On 23 July, Techjournalist carried an article saying that an open-data investigation into Facebook reveals how wood traders use the platform unchecked to traffic large quantities of logs from Africa to Vietnam, some violating national export rules or breaching treaties for endangered wildlife. Despite pledges to curb illegal wildlife trade, it is said that Facebook’s blind spot is a boon for timber traffickers and a curse for the environment. It is said that experts think that globally there are market losses of around $10 billion annually from illegal logging and governments miss out on $5 billion in revenue. Experts estimate that illegal logging accounts for between 15% and 30% of the global timber trade.
TRAFFIC has produced a report on 21 July, saying that TRAFFIC and the WWF are supporting the shipping sector to detect illegalities passing through international waters. Among other points made is that illegally traded wildlife does not undergo hygiene, sanitary, and phytosanitary controls; as a result, illegal wildlife trade carries risks to public health and can contribute to the spread of zoonotic diseases and invasive species around the globe. TRAFFIC and the WWF, have worked with multiple partners to produce guidance to help the sea cargo industry identify wildlife crime – ‘The Red Flag Compendium for Wildlife and Timber Trafficking in Containerised Cargo’ details the warning signs of corruption, smuggling, other related crimes and outlines red flags and additional tools to identify prolifically trafficked CITES-listed species, including big cats, specific marine life, large mammal species such as rhino, elephant, and timber. It includes information on at-risk routes as well as typical indicators of illicit activities such as questionable paperwork and discrepancies in information like value, weight, and appearance. Irregular behaviour, such as consignments split across multiple shipments, last-minute requests for shipment clearance and abnormal or sudden changes in routes or destinations may be signs of illegal action.
An article from Dentons on 26 July says that Brexit is prompting companies to ask themselves many legal questions. One of them is the fate of jurisdiction clauses. As the UK withdrawal from the EU prevents the application of the Brussels I bis Regulation to your contract after 1 January 2021, does your jurisdiction clause remains effective? It says that the answer depends on whether or not the Hague Convention applies. The article provides a breakdown, and infographic, of the test(s) to apply.
In December, the Foreign Commonwealth and development Office in the UK published this review draws from the literature on the lessons learned in combatting criminal deforestation activity. It examines evidence on criminal deforestation activity in Latin America (particularly, but not exclusively the Amazon, although the review focuses on Brazil) and draws from the literature on the lessons learned in combatting criminal deforestation activity. It is noted that Illegal deforestation occurs largely through criminal networks as they have the capacity for coordination, processing, selling, and the deployment of armed men to protect operations. Bribery, corruption, and fraud are also said to be deeply ingrained in deforestation.
On 26 July, La Prensa reported that Pegasus had been used in the country from 2012 and it was used until May 2014, according to information from the Attorney General’s Office. Its use was said to have cost $8 million. The use of Pegasus is said to be an important element in the trial of former President Martinelli. Evidence earlier in the case had involved the negotiation with the NSO Group by the country’s national security council (CSN) re the installation of Pegasus and the training of the personnel who would use it, and for “the collection and collection of information on mobile devices for the exclusive use of the Government of Panama”.
Another recent brief from Mourant concerned a new legislative framework being brought in as part of the extensive preparations for the onsite Fourth Round Mutual Evaluation assessment by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFTAF) in July 2022. It details the first tranche of legislation, which was passed on 14 June and is expected to come into force shortly. It then goes on to mention that planned for the second phase.
On 23 July, the Wall Street Journal reported that the DoJ had dropped cases against 5 visiting researchers accused of hiding their affiliations with China’s military. It is said that prosecutors said they would no longer pursue visa fraud and other charges against the scientists. The academics had been arrested last July in an FBI sweep.