THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 29

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. 

https://www.wionews.com/videos/russia-expands-its-sanctions-list-of-eu-officials-448745

ECOWAS SUSPENDS BURKINA FASO AFTER COUP

On 29 January, CGTN reported that ECOWAS had suspended Burkina Faso following the coup in that country.

https://newsaf.cgtn.com/news/2022-01-29/ECOWAS-suspends-Burkina-Faso-without-further-sanctions-17cqOa1wITK/index.html

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.

https://news.err.ee/1608482537/eu-launches-infringement-proceedings-against-estonia-over-whistleblower-law

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.

https://www.occrp.org/en/investigations/the-30-million-embezzlement-scandal-behind-ukraines-winter-olympics-hopes

RUSSIA USES DRONES WITH SPANISH TECHNOLOGY IN UKRAINE

On 25 January, El Diario in Spain reported that a company in Madrid exported military equipment to Israel without a licence in 2012. Years later his products appeared in the hands of pro-Russian forces in the Donbas region.  UAV Navigation’s technology allows Russian drones to fly over the territory of Ukraine to carry out surveillance tasks and fine-tune future artillery fire.

https://www.eldiario.es/internacional/rusia-utiliza-drones-tecnologia-espanola-ucrania_1_8686119.html

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. 

https://www.elliptic.co/blog/why-are-the-operators-of-billion-dollar-darknet-markets-retiring

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.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/15852-u-s-and-nigeria-sign-agreement-to-stem-the-flow-of-stolen-artifacts

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. 

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/asia-s-virtual-banks-need-regulator-oversight-to-guard-data–bis-says/47296792

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.

https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/4423597

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.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/qubit-finance-suffers-80-million-loss-following-hack

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.

https://www.cms-lawnow.com/ealerts/2022/01/new-forest-risk-commodities-uk-due-diligence-obligations-proposed

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.

https://www.cliffordchance.com/content/dam/cliffordchance/briefings/2022/01/Shadow-Trading-the-First-Test-for-the-SEC%27s-Novel-Theory.pdf

https://www.cliffordchance.com/briefings/2021/08/shadow-trading—the-sec-s-novel-theory-of-insider-trading-to-be.html

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.

https://www.khaleejtimes.com/mena/un-envoy-proposes-freezing-assets-of-afghanistans-corrupt-ex-officials

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

https://www.buymea3coffee.com/KoIvM842y

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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