Panama Covid-19 update – there are signs that we may have passed the peak of the Omicron wave, as expected – given that in other countries (except perhaps the US) it has proved to be a relatively short, sharp event. That said, 18 new fatalities were still reported, and 7,004 new cases recorded. However, there are now 4,366 fewer active cases – though still numbering 75,079. The positive test result percentage has fallen, but is still high at 28.9%, indicating continuing community spread. It is not clear if the even more contagious BA.2 variant of Omicron is present, but probably one should presume that it is (and this might prolong the wave slightly). The numbers in hospital remain steady, with 79 in ICU and 747 in other wards, although numbers in the hospital-hotel isolation continues a dramatic fall – now being 252.
29 JANUARY 2022
RUSSIA TO EXPAND ITS SANCTIONS LIST OF EU OFFICIALS WHO ARE PROHIBITED FROM ENTERING THE COUNTRY
On 29 January, WION reported that Russia has announced that it will expand its sanctions list of EU officials who are prohibited from entering the country.
ECOWAS SUSPENDS BURKINA FASO AFTER COUP
On 29 January, CGTN reported that ECOWAS had suspended Burkina Faso following the coup in that country.
EU LAUNCHES INFRINGEMENT PROCEEDINGS AGAINST ESTONIA OVER WHISTLEBLOWER LAW
On 29 January, ERR reported that infringement procedure has been launched against Estonia by the European Commission after it missed the 17 December deadline for adopting the Whistleblowers Directive.
THE $30-MILLION EMBEZZLEMENT SCANDAL BEHIND UKRAINE’S WINTER OLYMPICS HOPES
On 28 January, OCCRP published a report claiming that plans to build a new ski resort in Ukraine’s protected Carpathian Mountains lead back to an alleged corruption scheme tied to oligarch Serhiy Lovochkin. This is in the light of, in March 2021, the Ukrainian Prime Minister having promised a ski resort that is being built in the Carpathian Mountains for a potential bid to host the 2030 Winter Olympics would be developed.
RUSSIA USES DRONES WITH SPANISH TECHNOLOGY IN UKRAINE
WHY ARE BILLION-DOLLAR DARKNET MARKETS RETIRING?
On 27 January, a post from Elliptic sought to explain why operators of several darknet markets – with total sales of over a billion dollars – have “retired” over the past year. Beginning with the Silk Road in 2011, over a hundred markets have been established – making billions of dollars in sales.
US AND NIGERIA SIGN AGREEMENT TO STEM THE FLOW OF STOLEN ARTIFACTS
On 26 January, OCCRP reported that the US and Nigeria had signed an agreement to stem the flow of illegally trafficked cultural material. The illegal antiquities trade is a multi-billion dollar global industry and its beneficiaries are not just high society art aficionados, but often criminal and militant groups which raise cash by selling stolen artifacts; and the looting of cultural property from active war zones is considered a war crime.
BANK FOR INTERNATIONAL SETTLEMENTS: ASIA’S VIRTUAL BANKS NEED REGULATOR OVERSIGHT TO GUARD DATA
On 27 January, Swissinfo reported on a new paper from BIS that says that India and Singapore may offer a model for creating a platform under central bank supervision that facilitates the sharing of personal data with financial service providers, with customer consent.
INVESTIGATORS IN TAIWAN FIND NEARLY US$1 MILLION IN CASH AT OFFICE OF STATE-RUN OIL COMPANY EXECUTIVE
On 27 January, Taiwan News reported that an executive at state-run oil company CPC Corporation was arrested after investigators discovered $970,000 in cash stashed inside his company office.
QUBIT FINANCE SUFFERS $80 MILLION LOSS FOLLOWING HACK
On 28 January, Coin Telegraph reported that the DeFi protocol had seen hackers able to access and steal over $80 million from it, which is based on the Binance Smart Chain.
NEW FOREST RISK COMMODITIES UK DUE DILIGENCE OBLIGATIONS PROPOSED
On 28 January, CMS Law reported that the UK is holding a consultation on the implementation of due diligence provisions aimed at tackling illegal deforestation in UK supply chains. The consultation follows the introduction of outline provisions in the Environment Act 2021. The proposed measures will make it unlawful for certain businesses operating in the UK to use certain commodities in their UK commercial activities unless relevant local laws were complied with in relation to that commodity. The Government will provide a summary of responses to the consultation within 12 weeks of it closing. It is proposed that 6 months is the minimum length of time between laying the secondary legislation and the requirements coming into force, which allows businesses limited time to prepare.
THE FIRST TEST OF SEC SHADOW TRADING THEORY IN FEDERAL COURT HAS RESULTED IN A WIN
A briefing from Clifford Chance says that shadow trading is where corporate insiders exploit material non-public information (MNPI) about their company, to trade in the securities of an “economically-linked” company, such as a similarly situated competitor. The firm has also provided an in-depth discussion of the case and the shadow trading theory.
UN ENVOY PROPOSES FREEZING ASSETS OF AFGHANISTAN’S CORRUPT EX-OFFICIALS
On 29 January, Khaleej Times reported that Afghanistan’s mission at the UN has proposed the freezing of assets illegally transferred to the accounts of former Afghan government officials.
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