Panama Covid-19 update – once more numbers are falling, with active cases down over 1,200 to 17,596; with 1,714 new cases reported and 6 new fatalities. The results from testing also continues to show a downward trend, now at 13.3% positive hit rate. There are now 58 patients in ICU and 329 in other wards.
15 FEBRUARY 2022
THAILAND: NEW BORDER MEASURE AGAINST COUNTERFEITS AND PIRATED GOODS
On 27 January, an article from LawPlus Ltd was concerned with the Notification of the Ministry of Commerce on Counterfeits and Pirated Goods Prohibited from Export, Import and Transit to and from Thailand. It will become effective after it is signed by the Minister of Commerce and published in the Government Gazette for 90 days.
FIGHTING ECONOMIC CRIME IN THE UK: AN OVERVIEW
On 14 February, MacFarlanes LLP published a short post mentioning the highlights of a House of Commons Library briefing paper which considers the scale of economic crime; government action; and current issues.
US: IMPLEMENTATION OF A VISA RESTRICTION POLICY RE SOMALIA
On 15 February, the EU Sanctions blog reported US action in response to concerns about Somalia’s electoral process. It targets current or former Somali officials (and others) said to be responsible for/complicit in undermining the democratic process in Somalia, including through violence against protestors, unjust arrests or intimidation of journalists and opposition members, and manipulation of the electoral process.
MALTA: FATF ACTION PLAN SAID TO BE COMPLETED
On 14 February, Lovin Malta reported that the Prime Minister has said that Malta has completed its action plan to get off the FATF grey list, which it has been on since June 2020.
1MDB SCANDAL: US PROSECUTORS ALLEGE EX-GOLDMAN BANKER MADE MILLIONS
On 15 February, the BBC carried an article about the trial of Roger Ng, who was Goldmans’ head of investment banking in Malaysia, and who is charged with conspiring to launder money and violate anti-bribery law. The trial is in New York.
MUTUAL LEGAL ASSISTANCE: INFORMATION FOR COMPETENT AUTHORITIES ABOUT OBTAINING EVIDENCE WITHIN THE UK (OR ABROAD) TO ASSIST IN CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS OR PROCEEDINGS
On 15 February, the Home Office published updated guidance. Requests are made by a formal international Letter of Request (LOR). In civil law jurisdictions these are also referred to as ‘Commission Rogatoire’. This assistance is usually requested by courts or prosecutors and is also referred to as ‘judicial cooperation’.
UK: DIGITAL SERVICES TAX
On 15 February, the House of Commons Library published a briefing paper which discusses the context for proposed reforms to the international tax system, before examining the introduction of the UK’s DST and the historical development of the OECD ‘Two-Pillar’ solution. The first section provides an overview of this long series of events.
HOW THE UK SHOULD RESPOND TO THE BOSNIA CRISIS
On 15 February, a Commentary from RUSI says that, with efforts by Bosnian Serb separatists to trigger a secession gathering pace, the UK has several options to help maintain peace in the country. It sets out 5 steps the UK could take.
THE PLOT TO DESTROY UKRAINE
On 15 February, a Special Report from RUSI seeks to outline what Russia is trying to achieve in Ukraine, and how it is operationalising that intent through the synchronised application of state power. It says that the real threat to the country is viewed as multifaceted and enduring. Ukrainians must not only deter military aggression, but survive the political, social, and economic war that Russia is waging against their country.
SPAIN: A TOTAL OF 5 SUSPECTED MEMBERS OF THE SO-CALLED ISLAMIC STATE HAVE BEEN ARRESTED
On 14 February, Europol reported that these arrests have taken place in the framework of 2 separate anti-terrorist investigations looking into the activities of Islamist militant cells operating on Spanish soil.
THE IMPLICATIONS ON INTERNATIONAL AVIATION LAW AFTER THE BELARUSIAN INTERCEPTION OF AN AIRCRAFT IN 2021
On 13 February, an article in Jurist follows the issue of warrants in the US warrants for the arrest of several Belarusian officials for “aircraft piracy”. It says that the hijacking of the Ryanair flight in May 2021 left many concerned about the safety of international aviation and the adequacy of its protection under international aviation law. The success of the criminal action being brought depends on the Hague Hijacking Convention.
FBI: AMERICANS LOST $1 BILLION TO ROMANCE SCAMS IN 2021
On 14 February, OCCRP reported that perpetrators mainly target women over 40 who are widowed, divorced, elderly or disabled.
Meanwhile, in Canada –
Canadian Securities Administrators’ (CSA) warning the public about fraudsters using social media, messaging apps and online dating sites to lure Canadians into relationships that lead to investment scams
US CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION FINDS CHINESE TIMBER PRODUCTS FRAUDULENTLY SOLD IN US AS “MADE IN VIETNAM” IN ORDER TO EVADE TARIFFS
On 14 February, Forest Trends reported on a determination against the BGI Group (aka the US Cabinet Depot). CBP ruled that BGI fraudulently evaded anti-dumping and countervailing duties on wooden cabinets and vanities imported from Vietnam. It was found that the majority of value of the cabinets were made in China, although recognised that some components were added in Vietnam. Looking at the larger picture, while not providing anything approaching evidence or ‘proof’, timber trade data analysed by Forest Trends would also seem to support the allegations that Chinese timber products have been accessing the US market via Vietnam, possibly illegally.
PHILIPPINES: 5 SHIPMENTS OF BLACK ANTS SEIZED
On 15 February, the Manila Times reported that 5 shipments containing black ants were seized at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) by the Bureau of Customs. Importation and exportation of non-native black ants are strictly prohibited in view of the danger it poses not only to human health but also to the environment.
FINANCIAL CRIME REFORM IN THE UK: DISAPPOINTMENT, DEBATE AND DELAY
On 15 February, an article from Eversheds Sutherland reviewed the long series of delays in implementing much-vaunted economic crime reforms in the UK, including those addressed in the House of Commons Treasury Committee’s recently-issued Economic Crime Report. It considers the criticisms of indifference levelled at the UK Government in failing to prioritise these reforms; the consequence of which, many say, has enabled cases of money laundering and fraud to continue rising, largely undeterred, over the last 5 years.
SOUTH KOREA JAILS 7 MASTERMINDS OF COUNTRY’S ‘LARGEST CRYPTO FRAUD SCHEME’
On 13 February, Bitcoin.com reported that 7 executives of the collapsed South Korean scam cryptocurrency exchange, V Global, were recently handed lengthy jail sentences as punishment for their role in running one of the country’s biggest crypto frauds.
NETHERLANDS: RABOBANK ALLOCATES EXTRA MONEY TO IMPROVE AML POLICY
On 13 February, the NL Times reported that Rabobank is allocating an additional €249 million to improve its AML policy, in an effort to comply with instructions from De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB). According to the central bank, the money is needed to eliminate backlogs in customer surveys and monitoring transactions.
THE CAYMAN ISLANDS AND AML – A TALE OF HIGHS AND LOWS
On 14 February, an article from RiskScreen sets out to trace the Cayman Islands’ journey as it tries to improve its AML regime and bring it in line with global standards. It starts with the BCCI scandal in 1991. The Islands were grey listed by FATF in 2021, and in January 2022, the EU announced it would be adding the Cayman Islands to its list of high-risk jurisdictions for money laundering.
UK AND SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT AGREE DEAL ON FREEPORTS IN SCOTLAND
On 14 February, the Guardian reported that a deal had been reached a deal over proposed freeports in Scotland, after months of disagreement over what the UK Government has billed as one of the main economic benefits of Brexit. The plan proposed 2 “green” freeports, which can be rail or air hubs as well as seaports. They can apply alongside other local businesses, as well as the council and other public bodies.
US HALTS AVOCADO IMPORTS FROM MEXICO AFTER THREAT TO AMERICAN INSPECTOR
On 14 February, the Guardian reported that threats to an American agricultural inspector in the Mexican state of Michoacán caused the US to suspend imports of avocados from its neighbour, officials said, disrupting a $2.4 billion industry during one of its busiest times of the year.
CHINESE MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX SANCTIONS REGULATIONS; AMENDMENT OF THE WMD PROLIFERATORS SANCTIONS REGULATIONS
On 15 February, OFAC announced that it had issued regulations related to the Chinese military-industrial complex and Chinese surveillance technology, and that they will take effect upon publication in the Federal Register on 16 February. OFAC intends to supplement these regulations with a more comprehensive set of regulations, which may include additional interpretive guidance and definitions, general licenses, and other regulatory provisions.
It also issued an amendment to its WMD regulations to revise an existing general license authorising the provision of certain legal services and add a general license authorising payments for legal services from funds originating outside the US. These amendments will also take effect on 16 February.
CBD: IS THE UK REGULATORY SYSTEM WORKING?
On 15 February, an article from Field Fisher says that the use of CBD in food and drink in the UK is booming and the sector saw sales worth £690 million in 2021. In a recent episode of the Table Talk Podcast, host Stefan Gates was joined by Fieldfisher partner and co-head of Regulatory Sarah Ellson to discuss some of the issues around CBD.
PARROTS FOR SALE: THE INTERNET’S ROLE IN ILLICIT TRADE
On 5 February, the BBC published an article about an undercover BBC operation investigation the illegal parrot trade in the UK, and involving a man who had been openly advertising the sale of endangered birds and animals across social media.
THE WORLD AT WAR IN 2022
On 14 February, Statista published an article and links to an infographic showing that a substantial portion of the world is still engulfed in some form of conflict.
UK GOVERNMENT ACCEPTS LAW COMMISSION’S RECOMMENDATIONS TO REFORM THE COMMUNICATIONS OFFENCES
On 7 February, the Law Commission advised that the reformed offences will refocus the criminal law on communications where the sender specifically intended to cause harm, and that pose a real and substantial risk of causing at least serious distress. Changes would be included in the Online Safety Bill. It will no longer be enough that the communication was “grossly offensive” regardless of whether harm was likely or intended. As a result, the law will better protect freedom of expression than the existing criminal law does, at the same time as ensuring that the criminal law is better able to address genuine and serious harm arising from communications.
MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERRORIST FINANCING (AMENDMENT) REGULATIONS 2022
These Regulations make minor amendments to the 2017 Regulations concerning the UK’s register of express trusts. The main changes are made in order to extend the deadlines imposed on trustees for registering and updating information on the register, and also to amend the categories of trusts which are required to register.
IRELAND: CORK MAN SAID TO HAVE CONDUCTED ‘LARGEST AND LONGEST’ WELFARE FRAUD IN STATE HISTORY
On 15 February, the Carlow Nationalist reported that a man who fraudulently claimed the pensions of his dead parents for 33 years was caught out when his father became eligible for the centenary bounty cheque for reaching the age of 100, a court has heard.
ERICSSON REPORTS BACK ON IRAQ CORRUPTION SCANDAL
On 15 February, a news release from the company says that it has continued to receive detailed media inquiries from Swedish and international news outlets. Their interest pertains to information detailed in a 2019 internal investigation by the company, on conduct in Iraq. It says that it continues to invest significantly to understand these matters fully.
GLENCORE: SWISS TRADING GIANT SELLS STAKE IN RUSSIAN OIL FIRM AFTER EU SANCTIONS
On 15 February. Rferl reported that Switzerland-based mining and commodities trading giant Glencore has said it recently sold its stake in a Russian oil company after its founder was placed under sanctions by the EU. Russneft is a small Russian oil producer founded by Mikhail Gutseriyev, who was designated by the EU in June 2021 by the EU for his close ties to Alyaksandr Lukashenka, the authoritarian leader of Belarus.
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