Panama Covid-19 update – with the lag between infections and hospitalisations, the health ministry warns that the peak or wrst of the current wave will probably be felt in 2 weeks. It also said that Omicron appeared to be the dominant virus strain in Panama.
Meanwhile, vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 is underway, It began on Friday, targeting those with disabilities or chronic diseases, and apparently 1.5 million doses are on order. Separately, a new law stipulates that “fully vaccinated” will mean those with 3 jabs.
Numbers continue to grow – 4,804 new cases today and 4 new fatalities. There are 3,893 additional active cases – at 34,178. Numbers in hospital and hospital-hotel quarantine also shows increases – 40 in ICU, 303 in other wards and 409 in hotels. Community spread is again evidenced by the high percentage of positive test results – 20.2% of 23,789 tests were positive.
8 JANUARY 2022
BRAZILIAN COMPANY ODEBRECHT OWES PANAMA MORE THAN $18 MILLION IN BRIBERY PENALTIES
On 7 January, Pensa Latina in Cuba and other sources reported that a senior anti-corruption prosecutor said that until last December the companies Norberto Odebrecht Panama and Norberto Odebrecht did not pay Panama $18.3 million, under the agreement reached in 2017 which involves $220 million over 12 years.
SPAIN: TOBACCO FACTORY DEDICATED TO SMUGGLING DISMANTLED IN SEVILLA
On 8 January, Euro Weekly reported that Guardia Civil has said that they have dismantled a factory dedicated to tobacco smuggling. It was a poultry farm, made up of four sheds for poultry farming, in which turkeys were previously raised, but which currently did not host any type of agricultural or livestock activity. More than 200,000 packs of smuggled tobacco from different brands were seized, and another 340,000 cigarettes of a well-known brand were also seized. 2 complete production lines for the preparation of tobacco products (filling, packaging, sealing, and packaging) were discovered.
PAKISTAN: FEDERAL BOARD OF REVENUE SAYS THAT IT HAS BUSTED A TAX FRAUD OF BILLIONS INVOLVING ELECTRONICALLY INTEGRATED POINT OF SALES (POS)
On 8 January, The Express Tribune reported that Metro Shoes had said that the FBR had raided the business premises and confiscated computers and the record on allegations of having manipulated the Point of Sales system. It also said that said that the tax demand was equal to 72% of the inventory of the company. Metro Shoes has 45 branches across the country.
UK MILITARY CHIEF WARNS OF RUSSIAN THREAT TO VITAL UNDERSEA CABLES
On 8 January, the Guardian reported that the head of the UK’s armed forces has warned that Russian submarine activity is threatening underwater cables that are crucial to communication systems around the world. He said that meant Moscow could “put at risk and potentially exploit the world’s real information system, which is undersea cables that go all around the world”.
UK: LENDERS LEFT OUT OF POCKET BY MILLIONS AMID ALLEGED FRAUD AT BROADCASTER
On 8 January, City AM reported that an alleged fraud at collapsed Arena Television has left some 50 lenders, including HSBC, millions out of pocket. The broadcasting company, which collapsed in November, is suspected of concocting thousands of fake assets, in order to score nearly £300 million in loans.
MONEY LAUNDERING IN THE US REAL ESTATE SECTOR
On 4 January, the Congressional Research Service released an In Focus report saying that money laundering and other financial crimes in the real estate sector take many forms and continue to challenge real estate, financial institution, law enforcement, policymaker, and regulatory stakeholders. Global scrutiny of the real estate market’s vulnerability to money laundering has grown in recent years. It says that, according to various sources, real estate money-laundering (REML) schemes can involve a wide range of domestic and transnational criminals, including drug cartels and human traffickers, international terrorists, and foreign kleptocrats (corrupt high-level officials).
SEC FILES COMPLAINT AGAINST OPERATOR OF ‘UNREGISTERED’ $33 MILLION CROWD MACHINE ICO
On 7 January, Coin Telegraph reported that ICO tokens from Crowd Computer were sold to Americans as “investment contracts”, according to a SEC complaint, which classifies them as securities. It has filed a suit against Australian Craig Derel Sproule for the allegedly “fraudulent and unregistered” sale “of digital asset securities” in an initial coin offering (ICO) his company had conducted in 2018.
PANAMA PAPERS WINS UK’S INVESTIGATION OF THE DECADE AWARD
On 6 January, ICIJ reported that the investigation has been named the Investigation of the Decade by the British Journalism Awards, media industry publication Press Gazette has announced.
HOW THE KAZAKH ELITE PUT ITS WEALTH INTO UK PROPERTY
As unrest continues in Kazakhstan, the Observer published an article on 8 January saying the UK Ministers face claims they have allowed the ruling elite of Kazakhstan to secretly invest vast chunks of the country’s wealth in the London property market after failing to introduce promised new transparency laws.
NEW DATA TRANSFER TOOL – FURTHER COMPLEXITY AHEAD FOR INTERNATIONAL DATA TRANSFERS?
On 7 January, Irish law firm Matheson published an article in which its Technology and Innovation partner Davinia Brennan outlines the effect of 2 developments on data transfers, including new Standard Contractual Clauses (SCC). The EU Commission has said that it intends to develop a new transfer tool – in the form of a new set of SCC – specifically for transfers to non-EEA importers subject to Article 3(2) of the GDPR. However, there is no indication as to when the new SCCs will be finalised. In the interim, companies should exercise caution in regard to such transfers and ensure appropriate safeguards are in place. The article also reminds one that the consultation period for the draft guidelines from the European Data Protection Board closes on 31 January.
THE EU 4TH MONEY LAUNDERING DIRECTIVE TRANSPARENCY REGISTER – WHERE ARE WE?
CMS Law has produced a Q&A guide covering a number of European states, including the UK, about the legal basis of the Transparency Register, to what extent the 4AMLD been implemented, and other matters concerning the Directive and ultimate beneficial owners.
Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed! I have a page where you can do so, and where one-off contributions start as low as $3, at