provision left open the supply by air.
THE LATIN AMERICAN DRUG CARTEL YOU HAVEN’T HEARD OF
On 11 January, The Crime Report carried an article saying that for over 30 years, a Brazilian drug and arms-smuggling cartel operating largely behind bars has grown into the dominant transnational criminal organisation in Latin America – Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC) is the “world’s most powerful prison gang,” according to the report.
US FEDERAL PROSECUTIONS FOR DOMESTIC TERRORISM HIT RECORD HIGH LAST YEAR
On 12 January, The Crime Report said that federal prosecutions for domestic terrorism climbed to a record high in 2020, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University. Some 183 domestic terrorism prosecutions were filed by US Attorneys last year, the highest number since the government began tracking them 25 years ago. More than 40% of last year’s cases originated in Oregon’s federal court, sparked by violent protests last summer in the city of Portland over the police killing of George Floyd.
CHINA ISSUES BLOCKING RULES TO COUNTER FOREIGN SANCTIONS AND OTHER MEASURES
On 12 January, Wilmer Hale issued a Client Alert saying that on 9 January, China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) promulgated new rules. These Blocking Rules are designed to target only those trade sanctions and export control measures that effectively impact third countries or regions, not US measures that block trade between the US and China directly.
US NATIONAL IPR CENTER AND INTERNATIONAL ANTICOUNTERFEITING COALITION JOIN FORCES TO STOP COUNTERFEITS GOODS AROUND THE WORLD
A news release from US Immigration & Customs Enforcement advised that the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center announced a formal partnership with the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC) to protect legitimate manufacturers, retailers and consumers across every sector of the global economy by preventing illegal counterfeit goods from entering the US. It is said that the partnership with IACC provides a framework to enhance investigative efforts into intellectual property crime through joint events, law enforcement training, community outreach and information sharing.
RETURNING FOREIGN FIGHTER ARRESTED IN SPAIN
On 12 January, a news release from Europol advised that the suspect was part of the so-called Islamic State in the Iraqi-Syrian conflict zone. Europol supported an operation of the Spanish Policía Nacional leading to the arrest of a member of the so-called Islamic State. The suspect had recently returned from the conflict zone on the border of Iraq and Syria. 2 other individuals associated with the suspect were also arrested during the operation in Barcelona.
JERSEY: MEDICINAL CANNABIS FIRM READY TO START GROWING AND EXPORTING FROM THE ISLAND ‘WITHIN WEEKS’
On 12 January, This is Jersey reported that a Jersey-based company has up to 600,000 sq ft of land ready for growing medicinal cannabis after being issued the ‘first full commercial licence’ to do so in the British Isles in 2 decades.
UK: MILLIONS SEIZED AFTER ‘PAY PER VIEW’ ADULT ENTERTAINMENT MONEY LAUNDERING RACKET SMASHED
On 12 January, Bolton News reported that more than £5 million has been recovered from fraudulent companies who used adult entertainment websites as part of an international money laundering racket. At Manchester Magistrates’ Court in November, a judge agreed to the forfeiture of £5.8 million of criminally obtained funds – the biggest Proceeds of Crime Act forfeiture in Greater Manchester Police’s history. The probe concerned 3 Manchester-based companies, registered in 2018, that were linked to adult entertainment websites offering “pay per view” services to live-streamed exotic dancers.
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