Panama Covid-19 update – with a lockdown for the weekend in a few areas of the country, including the city of Colon on the Caribbean coast, but with much of the rest of the country seemingly almost back to something like normal (certainly the awful traffic on the main routes is…), numbers of new cases stay over 1,000 a day.
Today, 1,093 new cases were reported, and 5 new fatalities. To date, the country has seen a total of 398,820 cases and 6,505 fatalities. There are currently 11,653 active cases, with 95 in the ICU (up by 4) and 513 in other wards (actually a fall on yesterday).
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
25 JUNE 2021
ISLE OF MAN: NEW BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP RULES FROM 1 SEPTEMBER
On 25 June, a news release from the Isle of Man urged businesses to be aware of the new rules coming into effect on 1 September after Beneficial Ownership (Amendment) Bill 2020 recently received Royal Assent. Unfortunately, neither the news release nor the linked Companies Registry pages provide details of the changes being made. One has to refer to the original consultation on the Bill, which closed in October last year
US: MAN AWAITING TRIAL FOR COVID-19 BANK FRAUD DOES IT AGAIN
On 24 June, KYC 360 reported that a Pennsylvania man who was awaiting trial on charges that he fraudulently received more than $3.8 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans filed an application last month seeking an additional $500,000 in Covid-19 relief money, while he was on bail for the original offences.
CHINA’S CRYPTO-MINERS LOOK ABROAD AS REGULATORS TIGHTEN NOOSE
On 24 June, France 24 published an article about businessmen and miners now planning to seek their fortunes overseas — in countries ranging from the US to Kazakhstan — as Beijing tightens the screws on the industry. It is said that Chinese mines power nearly 80% of the global trade in cryptocurrencies despite a domestic trading ban since 2017. It is said that more than 90% of the country’s bitcoin mining capacity has now been shut down.
UK: FINANCIAL CONDUCT AUTHORITY APPEARED UNABLE TO MEET STANDARDS OF ACCOUNTABILITY IT IMPOSES ON FIRMS IT REGULATES
On 24 June, KYC 360 reported that a parliamentary report from the Treasury Select Committee said the collapse of London Capital & Finance showed how the FCA appeared unable to meet standards of accountability it imposes on firms it regulates. LCF left 11,625 investors facing losses of up to £237 million on the mini-bonds they bought and, in a rare move, the government will pay investors about £120 million in compensation for what the report called “one of the largest conduct regulatory failures of the last 3 decades”.
METROPOLITAN POLICE SEIZE RECORD £114 MILLION OF BITCOIN
On 25 June, the Belfast Telegraph reported that the Metropolitan Police said the sum is more than double the amount of cash seized last year and was the largest cryptocurrency confiscation in the UK.
DEUTSCHE BANK OVERHAULS ITS ANTI-FINANCIAL CRIME OPERATIONS
The Wall Street Journal has reported that the changes follow years of regulatory scrutiny and enforcement actions. The changes take effect from 1 July, as part of a shift away from fixing specific compliance shortcomings and toward tackling regulatory challenges in a more holistic and efficient manner, it is said. The bank has been subject to a number of large fines in recent years, and in January, it agreed to pay $130 million to the US to settle bribery and commodity-trading scheme allegations.
UK AMENDS 1 ENTRY ON BELARUS SANCTIONS LIST
On 25 June, HM Treasury issued a Notice advising that the entry relating to Andrei Mikalaevich GURTSEVICH had been amended.
PARALLEL CIVIL AND CRIMINAL LITGATION IN THE US
Lexology has reproduced a excerpt from the 5th edition of GIR’s The Practitioner’s Guide to Global Investigations. It addresses the core challenges that arise when a company must manage parallel civil litigation at the same time as related investigations, and provides insight for companies and practitioners navigating the complicated issues that may arise under these circumstances. Among other things, it provides additional insights and key takeaways for practitioners with respect to evidentiary issues, privilege concerns and business considerations, including potential insurance-related issues.
US: NEW IMPORT RESTRICTIONS ON ARCHAEOLOGICAL MATERIAL FROM TURKEY
On 23 June, an article from Steptoe & Johnson was concerned with the imposition of new import restrictions on certain archaeological material imported from Turkey. They recognise that the artwork and cultural antiquities from Turkey are in jeopardy of pillage, and add Turkey to the list of countries which have a bilateral agreement with the US imposing import restrictions on the cultural patrimony from their respective countries and provides a Designated List identifying the types of archaeological material that are now governed by the restrictions.
UK: SFO ISSUES GUIDANCE ON DEFERRED PROSECUTION AGREEMENTS (DPA)
On 16 June, Barnes & Thornberg LLP published an article which examines what corporate cooperation looks like from the perspective of the SFO. It lists the minimum requirements noted by the SFO.
FCA CONSULTS ON NEW CLIMATE-RELATED FINANCIAL DISCLOSURES FOR THE ASSET MANAGEMENT SECTOR
On 23 June, an article from Gowling WLG said that on 22 June, the FCA published proposals for enhanced climate related financial disclosures by standard-listed companies and the asset management sector. The article focuses on proposals for the asset management sector and summarises who the proposals apply to, the key rules being introduced and the next steps for firms.
ABSENT RESPONDENTS IN INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION
On 24 June, an article from Stephenson Harwood LLP says that it is not uncommon for a claimant to face a respondent who absents itself from the arbitration for various reasons; a deliberate decision to refuse to participate in the arbitration for tactical reasons or where the respondent has ceased to exist. It is predicted that the pandemic means one is likely to see more and more instances of respondents refusing to participate in arbitrations. The article addresses the situation, saying that there is no remedy available in arbitration equivalent to default judgment in court proceedings – the claimant is still expected to prove its case against a respondent.
NICARAGUA: ORTEGA HAS BEEN DISMANTLING DEMOCRACY FOR MORE THAN A DECADE. HE IS EMBOLDENED BY IMPUNITY
An article from Americas Quarterly on 24 June was concerned with the long history of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua. It says that, pre-occupied with Venezuela’s never-ending calamity, no one in Latin America and beyond seemed to have the bandwidth to pay attention to another democratic breakdown in the region – not even Ortega’s violent crackdown of anti-government protests in 2018, which led to hundreds of deaths, was enough to shake the region and the world into action. It looks at the lessons to be learned from the history and situation.
NORWAY: UNIVERSITIES WILL NEED A LICENCE TO EXPORT KNOWLEDGE
On 25 June, University World News reported that the Norwegian government has proposed a regulation that will force universities to apply for an export licence if they want to export knowledge produced in Norway. On 14 June universities were called to a meeting with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for orientation on the work with new control regulations for knowledge transfer. It is said that the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) has warned of the risks involved in collaborating with countries as diverse as Brazil, Japan, South Korea, South Africa and Malaysia, as well of the threat of espionage from Iran, Pakistan, China and Russia. Norway is regarded as particularly attractive for attacks aimed at knowledge transfer and over recent years several attempts at illegal knowledge transfer have been uncovered and obstructed.
CHINA: DISCUSSION ON 5 MAJOR ISSUES OF THE ANTI-FOREIGN SANCTIONS LAW
On 25 June, an article from King & Wood Mallesons was concerned with the Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law of the People’s Republic of China, which took effect on 10 June. The article contains preliminary thoughts based on relevant overseas laws, regulations and precedents. When making business decisions and determining trading patterns, it says that enterprises need to adopt a prudent approach by taking into account their own internal control requirements and actual operations. Enterprises are not recommended to simply follow the ideas discussed in this article, but to analyse relevant issues based on their realities.
ALMOST 100,000 SMUGGLED CIGARETTES SEIZED AT DUBLIN AIRPORT
On 24 June, the Irish Times reported that Revenue officers seized almost 100,000 cigarettes at Dublin Airport after a search took place during routine profiling. The cigarettes branded “Minsk Capital” and “NZ” were discovered in air cargo consignments that had arrived in Ireland from Germany, Italy and Lithuania; and hidden in items described as “meteorological equipment”, “medical equipment” and “bed linen”.
NORTH KOREAN HACKERS SUSPECTED OF ATTACKS USING FAKE SOUTH KOREAN GOVERNMENT ADDRESSES
On 25 June, Yonhap News reported that hacker groups linked to North Korea are suspected of carrying out cyberattacks by using manipulated email addresses from the South Korean government to steal user information. It is said that North Korea-linked hacking organisations, such as Thallium and Kimsuky, to be behind the attacks, which manipulated the sender emails to appear as official government addresses.
EU COMMISSION WELCOMES THE ENTRY INTO FORCE OF THE AGREEMENT TO PREVENT UNREGULATED HIGH SEAS FISHERIES IN THE CENTRAL ARCTIC OCEAN
On 25 June, the EU Commission said that it welcomed the entry into force of the Agreement to prevent unregulated high seas fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean. This is said to be an important step towards ensuring that any future fishing in the Central Arctic Ocean will be carried out sustainably. The EU and 9 countries in 2018 signed this international agreement after 2 years of negotiations, and the Agreement applies a precautionary and science-based approach to fisheries by banning unregulated fishing activities in the Central Arctic Ocean.
HUMAN RIGHTS: NEW SERIES OF ONLINE COUNTRY FACTSHEETS
On 25 June, the Council of Europe announced that it has published a new series of online country factsheets providing information on each member state’s execution of judgments from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
SOLICITORS FINED FOR NOT SPOTTING £3.3 MILLION FRAUD
On 25 June, the Law Society Gazette reported that 2 solicitors have been fined after failing to adequately oversee an office in which a bogus lawyer is alleged to have carried out a £3.3 million property fraud. They were fined £10,000 and £5,001 respectively. They were both ordered to pay costs of £4,625. Both admitted that they failed to exercise adequate oversight of the firm’s operations and bank accounts to prevent the firm becoming involved in transactions which bore the hallmarks of fraud.
UK: NEW POCA CODE OF PRACTICE FOR PROSECUTORS
The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (Investigative Powers of Prosecutors: Code of Practice) Order 2021 introduced a new Code necessitated by the commencement in Northern Ireland of amendments made to Chapter 2 of Part 8 of the Act by the Criminal Finances Act 2017.
UK RESPONSE TO THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE’S LIST OF ISSUES DATED MAY 2020
On 24 June, the MoJ published its response to the UN Human Rights Committee’s list of issues under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The issues covered a wide range of issues including discrimination and hate crime, the prohibition of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, counter terrorism, suicide and self-harm in custody and detention, modern slavery and trafficking, migration and asylum, corporal punishment, the age of criminal responsibility and prisoner voting. It is said that the e UK believes that effective domestic laws already exist, under which individuals may seek enforceable remedies in the courts if their rights have been breached.
5 BRITISH MEN HAVE BEEN ARRESTED AFTER A TONNE OF COCAINE WAS DISCOVERED ON A YACHT SAILING FROM THE CARIBBEAN TO EUROPE
On 24 June, a news release from the NCA advised that 3 crew members were arrested when their vessel was interdicted in the mid-Atlantic by the Spanish Customs Service on the 13 June. 2 other men linked to the vessel were also arrested by Spanish officers in the Costa del Sol. The arrests are linked to an ongoing investigation into international drug trafficking that has so far resulted in the arrest of a number of individuals in Spain.
ROLL-YOUR-OWN TOBACCO SMUGGLING NETWORK DISMANTLED IN PORTUGAL AND SPAIN
On 25 June, a news release from Europol reported that police have dismantled an organised crime group involved in large-scale tobacco smuggling. The criminals would illegally import from Spain to Portugal large quantities of tobacco leaf and stripes, destined to produce both cigarettes and tobacco for roll-your-own cigarettes which were subsequently distributed onto the Portuguese black market. The amount of tobacco seized is enough to produce some 11 million cigarettes.
HASHISH: NEW PLAYER IN BRAZIL DRUG MARKETS
On 24 June, Insight Crime reported that hashish, a brown compressed solid with a higher psychoactive potency than herbal marijuana, is a recent addition to Brazil’s drug market. Along with South America in general, the country has had little experience with the drug mostly produced in North Africa, especially Morocco.
COSTA RICA: PENALTIES FOR NOT COMPLYING IN TIME WITH THE OBLIGATION TO PRESENT THE ULTIMATE BENEFICIAL OWNER STATEMENT
On 24 June, an article from Dentons advised that the Costa Rica Tax Administration has notified the penalties for not complying in time with the obligation to present the Ultimate Beneficial Owner statement. However, the firm says that these penalties can be challenged and it says that it considers that there are enough arguments to request the annulment of these acts and thereby eliminate such a fine.
AUDITS OF ULTRA-WEALTHY CANADIANS YIELD ZERO PROSECUTIONS AND CONVICTIONS
On 22 June, CTV News reported that data from the Canada Revenue Agency shows its recent efforts to combat tax evasion by the super-rich have resulted in zero prosecutions or convictions. The lack of prosecutions follows more than 6,770 audits of ultra-wealthy Canadians over the past 6 years. 2 cases proceeded to federal prosecutors, but with no charges laid.
SEAFARERS AND SCAMMERS: DON’T BE A VICTIM
A release from the UK Ship Register on 25 June says that the Register has become aware that seafarers who are legitimately searching for work are being targeted by scammers, with unscrupulous individuals which frequently pose as recruitment agents or HR managers, often pretending to be from well-known, reputable companies. They extract large sums of money from seafarers by promising a job and asking for advance payments for things like visas, insurance and taxes – the reality is that the job does not exist and you will never hear from them – or see your money – again. It lists some the red flags to watch for.
US BUREAU OF INDUSTRY AND SECURITY ADDS 5 CHINESE ENTITIES TO ENTITY LIST FOR PARTICIPATING IN CHINA’S FORCED LABOUR CAMPAIGN AGAINST MUSLIMS IN XINJIANG
On 24 June, Crowell & Moring published an article saying that the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security has added 5 Chinese entities to the Entity List, imposing export controls, for partaking in the forced labour of Muslim minority groups from Xinjiang, an autonomous territory in north-west China.
END OF EXEMPTION FROM DUTIES ON IMPORTS WORTH LESS THAN €22 INTO THE EU A SHOCK FOR SHOPPERS
On 25 June, Loadstar reported that the end of exemption from duties on imports worth less than €22 into the EU will likely hit parcel flows from China, but large e-commerce platforms have already taken steps that should mitigate the impact. From 1 July, customs clearance will involve the payment of VAT and, depending on national thresholds, customs duties. It is said that confusion will be most pronounced around shipments coming through postal services, and this will likely cause a marked drop in online orders from overseas. Goods with a value of less than €5.23 remain exempt, as VAT under €1 is not collected.
UK IMPORTERS “SLEEPWALKING” AS CUSTOMS DECLARATION EXEMPTION ENDS
On 25 June, Loadstar reported that the 6-month delay on declarations for imported goods from 1 January, aimed to reduce strain on the system and provide importers sufficient time to adjust to post-Brexit procedures, ends on 1 July. It is warned that many importers, new to the customs environment and with enough on their plates, will face a failure to declare.
REPORT: UK INTERNAL MARKET – RECOMMENDATIONS TO ENSURE THE UK INTERNAL MARKET FUNCTIONS EFFECTIVELY
The lobbying group, the Institute of Government has published a report saying that a new approach to the UK internal market is needed to avoid a collision course between the UK government and the devolved nations which could erode support for the union. The report makes 4 recommendations to ensure the UK internal market functions effectively.
IRANIAN NUCLEAR CENTRIFUGE PLANT BADLY DAMAGED BY DRONE ATTACK
On 25 June, Breaking Defense reported that an attack on Iran’s centrifuge production facility in Karaj by drones is said to have caused major damage, and Israeli forces are believed to have carried out the attack.
FRENCH GENDARMERIE takes DOWN IVORIAN NETWORK BEHIND SCAM IN EXCESS OF €13 MILLION
A Europol news release on 25 June advised that a year-long investigation led by the French National Gendarmerie has resulted in the dismantling of an organised crime group involved in large-scale financial fraud and money laundering across Europe. The group used the name of existing French or foreign companies, ordered goods of an important value with a payment delay of 30 days. Taking advantage of this delay, they would disappear with the goods, move the goods across Europe before handing them over to a Turkish criminal network in charge of their sale. The criminal proceeds were then laundered and reintegrated into the legal economy.
BRAZIL’S PETROBRAS HAS RECOVERED MORE THAN $1.2 BILLION DIVERTED BY CORRUPTION
On 25 June, the Rio Times reported that Brazil’s state-owned oil company Petrobras has already recovered more than $1.2 billion of the total amount of resources that were diverted by the corruption that took place during more than a decade.
US: EXTRADITION AND GUILTY PLEA OF ISRAELI SECURITIES TRADER FOR PARTICIPATING IN A GLOBAL INSIDER TRADING RING
A news release from US DoJ on 25 June advised that DOV MALNIK and TOMER FEINGOLD nhad been indicted for offences relating to their roles as securities traders in a wide-ranging international insider trading ring who made millions of dollars in illicit profits by trading based on misappropriated inside information. Malnik, a citizen of Israel and Lithuania, was arrested in Switzerland in October and extradited earlier this month. He had pleaded guilty to charges, but Feingold remains at large.
HONDURAN FUGITIVE MORE MONEY LAUNDERER THAN MS13 LEADER
On 25 June, Insight Crime reported that prosecutors in Honduras say they will ask Nicaragua to extradite Honduran national David Elías Campbell (aka “Viejo” or “Viejo Dan”), an alleged MS13 leader who has been on the run for 5 years since being charged with money laundering. Campbell fled Honduras in September 2016, reportedly aided by corrupt police officers, after authorities launched a nationwide operation against the MS13.
COSTA RICA ATTORNEY GENERAL RESIGNS AS SPRAWLING GRAFT PROBE GATHERS PACE
On 25 June, Reuters reported that Costa Rica’s attorney general, Emilia Navas, said that she was resigning to avoid perceived conflicts of interest during a corruption investigation in which her husband represents some of the defendants.
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