Panama Covid-19 update – the number of active cases actually shows a rise today, up by 454 to 11,241 compared to yesterday. There were 1,221 new cases and 6 new fatalities reported; with 52 patients in ICU and 292 in other wards.
17 FEBRUARY 2022
NORWEGIAN GAMBLING AUTHORITY ORDERS OPERATOR KINDRED TO STOP ILLEGALLY OFFERING GAMBLING IN THE COUNTRY OR FACE £100,000 DAILY FINE
On 16 February, iGB reported that the Authority has ordered Unibet operator Kindred to stop illegally offering gambling in the country, threatening a fine of NOK1.2m per day if its activity continues.
CHOICE OF LAW AND FALSE IMPRISONMENT ON THE HIGH SEAS
On 16 February, an interesting article from Gilchrist Connell on a recent Australian court case provides guidance on the powers of ships’ captains to detain passengers when there is a reasonable belief that doing so is necessary to preserve order and discipline, or for the safety of the vessel or persons or property on board. It also considered which country’s laws applied, in this case the incident occurred in international waters aboard a Bahamian-flagged vessel.
A REVIEW OF FOREIGN SANCTIONS AND EXPORT CONTROL DEVELOPMENTS INVOLVING CHINA IN 2021
On 16 February, Alix Partners published an article reviewing developments in 2021, and pointing out that, at the end of the year, the number of Chinese individuals and companies named on the OFAC SDN list and non-SDN list amounted to 356 (increased from 67 in 2015) and 70 (increased from 2 in 2015) respectively.
INDIA: ALLEGED SMUGGLING OF VULTURES TO MIDDLE EAST COUNTRIES
On 17 February, the Hindustan Times reported that Madhya Pradesh forest department has started a probe into a network that allegedly smuggles vultures from India to the middle east countries through the ports in Maharashtra.
AUSTRAC TO PROBE BELL POTTER FINANCIAL GROUP OVER COMPLIANCE CONCERNS
On 17 February, Australian Financial Review and others reported that the financial crime regulator has taken enforcement action against the Group, extending its fight against money laundering beyond the big banks and into the stockbroking industry. The regulator did not specify any breaches, but said it had “identified compliance concerns”.
US: GAMBINO CRIME FAMILY CAPTAIN JAILED FOR RACKETEERING IN NEW YORK
On 17 February, OCCRP reported that a judge had sentenced a high-ranking member of the infamous Gambino Crime Family to more than 3 years in prison and ordered him to pay $1 million in restitution as well as a $15,000 fine after the mafioso pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy involving the construction sector. He was said to have engaged in multiple fraud and money laundering schemes and maintained the corrosive influence of organized crime in the construction industry. The same man pleaded guilty last year to another massive fraud scheme cantered around New York’s construction industry, which earned millions of dollars in criminal proceeds. It explains that the Gambino Family is one of the “Five Families” that dominate criminal activities in New York and New Jersey as part of the Italian-American mafia La Cosa Nostra. The 5 families have long been entrenched in New York City’s construction industry and labour unions.
OLAF HELPS SMASH FAKE MEDICINE NETWORK IN POLAND
On 16 February, EU Reporter said that a joint operation between OLAF and the Polish Police Central Bureau of Investigations (CBŚP) resulted in the seizure of hundreds of thousands of counterfeit medical goods including medicine to treat erectile dysfunction, anabolic products and growth hormones, with an estimated value of at least €9 million.
CROWN PROSECUTION SERVICE TOLD TO ‘SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVE’ COMPLIANCE WITH ITS DISCLOSURE OBLIGATIONS IN AN INSPECTORATE REPORT
On 17 February, the Law Society Gazette reported that inspectors found that 33.3% of cases they assessed in the magistrates’ and Crown courts did not meet the required standard for initial disclosure (all non-sensitive unused material), a figure that rises to 36.8% for rape and serious sexual assault cases. However, it is said that compliance with continuous disclosure obligations (additional non-sensitive unused material after the statement setting out the defendant’s case is served) was better.
THE IMPACT OF CORRUPTION ON SECURITY FORCE ASSISTANCE
On 16 February, a Commentary from RUSI said that with corruption playing a significant role in the outcome of recent security force assistance missions, a different approach to tackling the problem is needed. It says that this is an that haunts more or less all security force assistance missions to various degrees is widespread and large-scale corruption in host institutions. It cites examples in Afghanistan, Iraq, Mali and Somalia.
SEC PROPOSES AMENDMENTS TO BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP REPORTING RULES
On 16 February, a Lawflash Alert from Morgan Lewis was concerned with proposed changes that would significantly shorten the period for making initial filings and amendments, revise treatment of cash-settled derivative securities (other than cash-settled swaps), provide guidance regarding group formation, and require that certain information be provided in a structured data format.
BILLS IN SINGAPORE PARLIAMENT TO REMODEL GAMBLING REGULATIONS
Another Lawflash Alert from Morgan Lewis on 16 February advised that 2 Bills had been introduced for First Reading in the Singapore Parliament on 14 February. One expands the mandate of the Casino Regulatory Authority by reconstituting it to establish the Gambling Regulatory Authority, while the Gambling Control Bill updates gambling laws and regulatory approaches.
DRAFT EU REPORT SETS OUT MEASURES TO ADDRESS PROBLEMS LINKED TO ‘CITIZENSHIP AND RESIDENCE BY INVESTMENT (CBI) SCHEMES
A blog post from Kenneth Rijock on 16 February was concerned with a draft report from the EU Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. The report says that such schemes are “objectionable from an ethical, legal and economic point of view, and pose several serious security risks”. So-called ‘golden passports’ undermine the essence of EU citizenship and should be phased out, it is said. It is noted that at least 130,000 persons have taken advantage of CBI and residence by investment (RBI) schemes in the EU between 2011 and 2019, which have generated over €21.8 billion in revenue for the countries concerned.
UK MINISTERS PLAN TO SCRAP ‘GOLDEN VISA’ SCHEME AMID RUSSIA CONCERNS
On 17 February, the Guardian reported that ministers are preparing to scrap the “golden visa” system that allows wealthy foreign investors a fast track to living in the UK, amid concerns over links with Russia. Launched in 2008, the scheme allows people with at least £2 million in investment funds and a UK bank account to apply for a “Tier 1 investor visa”. At least 700 such visas have been issued to Russian millionaires in the first 8 years of the scheme, according to the Times.
ILLEGAL DRUGS SEIZED BY JAPAN IN 2021 TOP 1 TON FOR SIXTH YEAR
On 17 February, Nippon.com reported that the amount of illegal drugs seized by Japanese customs in 2021 exceeded 1 ton for the sixth consecutive year. The amount was down 41% from the previous year, although the number of illegal drug seizure cases were up 12%.
PHILIPPINES CUSTOMS SEIZES MISDECLARED EXOTIC AQUATIC WILDLIFE
On 17 February, the SunStar in Manila reported that Customs at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) had confiscated misdeclared exotic aquatic wildlife – 180 albino soft shell turtles and 120 pacman turtles and 38,188 various exotic fish, plus various aquatic plants. The consignment originated in Thailand.
WEST AFRICAN PIRACY DECLINED IN 2021
On 16 February, OCCRP reported that, after a sharp increase in 2020, new figures show that piracy in the Gulf of Guinea declined in 2021. This was according to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Authority (NIMASA). Maritime piracy, incidents of piracy have dropped from 81 in 2020 to only 34 in 2021, and while more than 150 crew members were kidnapped to be ransomed by pirates in 2020, only 57 suffered the same fate in 2021.
SANCTIONS EXPERTS ISSUE MARITIME TRADE GUIDANCE
On 16 February, Paypii reported that a group of sanctions, banking and shipping organizations has issued guidance for lenders who have restrictions on maritime trade, followed by banking industry concerns on tackling illegal activity. The Association of Certified Sanctions Specialists, the Institute of International Banking Law & Practice (IIBLP) and IHS Markit published guidance in response to a landmark advisory from OFAC in May 2020.
UK FACES QUESTIONS OVER SANCTIONS ENFORCEMENT AFTER PRIVATE JET LINKED TO BELARUS SPENDS WEEK IN BRITAIN
In 15 February, The i newspaper reported that a private jet, a 13-seater Embraer Legacy executive jet, targeted by sanctions has been spotted making 2 journeys to a UK airport. The aircraft, registered in Aruba, has been linked to Russian billionaire Mikhail Gutseriev, named in a sanctions notice as a “longstanding associate” of Mr Lukashenko.
UKRAINE SANCTIONS PRO-RUSSIAN BROADCASTERS
On 17 February, the EU Sanctions blog reported that Ukraine has imposed sanctions on Moscow-based company Vitrina TV LLC, as well as Kyiv-based Nasha Praga LLC (Maxi-TV channel), Nash 24 LLC, Nash 365 LLC (Nash TV channel), and Cyprus-based Demosena Investments LTD, which is said to control the 3 former entities.
NEW ITAR GUIDANCE ON AGREEMENTS RE US DEFENCE SYSTEMS INFORMATION FOR USE OF MANUFACTURE ABROAD
On 17 February, the EU Sanctions blog reported that the State Department had issued updated guidance for such agreements, which are the primary mechanism for authorising a US person/entity to provide a foreign person/entity with defence services or disclose to them technical data, manufacture defence articles abroad, or establish a distribution point abroad for the subsequent distribution of US-origin defence articles.
UK EXTENDS DUAL RUNNING OF NEW AND OLD SANCTIONS LISTS
On 17 February, HM Treasury advised that, following industry feedback, OFSI and the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office will extend the period of dual running of both versions of the OFSI consolidated list and UK Sanctions List. until close of business on 25 February, and the links to the old formats will be retired on 28 February.
US ARMY CONTINUES WORK TO DISPOSE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS
In an article dated 18 January, the US Army reported that destruction of the US chemical weapons stockpile located in 2 states has reached the 75% completion mark, with a combined total of more than 2,352 US tons of chemical agent destroyed as of 14 January.
ICELAND: INVESTIGATIONS AGAINST JOURNALISTS REPORTING ON SAMHERJI UNDERMINE PRESS FREEDOMS AND ANTI-CORRUPTION EFFORTS
On 16 February, Transparency International published an article over reports that Iceland Police are investigating journalists for their coverage of alleged misconduct at Samherji, the company at the centre of the Fishrot Files corruption scandal in Namibia. Last year, 2 Icelandic media outlets uncovered a self-styled “guerrilla division” at Samherji dedicated to intimidating and smearing journalists and civil society reporting on the Fishrot Files.
FIRST EXTRADITION FROM UK TO MEXICO AS A RESULT OF INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATION
A news release from the CPS on 17 February advised that Karime Macias Tubilla, a suspected fraudster, could be the first person extradited to Mexico from the UK after a court ruling thanks to the collaborative work between the 2 countries’ legal teams. She is wanted by the Mexican Government on the charge of conspiracy to defraud the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz, where her husband Javier Duarte governed between 2010 – 2016. The Mexican authorities want her to stand trial for an alleged £4 million fraud against the Integrated Family Development System (the DIF).
MALTA: A KEY FIGURE IN THE “DALLIGATE” SNUS BRIBERY SCANDAL HAS DIED
On 17 February, Tobacco reporter reported that a Maltese businessman and political canvasser for former EU Health Commissioner John Dalli, Silvio Zammit allegedly tried to solicit a €60 million bribe from Swedish Match in exchange for using his influence to lift the EU ban on selling snus. Swedish Match rejected the offer as improper and reported it to the European Commission.
FRANCE ANNOUNCES MILITARY WITHDRAWAL FROM MALI AFTER 9 YEARS
On 17 February, the Guardian reported that France and its European partners are to begin a military withdrawal from Mali after more than 9 years. The intervention successfully stemmed the insurgents’ advance and returned key cities such as Timbuktu to government control, but extremists swiftly regrouped. In recent years, jihadists have taken over swaths of territory in the former French colony, exploiting political turmoil, poverty and the weakness of local authorities.
NEW FBI UNIT WILL FOCUS ON CRYPTOCURRENCY EXPLOITATION
On 17 February, Decypher reported that, as part of the US Government’s effort to disrupt ransomware operators and other cybercrime groups, the FBI is forming a new unit dedicated to investigating abuses of cryptocurrencies, and the DoJ is launching a new International Virtual Currency Initiative to work with law enforcement, prosecutors, and cryptocurrency platforms to trace ransom payments and develop regulations and AML legislation. The FBI’s new unit will include agents who have specialised cryptocurrency and blockchain expertise, and will be focused on the task of digging into abuses of cryptocurrencies and exchanges, tracing cybercrime profits, and working with other law enforcement agencies on cryptocurrency investigations.
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