Panama Covid-19 update – the health minister has said that vaccination of children of 5 to 11 years old begins on 7 January. It targets those with chronic diseases and immunosuppressed patients and will be carried out in the national and regional hospitals. The new school year starts in March.
Meanwhile, numbers continue to grow, with 3,259 new cases reported today – the highest daily total since 3,315 on 15 January (at the height of the previous wave). There were 3 new fatalities, giving a total since March 2020 of 7,445. The number of active cases has risen by 2,717 to 18,763 (the highest daily figure since February). There are “only” 30 patients in ICU, with 195 in other wards (an increase of 21).
4 JANUARY 2022
A MILITARY TRIBUNAL IN CAMEROON SENTENCED 47 OPPOSITION PARTY MEMBERS TO JAIL FOR PLANNING PROTESTS AGAINST THE 40-YEAR-RULE OF PRESIDENT PAUL BIYA
On 29 December, VoA reported that Cameroonian police arrested the opposition members in September 2020 while they were planning protests against President Paul Biya – Africa’s second longest ruling leader. It is claimed that more than 120 others are still being held in prisons across Cameroon.
DISCLOSURE: DO AGENTS ‘CONTROL’ A PARTY’S DOCUMENTS?
On 1 January, an article from ParrisWhittaker considered a recent High Court case in England and a ruling on disclosure in the context of companies and their agents. It asked, to what extent does the duty of disclosure apply where an agency relationship exists? In the case, the claimants sought disclosure, including against a third party which acted as advisor to the defendant on the basis that it held documents that should be treated as relevant and within the defendant’s control. It is said that the ruling clarifies that whether a third party is acting as an agent, in the context of the duty of disclosure, is a question of fact and considering the actual relationship between the agent and the relevant party.
EU: DRAFT RULES AIMED AT TACKLING THE ABUSIVE USE OF SO-CALLED SHELL COMPANIES
On 30 December, Elvinger Hoss Prussen SA published an article about a draft Directive to be implemented into Member States’ national law by 30 June 2023 and become effective from 1 January 2024. It says that, once qualified as a shell entity, an undertaking would be denied treaty benefits and EU Directive access. It says that the European Commission is expected to adopt the Proposal during the first quarter of 2022.
EU: OLEKSANDR VIKTOROVYCH KLYMENKO, FORMER UKRAINIAN MINISTER OF REVENUE AND TAXES, REMOVED FROM SANCTIONS LIST
On 3 January, the EU Sanctions blog reported that the EU General Court had annulled the listing of Oleksandr Viktorovych Klymenko, and that he is no longer subject to EU sanctions as the Council did not renew his listing in September 2021.
FORMER COLOMBIAN OFFICER IMPLICATED IN MURDER OF HAITIAN PRESIDENT ARRESTED IN PANAMA
On 3 January, Critica and others reported that former Colombian military officer Mario Antonio Palacios, 43, said to be involved in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse on a stopover in Panama, was captured and handed over to US authorities.
UAE FACES RISK OF INCLUSION ON GLOBAL WATCHLIST OVER DIRTY MONEY
On 4 January, Bloomberg reported that the UAE is at increased risk of being placed on the FATF list of countries subject to more oversight for shortcomings in combating money laundering and terrorist financing, even after a recent government push to stamp out illicit transactions.
AUSTRALIA: AUSTRAC BATTLES CRYPTO CRIME ‘BLIND SPOTS’
On 4 January, Financial Review reported that the head of AUSTRAC says it is battling regulatory “blind spots” to police the A$2.7 trillion crypto asset sector, as criminals anonymously use digital currencies to conduct their affairs on the dark web. She also warned that warned crypto users that the almost 400 local digital currency exchanges – registered for AML/CFT obligations – had not been endorsed by AUSTRAC as safe for retail investors.
UK: REPORT SUSPICIOUS BEHAVIOUR AT SMALL UK AIRFIELDS AND AIRPORTS (PROJECT PEGASUS)
On 4 January, Border Force released updated information and a poster about Home Office guidance on Project Pegasus, a joint law enforcement operation tackling threats to the general aviation industry in the UK.
ARAB COALITION DEMANDS HOUTHI RELEASE OF HIJACKED UAE-FLAGGED SHIP
On 4 January, Eurasia Review reported that the Arab coalition has threatened to use force if the Houthis do not immediately release the UAE-flagged cargo ship they hijacked off the Yemeni western port city of Hodeidah. The ship had been transporting medical equipment from the remote Yemeni island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea to the Saudi port of Jazan.
Chinese Year of the Tiger
CHINESE CRACKDOWN ON OFFSHORE COMPANIES GETS THE CAYMAN ISLANDS INTO TROUBLE
On 3 January, Enquirer 360 reported that China is limiting the ability of Chinese tech companies – particularly those using a Variable Interest Entities (VIE) structure – to list on foreign stock exchanges.It says thatthe Cayman Islands are already a primary destination for the creation of shell companies. Between the Caymans, the BVI and Bermuda, the market value of Chinese companies with primary listings there is in excess of $3.7 trillion.
SPAIN: POLICE ARREST ONE OF EUROPE’S BIGGEST CRYPTOCURRENCY FRAUDSTERS
On 3 January, EuroWeekly reported that police in Valencia have arrested a 45-year-old man, of Portuguese nationality, has been charged with 7 crimes of fraud, and money laundering.
AUSTRALIA: A MAN HAS LOST HIS LIFE SAVINGS AFTER A WOMAN HE MET ONLINE DUPED HIM TO INVEST IN CRYPTOCURRENCY IN THE “PIG BUTCHERING SCAM”
On 3 January, News.com reported that the 52-year-old said that the woman he fell for online convinced him to invest on a mobile and web app that seemed legitimate to the software engineer. The common scam, which involves meeting someone on a dating app, depositing money into a fake investment app (which is constantly changed, renamed or deleted) then losing it all, is called the “Pig Butchering Scam”.
SOUTH AFRICA: DESPITE MYSTERY PAY OUTS, BURNED INVESTORS PUSH CHARGES AGAINST BROTHERS
On 3 January, Fin24 reported that a group of out-of-pocket Bitcoin investors are pushing for criminal charges against a pair of South African brothers who ran a suspected fraudulent cryptocurrency platform, even after a mystery benefactor emerged to repay some of the lost cash. A warrant for the arrest of Raees and Ameer Cajee, age 21 and 18, could be issued early this year. The brothers allegedly disappeared in April along with about $3.6 billion of Bitcoin.
UK: FINANCIAL SANCTIONS CHARITY SECTOR WEBINAR
OFSI is hosting a webinar for NGO and Charities operating in areas subject to financial sanctions, taking place on Wednesday, 2 February at 11am via Microsoft Teams.
THE ROLE OF THE INTERNET IN THE RADICALISATION OF EXTREME-RIGHT LONE ACTORS
On 14 December, an article from the Global Network on Extremism and Technology says that when evidence arises that the Internet was used during a process of radicalisation, this is often coined as the sole explanation for their actions. This may result in a lack of understanding of a deeper and far more complex issue. The article summarises the findings of a study that examined how the Internet and social media influenced the radicalisation processes of extreme-right lone actors who carried out or attempted to carry out large-scale terrorist attacks in Western democracies since 2000.
TURKISH POLICE ARREST 40 IN TWITCH MONEY LAUNDERING SCANDAL
On 4 January, PC Gamer reported the arrests concerning an alleged scam which involves using stolen credit cards to pay certain streamers in ‘bits’, a Twitch currency that streamers get paid for receiving. The streamers who agreed to take part in this alleged money laundering accepted enormous amounts of bits, and when they were paid the streamer kept a share and returned the rest to its source. Twitch is the Amazon-owned videogame streaming company.
SOUTH AFRICAN INQUIRY POINTS TO SYSTEMIC CORRUPTION DURING ZUMA ERA
On 4 January, Reuters reported that a South African corruption inquiry pointed to systemic graft during former President Jacob Zuma’s tenure in the first part of its report published, after more than 3 years of investigations involving more than 300 witnesses.
On 4 January, a post from Baker McKenzie reported on further guidance – with new and amended FAQ -on the scope of US sanctions and authorised humanitarian activities in relation to Afghanistan. Key points are summarised in the post.
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