Panama Covid-19 update – well, have signed up to the WhatsApp-linked “chatbot” that arranges and confirms your vaccination appointment…
Meanwhile, 415 new cases have been reported and 6 more fatalities. There are now said to be 6,252 active cases, with 111 in ICU and 723 in other wards.
13 MARCH 2021
HOW US SANCTIONS ON TURKEY PUT PAKISTAN IN A FIX AND END UP BENEFITING CHINA?
On 13 March, the Eurasian Times carried an article about the effect of US sanctions on Turkish arms exports. It says that it all began with Turkey’s decision to go ahead with the purchase of S-400 air defence systems from Russia despite repeated warnings from the US. The US then imposed sanctions on Ankara and scrapped the deal for F-35 stealth fighters. The US also put curbs on Turkey’s other military exports, including combat helicopters, which it planned to sell to Pakistan – but which used US-made engines manufactured by LHTEC, a joint venture between Honeywell and Rolls-Royce. The article says that China has been a major defence supplier for Pakistan and its Z-10 helicopters will be next in line if the Turkish deal falls through.
HONG KONG: 2 FORMER EMPLOYEES OF A LAW FIRM DEFRAUDED LICENSED MONEY LENDERS OF MORTGAGE LOANS TOTALLING HK$20MN
On 13 March, Regulation Asia reported that the Hong Kong’s District Court has sentenced 2 former employees of the now-defunct law firm, K.L. Leung & Co, to jail following a ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption) investigation. The offences came to light after a corruption complaint.
HOW NEW AML LAWS WILL AFFECT ART COLLECTORS
On 12 March, Artsy reported that a number of high-profile cases have involved both the vendors and buyers of art reportedly using the art market to sidestep sanctions, obscure the origins of dirty money, and avoid provenance checks. Partly in reaction to these revelations, it says, governments in the US and EU have been working on new AML legislation to reflect the complexity of a modern, globalised financial system that is increasingly intertwined with technology. It refers to new US legislation which covers the art market, specifically antiques and art dealers, including requiring collectors to identify an “ultimate beneficial owner”. It also refers to the EU 6th AML Directive and the complexities caused by Brexit.
TBML: SAUDI ARABIA IS SHORING UP ITS ABILITY TO DETECT CRIMINAL ABUSE OF ITS TRADE SECTOR
An article from Al Tamimi & Co on 11 March said that Saudi authorities have announced that they had opened a new channel for government cooperation in detecting and preventing money laundering through its trade system with the signing of an MoU by the Saudi Attorney General on behalf of the Saudi Public Prosecution and the Governor of the Saudi General Customs Authority – which charts a clear course for enhanced information sharing between the authorities, including through periodic bilateral meetings and new data-sharing practices. It says that the threats related to trade-based money laundering are a frequent motif in many financial crime risk assessments, but understanding the nature of this particularly complicated menace and effectively combating it is an issue that has long vexed financial crime stakeholders and compliance professionals.
DOES A COMPANY NEED TO REPORT A LOST OR STOLEN LAPTOP UNDER THE GDPR?
On 9 March, an article from Greenberg Traurig posed this question and says that whether notification will be required depends on whether the data was encrypted or password-protected and on the sensitivity of the data contained on the device. The EDPB states that strong encryption would permit a controller to avoid notification, although the event should be internally documented pursuant to its Article 34. However, notification to both the supervisory authority and the individuals would be required if large amounts of unencrypted personal information were contained on the lost or stolen device, even if the personal data itself was not sensitive.
CHINESE ANTI-CULT OFFICIAL WHO TARGETED FALUN GONG FACES CORRUPTION INVESTIGATION
On 13 March, the South China Morning Post reported that Peng Bo, a former senior figure in the offices for cult affairs and heretical religions, is accused of violating disciplinary rules – a euphemism for graft.
LATEST GULF OF GUINEA PIRACY ATTACK ALARMING
On 12 March, ICC reported that its International Maritime Bureau (IMB) is urging ships and crew transiting the Gulf of Guinea to remain alert and not let their guard down following fresh reports that seafarers have been kidnapped from a tanker off Benin. The IMB says that the attack could signal a reignition of serious kidnapping incidents in the Gulf of Guinea after a period of relatively low activity during the last four weeks after much focus was centred on heightened kidnapping activity in the region.
AGREEMENT TO IMPROVE TAX CO-OPERATION BETWEEN THE TAX AUTHORITIES OF SPAIN AND GIBRALTAR
On 13 March, a statement was issued by the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office on the entry into force of the International Agreement on Taxation and the Protection of Financial Interests between the UK and Spain regarding Gibraltar. This provides rules for resolving conflicts over tax residency and enables administrative co-operation, through sharing of information and addressing disputes by means of a Joint Committee.
CONTROLS THAT APPLY IF YOU SHIP WASTE INTO OR OUT OF THE UK
On 13 March, the UK Environment Agency issued updated information, saying that regulations apply from the point of loading the waste until it has been fully recovered or disposed of at the destination facility. If you do not follow the regulations you may be committing a criminal offence and risk prosecution, financial penalties and imprisonment. It explains that International waste shipments (IWS) or transfrontier shipments of waste are other terms for importing and exporting waste – they mean the same thing.
BRINGING COMMERCIAL GOODS INTO GREAT BRITAIN IN YOUR BAGGAGE
On 13 March, HMRC issued updated information on “Merchandise in Baggage” and what you need to do when importing commercial goods into Great Britain in your accompanied baggage or small vehicle.
A NEW DAWN OR A FALSE DAWN FOR UK AUDIT ENFORCEMENT?
On 12 March, an article from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner asked this question, saying that the proposed replacement of the Financial Reporting Council by the Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority (ARGA) as the UK’s new audit regulator should lead to a change in approach to audits and investigations of auditors. But will the UK’s economic reality neutralise any such change? This situation follows a spate of audit failures in the past few years led to widespread calls for change in both the audit process and the way in which auditors were regulated.
THE SCHREMS II DECISION, AND THE REGULATORY CONSEQUENCES STEMMING FROM IT, ADDED A FURTHER LAYER OF COMPLEXITY TO THE DEMANDS OF LITIGATION AND INVESTIGATIONS IN A FOREIGN JURISDICTION
An article from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner on 11 March says that organisations now need to conduct and document a risk assessment to decide whether SCC provide adequate protection in light of the local legal framework of the recipient’s country and, where they do not, to deploy additional measures.
ICC REPORT ON THE ACCURACY OF FACT WITNESS MEMORY IN INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION
On 12 March, CMS Law published an article saying that, in November, the ICC’s Task Force on Maximising the Probative Value of Witness Evidence published a report on the Accuracy of Fact Witness Memory in International Arbitration. The Report considers the science behind memory and whether modifications can be made to arbitral practice to enhance the probative value of fact witness evidence in international arbitration. The article from CMS Law provides a summary of the Report and considers its implications for the international arbitration community. The Task Force found that memory distortion can occur in a commercial setting typical of arbitration proceedings. In particular, biasing a witness in favour of a particular party and exposing them to suggestive “post event” information affected their memory, leading witnesses to recall details in a way that better suited their own party’s case.
The ICC report is at –
UAE: 143 TONNES OF ILLEGAL TOBACCO PRODUCTS SEIZED
On 10 March, TJI reported that a total of 143 tonnes of banned chewing tobacco and its raw materials were seized from an unauthorised factory on a farm. It was producing Neswar, a type of chewing tobacco with green tobacco and lime powder that is widely popular among the people in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Central Asia and some parts of Iran. It is banned in the UAE.
LATIN AMERICA SEES RISE IN VACCINE-RELATED CRIMES
On 11 March, Insight Crime published an article saying that as Latin American countries struggle to ramp up COVID-19 vaccination, crimes related to the illegal purchase of vaccines, including the sale of pilfered or fake doses, have surged, along with online scams.
BRAZIL’S MINING REGULATOR NO MATCH FOR ILLEGAL GOLD RUSH
On 12 March, an article in Insight Crime reported that the Brazilian agency that inspects mining sites and seizes illegally mined ore is vastly understaffed, a consequence of a government that has given free rein to the mining sector. It currently employs just 250 inspectors to monitor some 35,000 mining sites across the country. Field inspections also have been severely curtailed, due to health risks of traveling to COVID-19 hotspots.
UK PENSIONS REGULATOR CONSULTS ON PROSECUTION POLICY FOR CRIMINAL SANCTIONS POWERS
Clifford Chance has published a briefing saying that, on 11 March, the Pensions Regulator launched a consultation on a draft policy setting out the approach it will take in the investigation and prosecution of the new criminal offences introduced by the Pension Schemes Act 2021. Given the breadth of the offences, this consultation is likely to be of interest to anyone who deals with employers or their pension schemes (in any capacity).
FIRST LEGAL CHALLENGE TO UK’S NEW POST-BREXIT TRADING ARRANGEMENTS
On 12 March, Monckton Chambers reported that, in the first case of its kind, the Western Sahara Campaign UK has brought a legal challenge to the domestic implementation of the UK’s new post-Brexit trade arrangements with Morocco, set out in the UK-Morocco Association Agreement. This agreement is controversial in that it purports to apply to products and resources from Western Sahara, over which Morocco claims territorial sovereignty, despite the International Court of Justice having ruled no ties of sovereignty exist.
THE US CONNECTION TO VENEZUELA’S ‘NARCO-PLANES’
On 11 March, an article from Bellingcat says that its research includes an extensive review of social media posts, corporate filings, aircraft registration databases, ownership documents and local news coverage – shows that the Venezuelan armed forces appear to have destroyed at least 21 aircraft in the country since 2019. At least 12 of those were registered in the US, although the true number could be higher. It says that, as it turns out, it can be virtually impossible to know the true identity of a plane’s owner when structures like trusts or LLC are used to register aircraft.
LAUNCHING AN OPEN-SOURCE AIRCRAFT DATABASE FOR VENEZUELA
Also on 11 March, Bellingcat reported that not all civil aviation authorities make aircraft registry information available in this way. This is the case with Venezuela, where the Instituto Nacional de Aeronautica (INAC) provides no such information online. This means that researchers interested in information about Venezuela-registered aircraft have to look to other sources for data.
ROMANIAN SUSPECTED OF AUDACIOUS CRYPTOCURRENCY THEFT ARRESTED
On 11 March, Balkan Insight reported that police have detained a man suspected of stealing half-a-million euros’ worth of cryptocurrency from a Cayman Islands operator, which he then transferred to the personal accounts of several others.
SERBIA’S ROUNDUP OF A SOCCER HOOLIGAN AND REPUTED CRIME BOSS ALONG WITH NEARLY 2 DOZEN OTHER SUSPECTS
On 13 March, an article in Insight Crime reported on the February round-up, saying the President Vucic has hinted that the Serbian public would be shocked at what police had uncovered since the round-up. It is said that a fourth murder charge was being added to kidnapping, drug trafficking, and other serious charges. The President accused the group – a hooligan crowd best-known as the Janissaries, named after Ottoman-era Balkan mercenaries – of keeping a list of its enemies within the ranks of Interior Ministry and intelligence service operatives.
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