Panama Covid-19 update – today saw 257 new cases reported and 4 fatalities taking the death total to date to over 7,200, at 7,201. However, there are 3,670 active cases, with now only 55 in ICU and 224 in other wards.
As you can probably guess, still working off one of the (slow) laptops…and though back in the office still without a working PC – haven’t fired up the other,older one to use as a back-up (can’t face the potential frustration if that too starts playing up!)…guess what I will be doing probably all day tomorrow (Sunday)?
25 September 2021
Cuba: GAESA: (is) Its Business Money Laundering, Not Managing Remittances
A critical article in the Havana Times on 24 September by Cuban economist Emilio Morales is said to provide an insider’s look at the operations of GAESA, the military organisation that controls the lion’s share of the Cuban economy.
Jamaica: Real Estate Board Clamps Down On Dealers Non-Compliant With AML Survey
The Jamaica Information Service reports that the Real Estate Board (REB) is clamping down on dealers who fail to complete the risk assessment survey, which is part of its AML efforts. 13 real estate dealers’ licences were suspended earlier this month for failure to complete and submit the Board’s Anti-Money Laundering Risk Assessment Survey Questionnaire issued in 2020. REB is a designated competent authority under the Proceeds of Crime Act, covering non-financial businesses and professions that are identified as being vulnerable to money laundering or terrorist-financing activity.
UK: plans to introduce a new economic crime levy will see smaller law firms exempted
On 24 September, Insider UK reported that pressure from Law Society Scotland is said to have resulted in law firms with a turnover of less than £10.2 million will be exempted – which is said to include some 97% of Scottish law firms.
Shipping: Limitation Conventions and Forum Non Conveniens
On 23 September, an article in Forwarder Law looked at this subject and how different countries treat maritime claims. It starts by explaining that, when a shipowner is sued for personal injury or damage to property in connection with the operation of their ship, the maximum amount that a claimant can be compensated is limited in many jurisdictions around the world by either international conventions or domestic laws. The differences in maritime regimes across jurisdictions raise complex legal and commercial considerations that need to be strategically navigated by both shipowners and claimants. Significantly, depending on which regime applies, and a nation’s own domestic laws, the maximum compensation amount that the shipowner can pay to the claimant can significantly differ. It also considers a case involving litigation which involves the South Korean, Japanese and Hong Kong jurisdictions.
UPDATE ON LITIGATION FUNDING REGULATION IN AUSTRALIA
Law firm HFW has provided an update on its June 2020 article, which referred to the Government’s plans to require litigation funders to obtain an Australian Financial Services License (AFSL) and to be subject to the managed investment scheme regulatory regime. This the author of the article supported as a means of increasing the transparency of litigation funding arrangements, which could potentially alleviate the distrust of funders by corporates and insurers in Australia. A lot is said to have happened since then.
IMF says Australia should further strengthen its AML/CFT framework
On 23 September, the IMF published a Staff Concluding Statement of the 2021 Article IV Discussions containing agreed findings and recommendations. It includes a recommendation that Australia’s AML/CFT framework should be further strengthened by expanding coverage to relevant non-financial and business professionals.
San Marino: IMF says more action needed on AML/CFT
On 24 September, the IMF published a Staff Concluding Statement of the 2021 Article IV Discussions containing agreed findings and recommendations. These include saying that there has been significant progress in improving the AML/CFT framework, although further actions are needed. A second national risk assessment was completed in 2019 and mitigation measures are being implemented with the recent MONEYVAL assessment acknowledging progress in several areas. However, challenges remain on some issues related to preventive measures and customer due diligence, transparency of legal persons and legal arrangements, and money laundering investigations.
UK: Couple in charge of supplying power to 100,000 homes face trial for fraud and aggressive selling
On 25 September, the Mail on Sunday reported that a couple in charge of a firm supplying power to more than 100,000 homes are facing fraud charges. Keith and Maria Bastian, who run energy supplier Outfox The Market, are awaiting trial on 11 charges of fraud and commercial malpractice linked to separate companies called Fischer Future Heat and Premier Radiators. It is said that there are allegations of fraud and aggressive sales practices which involved ‘harassment, coercion or undue influence’ committed with ‘consent, connivance or was attributable to some neglect’.
Human trafficking, migrant smuggling, still significant threats in Asia
On 12 September, UN News published an article saying that human trafficking and the smuggling of migrants are going to remain significant threats to human security, according to a trafficking and migrant expert working in the Middle East and Asia region for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. The themes of the article include “trafficking is not smuggling” – and that that human trafficking and migrant smuggling are actually quite different, although they’re very often conflated, especially in the news media. It also says that the understanding of the phenomenon of human trafficking has grown, and it is now recognised that trafficking is not just about sex but includes other ways that people can be exploited across all kinds of sectors of the economy – for example, in construction, agriculture, or inside factories, in fact, anywhere where you find a lot of low-skilled, low-paid manual labourers.
WHO report on novel and emerging tobacco products
On 23 September, TJI reported that the new report that looks at a range of issues, from the harm caused by toxic ingredients and nicotine exposure to how new nicotine and tobacco products are aggressively marketed to potential users. Such products include electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), electronic non-nicotine delivery systems (ENNDS) and heated tobacco products (HTP).
Russian Foreign Minister says the military junta in Mali has turned to “private Russian companies” to fight against Islamist insurgents
On 25 September, Rferl reported that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the military junta in Mali has turned to “private Russian companies” for help in its fight against Islamist insurgents in the Western African country. The move comes despite warnings to Mali’s military junta by the EU, France, and Germany against hiring the Russian private security firm Vagner (which itself would technically be illegal in Russia itself).
Interview with Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
On 25 September, CGTN America released what it described as a “wide-ranging” interview with the former President. In March, the Brazilian Supreme Court annulled the corruption convictions and another court ruled the 75-year-old is now free to run in next year’s presidential election. In the interview Lula talked about his likely candidacy, addressed climate change, relations with China and the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic by his rival, current President Jair Bolsonaro.
Mexican Government Seeks Arrest of Top Scientists in Funding Dispute
On 25 September, the Wall Street Journal reported that prosecutors have asked a federal judge to jail 31 scientists on charges of organised crime and money laundering. This is said to be partof a growing dispute between the leftist government and the country’s leading academics and universities. A judge has twice rejected the petition to jail the scientists, saying the attorney general’s office hasn’t presented enough evidence of wrongdoing. However, the government said it would resubmit its request for arrests.
How much compliance training is enough?
A post on the always interesting FCPA Blog posed this question on 23 September. It says that training, and appropriate training, is obviously required, but what we don’t know, however, is how much training is enough. The poster suggests the Kaufman 20-hour rule, and says that he hopes someone using it now, or willing to give it a try, will let the rest of us know how it’s going.
Container ships now piling up at anchorages off China’s ports
On 24 September, American Shipper reported that there are over 60 container ships full of import cargo stuck offshore of Los Angeles and Long Beach, but there are more than double that — 154 as of 24 September — waiting to load export cargo off Shanghai and Ningbo in China, and there are now 242 container ships waiting for berths countrywide. It suggests that congestion in Chinese ports that slows the flow of exports is bad news for US importers but it could temporarily alleviate pressure on the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.