OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MAY 8

Panama Covid-19 update – numbers continue to creep up – with 508 new cases and 6 new fatalities – the first time new cases were over 500 since 10 March. 4,153 active cases include 55 in ICU and 332 in other wards.

8 MAY 2021

SAUSAGE SMUGGLER CAUGHT IN BRUNEI

On 8 May, the Borneo Bulletin reported that Marine Police personnel of the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) have detained a 51-year-old local man who allegedly attempted to smuggle contraband along Brunei River. Police personnel stopped the boat and on inspection found 2 packets of Ayamas nuggets and 20 packets of Wise Choice sausages believed to have been smuggled into the country.

https://borneobulletin.com.bn/smuggling-attempt-nuggets-sausages-foiled/

WHY DEMAND IS SURGING BEYOND THE US IN THE MULTIBILLION-DOLLAR ARMED DRONE MARKET

On 7 May, CNBC released a 10-minute video report saying that over 100 states worldwide are using military drones, and that number is growing significantly and over 20 states are using armed drones in conflicts or outside of armed conflicts.  It is said that limiting the proliferation of these smaller drones, and the ability to weaponise them, is a regulatory nightmare for government agencies around the world. 

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/07/turkey-and-china-disrupt-the-multibillion-dollar-armed-drone-market-.html

US COMPANIES MUST WIND DOWN TRANSACTIONS WITH SANCTIONED BELARUSIAN STATE-OWNED ENTERPRISES BY 3 JUNE

An article from Kelley, Drye & Warren LLP on 7 May said that OFAC recently revoked and replaced General License 2G with General License 2H, which requires US persons to wind down transactions involving a number Belarusian companies and their subsidiaries.  Wind down transactions in excess of $50,000 must be reported to the Department of State no later than 30 days after executing the transaction.

https://www.ustrademonitor.com/2021/05/u-s-companies-must-wind-down-transactions-with-sanctioned-belarusian-state-owned-enterprises-by-june-3rd/

BOMBARDIER: US DoJ HAS REQUESTED INFORMATION ON INDONESIAN JET DEALS

The Wall Street Journal on 7 May reported that the transactions were already under investigation by UK authorities for alleged bribery and corruption.  The investigation is into suspected bribery related to decade-old sales of Bombardier jets to the airline Garuda, and relating to the acquisition and lease of its CRJ1000 aircraft to the Indonesian airline between 2011 and 2012.  In November, the SFO said it was investigating Bombardier over suspected bribery in the transactions.

https://news.yahoo.com/bombardier-says-u-joins-probe-115925790.html

https://www.wsj.com/articles/bombardier-says-u-s-doj-has-requested-information-on-indonesian-jet-deals-11620422514

BRAZILIAN JUDGE ACQUITS EX-PRESIDENT TEMER IN GRAFT CASE

On 8 May, OCCRP reported that a federal court has acquitted former President Michel Temer (who was President 2016-2018) after finding there wasn’t enough evidence to support the prosecution’s claim that he had led a criminal organisation which facilitated bribery.  Temer and about 10 members of his political party, the Brazilian Democratic Movement (PMDB), had been accused of being involved in a kickback scheme that ran since 2006 and involved Petrobras, Brazil’s chamber of deputies, a bank and 2 ministries. 

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/14357-brazilian-judge-acquits-ex-president-temer-in-graft-case

US DoJ TAX DIVISION SHOWS CONTINUED INTEREST IN CRYPTOCURRENCY

An article from Proskauer on 7 May said that, on 5 May, another federal district court permitted the IRS to proceed with a “John Doe” summons very similar to the one served on Circle last month, and seeking information on customers of a San Francisco-headquartered digital currency exchange company “Kraken”. The DoJ is not alleging any wrongdoing by Kraken or its customers.  This, it says, serves as another stern reminder to cryptocurrency users: federal tax laws apply.

https://www.corporatedefensedisputes.com/2021/05/doj-tax-division-shows-continued-interest-in-cryptocurrency/

BREXIT: WHAT IS THE IMPACT ON ELECTRONIC SIGNATURE LAWS IN THE UK?

On 4 May, CMS Law produced a briefing saying that consumers and businesses in the UK routinely use EU-based e-signing platforms to sign electronic documents; and that platforms have grown in importance as social distancing restrictions to combat COVID-19 have made face-to-face signing largely impracticable.  In the UK, electronic signatures have been regulated by both EU and UK laws.  In this briefing note, CMS Law partnered with Adobe to examine how the UK’s departure from the EU has affected the legal standing of electronic signatures under UK law from 1 January.

https://cms.law/en/media/local/cms-cmno/files/publications/publications/brexit-briefing-what-is-the-impact-on-electronic-signature-laws-in-the-uk?v=2

UPDATED FACT SHEETS ON THE BIOLOGICAL AND CHEMICAL WEAPONS CONVENTIONS AND THE BWC NATIONAL AUTHORITY

On 7 May, VERTIC advised that its National Implementation Measures (NIM) Programme has issued updated versions of its Fact Sheets on the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC), the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the National Authority for the Biological Weapons Convention. The Fact Sheets are available in Arabic, English, French, Russian and Spanish.  They are intended to raise states’ awareness of the importance of establishing national implementation measures for the major CBRN treaties and related legal instruments.  They provide guidance on the types of national implementation measures that may be required for, and basic facts about specific treaties.

https://www.vertic.org/2021/05/07/nim-publishes-updated-fact-sheets-on-bwc-cwc-and-bwc-national-authority/

https://www.vertic.org/programmes/biological-weapons-and-materials/fact-sheets/

https://www.vertic.org/chemical-weapons-and-materials/fact-sheets/

https://www.vertic.org/programmes/biological-weapons-and-materials/export-control/

PROTECT DRIVERS AGAINST PEOPLE SMUGGLING PENALTIES, SAYS LOGISTICS UK

On 7 May, Logistics UK (the former Freight Transport Association) argued that responsible hauliers and drivers who are unwitting victims of people-smuggling gangs should not be penalised if all precautions have been taken to protect their vehicles.  This was in response to the UK Government’s consultation (a New Plan for Immigration) that closed on 6 May and which would see changes to the penalties imposed on logistics businesses and their drivers regarding vehicle security and migrant incursions.  Currently, the driver and haulier can be automatically fined up to £2,000 per migrant found on board a vehicle irrespective of their compliance with security measures and schemes.

https://logistics.org.uk/media/press-releases/2021/may/protect-drivers-against-people-smuggling-penalties

MALAYSIA TO RESUME SHIP-BUILDING PROJECT DESPITE STALLED CORRUPTION PROBE

On 8 May, Eurasia Review reported that Malaysia will allow the Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS) to resume construction of littoral combat ships for the country’s navy, despite its failure to deliver on schedule and an unfinished probe into missing funds in the project.  BNS was awarded a $2.18 billion contract in 2014 to design, build and deliver six of the ships for the Royal Malaysian Navy, with the first one due in April 2019 – but in August 2020 it was acknowledged that none of the LCS had been completed, despite the government having paid $1.46 billion to that date.  In November 2020, BNS’s parent company, Boustead Heavy Industries Corp Bhd, filed a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission on possible irregularities in the project.

https://www.eurasiareview.com/08052021-malaysia-to-resume-ship-building-project-despite-stalled-corruption-probe/

TEXAS LAWYER SENTENCED FOR SHAKING DOWN COLOMBIAN DRUG TRAFFICKERS

On 7 May, Insight Crime reported that a Texas lawyer will spend more than 15 years in federal prison after deceiving Colombian drug traffickers with promises of getting their cases dismissed or sentences reduced.   James Morris Balagia and Colombian attorney Bibiana Correa Perea and Chuck Morgan, a private investigator from Florida were involved.  In exchange for more than $1 million in inflated “attorney fees” Balagia and his co-conspirators told their clients — major Colombian drug traffickers facing criminal charges in Texas — they could bribe US Government officials to get their sentences cut or cases dropped.

https://insightcrime.org/news/texas-lawyer-colombia-drug-traffickers/

NEW DRONE TECHNOLOGY FOR RADIOLOGICAL MONITORING IN EMERGENCY SITUATIONS

On 1 February, the IAEA Magazine published an article saying that new technology using drones, developed by the IAEA for use by the authorities of Fukushima Prefecture in Japan, will make the task of carrying out checks after a nuclear incident easier.  UAV equipped with radiation detectors, cameras and GPS devices has been tested and validated under real conditions in the Fukushima Prefecture in Japan and is now available for practical use in routine or emergency situations.

https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/now-available-new-drone-technology-for-radiological-monitoring-in-emergency-situations

HIGH COURT ORDERS URGENT TRIAL IN CLAIM BY LIVERPOOL MAYOR FOR INDEMNITY AGAINST LEGAL COSTS

On 6 May, Local Government Lawyer reported that the High Court has ordered that an urgent trial take place of the claim by Joe Anderson, the Mayor of Liverpool, that Liverpool City Council are acting unlawfully in refusing to provide him with the same indemnity against legal costs offered to other council members.  It is said that the council has refused usual indemnity offered to council members on the grounds that, if Mr Anderson acted (involving allegations of corruption) in the way the police suggest, he would not have been acting lawfully. 

https://www.localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk/litigation-and-enforcement/400-litigation-news/46998-high-court-orders-urgent-trial-in-claim-by-liverpool-mayor-for-indemnity-against-legal-costs

MISSILE DEVELOPMENTS IN SOUTH ASIA: A PERSPECTIVE FROM PAKISTAN

A research paper from the International Institute for Strategic Studies on 6 May says that India and Pakistan continue to develop their missile-delivery systems and associated nuclear inventories, raising concerns of a regional arms race. This discussion paper explains why there is a need to better appreciate the evolving deterrence relationship between India, Pakistan and China and how this may further complicate regional security.

https://www.iiss.org/-/media/files/research-papers/missile-developments-in-south-asia—-a-perspective-from-pakistan.pdf

ENFORCEMENT OF UK JUDGMENTS IN IRELAND AND THE UK REQUEST TO ACCEDE TO THE LUGANO CONVENTION

On 7 May, an article from Eversheds Sutherland explained that, before 1 January cross-border enforcement of judgments between Ireland and the UK was governed by the Brussels Recast Regulation. Following the UK’s exit from the EU, and as and from the 1 January, the enforcement of UK judgments in Ireland are governed by the 2005 Hague Choice of Court Convention or Irish common law.  The UK had applied to accede to the 2007 Lugano Convention in its own right, having previously been a party to it by virtue of its EU membership.  Enforcement procedures between the jurisdictions under Lugano 2007 would be more straightforward than under Hague 2005 or common law rules as they are similar to those provided for by Brussels Recast, but the EU Commission has resisted the proposal.

https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/global/ireland/update-enforcement-of-uk-judgments-in-ireland

EUROPEAN PAYMENTS COUNCIL REQUESTS PROPOSAL FOR REAL-TIME FRAUD PLATFORM

On 30 April, the Payment Cards and Mobile website carried an article saying that the European Payments Council (EPC), has elected to develop a Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA)-wide “Malware Information Sharing Platform” (MISP) instance for real-time fraud information sharing with direct browser access by all SEPA payment scheme participants.  It had initiated a request for a proposal to find a reliable independent service provider to which it can outsource the management and the maintenance of the EPC MISP instance.

https://www.paymentscardsandmobile.com/european-payments-council-requests-proposal-for-real-time-fraud-platform/

COMBATING FISCAL FRAUD AND EMPOWERING REGULATORS

The Tax Justice Network has produced a free e-book, available for download.  It provides an account of some of the most seminal findings and applications of state-of-the-art tax research that have emerged in recent years.  The book analyses the impact of new international regulations on the scope and scale of tax abuse and money laundering and to present some of the unintended consequences and loopholes that can arise.

https://oxford.universitypressscholarship.com/view/10.1093/oso/9780198854722.001.0001/oso-9780198854722-chapter-1

PROCEDURES FOR CONDUCTING MUTUAL EVALUATIONS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

On 21 April, the FATF-style regional body, the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG), published a document dated September 2020 containing procedures to provide further flexibility on the composition of the onsite team which is to be physically onsite. This is to allow for the virtual attendance of assessors and supporting staff who are unable to attend in person because of the COVID-19 situation.

https://esaamlg.org/reports/ESAAMLG_Proc_COVID.pdf

ART HAS A MONEY LAUNDERING PROBLEM AND NFT COULD MAKE IT WORSE

On 8 May, Decrypt reported that non-fungible tokens (NFT) have shaken up the art world, but some experts suggest they could exacerbate its money laundering problem. The blockchain-based title deeds are tied to digital or physical items and the article warns that NFT could amplify an existing problem in the art world, which has long been criticised for facilitating money laundering.  NFT offer some advantages to criminals over conventional physical artworks.

https://decrypt.co/70190/art-has-a-money-laundering-problem-nfts-could-make-it-worse

CORRUPTION AND ANTI-CORRUPTION PLEDGES IN THE WESTERN BALKANS

On 3 May, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime published a report based on analysis provided by experts who examined corruption and its impact on governance in the region, and reviewed the anti-corruption frameworks as well as government efforts to tackle corruption. In particular, it looks at how the governments are implementing their own anti-corruption pledges made in the context of the Berlin Process, an initiative aimed at stepping up regional cooperation in the Western Balkans and aiding the integration into the EU. This report is designed to contribute constructively to the implementation and review process of the anti-corruption pledges made as part of the Berlin Process, and highlight areas where further progress is needed.

https://globalinitiative.net/analysis/corruption-western-balkans/

GENERATIONAL DEFINITIONS

GenerationAge range (years)Birth year range
The Silent Generation76 and over1928-1945
Baby Boomers57-751946-1964
Gen X41-561965-1980
Millennials25-401981-1996
Gen Z9-241997-2012
Gen Alpha8 and below2013-present

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/timeline-of-us-events-that-defined-generations/

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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