Panama Covid-19 update – 323 news cases and 1 new fatality reported today; with 2,386 active cases – 16 in ICU and 135 in other wards.
Aldo, an odd story in the press reported that a “clandestine” dentalclinic had been raided in our district while we were away…photos showed armed police taking people away. One can only imagine the clinic was being run by non-Panamanians without the necessary licence, visa etc…
MARCH 15 2022
Greetings from David (again)! Still on tour, so still not quite normal service…
Italy annuls sale of military drones company to Chinese investors
On 10 March, Reuters reported that the government opened an investigation last year into the 2018 sale to the Chinese players of a 75% stake in Alpi Aviation. The probe concluded that those involved should have informed the government about the transaction under Italy’s so-called “golden power” regulations aimed at shielding strategically important assets.
Recent developments in Cayman Islands law with particular relevance to the conduct of major cross border litigation and asset recovery
On 9 March, Walkers published an article on activity has included a number of significant developments relevant to the world of asset recovery.
Brookings Sanctions Tracker
On 14 March, the Brookings Institute published this tool, saying that the tracker monitors sanctions in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The tracker was last updated as of 11 March. The tracker currently includes sanctions announced between 22 February and 10 March. Given the rapidly evolving situation, this spreadsheet will be periodically updated.
Japan adds 17 Russians to sanctions list, including Viktor Vekselberg
On 15 March, the Times of Israel reported that the the list of sanction targets include 11 members of the Russian parliamentary chamber of Duma, banker Yuri Kovalchuk and his relatives, as well as billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, chairman of Renova Group.
The Key Questions About How Sanctions Affect the Art Market
On 14 March, an article from Artnet set out to answer a sampling of the most common questions received from clients and others in the US and around the world. The bottom line it provides is to think of sanctioned parties as functionally dead to the world, and when in doubt, tell clients not to proceed.
Sanctions-hit Russian oligarch quits Uzbek bank
On 14 March, Eurasianet reported that Uzbekistan-born Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov, who is the target of international sanctions, has abruptly sold his stake in an Uzbek bank which he recently bought from the president’s son-in-law.
Key supply of diamonds caught up in Russia sanctions
On 14 March, CNN reported that global sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine are affecting the global supply of a precious commodity – the diamonds used in jewellery. The ban directly targets Alrosa, which the US government identified as the world’s largest diamond mining company, responsible for 90% of Russia’s diamond mining capacity and accounting for 28%, or nearly a third, of global diamond output. However, it is said it isn’t clear how US Customs will treat imports of polished diamonds that come from other countries but originated in Russia. A raw diamond can touch many countries as it goes from an uncut gem to a beguiling necklace or ring.
Isle of Man delists 2 Russian-linked aircraft and super yachts
On 15 March, the BBC reported that 14 jets and helicopters as well as 2 super yachts with Russian links have now been stripped of their Isle of Man-registered status. It says that 1 airliner, 6 business jets and 7 helicopters have been removed from the Manx registry, which contains around 320 aircraft.
Freedom of the press: EU court rules that the disclosure by a journalist of inside information re rumours concerning listed companies is lawful where it is necessary for the purpose of carrying out a journalistic activity and respects the principle of proportionality
A news release from the Court of Justice of the EU on 15 March reported on the outcome of a case involving the Daily Mail in the UK and takeover bids for the shares of the companies Hermès (by LVMH) and Maurel & Prom.
UK: New measures to tackle corrupt elites and dirty money become law
On 15 March, the Home Office announced that the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill has received Royal Assent. A new Register of Overseas Entities, requiring those behind foreign companies which own UK property to reveal their identities, will also be created under the Act. The new legislation will mean the government can move more quickly to impose sanctions against oligarchs already designated by allies. Reforms to Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWO) will remove key barriers to their use.
ENRC drops second libel claim over ‘dirty money’ allegations
On 15 March, Law Society Gazette reported that mining giant Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC) has discontinued a libel claim against the Financial Times and one of its journalists over articles about ‘dirty money’ and the deaths of 3 potential witnesses to alleged corruption. Another case involving author Tom Burgis and publisher HarperCollins over ‘very serious’ allegations collapsed last month.
UK announces new economic sanctions against Russia
On 15 March, a news release from the Department of International Trade advised that the UK Government had imposed a ban on exports to Russia of high-end luxury goods, while also hitting hundreds of key products with new import tariffs.
UK CYBER SANCTIONS REGIME: 9 NEW NAMES ADDED
On 15 March, HM Treasury announced that 9 persons had been added to the sanctions lists for conducting or directing cyber activity that undermines, or is intended to undermine, the integrity, prosperity or security of the UK or a country other than the UK; international organisations; and NGO whose purposes relate to the governance of international sport or the Internet.
UK TERRORISM SANCTIONS: CORRECTIONS TO 2 EXISTING ENTRIES
On 15 March, HM Treasury announced that 1 existing entry on its terrorism sanctions list had been amended and another corrected.
UK: 2 ENTRIES ON RUSSIA SANCTIONS LIST AMENDED
On 15 March, HM Treasury announced that the existing entries for Anatoly Borisovich VYBORNY and Aleksei Mikhailovich CHALIY had been amended.
UK: Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU) customer service survey
On 15 March, Notice to Exporters 2022/08 said that the ECJU is seeking feedback on:
UK: NEW AND AMENDED RUSSIAN SANCTIONS DESIGNATIONS
A Notice from HM Treasury on 15 March advised that 14 new names had been added to existed sanctions lists, 6 existing entries have been amended and 2 others corrected.
2 Unusual Missile Launches Hint at a New Security Crisis in North Korea
On 15 March, a Commentary from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said that a new crisis with North Korea is quickly brewing with Kim Jong Un focused on a wide-ranging military modernisation agenda. It says that Kim has shown those plans to be credible; among other capabilities, he has tested 2 types of hypersonic weapons and a new long-range cruise missile. Kim now appears determined to continue through his list, moving on to bigger-ticket items that could significantly harm US, South Korean, and Japanese interests by expanding the quality and quantity of the nuclear threat.
US Customs to detain sporting goods merchandise reportedly produced with North Korean labour
On 15 March, KPMG reported that CBP has issued a release announcing that merchandise produced or manufactured by a specific Chinese sporting goods company will be detained at all US ports of entry. This follows an investigation indicating that the sporting goods company uses North Korean labour in its supply chain.
India’s Stance on the Russia-Ukraine Crisis
On 4 March, a Commentary from the Stimson Center examined India’s position after it abstained from voting against Russia at the United Nations to denounce Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine, and stopped short of condemning Russia. One problem is that around 85% of India’s military equipment is of Russian or Soviet origin, and India continues to rely upon Russia for maintenance, spare parts, and other support for its existing arsenal. The growing closeness between Russia and India’s regional rival, China, is also a consideration.
North Korea Tests Spy Satellite Components
On 9 March, 38 North reported that North Korea had launched an unidentified medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM)-class booster, to apparently pop the key components of an imagery reconnaissance satellite up to operational altitudes for a few minutes of testing. If North Korea does conduct a satellite launch in the coming weeks or months, this would be the first since February 2016.
Myanmar’s Prospects One Year after the Coup
On 11 February, a Commentary from the Stimson Center said that a year has passed since the Myanmar military abruptly seized power with a coup, and the situation in the country remains dangerously undetermined as all sides vie for a leg up and external observers weigh policy options. In the article emerging experts on Myanmar reflect on the situation on the ground, what 2022 may bring for the country, and what factors outside observers and policymakers should watch for as potential turning points at this tumultuous time for the state.
Russia moves to seize hundreds of leased aircraft
On 14 March, Flight Global reported that Vladimir Putin has moved to effectively seize hundreds of aircraft currently operated by Russian carriers from foreign lessors. He signed a law that allows the jets to be registered in Russia, in essence confiscating them from their overseas owners, retaliating against sanctions.
OFAC ADDS 15 NEW INDIVIDUALS AND THE KURCHALOI DISTRICT OF THE CHECHEN REPUBLIC BRANCH OF THE MINISTRY OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION TO RUSSIAN-RELATED SANCTIONS
A news release from OFAC on 15 March advised of 15 new names and 1 new entity added to sanctions lists.
US STATE DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCED SANCTIONS ON 11 KEY MEMBERS OFRUSSIA’S DEFENCE ENTERPRISES
A news release from the State Department on 15 March advised that 11 individuals are being designated pursuant to E.O. 14024 as persons who operate or have operated in the defence and related materiel sector of the Russian Federation economy.
CONSOLIDATED GUIDANCE ON SANCTIONS CLAUSES IN TRADE FINANCE-RELATED INSTRUMENTS
The International Chamber of Commerce has published this consolidated guidance for use with trade finance-related instruments that are subject to the rules drafted by the ICC Banking Commission (“ICC rules”). The purpose of this consolidated Guidance Paper is to highlight certain issues arising from the use of such clauses and recommend best practices in that respect.
NFT: a legal perspective – ownership
An article from Field Fisher on 15 March says that it intends to dispel some confusion and common misconceptions by publishing a short series of articles addressing NFT ownership, intellectual property infringement, commercial issues, data protection, and regulatory risks.
The science of nuclear weapons visualised
UK ADDS 350 MORE NAMES TO RUSSIA SANCTIONS – 2 OTHER ENTRIES AMENDED
A Notice from HM Treasury on 15 March advised that another 350 names had been added to the Russia sanctions list, and that 2 existing entries on the list had been amended.
ISLE OF MAN: 3 FURTHER NEWS RELEASES ADVISING CYBER, TERRORISM AND RUSSIASANCTIONS CHANGES
On 15 March, the Isle of Man issued 3 further news releases – 1 advised an amendment and a correction to entries on the terrorism sanctions lists; a second advised that 9 entries had been added to cyber sanctions regime; and 2 existing entries on Russian sanctions lists have been amended.
EU ADDS FURTHER 15 INDIVIDUALS AND 9 ENTITIES TO RUSSIAN SANCTIONS LISTS AND AMENDS TEXT OF 2014 EU REGULATION
EU Regulation 2022/427/EU added 15 individuals and 9 entities to the list of persons, entities and bodies subject to restrictive measures as set out in Annex I to Regulation (EU) No 269/2014 (including Roman Abramovich).
EU Regulation 2022/428/EU amends the text of Regulation (EU) No 833/2014, in the light of recent amendments to sanctions involving further trade restrictions concerning iron and steel, as well as luxury goods; making changes which expanded the list of persons connected to Russia’s defence and industrial base, on whom tighter export restrictions regarding dual-use goods and technology as well as goods and technology which might contribute to the technological enhancement of Russia’s defence and security sector are imposed; imposed prohibitions targeting new investments in the Russian energy sector, as well as a comprehensive export restriction on equipment, technology and services for the energy industry in Russia, with the exception of the nuclear industry and the downstream sector of energy transport; prohibited all transactions with certain state-owned companies which are already subject to refinancing restrictions; and prohibited the provision of credit rating services and bans access to any subscription services in relation to credit rating activities to Russian clients.
Japan Tobacco Company to Continue Producing Cigarettes in Russia
ON 14 March, OCCRP reported that Japan’s state-backed tobacco company announced that it would suspend planned investments in Russia, but failed to promise to shut down factories despite criticism that continuing operations would pump cash into a government that has come under heavy sanctions for its invasion of Ukraine. Japan Tobacco International (JTI), which is behind brands like Winston and Camel, owns 4 factories in Russia.
Suisse Secrets: New Documents Link Scandal-Hit Angolan Banker To Embezzlement Scheme
On 14 March, an article from OCCRP reported that Álvaro Sobrinho, who led an Angolan bank that collapsed with billions of dollars of unexplained debts, is linked by new documents and testimony to a scheme to siphon off hundreds of millions of dollars of government-backed financing for social housing.
AUSTRALIA ANNOUNCED NEW SANCTIONS AGAINST 33 RUSSIAN OLIGARCHS AND BUSINESS PEOPLE
On 15 March, Jurist reported that the move is a part of a coordinated effort by Australia and its allies to support Ukraine in the war against Russia. Since the start of the war, Australia has imposed over 460 sanctions on Russian individuals and entities, including the Central Bank of Russia, Russian Armed Forces, Putin, Putin’s security council and a number of oligarchs. Among those sanctioned are Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich.
LAUNCH OF THE INTERPOL FINANCIAL CRIME AND ANTI-CORRUPTION CENTRE (IFCACC)
On 15 March, a news release advised that IFCACC is intended to provide a coordinated global response against the exponential growth in transnational financial crime.
Political risk mounts in Russia’s changing business environment
On 15 March, Control Risks reported that Russia’s business environment has changed dramatically since 24 February. More than 330 foreign companies have announced their withdrawal from Russia. It considers potential implications for companies that have exited Russia or suspended Russian operations.
Mom-and-Pop Stores: Perfect Money Laundering Vehicles on US-Mexico Border
On 15 March, Insight Crime carried an article sayng that, in addition to relying on bulk cash smuggling, illegal wire transfers and currency exchange houses, criminals in Mexico are still using one of the oldest ways drug traffickers have washed their dirty money: the black market peso exchange -and this includes small-scale stores. It says that smaller, less sophisticated businesses often lack the internal controls of large corporations and are more likely to face financial stress.
UK regulators warn cryptoassets cannot be used to circumvent sanctions
On 15 March, an article from Out-Law said that the UK financial regulatory authorities have issued a joint statement reminding financial services firms that cryptoassets cannot be used to evade economic sanctions on entities and individuals.
UK: Who is at risk from a Disqualification Order?
An article from Corker Bining on 14 March explains that the power for a court to disqualify a person from acting as a company director is consolidated in the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986. This is described as not much less severe in effect than the prospect of imprisonment, fines or regulatory prohibition. It explains there is some discretion for the courts, but that in certain cases disqualification is mandated.
SEC fraud charges against 5 individuals for allegedly operating a call centre in Colombia, which used high pressure sales tactics and made false and misleading statements to retail investors
A release on Mondo Visione on 15 March advised that the SEC had announced fraud charges against the individuals for allegedly operating a call centre in Medellin which used high pressure sales tactics and made false and misleading statements to retail investors to convince them to buy the stocks of small companies trading in the US markets.
Italian Winery Cleared of Mafia Money Laundering
On 13 March, Wine Searcher reported that the Mezzacorona wine group was acquitted of money laundering after 2 years of investigation and accusations of links with the Sicilian Mafia. As part of the investigation, Mezzacorona had €70 million worth of assets seized in 2020, mainly related to its Sicilian winery, Feudo Arancio.
Nigerian authorities arrest alleged scammer on FBI Most Wanted List
On 15 March, The Record reported that Nigeria authorities have arrested Osondu Victor Igwilo, 52, a suspect wanted by the FBI for wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering, and aggravated identity theft. He is said to be the alleged leader of a criminal network of “catchers” whose main fraud technique was sending phishing emails fraudulently claiming to offer investment funding on behalf of BB&T Corporation — a US Bank headquartered in North Carolina — to potential victims.
Irish union request to block Russian tanker is refused by government
On 15 March, Insurance Marine News reported another occurrence of the increasing tendency in the West for workers and consumers to be more aggressive than governments when it comes to sanctioning anything connected to Russia. The government turned down a request by an Irish union to ban from entering port a tanker carrying Russian refined oil from Lukoil’s Vykotsk terminal in the Baltic.
Russian ship seeks transfer of cargo at another port after being banned from Canada
On 15 March, Insurance Marine News reported that at least one vessel banned from Canada ports is now expected to transfer the cargo to a ship of a different flag in a different port, before the cargo, if not the ship, heads once again to its original destination. This time, however, there will be no attempt to hide the origin of the cargo, merely to circumvent the sanctions on Russia imposed in Canada. The ship involved had departed Riga with a load of carbon pitch and was due to deliver the cargo to an aluminium smelter at the Canadian port of Trois-Rivières. It was in mid-Atlantic when sanctions were announced. It is said to be is heading for another port, where it will transload its cargo onto a non-Russian vessel, which will then deliver it back to Trois-Rivières.
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