Panama Covid-19 update – so far, 5,300 people have been vaccinated. Meanwhile, the latest data shows that over 5,000 people have now died, with 43 more fatalities today. With 2,058 new cases, there are now 48,220 active, with 251 in ICU, 2,492 in other wards and 559 in hotels.
23 JANUARY 2021
NUCLEAR BAN TREATY ENTERS INTO FORCE
On 22 January, Pass Blue reported on the entry into force of this UN treaty saying that the 52 (so far) signatories to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons cannot legally use, possess, test, build, transfer, acquire or rely on another country’s nuclear weapons. Cambodia was the latest country to join the pact. The agreement does not apply to countries that have not signed it, including the 9 that are known to have nuclear weapons: US, Russia, China, Britain, France, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea. These countries, however, can join the pact at any time.
2 MALAYSIAN NATIONALS PLEAD GUILTY TO ILLEGALLY EXPORTING FIREARM PARTS TO HONG KONG
A news release from the US DoJ on 22 January advised that 2 Malaysian nationals have pleaded guilty in federal court in Boston to conspiring to illegally export firearm parts from the US to Hong Kong. Beginning in or around March 2018, one began purchasing a variety of US-origin firearm parts online, including parts used to assemble AR-15 assault rifles and 9mm semi-automatic handguns, for a buyer located in Hong Kong. In or around April 2018, the other defendant joined the conspiracy and also began illegally exporting firearm parts from the US to Hong Kong.
WIDER CONSEQUENCES OF THE SUPREME COURT JUDGMENT IN THE FCA TEST CASE ON COVID-19 BUSINESS INTERRUPTION
On 22 January, a briefing from HFW said that, on 15 January, the Supreme Court handed down its final judgment in the COVID-19 Business Interruption test case commenced by the FCA. It is clear that the Supreme Court’s judgment will have wider ramifications for English insurance law (beyond COVID-19 business interruption claims), particularly with regard to causation and quantum. It says thatThe Supreme Court’s judgment will have far reaching consequences which go way beyond Business Interruption non-damage extensions triggered by COVID-19 losses. The substance of the ruling will have a significant bearing on how both insurers and policyholders interpret the causal link stipulated in the policy language.
CHINESE PRESIDENT XI SAYS CORRUPTION REMAINS BIGGEST THREAT TO COMMUNIST PARTY
On 23 January, the South China Morning Post reported that the President has reiterated the need to fight corruption if the country is to achieve its economic and political goals. He said the threat of corruption remained serious, and promised to get tough on Communist Party officials who feigned loyalty while engaging in corrupt activities.
CROOKED CASH IS FLOODING INTO ILLEGAL BETTING MARKETS ON AUSTRALIAN RACING, THE AFL AND NRL, RAISING FEARS OF MATCH-FIXING AND CORRUPTION
On 22 January, Community Watch reported that a new report into illegal gambling warns criminals are increasingly targeting sports to launder money made through criminal activities. At least $1 billion in Australia was being wagered on illegal betting markets, an Asian Racing Federation report found.
DRUG DEALS, DIRTY MONEY AND LINKS TO BEIJING: AUSTRALIAN POLICE BRING DOWN ASIA’S ‘MR BIG’
On 23 January, the Sydney Morning Herald carried an article saying that one of world’s most wanted alleged drug barons – a billionaire, Tse Chi Lop, 56, dubbed Asia’s El Chapo – is set to finally face justice in Australia after federal police carried out a covert plot to arrest him after he was deported from Taiwan.
SUBSTANCE REQUIREMENTS IN THE ISLE OF MAN AND GUERNSEY
On 19 January, an article was published by Dixcart about the guidance from the Crown Dependencies (Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey) regarding the Substance Requirements on 22 November 2019, to supplement the key aspects document that had been issued in December 2018. Meanwhile, on 19 January, Ogier published an update on the requirements in Guernsey.
UK: RETAINED EU LAW AND OTHER KEY BREXIT-RELATED LEGISLATION
On 22 January, Gowling WLG published 2 articles concerned with retained EU law in the UK after Brexit and other key Brexit-related legislation.
US APPEALS COURT REJECTS TRUMP-ERA WIRE ACT MEMO
On 21 January, a news release from Ifrah Law advised that a federal appeals court had rejected an appeal from the DoJ that it said posed a threat to the gambling industry. The court affirmed a 2019 decision that the 1961 Wire Act applied only to interstate sports betting, and does not prohibit internet gaming or online lotteries.
A SURVEY OF THE IMPACT OF GDPR AND ITS EFFECT ON ORGANISATIONS IN IRELAND 2021
On 21 January, McCann Fitzgerald in Ireland published the results of a survey which highlights the significant work done by organisations in Ireland to seek to achieve compliance. This, the fifth annual survey about the ongoing impact of GDPR on businesses and operations in Ireland highlights a more positive sentiment in those surveyed with 80% of organisations saying they are materially or fully compliant with the Regulation, compared with 76% last year. This positive trend continues with 83% believing GDPR is beneficial for individuals, compared to 74% in the previous year.
BOLIVIA RIVERS BECOME INCREASINGLY POPULAR DRUG TRAFFICKING ROUTES
An article in Insight Crime on 22 January said that drug trafficking routes are starting to appear along rivers and canals in Bolivia, threatening to complicate efforts to stop the flow of cocaine to international markets. The UN reports that drug traffickers have begun using the Paraguay-Paraná watershed on the eastern border of the country, which connects it to river systems across the region and facilitates access to buyers in Europe and Africa.
3 UNEXPLORED CRIMINAL CHALLENGES IN LATIN AMERICA AWAITING PRESIDENT BIDEN
An article from Insight Crime on 21 January said that, in addition to fighting corruption in the Northern Triangle of Central America, working with Mexico and Central America on migration, and keeping up the pressure on Venezuela, there are 3 other areas of note –
- Brazil’s largest gang, the First Capital Command (Primeiro Comando da Capital – PCC) and its drugs trafficking;
- the Dominican Republic, identified by the Trump Administration as one of the hubs for drug trafficking in Latin America, alongside more traditional offenders such as Mexico and Colombia, and Dominican gangs; and
- Chinese criminal organisations becoming a rising problem across the region.
FOREIGN FIGHTERS WERE MEANT TO LEAVE LIBYA BUT A HUGE TRENCH BEING DUG BY RUSSIAN-BACKED MERCENARIES INDICATES THEY PLAN TO STAY
On 22 January, an article from CNN says that construction on an enormous trench across Libya, dug by Russia-backed mercenaries Wagner, is raising fears that foreign fighters will not withdraw from the country, as a UN-brokered peace deal insists. It says that the trench, which extends dozens of kilometres south from the populated coastal areas around Sirte towards the Wagner-controlled stronghold of al-Jufra, can be seen on satellite imagery and is bolstered by a series of elaborate fortifications. It is claimed that the number of mercenaries on both the GNA and LNA sides was relatively consistent: an estimated 10,000 were in currently Libya, according to a September AFRICOM report on the issue. The Libyan deployment of about 2,000 Wagner foreign mercenaries – thought to be mostly Russian or former Soviet Union nationals – is said to be the private military company’s largest worldwide. It also refers to thousands of Syrian mercenaries that Turkey has flown into and supported in Libya.
SWITZERLAND EXTENDS SANCTIONS AGAINST BELARUS
On 23 January, an article from Baker McKenzie reported that, on 11 December, the Swiss Federal Council extended sanctions against Belarus. Financial sanctions and travel bans were imposed on 15 individuals, including President Alexander Lukashenko. The Federal Council also decided to amend the Ordinance to include an embargo on armaments and goods that may be used for internal repression. The EU imposed a similar embargo already in 2011. Switzerland has to date largely implemented that embargo based on its existing war material and dual-use goods legislation.
ALMOST A TONNE OF COCAINE WORTH £76 MILLION FOUND IN BANANAS AT PORT OF SOUTHAMPTON
On 22 January, Sky News reported that Border Force officers have disrupted “industrial scale” drug smuggling after seizing almost a tonne of cocaine – with a street value of around £76 million – hidden among bananas at the Port of Southampton.
CANADA: COVID-19 SUBSIDY WENT TO COMPANY OF MAN ON NO-FLY LIST FOR ALLEGED TERRORIST FINANCING
On 20 January, Global News reported that a company run by a man on Canada’s no-fly list for allegedly financing terrorism and another barred from government national security contracts over alleged links to Indian intelligence were among the recipients of federal relief funds. Yellow Car Rental and Life Prediction Technologies were both recipients, whose director has been on Canada’s no-fly list since 2018.
SWITZERLAND: SPECIAL PROSECUTOR APPOINTED IN CRYPTO SPY SCANDAL
On 21 January, Swissinfo reported that a special public prosecutor has been named in connection with the Crypto spying affair involving manipulated encryption devices which the CIA and the German intelligence agency used to spy on half the world. Zug-based firm Crypto AG was at the heart of a huge international spying operation led by the CIA but also involving the German BND spy service. More than 100 countries bought the encryption devices from the company, which did business under the guise of Swiss neutrality.
LATVIA: FORMER RAIL BOSS MAGONIS AND ESTONIAN BUSINESSMAN OSSINOVSKI ACQUITTED IN BRIBERY CASE
On 21 January, LSM reported that one of the highest-profile criminal cases of recent years came to a dramatic conclusion with the acquittal of former Latvian railways chief Uģis Magonis and Estonian businessman Oleg Ossinovski on bribery charges. In 2015, the then head of Latvian railways Magonis was detained by the anti-graft Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau on suspicion of bribery, and according to the allegations, Estonian millionaire Ossinovski allegedly handed over almost half a million euros to Magonis in connection with the purchase of old diesel locomotives from the Osinovsky-owned company Skinest Rail.
MERCATOR MISCONCEPTIONS: CLEVER MAP SHOWS THE TRUE SIZE OF COUNTRIES
SRI LANKA: PRESIDENT WON’T HESITATE TO REMOVE ALL OFFICERS TO CURB CORRUPTION IN CUSTOMS DEPARTMENT
On 23 January, the Daily Mirror in Sri Lanka reported that the President has said he would not hesitate to eliminate the alleged corruption in the Customs department even by removing all the officers.
3 WORKERS IN LONDON ARRESTED AMID £6 MILLION BOUNCE BACK LOAN FRAUD PROBE
On 23 January, the Irish Examiner reported that 3 men have been arrested as part of an investigation into fraudulent coronavirus bounce back loans totalling £6 million. The NCA said all 3 men worked for the same London financial institution and are suspected of using their “specialist knowledge” to carry out the scam.
ONLINE ROMANCE FRAUD HAS COST VICTIMS £63 MILLION IN 2020
On 26 December, Sky News reported that UK victims of online romance fraud were conned out of more than £63 million over the past year, according to figures obtained exclusively by Sky News. Action Fraud, run by the City of London Police, says 800 more cases were reported in 2020 than the previous year.
FRAUD INSIGHTS: USE OF NORWICH PHARMACAL DOCUMENTS ALLOWED AGAINST DISCLOSING BANK
On 4 January, a briefing from Mishcon de Reya LLP says that a recent case in the High Court in London provided an opportunity to consider the circumstances in which it would be appropriate to allow an Applicant to be discharged from its undertaking not to use documents obtained from a bank under a Norwich Pharmacal Order (NPO) for the purposes of proceedings against the bank. Although the case itself was only concerned with the use of the evidence and not with the merits of a potential claim against the bank, it also brought into focus a suite of matters which could give rise to a bank having to take responsibility for the fraudulent acts of one of its customers and the importance the Court places on a multi-tiered defence system in the battle against cyber fraud. It starts by explaining that an NPO (or third-party disclosure order) requires a respondent to disclose certain documents or information to an applicant. In these instances, the applicant knows that wrongdoing has occurred, but needs more information from a third party who is mixed up in the wrongdoing, whether innocently or not, to identify the proper defendant to an action or to be able to plead a claim. This type of relief is not generally available against someone who is likely to be a party to the potential proceedings.
ASSESSING 2020: LESSONS LEARNED FOR THE FINANCIAL CRIME LANDSCAPE
On 29 December, Compliance Week published an article reviewing 2020 – Supply chains tested – Covid relief measures exploited – Work from home poses new challenges – Amid this year’s difficult circumstances, practitioners have taken opportunities, where available, for personal and professional development, Hopes and fears for 2021.
LITIGATION FUNDING IN THE CAYMAN ISLANDS – THE NEW PRIVATE FUNDING OF LEGAL SERVICES ACT
On 19 January, a post from Harneys is concerned with a new Act which it says will bring certainty and clarity to the availability and acceptable form of disputes funding arrangements in the jurisdiction. Prior to the new Act coming into force, both contingent fee agreements between attorneys and litigants and funding agreements between third-party funders and litigants require the approval of the court.
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