Panama Covid-19 update – another small uptick in the number of active cases today, up by 43 to 1,848. However, no change in the numbers of those hospitalised – at 22 in ICU and 111 in other wards. Another 114 new cases reported today and 3 new fatalities.
15 NOVEMBER 2021
UK INCREASED TERRORISM THREAT LEVEL
PANAMA SIGNS AGREEMENT TO EXPEDITE CRIMINAL LEGAL ASSISTANCE
On 13 November, la Prensa reported that the Inter-institutional Technical Committee (CTI) of Central Authorities for International Cooperation in Panama (involving the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Attorney General’s Office) had been established. It is part of El PAcCTO, an EU-funded international cooperation programme that aims to contribute to security and justice in Latin America, through support for the fight against crime. The purpose of the agreement is to expedite international legal assistance involving criminal groups. Unlike many countries, Panama has no less than 4 “central authorities” that can receive international requests. The new group is intended to meet a requirement identified by FATF to improve the process of issuing and receiving requests for international legal assistance in criminal matters.
UK: FRAUD IN THE CHARITY SECTOR AND THE ROLE OF TRUSTEES
On 11 November, Tenet Compliance & Litigation Ltd provided an article which set out to provide guidance about the role of charity trustees. They have legal duties under charity law to safeguard charity assets. In circumstances where the charity sector is seeing an increase in fraud, it is therefore, becoming even more essential for trustees to take steps to protect their charity and its assets from fraud. It also says that such fraud has increased considerably due to Covid-19, and that charities are at particular risk of internal fraud as a result of the high degree of trust operating within charitable organisations.
SIGNIFICANT PRIVY COUNCIL DECISION EXPANDS AVAILABILITY OF FREEZING INJUNCTIONS
On 12 November, an article from Hausfeld & Co LLP said that a recent Privy Council decision in a BVI case has significantly developed the law regarding freezing injunctions; and that this important decision potentially heralds a more expansive and permissive approach to the granting of freezing injunctions in the future. It is said that the judgment in this case (aka the “Convoy Collateral” case) is highly significant for several reasons, and that Lord Leggatt’s summation of the law in this decision will be the standard point of departure for future freezing injunction applications.
REGISTER OF BENEFICIAL OWNERS OF OVERSEAS ENTITIES OWNING LAND IN THE UK
On 11 November, an article from MacFarlanes LLP said that the UK Government again re-committed to putting in place a register of beneficial owners of foreign companies and other overseas entities owning land in the UK “as soon as parliamentary time allows”. The Overseas Entities Register was first announced in March 2016.
On 15 November, La Prensa reported that the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) continues to exceed expectations, with a growth of 34% more than in 2020 with a collection of $133.4 million at the end of September – the highest collection obtained in the last 10 years.
ISRAEL CONTROLS DIGITAL CURRENCY TRANSFERS TO TACKLE MONEY LAUNDERING
On 15 November, Newstrack Live reported that the Israeli government has imposed new limits on the transfer of digital currency in an effort to prevent money laundering and terror financing, with an ordinance placed on service providers in financial assets such as bonds, loans, stocks, and bank deposits. The law applies to virtual currency service providers such as credit, fintech, and crypto firms. It entails identifying and verifying customers, reporting their activities, controlling and monitoring hazards, and maintaining records. It also establishes standards for electronic fund transfers both within and outside of Israel, as well as the transfer of financial assets in virtual currencies.
SON OF FORMER LIBYAN DICTATOR GADDAFI RUNS FOR PRESIDENT
On 15 November, EurActiv reported that Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, 49, appeared for nearly the first time in a decade on 14 November to register as a presidential candidate for a December vote planned to help end the years of chaos since his father was toppled.
THAILAND: ‘FORMER YAKUZA GANGSTER’ RE-ARRESTED FOR MEDICAL GLOVE FRAUD
On 15 November, the Bangkok Post reported that police had arrested a Japanese man, allegedly a former Yakuza gangster, twice over the previous week for rubber glove fraud. Shuichi Ozawa, 42, was arrested at a hotel in Ploenchit area of Bangkok for unauthorised production of medical equipment.
UK: GUIDANCE ON OBLIGATIONS UNDER NEW LAWS TO STRENGTHEN NATIONAL SECURITY
On 15 November, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy published new guidance to help businesses understand their obligations under National Security and Investment Act. On 4 January, the Act – the biggest shake-up in 20 years of the UK’s system for screening investments for risks to national security – will come into full force across the UK, and the government will be able to scrutinise and intervene in certain acquisitions made by anyone, including businesses and investors, that could harm the UK’s national security.
MEXICO MAKES THEIR FIRST ARREST IN PEGASUS SCANDAL
On 12 November, OCCRP reported that Mexico says that it has arrested a man suspected of illegally intercepting a journalist’s private communications with the Pegasus spyware. He is the first individual in Mexico arrested for accessing another person’s communications with the NSO Group’s spyware.
SOUTH KOREA: CUSTOMS SEIZES 4 TONS OF SMUGGLED UREA SOLUTION
On 15 November, the Korea Herald reported that 416 10-kg containers of urea solution were hidden in lawfully imported goods from China through the western port of Incheon. Urea solution is a key fluid used in diesel vehicles to cut emissions. The seizure comes as South Korea has been grappling with a shortage of urea solution and its surging prices due to China’s tighter controls on exports of urea and other chemicals, caused by a coal supply shortage as coal is the main feedstock in the production of urea.
NEW APP PROMISES ONE-CLICK DUE DILIGENCE FOR COLLECTORS, AUCTION HOUSES AND DEALERS
On 15 November, the Art Newspaper reported that a new app, artpass ID, claims that it will simplify all KYC and provenance steps into a single click.
UN INFORMATION: TRAFFICKING IN CULTURAL PROPERTY
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime has made available on its website guidance and information, saying that organised criminal groups are increasingly involved in trafficking in cultural property, both through legitimate markets, such as auctions and through the Internet, and in underground illicit markets. Trafficking in cultural property is also becoming an important source for the laundering of the proceeds of crime, and has been recently identified as a possible source of financing for terrorist groups. One of the main factors is the UN Convention against Organized Crime
RUSSIAN OIL MAGNATE WHO SUED ROTHSCHILD SEES US CASE DISMISSED
On 12 November, Al Jazeera reported that Sergey Bogdanchikov, a former Russian oil magnate, has seen his lawsuit to recover half of his lost $150 million fortune from the Edmond de Rothschild bank was dismissed by a judge in New York. He had claimed that the bank’s Luxembourg unit conspired with a Brighton Beach couple and a Manhattan investment manager to siphon off his fortune through inflated fees and kickbacks.
UK – MODERN SLAVERY: HOW TO IDENTIFY AND SUPPORT VICTIMS
On 8 November, the Home Office issued updated guidance which describes the signs that someone may be a victim of modern slavery, the support available to victims, and the process for determining whether someone is a victim.
UK TELLS IRAN THAT SANCTIONS PREVENT PAYMENT OF £400 MILLION DEBT
On 11 November, the Guardian reported that the UK has told Iran that it cannot pay an acknowledged £400 million debt to Iran because of restrictions on bank transactions caused by international sanctions. The money is due re the non-delivery of tanks ordered by the Shah in the 1970s.
RUSSIAN TRADE WITH NORTH KOREA TOTALS JUST $651 IN Q3
In NK Pro on 15 November, it was reported that Russia reported just $651 in trade with North Korea over the last 3 months, a sign that North Korea continues to enforce strict anti-COVID border controls despite a recent uptick in China-DPRK trade. All of the trade is said to have consisted of various types of gaskets and the new figures bring the total value of Russia-DPRK trade this year to $1,968. Other imports from North Korea in 2021 include rubber, acrylic polymers.
WHAT IS ZAKAT? A SCHOLAR OF ISLAM EXPLAINS
On 15 November, The Conversation carried an article explaining that Zakat is the mandatory yearly donation of 2.5% of one’s net wealth. Islam requires all adults to give what they have in abundance to others.
ORGANISED CRIME IS A TOP DRIVER OF GLOBAL DEFORESTATION – ALONG WITH BEEF, SOY, PALM OIL AND WOOD PRODUCTS
An article in The Conversation on 15 November makes this statement, and saying that every year the world loses an estimated 25 million acres of forest, an area larger than the state of Indiana. Nearly all of it is in the tropics. Research shows that forests are expanding or holding steady in cooler latitudes but shrinking in Africa and South America.
EUROPEAN COURT CASE INTERPRETS “FROZEN FUNDS” UNDER IRAN SANCTIONS
On 15 November, the EU Sanctions blog reported that the ECJ has given judgment on a request for a preliminary ruling from the French courts on questions arising from Bank Sepah v Overseas Financial Ltd and Oaktree Finance Ltd, concerning creditors’ ability to take enforcement action against assets frozen by EU sanctions on Iran.
BRINGING A CLAIM AS PART OF A GROUP LITIGATION WITH THE SAME CAUSE OF ACTION IS GAINING POPULARITY IN THE UK.
On 12 November, an article from Field Fisher says that improvements in technology and access to flexible funding arrangements are making group actions more popular routes to justice for UK consumers and corporates alike. Unlike US class actions, the UK is developing its own approach to group claims that the firm says deliver meaningful outcomes for claimants.
THE WORLD’S LARGEST SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUNDS
On 15 November, the Visual Capitalist website provided an infographic showing the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world.
EU AGREES NEW SANCTIONS AGAINST BELARUS OVER BORDER CRISIS
On 15 November, the Guardian reported that the EU has agreed on new sanctions against Belarus targeting “everyone involved” in facilitating the transport of people to Belarus’s border with Poland. A list of people and entities to be hit by asset freezes and travel bans is expected to be finalised in the coming weeks and will include “people, airlines, travel agencies and everyone involved in this illegal push of migrants.
2 CHINESE ‘MONEY LAUNDERERS’ CONVICTED IN GHANA FOR GOLD DEAL
On 15 November, Graphic Online reported that the 2 Chinese nationals have 2 Ghanian accomplices have been charged with various offences including conspiracy to commit crime, to wit buying minerals without license, buying minerals without licence, abetment of crime, to wit buying minerals without licence, conspiracy to commit crime, to wit selling of minerals without licence, selling minerals without licence, selling minerals without licence, abetment of crime, to wit selling minerals without licence, conspiracy to commit crime, to wit money laundering and money laundering.
FORMER FRENCH PRIME MINISTER FILLON APPEALS 5-YEAR SENTENCE FOR CORRUPTION
On 15 November, France 24 reported that a court had begun hearing an appeal by former Prime Minister François Fillon, 67, against a conviction in a corruption scandal that torpedoed his presidential ambitions and sealed the rise of Emmanuel Macron.
PHILIPPINES: 4 SOUTH KOREANS ACCUSED OF TELECOM FRAUD ARRESTED
In its 16 November edition, Inquirer.net reported that agents from the Bureau of Immigration (BI) have arrested 4 South Koreans wanted by authorities there for involvement in telecommunications fraud. They were allegedly members of a voice phishing syndicate that defrauded their compatriots.
SOUTH AFRICA: 7 ARRESTED IN FREE STATE FOR ALLEGEDLY USING COMPANIES TO LAUNDER MONEY FROM ILLEGAL MINING
On 15 November, News 24 reported that 7 people have been arrested, and 23 cars seized, for allegedly using their businesses to launder proceeds from illegal mining in the Free State.
US: ONE OF THE COUNTRY’S MOST WANTED BANK ROBBERS IDENTIFIED AFTER 52 YEARS
On 13 November, Yahoo News reported that the US Marshals Service has identified one of the nation’s most wanted fugitives 52 years after the man pulled off one of the biggest bank robberies in Cleveland. Theodore John Conrad, then 20, vanished after finishing his shift as a bank teller in 1969. Investigators found out that Conrad had been living in a Boston suburb since 1970 as Thomas Randele. He died in May this year.
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