Panama Covid-19 update – the media reports that, as the number of cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in Panama doubles every 2 or 3 days and will replace Delta as the dominant strain by the end of the month. it is also said that the first case of Omicron appeared on 19 December, and the acceleration of Covid-19 cases in the country coincided with the arrival of omicron and the Christmas and New Year holidays.
One bit of good news, I and my wife tested negative again yesterday.
Meanwhile, another 4,372 new cases added today, giving 22,352 active cases (up 3,589). No new fatalities reported, but 34 in ICU (up 4) and 212 in other wards (up 17). Over 21,000 tests were carried out, with a positivity of 20%.
5 SEPTEMBER 2021
COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE REAL-TIME INFORMATION IS TRANSFORMING PORTS AND MARITIME TRANSPORT
On 24 December, Global Trade published an article concerned with a report from the World Bank and International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) which describes how collaborative use of digital technology can help streamline all aspects of maritime transport, from cross-border processes and documentation to communications between ship and shore. It argues that a better digital collaboration between private and public entities across the maritime supply chain will result in significant efficiency gains, safer and more resilient supply chains and lower emissions.
SAUDI PRINCE AT WAR WITH BANK OVER £48 MILLION SUPERYACHT
On 4 January, MSN carried a Daily Mail report that said that Credit Suisse Group AG is pursuing Prince Fahad Bin Sultan, the governor of Tabuk province, in court over claims he failed to pay back millions in interest and loans he took out to refinance his English mansion and superyacht. The bank say that he failed to repay roughly $78 million in interest and loans he took out to refinance his 270-feet superyacht and Surrey mansion.
ISLE OF MAN CONFIRMS CHANGES TO ISIL/AL-QAIDA SANCTIONS
A news release on 5 January confirmed the changes announced by the UK the day before, with 2 new names added and 5 removed from the lists.
CHINA’S FIRST WHITE PAPER ON EXPORT CONTROLS SUMMARISES LEGAL DEVELOPMENTS AND OPPOSES “ABUSE” OF EXPORT CONTROLS
On 4 January, an article from Steptoe & Johnson LLP says that the white paper issued in December provides a comprehensive picture of China’s current legal and regulatory regime for export controls and potential future changes in export control governance. The document is China’s first white paper on export controls and comes approximately a year after the implementation of the PRC Export Control Law in December 2020. It is said to signal a high degree of attention from the PRC central government on the continued development of China’s export control regime.
INDIA: CHENNAI AIR CARGO CUSTOMS FOIL SMUGGLING ATTEMPT AND RECOVER 1,364 LIVE STAR TORTOISES
On 5 January, India Today reported that Customs had recovered 1,364 live star tortoises which were being smuggled out of India. After the examination of shipment, the live star tortoises were handed over to the Tamil Nadu Forest Department for rehabilitation in their natural habitat.
JAPANESE REGIONAL BANKS LAUNCH SYSTEM TO MONITOR SHIP-TO-SHIP TRANSFERS
On 5 January, Kyodo News reported that the 12 banks which introduced the system include Hiroshima Bank, Hyakujushi Bank and Fukuoka Financial Group Inc, with many based in areas where shipbuilding and shipping business prosper. The monitoring system allows them to confirm locations and speeds of ships, as well as changes in waterlines of vessels which indicate loading and offloading of cargos, via satellites and antennas installed in various locations, and provides alerts.
SOUTH KOREAN OFFICIAL HEADS TO VIENNA FOR TALKS ON IRANIAN FROZEN ASSETS
On 5 January, EurActiv reported that a senior South Korean diplomat will hold talks in Vienna with Iran and world powers over how to resolve the issue of frozen Iranian assets.
TATTOO ARTISTS IN UPROAR OVER EU INK BANS
On 5 January, EurActiv reported that tattoo artists say alternatives to the inks, some of which have been in circulation for decades, do not yet exist or are in short supply. The EU law limits the use of certain chemicals which the EU said are hazardous, with some linked to cancer, reproductive difficulties and skin irritation, and which are contained in mixtures for tattoo inks and permanent make-up.
ESTONIA HAS AMENDED ITS AML LAWS TO EXTEND OVERSIGHT OVER DECENTRALISED FINANCE (DEFI) PLATFORMS AND INITIAL COIN OFFERINGS (ICO)
On 5 January, The Paypers reported that the draft law has given virtual asset service providers (VASP) until 18 March 2022, to comply with the new stipulations. It has also hiked the licensing and operational fees for VASP in Estonia.
INDONESIA CORRUPTION COURT JAILS EXECUTIVES AT INSURER FOR 20 YEARS
On 5 January, FX Empire reported that an Indonesian court has sentenced 2 former heads of state insurer Asabri to 20 years in jail for graft after blaming them for causing $1.58 billion of losses.
CHINESE SCIENTIST PART OF CONSPIRACY TO STEAL PHARMACEUTICAL TRADE SECRETS
On 5 January, OCCRP reported that a former scientist at a British pharmaceutical company has pleaded guilty to stealing trade secrets on behalf of her co-defendants’ Chinese-based pharmaceutical company. The secrets pertain to anti-cancer drugs that can cost in excess of $1 billion to research and develop, according to the US DoJ. She was involved in a conspiracy between 2010 and 2016 to steal confidential and secretive data from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
NIGER JAILS 2 JOURNALISTS FOR REPORTING ABOUT HASHISH TRAFFICKING
On 5 January, OCCRP reported that a director of a French language website and an independent journalist were convicted in a in Niger court on Monday for reporting about the findings of a Swiss-based NGO which claimed Niger to be a major hub for West African hashish traffickers who are colluding with military and political leaders.
US COMPANIES AND FOREIGN AFFILIATES ARE PROHIBITED FROM PARTICIPATING IN FOREIGN BOYCOTTS THAT THE US DOES NOT SANCTION WITH SUBSTANTIAL CRIMINAL AND CIVIL PENALTIES
On 5 January, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reminded one of US anti-boycott laws and the potential consequences of breaching it. The Arab League boycott of Israel is the principal foreign economic boycott that US companies must be concerned with. The US Treasury recently published its quarterly list of countries that require or may require participation in, or cooperation with, an international boycott; and this list currently comprises Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Yemen.
DEFYING US SANCTIONS, VENEZUELA DOUBLES CRUDE OIL EXPORTS
On 3 January, World Oil reported that oil exports from Venezuela doubled in December from a year earlier as the country raises production in defiance of US sanctions.
NEW UK “CFIUS” REGIME KICKS IN – COMMENCEMENT OF NATIONAL SECURITY AND INVESTMENT ACT
On 4 January, a post from Baker McKenzie reported that the new rules require businesses and investors to submit mandatory notifications for certain acquisitions of and investments in companies active in 17 key sectors of the economy. They also grant the UK Government extensive powers to investigate and impose conditions on a wide range of transactions (including both corporate investments and asset transactions) on national security grounds. The post highlights the key takeaways.
3 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT CHINA’S NEW ANTI-BRIBERY GUIDELINE
A post on the FCPA Blog on 4 January from the FCPA Blog sets out 3 key takeaways about the risks of blacklisting, “carbon copy” prosecutions in China, and Chinese authorities’ stricter approach to mitigation and confiscation.
CHINESE-OWNED FISHING VESSEL WAS REPORTED AS HAVING BEEN ATTACKED BY PIRATES IN GULF OF GUINEA
On 4 January, Hellenic Shipping News reported that crew members were understood to be from Ghana and Mali, and 1 crew member was killed during the attack and up to 6 were kidnapped.
OUT OF SIGHT, NOT OUT OF REACH – TRANSNATIONAL REPRESSION
Freedom House published this report on this problem, said to be the increasingly common abuse and intimidation by states of their citizens living abroad. The case of Jamal Khashoggi, murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and Roman Protasevich, whose plane was forced to land in Belarus where he is still being held, are the most well-known instances in recent years.
PODCAST: REPRESSION ACROSS BORDERS
In the latest TRACE podcast in the Bribe, Swindle or Steal series, Yana Gorokhovskaia of Freedom House joins the podcast to talk about transnational repression, the increasingly common abuse and intimidation by states of their citizens living abroad. Yana discusses Jamal Khashoggi, murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and Roman Protasevich, whose plane was forced to land in Belarus where he is still being held, but also refers to the hundreds of other cases that don’t make the news. Freedom House has released a report on this problem called “Out of Sight, Not Out of Reach”.
BREXIT: GOODS VEHICLE MOVEMENT SERVICE (GVMS) SYSTEM “COLLAPSING” ON ITS FIRST DAY OF USE
On 5 January, Loadstar reported that GVMS is the UK’s new border IT system that links declaration references to the haulier, allowing it to present a single reference, the goods movement reference (GMR), at the border as proof of pre-lodged declarations. However, it says, in addition to the lack of time for trials, the information paper relating to GVMS was released just 2 days before Christmas – GVMS was not made available for testing until 29 December.
HOW CYBERCRIMINALS TURN PAPER CHEQUES STOLEN FROM MAILBOXES INTO BITCOIN
On 5 January, an article in The Conversation is concerned with what is described as a less high-tech threat emerging in recent months. Criminals are increasingly targeting US Postal Service and personal mailboxes to pilfer filled-out cheques and sell them over the internet using social media platforms. The buyers then alter the payee and amount listed on the checks to rob victims’ bank accounts of thousands of dollars.
WARNING OF INCREASED RISK TO SHIPPING IN RED SEA
On 5 January, Dryad Global issued an alert about increased risk in the lower Red Sea, Hanish Archipelago, Al Zubair Islands, and Saudi Red Sea ports, after Houthi rebels successfully interdicted the UAE-flagged MV RWABEE 23 nautical miles west of the Ras Isa Marine Terminal.
REGIONAL COMPREHENSIVE ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP (RCEP) – ASIA-PACIFIC FREE TRADE AGREEMENT ENTERS INTO FORCE
On 3 January, KPMG reported that the RCEP — a free trade agreement among the Asia-Pacific countries of Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Japan, Laos, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam — entered into force on 1 January
US CONTROLS OF “SOFTWARE SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED TO AUTOMATE THE ANALYSIS OF GEOSPATIAL IMAGERY” EXTENDED
On 3 January, KPMG reported that the US Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has released for publication in the Federal Register an interim final rule that extends the controls on an emerging technology — software specifically designed to automate the analysis of geospatial imagery – from 6 January.
EUROPEAN BANKING AUTHORITY (EBA) OPINION ON THE SCALE AND IMPACT OF DE-RISKING IN THE EU AND THE STEPS COMPETENT AUTHORITIES SHOULD TAKE TO TACKLE UNWARRANTED DE-RISKING
On 5 January, a release on Mondo Visione said that de-risking refers to decisions taken by financial institutions not to provide services to customers in certain risk categories. D e-risking can be a legitimate risk management tool but it can also be a sign of ineffective money laundering and terrorist financing risk management, with at times severe consequences. It is said that the EBA is committed to following-up with competent authorities on the actions they have taken to tackle unwarranted de-risking going forward.
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