THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 24

Panama Covid-19 update – today’s figures show another 1,393 new cases and 25 new fatalities. There are 47,086 active cases, with 216 in ICU and 2,370 in other wards.

24 January 2021

FRANCE HAS REVISED ITS SYSTEM FOR EXPORTING ART AND ANTIQUES, REMOVING RED TAPE THAT HAS LONG HINDERED TRADE

On 20 January, Artnet reported that the changes could make France more attractive as a market for overseas buyers in some key disciplines. The changes, which came into effect on 1 January, raise the value thresholds at which an export certificate or “passport” must be obtained for a broad swathe of art, antiques, and collectibles. In some cases, the threshold has been doubled. The changes remove an entire tier of red tape for major parts of the art market in France — Europe’s second largest art market after the UK — leaving them only to meet EU export licensing obligations.

https://news.artnet.com/market/france-export-licence-value-thresholds-art-antiques-1938215

ROMANIAN PRINCE BECOMES WANTED PERSON TO SERVE JAIL SENTENCE IN CORRUPTION CASE WITH LINKS TO BENY STEINMETZ

On 19 January, Romania Insider reported that Paul-Phillipe al Romaniei, aka Prince Paul of Romania, the grandson of King Carol II of Romania, has become a wanted person as the police are trying to get him to jail, where he has to serve a 40-month sentence in in the “Royal Farm” corruption case. The court also handed down a 5-year sentence for Israeli businessman, Beny Steinmetz, believed to be one of the main beneficiaries, and also recently convicted in Switzerland over bribes to a wife of Guinea’s former president Lansana Conte for mining contracts in the country.

https://www.romania-insider.com/index.php/prince-paul-romania-internationally-wanted-2020

EXTRATERRITORIAL SANCTIONS ON TRADE AND INVESTMENTS AND EUROPEAN RESPONSES

The Centre for European Policy Studies has published a Study saying that recent US measures directed against Iran, Cuba and Russia (re North Stream 2) have indirectly become a critical challenge for the EU as well.  As they purport to deter economic actors under EU jurisdiction from engaging with target countries, they have an important extraterritorial dimension that affects EU business and individuals, and ultimately the sovereignty of the EU and its Member States.  A review of the existing sanction regimes and of the geopolitical context reveals that other international players, including China, may follow suit in using such measures.  The Study shows that extraterritorial sanctions have considerable economic implications, particularly for the EU and its vulnerabilities. Extraterritorial sanctions also raise critical questions as to their legality under general international law, WTO law and other specific international rules.  The EU is especially affected by these measures and has already taken some measures of its own in response.  These could be improved and additional measures taken, as the policy recommendations in this study set out.

https://www.ceps.eu/ceps-publications/extraterritorial-sanctions-on-trade-and-investments-and-european-responses/

SOUTH AFRICA: CALLS FOR MINERAL RESOURCES MINISTER ‘TO BE FIRED’, AMID MONEY LAUNDERING ALLEGATIONS

On 24 January, The South African reported that media reports state that the Gwede Mantashe Foundation has been complicit in a scheme involving several subsidiary companies.  Gwede Mantashe is mineral resources minister.  The minister’s wife is also thought to be benefiting irregularly from a government contract.  The fresh allegations weave a rich tapestry of intrigue and financial misgivings. 

https://www.thesouthafrican.com/news/what-money-laundering-gwede-mantashe-accusations/

https://www.sowetanlive.co.za/news/south-africa/2021-01-23-bidvest-company-gwede-mantashe-foundation-named-in-labour-dispute/

INDIA: 8 CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS AMONG 258 ARRESTED IN GST FAKE INVOICE FRAUDS

On 24 January, ANI reported that the arrests took place in a drive against fake Goods and Service Tax invoice fraud since November.  258 persons have been arrested so far. 

https://www.aninews.in/news/national/general-news/8-chartered-accountants-among-258-arrested-in-gst-fake-invoice-frauds20210124233913/

BANGLADESH: ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION ARRESTS 2 MORE ACCOMPLICES OF BUSINESSMAN PROSHANTA KUMAR HALDER OVER EMBEZZLEMENT AND SMUGGLING OF THE MONEY ABROAD

In its 25 January edition, bdnews 24 reported that Proshanta is a former MD of the International Leasing and Financial Services Limited or ILFSL and NRB Global Bank. He is accused of embezzling funds and purchasing large shares while taking control of 4 financial institutions, in which he placed his close associates in positions of power – ILFSL, Peoples Leasing and Financial Services, FAS Finance and Investment Company, and Bangladesh Industrial Finance Company.

https://bdnews24.com/bangladesh/2021/01/25/acc-arrests-two-more-accomplices-of-pk-halder

ALBANIAN PROSECUTION MULLING LAUNCH OF INVESTIGATIONS INTO ITALIAN MAFIA CONNECTIONS 

On 24 January, Exit News reported that the Special Anti-corruption and Organized Crime Prosecution (SPAK) is considering whether there are grounds to launch an investigation regarding allegations suggested in the media on the Italian mafia attempts to launder money in Albania.  Parts of Italian prosecution’s current case against the ‘Ndrangheta mafia group, following arrests of dozens of mafia members, showed mafia attempts to launder money in Albania.   The mafia used Italian politicians as intermediaries who are associated with senior officials in Albania.

https://exit.al/en/2021/01/23/italian-prosecution-investigation-shows-mafia-attempts-to-launder-money-in-albania/

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