OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – AUGUST 20

Panama Covid-19 update – overall, numbers continue their slow reduction, but with 669 new cases reported today. There were also 6 new fatalities (plus an update with 2 more from earlier periods). There are 9,539 active cases, with 109 in ICU and 309 in other wards.

Incidentally, the UK media is reporting today that approximately 1 in every 80 people in the UK have Covid. Panama remains on the UK “Red List”, despite the equivalent statistics being that only around 1 person in every 500 currently has Covid in Panama…and with the UK (or England at least) continuing to open up and relax restrictions, despite there being a large proportion of the population being unvaccinated, whereas Panama has stricter controls in place, one can’t help thinking that the differences in proportion will continue to increase…

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

20 AUGUST 2021

COSTA RICA: SUPREME COURT REJECTS HABEAS CORPUS APPLICATION FOR CONSTRUCTION COMPANY BOSS IN CORRUPTION CASE

On 19 August, Newsroom Panama reported that the Court had repealed the application on behalf of Carlos Cerdas, owner of the construction company MECO, who has been in prison since 19 July, after a court annulled a $5 million bail bond arrangement.  The businessman, who reached a penalty agreement with the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office in Panama for the (still continuing) Blue Apple corruption case, was arrested in San José in June, along with 28 others, in an separate case involving alleged acts of corruption that link businessmen and officials of the government.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/costa-rica-supreme-court-rejects-habeas-corpus-for-meco-boss

CHINESE AUTHORITIES SHUT DOWN A US LABOUR AUDITOR’S LOCAL CHINA PARTNER

On 19 August, the Wall Street Journal reported that authorities had closed down the China-based arm of Verite, which had advised US companies including Walt Disney and Apple over labour issues at Chinese factories. It is said to be part of a campaign to counter forced-labour allegations in China’s Xinjiang region.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-closes-u-s-auditor-as-tensions-mount-over-forced-labor-allegations-11629390253

FINES FOR MONEY LAUNDERING BREACHES DROP 40% DURING FIRST HALF OF 2021

On 19 August, Financial News reported that penalties imposed on global finance companies for breaching AML and KYC rules almost halved in the first 6 months of 2021 as compared to the same period in 2020, with penalties falling by 40% in to total around $930 million.

https://www.fnlondon.com/articles/fines-for-anti-money-laundering-breaches-drop-40-during-second-pandemic-year-20210819

SOUTH KOREA DETAINING NORTH KOREA-LINKED SHIP SUSPECTED OF SANCTIONS VIOLATIONS

On 20 August, NK News reported that the UN-sanctioned, disguised as a Mongolia-flagged ship Wa held in waters off South Korea’s coast, after it entered the waters off Busan.

https://www.nknews.org/2021/08/south-korea-detaining-north-korea-linked-ship-suspected-of-sanctions-violations/

3 HONG KONG MEN ARRESTED OVER FISH SMUGGLING WITH ENDANGERED AQUARIUM SPECIES AMONG THE HAUL

On 20 August, the South China Morning Post reported that Customs had intercepted a fishing boat about 1.5 km from maritime border with mainland China and the cargo included nearly 400 juvenile Asiatic arowana, worth HK$3,000 each, 4 boxes of endangered stony coral worth a total of HK$100,000, and 67 boxes of chilled groupers valued at HK$500,000.

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-and-crime/article/3145812/3-hong-kong-men-arrested-over-hk18-million-fish

EL SALVADOR PREPARES TO COMPLY WITH INTERNATIONAL REGULATIONS OVER BITCOIN

On 19 August, CVBJ.biz reported that the Central Reserve Bank of El Salvador (BCR) had issued “Technical standards to facilitate the application of the Bitcoin Law” which describes how the country will comply with AML/CFT requirements.  A law comes into force on 7 September which makes Bitcoin legal tender.  The document establishes several measures that must be complied with by such as wallet providers that provide custody services, exchanges and ATM companies.

https://www.cvbj.biz/2021/08/19/this-is-how-el-salvador-prepares-to-comply-with-international-regulations/

HONG KONG BRINGS WILDLIFE TRAFFICKING UNDER ORGANIZED CRIME BILL

On 20 August, OCCRP reported that the development means that the government will have more authority to investigate and fight it, using the Organized and Serious Crime Ordinance introduced in 1992 to tackle the growth of organised crime, particularly within Hong Kong triads.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/15037-hong-kong-brings-wildlife-trafficking-under-organized-crime-bill

THE SWISS RESPONSE TO THE CONCERNING ISSUE OF COUNTERFEITING

On 19 August, an article from World Trademark Review reminded one that Switzerland is among the countries most affected by counterfeiting, ranking fourth based on the value of global customs seizures of counterfeit and pirated products from 2014 to 2016 – highlighting threats to Swiss watchmaking, electronics, mechanical engineering and metal, consumer goods and pharmaceuticals.

https://www.worldtrademarkreview.com/the-swiss-response-the-concerning-issue-of-counterfeiting

NEW DRAFT GUIDELINE IN GERMANY TO PREVENT GREENWASHING

On 20 August, an article from Out-Law says that Germany’s Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) wants to prevent German fund products from being advertised as ‘sustainable’ or ‘ecological’ when they are not. It has therefore published a draft guideline for sustainable investment funds and launched a consultation document, with the consultation closing on 6 September.

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/news/bafin-neue-richtlinie-greenwashing

https://www.bafin.de/SharedDocs/Veroeffentlichungen/DE/Konsultation/2021/kon_13_21_WA4_Leitlinien_nachhaltige_Investmentvermoegen.html

NOT JUST UAV: CHINA’S GROWING FLEET OF AUTONOMOUS UNDERSEA VEHICLES

On 17 August, the Center for International Maritime Security published an article saying that, over the past decade, details have sporadically emerged about China’s unmanned (UUV) and autonomous undersea vehicle (AUV) projects.  The article draws on a wide array of primary sources — including advertisements from defence companies, PLA writings and research papers, and information released by state-run research institutes — to illuminate China’s growing fleet of autonomous undersea vehicles.  3 government-sponsored research institutions form the backbone of AUV development in China.

https://cimsec.org/leviathan-wakes-chinas-growing-fleet-of-autonomous-undersea-vehicles/

IRELAND: REVENUE SEIZE OVER A TONNE OF ‘ROLL YOUR OWN’ TOBACCO WORTH OVER €690,000 AT ROSSLARE EUROPORT

On 19 August, a news release from the Revenue Commissioners reported that the tobacco was discovered when officers, with the assistance of detector dog Gus and Revenue’s mobile x-ray scanner, searched a polish registered articulated lorry and its accompanying trailer that had disembarked a ferry from Cherbourg.

https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/press-office/press-releases/2021/pr-082021-revenue-seize-tobacco-at-rosslare-europort.aspx

NEW UNIT DEDICATED TO MONITORING ILLEGAL TRADE IN ENDANGERED WILDLIFE SPECIES ON THE INTERNET AND WORKING TOWARDS DISRUPTING IT

On 19 August, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime advised that the Market Monitoring and Friction Unit (MMFU) is a new team within GI-TOC dedicated to monitoring illegal trade in endangered wildlife species on the internet and working towards catalysing innovative, effective strategies to disrupt it.  The aim of the MMFU is to make the open web a space where wildlife criminals cannot operate. Stopping the illegal wildlife trade, and the various actors along the supply chain who profit from it, is an essential part of the broader fight to protect the environment and human lives, while reducing the risk of crime-related corruption.

https://globalinitiative.net/analysis/taking-the-green-crime-fight-online/

MORE THAN $90 MILLION IN CRYPTOCURRENCY STOLEN AFTER A TOP JAPANESE EXCHANGE IS HACKED

On 19 August CNBC reported that cryptocurrency exchange Liquid said some of its digital currency wallets have been “compromised”, and it is claimed that about $97 million in cryptocurrencies have been received by the hackers.

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/08/19/liquid-cryptocurrency-exchange-hack.html

OVERSEAS GALLERIES AND ART ADVISORS ARE NOT IMMUNE TO UK MONEY LAUNDERING LAWS AT FAIRS

On 20 August, the Art Newspaper reported warnings that those exhibiting and doing business at events in the UK now have to abide by the same, stricter rules as British businesses.

https://www.theartnewspaper.com/comment/international-galleries-watch-out-you-need-to-comply-with-new-anti-money-laundering-laws-at-uk-fairs-this-autumn

US-MADE WEAPONS SEIZED BY TALIBAN COULD LEAD TO REGIONAL ARMS BAZAAR

On 19 August, Politico warned that the Taliban had taken control of billions worth of US-made weapons and equipment, including small arms, Humvees, pick-up trucks, aircraft and drones.  Uncertainty over the status of a massive arsenal is sparking fears of a regional arms bazaar that could be a boon to terrorist groups and insurgents.

https://www.politico.com/news/2021/08/19/us-weapons-seized-taliban-506313

ENGLISH FOOTBALL REVIEWS OWNERSHIP RULES AFTER AL JAZEERA INVESTIGATION

On 20 August, Al Jazeera reported that the English Football League (EFL) – the governing body for the 3 divisions below the Premier League – has launched a review of its Owners’ and Directors’ Test following an Al Jazeera investigation which revealed how middlemen can help convicted criminals buy English football clubs and use them to launder dirty money from abroad.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/8/20/english-football-league-reviews-rules-after-al-jazeera-investigation

SEC CHARGES TEXAS INVESTMENT ADVISER WITH LONG-TERM $58 MILLION FRAUD

On 20 August, Investment News reported that the SEC has charged a San Antonio-based registered investment adviser Robert J Mueller with operating a years-long fraudulent scheme that raised approximately $58 million from nearly 300 investors in 2 investment funds.

https://www.investmentnews.com/sec-charges-texas-ria-with-58-million-fraud-210575

CRYPTO ASSET REGULATION IN THE US

On 20 August, an article from Dentons explains that there are 3 basic questions to be addressed in the US.  The “what” questions involves when the SEC has jurisdiction over a particular token or cryptocurrency and when the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has jurisdiction.  The “where” hinges on the outcome of the joint regulatory framework currently under discussion not only in Congress but also among government agencies such as the IRS, FinCEN, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Federal Reserve Board and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and state regulatory agencies.  The “when” is, of course, when any agreed control functions will take effect.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/crypto-asset-regulation-in-the-united-3470522/

GIBRALTAR: SPIKE IN DRUG LOGISTICS CRIMES FOLLOWS PRESSURE ON GANGS IN SPAIN

On 19 August, the Gibraltar Chronicle carried a report saying that police had said that an increase in drugs movement detected in Gibraltar was the result of Spanish police pressure on gangs in Spain.

https://www.chronicle.gi/spike-in-drug-logistics-crimes-follows-pressure-on-gangs-in-spain-police-say/

US AND EU ISSUE GUIDANCE ON EXPECTATIONS FOR DUE DILIGENCE TO ADDRESS FORCED LABOUR RISKS

On 13 August, an article from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner referred to an updated joint advisory in July from US Department of State, US Treasury, Department of Commerce, Department of Homeland Security, Office of the US Trade Representative, and Department of Labor; and that published by the European Commission and the European External Action Service. 

https://www.bclplaw.com/en-US/insights/us-eu-issue-guidance-on-expectations-for-due-diligence-to-address-forced-labor-risks.html

A COMING CLASH OVER HONG KONG SANCTIONS?

On 17 August, an article from the Peterson Institute for International Economics warns that US S sanctions and Chinese countermeasures related to the situation in Hong Kong threaten to ignite the tinderbox of US-China economic relations.  It argues that the prospect for success in changing the other’s policies via sanctions is remote.  It remarks on recent troubling developments regarding Hong Kong already have arisen in the wake of the tit-for-tat US and Chinese sanctions, and tit-for-tat sanctions are likely to be the new normal in US-China relations.  It suggests that, before the 2 powers embark on another costly clash, they should consider other strategic responses as a complement or substitute for sanctions. 

https://www.piie.com/blogs/trade-and-investment-policy-watch/coming-clash-over-hong-kong-sanctions

FORMER MANCHESTER UNITED PLAYER ANDERSON UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR ALLEGED ROLE IN CRYPTOCURRENCIES MONEY LAUNDERING SCHEME

On 20 August, the Daily Mail reported that Anderson is said to have been accused of laundering £4.7 million through cryptocurrencies in Brazil, as one of 8 people under investigation by a state prosecutor into a scheme designed to divert the money from the state stock exchange and launder money using cryptocurrencies.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-9912961/Former-Man-United-midfielder-Anderson-investigated-alleged-role-money-laundering-scheme.html

HOW WILL CHINA SEEK TO PROFIT FROM THE TALIBAN’S TAKEOVER IN AFGHANISTAN?

An article in Lawfare on 19 August posed this question, saying that some commentators argue that the withdrawal opens a vacuum for China to exploit, and others assert that Taiwan is now more vulnerable because Beijing has taken the measure of America’s resolve and competence and found it lacking.  However, the author of the article puts forward some observations, which he says are based on over a decade of discussions with Chinese officials and experts focused on such questions.

https://www.lawfareblog.com/how-will-china-seek-profit-talibans-takeover-afghanistan

 

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where one-off 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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