Panama Covid-19 update – 3,028 new cases reported today, as the Omicron-fuelled wave appears to continue to slowly declaine. However, there were 10 new fatalities also reported, and there remains 32,521 active cases – 80 in ICU and 517 in other wards.
9 FEBRUARY 2022
NUCLEAR FUEL SUFFERS FROM A GEOGRAPHICAL SUPPLY IMBALANCE. HERE’S WHY THAT’S A CONCERN
On 2 February, the World Economic Forum published this article saying that more options for extracting uranium are available, and efforts are underway to develop ways to use less of it. Kazakhstan had been providing about 40% of the global supply; in 2020, it delivered more than 3 times the output of the next-largest producer, Australia. However, when Kazakhstan was hit by social unrest last month, uranium prices surged and raised speculation about a shortage.
HOW TO REPORT ACCOUNTING FRAUD AND EARN AN SEC WHISTLEBLOWER AWARD
On 8 February, Zuckerman Law published an article explaining that, under the SEC Whistleblower Program, the SEC will issue awards to whistleblowers who provide original information, such as information about accounting fraud, that leads to enforcement actions with total monetary sanctions in excess of $1 million. A whistleblower may receive an award of between 10% and 30% of the sanction imposed.
PANAMA IMPLEMENTS BIOMETRIC CONTROLS AND DETAINS 78 PEOPLE ENTERING THE COUNTRY
On 9 February, Radio Panama reported on implementation and use of advanced biometric reading devices and database platforms which had resulted in 72 alerts in 2021, of which 38 involved people with terrorist ties from Palestine, Jordan, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Siri Lanka; 22 persons were also identified for identity theft from Africa, specifically Somalia, Mali, Egypt, Togo and Sierra Leone; and 12 for drug trafficking. The controls are applied at airports, land boundaries and to migrants.
EU LIFTS FINANCIAL SANCTIONS ON BURUNDI
On 9 February, The Star in Kenya cited a BBC report that the EU had said that the lifting was due to a peaceful political environment and progress by the Burundian government in several areas, including human rights and the voluntary return of refugees into the country, but that those persistent challenges remained “in the areas of human rights, good governance, reconciliation and the rule of law”.
BLOCKBUSTER YEAR FOR AML PENALTIES AS FINES TOP $2.73 BILLION
On 8 February, Crowdfund Insider noted a report by Kyckr on AML occurrences around the globe indicating that while the total amount of fines dipped in 2021 the number of institutions that were hit with penalties more than doubled. It says that $2.73 billion in fines as 80 institutions equates to an average fine per institution of $34.1 million.
BERMUDA: DIGITAL ASSETS TO BE COVERED BY AML RULES
On 9 February, the Royal Gazette reported that changes to the island’s AML regulations to better police digital assets have been approved by the House of Assembly.
US COUPLE ACCUSED OF LAUNDERING $4.5 BILLION IN BITCOIN
ISLE OF MAN: SHIP REGISTRY TO OFFER DISCOUNT TO VESSELS USING GREEN TECHNOLOGY
On 9 February, Manx Radio and others reported that the Isle of Man Ship Registry’s set to become the first flag state in the world to offer reduced registration fees for boats deploying green technology with a 15% discount to cargo vessels, commercial yachts or passenger ferries which invest in bio or alternative fuel, wind and shore-side energy technology
SFO DISCLOSURE FAILINGS TO BE PROBED BY FORMER HIGH COURT JUDGE
On 9 February, the Law Society Gazette reported that the disclosure failings at the trial of a former Unaoil oil executive, whose conviction for bribery was overturned by the Court of Appeal, will be probed by a former High Court judge. The review will look at what went wrong in the Unaoil case and what changes are needed at the SFO to ensure that the failings identified by the Court of Appeal cannot happen again, ‘especially in relation to contact with third-parties and disclosure’.
SPAIN: HIGH COURT REOPENS FORMAL INVESTIGATIONS INTO CHAIRMAN ANTONIO BRUFAU AND FORMER CHAIRMAN ISIDRO FAINE OF SPAIN-BASED CORPORATIONS REPSOL AND CAIXABANK OVER INDUSTRIAL ESPIONAGE
On 8 February, Jurist reported that the Court had accepted an appeal to reopen the case. A judge had previously closed the investigation into links to bribery in connection with Repsol and Caixabanks’ alleged activities with the security firm run by former Spain National Police Chief Jose Manuel Villarejo. The alleged goal of this espionage was to block a takeover bid for Repsol by Sacyr and the Mexican state-owned oil firm, Pemex.
BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP: HUNDREDS OF CHILDREN OWN OR HOLD SIGNIFICANT STAKES IN COMPANIES BASED IN LUXEMBOURG
An article from OCCRP on 8 February says that when Luxembourg opened up its register of beneficial owners in 2019, the new data revealed a surprising fact. OCCRP and its partners identified 291 minors who own or control significant stakes in Luxembourg companies, and in many cases, the companies’ owners were younger than the companies themselves. They included minors whose parents are oligarchs, criminals, or people with ties to politically influential figures.
On 4 February, an article from Rahman Ravelli reported that Denmark is seeking to revive its £1.5 billion case against British hedge fund trader Sanjay Shah, and has asked the Court of Appeal to overturn a High Court ruling that blocked its claim, which alleged tax fraud.
US: THE DISCLOSURE PROCESS DEFENCE TO SECURITIES FRAUD CLAIMS – PART I
On 4 February, an article from Sidley Austin LLP says that one of the most effective — but underutilised — defences against claim a of securities fraud is a disclosure process defence: that the defendants reasonably relied on a robust process for drafting, reviewing, and approving the public disclosures at issue. A 2-part article describes how public companies can ensure that their disclosure process provides a strong defence against claims of securities fraud, if and when they arise. Part 1 outlines the nature of the defence and identifies key prophylactic steps that corporate counsel can take to strengthen a potential defence. Part 2 will address privilege issues that arise from the involvement of in-house counsel in the disclosure process.
US AND CHINESE INVESTORS FEUD OVER START-UP ICON AIRCRAFT DURING NATIONAL SECURITY REVIEW OF DEAL
On 8 February, the Wall Street Journal reported that investors in a California plane start-up are firing off allegations against each other while the company is in the midst of a national security review. Icon Aircraft Inc makes a small, amphibious plane with foldable wings that is marketed for recreational use. A group of American shareholders fell out with Chinese investors who hold a dominant stake in Icon, alleging they are improperly transferring the company’s technology to China.
NORTH KOREA TRIED TO BUY LUXURY CARS AHEAD OF FOOD CRISIS LAST YEAR
On 9 February, NK News reported that a new UN draft report documents effort to procure 4 top-of-the-line SUV worth $600,000 last year despite strict COVID border controls. The DPRK General Administration of Civil Aviation attempted to purchase the 4 luxury-class Toyota SUV in April 2021 from a Chinese company. UN sanctions monitors say they also discovered that North Korea’s aviation authority tried to buy 10 industrial vehicles and trucks valued at $400,000 from another Chinese vendor.
US MOTION PICTURE ASSOCIATION, ALLIANCE FOR CREATIVITY AND ENTERTAINMENT AND IPR CENTER STRENGTHEN PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP TO PROTECT FILM AND TV CONTENT
A news release from US Immigration & Customs Enforcement on 7 February advised of an announcement from the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (aka IPR Center). The announcement comes at a pivotal moment in the global anti-piracy fight as sentencing was also announced for George Bridi, a leader of the illegal piracy operation, the SPARKS Group. For over 10 years, the SPARKS Group illegally distributed movies and TV shows prior to their retail release dates.
ANALYSING CROSS-BORDER DATA TRANSFERS: CONTROLLER (EEA) → CONTROLLER (US) → PROCESSOR (US)
Greenberg Traurig in the US has published the latest part of its ongoing series analysing cross-border data transfers in light of the new Standard Contractual Clauses (SCC) approved by the European Commission in June 2021.
ATAD 3 (SHELL COMPANIES) – POTENTIAL IMPLICATIONS FOR FUND STRUCTURES
On 9 February, an article from Dechert LLP about a draft EU Council Directive, known as ATAD 3, aimed at countering the misuse of ‘shell’ entities and could impose adverse tax and reporting provisions on EU legal entities which do not meet minimal substance and economic activity requirements. It says that, although the intention is for Member States to pass domestic legislation to implement the directive by the middle of 2023 with a view to legislation becoming effective in January 2024, it may be necessary to start taking steps now to ensure relevant fund companies are not caught by the Directive.
HOW RUSSIAN ENERGY GIANT LUKoil MAKES MILLIONS IN BULGARIA BUT PAYS ALMOST NO TAX
On 9 February, Rferl reported that the oil refinery at Burgas is no longer owned exclusively by the Bulgarian state, instead Russian energy giant LUKoil is the master now. LUKoil Neftochim Burgas is a huge success, generating some of the highest revenues in Bulgaria, totalling more than the equivalent of €40 billion over the past 15 years, and the company dominates the Bulgarian market. However, it is said that the Russian-owned refinery regularly declares losses in Bulgaria.
A SURVEY OF RECENT DEVELOPMENTS AND TRENDS IN UNIVERSAL JURISDICTION
On 9 February, a post on Lawfare sets out to provide a non-exhaustive survey of recent developments in cases conducted under the principle of universal jurisdiction, where crimes abroad, such as crimes against humanity
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FORMER WARBURG BANKER GETS JAIL TERM IN GERMAN CUM-EX FRAUD TRIAL
On 9 February, Reuters reported that a former banker was handed a 3½-year jail sentence for his part in Germany’s biggest post-war fraud. He is a former employee of MM Warburg group, part-owned by one of Germany’s oldest banking dynasties. He is the second person to receive a jail sentence for trading activity that cost Germany more than €5 billion.
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