Panama Covid-19 update – as if a pandemic etc weren’t enough…in the early hours of this morning a magnitude 5 earthquake! It woke me, though in the morning I imagined I dreamed it, until I saw the news. My immediate reaction was that any vibration was not as bad as the “crack of doom” thunder we get in Panama. The earthquake was some 70-80 miles off the Caribbean coast (i.e. the other side of the country), and there are no reports of damage or tsunami…just disturbed sleep!
Meanwhile, 268 new cases reported today and 3 fatalities, with 3,896 active cases – 66 in ICU, 302 in other wards and 177 in “hospital hotels”.
DRAFT LEGISLATION FROM THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION SHOWS THE COMING AI LEGAL LANDSCAPE
On 30 April, a post from the Compliance & Enforcement blog from the Program on Corporate Compliance and Enforcement at the New York University School of Law is Part II of a 4-part series by the authors on The Future of AI Regulation. It says that the so-called “GDPR of AI”, if enacted, would place potentially onerous compliance obligations on a wide spectrum of companies using AI systems. The EU proposes to regulate AI based on the potential risk posed by its intended use: AI systems that pose an “unacceptable risk” would be banned outright; AI classified as “high risk” would be subject to stringent regulatory and disclosure requirements; and certain interactive, deepfake, and emotion recognition systems would be subject to heightened transparency obligations.
Part 1 of the series, discussing U.S. banking regulators’ recent request for information regarding the use of AI by financial institutions, is available at –
see also –
PHILIPPINES FLAGGED AGAIN BY THE US TRADE REPRESENTATIVE AS AMONG THE LEADING SOURCES OF COUNTERFEIT MEDICINES
On 1 May, the Manila Bulletin reported that concerns on counterfeit medicines were spotlighted with USTR noting that the review period for the latest report has taken place during the COVID-19 pandemic. The USTR raised this issue against the Philippines 2 years ago. China, India, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Pakistan are said to be the leading sources of counterfeit medicines distributed globally. It also said that the past year, countries reported significant quantities of COVID-19 testing kits, personal protective equipment (PPE) such as N95 and equivalent masks, and sanitizers, detergents, and disinfectants from China that were determined to be counterfeit. Furthermore, the increasing popularity of online pharmacies has aided the distribution of counterfeit medicines.
AUSTRALIA: ILLEGAL SANDALWOOD EXPORTERS CONVICTED
On 1 May, Mirage News reported that 3 illegal timber exporters have been sentenced after pleading guilty of illegally exporting a total of 208.5 tonnes of sandalwood to the value of A$3 million at the Perth District court. Convicted in December, they were sentenced to terms of imprisonment but released on good behaviour. They had pleaded guilty to aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring to commit an offence by exporting a prescribed good namely sandalwood, where no licence to export had been granted,
8 JUDGES ON TRIAL FOR MONEY LAUNDERING IN KUWAIT
On 1 May, the Middle East Monitor reported that, for the first time in Kuwait, the Kuwaiti Public Prosecution has referred 8 judges for trial accused of money laundering in the Bnaider Network cases, with other media claiming that this case is linked to another criminal case.
UK: LAW FIRMS ACTING FOR A BANKRUPT CLIENT NOT REQUIRED TO REVEAL THE SOURCE OF HIS LITIGATION FUNDING
On 30 April, the Law Society Gazette reported a recent High Court case in London in which the judge has ruled that 2 law firms acting for a bankrupt client were not required to reveal the source of his litigation funding. The claimants in a shareholder dispute had applied for disclosure of information and documents relating to the source of funding for legal assistance provided to him by the firms, and had not accepted that the funding was genuinely third-party money and submitted that a freezing order had been breached. It is said to be an important ruling where clients are subject to freezing orders, and where costs are funded by third parties who want to maintain anonymity for fear of becoming “targets” themselves.
UK GAMBLING COMMISSION MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERRORIST FINANCING RISK ASSESSMENT 2020
On 28 April, CMS Law published an article about the Assessment produced by the Gambling Commission in December. It followed the National Risk Assessment and highlighted the key risks the British gambling industry is facing, and builds on the Commission’s previous risk assessment. The only change in classification is that the risk of terrorist financing has moved from medium to low. Casinos (both remote and non-remote) and betting (non-remote, off-course) remain high risk. The Assessment details the existing inherent, additional inherent and emerging risks within each sub sector. Given the high-risk categorisation of casinos, the article sets out the key risks the Commission has raised in this regard. It is said that the National Risk Assessment noted that gambling is not considered to be an attractive method for terrorist financing, and there is limited evidence to show that the gambling sector is being used for these purposes. However, the Commission noted that operators must still be alert to the risks. It is said that operators must reflect on the learnings and updated risks from the Commission’s Risk Assessment and ensure that these are taken into account to mitigate risk within their own business.
UK: MORE THAN A THOUSAND STOLEN CATALYTIC CONVERTERS RECOVERED FOLLOWING NATIONAL CRACKDOWN
On 29 April, the National Police Chief’s Council reported that police forces across the UK have recovered over a thousand stolen catalytic converters and arrested more than 50 people as part of a joint operation to tackle catalytic converter theft. British Transport Police (BTP) coordinated the operation, codenamed Goldiron. Catalytic converters clean harmful gases before they exit a vehicle’s exhaust pipe and are stolen for the precious metal they contain. These metals have surged in value recently, leading to organised crime networks to commit more offences.
A VISIT TO THE SITE OF THE FUTURE HIGH-LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTE RESPOSITORY IN FRANCE
Experts at the Stimson Center share their field notes on a virtual visit to the site of France’s high-level radioactive waste disposal. It is said that the French case underscores the long timelines needed for the addressing technical, political, and societal elements of geological disposal. It serves as a case study for how the different safeguards commitments for nuclear-weapon States are valuable for understanding how designing and operating a future geological repository for high-level waste can be navigated.
The article also includes a helpful brief explanation of grades of waste. It says that radioactive waste is classified differently in different countries but generally relates to the waste’s level of radioactivity. In France, high-level waste (HLW) includes wastes from the reprocessing, or treatment and separation, of used nuclear fuel components. Long lived intermediate-level waste (LL-ILW) includes the cladding from used fuel while low-level waste (LLW) includes contaminated objects such as gloves or cleaning rags.
10 LESSONS FROM THE IRAN VERIFICATION AND MONITORING REGIME
On 21 April, the European Leadership Network published a paper which outlines 10 technical and political lessons relating to the sustainability of the JCPOA, which is currently at risk and illustrated by the course of events over the past 3 years. In the immediate timeframe, the paper highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the JCPOA that need to be understood in order to preserve it or to respond effectively to its collapse. In the longer term, these lessons should inform the architecture of future deals with Iran.
Hear also this podcast from the International Institute for Strategic Studies on 9 April on the prospects and challenges of revising the JCPOA –
CZECH REPUBLIC: NEW REGULATION ON REGISTRATION OF ULTIMATE BENEFICIAL OWNERS OF LEGAL ENTITIES
On 1 May, an article from Baker McKenzie says that on 1 June the Registration of Ultimate Beneficial Owners Act will take effect, implementing the 5th EU AML Directive in Czech law and introducing new requirements regarding the publicity of selected data on beneficial owners, adopting mechanisms for the verification and checking of genuineness of data maintained in the register, as well as stipulating efficient sanctions for failure to meet certain duties. The article details the needs and requirements of the new Act.
COLOMBIAN GANG LAUNDERED $100 MILLION IN A YEAR
On 30 April, an article in Insight Crime reported that a dozen people in Colombia are accused of laundering nearly $100 million belonging to crime groups ranging from a Mexico cartel to a Colombian drug gang – in a case that reveals how brokers offer their money laundering services to a spectrum of criminal clientele. Between 2017 and 2018, the criminal network laundered $98 million in drug cash, using national and international banking entities to introduce the funds into Colombia’s financial system. Trade-based money laundering was a major feature or the arrangements.
TURKEY ADDS CRYPTOCURRENCY TRADING PLATFORMS TO BUSINESSES COVERED BY AML/CFT REGULATIONS
On 1 May, Ahval and others reported that the Official Gazette said that “crypto asset service providers” would now be responsible for seeing their assets are not used for money laundering or financing terrorism. This comes in the wake of 2 Turkey-based cryptocurrency trading platforms, Thodex and Vebitcoin, being closed after separate investigations for fraud.
CHEMICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION (CWC) CENSURE SYRIA FOR CHEMICAL WEAPONS VIOLATIONS
In its May edition, the Arms Control Association reported that member states of the world’s chemical weapons watchdog have voted to suspend Syria’s rights and privileges under the CWC in an effort to hold that country accountable for repeated chemical weapons use. It was the first time the organization had suspended a member’s rights since the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) inception in 1997. The Syrian Foreign Ministry condemned the report and “categorically denies its use of poison gas in the town of Saraqib or any other Syrian town or village”.
HOW TO EXPLAIN TRADE BASED MONEY LAUNDERING (TBML) AND THE BLACK MARKET PESO EXCHANGE (BMPE) TO YOUR SUSPICIOUSLY CURIOUS GRANDMOTHER
Jeffrey Robinson, author of the landmark book “The Laundrymen”, published an article on LinkedIn on 1 May
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