PANAMA COVID-19 UPDATE -245 new cases and 2 new fatalities reported, and active cases numbers rises again (by 41) to 2,797. Numbers in ICU have fallen by 2 to 18, but with a rise in others hospitalised, to 98. With 7,088 tests undertaken in the last 24 hours, it has been noted that, for the second day in a row, positive results are at 4%.
4 DECEMBER 2021
ISRAELI COMPANIES HOPE TO CASH IN ON INTERNATIONAL UNMANNED GROUND VEHICLES MARKET
On 3 December, Breaking Defense said that, across the world, there is a growing sense that land-based forces need to begin relying heavily on unmanned combat vehicles. It says that Israeli companies, bolstered by serious interest from the Israeli Defense Force, are hoping to cash in on the growing interest. They are moving quickly to plug R&D money into this new sector, while the IDF is working on acquiring a variety of new systems. They are said to be looking to partner or procure American companies and produce their unmanned ground vehicles in the US.
BRAZIL: OPERATION AGAINST ILLEGAL MINING IN INDIGENOUS LAND SEES 75 AIRCRAFT AND 30 TONNES OF ORE SEIZED
On 3 December, Folha BV reported that action coordinated by the Ministry of Justice and Public Security have seen the aircraft and ore confiscated, together with more than 85,000 litres of fuel, 17 vehicles and 10 ferries.
On 3 December, Yahoo Finance reported that the Biden administration announced the US would work with other countries to limit the export of surveillance software and other technologies to authoritarian governments. It says that officials said the administration wants to coordinate with allies on a code of conduct related to export-licensing policies. Those involved in the effort would share information on tools used against political dissidents, journalists and foreign government officials.
US TO EXTEND REPRIEVE ON SANCTIONS FOR BELARUS POTASH FERTILISER
On 3 December, Agri Pulse reported that the US is still planning to apply sanctions on exports of potash fertiliser from Belarus, but it won’t do so until the end of April. That will give farmers time to stock up on the input, according to the National Corn Growers Association.
IRANIAN EXILES IN ALBANIA ARRESTED FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING AND HUMAN SMUGGLING
On 4 December, Exit News reported that members of MEK, the exiled Iranian opposition group that has been granted refuge in Albania since 2013, have been arrested for drug trafficking, people smuggling, and money laundering. 2 members of MEK, along with Albanian and Greek accomplices, were apprehended in July. Between 2019 and 2021, the smuggling gang is said to have attempted to transfer some 400 members of MEK from Albania to France.
UK: INFORMATION RELATING TO THE NATIONALITY AND BORDERS BILL
On 4 December, the Home Office released updated information about this Bill.
US: GOLD DEALERS SENTENCED FOR FINANCIAL CRIMES AND GUN CRIMES
On 3 December, the US DoJ advised that Global Gold Exchange, LLC and its managers, Richard M Owen, James Warren, and Jeffrey Morrow, have been sentenced for committing multiple financial and firearms crimes, including laundering money through their unlicensed money transmitting business by falsely reporting transactions as “gold” and other precious metals. They also agreed to forfeit approximately $2 million in assets involved in the money laundering and unlicensed money transmitting business, and further to provide restitution in the amount of no less than $3,682,063.44 for the crimes of money laundering, mail fraud, and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business. They employed various money laundering, fraud, and unlicensed money transmitting techniques to conduct unlawful transactions, including falsifying invoices for sales of gold to a Mexican cartel representative, when in reality it was the receipt of a large cash deposit, for a 10% fee; agreeing with “clients” to tell law enforcement or tax authorities that the transactions were sales/purchases of precious metals; and advising clients to mail parcels filled with heavy substances to mimic the weight of gold, all to falsely document the nature of the firm’s transactions.
ILLEGAL GOLD MINES OPERATE UNCHECKED IN MYANMAR’S KACHIN STATE SINCE COUP
On 4 December, RFA reported that local sources along the Irrawaddy River in Kachin said that illegal gold mining operations began in earnest only weeks after the military’s February coup. They said they fear the unregulated activities could damage the waterway and the surrounding environment.
MEXICO FIGHTS LEGAL BATTLE IN US COURT TO REDUCE GUN SMUGGLING ACROSS BORDER
On 4 December, KTEP in Texas says that small scale smuggling of weapons across the border happens on a regular basis, according to Mexican officials who refer to it as “trafico hormiga,” where weapons are trafficked into Mexico as if by an army of ants. In an effort to reduce gun smuggling, the Mexican government is suing a group of gun manufacturers – including Glock, Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, and Colt’s Manufacturing – in the US. Mexico argues in the lawsuit the gunmakers are “not accidental or unintentional players but rather deliberate and willing participants reaping profits from the criminal market they knowingly supply”. Mexico has some of the strictest gun-control laws in the world and only one authorised official firearms store in Mexico City, which is run by the military – but it has a thriving black market and officials estimate at least 70% of guns at crime scenes are traced to the US.
SHIPOWNER’S RIGHT TO A GENERAL AVERAGE RANSOM RECOVERY CONFIRMED BY THE COURT OF APPEAL
On 3 December, HFW published an article reporting that the Court of Appeal in London has reviewed the principles to apply when considering whether charterparty terms are incorporated into bills of lading, and confirms that General Average recovery from cargo interests for piracy losses is not blocked by bill of lading terms.
EUROPEAN COMMISSION INTRODUCES A DRAFT LAW SEEKING TO BAN IMPORTS AND EXPORTS OF COMMODITIES FROM REGIONS AT RISK OF DEFORESTATION
CHINESE NATIONAL WHO FLED ZIMBABWE OVER RHINO HORN TRAFFICKING CHARGES ARRESTED IN UAE
On 4 December, the Sunday Mail in Zimbabwe reported that a Chinese fugitive facing charges of possession of 20 kg rhino horn and money laundering has been arrested in UAE and is facing extradition back to Zimbabwe. He was one of 7 Chinese nationals who left the country while on bail.
CENTRAL BANK OF IRELAND OUTLINES AML EXPECTATIONS
Irish law firm Matheson has produced a short briefing outlining both the findings and the expectations of the Bank arising from supervisory engagements with funds and fund management companies in the following areas of compliance – Corporate Governance; AML/CFT/FS Business Risk Assessment; Outsourced AML/CFT/FS Activities; and Customer Due Diligence (CDD).
UK: UPDATED ADVERTISING GUIDANCE ON RESPONSIBLE AND PROBLEM GAMBLING
On 3 December, CMS Law reported that in the UK, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) have published a newly updated version of their guidance on responsible and problem gambling.
RECOGNITION AND ENFORCEMENT OF FOREIGN JUDGMENTS IN ENGLAND AND WALES
CMS Law has published a briefing explaining how “foreign” judgments (including those from Scotland or Northern Ireland) are enforced in England and the effect of Brexit.
UAE PLANS TO LOOSEN LAWS ON POSSESSION OF CANNABIS PRODUCTS
On 1 December, TJI repeats a Daily Telegraph report that the UAE is to revise its laws on brining certain cannabis-based products into the country and is said to be planning to relax some of its strict anti-drug laws. Under the new law, travellers caught importing food, drinks and other items containing cannabis will no longer be detained on the first offence. Instead, authorities will seize and destroy the products. Recently, there were reports of a Briton jailed for brining CBD oil into the UAE.
IRELAND: SIGNIFICANT SUPREME COURT DECISION ON THE SCOPE OF WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION
On 3 December, an article from law firm McCann Fitzgerald said that the Irish Supreme Court recently had its first opportunity to comment on the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 and the judgments in the case should be carefully considered by those dealing with protected disclosures and which reflects the difficulty that organisations experience in understanding when a protected disclosure has been raised.
A PRIMER ON IED IN WEST AFRICA AND SAHEL
On 2 December, the Small Arms Survey published this post explaining what an IED is and its use in the region, and how the Survey has been trying to track components and use of the devices. It explains that IED traditionally consist of 5 components – container, power source, switch, initiator, and main charge. In the framework of its research, it has focused on the switch, the initiator, and the main charge. These controlled so-called dual-use materials are diverted, trafficked, and then used to build IED.
INDIA: EX-MEDIA BARON PETER MUKERJEA GRANTED BAIL IN INX MEDIA MONEY LAUNDERING CASE
On 4 December, First Post reported that a Delhi court has granted bail to former media baron Peter Mukerjea in the INX Media money laundering case linked to former Union minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti.
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