Panama Covid-19 update – the health minister has said that, while numbers have dropped, he is expecting a further blip, after the hrecent holidays when many people travelled to visit family etc.
Meanwhile, the new school year starts on 7 March, with face-to-face schooling returning and with 840,497 pupils at the public schools and 113,736 at the private schools set to return to classes in a staggered programme, first elementary schools, then middle schools.
4 new fatalities and 522 new cases reported today, with active cases down again at 4,221, with 24 in ICU and 144 in other wards.
4 MARCH 2022
COLOMBIA: JUDGE ORDERS THE ARREST OF FORMER PANAMA PRESIDENT MARTINELLI’S LAWYER
On 3 March, La Prensa reported that a judge had ordered the arrest of Diego Cadena, lawyer of former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe and former President Martinelli. This is said to be “for the non-compliance” with the house arrest that Cadena has been subject to since December 2021. Cadena is being prosecuted for alleged tax fraud and bribery.
RUSSIA RESTRICTS TRANSACTIONS WITH NATIONALS OF SANCTIONING COUNTRIES AND FURTHER LIMITS TRANSFERS OF FUNDS ABROAD
On 2 March, Skadden provided an update on Russian reactions to sanctions imposed following the invasion of Ukraine.
IS RUSSIA NOW FACING SUSPENSION FROM INTERPOL?
On 2 March, Kingsley Napley asked this question, saying that although Russia’s abuse of INTERPOL’s systems has persisted for years, it is notable that the suggestion of suspension comes as a result of the current invasion rather than as a reaction to Russia’s continued misuse of the INTERPOL system.
RISING HYBRID THREATS IN AFRICA
On 3 March, a report from the EU Institute for Strategic Studies says that while violent extremism and terrorism will remain security priorities for the continent in the next decade and beyond, hybrid operations are being increasingly detected. It says that the concept of hybrid threats is an ‘umbrella concept’ that regroups many different types of coercive and subversive activities, used by state or non-state actors to achieve specific objectives below the threshold of formally declared warfare. It also argues that state fragility and political instability in many African countries, combined with an aggravation of conflict and violence, provide a fertile ground for hybrid operations. The Brief seeks to explain why the EU should be alerted about the increase in hybrid threats in Africa and how they are becoming a critical security concern in an already fragile environment.
PANAMA CANAL RULES OUT TRANSIT BAN ON RUSSIAN SHIPS
On 4 March, Telesur reported that a ban has been ruled out due to the neutrality in the waterway and that according to the agreements signed in 1977, “it is a permanently neutral international transit waterway”.
CAATSA: WHAT IT IS, WHY IT IS IN NEWS & HOW IT CAN HURT INDIA
On 4 March, The Economic Times provided an explanation of the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act, a US law. It involves economic & financial penalties for any nation that transacts with Russia on arms and has been in force since August 2017. It notes that Turkey is already under CAATSA sanctions for its purchase of a batch of S-400 missile defence systems from Russia.
CHINA-LED DEVELOPMENT BANK HALTS BUSINESS IN RUSSIA AND BELARUS
On 4 March, Al Jazeera reported that the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) said it put all activities related to the two countries on hold in light of “the evolving economic and financial situation”. It did not elaborate on the reason for its decision.
FORMER CNBC AND FOX NEWS EMPLOYEE ARRESTED IN UK FOR HIS WORK AS A TV PRODUCER FOR A RUSSIAN MEDIA BARON
On 3 March, the Mercury News reported an AP story that Jack Hanick, 71, had been arrested in London in what is described as the first-ever criminal indictment charging a violation of US sanctions resulting from Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. It is said that he Hanick worked for years for Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev — the founder of a Russian Orthodox news channel, Tsargrad TV — even after US sanctions banned US citizens from working for or doing business with him.
CANADIAN COMPANIES STILL DOING BUSINESS IN RUSSIA
On 3 March, The Narwhal website reported that mining company SNC-Lavalin Group is among a number of high-profile multinational companies trying to distance themselves from investments and operations within Russia. It says that many Canadian-based companies have continued to do business with Russian partners in resource and related sectors.
US: COUPLE BUSTED TRYING TO SMUGGLE FLAMETHROWER INTO MEXICO
On 3 March, My RGV reported that an Israel citizen and his wife attempted to drive across the bridge into Mexico with a cache of weapons including a flamethrower and around 1,000 rounds of ammunition. They had entered the US to attend a gun show in McAllen, where they purchased the ammunition, accessories for weapons, and a flamethrower.
US FLAGS KENYA OVER REDUCED MONEY LAUNDERING AND FINANCIAL FRAUD CONTROLS
On 4 March, the Kenyans website reported that, in the latest International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) released by the US State Department noted that Kenya had relaxed some of the laws that targeted money laundering and wire fraud.
UKRAINE SANCTIONS: EU AMENDS REGULATION REGARDING THE RIGHTS OF DEFENCE AND THE RIGHT TO EFFECTIVE JUDICIAL PROTECTION
EU Regulation 2022/375/EU amended Regulation 208/2014/EU, replacing Section B (‘Rights of defence and right to effective judicial protection’) of Annex I to the Regulation.
UK OVERSEAS TERRITORIES AND SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA
On 4 March, the House of Commons Library published a briefing paper which describes how sanctions are applied by the UK’s 14 Overseas Territories. Only 10 of these are inhabited, and include the Cayman Islands, the NVI, and the Turks & Caicos Islands in the Caribbean.
KENYA: ASSET RECOVERY AGENCY MOVES TO SEIZE ASSETS FROM 2 CONGOLESE BUSINESSMEN
On 4 March, The Standard reported that ARA claims Jean-Paul Tshikangu Musangu, Venan Ma-Mabiala Mabiala and their company Groupe Elykia Limited are in possession of the illicit funds. ARA believes they are part of a money laundering syndicate. It is said that the traders said they were in the timber exportation business but there was no evidence to prove it, and the businessmen have no business premises or any records.
LONDONGRAD: WHAT IS THE COST OF RUSSIAN-LINKED ILLICIT FINANCE IN THE UK?
On 4 March, The Week published an article saying that the UK provided the rule of law, but also light-touch regulation, along with investment opportunities in the capital’s property and financial markets. Another big draw was the secrecy provided by anonymous UK shell companies, and the City’s web of offshore financial centres. There were also lawyers, accountants and PR experts to launder money and reputations.
FOREIGN AIRCRAFT OWNERS RISK BILLIONS OF LOSSES IN RUSSIA
On 4 March, the Straits Times reported that foreign aircraft lessors are facing the increasing possibility of write-offs that could total in the billions of dollars as Russia considers ways to defy worldwide sanctions and keep carriers such as Aeroflot flying.
HIGH COURT: UK DIRECTOR ‘HAD KNOWLEDGE’ OF COMPANY’S VAT FRAUD
On 3 March, an article from Out-Law reported that the director of an mobile phone company, now in liquidation, has been held liable for both fraudulent trading and misfeasance for participation in missing trader intra-community (MTIC) VAT fraud. This case is the first of its kind in which the director of a company has been held liable for both fraudulent trading and misfeasance for participation in MTIC fraud. It also revisits and provides further application of how the courts will determine the subjective standard of knowledge required for the offence of fraudulent trading.
SANCTIONED RUSSIAN BANK TRANSFERRED OWNERSHIP TO CYPRUS SHAREHOLDERS
On 3 March, OCCRP reported that the day Russia invaded Ukraine, Russian state-owned VTB Bank transferred its stake in Cyprus’ RCB Bank to the 2 remaining shareholders, both of which are companies registered in Cyprus.
IS THIS THE END FOR VENEZUELA’S MEGAGANGS?
On 3 March, Insight Crime reported that security forces in Venezuela have killed a string of infamous gang bosses, indicating that the gangs are no longer operating with impunity as they have for years, though some have managed to avoid the crackdown. Officials in Venezuela signalled that authorities had launched a plan to target the country’s gangs, some of which have grown so large that they are known locally as megabandas, or megagangs.
UAE: $1.048 BILLION WORTH OF AML/CFT PENALTIES COLLECTED IN 2021
On 3 March, the Khaleej Times reported that, in February 2021, the UAE established the Office for Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing to coordinate relevant national efforts in the areas of sectoral and objective risks, under the framework of a national risk assessment. It carried out 5,529 desk inspections, including substantive reviews using a wide range of industry sector data on AML/CFT and collected through supervisory assessments, forms and follow-up visits.
AIRLINE SOFTWARE GIANT ENDS DISTRIBUTION SERVICE WITH RUSSIA’S AEROFLOT, CRIPPLING CARRIER’S ABILITY TO SELL SEATS
On 3 March, CNBC reported that the Sabre Corporation said it had terminated its distribution agreement with Russia’s Aeroflot, a move that Europe’s Amadeus followed suit. Sabre provides ticket distribution and reservation services for carriers around the world.
ISLE OF MAN: SANCTIONS – NORTH KOREA, RUSSIA AND SOUTH SUDAN
On 4 March, the Isle of Man issued 3 news releases confirming that it was following the UK lead in –
- Adding Igor Ivanovich SHUVALOV, Alisher Burkhanovich USMANOV and the IS Bank to the Russian sanctions; and
- Michael Makuei LUETH on the South Sudan sanctions list
US STATE DEPARTMENT FACTSHEET – TARGETING RUSSIAN ELITES AND DEFENCE ENTERPRISES
On 3 March, the State Department issued a Factsheet, saying that OFAC and the Department of State were targeting Russian elites and their financial networks, listed in the Factsheet, and enterprises that design, develop, and produce the weaponry that Putin’s military is using to attack Ukraine.
UK: CONSULTATION ON ONLINE SALES TAX
On 4 March, KPMG reported that HM Treasury has opened a consultation on whether the UK should implement an Online Sales Tax but no decision on this has yet been made. The consultation closes on 20 May.
UK: GUIDANCE FOR THE FINANCIAL AND INVESTMENT RESTRICTIONS IN RUSSIA (SANCTIONS) (EU EXIT) REGULATIONS 2019
HM Treasury has issued updated guidance on regulations which impose financial, trade, transport and immigration sanctions to encourage Russia to cease actions which destabilise Ukraine, including actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. Various amendments to the regulations have also been published under this regime and should be read alongside this guidance. The territorial extent of the Regulations includes the entirety of the UK, and it also applies to conduct by UK persons – both nationals and corporate bodies – outside of the UK.
MALTA HAS COMPLETED ITS ACTION PLAN AND FATF WILL SCHEDULE VISIT TO VERIFY REFORMS
On 4 March, Malta Today reported that, still on the grey list, the FATF determined that Malta has substantially completed its action plan, warranting an on-site visit to verify that reforms have begun.
US JUSTICE DEPARTMENT PUTS AN END TO CONTROVERSIAL CHINA INITIATIVE
On 4 March, a post from Lawfare was concerned with the DoJ announcement that it will effectively terminate the controversial China Initiative, a programme that sought to protect US laboratories and businesses from economic espionage and intellectual property theft, and after a 3-month internal review.
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