Panama Covid-19 update – no word yet (that I have seen) on Omicron being here, but cases are still climbing, at a slow but steady rate, with axtive cases up another 124 today to 3,610. 386 new cases and 1 new fatality were reported today/ However, so far, hospital numbers remain relatively low – with 16 in ICU and 93 in other wards. The numbers of people in the so-called hospital-hotels has risen by 10 to 112. People in such include those unable to isolate at home (perhaps due to other vulnerable people being there) or travelling (e.g. having arrived from abroad and “failed” the testing at the airports).
15 DECEMBER 2021
ASSESSING THE RENEWED EU ACTION PLAN AGAINST MIGRANT SMUGGLING
On 10 December, the Centre for European Policy Studies takes stock of key insights arising from recent and ongoing research on the facilitation of irregular migration. It says that the Plan exacerbates the risks that refugees and other migrants face by penalising those who assist them. Civil society actors, family members and communities that act out of compassion or provide basic services in transit and destination countries continue to be investigated and prosecuted as ‘migrant smugglers’.
HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS ARE LOBBYING MAJOR JEWELLERS TO STOP BUYING GEMS SOURCED IN MYANMAR
On 15 December, AP reported that a report from Global Witness outlines how the army is involved in gemstone mining despite a moratorium on new licences put in place before the military seized power in February. Legislation is pending in the US Congress which would prohibit all US imports of Myanmar gemstones.
GHANA HAS LOST AROUND 90% OF POTENTIAL GOLD PROCEEDS DUE TO SMUGGLING SINCE MAY 2020
On 15 December, Ghana Web reported that the MD of the Precious Metals Marketing Company (PMMC) has said that it costs half of much to smuggle gold out of the country than going through the PMMC.
EU FACTSHEET ON ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME
On 15 December, the EU released this Factsheet
UK NATIONAL CYBER STRATEGY
On 15 December, the Home Office and others issued a news release saying that the Government has published its new National Cyber Strategy which sets out how the UK will solidify its position as a global cyber power. This is said to be the first major milestone following the publication of the Government’s Integrated Review earlier this year.
PANAMA LEGISLATES TIGHTER CONTROLS ON BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP REPORTING
On 15 December, STEP reported that a new Law in Panama requires international legal entities to provide their resident agent with accounting records annually. The Law adjusts existing legislation on AML and aims to meet international standards on tax transparency (as a review of its FATF status looms).
ALLEGED ‘ORGANISER’ FOR £100 MILLION CASH MULE NETWORK ARRESTED BY THE NCA
On 14 December, a news release from NCA advised that an Emirati national, 46, suspected of being a key figure in an international money laundering network responsible for moving tens of millions of pounds out of the UK has been arrested by the NCA in London. He is alleged to have organised travel arrangements for at least 26 couriers who between them have removed an estimated £100 million criminal cash from the UK to Dubai, and 2 of those couriers are already serving jail terms.
On 15 December, a news release from Interpol said that a global operation coordinated by INTERPOL shows fisheries crime linked to other serious crimes such as human trafficking and the smuggling of drugs and explosives. Interpol coordinated a 5-month intelligence-led operation (June- October 2021) spanning 34 countries, and concluded that the decrease in marine living resources are also driving a surge in fisheries-related crime.
AUSTRALIAN SANCTIONS REGIME UPDATED TO ADDRESS MODERN SLAVERY CHALLENGES
On 15 December, an article from Out-Law says these new measures are separate to the sanctions applied under international obligations from the UN Security Council, and the amendments to the legislation are broad, applying in addition to country-specific sanctions.
SPAM EMAIL & DDOS ATTACK: HOW EMAILS ARE PART OF DDOS ATTACK
On 15 December, this post from Sniffemail on Linkedin addresses the question: how are spam emails related to DDoS? It says that attackers often send spam emails, including personalised messages, to manipulate recipients to download an attachment or click on a link; or send a personalised email promising to commit a DDoS attack on your website if you don’t pay a ransom.
LAWYER WHO SPARKED CRIMINAL PROBE INTO GUY WILDENSTEIN TAX CASE FOUND GUILTY OF FRAUDULENTLY HIDING $5.1 MILLION
On 13 December, the Art Newspaper reported that French lawyer Claude Dumont-Beghi publicly berated Guy Wildenstein, heir of the famous Wildenstein art dealing dynasty family, and the campaign sparked a criminal trial in which Wildenstein was accused of stashing works of art worth more than $1 billion in offshore trusts in a bid to evade French tax authorities. It is said that Dumont-Beghi has now been convicted of aggravated tax fraud and money laundering for concealing $5.1 million she obtained from her client in the mid-2000s, in an undeclared account at HSBC Holdings in New York.
EU LIFTS JOHN DALLI’S IMMUNITY, PAVING WAY FOR CRIMINAL CASE TO BEGIN
On 13 December, the Times of Malta reported that the EU has lifted former European health commissioner John Dalli’s immunity from prosecution, with a case against him finally set to begin a decade after he was first implicated in a major bribery scandal, over his role in an alleged €60 million bribe to influence EU tobacco legislation dating back to 2012.
AML/CFT: RISK ASSESSMENTOF A REMITTANCE CORRIDOR
In September, the World Bank and IMF released a draft framework re remittances which may pose money laundering and terrorist financing risks, depending on the context of the sender and/or recipient countries as well as the scale and the characteristics of criminal activities and terrorism in these transactions. The report proposes a draft framework and methodology for the risk assessment in remittance corridors having the potential of being identified as safe remittance corridors (SRC). It proposes an assessment framework that can be applied jointly or separately by the sender and the recipient corridor countries.
HACKERS STEAL $140 MILLION FROM USERS OF CRYPTO GAMING COMPANY
On 13 December, Vice reported that hackers stole around $135 million from users of the blockchain gaming company VulcanForge.
PODCAST: THE OECD ANTI-BRIBERY RECOMMENDATION AND THE CIVIL LAW-COMMON LAW DILEMMA
In the latest TRACE podcast, Nicola Bonucci, former Legal Director at the OECD and now a partner at Paul Hastings in Paris, joins the podcast to discuss the 2021 OECD Anti-Bribery Recommendation announced in November. There is also a discussion about the challenge of advancing an international consensus on anti-corruption enforcement amongst Working Group on Bribery members hailing from different legal systems.
4 CHARGED IN $35 MILLION COVID-19 RELIEF FRAUD SCHEME
A news release on 15 December from US DoJ advised that a federal grand jury in has charged 4 additional individuals for fraudulently obtaining and laundering millions of dollars in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. To date, in total, 15 individuals across 2 states have now been charged in the conspiracy.
A news release from US DoJ on 15 December advised that a federal court in Florida has permanently enjoined 3 residents of Vietnam from operating a pandemic-related scam that targeted American consumers. The defendants operated more than 300 websites that fraudulently purported to sell products in the US that became scarce during the pandemic, including hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. Thousands of victims in all 50 states paid for items marketed through the websites, but received nothing.
ANOTHER BUSINESS JET ON ILLEGAL FLIGHT CAUGHT
On 15 December, the Latin American Aviation Historical Society reported that a Gulfstream G400 (aka G-II) twin-jet business aircraft conducting an illegal flight was tracked by the Guatemalan Air Force on 14 December. When she landed near a village, troops were deployed and secured the aircraft.
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