Panama Covid-19 update – after no deaths yesterday, 3 reported today, with the health ministry also saying that none of these were fully vaccinated, all 3 were over 60, with 2 from the Panama City metropolitan area and 1 from Panama Oeste. Meanwhile, with 135 new cases reported active cases have fallen by another 142 to 2,265, with 13 in ICU and 104 in other wards.
21 MARCH 2022
REPORT TO US CONGRESS ON HYPERSONIC WEAPONS
On 18 March, USNI News reported that, on 17 March, the Congressional Research Service issued a report: “Hypersonic Weapons: Background and Issues for Congress”. Such weapons have reportedly been used by Russia in Ukraine.
INVASION OF UKRAINE: RUSSIA’S TRADE STATUS, TARIFFS, AND WTO ISSUES
On 18 March, the US Congressional Research Service issued an updated report in the light of moves to revoke Russia’s permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status, which provides unconditional non-discriminatory, most-favoured nation (MFN) treatment to goods and services traded with Russia.
EU SANCTIONS ON SYRIA: SYRIAN BUSINESSMAN WINS ANNULMENT OF DESIGNATION
On 21 March, the EU Sanctions blog reported that a Mr Sabra had won his case before the CJEU after he had rebutted the presumption that he was linked with the Syrian regime.
IRAN CLANDESTINE BANKING AND FINANCE SYSTEM TO EVADE SANCTIONS
On 18 March, a special report from the Wall Street Journal said that Iran established a clandestine banking and finance system to handle tens of billions of dollars in annual trade banned under US-led sanctions, including accounts in foreign commercial banks, proxy companies registered outside the country, others that coordinate banned trade, and a transaction clearinghouse within Iran. This, it says, has helped Iran resist the Biden Administration’s pressure to rejoin the 2015 JCPOA. It is said that Iran’s success at circumventing trade and finance bans, apparent in trade data and confirmed by Western diplomats and intelligence officials, shows the limits of global financial sanctions.
US SAYS REVIVED NUCLEAR DEAL ‘WILL NOT ABSOLVE’ IRAN OF NON-PROLIFERATION DUTIES
On 9 March, The National reported that even if Iran rejoins the nuclear deal the US would not let it off the hook over its failure to co-operate with UN inspectors or provide explanations for undeclared atomic activity.
SANCTIONS: ABRAMOVICH JET AMONG 100 AIRCRAFT CITED OVER US RULES
On 18 March, Bloomberg Wealth reported that the Biden Administration identified billionaire Roman Abramovich’s Gulfstream business jet among 100 for apparent violations of export controls imposed over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Providing any form of service to these aircraft requires authorisation. Anyone doing so without it, including within Russia, would be subject to enforcement actions including jail time, fines and loss of export privileges. The restrictions affect any US-made aircraft or any made in another country with more than 25% US-origin controlled content if destined for Russia.
ISLE OF MAN TAX AVOIDANCE PROMOTER FINED £150,000 BY HMRC
On 21 March, International Adviser reported that HMRC has fined Isle of Man-based AML Tax (UK) Limited £150,000 for failing to provide the UK taxman with “legally required information”. The Upper Tribunal has upheld the penalty over failure to comply with formal information notices as part of a tax investigation. HMRC said that the company has been “aggressively” promoting tax avoidance schemes in the UK. The company is part of Doug Barrowman’s Isle of Man-based Knox Group, he is the husband of Conservative peer, Baroness Mone.
QUINCECARE DUTY OF CARE NOT CONFINED TO COMPANIES AND AGENTS
On 18 March, an article from Hausfeld & Co LLP explains that the general principle is that a bank can be liable if it has breached a duty to exercise reasonable care and skill in carrying out a customer’s instructions, where the relevant bank is put on enquiry that it may facilitate a fraud on the customer. The article focusses on a decision of the Court of Appeal, which concluded that whether the bank owed such a duty does not depend on whether it was instructed by a customer company’s agent. The Court also decided that it is arguable that the duty also extends to individual customers whose funds are the target of attempted misappropriation by a third party.
UK: NEW RULES FOR INTERNATIONAL ROAD HAULAGE IN 2022
On 21 March, the Department for Transport warned people to get ready for new rules for transporting goods to, through or within Europe using cars and trailers, vans and HGV. This information included what transport companies and couriers need to do to use vans and car and trailers over 2.5 tonnes to transport goods in Europe from 21 May; and how to apply for a vehicle operator licence if you’ll use a van or other light goods vehicle to transport goods in Europe from 21 May.
US: INTERAGENCY TASK FORCE FOR PREVENTING ILLEGAL IMPORTS OF HYDROFLUOROCARBONS IS SEEING SUBSTANTIAL EARLY SUCCESS
On 21 March, Sandler Travis Rosenberg explained that HFC are gases used as replacements for ozone-depleting substances in a variety of applications, including refrigeration and air conditioning equipment, foams, aerosols, and fire suppressants, but themselves have significant potential to increase global warming. It reported on the activities of the task force enforcing rules under the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act of 2020.
INDIA: CUSTOMS OFFICIALS FOIL ATTEMPT TO SMUGGLE 15TH CENTURY BRONZE STATUE TO MALAYSIA
On 21 March, The Hindu reported that officials at Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru seized a bronze statue of Lord Mahavishnu dating back to the 15th Century. An antique dealer from Tamil Nadu was arrested. The statue was declared as a new replica of an antique.
RUSSIAN SANCTIONS: THE IMPACT OF UK, EU AND US SANCTIONS FOR UK AND EU BUSINESSES
On 18 March, Out-Law published this general, but wide-ranging guide.
BRAZIL ARMS TRAFFICKERS USED PORTABLE TECHNOLOGY TO MANUFACTURE GUN PARTS
On 18 March, Insight Crime reported that a gang imported gun parts and then used a dedicated centre to assemble the weapons on arrival. The owner of a Brazilian steakhouse in Boston was also identified as having helped to launder and distribute the proceeds from this lucrative arms trade. Gun parts were sent from Miami to various parts of Brazil by air and sea, and then used a Ghost Gunner, a portable CNC mill designed to make gun parts at home, to complete the weapons and assemble them.
WHEAT EXPORTS FROM UKRAINE AND RUSSIA ARE STILL BEING BLOCKED BY RUSSIA FROM LEAVING THE BLACK SEA
On 21 March, Hellenic Shipping News reported that zero grain is currently being exported from the ports of Ukraine — nothing is leaving the country at all, and that the export activity on the Russian side is “very limited”.
SWITZERLAND RUSSIA SANCTIONS AND CRIMINAL PENALTIES
A post on the FCPA Blog on 21 March was concerned with a new Ordinance which reinforces and expands the sanctions regime against Russian entities and nationals. The post seeks to provide some guidance on how to respect the rules set forth in the Ordinance.
CITY SOLICITOR APPEARS ON CHARGE OF ‘TIPPING OFF’ CLIENT ABOUT SFO PROBE
On 14 March, the Law Society Gazette reported claims that a solicitor ‘tipped off’ a client about a SFO probe and provided a forged letter of engagement to investigators.
LEADER OF GUATEMALAN DRUG TRAFFICKING ORGANISATION AND GUATEMALAN POLITICIAN INDICTED FOR INTERNATIONAL COCAINE TRAFFICKING
A news release from US DoJ on 18 March advised that Aler Baldomero Samayoa-Recinos (aka Chicharra), and his son-in-law Freddy Arnoldo Salazar Flores (aka Fredy, Freshco, Boyca, Boyka, Torojo, Flaquillo, and Flaco), had been charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine for importation to the US. Salazar Flores is a representative of the Central American Parliament (PARLACEN).
JAPAN INTRODUCES FURTHER SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA AND BELARUS
On 21 March, a post from Baker Mckenzie reported that the Japanese government has imposed further sanctions on the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus.
BANK OF CANADA AND MIT LAUNCH CENTRAL BANK DIGITAL CURRENCY (CBDC) RESEARCH PROJECT
On 21 March, Fintech Futures reported that the Bank of Canada and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have announced an agreement to collaborate on a 12-month research project focusing on CBDC.
ACAMS GLOBAL RANSOMWARE RISKS SURVEY REPORT
- ACAMS has announced the results of its survey, with 47% of respondents believe a ransomware attack is likely in the next 12 months.
CRYPTOCURRENCY USAGE BY DOMESTIC EXTREMISTS
On 15 March, Homeland Security Today reported that extremists have increasingly sought ways to obfuscate their identity to make tracing cryptocurrency payments more difficult, adopting protocols like “mixing” or “coinjoining” to hide ownership of their funds. The article says that a new report released by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) reveals how America’s far-right domestic extremists fundraise through cryptocurrency.
HOW AUTOCRATS EXPLOIT THE DEFINITION OF TERRORISM FOR THEIR OWN PURPOSES
On 13 March, Homeland Security Today published an article saying that Russia, Turkey, and Egypt are states whose leaders have targeted and labelled the opposition as terrorists, resulting in thousands of human-rights violations. It warns that the list of countries that exploit terrorism is likely to grow rather than abate, given the number of authoritarian states across the globe.
OECD RELEASES E-COMMERCE VAT TOOLKIT FOR ASIA-PACIFIC STATES
On 21 March, Wolters Kluwer reported that OECD released a new VAT Digital Toolkit for Asia-Pacific (APAC) nations. The toolkit is intended to support local tax authorities to better collect VAT on e-commerce activities.
G7 FIU COOPERATE ON SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA
On 21 March, an article from Strikeman Elliott LLP in Canada reported that Canada’s FINTRAC has agreed to work with other FIU in relation to sanctions and related AML.
SANCTIONS: UK CHARITY REGULATOR TO INVESTIGATE GENESIS PHILANTHROPY GROUP
On 21 March, K2 Integrity reported that the Charity Commission has opened an investigation into Genesis Philanthropy Group after 3 of its founding trustees were made subject to financial sanctions. Prominent Putin allies Petr Aven, Mikhail Fridman, and German Khan were added to the UK financial sanctions lists. The inquiry will see if the charity can continue to operate and if the 3 trustees have discharged their legal duties and responsibilities in managing the organisation. The commission froze the charity’s bank account to ensure that no one can move funds without prior consent.
NORWEGIAN SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA
On 21 March, Wikborg Rein reported that Norway has implemented much of the EU sanctions imposed. An article summarises the main features of the measures adopted and an overview of recent developments regarding Russian counter-sanctions.
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