Panama Covid 19 update – it has been reported that Panama has received more than 7.8 million doses of vaccine, most of them from t Pfizer, since the vaccination process began in January.
The Rt reproductive infection rate has crept up again this week, from 0.86 to 1.91, although still below the important figure of 1.0. 203 new cases were reported and 2 new fatalities. Active cases number 2,256, with 41 in ICU and 159 in other wards.
19 OCTOBER 2021
CHINA BUSTS MAJOR MARITIME OIL SMUGGLING CASE
On 19 October, Macau Business reported that the case involved an oil tank and 4 fishing boats, said the China Coast Guard. A total of 21 suspects were detained and 4,730 tonnes of refined oil were seized on the spot.
MALTA’S ATTRACTIVENESS AT AN ALL-TIME LOW AS INVESTORS FLAG GREY LISTING CONCERNS
On 19 October, Malta Today and others reported that a new survey found that more foreign investors consider Malta to be currently unattractive for foreign direct investment (FDI) than attractive. The recent FATF grey listing was highlighted as a major concern by many respondents.
EU: F-GASES WORTH MORE THAN €10 MILLION SEIZED IN A WEEK
A news release from Europol on 19 October advised that between 20 and 25 September, Europol supported a Joint Inspection Week targeting the trafficking of fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases). This led to detection of 706 administrative infringements, 7 arrests and seizure of 2,105 cylinders or the equivalent of 142 288 tonnes of CO2 with an estimated value of more than €10 million.
UK SANCTIONS GUIDANCE: BELARUS
On 19 October, the Home Office published updated guidance on the sanctions regime for Belarus.
EU: AMENDMENT OF CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC SANCTIONS REGIME
EU Regulation 2021/1819/EU has amended the EU sanctions regime in respect of the Central African Republic in the light of UN Security Council Resolution 2588 Resolution which extends the exemptions to the arms embargo and broadens the scope of the restrictive measures.
EU EXTENDS ISIL/AL-QAIDA AND BURUNDI SANCTIONS FOR ANOTHER YEAR
2 new EU Council decisions have extended the 2 EU sanctions regimes to 31 October 2022.
US: FINRA ISSUES GUIDANCE ON FINCEN AML/CFT PRIORITIES
On 18 October, Holland & Knight published an article saying that FinCEN had issued national priorities for AML/CFT policy and encouraged banks and covered non-bank financial institutions (NBFI), including broker-dealers, to prepare to incorporate the priorities into their AML/CFT compliance programmes once FinCEN’s implementing regulations are published.
TIME FOR WIDER REFORM OF THE UK AML SUPERVISORY REGIME
On 18 October, a Commentary from RUSI followed the third annual report of the UK’s ‘supervisor of supervisors’, OPBAS, which raises questions about the need for more fundamental reforms of the UK’s AML supervision regime. It says that OPBAS is using a new methodology based on ‘effectiveness’ rather than ‘compliance’ – demonstrates the extent to which challenges remain.
OECD: NEXT ROUND OF REVIEW REPORTS REFLECTING THE OUTCOME OF THE STAGE 2 PEER MONITORING
On 18 October, Accountancy Daily said that the latest batch of peer review reports on progress re BEPS Action 14 Minimum Standard, which seeks to improve the resolution of tax-related disputes between jurisdictions.
MEXICO’S CJNG CARTEL IS EXTENDING INTO CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA WITH ALLIANCES AND THREATS
On 19 October, Borderland Beat reported that Mexico’s Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) is stretching its criminal empire south into Central and South America by making alliances, threatening authorities, and appropriating drug routes. CJNG has spread operations to almost every state in Mexico and most recently to countries like Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Colombia, and Chile.
THE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST ALEX NAIN SAAB MORAN
On 18 October, in his blog, Kenneth Rijock provided details of the allegations against Saab, following his extradition from Cape Verde to the US. On the same day, the DoJ issued a news release.
US CUSTOMS SEIZE COUNTERFEIT APPLE AIRPODS VALUED AT MORE THAN $800,000
On 18 October, a news release from US Customs and Border Protection advised that officers at the International Falls Port of Entry targeted a rail container and discovered counterfeit Apple AirPods that were in violation of intellectual property rights regulations. They seized 384 pair of the counterfeit AirPods with an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $813,216 if the goods had been genuine.
CENTRAL BANK DIGITAL CURRENCY (CBDC) – HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE AND THE INTERNATIONAL DIMENSION
On 19 October, VOX, from the Centre for Economic Policy Research, published 2 articles.
One argues that technological change in money and finance is inevitable, driven by the financial incentives of a market economy, and identifies 4 key lessons central banks could learn from history to enable them to provide digital currency to effectively fulfil their public mandates.
The other identifies open research questions around the international macro-financial dimension of CBDC, including what is different about them, and what the implications for international central bank cooperation are. It says that addressing these questions would not only push the frontier of knowledge, it would also provide the conceptual backbone and evidence that could usefully inform future policy decisions on CBDC.
US: FEDERAL FIREARMS PROSECUTIONS ROSE 34% BETWEEN 2000-2016
On 18 October, The Crime Report reported that a study has found that the increase in investigations, prosecutions and convictions was largely driven by firearms possession offences. Between 2000 and 2016, federal investigations for possession offenses increased 67%, and convictions rose by 72%.
US: TAX COMPLIANCE PROPOSALS CLAIMED TO IMPROVE TAX FAIRNESS WHILE PROTECTING TAXPAYER PRIVACY
A factsheet from the US Treasury on 18 October says that, unsurprisingly, taxpayers who accrue income in hard-to-trace ways exhibit much lower rates of compliance, as there is no third-party source that reports income to tax authorities. It goes on to say that differences in compliance have led to a two-tiered system of tax administration, whereby taxes are mandatory for wage earners and beneficiaries of federal programmes — like Social Security recipients — while other taxpayers have far more discretion over whether they pay their taxes. US Treasury estimates that the cost of tax evasion among the top 1% of taxpayers exceeds $160 billion a year. The factsheet is concerned with proposals from Congress to tailor the compliance regime to shed light on income that is unreported to the IRS presently.
SUPPLY CHAIN DISRUPTION IN ASIA PACIFIC
On 18 October, KPMG published an article about disruption in the region, including those caused by labour shortages, the effects of reduced passenger aircraft traffic, the slowdown in the manufacture of microchips, and saying that supply chain restructuring continues to challenge trade and customs professionals. However, it also says that, as Asia-Pacific jurisdictions continue to expand their existing free trade networks, companies can often get a boost from the considerable import duty relief available in the region.
US: LIBERIAN NATIONAL PLEADS GUILTY TO $23 MILLION COVID-19 RELIEF FRAUD
A news release from the US DoJ on 19 October advised that a Liberian national who orchestrated a fraudulent scheme to secure more than $23 million in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans has pleaded guilty to a federal financial crime. Steven Jalloul, 43, a tax consultant from the Dallas area, was first charged via criminal complaint in September 2020.
WHAT DOES 2022 HAVE IN STORE FOR THE SHIPPING & LOGISTICS INDUSTRY?
On 7 October, the Global Trade Magazine published a short article saying that the logistics industry which was valued at $7,641.2 billion in 2017 plummeted to $5,200 billion in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic was mainly responsible for this massive slowing of logistics activities across the world. With the COVID situation easing gradually and the world getting back on track, the logistics industry is projected to reach $12,975.64 billion by 2027. The article looks at some of the top trends that will determine what is in store for the logistics industry in 2022.
IAEA CHIEF WARNS IRAN NUCLEAR SURVEILLANCE IS NO LONGER ‘INTACT’
On 19 October, World News Era reported that the head of the UN’s atomic watchdog has warned that stop-gap measures to monitor Iran’s nuclear activities are no longer “intact” amid concerns that talks to resurrect a global agreement to curb Iran’s atomic work have stalled. He also said that he urgently needed to meet its foreign minister to discuss proposals to reinvigorate the fragile surveillance programme.
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