Panama Covid-19 update – though the numbers in hospital and the hospital-hotel quarantine are more or less stable, the number of active cases have risen again – by 128 to 2,147, There were 203 new cases and 1 new fatality reported today. There are 21 patients in ICU and 112 in other wards.
18 NOVEMBER 2021
UK: WILL A NEW BILL CALL TIME ON FRAUDULENT DIRECTORS?
On 16 November, an article from Stevens & Bolton LLP is concerned with the Ratings (Coronavirus) and Directors Disqualification (Dissolved Companies) Bill, which extends various provisions of the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 (CDDA) to directors of dissolved companies, enabling the Insolvency Service to investigate their conduct and apply for their disqualification. As matters currently stand, use of the voluntary strike off process enables directors to avoid investigation by the Insolvency Service and the risk of disqualification – not to mention the risk of being made personally liable for the company’s debts. The article comments that creditors are likely to receive little direct benefit from the Bill because, although the Bill does allow for compensation orders or undertakings to be sought in favour of a creditor or creditors, its primary aim is to deter misconduct and sanction offenders, rather than to return funds to creditors.
IRELAND: 15-YEAR DIRECTOR DISQUALIFICATION FOR FUEL LAUNDERING
On 17 November, an article from Field Fisher reported that the Irish the High Court had imposed one of the longest-ever disqualification periods for a company director and granted an application on behalf of the liquidator for the disqualification of the 2 directors for a period of 15 years. The company traded in both wholesale and retail fuel from a property in Ireland, around 600m from the border with Northern Ireland, and also traded from a forecourt in Dublin. In the course of a wider investigation into fuel laundering along the border, Revenue Officials discovered evidence of fuel laundering at the latter site – and that there was a substantial debt owed to Revenue, in excess of €9 million. “Fuel laundering” is an illegal process to remove marker dyes from red (UK) or green (Ireland) diesel. Such red and green diesel is available legitimately for agricultural and other purposes and is significantly cheaper than road-use diesel, due to reduced excise duty.
REVISION OF KEY FINANCIAL SERVICES REGULATORY LAWS IN GUERNSEY
On 1 November, Walkers produced a briefing which summarised some of the key changes which it said will be of particular interest to the investment and fiduciary industries. This briefing is intended as a high-level summary. It is said that amendments made are to standardise certain aspects across the regulatory laws, ensure that they comply with wider European and international standards, and distinguish between supervision and enforcement.
SOUTH AFRICA: SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA FRAUD & CORRUPTION
Grant Thornton has produced a newsletter which focuses on the first SNG Grant Thornton sub-Saharan Africa Fraud & Corruption survey and feedback following various webinars involving clients throughout southern Africa in the wake of the survey’s release. Amongst its contents are also some of the key findings from the recently published ACFE Fraud Awareness Training Benchmarking Report and details of a “most interesting” fraud case study where the perpetrator stole $22 million over 7 years.
IMO WHOLE OF GOVERNMENT APPROACH TO MARITIME SECURITY
On 15 November, Dryad Global reported on this new programme to improve maritime security in West Africa, and consists of integrated workshops and tailored support aimed at helping IMO member states to develop national maritime security committees, risk registers and strategies.
6 AFRICAN COUNTRIES HAVE AGREED TO ADOPT THE YAOUNDÉ CODE OF CONDUCT (YCC) TO SUSTAIN THE LOW LEVEL OF PIRATE ATTACKS ON VESSELS IN THE GULF OF GUINEA
On 18 November, Dryad Global reported that Nigeria, Ghana, Angola, Cameroon, Benin Republic, and Cote D’ Voire also agreed that relevant regional agencies must have a framework for regular dialogues that guarantee collaborative decision making and follow-ups from a response perspective so as to ensure that every part of the region is properly monitored and secured.
2 IRISHMEN ARRESTED AFTER SPANISH POLICE SMASH ‘DRUG SMUGGLING OPERATION’ FROM IRELAND AFTER ROUTINE TRAFFIC ACCIDENT
On 17 November, the Irish Sun reported that drug squad officers on the Costa Blanca made the seizure after a “bungling” drink-drive Irishman arrived to take charge of a lorry he owned which a British pal was driving without a licence when he crashed it. Nearly 4 kg of marihuana were discovered in the back of one lorry when both vehicles were searched. A Bulgarian lorry driver who had spent the afternoon with the Irishman came to find out what was going on – leading to a third vehicle search which led to the discovery of nearly 300 kg of marihuana buds and 150 kg of cannabis resin hidden in the back among lettuces and cabbage bound for Dublin.
4 PEOPLE ARRESTED FOR ALLEGED CORRUPTION IN PANAMA LOTTERY
On 17 November, Dia a Dia reported that, among those detained are a provincial director of the Lottery, the director of operations and the head of delivery of chances and tickets.
EU IMPOSES RULES ON 6 PRODUCTS TO HALT ‘IMPORTED DEFORESTATION’
On 18 November, EU Observer reported that the European Commission has proposed a landmark piece of legislation to reduce and reverse the impact of European consumption on global deforestation – including fines and penalties for those companies found in breach of their obligations.
UK GOVERNMENT TO LEGISLATE FOR MANDATORY REIMBURSEMENT OF APP FRAUD
On 18 November, Finextra reported on proposals for UK banks to be required to publish data on their performance in relation to authorised push payment (APP) scams (in which customers are tricked into revealing security details by scammers posing as authority figures), on reimbursement levels for victims, and which banks and building societies’ accounts are being used to receive the fraudulent funds.
UK: LOTTERY FRAUD REPORTS REACH HIGHEST LEVELS IN 2 YEARS
Action Fraud reported that almost £1 million has been lost to lottery fraud in the past 7 months. Between April and October 2021, Action Fraud received 629 reports of lottery fraud, with 89% of reports mentioning well-known prize draws. Impersonation of People’s Postcode Lottery accounted for almost half (49%) of all reports.
SANCTIONS AND CHEESE IN RUSSIA
On 18 November, Deutsche Welle released a short, 4-minute video report saying that Western economic sanctions against Russia have increased the demand for local products, but Russia’s small businesses rarely benefit from the situation.
ISRAEL ARRESTS OWNER OF PREMIER LEAGUE SOCCER CLUB WHO IS SUSPECTED OF SEX OFFENCES AND CRYPTOCURRENCY FRAUD
On 18 November, Haaretz reported that 7 other suspects were also arrested, most of them past or present club partners or employees. They are suspected of theft, money laundering, and other crimes and conspiring to mislead potential investors on a number of projects involving cryptocurrency.
UK: BORDER OPERATING MODEL
On 18 November, HMRC released an updated version of its guidance on trading with the EU. The Border Operating Model which has been updated to reflect the revised timetable for the introduction of the next stage of UK import requirements, as well as including additional detail on policies and processes. Case studies have been created to represent end-to-end scenarios that will happen between GB and EU, importing and exporting goods from January 2021.
On 18 November, OCCRP reported that the former head of the tax office was linked to car smuggling ring via an associate who is shown in leaked documents to have owned offshore companies at the heart of the smuggling ring.
AFGHANISTAN: DRUG CULTIVATION INCREASES WHILE THE TALIBAN HAS NO OFFCIIAL PLAN TO COMBAT ILLEGAL DRUGS
On 18 November, Jurist reported with observations on the recent rise of drug cultivation in Afghanistan under the previous government and ambivalent Taliban policy on the drug trade. The UN has noted an 8% increase in drugs cultivation.
HONG KONG CUSTOMS SEIZES PROTECTED WOOD WEIGHING NEARLY 2 TONNES
On 17 November, the South China Morning Post reported that the shipments of endangered red sandalwood were bound for mainland China for use in luxury furniture and carvings, a source suggests. Smuggling the wood – known as ‘red gold’ for the high price it commands – carries maximum jail sentence of 10 years. The wood was hidden in 3 air consignments from India and Dubai.
COLOMBIA LOSING BATTLE AGAINST ILLEGAL FISHING
On 17 November, Insight Crime reported that, as Colombia and Nicaragua continue battling over fishing rights and policing around the Caribbean archipelago of San Andrés, its waters have become vulnerable to illegal fishing from vessels across the region. Officials with Colombia’s Navy have reported intercepting boats with illegally harvested seafood. Species commonly fished illegally include queen conch, spiny lobster, king crab and parrotfish, according to recent seizures. The archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia, and Santa Catalina – sits about 775 km from the Colombian mainland and 230 km from Nicaragua.
EU MEMBER STATES MUST IMPLEMENT THE WHISTLEBLOWING DIRECTIVE INTO THEIR NATIONAL LAWS BY 17 DECEMBER
On 18 November, Eversheds Sutherland has issued an updated version of its briefing on the subject. The Directive marks a significant step change which will have practical workplace consequences beyond Europe. In particular, those multinationals applying a one-size-fits-all global whistleblowing policy will need to decide whether to apply the EU’s higher standards beyond Europe.
UKRAINE ENDORSES SANCTIONS ON 28 RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE OFFICERS
On 18 November, Rferl reported that President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has endorsed the imposition of sanctions on 28 members of Russia’s intelligence and special services, as well as 6 other individuals alleged to be responsible for human rights abuses in Crimea.
WAGNERGATE: UKRAINE’S BRAZEN STING OPERATION TO SNARE RUSSIAN MERCENARIES
On 17 November, the investigative website Bellingcat said that in July 2020 Ukraine security services had arrested 33 fighters from the Wagner private military contractor. All were Russian nationals while a handful also had dual citizenship with Ukraine and Belarus. Their arrest was part of a Ukrainian sting operation that had been cut short.
UK: TRAINING ON EXPORT CONTROL COMPLIANCE
The Export Control Joint Unit advises that an updated schedule of training courses, seminars, workshops and webinars to help exporters understand their obligations under export control legislation.
ARTISANAL SQUID FISHING IN PERU THREATENED BY INTERNATIONAL FLEETS
The Wilson Center Latin American Program has published this Paper, one of a series of papers written by experts representing diverse perspectives, the project explores how environmental challenges in Latin America increasingly condition the region’s most important diplomatic and economic relationships, and how those relationships in turn impact conditions on the ground. This paper delves into the growing menace of overfishing in Peru and the role of international actors, primarily from Asia, that have come to exploit vulnerable species for export, saying that there has been a steady increase in the Chinese fleet over the past decade – in 2010 there were 104 Chinese vessels; in 2019 there were 503.
UNDERSTANDING THE IMPACTS OF ILLEGAL, UNREPORTED, AND UNREGULATED (IUU) FISHING ON ECUADOR’S INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC RELATIONS
Another Paper from the Wilson Center Latin American Program explores the role of environmental outcomes on trade and economic relations by examining Ecuador’s challenges with illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. It is said that evidence has shown that the expansion of marine protected areas can directly contribute to the protection of migratory species and reduce the impacts of overfishing on critical ecosystems.
CANADA PAUSES IMPORTS FROM MALAYSIA GLOVE MAKER SUPERMAX OVER FORCED LABOUR CONCERNS
On 14 November, Reuters reported that Canada has paused imports from the Malaysian glove maker as it awaits the results of an audit, after the US barred the company over allegations the company uses forced labour.
THE WORLD’S OCEANS, LAKES, AND DRILL HOLES
US CUSTOMS AT THE LOS ANGELES/LONG BEACH SEAPORT REPORTS RECORD-BREAKING YEAR FOR SEIZURES OF COUNTERFEIT AND PROHIBITED MERCHANDISE
On 12 November, Homeland Security Today reported that the record-breaking seizures were appraised at a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $760,615,994, a 652% increase from the year before. The number of trade enforcement seizures increased by 24%. In addition, Customs and Border Protection partnered with the DEA to seize 37 illegally imported pill press machines and 2,305 capsule-filling machines that can be used by drug traffickers to encapsulate narcotics in clandestine labs. The seizure of these machines eliminated the ability of counterfeiters to produce illegally manufactured pharmaceuticals in excess of 1,000,000 capsules per hour.
UK POST-BREXIT: NEW RULES ON IMPORT CONTROLS – FROM 1 JANUARY
BVI PREMIER DENIES ISLANDS ARE CORRUPT AND PRAISES CRITICISED MP GEOFFREY COX
On 18 November, the Guardian reported that Andrew Fahie has praised Sir Geoffrey Cox MP, after claiming that there is no evidence of corruption in the BVI at a UK commission of inquiry into the allegations. He accused the British government’s former appointed Governor Gus Jaspert of making irresponsible claims that only damage the reputation of the islands. Cox, a Tory MP and former UK Attorney General, has been representing the BVI ministers at the hearing and earning hundreds of thousands of pounds.
AUSTRIA: FORMER CHANCELLOR SEBASTIAN KURZ’S IMMUNITY LIFTED FOR CORRUPTION PROBE
On 18 November, Deutsche Welle reported that former chancellor Sebastian Kurz is facing allegations that he used state money to pay for flattering polls to boost his image, but he has denied any wrongdoing. Now the Austria’s parliament has lifted the immunity of the conservative politician.
SO-CALLED ‘APPOINTED SON OF GOD’ APOLLO QUIBOLOY, LEADER OF PHILIPPINES-BASED MEGACHURCH KINGDOM OF JESUS CHRIST, INDICTED FOR SEX TRAFFICKING
On 18 November, CBS Los Angeles reported that the leader of a Philippines-based megachurch and “Appointed Son of God” and several top administrators has been charged with sex trafficking, according to a US federal grand jury indictment. The founder of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC), The Name Above Every Name church, along with several of his Los Angeles-based administrators, with conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion and the sex trafficking of children.
US: CHURCH EMPLOYEE SENTENCED TO 5 ½ YEARS FOR EMBEZZLEMENT OF $450,000 CHURCH FUNDS
A news release from US DoJ on 18 November advised that Lisa Dawn Stabeno, 52, a former church bookkeeper has been sentenced to 5½ years in federal prison in Texas for using church funds for personal enrichment. She admitted that she began embezzling from the church in November 2013, just 4 months after assuming accounting responsibilities.
SEC HAS ANNOUNCED THAT IT HAD A CALIFORNIA MAN WITH CONDUCTING 2 UNREGISTERED AND FRAUDULENT SECURITIES OFFERINGS THAT RAISED OVER $3.6 MILLION IN CRYPTOCURRENCY FROM RETAIL INVESTORS
A release on Mondo Visione on 18 November advised that the SEC had announced that it charged Ryan Ginster of Corona, California. It is said that Ginster raised approximately $3.6 million in Bitcoin through 2 online platforms — MyMicroProfits.com and Social Profimatic — that promised astronomical rates of return by falsely claiming returns through, amongst other activities, purported “cryptocurrency trading and advertising arbitrage”.
US: CAN GOVERNMENTS PURCHASE USER RECORDS AS AN END-RUN AROUND THE WARRANT REQUIREMENT IMPOSED BY CARPENTER V. UNITED STATES?
A Paper published on Lawfare on 18 November posed this question, answering it by saying that, as a matter of Fourth Amendment law, the answer is “yes”. The Paper argues that companies have common authority over their business records. Common authority allows companies to consent to a government search of their databases even when their users oppose it.
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.buymea3coffee.com/KoIvM842y