Panama Covid-19 update – well, it happened, inevitably…On Sunday, the Ministry of Health discovered the first confirmed Omicron case in a 50-year-old man – and authorities are also said to be monitoring 6people who had contact with the infected man during his trip from South Africa where he had traveled for work reasons as he is part of the staff of a mining project being developed here. All 7 are in quarantine, but the Minister asked the population to redouble biosafety measures, such as hand washing, the use of masks, and physical distancing.
Meanwhile, active cases are up by “only” 57 today to 4,149. There were no fatalities but 252 new cases were reported. Numbers in ICU are unchanged at 19, but other wards have more patients at 127.
Incidentally, the big flag atop Ancon Hill at half-mast today, marking the anniversary of the 1989 US invasion.
20 DECEMBER 2021
NFT: A NEW FRONTIER FOR MONEY LAUNDERING?
On 2 December, RUSI published a Commentary says that non-fungible tokens are the latest craze in the digital and traditional art markets – and asks can we mitigate the money laundering risks?
CELL COMPANIES/SEGREGATED PORTFOLIO COMPANIES – A COMPARISON
Mourant has produced a comparison chart comparing the laws of, and practice in, the BVI, the Cayman Islands, Guernsey and Jersey.
UK-EUROJUST WORKING ARRANGEMENT
On 20 December, the Home Office published the working Arrangement between the UK and Eurojust which came into effect on 17 December and deals with on serious and organised crime and terrorism.
EU SINGLE MARKET SCOREBOARD 2021
On 20 December, the EU published the latest Scorecard which shows that, despite improvements in certain areas, better implementation of Single Market rules is needed on the ground.
EXPORTING FROM GREAT BRITAIN TO THE EU FROM JANUARY
On 20 December, a post on the GOV.UK blog summarised information and links and saying that goods exported through border locations will be subject to full customs controls, with either a pre-lodged export declaration or an arrived export declaration.
US SANCTIONS NOT BINDING ON LITHUANIAN RAILWAYS
On 20 December, LRT reported that OFAC has officially confirmed that US sanctions against Belaruskali, one of the world’s largest potash fertiliser producers and exporters, are not binding on Lithuania’s state-owned railways.
UK: CRACKDOWN ON DIRECTORS WHO DISSOLVE COMPANIES TO EVADE DEBTS
On 20 December, The Insolvency Service published updated information saying that rogue directors who dissolve their companies and avoid paying liabilities to staff, creditors and the taxpayer can now be disqualified from being a director. The Insolvency Service has been granted new powers to tackle unfit directors who dissolve companies to avoid paying their liabilities.
UK: CALL FOR EVIDENCE ON UMBRELLA COMPANY MARKET
On 20 December, HM Treasury published a news release, with a call for evidence invites views from stakeholders on the role that umbrella companies play in the labour market, and how they interact with the tax and employment rights systems. It sets out the concerns that have been raised by some stakeholders, as well as government action already taken to tackle tax non-compliance and improve protection for workers. The survey closes on 22 February.
OECD: MODEL RULES FOR DOMESTIC IMPLEMENTATION OF 15% GLOBAL MINIMUM TAX
On 20 December, the OECD published detailed rules to assist in the implementation of a landmark reform to the international tax system, which will ensure Multinational Enterprises (MNE) will be subject to a minimum 15% tax rate from 2023.
ASIA: THOUSANDS OF FIREARMS DESTROYED FOLLOWING COUNTER-TERRORISM OPERATION
A news release from INTERPOL on 20 December advised that a recent INTERPOL-led operation codenamed Trigger-Salvo saw law enforcement from 10 countries in Central, East and SE Asia coordinate in a series of border enforcement actions aimed at preventing firearms trafficking and detecting any links with terrorism and organised crime.
SAINSBURY’S AND OTHER EUROPEAN SUPERMARKETS WILL STOP SELLING SOME OR ALL BEEF PRODUCTS ORIGINATING IN BRAZIL OVER CONCERNS OVER LINKS TO DEFORESTATION
On 17 December, the Bureau of Investigative Journalists reported that Sainsbury’s, along with Lidl Netherlands and others, took action after new research into “cattle laundering” involving JBS, Brazil’s largest meat business. Repórter Brasil, working with the campaign group Mighty Earth, tracked beef products linked to deforestation – including beef jerky, corned beef and fresh meat – from Brazil to European supermarket shelves.
EUROJUST CASEWORK ON COUNTER-TERRORISM: INSIGHTS 2020 – 2021
On 17 December, Eurojust published this report which presents the tangible results achieved (including seizures, confiscations, arrests and convictions) thanks to Eurojust’s coordination of counter-terrorism cases.
On 16 December, Global Financial Integrity has documented the international problem of “trade misinvoicing” — when importers and exporters deliberately falsify the declared value of goods on the invoices they submit to their customs authorities in order to illicitly transfer money across international borders, evade tax and/or customs duties, launder the proceeds of criminal activity, circumvent currency controls, and hide profits in offshore bank accounts. It says that it is important to note that while the term “illicit financial flows’’ (IFF) tends to include many types of activities, such as tax evasion, smuggling, etc, this report only focuses on trade misinvoicing, or the trade-related aspects of illicit financial flows. It does not address all forms of IFF.
SOUTH KOREA RANKS 9th IN WORLD ARMS EXPORTS
On 20 December, the Yonhap News Agency reported that South Korea was the world’s 9th largest arms exporter in the 2016-2020 period, accounting for 2.7% of the world’s total defence exports, according to an annual government report.
VANCOUVER – NEW INSTITUTE DEVOTED TO ANTI-CORRUPTION AND AML EFFORTS SEEKS TO REPAIR A REPUTATION TAINTED BY THE ‘VANCOUVER MODEL’ OF CHINESE MONEY SMUGGLING
On 20 December, the South China Morning Post reported that the backers of a new anti-corruption institute want to flip the script, and make Vancouver a model for AML and corruption compliance. The Vancouver Anti-Corruption Institute (VACI), launched this month, is the brainchild of veteran crime investigator Dr Peter German.
FORMER OIL EXECUTIVE APPEALS BRITISH UNAOIL BRIBERY CONVICTION
On 20 December, Yahoo Finance reported that Paul Bond, 69, convicted in the UK over how oil contracts were secured in post-occupation Iraq lodged an appeal, in another potential blow to one of the SFO’s most high-profile bribery cases. The appeal by the former manager at Dutch energy services company SBM Offshore follows the decision by the Court of Appeal to overturn the conviction of his former co-defendant Ziad Akle, once a Unaoil manager for Iraq over disclosure failings.
SEC: FRAUD CHARGES AGAINST 5 RUSSIAN NATIONALS OVER MULTI-YEAR HACKING AND TRADING SCHEME
A release on Mondo Visione on 20 December, advised that the SEC had announced fraud charges against 5 Russian nationals for engaging in a multi-year scheme to profit from stolen corporate earnings announcements obtained by hacking into the systems of 2 US-based filing agent companies before the announcements were made public. The filing agents assist publicly-traded companies with the preparation and filing of periodic reports with the SEC, including quarterly reports containing earnings information.
On 20 December, Rferl reported that US authorities have unveiled charges against Russian businessman Vladislav Klyushin, who was extradited from over his alleged involvement in a global scheme to trade on hacked confidential information.
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