Panama Covid-19 update – it’s just one thing after another…the health authorities have begun distributing flu vaccine now. Meanwhile, it has been announced that people who received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine abroad will be able to receive the second dose in Panama.
Another 252 new cases reported today, with 6 more fatalities (taking the total to date to 6,277), with 4,278 active cases – 52 in ICU and 314 in other wards.
10 MAY 2021
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
GERMANY: THE WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION ACT AND NEW COMPLIANCE REQUIREMENTS
On 10 May, Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein produced an article about a draft Bill to implement the EU Whistleblowing Directive, which aims to better protect whistleblowers. EU Member States must implement the EU Whistleblowing Directive in national law by 17 December.
CANADA: SUPREME COURT WILL HEAR APPEAL OF HELLS ANGEL MONEY LAUNDERING CASE QUASHED OVER DELAYS
On 6 May, Global News reported on an appeal by the Crown in a case where the conviction of 4 people accused of money laundering on behalf of the Hells Angels was quashed over unreasonable legal delays. In 2016, the Supreme Court issued what is known as the Jordan ruling, establishing strict time limits for legal proceedings. The 4 co-accused had been charged in 2009 and the trial judge calculated that the trial had concluded in March 2016 — a 77-month delay.
SOUTH AFRICA: ANC LEADER SUSPENDS PARTY RIVAL IN CORRUPTION SCANDAL
On 10 May, KYC 360 reported on The party’s move against Ace Magashule, 61, came as he was told to step aside after being charged with embezzling public funds while he was premier of Free State province.
IRELAND: FORMER DEVELOPER CHARGED WITH STEALING AND LAUNDERING €200,000 AS PART OF PROPERTY REGISTRATION FRAUD
On 8 May, the Irish Independent reported that a former millionaire developer, Philip Marley, 49, has been charged with stealing and laundering more than €200,000 as part of a property registration fraud. He is accused of fraud in the registration of ownership of 2 Dublin properties, and transferring criminal proceeds.
MALAYSIA: 1MDB AND SRC FILE 21 CIVIL SUITS AGAINST BANKS AND OTHERS FOR ALLEGED ROLE IN MASSIVE FRAUD
On 10 May, The Edge reported that law firms have filed 22 civil lawsuits to claim billions of US dollars on behalf of state-owned 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and its former subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd. Various claims were made against individuals such as former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak, his stepson Riza Aziz, former 1MDB officeholders like Tan Sri Che Lodin Wok Kamaruddin, and former CEO of 1MDB Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, Arul Kanda Kandasamy and Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman. A total of 6 lawsuits were filed by 1MDB and its subsidiaries, while another 16 were filed by SRC. Foreign financial institutions like Deutsche Bank (Malaysia) Ltd, as well as Swiss-based Coutts & Co Ltd and JP Morgan (Switzerland) Ltd were also named, along with PetroSaudi International Ltd and its founder Tarek Obaid.
NIGERIA’S MINISTER OF JUSTICE SAYS HIGH-PROFILE NIGERIANS MAY BE FUNDING TERRORISM
On 7 May, the Premium Times reported that the minister said investigations revealing the activities of the suspected terrorism financiers were triggered by a recent conviction of 6 Nigerians in UAE for funding Boko Haram. He said that said the Nigerian government embarked on “a wider and far-reaching investigations” into terrorism financing after the conviction of Boko Haram financiers in UAE.
FACEBOOK SANCTIONS FORMER PANAMANIAN PRESIDENT RICARDO MARTINELLI
On 9 May, Newsroom Panama reported that Ricardo Martinelli has joined Donald Trump and Nicolás Maduro as a president/ex-president with his page sanctioned by Facebook. It is said that the action “freezes it for 30 days, in which only the previous content of the account can be read”, but nothing new can be published for a month for having “violated his policy against disinformation about covid-19”.
US OIL PIPELINE CYBERATTACK FORCES CLOSURE
On 8 May, the Wall Street Journal reported that the main pipeline carrying gasoline and diesel fuel to the US East Coast, taking fuel from the refineries of the Gulf Coast to the New York metro area, was shut down by its operator after being hit with a cyberattack. It is said that the ransomware attack exposed risks to the aging, vulnerable infrastructure that keeps the nation’s energy moving.
ENGLAND AND WALES: UNLAWFULLY OBTAINED EVIDENCE AND USE OF HACKED EMAILS
On 6 May, an article from MacFarlanes LLP published an article about a civil case in which the claimant relied heavily on confidential emails that had been obtained through hacking of the defendant’s email accounts (the hacking of which was common ground). However, the first instance judge found that as the defendant had acted fraudulently, that the hacking could not be shown on the balance of probabilities to have been procured by the claimant and that, even if it had, he would not necessarily have excluded the emails or struck out the claim. The Court of Appeal subsequently allowed an application to adduce new evidence (allegedly showing that the claimant had procured the hacking) and, as such, the issue as to whether the claimant was responsible for the hacking has been remitted for retrial by the High Court. It is said that this case therefore serves as an important reminder that the English courts’ view (insofar as the matter stands to date) is that justice is upheld by considering all relevant evidence, even where there has been a breach of law in obtaining that evidence.
WITNESS STATEMENTS IN ENGLAND AND WALES: A PARADIGM SHIFT?
On 6 May, an article from DAC Beachcroft says that significant changes have been introduced since 6 April in respect of trial witness statements in the Business and Property Courts. The new rules apply to trial witness statements (as opposed to, say, statements from lawyers for the purposes of interim relief applications) signed on or after 6 April in both new and existing proceedings. They introduce onerous new duties on both the witness and the lawyer assisting with their statements including requiring the disclosure of all documents reviewed by the witness, an assessment of their confidence in their recollections and certification of compliance with the new rules by both the witness and the lawyer involved. The article provides a summary of the key changes. It is said that the reforms reflect growing judicial scepticism as to the value of witness evidence in general and serve as a further reminder as to the primacy of documentary evidence in the litigation process and the importance of capturing and effectively marshalling the same.
HUNGARY EXTENDS SCOPE AND DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION OF TEMPORARY FDI CONTROL REGIME
On 4 May, an article from CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP is concerned with the FDI Act 2020, where approval is required for closing a transaction which involves the acquisition of a “strategic company” and the acquiring entity is directly or indirectly owned by a foreign company registered outside of the EU, the EEA or Switzerland. Currently, these controls apply to those transactions signed prior to or on 31 December 2021.
TAIWAN’S EXPORT CONTROL REGIME
On 10 May, an article from the Enlighten Law Group explained the regime under the Foreign Trade Act. Most goods are generally allowed to be imported and exported freely, but certain high-tech products that the authorities deem to be “strategic” require a licence to be exported. The main purpose of the regulations is to serve national security, foreign policy, and non-proliferation of WMD.
A GUIDE TO DRAFTING A CYBERSECURITY CRISIS MANAGEMENT RESPONSE PLAN
Hong Kong Lawyer has published a guide containing 6 key elements and 6 key steps, and saying that a cybersecurity crisis management response plan (a “Response Plan” or CCRP) may spell the difference between life and death for an organisation. A CCRP is a set of tools and guidelines that an organisation’s IT team can rely on to help them identify (observe), orient, eliminate (act) and recover from cybersecurity threats. However, it does stress that while having a plan is useful, no plan is useful without a team to carry out the contingency – so it is therefore pivoted that having an Cybersecurity Crisis Response Team is equally important.
LITHUANIA TO STEP UP FIGHT AGAINST CIGARETTE SMUGGLING
On 10 May, Belsat reported that Lithuania plans to tighten control of state borders to prevent the smuggling of contraband cigarettes from Belarus. It is claimed that said that smuggling accounts for 20-30% of the entire cigarette market in Lithuania, while Belarusian cigarettes make up “the vast majority”, with the Lithuanian Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defence claiming that cigarette smuggling is a Belarusian state policy. In 2019, 10.7% of all cigarettes smoked in Lithuania were illegal, and 82% were made at the Neman factory in Hrodna. In 2020, Lithuanian customs apprehended the largest number of smuggled cigarettes in history, 16.6 million packs – twice as many as in 2019.
BRITISH MUSEUM EXPERTS HELP RETURN RARE SECOND CENTURY SCULPTURE TO LIBYA SEIZED AT HEATHROW
On 10 May, the Evening Standard reported that experts were able to examine the work and prove it had only recently been excavated when it was found in the UK in 2013 and seized by Border Force officials.
A VICTIM’S GUIDE TO RECOVERING MONEY FROM CYBERCRIME IN HONG KONG
Another guide from Hong Kong Lawyer – this time on how to file a police complaint and get a police freeze on a suspect’s account, saying that it is crucial for victims to prioritise their action. The quick steps to this guide that victims should consider are -:
- Report to the police;
- Inform the banks; and finally
- Obtain civil injunction (where advised).
SOUTH AFRICA ARMS CONTROL BODY CONTINUES TO APPROVE WEAPONS EXPORTS TO SAUDI ARABIA AND UAE
On 3 May, The New Arab published an article saying that in 2015, more than 42% of South Africa’s weapons exports went to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. In 2016, that number climbed to 48.9%. In 2017 and 2018, over a third of all of its weapon exports went to the UAE and the Saudis. It is said that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been diverting South African weapons to militias in Yemen and that, since 2015, South African-made weaponry has been documented on all sides of the conflict in Yemen. In 2019, the licensing body, NCACC, briefly halted weapons exports to Saudi Arabia and the UAE as 2 years earlier, it had incorporated a clause requiring on-site inspections to the front page of its end-user agreements. However, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and several other countries, refused to sign, alleging that it violated sovereignty, and by the end of 2019 NCACC had stopped approving weapons exports to the countries – but South African companies, however, used the threat of job losses to lobby for the restoration of exports and, in May 2020, it was announced that on-site inspections could be performed through an unspecified ‘diplomatic process’.
EXPANDING USE AND PROLIFERATION OF MILITARY DRONES IN AFRICA
An article from the Carnegie Center says that a new report finds that the use of armed drones is expanding rapidly across the African continent, with few agreed-upon policies, rules, and procedures for their deployment. The report also shows that in the last 14 years, African and foreign states have been involved in drone operations in at least 20 states in North Africa, the Sahel and Horn of Africa. African countries are also expanding their arsenal. Governments across the continent have been employing drones in a variety of counterterror and counterinsurgency missions.
BREXIT: UK DOMESTIC SHIPPERS COULD MISS OUT ON THE BENEFITS OF THE RECENTLY-ANNOUNCED FREEPORT DEVELOPMENTS DUE TO SMALL PRINT IN POST-BREXIT TRADE DEALS
On 10 May, Loadstar reported that the UK Secretary of State for International Trade reportedly signed 23 ‘rollover deals’ with countries including Canada, Norway and Singapore containing clauses which could stop manufacturers benefiting from freeport tax breaks. It is said that small print warned potential bidders of prohibition clauses contained in several continuity trade agreements the Department of International Trade had signed in the previous 2 years. Despite being warned, the Secretary of State went on to sign trade agreements with 10 countries, containing the same clauses, including key markets like Canada, Singapore and Mexico.
TRADE OF DUAL-USE ITEMS: NEW EU RULES
On 10 May, a news release from the EU advised that the EU has upgraded its legislation on the export controls applicable to sensitive dual-use goods and technologies such as cyber-surveillance tools. The new EU Regulation strengthens controls on a wider range of emerging dual-use technologies, and the coordination between Member States and the Commission in support of the effective enforcement of controls throughout the EU. By introducing due diligence obligations for producers, the new rules also give companies an important role in addressing the risks to international security sometimes posed by dual-use items. The Regulation also paves the way for better coordination between the EU and partner countries in enhancing international security through more convergent approaches to export controls at global level. After the European Parliament and the Council sign the adopted regulation, it will be published in the EU Official Journal before coming into force.
UK: GUIDANCE ON DUE DILIGENCE PRINCIPLES TO ASSURE YOUR LABOUR SUPPLY CHAINS
On 10 May, HMRC published updated guidance which applies if you use labour supplied by a third party, or you supply or make arrangements to supply labour.
UK: HELP AND SUPPORT FOR MONEY LAUNDERING SUPERVISION
On 10 May, HMRC published updated information on webinars and online courses one can use find out more about money laundering supervision.
UK GOVERNMENT CONSIDERS PLANS TO CREATE NATIONAL HUB FOR COURT JUDGMENTS
On 10 May, the Law Society Gazette reported that plans to create the first single comprehensive repository of England and Wales court judgments are being considered by the Government. Such a service would publish almost every decision made by courts and tribunals, unlike the current selective system run by the British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII).
LUGANO CONVENTION FOR UK REBUFF WILL HIT WEAKER PARTIES MOST
On 10 May, the Law Society Gazette reported that excluding the UK from the Lugano Convention on recognition of judgments would have major consequences for weaker parties seeking justice in their own courts. The EU Commission has recommended such an exclusion.
AMAZON BLOCKED 10 BILLION FRAUDULENT LISTINGS IN 2020, REPORT FINDS
On 10 May, Breaking News in Ireland reported that Amazon prevented more than 10 billion fraudulent product listings from appearing in its online stores in 2020 and seized more than 2 million counterfeit products, according to a new latest brand protection report from Amazon.
DR CONGO PROSECUTOR SEEKS TO QUIZ EX-PM IN GRAFT PROBE
On 10 May, Mail Online reported that prosecutors in DR Congo have asked parliament to lift the immunity of former prime minister Augustin Matata Ponyo so that he can face a probe into embezzlement of public funds. He is the latest public figure to come under scrutiny over alleged corruption since President Felix Tshisekedi took office in January 2019.
FIRST-EVER WHISTLEBLOWER REWARD IN CONTINENTAL EUROPE RECEIVED BY SLOVAKIAN DOCTOR
Business review in Romania reported on 10 May that the doctor reportedly received a €3,000 reward from Slovakia’s Justice Department for revealing that health records were being falsified.
20 ALLEGED PHILIPPINE MONEY MULES ARRESTED IN TAIWAN
On 10 May, Focus Taiwan reported that 20 migrant workers from the Philippines have been arrested for allegedly working as money mules for an internet fraud ring that was targeting Taiwanese nationals. The group in Taiwan was headed by a 35-year-old Filipino migrant worker who allegedly had been recruited by a fraud ring based in the Philippines.
SHANGHAI CUSTOMS INTERCEPTS 247 SMUGGLED REAGENTS OF HUMAN CELLS
On 10 May, the Global Times reported that Shanghai customs recently intercepted 247 reagents of human cells hidden in a shipment of “laboratory growth medium”. A biological science and technology company in Shanghai was found to have repeatedly smuggled imported human cells in the same way since June 2020. Human cells are the basic materials for biomedical and life science researches, and are categorised as “special goods” under China’s frontier health and quarantine regulations and laws.
THE HISTORY OF OUR HUMAN RIGHTS
EachOther is a UK-focused charity that uses independent journalism, storytelling and filmmaking to put the human into human rights. It has produced a 4-part series which takes one through the history of human rights from their formal inception to the present day. The parts are designed as a series of explainers to help demystify human rights.
PANDEMIC SPENDING IMMUNITY DEEPENS EL SALVADOR CORRUPTION CONCERNS
On 10 May, Insight Crime reported that, with a new law granting immunity to El Salvador officials accused of mismanaging coronavirus funds and the resignation of a prosecutor looking into pandemic-related spending, President Nayib Bukele and allies are wasting no time undermining a major corruption investigation aimed at his administration.
CORRUPTION UNDER AUSTERITY
On 10 May, an article from VOX, at the Centre for Economic Policy Research, says that austerity measures have been widely adopted around the world with mixed results in terms of public debt reduction and adverse political effects. The article examines the effect of fiscal austerity policies on corruption in Italian municipalities. The budget rules have led to a decrease in both recorded corruption rates and corruption charges per euro spent, without a clear effect on local public service provision. The drop in corruption emerges mostly in pre-electoral years for mayors eligible for re-election. It suggests that budget constraints might induce local governments to curb expenditures while dampening exposure to corruption.
Incidentally, an interesting earlier article from 2019 suggested that austerity in the UK may have been a major reason for the Brexit vote –
TURNING TECHNOLOGY AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKERS
On 6 May, an article in MIT News from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology explains how the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, a federally funded research and development centre, has harnessed its technological expertise toward combating human trafficking. Researchers met with federal, state, and local agencies, NGO, and technology companies to understand the challenges in identifying, investigating, and prosecuting trafficking cases. In 2019, the team compiled their findings and 29 targeted technology recommendations into a roadmap for the federal government and this roadmap informed the Department of Homeland Security’s counter-trafficking strategy released in 2020. It is said that a recent workshop was an opportunity for the laboratory’s researchers to present several advanced tools in development.
MEXICO’S CARTELS ARE EXPERIMENTING WITH CONTROL OF ANOTHER PART OF THE COCAINE TRADE
On 7 May, Yahoo News reported that Mexican drug cartels’ longstanding attempts to bring coca plantations out of South America and onto their own localities may be bearing fruit. The military destroyed a 4-hectare plantation of coca in the mountains of Guerrero state in February – the third time authorities have found coca plantations in Mexico.
TUNISIANS ARE TRYING TO RECOVER STOLEN ASSETS BUT IT’S NOT GOING WELL
On 7 May, an article in Newlines Magazine says that, 10 years after Tunisia became the first country to spark the so-called Arab Spring, the attempts to recover assets that were stolen are not going well. It says that, for example, the looting and destruction of priceless archaeological treasures was symbolic of the excesses of El Materi (then poised to become President Ben Ali’s successor) and the rest of the Ben Ali clan. From the mid-1990s, the dictator and his family had amassed vast swaths of wealth through the Tunisian economy. The Global Financial Integrity estimates that between 2000 and 2008, over $9 billion was lost to illicit financial activities and official government corruption. 10 years on, many members of the clan remain in exile, scattered across the world in Saudi Arabia, the Seychelles, and France. But what happened to the money? Where is it hidden, and will Tunisians ever be able to recover what was stolen from them? It is said that the answer is somewhat depressing. It is said to be useful when examining Tunisia’s asset recovery strategy to first establish how the clan operated and how exactly they became so wealthy. It is also said that the 10th anniversary of the Arab Spring saw a renewed government attention in the issue, and a public outcry over recent developments has put pressure on officials. The current President says that the government is in the process of relaunching investigations and designating a new legal team.
SOUTH AFRICA: ALLEGED WESTERN CAPE UNDERWORLD KINGPIN, POLICE APPEAR IN COURT FOR MONEY LAUNDERING
On 10 May, SABC News reported that Nafiz Modack and anti-gang unit policeman Ashley Tabisher have appeared in court. Modack also faces a slew of other charges including conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder and extortion. In 2020, 16 people, including senior police officers and Modack were arrested in connection with fraud and corruption. The arrests follow a 3-year investigation into the issuing of gun licences without verification or following protocols.
BREXIT AND ITS IMPACT ON GLOBAL MOBILITY: PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE
KPMG has produced an article saying that mobile workers who are affected by Brexit, and their employers, must note that there are significant differences between the rules laid out in the Protocol and the rules laid out in EU legislation. The decisions on whether the rules in the Protocol apply or the rules in the EU legislation can continue to apply to a mobile worker will impact not only present, but also future social security coverage for the mobile worker and his/her current and future employers. This article looks at the various agreements between the EU and the U.K. to help facilitate relations between the two parties in light of Brexit and how they govern the application of social security rules to mobile workers and their employers and in what ways they needed, and need, to comply with the new rules, pre-Brexit and post-Brexit.
THIRD COUNTRIES HAVE ALIGNED THEMSELVES WITH VARIOUS EU SANCTIONS
On 10 May, the EU Sanctions blog reported on which third countries have chosen to align with various updated/amended EU sanctions regimes.
SARAWAK LOGGING GIANTS TO BE HELD TO ACCOUNT NOT BY MALAYSIA BUT BY PNG
On 10 May, Sarawak Report reported that the government of Papua New Guinea has put a swathe of Sarawak-based logging concerns on notice over allegations of criminal tax evasion and illegal plunder of a foreign country. The authorised statement from the top prosecutor announces the plan to audit 20 ‘delinquent’ logging companies in the country over suspected tax evasion – he says he plans to add more companies to the list. It is said that the rapacious plunder of logging companies based in Sarawak has as a matter of record spread well beyond Malaysian borders.
CORPORATE LIABILITY FOR CORRUPTION IN MALAYSIA
An article from Hogan Lovells on 10 May says that section 17A of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act raises the possibility of corporate liability for corruption in addition to personal liability for board and senior management members involved. This came into force mid-2020, was invoked for the first time in March 2021. The article sets out implications for international businesses operating in Malaysia.
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