Panama Covid-19 update – La Prensa reported on 30 January that, so far, 101 healthcare workers in Panama have died as a result of Covid-19, with a total of 9,810 being infected.
Meanwhile, today sees another 936 new cases and 25 new fataliities. Of 38,692 active cases, 247 are in ICU and 2,186 in other wards.
31 JANUARY 2021
11 UAE BANKS FINED FOR BREAKING AML RULES
On 31 January, the Khaleej Times reported that the UAE Central Bank has imposed financial sanctions on 11 banks $12.5 million for violating AML regulations. They take into account the banks’ failures to achieve appropriate levels of compliance regarding their AML and sanctions compliance frameworks as at the end of 2019. The only bank identified was India’s Bank of Baroda which has made a statement to the National Stock Exchange.
MALTA: LIMIT OF €10,000 TO BE PUT ON CASH TRANSACTIONS
On 31 January, the Times of Malta reported that a long-shelved plan to ban cash transactions in excess of €10,000 will be introduced in the coming days, with legal amendments dating back some 6 years to be redrafted and would be published in February.
INDIA: MONEY LAUNDERING ARREST IN LONG-RUNNING VIP HELICOPTER CASE
On 31 January, Grain Mart India and others reported that a company director had been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on charges of money laundering in the AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter case. The arrest was made on claims that he was not cooperating with the investigation. The case involved refers to a multimillion-dollar corruption case in India, wherein money was paid to middlemen and Indian officials in 2006 and 2007 to purchase helicopters for high level politicians. The latest charge sheet involves money allegedly transferred to or via Dubai and Tunisian companies.
LSB PUBLISHES REVIEW OF CRM CODE FOR AUTHORISED PUSH PAYMENTS
On 31 January, the Fintech Times reported that the Lending Standards Board in the UK has carried out a review of the code first issued in May 2019. The review by the LSB, the primary self-regulatory body for the banking and lending industry, sought to better understand how effective the Code is in achieving its objectives to provide greater consumer protection, as well as to understand the impact it has had on the volume of scams taking place.
ALEX SAAB AND THE STATE OF CORRUPTION IN VENEZUELA
On 31 January, an article from Global Risks Insight says that among other individuals linked to corruption by the Maduro government, in June 2020 Colombian national Alex Saab was arrested in Cape Verde in connection with an Interpol Red Notice concerning money laundering. Now, 6 months after his arrest, it seems likely that he will be extradited to the US. The article asks how significant is Saab to the Maduro government and what impact might his extradition have? It says that Alex Saab’s arrest and extradition is only the first step in a complicated international process towards dismantling a network of corruption.
PREVENTING NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION WITH MACHINE LEARNING & PUBLICLY AVAILABLE INFORMATION
On 12 January, the Nuclear Threat Initiative published an article saying that, for decades, illicit trade in nuclear materials, equipment, and technologies has undermined global nuclear non-proliferation efforts. Sophisticated actors establish front companies, forge documents, and launder money to obscure proliferation activities, and are too often able to evade detection — even as they operate within legal systems of trade, finance, transportation, and communication. However, the article says that they do leave footprints, however, and now, with an increase in the volume and variety of publicly available data, there are new opportunities to discover and expose such activities. An NTI-C4ADS pilot project has yielded several key findings, and it recommends that leaders of non-proliferation efforts in governments and multilateral organisations around the world ensure that publicly available information and modern analytical approaches are employed to monitor and ultimately disrupt illicit nuclear activities.
EXTRATERRITORIAL SANCTIONS AND CHINA
On 26 January, CEPS (the Centre for European Policy Studies) published a paper saying that China has recently updated its laws on the (security) screening of foreign investment, promulgated a new export controls law, drawn up an ‘unreliable entity’ list, and adopted an EU-style statute blocking the extraterritorial jurisdiction of US law. Historically, the EU Blocking Regulation has provided for a unified European response to the extraterritorial application of other country’s sanctions. However, the proliferation of such sanctions requires a deeper debate on possible additional measures to increase deterrence and, if needed, to counteract them. This paper asks how the EU might prepare to be better protected, and finds inspiration in the established practice of hedging against secondary sanctions, as adopted by the US Treasury.
EXTRATERRITORIAL SANCTIONS ON TRADE AND INVESTMENTS AND EUROPEAN RESPONSES
On 15 January, the Centre for European Policy Studies published a paper saying that recent US measures directed against Iran, Cuba and Russia (North Stream 2) have indirectly become a critical challenge for the EU as well. 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 paper says that a 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.
WARNING OF CRITICAL RISKS IN 2021 ON DATA PROTECTION DAY
On 28 January, an article from Data Centre & Network News reported a warning that, based on their research of recent cyberattack trends and existing business practices, organisations around the world currently face a global threat to data privacy and security in 2021. It briefly details the various risks identified by the cybersecurity experts at the global network of Acronis Cyber Protection Operations Centers (CPOC).
UK JUDICIAL REVIEW REPORT DELIVERED
On 31 January, Joshua Rozenberg reported in his blog that the Independent Review of Administrative Law, set up last year to consider judicial review has now delivered its report to the government and, having completed its task, the panel, chaired by Lord Faulks QC, has been disbanded.
TRANSFERRING PERSONAL DATA IN ASIA
This report was published in May 2020 by the Asian Business Law Institute takes the form of a Comparative Review which sets out proposals for how Asian public stakeholders may promote legal certainty and greater consistency between their respective laws and regulations on cross-border transfers of personal data in the region. To do so it involves the then-current status of rules, laws, codes etc in the Asia-Pacific region. In doing so it covers Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Macau SAR, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam. It is said to show shows that there is great potential for interoperability of some mechanisms in current laws. In particular, contracts, binding corporate rules, and certification (in multiple forms).
MARITIME PIRACY HOTSPOTS PERSIST DURING 2020
On 31 January, an article in Hellenic Shipping News says that global piracy and armed robbery numbers increased in 2020, according to the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB PRC). Its latest annual report lists a total of 195 actual and attempted attacks in 2020, up from 162 in 2019 and the agency attributes the rise to an increase of piracy and armed robbery reported within the Gulf of Guinea as well as increased armed robbery activity in the Singapore Straits. The article provides details from the report, not just the obvious SE Asia and Gulf of Guinea hotspots, but also elsewhere
If you would like to make a (polite) gesture and make a (very) modest contribution to my ongoing costs of relocation, removal and computer costs, I have a page at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y