OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MAY 22

Panama Covid-19 update – numbers keep rumbling on – 7 fatalities today, with 466 new cases reported. 5,914 active cases include 56 in ICU and 357 in other wards.

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

22 MAY 2021

US: BULGARIAN NATIONAL SENTENCED TO FEDERAL PRISON FOR ILLEGAL EXPORTS TO RUSSIAN MILITARY AND SPACE PROGRAMME

A news release from US DoJ on 21 May advised that a  Bulgarian national, Tsvetan Kanev, 49, had sentenced to 24 months in prison for violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) by seeking to export controlled electronic equipment from the US to the Russian military and space programme under false pretences.  The case involved radiation-hardened integrated circuits that are commonly used in satellites. 

https://www.justice.gov/usao-co/pr/bulgarian-national-sentenced-federal-prison-illegal-exports-russian-military-and-space

MOROCCO FOILS SMUGGLING OF 4.3 TONNES OF CANNABIS

On 21 May, Xinhua reported that Moroccan security services had foiled a smuggling operation of 4.3 tonnes of cannabis, packed in 94 bags to be transported by vessels in the coastal area of Saidia.

https://www.xinhuanet.com/english/africa/2021-05/21/c_139961795.htm

MEMPHIS ZOO IS CARING FOR RARE TURTLES FOUND SMUGGLED AT MEMPHIS PORT OF ENTRY

Local Memphis reported on 21 May that Memphis Zoo is helping to care for some rare baby Mexican Box Turtles after they were found being smuggled at the Memphis Port of Entry, headed for Asia.  They had been wrapped in duct tape and socks, stuffed into baby formula cans, in shipments marked as spare parts and gifts.

https://www.localmemphis.com/article/life/animals/memphis-zoo-rare-turtles-found-smuggled-memphis-port-of-entry/522-3f1b4a15-e06b-4ba7-9e53-e6f04fda44ff

PANAMA: MORE THAN 88 TONS OF DRUGS SEIZED IN 10 MONTHS

On 21 May, Panama America reported that from July 2020 to May 2021 security forces had seized more than 88 tons of illicit substances (cocaine, marijuana).

https://www.panamaamerica.com.pa/judicial/fuerza-publica-de-panama-suma-32-mil-capturas-y-mas-de-88-toneladas-de-drogas-incautadas-en

FUNDAMENTALS IN CONTRACT LAW 

On 13 May, the British Exporters Association partnered with law firm Clyde & Co to deliver a webinar on ‘The Fundamentals in Contract Law’, which provided members with an overview of contract formation – what is a contract and how is it made?; and pre-contractual considerations including counterparty risk, risks in international sales, and legal issues.  A recording of the event is available.

https://www.bexa.co.uk/Public/News/Articles/Fundamentals-in-Contract-Law.aspx

FORMER ALBANIAN PRESIDENT TO SUE US SECRETARY OF STATE OVER CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS

On 22 May, Eurasia Review reported that Sali Berisha is said to be set to sue the current US Secretary of State Antony Blinken for defamation after Blinken accused the former president of corrupt acts that undermined democracy in Albania.  According to Berisha, Blinken does not have any immunity and his lawyer will sue him publicly in France.

https://www.eurasiareview.com/22052021-former-albanian-president-to-sue-us-state-secretary-antony-blinken

CYPRUS: CORRUPTION REMAINS NUMBER ONE ISSUE AHEAD OF ELECTIONS

On 22 May, Cyprus Mail reported that corruption remained the number one problem for people whose majority also believe that an acceptable and viable solution of the Cyprus problem was out of reach, according to a survey.  The number of people who thought corruption was the country’s main problem rose by 6 percentage points in May, to 34%. 

https://cyprus-mail.com/2021/05/22/corruption-remains-number-one-issue-ahead-of-elections-poll

SOUTH AFRICA: ESKOM CONTRACTOR MICHAEL LOMAS EXTRADITION HEARING IN THE WESTMINSTER MAGISTRATES COURT IN LONDON LATER THIS YEAR

On 21 May, the South African reported that a trial date of 20 and 21 December has been set for the extradition hearing.  He was granted bail of £100 000 and surety in the sum of £250 000 and had to agree to adhere to other stringent bail conditions. It is said that the hearing stems from talks with the UK law enforcement authorities in connection with the fraud and corruption case where Eskom paid Tubular Construction Projects in an arrangement in which Lomas is implicated.

https://www.thesouthafrican.com/news/eskom-corruption-trail-date-now-set-for-uk-extradition

US WEIGHS FINANCIAL SANCTIONS AGAINST ETHIOPIA OVER TIGRAY WAR

On 22 May, BNN Bloomberg reported that the Biden Administration has prepared economic sanctions against Ethiopia that could halt financing from the US and loans by international financial institutions.  It is reported that the sanctions being considered would mainly affect financing to support Ethiopia’s budget, and will include a request that the World Bank and the IMF withhold funding.  The penalties are being considered over Nobel-laureate Abiy’s handling of the war in the Tigray and the involvement of troops from neighbouring Eritrea.

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/u-s-weighs-financial-sanctions-against-ethiopia-over-tigray-war-1.1607159

SHARJAH CUSTOMS HIGHLIGHTS PENALTY FOR COMMITTING FORGERY IN CERTIFICATE OF ORIGIN

On 22 May, Gulf News reported that the Sharjah Ports, Customs, and Free Zones Authority has posted an awareness video on its social media accounts highlighting the penalty for committing forgery in data of the certificate of origin.  This comes as part of the Authority’s efforts to raise awareness of its customers and community members about the laws regulating customs work.

https://www.gulftoday.ae/news/2021/05/22/sharjah-customs-highlights-penalty-for-committing-forgery-in-certificate-of-origin

US: SEC AWARDS 4 WHISTLEBLOWERS MORE THAN $31 MILLION

On 21 May, an article from Proskauer said that the SEC had announced the payments to whistleblowers who provided the SEC with information that resulted in the return of tens of millions of dollars to harmed investors.  The largest of the awards, for almost $27 million, was awarded to 2 joint whistleblowers, and a second order included awards of approximately $3.75 million and $750,000 to 2 additional whistleblowers who independently provided information that assisted the SEC with an ongoing investigation. 

https://www.whistleblower-defense.com/2021/05/20/sec-awards-four-whistleblowers-more-than-31-million/

ADMINISTERING VAT ON IMPORTED DIGITAL SERVICES AND LOW-VALUE IMPORTED GOODS

The IMF has produced a Technical Guidance Note on 21 May considers the main challenges in administering VAT on imported digital services and the measures that countries have introduced to address the challenges; the main challenges in administering VAT on low-value imported goods and the measures that countries (including the EU and UK) have introduced to address the challenges; and the key tasks in implementing the measures for improving the administration of VAT on imported digital services and low-value imported goods?

https://www.imf.org/-/media/Files/Publications/TNM/2021/English/TNMEA2021004.ashx

MANAGING CORPORATE GOVERNANCE IN IRISH SUBSIDIARIES

On 21 May, Irish law firm Matheson published the second of a series of articles providing insights on the management and corporate governance of Irish companies.  It examines who can represent a company and explain the importance of the establishing and maintaining the chain of corporate authority.

https://www.matheson.com/docs/default-source/podcasts/managing-corporate_who-can-represent-a-company.pdf?sfvrsn=3d29eb7_2

The first article in February considered post-Brexit considerations and the main considerations which companies and directors should be aware of, and should action as necessary, from an Irish corporate legal perspective following Brexit.

https://www.matheson.com/docs/default-source/default-document-library/managing-corporate-governance-02022021-pd.pdf?sfvrsn=9fea70ea_2

ANTI-COUNTERFEITING GUIDES

On 17 May, Gowling WLG published a series of country-specific guides which outline the anti-counterfeiting legal frameworks unique to each jurisdiction – including with respect to border measures, criminal prosecution and civil enforcement – while also said to highlight preventive strategies to help grow a brand with confidence.  The guides cover Russia, Germany, UK, China and Canada.

https://gowlingwlg.com/en/insights-resources/guides/2021/anti-counterfeiting-country-guides/

NEGOTIATING ENGLISH GOVERNING LAW AND JURISDICTION CLAUSES POST-BREXIT

On 19 May, Osborne Clarke published an article which considers how Brexit may affect negotiations over governing law clauses and jurisdiction clauses in contracts.  It reminds one that the law/governing law clause in a contract is an important protection which should be given close consideration: choosing an unknown foreign law could result in unexpected and costly consequences.  It says that the reasons why lawyers have chosen English law to govern their contracts are not affected by Brexit; and if English law was an appropriate choice before Brexit, it remains so now.

https://www.osborneclarke.com/insights/negotiating-english-governing-law-jurisdiction-clauses-post-brexit/

EU AIMS FOR 5% TOBACCO USE BY 2040

On 21 May, TJI reported that the EU Commission has published its first report on the Tobacco Products Directive, underlining its goal of a tobacco-free generation in Europe, where less than 5% of people use tobacco by 2040.

http://www.tobaccojournal.com/EU_aims_for_5_tobacco_use_by_2040.56422.0.html

WIDESPREAD THEFT IN CHILE’S LOGGING INDUSTRY

On 21 May, Insight Crime reported that authorities in Chile’s southern province of Arauco have intercepted a string of trucks carrying massive loads of stolen pine wood, revealing just how common it for timber traffickers to pilfer wood from legal plantations in the heart of the country’s logging industry.  The alleged theft came on the heels of a similar case in late April, and it is said that said total losses from wood theft in the legal forestry sector had more than trebled over the last 3 years.

https://insightcrime.org/news/timber-theft-thrives-chile-arauco/

US BLACKLISTS 13 RUSSIAN SHIPS INVOLVED IN NORD STREAM 2

On 22 May, Rferl reported that the US has formally blacklisted more than a dozen Russian ships involved in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, days after exempting the pipeline’s Russian operator and CEO.

https://www.rferl.org/a/united-states-nord-stream-blacklist-russia/31268009.html

UN: CONTINUED VIOLATIONS OF ARMS EMBARGO AND DELAYS IN WITHDRAWING FOREIGN MERCENARIES THREATENING HARD-WON GAINS IN LIBYA

On 21 May, a news release from the UN advised that, while the ceasefire in Libya is holding, continued violations of the UN arms embargo and delays in withdrawing foreign mercenaries are threatening to disrupt hard-won gains in the country’s transitional process ahead of upcoming elections, the UN top official for Libya told the Security Council during a videoconference meeting.

https://www.un.org/press/en/2021/sc14526.doc.htm

US INVESTMENT BAN ON CHINESE MILITARY COMPANIES CONTINUE TO EVOLVE

On 21 May, Venable LLP reported that anticipated clarifying guidance on the current ban on new US investment in certain Communist Chinese military companies (CCMC) is now postponed until 11 June.  It says that the investment ban has caused considerable confusion because of the lack of clear accompanying guidance and drafting ambiguities in the initial Executive Order.  It mentions that in May the DoD simultaneously agreed to remove the Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corporation (Xiaomi) from the CCMC list, and a court also issued a preliminary injunction enjoining enforcement of the Executive Orders against the Chinese data processing company which was initially designated as a CCMC.  The article says that the firm anticipates further changes to the prohibitions and the list of CCMC as the Biden Administration solidifies its policies and as new guidance is issued. 

https://www.venable.com/insights/publications/2021/05/investment-ban-on-communist-chinese-military

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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