Panama Covid-19 update – Tuesday is the day for the weekly news conference. The good news is the Rt rate is down to 0.77, but there are still 1,098 new cases today and 36 new fatalities. There are currently36,035 active cases, with 242 in ICU and 2,181 in other hospital wards.
A back of the envelope analysis of the figures to date confirms the disproportionate effect of the virus on the older segments of the community, though it also shows that younger people are by no means immune from its fatal effects. Furthermore, of course, the data for fatalities does not provide information on the “long Covid” and other physical, psychological and other side- and after-effects.
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2 FEBRUARY 2021
NEW YORK BANK FINED FOR AML LAW FAILURES
On 2 February, KYC 360 reported that Apple Bank for Savings agreed to pay $12.5 million to settle claims that it failed to comply with AML rules between April 2014 and September 2018. The bank had failed to comply with that FDIC order in a timely manner after it was asked in 2015 to enhance its AML compliance programme.
QUINCECARE DUTY: A REVIEW OF DEVELOPMENTS
On 29 January, an article from Tenet Compliance & Litigation Ltd says that, following the UK Supreme Court judgment in Singularis v Daiwa and a number of high-profile interim judgments on the so-called “Quincecare” duty during the course of 2020, looks at how the law is developing in this area and what one can expect from the case law going forward. It explains that the basis of the duty is that a banker must refrain from executing an order if and for as long as the banker is “put on enquiry” in the sense that he has reasonable grounds for believing that the order is an attempt to misappropriate the funds of the company.
CYPRUS – REGISTER OF BENEFICIAL OWNERS
On 1 February, an article from Solsidus Law explains that the effective date for the commencement of data collection regarding the details of entities’ beneficial owners has now moved to 22 February and submission of information and registration to the beneficial owners’ platform is voluntary until the relevant regulations are enacted. Enactment is expected in the next few months and, aAt present, the draft regulations are being finalised.
WHY NEW ARMED DRONES ARE A MILESTONE IN PROLIFERATION
An article in Forbes Magazine on 2 February says that even small nations are increasingly building their own drones, in discussing Georgia developing its own drones. It says that technology has advanced considerably in the last 5 years, and the availability of commercial components mean that even backyard engineers can construct crude but effective kamikaze drones.
US AMENDS REGULATIONS AND LOOSENS EXPORT RESTRICTIONS INVOLVING SUDAN
On 1 February, an article from Holland & Knight reported that the Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published a final rule, effective 14 January, amending the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to implement the rescission of Sudan’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism (SSOT). The rule removes anti-terrorism controls on Sudan and makes various conforming changes to the EAR
UKRAINE: PRESIDENT’S PARTY EXPELS LAWMAKER ON US SANCTIONS LIST FOR ELECTION INTERFERENCE
On 1 February, Yahoo News reported that the party of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s has voted to expel Oleksandr Dubinsky after the lawmaker was put on a US sanctions list for interference in US elections. Dubinsky denies the election meddling allegations and in a statement accused his colleagues of “cowardice and meanness”.
EUROPOL ON DEFENSIVE AS CONCERNS RAISED OVER ‘ILLEGAL’ BIG DATA TACTICS
On 2 February, an article in EurActiv says that Europol, the EU law enforcement agency, has defended its record in using large datasets for criminal investigations while putting forward an ‘action plan’ to appease concerns raised over the agency’s ‘illegal’ data use by the EU’s data protection watchdog, EDPS. The EDPS had unearthed evidence of national law enforcement agencies increasingly transmitting ‘large datasets’ to Europol, as opposed to ‘targeted data’ proportionate to specific criminal investigations, thereby breaching standards set out in the 2016 Europol Regulation. Moreover, the EDPS had found that as part of the processing of such large datasets, the personal data of individuals who were not in any way connected to criminal activities was also going through Europol’s system.
ITALY: NATURAL PERSONS WHO ARE SUBJECT TO AN ADMINISTRATIVE INVESTIGATION FOR INSIDER DEALING HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT WHEN THEIR ANSWERS MIGHT ESTABLISH THEIR LIABILITY FOR AN OFFENCE THAT IS PUNISHABLE BY ADMINISTRATIVE SANCTIONS OF A CRIMINAL NATURE, OR THEIR CRIMINAL LIABILITY
A news release from the Court of Justice of the EU on 2 February was concerned with a ruling involving an Italian case. However, it also says that the right to silence cannot justify every failure to cooperate with the competent authorities, such as refusing to appear at a hearing or using delaying tactics.
FAILURE TO IDENTIFY THE BENEFICIAL OWNER MAY CAUSE EXCLUSION FROM A PUBLIC PROCUREMENT PROCEEDING IN POLAND
On 2 February, an article from Taylor Wessing says that public procurement law in Poland contains a new regulation combining the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing with public procurement. This is because it provides for a new obligatory condition for excluding a contractor from a public procurement procedure.
BUSHIRIS’ EXTRADITION TESTS MALAWI’S COMMITMENT TO FIGHT CORRUPTION
On 2 February, IOL reported that the extradition of self-proclaimed Malawian prophet Shepherd Bushiri, who is accused of money laundering in South Africa, is a test of Malawi’s commitment to anti-corruption, according to Transparency International. South Africa has formally sent a request seeking the extradition of self-proclaimed Bushiri and his wife Mary. They absconded while on bail, after being arrested in South Africa, granted bail, they fled to Malawi, claiming they were not safe in South Africa.
BIDEN’S “BUY AMERICAN” EXECUTIVE ORDER MAY LEAD TO INCREASED FRAUD RISK AND ENFORCEMENT
On 1 February, Morgan Lewis in an article warns that Biden’s focus on Buy American Act domestic preference regulations and agency practices of implementing regulations and issuing waivers is likely to lead to an increased focus on federal government contractors’ compliance with heightened requirements. It says that compliance with requirements will likely also be subject to increased scrutiny—by the DoJ, contracting agencies, and potential relators—in light of President Biden’s focus on tightening Buy American regulations and curbing contracting agencies’ practice of issuing waivers or exempting contractors from those requirements.
UPDATE ON EO 13959 PROHIBITING TRANSACTIONS IN SECURITIES OF CHINESE MILITARY COMPANIES
On 1 February, an article from Morgan Lewis says that EO 13959 prohibits transactions by or on behalf of US persons in publicly traded securities of Chinese companies identified by the US government as “Communist Chinese military companies”. This update discusses significant developments related to EO 13959 since its November article on the subject, including OFAC actions and interpretations, and implications arising from those developments.
TEENAGE NEO-NAZI FROM CORNWALL IS UK’S YOUNGEST TERROR OFFENDER
On 1 February, the BBC reported that the 16-year-old teenage leader of a neo-Nazi group has become the youngest person in the UK to have committed a terrorist offence. The court heard he was the leader of the British version of a now banned neo-Nazi terrorist organisation. Between 2018 and July 2019, he collected a significant amount of far-right material and expressed racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic views on online platforms.
UK GAMBLING COMPANIES ORDERED TO SLOW DOWN ONLINE SLOT MACHINES
On 2 February, the Guardian reported that, due to curbs being introduced by the Gambling Commission, online casinos will be forced to overhaul slot machine games to slow them down and remove features that cause players to lose track of how much they are spending. It has told UK companies to slow them down, with a gap of at least 2.5 seconds between spins. They will also have to remove “auto-play” options.
REPORT BLAMES BIATHLON UNION PRESIDENT OF CORRUPTION
On 1 February, OCCRP reported that the International Biathlon Union has accused its former president, Anders Besseberg, of covering up cheating and blatantly favouring Russian interests after receiving bribes in the form of prostitutes and hunting trips, according to an independent report commissioned by the Union.
UK: AUTHORISED TRADER GUIDANCE ON PROHIBITED AND RESTRICTED GOODS
On 2 February, CILT reported that the Guidance has been update and now includes further advice on CN codes, and movement of groupage loads from GB to Northern Ireland.
TRANSFER PRICING FOR RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS: AN ANALYSIS OF CUSTOMS VALUATION CASES IN CHINA
On 2 February, an article from Dentons explains that, in the case of import/export of goods, a related party transaction (Related Party Transaction) refers to a transaction method and form commonly used by multinational enterprises in world trade. It contains 3 case studies, saying that Chinese enterprises engaged in Related Party Transactions are often required to fully explain to the customs that the prices of their imported/exported goods or their transfer pricing are in compliance with the fairness requirements of the customs for the prices of imported/exported goods.
IRAN AGREES TO RELEASE CREW MEMBERS OF DETAINED SOUTH KOREAN SHIP
On 2 February, Rferl reported that Iran has agreed to allow the crew members of a South Korean vessel it seized for allegedly polluting the environment to leave the country.
FINE WINES BECOME FIRST TOKENISED SECURITIES UNDER NEW SWISS BLOCKCHAIN LAW
On 1 February, Nasdaq reported that Sygnum, a digital-asset finance firm with a Swiss banking licence, has tokenised its first set of assets under the nation’s new law addressing the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT).
UK: MAN WHO TRIED TO BOARD FLIGHT TO DUBAI WITH £860,000 ADMITS MONEY LAUNDERING
On 1 february, The Herald reported that Lukas Pokorny, 42, a Czech national, was arrested by Border Force officers at Glasgow Airport as he was about to board a flight bound for Dubai on 8 November. When officials searched three suitcases in his possession they found a large quantity of cash in each, totalling more than £860,000.
UK: ACCOUNTANTS WARNED OVER FRAUD EXPECTATIONS
On 1 February, an article from the BBC says that an argument has broken out over the role of auditors in spotting fraud. An international standards body wants to consult members on the so-called expectation gap – the idea that the public expects too much from an audit. International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) said it wants feedback from its members on this expectation gap on the areas of fraud and whether a company can survive for the foreseeable future. But a pensions advisor is to write to the UK’s big audit firms warning them to reject the consultation on how far they should go to spot fraud – saying that says that, in the UK at least, they already should be spotting fraud, and that Parliament and the courts have said so, and that auditors such as the so-called Big Four – EY, Deloitte, KPMG and PwC – should acknowledge this.
HONG KONG: FORMER JPMORGAN ASIA TOP BANKER FOUND NOT GUILTY OF BRIBERY
On 31 January, Reuters reported that a Hong Kong judge has found JPMorgan’s former vice-chairman of Asia investment banking, Catherine Leung, not guilty of bribery following her trial held late last year, saying she had followed the bank’s existing procedures. In 2019, Leung was charged with bribing the chairman of a logistics company, by employing his son at the bank’s Hong Kong office in 2010. This was said to have been in anticipation that the then chairman of the logistics company would influence his company to give JPMorgan a role on its up-coming initial public offering (IPO).
NETHERLANDS: COURT RULES SHELL NIGERIA MUST PAY FOR OIL DAMAGE
On 29 January, the Guardian reported that A Dutch court has ordered Shell Nigeria to compensate farmers for major oil spills they say caused widespread pollution. An appeals court in The Hague rejected Shell’s argument that the spills were the result of sabotage, saying not enough evidence had been provided. The court ordered Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary to compensate the farmers for the losses caused by the oil spills in the 2 villages of Goi and Oruma in 2004 and 2005. The amount of compensation had not yet been decided.
FinCEN PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM FAQ
On 1 February, FinCEN re-published FAQ regarding implementation of the Pacheck Protection Program (PPP), produced by the Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the US Treasury. FinCEN will update this document with any additional BSA-related FAQ involving the PPP.
THE ISLAMIC STATE IN MOZAMBIQUE
On 24 January, an article in Lawfare says that Mozambique — far from the heartland of its former self-proclaimed caliphate in Iraq and Syria—is a rare bright spot for the group. It details the group’s successes in Mozambique and the problems the government there has had fighting the group.
DOES SOMALI PIRACY HOLD SECURITY LESSONS FOR THE GULF OF GUINEA?
On 22 January, an article in the Maritime Executive says that Africa has emerged as a maritime terrorism hotspot, presenting a tremendous obstacle to the development of its blue economy. Seafarers have borne the brunt of unsafe waterways as pirates increasingly target ships. Pirate groups in the Gulf of Guinea – with an ever-increasing capacity to stage attacks on ships – have become a nightmare in the African maritime security landscape as stakeholders hunt for a long-term solution. It says that the Western Indian Ocean region presents a unique case study on how nations can create the capacity to proactively respond to maritime instability and piracy. Unfortunately, it says, as external assistance continued to pour in for countries to enhance their maritime governance structures, there is a dearth of comparative analysis to map out the effectiveness of capacity building programmes existing in the region. It says that Somali piracy cannot be directly compared to instability in the Gulf of Guinea, which means the capacity building approach for maritime institutions in West Africa will have to be distinctive and responsive to the political expectations in the region.
UK TERRORISM WATCHDOG LAUNCHES INQUIRY INTO INMATE RADICALISATION
On 25 January, The Crime Report reported that, following growing concerns of British prisoners being radicalised while spending time in prisons, the government’s terrorism watchdog is opening an inquiry into the way the penal facilities deal with convicted terrorists once they’re behind bars. This comes as experts and prison officers have been taking to the media for months warning that prisons are a “nightmare” to work in because of the constant threat of radicalisation of the general inmate population, and the increase in threats of beheadings against prison officers from extremists.
OFAC ISSUES VENEZUELA GENERAL LICENSE RE N TRANSACTIONS NECESSARY TO PORT AND AIRPORT OPERATIONS
On 2 February, OFAC released General License 30A: Authorizing Certain Transactions Necessary to Port and Airport Operations. Subject to exceptions in the License, it authorises transactions that are ordinarily incident and necessary to operations or use of ports and airports in Venezuela.
SEC INDICTS FOUNDERS OF CRYPTO SCHEME PROMOTED BY STEVEN SEAGAL
On 2 February, Inside Bitcoin reported that the SEC had acted against the operators of Bitcoiin2Gen, a fraudulent crypto project, and finally unveiled charges against 3 defendants, marking another development in the long-standing case. The individuals are; John DeMarr, the project’s founder, promoter Robin Enos, and business associate Kristijan Krstic, who allegedly were defrauding investors through the scheme between December 2017 and May 2018.
US: RECENT COURT CASE DOESN’T MOVE THE LINE ON THE FUTURE OF STATE-AUTHORISED SPORTS BETTING
An article from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP on 2 February said that the US Federal First Circuit’s recent decision in New Hampshire Lottery Commission v. Rosen holds that the Wire Act’s prohibitions on interstate activity apply only to sports betting, and not to all types of bets and wagers, such as online lotteries, poker, and other gaming for dollars. State lotteries and non-sports betting vendors cheered the decision, but for the sports betting industry, the decision is disappointing because their business still potentially runs afoul of federal law. It reminds one that the case first made headlines in early 2019 when a group of plaintiffs sued the DoJ over its recent reinterpretation of the Wire Act, a decades-old federal law that prohibits the use of interstate wires to place certain bets. It concludes that State-legal sports books that operate in apparent violation of the federal Wire Act may find themselves in problems, without the Supreme Court’s intervention, new guidance from the DoJ, or legislative action by Congress.
SCOTLAND: CALL FOR CROWN OFFICE INQUIRY AS FORMER RANGERS ADMINISTRATORS GET £24 MILLION
On 2 February, the Evening Express reported calls for a public inquiry into the Crown Office after the Lord Advocate admitted to malicious prosecution of the administrators of Rangers Football Club. They were prosecuted on suspicion of fraud following a takeover in 2011. Various former administrators and directors from the club are claiming compensation that could rise to £100 million, according to reports. The article points out that the Crown Office’s entire budget in 2019-20 was £120 million.
ZIMBABWE: BULAWAYO GOLD DEALER MISSING FOR 3 MONTHS TURNS UP IN TANZANIAN JAIL
On 2 February, Bulawayo 24 reported that in October 26-year-old Lyle Smith’s rented BMW, with the driver’s door open, was found idling in the driveway of his Khumalo home in Bulawayo. There was no trace of the father of 2. Nothing more was heard until last week, when a newspaper report said that Lyle is alive, but that he was in a jail in Tanzania – some 2,500 km away. It was also said that a Bulawayo businessman had told local police that Lyle disappeared with his US$335,000.
IRAN COMPLETES SATELLITE-CARRYING ROCKET LAUNCH
On 1 February, Al Jazeera reported that Iran has said it successfully completed a test launch of a satellite-carrying rocket below orbit – a move likely to raise tensions with the West.
NEW BIMCO CLAUSE AIMS TO CURB AIS ABUSE
On 2 February, Hellenic Shipping News reported that BIMCO – the membership organisation for shipowners, charterers, shipbrokers and agents – is working on a charter party clause to help tackle potential abuse by sanctions busters of the Automatic Identification System (AIS) which is mandatory for all ships to carry under SOLAS. It says that BIMCO’s concern is that some charterers may, in their haste to be sanctions compliant, develop their own AIS “switch off” clauses that might expose owners to the risk of having contracts terminated even when the AIS has been switched off for legitimate reasons, or the signal has failed to transmit or be received for reasons outside the owners’ control. The BIMCO AIS “Switch Off” Clause for Charter Parties is targeted for publication in May.
NEW REPORT SUGGESTS THAT UK ART BUSINESSES ARE BEGRUDGINGLY ADAPTING TO NEW MONEY LAUNDERING REGULATIONS
On 2 February, Art Net reported that a survey of UK art businesses, which were forced to adapt to new AML rules last year, suggests that many dealers and advisors are coming around to the regulations—but not without some pain. A report found that asking art buyers for personal information — including identity documents and proof of address — remains art business’s biggest concern. Other businesses reported clients’ concerns over how their information was being stored, given that the less-than-tech-savvy art industry is already a target of cybercriminals and hackers.
MYANMAR MILITARY COUP: PORTS AND CUSTOMS STILL OPEN
On 2 February, Insurance Marine News reported that Myanmar-based correspondent Spica Services has reported that, subsequent to the Myanmar military taking control of the country, port and customs facilities continued to operate. There had been a temporary halt in customs operations during the early hours of Monday morning, when the military were in the process of detaining the Myanmar cabinet.
AMENDMENTS TO JERSEY’S SANCTIONS REGIME
On 1 February, the Jersey FSC issued a news release saying that on 1 January, the UK stopped following the EU sanctions regime and introduced new UK regulations. Jersey will keep alignment with the UK and will implement the new UK sanction regulations. It says it has updated the Sanctions section of its website following the United Nations (Revocations) Order 2020. The EU sanctions Regulations remain in place and implement the same sanctions, so this update causes little impact.
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