Panama Covid-19 update – after marking a drop in active cases over the previous few days yesterday, today a 151 rise takes the total up again – though still just below the figure for Wednesday, 8 December. 1 more fatality reported today, alongside 356 new cases, with 14 patients in ICU (unchanged), but 6 more in other wards (101).
11 DECEMBER 2021
SECOND SON OF FORMER PANAMA PRESIDENT MARTINELLI EXTRADITED TO US
On 10 December, Newsroom Panama reported that Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Linares, 42, the son of former Panama President Ricardo Martinelli had been extradited from Guatemala to the US to face money laundering charges. His brother, who had been detained while in transit through Guatemala at the same time, had previously been extradited, and has since pleaded guilty in the US to laundering money from Odebrecht, the Brazilian construction company, on behalf of a “high official” of the Panamanian government.
EU TO HIT RUSSIAN MERCENARY GROUP WAGNER WITH SANCTIONS
On 9 December, Politico reported that the EU is poised to sanction 8 people and 4 entities linked to the Russian private military contractor Wagner.
FORMER DEA SPECIAL AGENT SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR MONEY LAUNDERING AND FRAUD SCHEME
On 9 December, a US DoJ news release announced that Jose I Irizarry, 46, of Dorado, Puerto Rico, a former DEA special agent has been sentenced to more than 12 years, in prison for operating a money laundering and fraud scheme while serving as a special agent with the DEA. Irizarry used his position as a special agent to divert approximately $9 million from undercover DEA money laundering investigations to himself and to co-conspirators. In return, Irizarry received bribes and kickbacks worth at least $1 million for himself and his family, which was used to purchase jewellery, luxury cars, and a home.
MALAYSIA’S HUMAN TRAFFICKING ROUTES: WHAT THE COLLECTIVE DATA TELLS US ABOUT MIGRANT WORKER EXPLOITATION
A report says that migrants from Asia make their way to many destinations within Malaysia. It lists routes with 16 Malaysian cities as final destinations and, of those, 13 are located on Peninsula Malaysia, also known as West Malaysia or the Malaysian Peninsula, and 3 are located on East Malaysia (Malaysia Timur), also known as Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan. It says that nearly 1 in 5 workers in Malaysia is a documented migrant worker – there are some 2 million documented foreign workers in the country. In addition, there may be as many as 4 million undocumented workers, meaning that migrant workers may in fact make up a majority of Malaysia’s labour force. They are at risk of exploitation from a combination of unscrupulous recruitment agents and employers, harsh immigration policies, unmonitored supply chains, and the weak or non-existent enforcement of labour protections. They are subjected to passport confiscation, low pay in violation of minimum wage laws, salary deductions, poor living conditions, punishment by fines, high recruitment fees, debts to recruitment agencies and employers, forced labour and human trafficking.
MALAYSIA CHARGES DYSON SUPPLIER ATA WITH LABOUR LAW VIOLATIONS
On 11 December, Metro reported that Malaysia has charged Dyson supplier ATA IMS with 4 violations of labour law on accommodation for workers as it investigates complaints of forced labour. This comes after appliance-maker Dyson said last month it was severing relations with ATA, and ending its contract within 6 months, after an independent audit of the company’s labour practices and accusations by a whistleblower.
US VISA SANCTIONS ON ANGOLAN BILLIONAIRE ISABEL DOS SANTOS FOR CORRUPTION
On 9 December, All Africa reported that under the US State Department designation, which was released on International Anti-Corruption Day, dos Santos and her immediate family are now barred from entering the US.
US TREASURY ISSUES SANCTIONS ON SOUTH SUDAN CONSTRUCTION COMPANY
On 11 December, All Africa reported that OFAC has designated ARC Resources Corporation Limited (ARC Resources) and Winners Construction Company Limited (Winners) for being owned or controlled by Benjamin Bol Mel (Bol Mel), an individual included under EO 13818 in December 2017.
LIBYA LAUNCHES ASSET HUNT TO RESTORE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS – IT COULD BE LARGEST IN HISTORY
On 11 December, the Libya Observer reported that the Libyan government, through the Libyan Asset Recovery and Management Office (LARMO), has sought permission to subpoena records from several major US banks due to alleged links to looting billions of dollars from Libya by its former dictator Qaddafi. LARMO was set up in 2017, with UN and EU support to recover stolen Libyan assets during Qaddafi’s era. The agency says its goal is to track down money looted through corrupt business deals and embezzlement of government funds.
FUGITIVE PORTUGUESE BANKER CAPTURED IN SOUTH AFRICA
On 11 December, FX Empire reported that a former Portuguese bank head who vanished to escape a jail sentence for tax fraud and other crimes has been captured 3 months after he disappeared. Joao Rendeiro is the former president of the small private investment bank Banco Privado Português (BPP).
EGYPT: CORRUPTION ARRESTS
On 11 December, the Middle East Monitor reported on arrests by Egyptian authorities – one was of the President of Damanhur University, and the other was of a former secretary-general of the Cairo governate.
US SANCTIONS “THREATEN SERBIAN PRESIDENT VUCIC’S BROTHER AND HIS BEST FRIEND”
On 11 December, N1 reported that the OCCRP had said that, following US sanctions on Kosovo businessmen close to the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), President Vucic’s brother, Anrej, and his best friend Nikola Petrovic would “probably be added to the list in the next few months or years”.
NAO: UK LACKS “RELIABLE ESTIMATE” OF FRAUD IN COVID-19 BUSINESS GRANTS
On 9 December, the ICAEW reported that the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) and head of the National Audit Office (NAO) Gareth Davies has qualified his regularity opinion on the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) accounts because of material levels of fraud in COVID-19 business loans and business support grants. It is said that actual levels of fraud could be even higher than estimated as the checks performed by BEIS are “not capable of finding more complex fraud”.
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