Panama Covid-19 update – the media here reporting that despite an overall 90+% vaccination rate, at least 4,000 teachers have refused vaccination against Covid-19 – chiefly, it seems, for “cultural reasons”. This has to be a concern, and it is unclear what (if anything) the authorities plan to do. That said, full face-to-face schooling is only due to start in March, after the Summer holidays here, so there is still time for things to change.
To date, 90.02% of the target population to be vaccinated (over 12 years of age) have been vaccinated, while 80.49% have received 2 doses, while nearly a quarter of a million third or booster shots have so far been administered.
Meanwhile, the health ministry reports concerns that positive test results, which even recently have been less the 5%, have grown to 6.2% in the latest set of tests. 275 new cases reported today and 2 new fatalities; with there now being 3,270 active cases (an increase of 160), with 17 in ICU and 98 in other wards. To date, over 6.12 million vaccine doses have been administered.
13 DECEMBER 2021
SIGNS OF TRADE BASED MONEY LAUNDERING AND THE INTERSECTION WITH CTPAT REQUIREMENTS
On 7 December, an article from Braumiller Law Group in the US considers the warning signs and recommendations for CTPAT participants (CTPAT being the US equivalent to AEO-type certification processes). It highlights 3 areas mentioned in the security criteria for CTPAT – business partners, procedural security and training. Considering the risks, it says that endeavouring to control TBML is part regulation, part international business cooperation and part technology solutions; however, it significantly depends on human factor recognition and action.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE, FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND THE RULE OF LAW IN THE DIGITAL AGE
In May 2021, the Centre for European Policy Studies is concerned with how High-Level Expert Group (HLEG) on Criminal Justice in the Digital Age has examined how different technologies can affect the functioning of a variety of criminal justice systems, processes and practices at the national and European level. The HLEG discussions provided the expert knowledge needed to set out recommendations towards better EU policy and law making in the area of criminal justice in the digital age.
UK: 50 NATWEST BRANCHES INVOLVED IN MONEY LAUNDERING CASE
On 13 December, RTE reported that a criminal gang is said to have deposited hundreds of millions of pounds in cash at up to 50 branches of NatWest, with couriers carrying bags of cash which they then deposited at the bank’s branches. NatWest is expected to be fined after pleading guilty in October to failing to prevent the laundering of nearly £400 million, having failed to monitor suspect activity by a client that deposited about £365 million over 5 years, including £264 million in cash.
UKRAINE ARMS-TRAFFICKING INTO POLAND ON RISE
On 13 December, EU Observer reported that attempts to smuggle illegal firearms into Poland from the Ukraine are on the rise, according to an internal EU document.
SWISS COURT ALLOWS US EXTRADITION OF RUSSIAN BUSINESSMAN
On 13 December, Reuters reported that a Swiss court has dismissed an appeal by a Kremlin-linked Russian businessman, Vladislav Klyushin, to block his extradition to the US, rejecting his argument that he was a victim of a US political campaign.
SWISS PROSECUTORS DROP CORRUPTION CASE AGAINST FORMER SPANISH KING JUAN CARLOS
On 13 December, the Daily Mail reported that Swiss prosecutors have dropped an investigation into King Juan Carlos over allegations he took bribes from Saudi Arabia over a train line contract. Prosecutors said that, while the money had ‘not been sufficiently documented’, they had not been able to prove the central allegation that it amounted to a bribe.
On 10 December, OCCRP reported that Nedim Uzunović, the head of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s biggest drug company, has appeared before the Court of BiH for laundering more than $4.6 million. The money was passed through several offshore companies before being routed to Uzunović’s private account, it is alleged, with the money then transferred to his father, wife, sister and father-in-law to buy property and real estate, according to the indictment.
US CUSTOMS UNIT TRACKS JOURNALISTS
On 12 December, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported a Yahoo News story saying that a special Customs and Border Protection unit used sensitive government databases intended to track terrorists to investigate as many as 20 US-based journalists. It said that AP had obtained a redacted copy of a more than 500-page report by the Homeland Security Department’s Inspector General.
ILLEGAL MANGROVE LOGGING INCREASES IN INDONESIA’S BATAM AMID ECONOMIC HARDSHIP
On 13 December, Eco Business reported that police in Indonesia’s Sumatra Riau Islands province have reported a 280% increase in seizures of mangrove wood from would-be smugglers this year. Logging of mangroves is illegal in Indonesia and punishable by up to 5 years in prison and $174,000 in fines.
FRANCE SEEKS TO BAN ULTRA-RIGHT GROUP SUSPECTED OF ATTACKING ANTI-RACISTS
On 13 December, the Guardian reported that France’s interior minister is seeking to dissolve an “ultra-right” group, the Zouaves. The Zouaves are suspected of being behind several violent assaults in recent years, including attacks on football supporters waving Algerian flags in Paris during the 2018 World Cup held in Russia and against a radio journalist during a protest last year. They have also been linked to violence at Gilets Jaunes demonstrations.
MALTA TO LEGALISE CANNABIS FOR PERSONAL USE
On 13 December, the Guardian reported that Malta is to become the first European country to legalise the cultivation and possession of cannabis for personal use.
COUNTDOWN TO THE UK NATIONAL SECURITY SCREENING REGIME
On 13 December, an article from Eversheds Sutherland asked if a business was ready for the regime comes into force on 4 January, with reporting required of certain transactions (with effect from 12 November 2020) to the Investment Security Unit. It explains what is caught by the new regime and how to make a report.
CHINESE STATE-SPONSORED CYBER ESPIONAGE ACTIVITY
On 8 December, a report from Recorded Future profiles trends in Chinese state-sponsored cyber espionage activity targeting SE Asian countries. It says that the research will be of most interest to individuals engaged in strategic and operational intelligence relating to the activities of Chinese military and foreign intelligence agencies in cyberspace and network defenders with a presence in SE Asia. The activity includes gathering intelligence on countries engaged in South China Sea territorial disputes or related to projects and countries strategically important to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
SINGAPORE: MAN ADMITS BEING LEADER OF ILLEGAL ONLINE GAMBLING SYNDICATE THAT PULLED IN OVER S$100 MILLION IN REVENUE
On 8 December, Today Online reported that Seet Seo Boon, 56, started an illegal online gambling syndicate in 2011 with his 2 older brothers – Seet Seow Huat, 64, and Seet Sian Thiam, 72 – and expanded it in 5 years to a multimillion-dollar enterprise that collected a weekly revenue of at least S$1 million. Using 2 main websites, the syndicate collected 4D and Toto lottery bets and earned more than S$100 million in revenue. A total of 49 people were arrested during a series of raids conducted by the police against the syndicate in November 2016.
UK: ATTORNEY GENERAL BEGINS REVIEW OF SFO AFTER COURT OVERTURNS BRIBERY CONVICTION OVER DISCLOSURE FAILINGS
On 10 December, the Guardian reported that the Attorney General has launched an independent review after Court of Appeal judges severely criticised the anti-corruption agency and overturned the conviction of a businessman, Ziad Akle (implicated in the Unaoil bribery case) because of its misconduct.
CANADA CHARGES ITS “MOST PROLIFIC CYBERCRIMINAL”
On 8 December, the Krebs on Security blog posted that Matthew Philbert, a 31-year-old Canadian man, has been arrested and charged with fraud in connection with numerous ransomware attacks against businesses, government agencies and private citizens throughout Canada and the US.
KUWAIT BANS SHIPPING WITH ISRAEL
On 10 December, Insurance Marine News reported that Kuwait has reaffirmed its hard-line stance against Israel. It has announced that it would ban ships sailing between the two countries or carrying cargo bound for Israel. While the UAE and Bahrain have made tentative moves towards normalizing relations with Israel, Kuwait has been a consistent hardliner.
9 COMPANIES DISCLOSE NEW FCPA INVESTIGATIONS
A post on the FCPA Blog on 13 December said that, so far in 2021, 9 companies have disclosed new FCPA investigations; and that all 9 new FCPA investigations disclosed by issuers remain active and open, according to the companies. 7 of the companies have disclosed countries involved in the investigations – China, Mexico, Thailand, Brazil, Ukraine, Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya, and Japan.
DANISH REGULATOR WARNS UNIBET OVER AML BREACH
On 13 December, iGB reported that the Danish gambling regulator has issued a warning to Kindred Group brand Unibet after ruling it breached money laundering regulations in the country. A customer was allowed to deposit £160,658 into his account between December 2016 and December 2018, without Unibet first confirming that these funds did not originate from criminal activity ‘ and despite the operator knowing that the player would need to be monitored if he started depositing and playing again.
HOUSE JOINS SENATE IN PASSING A BILL BARRING IMPORTS OF GOODS PRODUCED IN THE XINJIANG AUTONOMOUS REGION OF CHINA
On 10 December, Crowell Moring published a post saying that the US House of Representatives has passed a Bill that bans the importation of goods produced using forced labour by Uyghers and other minority Muslim populations in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China. A similar measure has already passed in the Senate. Any differences between the 2 Bills would have to be reconciled before a consolidated version could be passed for signature by the President.
SMART LEGAL CONTRACTS – HOW SMART ARE THEY?
On 13 December, an Insight article from Field Fisher asked this question, in the light of a Law Commission paper on 25 November that said that there is no need for new legislation on smart contracts because the existing laws of England and Wales can accommodate them. The Insight looks at what a smart contract is, the forms that one can take and why the Law Commission paper is significant.
US: TSA INNOVATION TASK FORCE SEEKS INDUSTRY SOLUTIONS TO ADDRESS AVIATION SECURITY CHALLENGES
On 10 December, Homeland Security Today reported that the Transportation Security Administration has issued an Innovative Demonstrations for Enterprise Advancement (IDEA) Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for transportation security solutions re –
- the ability to fully harness the large amount of operational data available to drive efficient and effective decisions in real time;
- for checkpoint and checked baggage, to enable secure data transmission across devices within the screening ecosystem;
- the need for a training simulator platform with the capability to receive property/baggage scans, replicate the user interface and functionality of current and future state image generating screening systems; and
- a solution addresses a significant challenge to TSA that does not fit in one of these 3 problems.
Mentioned are the use of AI, improved detection and improving the passenger experience.
ISLE OF MAN CONFIRMS SANCTIONS CHANGES RE MYANMAR, YEMEN, IRAQ AND THE GLOBAL HUMAN RIGHTS REGIME
On 13 December, the Isle of Man issued news releases confirming changes (following the UK lead) in these 4 sanctions regimes: with 2 names removed from the Iraq list; 3 entries on the Yemen list amended; 4 entities added to the Myanmar list; and the Furqan Bangalzai Group added to the Global Human Rights sanctions lists.
UK POST OFFICE SCANDAL: GOVERNMENT TO PAY FOR POSTMASTERS’ COMPENSATION SCHEME
On 13 December, the i reported that the UK Government has agreed to pay for a compensation scheme for postmasters wrongfully convicted of theft and fraud as part of the Horizon scandal. The Post Office said it was unable to cover the payments to hundreds of former managers who have since being exonerated, and the Government has now agreed to pay on the Post Office’s behalf, as its only shareholder.
FRENCH FORMER INTERIOR MINISTER BEGINS JAIL TIME FOR MISUSE OF PUBLIC FUNDS
On 13 December, Yahoo News reported that Claude Guéant, 76, Nicholas Sarkozy’s former chief of staff, has begun a 9-month jail sentence over embezzlement of state funds between 2002-2004. It relates to a conviction in January 2017.
On 13 December, the Irish Independent reported that the European cocaine super cartel El Clan del Golfo had close links with the Colombian drug kingpin whose arrest 2 months ago has been described as the ‘most severe’ blow to narcotics trafficking this century. The super cartel is made up of the Irish Kinahan mafia, the Balkans’ Tito and Dino cartel, the Dutch Mocro Mafia and the Italian Camorra. Dario Antonio Usago, better known as Otoniel, was arrested after a 7-year hunt by Colombian special forces who moved in on his jungle hideout in October with 500 soldiers and 22 helicopters.
FORMER ALBANIAN CHIEF PROSECUTOR WANTED FOR CORRUPTION ARRESTED IN ROME
On 13 December, Top Channel reported that former Chief Prosecutor Adriatik Llalla had been arrested and faces extradition to Albania.
US: SEVERAL SENTENCED IN $50 MILLION PUMP-AND-DUMP SCHEME
A news release from US DoJ on 13 December advised that all 7 defendants charged in relation to a more than $50 million securities fraud “pump-and-dump” scheme have received their final sentences. All 7 must also pay restitution the victims of their scheme.
4 DEFENDANTS IN A HIGH-PROFILE CASE INVOLVING ALMOST 400 KG OF COCAINE FOUND ON THE PREMISES OF THE RUSSIAN EMBASSY IN ARGENTINA IN 2018 HAVE BEEN FOUND GUILTY
On 13 December, Rferl reported that a Moscow court convicted the head of the group, the former maintenance department chief at the embassy, and 3 others of buying and storing at the embassy school in Buenos Aires cocaine that they planned to sell in Europe. The drugs were cocaine was replaced with flour and the luggage was flown in 2017 to Russia, where 2 men were arrested when they came to pick it up.
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