Panama Covid-19 update– from Monday, 19 April outdoor sports activities and bars with outside terraces will be allowed to open.
No figures for new cases etc received as yet, so will have to update later…
18 APRIL 2021
MULTINATIONAL CLOTHING COMPANIES DIVIDED OVER XINJIANG COTTON
Various article from Nikkei Asia report the division between clothing companies over the use of cotton from Xinjiang province in China. For example, China’s largest sportswear company is at loggerheads with its own international subsidiary over whether to use cotton tied to reports of forced labour, underlining how the retail world is being split over an issue that has already brought Western brands into conflict with Chinese consumers. Meanwhile, some H&M outlets in China have been forced by landlords to close, while a government official said the Swedish fashion retailer and other foreign brands should refrain from politicising business decisions. And it not just in the clothing sector that problems have arisen, as Nikkei Asia also reports that leading Japanese ketchup producer Kagome has stopped importing tomatoes from Xinjiang, joining the growing ranks of Western brands that have ceased sourcing materials from the region over reported abuses against Uyghur Muslims.
EU WILL PROVIDE NEW FUNDING FOR THE EFFECTIVE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE UN ARMS TRADE TREATY (ATT)
On 17 April, MENA-FN reported that the EU had adopted a Decision allowing the EU to support 3 projects of the ATT Secretariat in Geneva with a contribution of €1.37 million. The aim is to help states parties to the treaty to strengthen their national arms export control systems.
MALAYSIA: 3,000 SMUGGLED TURTLE EGGS SEIZED
On 18 April, The Star reported that 3,000 turtle eggs were seized from a boatman trying to slip into waters near Sandakan in Sabah’s east coast.
ILLEGAL ARMS THREATEN NIGERIA SURVIVAL, EX-GENERALS WARN
On 18 April, This Day in Nigeria reported that 4 retired generals of the Nigerian Army have warned the federal government that Nigeria might cease to exist with over 6.145 million small arms and light weapons (SALW) illegally in circulation nationwide. They called on the federal government to declare a state of emergency on arms proliferation and try to stop them from coming into the country instead of focusing on the demand side only.
REPORT ON THE ISLE OF MAN LEGAL PROFESSION
A new report to go before the Island’s parliament on 20 April, from its Constitutional and Legal Affairs and Justice Committee, examines and makes recommendations about the legal system in the Isle of Man. It usefully explains the system as a whole, and how law firms and advocates are regulated. An Appendix details the regulation of legal services in the UK, Ireland and the Isle of Man. The report makes a number of recommendations, including separating the Law Society’s role as both representative and regulator of the sector, reforming the disciplinary process and introducing a CPD system.
US: WUNDERKIND EX-MAYOR TO FACE FRAUD AND BRIBERY CASE
On 18 April, the Daily Mail reported that, after he was elected mayor of Fall River, Massachusetts, at just 23, it seemed Jasiel Correia’s political career had nowhere to go but up. Bright and dynamic, Correia charmed voters by portraying himself as a successful entrepreneur who could revive the struggling old mill city. he now faces charges that he stole more than $230,000 from investors in a smartphone app he created. He is also accused of convincing his chief of staff to give him half of her salary in order to keep her city job and extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars from marijuana businesses seeking to operate there.
METHAMPHETAMINE DEVELOPMENTS IN SOUTH ASIA: THE SITUATION IN IRAN AND THE IMPLICATIONS FOR THE EU AND ITS NEIGHBOURS
The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction has produced this report which says that Iran is a key transhipment point for illicit drugs along the Balkan and Southern trafficking routes. As a result of the large flow of drugs through the country, combined with widespread socioeconomic insecurity due to decades of sanctions and domestic political factors. This report builds on the study published by the EMCDDA on the Afghan methamphetamine trade in 2020 and addresses the threats posed by Iran’s potential emergence as a transhipment point, as suggested by a reported increase in methamphetamine seizures originating from Iran and bound for countries in Southeast Asia and Oceania. The report also examines production of the drug in Iran, thought to be from around 2004-2005.
CYBERCRIME AND MONEY LAUNDERING ON THE INTERNET IN LEBANON
A situation report from the CyberSouth Project, which is funded by the EU and Council of Europe, sets out to assist authorities of the project countries to increase their knowledge on fighting against cybercrime and targeting online crime proceeds. Its aims include examining challenges related to online crime proceeds and identify methods to enable project countries to identify and make use of national legislation and tools; review interagency cooperation relating to search, seizure and confiscation of online crime proceeds; and making recommendations to the project countries for strengthening of current capacities, tools and interagency cooperation to conduct improved financial investigations and better target online crime proceeds in investigations and prosecutions relating to cybercrime and online crime. It makes a number of recommendations, including creating a system that enables cryptocurrencies that may be confiscated or seized to be legally held in wallets or similar under the control of the authorities, and making parallel financial investigation a strategic part of all investigations where online proceeds of cybercrime are involved.
WAS A CLEVELAND KOSHER BUTCHERY A FRONT FOR MONEY LAUNDERING AND ILLICIT VAPE TRADE?
On 18 April, The Forward carried a report about Tibor’s Kosher Meats and allegations that is was used as a money laundering front for a drug-trafficking business and is connected to a business, Dank Vapes and Dankwoods — which was implicated in a spate of vape-related hospitalisations and deaths in 2019, and involving vapes infused with THC.
GRECO ANNUAL REPORT – ANTI-CORRUPTION TRENDS, CHALLENGES AND GOOD PRACTICES IN EUROPE AND US
In March, the Council of Europe Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) adopted this report which highlights the main trends drawn from GRECO’s evaluations and recommendations. It also presents examples of good practices, and shows the situation as regards the level of implementation of GRECO’s recommendations by member states. It says that the 5th evaluation round is fully underway and by the end of 2020 a total of 21 5th round evaluations had been carried out. This round focuses on corruption prevention in central governments, including the top executive functions, and law enforcement.
TURKEY LEAST COMPLIANT IN GRECO 2020 CORRUPTION REVIEW
On 18 April, Ahval in Turkey reported that the Council of Europe’s GRECO report for 2020 for 2020 shows that Turkey is among the least compliant in terms of adopting recommendations to fight corruption. It says that Norway was the only country that fully followed the GRECO recommendations in 2019, while Turkey ranked last among countries for compliance with the recommendations, while Austria, which did not follow 70% of the recommendations, was the second-to-last country to follow Turkey.
INTERPOL RED, YELLOW, GREEN AND BLUE NOTICES AND DIFFUSIONS
Estund Law in Florida hosts a set of articles (and a blog) providing information on Interpol notices.
A Red Notice is issued because the country that is seeking the person is asking Interpol’s other member countries to help apprehend the Red Notice subject and help extradite him or her back to the country where the crime is supposed to have happened.
Green Notices are used when one country wishes to notify other Interpol member countries that an individual may be likely to commit a specific type of crimes in other countries. Green Notices are often used to prevent individuals with sexually motivated crime convictions in one country from entering other countries.
A Yellow Notice is issued for missing people who have been kidnapped or have disappeared without explanation, but sometimes Yellow Notices are improperly issued.
A Blue Notice is issued when a person is believed to have information about a crime or a criminal suspect. The Blue Notice allows the person to be more easily tracked and potentially contacted while authorities investigate a case.
Diffusions are similar to Red Notices, but they can be issued from one country to another, or to a few countries, rather than to the entire INTERPOL data network (like a Red Notice). Diffusions are also easier to issue because they do not undergo the same level of scrutiny as Red Notices.
MOLDOVA LOSES AROUND $1 BILLION A YEAR DUE TO ILLICIT FINANCIAL FLOWS LINKED TO CRIMINAL ACTIVITY
On 18 April, Modova.org said that a report – “Illicit Financial Flows and asset recovery in the Republic of Moldova” was recently published by the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), with the support of the EU. It details the main organised crime activities in the country, saying that the biggest of them being the 2014 billion theft, which involved the banking sector and government corruption. It is said that Moldova is not a major drug producing country, but is a trans-shipment location for heroin traffickers into Europe from Turkey, which is the dominant heroin supplier to Europe. The report claims that overall, an amount of about $9 billion was estimated as the total illicit financial flows (IFF) from Moldova between 2004 to 2013, and that the Moldova Bank Fraud in 2014 has deprived the country of at least $1 billion.
SAUDI ARABIA INITIATES 11 CRIMINAL CASES AGAINST GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES OVER CORRUPTION
On 18 April, Al Arabiya News reported that the cases included a retired Major General Government officials and retired employees who were arrested for obtaining cash from local and foreign contracting companies.
A CZECH EXPLOSION, RUSSIAN AGENTS AND A BULGARIAN ARMS DEALER
On 18 April, Rferl published a report saying that, in 2014 an explosion destroyed a cache of ammunition and related weaponry. The bodies of 2 men who worked at the site were recovered nearly a month later. A second explosion occurred about 2 months later at nearby location, about 1 km away. On 17 April, Czech officials made a stunning allegation, drawing a direct line between the explosions and the Russian military intelligence agency GRU. Czech authorities also drew an indirect line not only to Ukraine’s war with Russia, but to a mysterious poisoning 6 months later in the Bulgarian capital that nearly killed an arms dealer named Emilian Gebrev. Unit 29155 of the GRU is also linked to the Skrypal poisoning in the UK with the suspects in that case also having been in eastern Czech Republic in October 2014, around the time of the explosions, and are wanted for questioning.
UKRAINIAN NATIONAL GETS 10-YEAR SENTENCE IN US HACKING CASE
On 17 April, Rferl reported that Ukrainian national Fedir Hladyr, 35, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison in the US after pleading guilty to participating in the FIN7 hacking group. He was arrested in Dresden in 2018 and extradited to the US. The group breached computer networks in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia and stole more than 20 million credit-card records.
US RELIANCE ON RUSSIAN OIL HITS RECORD HIGH DESPITE SOURING TIES
On 18 April, Hellenic Shipping News reported that Russian and US relations have turned frosty again after a new round of US sanctions but when it comes to Moscow’s oil, US refiners are more dependent on it than ever. Imports of Russian oil, which consists mainly of fuel oil feedstocks and some crude, recently reached a 10-year high. US imports of Russian crude and petroleum products were at their highest level in almost a decade last year, and a similar pattern is playing out in 2021. Total Russian oil imports are even higher than flows from key ally Saudi Arabia. It is said many refineries have been deprived of access to Venezuelan crude by US sanctions and have turned to Russia to meet some of their requirements.
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