On 30 September, Transparency International marked the 5th anniversary since the release of the Panama Papers. While it says that various governments have so far recovered some $1.36 billion in tax as a result, and with civil and criminal cases against those accused of money laundering and corruption continuing, it also says that transparency loopholes in corporate ownership in Panama remain. In January 2020, the government approved a Law which established a regulatory framework to create of a beneficial ownership register in Panama and, while this was an important step towards detecting and fighting corruption, this framework was said to be “riddled with gaps”. It says that the government should address the weaknesses in its proposed framework for a beneficial ownership regime in the country and move towards implementing the framework to put an end to the abuse of anonymous companies.
On 30 September, OFAC released new FAQ 932. This asks: do US sanctions prohibit US persons from visiting, or making donations to, the Imam Reza Holy Shrine in Mashhad, Iran? It notes that The Holy Shrine Organization is also considered blocked under Executive Order 13876 pursuant to OFAC 50% Rule to the extent it is 50% or more owned by Astan Quds Razavi (AQR), and that US persons are advised to act with caution when considering transactions or activities involving AQR or the Holy Shrine Organization.
On 27 September, the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control published a report saying that US counter to Chinese military defence industry culminated under the Trump Administration with the expansion of military end user-based export controls to China, the creation of the Military End User List, and the advent of investment restrictions on Chinese military-related companies. The report provides an overview of the policies and programmes driving Chinese defence industry modernisation, the key entities in China implementing these policies over time, and the strategic trade and investment restrictions that the US Government has developed in response. This response targets the Chinese military-industrial complex as a whole, as well as the specific entities that operate within it.
On 30 September, the Isle of Man Treasury issued a General Licence and said that any persons intending to use the General Licence should the Licence for full details of the permissions and usage requirements. The General Licence allows that –
a Person may make payment(s) out of non-frozen funds to the Crimean Sea Ports for services provided at the ports of Kerch Fishery Port, Yalta Commercial Port and Evpatoria Commercial Port, and for services provided by Gosgidrografiya and by Port-Terminal branches of the Crimean Sea Ports;
a Person may be reimbursed out of non-frozen funds for payments it makes in accordance with the above;
relevant institutions may process payments made in accordance with the above.
The permissions in the General Licence do not authorise any act which the person carrying out the act knows, or has reasonable grounds for suspecting, will result in funds or economic resources being made available in breach of the relevant sanctions regulations, save as permitted under licences granted under the regulations.
On 30 September, a news release from INTERPOL advised that a new report from INTERPOL assesses the problem of trafficking in human beings for organ removal (THBOR), which is driven largely by the global shortage in organs for ethical transplant. While organ trafficking exists in all regions of the world, it is of particular concern in North and West Africa where impoverished communities and displaced populations are at greater risk of exploitation. The strategic assessment report, produced as part of Project ENACT, provides insight and analysis into the issues, to enable law enforcement agencies in North and West Africa to devise the appropriate responses.
UK Finance has published this guidance saying that the ambiguity in interpretation adds costs and delay to corporate anti-bribery and corruption efforts and can reduce appetite for doing business with new markets. Varied interpretations in company policies can also hold back collective action and collaborative work, adding complexity to efforts to share risk intelligence on official corruption and to support public integrity initiatives. It says that it has therefore worked with its members to develop a practical and risk-based definition of public officials for the purposes of anti-bribery and corruption compliance. The resulting guidance sets out the technical approach and recommended guidance to help industry work to a consistent definition. UK Finance says that it recognises that each firm will need to apply its own risk appetite, but the guidance proposes a broad approach building on both international legal analysis and recent case law, including on borderline cases such as public contractors and state-owned enterprises.