OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – SEPTEMBER 6

Panama Covid-19 update – back from a jaunt into the jungle, and couldn’t help noticing that the monkeys – howler and capuchin – were not adhering to the Government’s face mask policy, thought every human seen seemed to be doing so!

Meanwhile, La Prensa reports that over 8,000 health workers have been affected by Covid. It is also reported that, while active case numbers continue to slowly fall, the ICU occupancy level is the lowest since 23 June. Today. 229 new cases and 8 new fatalities have been reported, giving us now 6,182 active cases, with 88 in ICU and 259 in other wards.

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

AUSTRALIA, MALAYSIA, SINGAPORE AND SOUTH AFRICA LAUNCH CENBANK DIGITAL CURRENCY SCHEME

On 2 September, Reuters reported that central banks in Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and South Africa will conduct a cross border payments trial using different central bank digital currencies (CBDC) to assess if this allows transactions to be settled more cheaply and easily.

https://kyc360.riskscreen.com/news/australia-malaysia-singapore-and-south-africa-launch-cenbank-digital-currency-scheme/

IRANIAN FUEL TANKER HEADING FOR LEBANON VIA SYRIA POSES TEST FOR US SANCTIONS

On 3 September, the Guardian reported that the tanker is expected in the Syrian port of Baniyas, in defiance of US sanctions, with the cargo due to be transported by lorry to Lebanon to ease its fuel shortages.  The imminent arrival is being hailed by the Lebanese militant group turned political bloc, Hezbollah, as a sanctions-busting solution for the energy crisis. 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/sep/03/iranian-fuel-tanker-heading-syria-poses-test-us-sanctions

LUXEMBOURG PLANS TO GIVE ITS BUSINESS REGISTRY MORE TEETH

On 4 September, OCCRP reported that Luxembourg’s Ministry of Justice will put forward a draft Bill aimed at allowing authorities to sanction those who use the country’s financial system for money laundering and tax evasion.  The details are still being ironed out, as they will not be made public until the draft Bill has been adopted by the government and presented to the Justice Committee of the Chamber of Deputies.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/15104-luxembourg-plans-to-give-its-business-registry-more-teeth

O2 UNDER INVESTIGATION IN U.K. FOR POSSIBLE BRIBERY

On 6 September, Bloomberg Quint reported that phone company O2 is under investigation by the SFO for potentially breaking anti-bribery laws.  It is said that since 2017 the company has been working to address requests from UK authorities for disclosures concerning the possible violations. 

https://www.bloombergquint.com/onweb/o2-under-investigation-in-u-k-for-possible-bribery

CONTAINER SHIPPING LINES RACK UP ‘AMAZING’ $28.6 BILLION PROFIT IN Q2

On 6 September, Seatrade Maritime News reported this to be a 13-fold improvement on 2020. 

https://www.seatrade-maritime.com/containers/container-lines-rack-amazing-286bn-profit-q2

RECAST DUAL-USE REGULATION: AN OVERHAUL OF THE EU EXPORT CONTROL REGIME FITTED FOR THE 21ST CENTURY?

On 2 September, an article from Hogan Lovells was concerned with EU Regulation 2021/821, recasting the Dual-Use Regulation, which will enter into force on 9 September.  It considers the substantial and process changes introduced, as well as the next steps – saying that it will have significant implications on EU exporters of dual-use items, especially companies operating in high-technology sectors.

https://www.engage.hoganlovells.com/knowledgeservices/viewContent.action?key=Ec8teaJ9VarL8bthsgEQkMxgHJMKLFEppVpbbVX%2B3OXcP3PYxlq7sZUjdbSm5FIetvAtgf1eVU8%3D&nav=FRbANEucS95NMLRN47z%2BeeOgEFCt8EGQ0qFfoEM4UR4%3D&emailtofriendview=true&freeviewlink=true

HOW DO CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS AFFECT APPLICATIONS UNDER THE EU SETTLEMENT SCHEME?

On 2 September, an article from Richmond Chambers, immigration barristers in London, explained how, in the post-Brexit context in the UK, criminal convictions affect EU nationals and their family members present or applying under the EU Settlement Scheme?  It warns that the answer is complex, and involves when the convictions or conduct took place, whether deportation or expulsion action has been taken or is being considered, and whether the offence or conduct is such that it is ‘conducive to the public good’ for a person to be deported, expelled, or the convictions or conduct is such that an application is likely to be refused.

https://immigrationbarrister.co.uk/how-do-criminal-convictions-affect-applications-under-the-eu-settlement-scheme/

BANK TAX HAVENS LISTED BY FRENCH THINK TANK

On 6 September, the Irish Times reported that Ireland has been listed among 17 territories used as a tax haven by big European banks who are shifting their profits around the world to minimise their tax bills.  The EU Tax Observatory found that the main European banks book €20 billion or 14% of their total profits in what it describes as tax havens each year.  Its definition of a tax haven was based on the number of employees located in a country relative to the profits being booked there, and an effective tax rate below 15%.  The other territories listed as tax havens are Bahamas, Bermuda, the BVI, Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Isle of Man, Jersey, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Macao, Malta, Mauritius, Panama and Qatar.

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/financial-services/ireland-among-bank-tax-havens-listed-by-french-think-tank-1.4665540

HOW MANY NUCLEAR WEAPONS DOES NORTH KOREA HAVE IN 2021?

On 21 July, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists published an article which examines North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. The authors cautiously estimate that North Korea may have produced enough fissile material to build between 40 and 50 nuclear weapons; however, it may not have actually assembled that many.

https://thebulletin.org/premium/2021-07/nuclear-notebook-how-many-nuclear-weapons-does-north-korea-have-in-2021

SANCTIONED NORTH KOREAN SHIP POSES AS CLEAN TANKER

On 6 September, NK Pro reported that a UN report details complex identity swap scheme to evade sanctions using physical modifications and falsified documents.  It says that North Korean vessel Subblic has occasionally assumed the identity of another, clean ship, in a sophisticated identity swap scheme that made it possible to more easily engage in illegal activities, a draft of a forthcoming UN Panel of Experts (PoE) report shows.  The clean ship, the Hai Zhou 168, underwent major exterior modifications that appear to have allowed it to fraudulently obtain a new IMO registration number, leaving its original identity for the Subblic to use, the report says.

https://www.nknews.org/pro/identity-theft-sanctioned-north-korean-ship-poses-as-clean-tanker/

IRELAND: 7 CARS WORTH €270,000 SEIZED IN GARDA MONEY LAUNDERING INVESTIGATION

On 6 September, the Irish Times and others reported that 7 vehicles worth collectively about €270,000 were seized by gardaí at a motor dealership as part of an investigation into money laundering in west Dublin.

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/seven-cars-worth-270-000-seized-in-garda-money-laundering-investigation-1.4666569

ZIMBABWE: MINISTER ARRESTED FOR CORRUPTION

On 6 September, Bulawayo 24 News reported that Minister of State for Masvingo Province Ezra Chadzamira has been arrested.

https://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-208573.html

SOUTH AFRICA: ALLEGED JOHANNESBURG FRAUDSTER FOUND IN POSSESSION OF 349 BANK CARDS AND 15 CELLPHONES

On 6 September, News 24 reported that it is alleged the man had failed to pay his rent and the owner arrived to serve a notice and to inspect the property.  Police were called when the man refused to grant access to one of the rooms.

https://www.news24.com/news24/SouthAfrica/News/alleged-joburg-fraudster-found-in-possession-of-349-bank-cards-15-cellphones-20210906

UK NATIONAL SECURITY PUBLIC INTEREST INTERVENTION NOTICE ISSUED OVER PROPOSED ACQUISITION OF THE PERPETUUS GROUP

A news release from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy advised that a Notice had been issued relating to the proposed acquisition of The Perpetuus Group by Taurus International Ltd and others.  The Perpetuus Group and Taurus International Ltd and others are understood to be considering a merger.  The Perpetus Group includes Perpetuus Energy Limited, Perpetuus Advanced Materials PLC and Perpetuus Carbon Technologies Limited.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/public-interest-intervention-notice-issued-over-proposed-acquisition-of-the-perpetuus-group-by-taurus-international-ltd-and-others

MISCONDUCT IN PUBLIC OFFICE – EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS REVIEWS FORESEEABILITY OF UK COMMON LAW OFFENCE

A post on the UK Human Rights Blog on 6 September concerned with the 6 July the European Court of Human Rights judgment in a case involving an officer at Belmarsh prison, who in 2015 was convicted of misconduct in public office for passing a variety of information to a tabloid journalist in exchange for money. The Court found that the offence itself did not constitute a breach of Article 7 ECHR (no punishment without law); and that the newspaper’s disclosure of Mr Norman’s activities to the police, and his subsequent prosecution and conviction, did not breach his rights under Article 10 ECtHR (freedom of expression).

https://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2021/09/06/misconduct-in-public-office-ecthr-reviews-foreseeability-of-common-law-offence/

DANISH COURT BANS LOYAL TO FAMILIA (LTF) STREET GANG

On 6 September, OCCRP reported that the Danish Supreme Court had upheld rulings of lower courts that a street gang called Loyal to Familia (LTF) should be banned and disbanded as unlawful under the country’s Constitution.  This makes illegal to gather as a LTF group, recruit or even wear the LTF insignia and breaking such regulations might result in up to 2 years in jail. 

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/15112-danish-court-bans-a-street-gang

UK SUPREME COURT CLARIFIES SCOPE OF ‘LAWFUL ACT ECONOMIC DURESS’

A briefing from Out-Law on 6 September says that a recent decision by the Supreme Court has clarified the circumstances in which a party to a commercial contract is entitled to rescind that contract on the grounds of ‘economic duress’ under English law.  A ‘lawful act economic duress’, may arise where a contract results from a threat to do an act which is itself lawful. 

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/news/uk-supreme-court-scope-lawful-act-economic-duress

LAW FIRM PARTNER DUPED BY BOGUS SOLICITOR AND CLIENTS INTO PAYING AWAY SALE PROCEEDS

On 6 September, Legal Futures reported that a law firm owner whose “wholly inadequate” compliance systems led to him being duped by two bogus clients and by a bogus solicitor has been struck off.  He has appealed this decision of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) to the High Court.

https://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/partner-duped-by-bogus-solicitor-and-clients-into-paying-away-sale-proceeds

NORD STREAM 2: FINAL SECTION WELDED INTO PLACE

On 6 September, Rferl reported that the operator of the controversial $12 billion Nord Stream 2 pipeline says the final section of the link has been welded into place.  Russian pipelaying vessel Fortuna has welded the last of the double pipeline on to a stretch of the pipeline in German waters.

https://www.rferl.org/a/nord-stream-2-russia-germany/31446487.html

HONG KONG: JIMMY LAI’S NEXT DIGITAL HEADS FOR LIQUIDATION 

On 6 September, RFA reported that the Hong Kong media empire founded by pro-democracy media mogul Jimmy Lai has announced it is going into liquidation, citing a draconian national security law imposed on the city.  All of the directors of Lai’s Next Digital have resigned in the wake of the closure of its flagship Apple Daily newspaper in June.

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/hongkong-next-09062021112901.html

$3.1 MILLION WORTH OF CRYPTOCURRENCY STOLEN FROM TAIWANESE ANTIQUE DEALER

On 6 September, a news release on Cision PR Newswire advised that hackers have stolen about US$3.1 million worth of the cryptocurrency Tether from an antique dealer in Taiwan named Liu Kun-Hung.

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/in-tether-hack-us3-1-million-worth-of-cryptocurrency-stolen-from-taiwanese-antique-dealer-301368946.html

BRITISH COLUMBIA-BASED CHINESE CURRENCY EXCHANGE IMPLODES AMID TANGLE OF LAWSUITS AND FAILED TRANSFERS

On 6 September, CBC reported that victims allege losses of up to $1 million in claims against a couple accused of going ‘incommunicado’.  It explains that at the heart of the case is the fact that China limits the export of currency to $50,000 per year, setting up a market for exchanges in other countries in which operators help people move their fortunes out of China for a fee.  A lawsuit alleges that a woman in British Columbia was asked transfer money to bank accounts in China in October 2020 on the understanding that she would receive $260,000 in Canada in return.  CBC says that it has found at least 8 lawsuits filed against the claimant in that case (and her husband), for losses of up to $1 million through breached exchange agreements.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/chinese-currency-lawsuits-restrictions-1.6161659

SOUTH AFRICA: FINANCIAL SECTOR CONDUCT AUTHORITY (FSCA) ISSUES A WARNING AGAINST BINANCE CRYPTOCURRENCY EXCHANGE – COMPANY REFUTES ALLEGATIONS

On 3 September, FSCA issued the warning, saying that it is not authorised to give any financial advice or render any intermediary services in terms of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act, 2002 (FAIS Act) in South Africa.  FSCA says that the Binance Group is an international company situated in the Seychelles and has a telegram group that members of the South African public can join to gain access to their cryptocurrency exchange platform.  In response, Binance has said it is in compliance with local regulators and is not offering financial advice or intermediary services to residents.

https://www.fsca.co.za/News%20Documents/FSCA%20Press%20Release%20%20FSCA%20warns%20the%20public%20against%20BINANCE%20GROUP%203%20September%202021.pdf

https://cointelegraph.com/news/binance-pushes-back-against-warning-from-south-africa-regulator

COULD THE TALIBAN FORM AN ALLIANCE WITH MEXICO’S DRUG CARTELS?

On 6 September, Deutsche Welle posed this question, saying that as the Taliban take control of Afghanistan, they will further tighten their grip on opium poppy cultivation. This in turn will have an impact on the global drugs trade and in particular Mexico’s powerful cartels.

https://www.dw.com/en/could-the-taliban-form-an-alliance-with-mexicos-drug-cartels/a-59086206

SEC INVESTIGATING UNISWAP LABS

On 3 September, Coindesk reported that the SEC is seeking information about how investors use the decentralised exchange and how it is marketed.

https://www.coindesk.com/policy/2021/09/03/sec-investigating-uniswap-labs-report/

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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