Panama Covid-19 update – too early for the latest data – although I expect another (hopefully modest) increase in the numbers. Meanwhile, the media reports that a total of 1,739patients with the Covid-19 virus were admitted to a modular hospital located in Albrook from 11 June 2020 to 13 December 2021, and known as the Panama Solidario Integrated Hospital.
24 DECEMBER 2021
RESEARCH REVEALS UK’S MOST VULNERABLE AREAS FOR FRAUD
On 23 December, Business daily reported that research undertaken by anti-fraud specialists SEON, has revealed the areas with the highest rates of business fraud per 100,000 people. The City of London has the highest rate of corporate fraud per 100,000 people in the country. Nottinghamshire has the second-highest rate of corporate fraud, and in third place, is North Yorkshire. Durham has the highest average losses per report of business fraud
SOUTH KOREA: PARDON FOR FORMER PRESIDENT PARK GEUN-HYE
On 23 December, Nikkei Asia reported that South Korean President Moon Jae-in has pardoned his disgraced predecessor Park Geun-hye, 69, for the sake of national “harmony,” just months before a presidential election. She was convicted of abuse of power and coercion in 2018 after she was impeached the previous year, and was her country’s first democratically-elected leader to be forced from office.
EU: TOP COURT ISSUES FIRST-EVER JUDGMENT ON THE EU BLOCKING STATUTE AGAINST US SANCTIONS
On 22 December, Mayer Brown published an article about a case involving Bank Melli of Iran and in which it interpreted the so-called “Blocking Statute,” which seeks to protect operators in the EU against the effects of the extra-territorial application of certain sanctions adopted by the US. It says that the court adopted a pragmatic approach by confirming that the risk of disproportionate losses could be considered as part of a proportionality test when determining which remedy should apply against a decision taken in breach of the Blocking Statute; but that nonetheless, EU operators are likely to continue being caught between a rock and a hard place and face difficulties navigating conflicting sanctions laws in the US, EU and other jurisdictions. The article notes that steps are already being taken to upgrade the Blocking Statute, and that the EU has published an inception impact assessment on 2 August, and a public consultation on 9 September 9 which ran until 4 November.
CHINESE SOCCER PLUNGES DEEPER INTO CRISIS
On 24 December, Nikkei Asia carried an article about the problems facing soccer in China in the wake of the Evergrand collapse, with 11 out of 16 Chinese Super League teams backed by real estate companies which have tremendous liquidation issues with government’s stricter policies to curb the market.
SENIOR MANAGERS AT TAIWAN ELECTRONICS FIRM AU OPTRONICS INDICTED FOR SCAM
On 24 December, Taiwan News reported that 2 senior managers at AU Optronics and a partner have been indicted for a scam which cost the company US$86.49 million over 7 years. They bought AUO product at a low price before reselling them with profit, and used money laundering techniques to process payments and used the accounts of unwitting relatives and spent the money on property.
ISLE OF MAN GAMBLING OPERATOR COAXED OLDER PEOPLE TO BET THOUSANDS
On 22-23 December, the Guardian and others reported the case of Isle of Man-based IMME, saying that it contacted older people and persuaded them to bet tens of thousands of pounds on lottery results. IMME (International Multi-Media Entertainments Limited), which trades as Lotteries.com and The Lottery Centre, committed extensive breaches of its gambling licence, according to the UK Gambling Commission. However, because IMME and its senior staff surrendered their licences, the Gambling Commission can take no further action against them. The company was still running a lottery ticket syndicate business, which it does not require a Gambling Commission licence to do.
DRUG CRIME: STATISTICS FOR ENGLAND AND WALES
On 23 December, a Research Briefing from the House of Commons Library published a report saying, among other things, that in 2018/19, there were around 48,800 disposals given (cases dealt with) for drug offences. Between 2008/09 and 2018/19, the proportion of drug offenders receiving a caution fell from 46% to 30%. In the same decade, the proportion of drug offenders sentenced increased from 9% to 16%. It notes that 2018/19 is the latest available figures for caution data, due to the pandemic limiting the collection of data by the Ministry of Justice.
EX-DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS REMANDED IN CUSTODY OVER CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS
On 24 December, the Macau Post reported that a former director of Macau’s Lands, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSOPT) has been remanded in custody, the Public Prosecutions Office (MP) said in a statement. The Commission Against Corruption had accused the ex-director of bribe-taking, money laundering and document forgery.
A news release from US DoJ on 21 December announced that Flavio Candido da Silva, 36, a Brazilian national has pleaded guilty in connection with a nationwide conspiracy to open fraudulent driver accounts with rideshare and delivery service companies. In May, da Silva was charged along with 18 co-defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud by using stolen identities and falsified documents to create fraudulent driver accounts for rent or sale to individuals who might not otherwise qualify to drive for the rideshare or delivery services.
REPORT: THE SUBSTANTIVE ISSUES THAT IMPAIR THE CREATION OF A SHARED UNDERSTANDING OF CYBERCRIME COOPERATION
On 22 December, a report from the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime says that a potentially significant shift in the UN response to cybercrime is underway. The report outlines the substantive issues that impair the creation of a shared understanding of cybercrime cooperation and offers insights into the history of the geopolitical tensions, how they manifest, and what conclusions one can draw for the outcome of these negotiations.
THE COMING MIDDLE EAST NARCO WARS
On 22 December, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies produced a report saying that, in April, Saudi Arabia, UAE and other Gulf states temporarily banned the import of agricultural products from Lebanon. This was not a response to political events or to an overt military or political provocation by Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed terror group that effectively runs Lebanon. Rather, the ban came in response to the discovery of a massive shipment of the amphetamine Captagon, concealed in Lebanese produce that arrived in a Saudi port. The report also says that Captagon production and trafficking in and around Syria is new and concerning. It says that the political wars of today’s Middle East risk becoming the lethal narco-wars of tomorrow.
US: UYGHUR FORCED LABOR PREVENTION ACT SIGNED INTO LAW
On 24 December, Crowell Moring reported that, on 23 December, President Joe Biden signed into law the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA). This action by President Biden comes a week after the law passed both chambers of Congress. The Act instructs US Customs and Border Protection to adopt a rebuttable presumption that goods mined, produced, or manufactured in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) or by certain entities are prohibited from being imported into the US. It goes on to provide an overview of the prohibitions set forth by the UFLPA.
THE SFO HAS BEEN HEAVILY CRITICISED BY THE COURT OF APPEAL FOR ITS CONDUCT IN A HIGH-PROFILE CASE LED BY KEVIN DAVIS, WHO IS NOW GUERNSEY’S FINANCIAL CRIME CHIEF
On 24 December, the Bailiwick Express reported that the Court was left unclear by evidence Mr Davis provided about certain aspects of the investigation he led, and the Attorney General has now launched an independent review into the investigation. Davis was the Chief Investigator but he left the SFO in 2020 and was hired as Director of Guernsey’s Economic and Financial Crime Bureau a few months later. Now the Committee for Home Affairs in Guernsey has backed Mr Davis.
TAIWAN: CALLS FOR TIGHTER RULES TO FIGHT CHOPSTICK FRAUD
On 24 December, Focus Taiwan reported that, after a report found chopsticks masquerading as high-grade stainless steel to be made from inferior metals, a Taiwanese consumer protection group implored the government to tighten screening and regulations.
PROPOSED EU DIRECTIVE TARGETS SHELL COMPANIES AFTER PANDORA PAPERS EXPOSED OFFSHORE SYSTEM ABUSES
On 24 December, ICIJ reported that the European Commission proposed a new Directive to target shell companies, less than 3 months after the Pandora Papers investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists exposed the large-scale use of anonymous vehicles to hide money, avoid taxes and disguise asset ownership.
CANADA: FINTRAC FINES CHINA’S LARGEST BANK
On 24 December, the Toronto Sun reported that Federal regulators have fined the Canadian operations of China’s biggest state-controlled bank $701,250 under the Proceeds of Crime and Terrorist Financing Act. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) faces the fine for not reporting a suspicious account.
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