Panama Covid-19 update – one more weekend lockdown to go it seems, and today the Minister for Health says that there have been no serious reactions to the vaccine, so far.
Meanwhile, today has seen another 484 new cases added, giving a current total of active cases of 10,111 (and 336,521 to date). Another 14 fatalities take the grand total to 5,742 to date. Numbers in ICU have risen again, to 201, with 201 in ICU, 1,143 in other wards and 375 in hotels.
21 February 2021
NIGERIA IS LOSING ABOUT $362.5 MILLION A YEAR TO THE BAN ON EXPORTATION OF DRIED BEANS BY EU IN THE LAST 8 YEARS
On 21 February, the Guardian in Nigeria reported that Nigeria was the largest producer of dried cowpea in the world, accounting for almost half of the global production, but was not among the top 10 leading exporters of dried cowpea in the world. In 2013, the EU placed a temporary suspension of imports of dried beans from Nigeria for 1 year, due to the excessive use of chemicals by Nigerian farmers to control a pest from damaging crops on the field, and the ban was later extended to 2022.
SCOTLAND’S ROLE IN ARMS EXPORTS TO SAUDI ARABIA
On 21 February, the Sunday Post reported that 16 companies in Scotland have applied for military export licences to Saudi-led coalition members or worked directly with its forces. This includes fighter radar systems made and designed in Scotland. Italian arms firm Leonardo, Thales Optronics worked with Leonardo to create the Pirate infrared target tracking device for Eurofighters, Paveway IV “smart” bombs are made by Raytheon in Glenrothes, Fife as are TOW anti-tank and Javelin anti-aircraft missiles. Armoured vehicles are part-made in Dumfries by Penman, and other companies mentioned include Irvine’s Vector Aircraft Services which counts the Royal Saudi Air Force “amongst its satisfied customers”.
AUSTRALIA: EXTENSIVE AMENDMENTS TO THE AML/CFT ACT RECEIVE ROYAL ASSENT
Included in a newsletter on 17 February from Jones Day is the news that, on 17 December, the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2020 received Royal Assent. It implements the second phase of reforms arising from the recommendations of the Report on the Statutory Review of a 2006 AML/CFT Act. Among other things the new Act prohibits financial institutions from entering into a correspondent banking relationship with another financial institution that permits its accounts to be used by a shell bank; and requires banks to conduct due diligence assessments before entering, and during, all correspondent banking relationships. It also expands the scope of reporting entities in sharing suspicious matter reports and related information with external auditors, and foreign members of corporate and designated business groups.
FORMER SCOTLAND FOOTBALLER HIRES UNDERWORLD HEAVIES TO GET BACK CASH LOST IN OIL INDUSTRY SCAM
On 21 February, the Daily Record website reported a Sunday Mail story that a purported criminal “heavy” was recently called in by a retired English Premier League star capped for Scotland to chase down the £100,000 he had ploughed into collapsed company HGEC Capital. Ayr-based HGEC Capital was set up in 2018 to invest money in Houston Gulf Energy Corporation, a Texan company that claimed it was about to make a fortune from a new oilfield, but the scheme was actually being run Stateside by convicted US fraudster John Ehrman. According to administrators, at least 34 investors handed money over to HGEC Capital, with sums ranging from £5,000 to £185,000. HGEC Capital’s sole director Kenneth Campbell filed for bankruptcy in December 2019, when all that was left in the firm’s bank account was £7,700.
OLYMPIC ‘KINGMAKER’ FACES 5-DAY FORGERY TRIAL IN SWISS COURT
On 21 February, the Daily Mail reported that the trial of Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah and 4 others is set to last 5 days in a Geneva criminal court, where he is accused of forging documents that his accusers allege were used to implicate a political rival in Kuwait in a fake coup plot. The indictment led the sheikh to formally step aside from his long-time International Olympic Committee roles, though he is still active in sports politics.
2 TOURISTS ARRESTED AFTER TRYING TO BRIBE THEIR WAY OUT OF HAWAII QUARANTINE
On 18 February, SF Gate reported that 2 tourists have been arrested after they allegedly tried to bribe an airport screener at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu. Officials said that they arrived in Hawaii without COVID-19 test results, triggering a required 10-day quarantine. One then allegedly offered an airport screener $2,000 to enter without requiring quarantine, and the other allegedly offered the screener an additional $1,000 to allow them both to enter.
US: FINRA HAS FINED ACTINVER SECURITIES INC FOR FAILURES RELATED TO ITS AML PROGRAM.RE FOREX
On 16 February, the FX News Group reported that Actinver offered its customers Forex services which, FINRA notes, presented an increased money laundering risk in 2015-17. The transactions represented 21% of the firm’s overall wire activity. It is said that Actinver failed to tailor its AML programme to address this portion of its business, and that the firm’s AML programme had no procedures regarding the review of foreign currency exchange red flags that would warrant investigation for purposes of determining whether to file a SAR. Furthermore, the reports used by the firm to monitor for suspicious activity failed to capture these wires. In addition, although its AML programme included procedures that required the firm to gather specific information and forms when opening foreign accounts or accounts for PEP, its registered representatives frequently failed to obtain these forms or left information blank on the forms. FINRA says that Actinver is headquartered in Houston, has 4 branches, employs approximately 40 registered individuals, and engages in a full-service retail brokerage business. It obtains the majority of its clients from its Mexican affiliates, including Actinver Bank located in Mexico.
US CUSTOMS SEIZES 44 POUNDS OF COCAINE-SOAKED BREAKFAST CEREAL
A news release from US Customs & Border Protection on 19 February advised that officers in Cincinnati intercepted smuggled narcotics in a shipment of cereal originating from Peru. The shipment contained about 44 lb of cocaine coated corn flakes, which could have a street value of up to $2,822,400. Officers saw that the cereal contained white powder, and the flakes were coated with a greyish substance, testing the flakes and powder they found that they contained cocaine.
EU UBO REGISTERS
NEW AND VALUABLE RESOURCE ON A NEW ASPECT OF THE LAW IN UK
One of its authors describes the book thus: “Retained EU law is a new concept in domestic law, introduced by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. It is a complex and developing area. This book is a practical guide to what retained EU law is and how it functions. It explains the key issues for practitioners in an accessible way. This is essential knowledge for lawyers in all practice areas following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. “Only” £65…
CAYMAN ISLANDS REGISTRAR ISSUES FIRST FINES UNDER BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP REGIME
On 18 February, STEP reported that the Cayman Islands Registrar of Companies has begun penalising companies that fail to submit accurate information on their ultimate beneficial owners. As of the beginning of February, the Registrar had imposed fines on 19 companies that had not complied with the new regulations. Warning letters were sent to the companies before the fines were levied.
IRAN TO LAUNCH DIRECT SHIPPING LINE TO SOUTH AFRICA AND LATIN AMERICA
On 21 February, Hellenic Shipping News reported that Iran is going to launch a direct shipping line to South Africa and Latin American countries in near future, according to an an official with the Iranian Chamber of Cooperatives. The said shipping line is going to be launched with the support of IRISL line and is aimed to develop Iran’s non-oil trade with the countries in the mentioned regions.
UK: WERE 5 MEN IMPRISONED FOR DRUG SMUGGLING IN 2010 WRONGLY CONVICTED?
The Guardian has produced a 5-part podcast series suggesting that 5 men jailed in 2010, the so-called “Freshwater 5”, in connection with a discovery of 250 kg of cocaine off the Isle of Wight might have been wrongly convicted. This as an appeal is underway, citing new evidence and casting doubt on the evidence against them.
PERU: 7 SENIOR OFFICIALS ARRESTED DUE TO “VACUNAGATE” CASE
On 21 February, TeleSUR reported that Peru’s anti-corruption prosecutor has called for the arrest of 7 former members of the Executive Multi-sectorial Commission, involved in the scandal over COVID-19 secret vaccination “Vacunagate”. They are accused of the alleged crime of incompatible negotiation for favouring the Chinese vaccine’s purchase, even when there were other offers with better effectiveness and price, such as Sputnik V or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines.
I would be grateful for any modest contribution for my time and ongoing costs of computer, relocation, and (still ongoing) removal costs, I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y
Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists
Described as the largest global membership organisation dedicated to fighting financial crime, with members in over 175 countries and across private and public sector organisations.
I have been invited to mention ACAMS as a useful link and resource –
and am receiving no payment in return!