Panama Covid-19 update – 17 new fatalities and 2,345 new cases reported today, as the number of active cases has fallen by nearly 5,000 to 41,091. There are 81 patients in ICU and 592 in other wards.
6 FEBRUARY 2022
VIETNAM SAYS SMUGGLING OF SUGAR FROM CAMBODIA AND LAOS ON THE RISE
On 6 February, the Khmer Times reported that the amount of sugar illegally imported into Vietnam from Cambodia and Laos has been increasing, with 757,000 metric tons per year in the 2015-19 period. All the sugar smuggled from the 2 countries into Vietnam was mainly sourced from Thailand, according to a report. Thailand gives price subsidies to its sugar exporters, and thus the smuggled sugar can undercut domestic production. Vietnam’s sugar industry ranks fourth in SE Asia, after Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, and 15th in the world.
BREXIT: UK POSTPONED IMPORT VAT ACCOUNTING
On 3 February, VAT Live published an article explaining the key features of this UK system for UK VAT-registered businesses to defer paying Import VAT when goods are imported into the UK and instead apply a reverse charge (a self-assessment with a simultaneous input tax deduction) on their VAT return.
NATIONAL APPROACHES TO RANSOMWARE PROTECTION
ETH Zurich has published this short paper, saying that Governments are developing different policies to counter the increasing ransomware threat, addressing it either as a national security issue, or through law enforcement and multilateral cooperation. It argues that a public policy explicitly addressing ransomware can support coordination across domestic agencies and foster international cooperation.
RANSOMWARE: PREVENTION & RESPONSE
In January, law firm Clifford Chance published this publication which aims to help companies understand and address the risk of a ransomware attack. It provides guidance on how to prevent and prepare for ransomware attacks and what to do if and when a company is the victim of such an attack. It also discusses important legal considerations from different key jurisdictions.
AUSTRALIA: AUSTRAC AND BUSINESS WORKING TOGETHER TO STOP FORCED SEXUAL SERVITUDE
On 4 February, a news release from AUSTRAC advised that a new financial crime guide from AUSTRAC will help businesses identify and report suspicious activity related to forced sexual servitude. It says that forced sexual servitude is a form of slavery and represents around 30% of slavery cases in Australia. The guide draws on intelligence collected and analysed through the Fintel Alliance and provides practical advice to businesses on what to look out for, and when they should report to AUSTRAC.
INDIA: 30% TAX ON ANY INCOME FROM THE TRANSFER OF VIRTUAL DIGITAL ASSETS
On 1 February, The Independent reported that India is to impose a 30% tax on any income from the transfer of virtual digital assets, including cryptocurrencies and NFT, as part of the National Budget 2022-23.
CANNABIS AND ALCOHOL: AN INDUSTRY COMPARISON
On 29 January, Visual capitalist carried a sponsored article involving an infographic, with accompanying text saying that the cannabis industry is now on a path similar to that of the alcohol industry during the 20th Century, and asking what can we learn by comparing the 2 industries?
UNDERSTANDING THE GLOBAL DEMAND FOR STEELMAKING COAL
On 2 February, Visual Capitalist carried sponsored content in the form of an article and infographic, saying that global population growth, increased urbanisation, and a growing middle class will continue to drive long-term demand for steel and the steelmaking coal required to produce it.
THE BIG MAC INDEX – THE ECONOMIST INTERACTIVE CURRENCY COMPARISON TOOL
On 2 February, The Economist provided an update to this tool invented by The Economist in 1986 as a light-hearted guide to whether currencies are at their “correct” level. It is based on the theory of purchasing-power parity (PPP), the notion that in the long run exchange rates should move towards the rate that would equalise the prices of an identical basket of goods and services (in this case, a burger) in any 2 countries. For example, we find that a Big Mac costs £3.59 in the UK and $5.81 in the US. The implied exchange rate is 0.62. The difference between this and the actual exchange rate, 0.75, suggests the British pound is 17.1% undervalued.
UK FREEPORT TAX BREAKS “COULD LET RUSSIA LAUNDER MONEY IN UK POST-BREXIT”
On 6 February, the London Economic reported that fears are mounting that tax breaks to be given to 8 freeports after Brexit would allow the areas to be used to launder money. The Liberal Democrats have urged Boris Johnson’s government to close a loophole which peers fear would let illegal cash from Russia and other parts of the world into the UK. An amendment proposed by a peer to be voted on in the House of Lords would only allow freeports to benefit from tax breaks if they publicly declare the business owners involved with them.
BIRMINGHAM PERFUME SALESMAN JAILED FOR £42 MILLION PROPERTY FRAUD IN US
On 6 February, the Birmingham Mail reported that James Moore, 60, was sentenced to 11 years for his part in a business fraud that lured in 800 victims. The sentence related to his role in start-up business Bar Works, which offered companies hot-desking space in trendy bars and restaurants. People from around the world ploughed cash in what the court described as a “Ponzi scheme on steroids”.
FAKE ARCHITECT AT FIRM THAT CONNED HOMEOWNERS OUT OF £800,000 COULDN’T EVEN USE TAPE MEASURE
On 6 February, the Daily Star reported that a fraudster who worked for a company that conned homeowners out of £800,000 for renovation work pretended to be an architect but didn’t know how to use a tape measure. The company took deposits from people all over London in 2017 for renovation work that was never done.
JAILED JUNKET MOGUL LEVO CHAN QUITS MACAU LEGEND POSTS
On 6 February, the Macau Post reported that Macau junket mogul Levo Chan Weng Lin has tendered his resignation as an executive director, the co-chairman of the Board and the chief executive officer of Macau Legend Development Limited. Junket operators are officially known as gaming promoters in Macau. They are also understood to run a string of so-called VIP rooms for high-stakes gamblers at local casinos in cooperation with the owners of the respective casinos. It is also reported that Maria Tam Wai-chu, a prominent politician and lawyer in Hong Kong, has quit as an independent non-executive director.
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