Panama Covid-19 update – active cases down 183 to 2,595, with no deaths for a second day in a row (and for the third day this year). The numbers on hospital and the hospital-hotles are all down – 10 in ICU, 115 in other wards and 25 in the hotels.
MARCH 23 2022
MORE RESPONSIBILITIES, FOR THE US INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION – IMPORTS OF ARTICLES THAT CONTAIN, WERE PRODUCED USING, BENEFIT FROM, OR USE ANY TRADE SECRET ACQUIRED THROUGH IMPROPER MEANS
On 21 March, an article from Dentons said that the International Trade Commission (ITC) might soon be assigned another task under its mandate – the Stopping and Excluding Chinese Rip-offs and Exports with United States Trade Secrets Act of 2021 (aka SECRETS Act) was introduced in the US Congress. Under it the ITC would have the power to “direct the exclusion from the United States of […] imports of articles that contain, were produced using, benefit from, or use any trade secret acquired through improper means or misappropriation by a foreign agent or foreign instrumentality”.
THE FRENCH RESTRUCTURING AND INSOLVENCY REGIME HAS RECENTLY BEEN AMENDED
On 21 March, an article from White & Case was concerned with developments, saying that the French restructuring system has always been perceived as a debtor-friendly system. In recent years, however, changes to the French legislation have favoured creditors’ interests and the courts have favoured a number of lender-led restructures, enabling lenders to take control of the debtor from its existing shareholders. Most importantly, the French restructuring and insolvency regime has recently been amended, notably to implement a 2019 EU Directive. It provides a brief overview of key restructuring tools, including “pre-packs”.
APPEAL COURT ALLOWS DANISH TAX AUTHORITY TO LITIGATE IN ENGLISH COURTS
On 21 March, a post from MacFarlanes LLP reported on a recent Court of Appeal case which modifies the position re the constitutional law principle that tax is such a sovereignty issue that one sovereign tends not to enforce another sovereign’s tax law; this is most commonly epitomised by the “Government of India” decision by the House of Lords in 1955. The case involved the Danish tax authority trying to recover loss revenue said to result from a Cum-Ex fraud.
HOW CENTRAL BANKS TEST DIGITAL CURRENCIES
On 22 March, an article in the Wall Street Journal examining how central banks must grapple with how centralised they want the design and governance of such payment systems to be. It says that 12 digital currency projects under way use both a conventional central database and distributed ledger technology for support.
ISLE OF MAN: RUSSIA SANCTIONS GENERAL LICENCE – VTB BANK
On 23 March, a news release from the Isle of Man confirmed the existence of an updated version of the General Licence which allows for a 30-day wind down period of positions involving VTB Bank.
INDIA: 2 TONNES OF RED SANDALWOOD HIDDEN IN OIL TANKER BOUND FOR DUBAI
On 23 March, Mathrubhumi reported that the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) had seized 2,000 kg of the timber hidden on a tanker bound for Dubai.
“RAMPANT CORRUPTION AND ORGANISED CRIME” STILL INHERENT IN MOZAMBIQUE
On 23 March, Defence Web reported that a report by the Global Initiative against Transnational Organised Crime (GITOC) finds, among others, factors which led to the insurgency in northern Mozambique 5 years ago are still in evidence today.
RUSSIA WILL CEASE TO BE A PARTY TO THE EUROPEAN CONVENTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS ON 16 SEPTEMBER
On 23 March, the Council of Europe reported that, following its expulsion from the Council of Europe, Russia will also cease to be a party to the ECHR.
AUSTRALIA’S CARBON CREDIT SCHEME ‘LARGELY A SHAM’, SAYS WHISTLEBLOWER
On 23 March, an article in the Guardian reported that a whistleblower who spent years working on the integrity of the Australian government’s carbon credit system has launched an extraordinary attack on the scheme, describing it as a fraud that is hurting the environment and has wasted more than $1 billion in taxpayer funding. “What is occurring is a fraud on the environment, a fraud on taxpayers and a fraud on unwitting consumers,” he said.
IRAN’S INFLUENCE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
On 23 March, the House of Commons Library issued a briefing paper which describes Iranian activity in 4 Middle Eastern countries, what the UK and others have said and done in response, and prospects for 2022.
US: 2 IMPORTERS OF CHAIN SAW CHAINS AND BLADES MANUFACTURED IN CHINA HAVE AGREED TO PAY $525,000 TO RESOLVE ALLEGATIONS THAT THEY MISCLASSIFIED THEIR IMPORTS
On 23 March, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that the importers allegedly avoided paying the Section 301 tariffs otherwise due on imports of such goods from China.
AZERI POLITICIAN BOUGHT 2 LONDON HOMES DURING PROBE INTO HIS FAMILY’S WEALTH
On 23 March, OCCRP reported that Land Registry documents show that an Azeri lawmaker, Javanshir Feyziyev, purchased 2 luxury London homes as UK authorities were investigating whether some of the money he had transferred to his family’s local bank accounts was linked to money laundering.
CENTRAL AFRICAN MILITIA LEADER APPEARS AT ICC
On 23 March, OCCRP reported that Maxime Jeoffroy Eli Mokom Gawaka (aka Mr Mokom) ,a Central African Republic militia leader has appeared before a pre-trial chamber of the International Criminal Court in The Hague after he was handed over by Chad to face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
FRENCH AND ROMANIAN POLICE, SUPPORTED BY EUROPOL AND EUROJUST, DISMANTLED A CRIMINAL NETWORK INVOLVED IN HUMAN TRAFFICKING FOR SEXUAL EXPLOITATION
A news release from Europol on 23 March reported that an action day on 22 March led to 16 house searches (10 in France and 6 in Romania); 7 arrests (2 in France and 5 in Romania, including a high-value target identified by the law enforcement authorities); 32 victims identified, most of whom were Romanian nationals (13 in France and 19 in Romania); and seizures which included digital equipment and mobile phones, cannabis from an indoor lab, luxury vehicles and over €23,000 in cash.
BVI CUSTOMS OFFICIALS DETAINED 184 BOATS FROM 3 CHARTER YACHT COMPANIES
On 22 March, the Sailing Scuttlebut website reported that the action involved Customs, Labor, Immigration, Department of Trade, the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry, Ports Authority, and the Financial Investigations Agency. 184 vessels were detained and it was said that they would be secured by bond, until they meet the requirements to be offered for hire. Violations included chartering without commercial licenses and cruising permits, making false declarations to customs officers, and for not meeting safety requirements.
INDIA: CUSTOMS NABS FLYER WITH 3,000 DIAMONDS AT PUNE AIRPORT
On 23 March, the Times of India reported that Customs had detained a man who had returned from Sharjah and was found to have the diamonds concealed on him.
UK TROPHY HUNTING IMPORT BAN TO BE BROUGHT FORWARD
On 22 March, the Guardian reported that a trophy hunting import ban will be brought forward in coming months despite opposition from Conservative backbenchers. The ban was a manifesto commitment for this parliamentary session.
BRAZILIAN ELECTIONS: POLARISATION, LEGISLATIVE GRIDLOCK, AND THE OBSTACLES TO A “THIRD WAY”
On 23 March, a briefing from Control Risks considered the situation in Brazil and the likely future following the October elections.
ECUADOR’S FISHERMEN FACE DEATH OR DESPAIR FROM CONSTANT PIRATE ATTACKS
On 22 March, Insight Crime reported that rampant piracy along Ecuador’s coastal provinces is forcing hundreds of fishermen to leave their profession and the sea out of fear for their lives. Many of the attacks have taken place in the northern province of Esmeraldas, a hotspot for cocaine trafficking near the Colombian border.
THE RUSSIAN-UKRAINE CRISIS AND THE RUSSIAN EXPORT BAN
On 23 March, an article in Hellenic Shipping News reflected on the situation in respect of shipping. It examines the effects on Russian shipping and exports, and on the dry freight and tanker markets.
UK: CONTINUED CLAMPDOWN ON MISLEADING AND IRRESPONSIBLE CRYPTO ADVERTS
On 22 March, a news release from the Advertising Standards Authority announced that it had issued an Enforcement Notice to over 50 companies which advertise cryptocurrencies, instructing them to review their ads and to ensure they understand and are complying with the rules so that consumers are treated fairly.
UK ECONOMIC CRIME ACT HAS LOOPHOLES, SAYS LEADING ECONOMIC CRIME EXPERT
A news release on 23 March advised that an economic crime expert from the University of Portsmouth has produced a paper which argues that authorities need to fundamentally adapt their approach to combating money laundering, and strengthen measures to further enhance beneficial ownership transparency. He is concerned that new measures within the Economic Crime Act won’t achieve the desired goal of shining a light on the real owners of assets held by faceless companies. He is concerned about the definition of a “beneficial owner” as someone who owns more than 25% of shares or voting rights in a legal entity.
FIRST TRANCHE OF SANCTIONS UNDER THE RUSSIA SANCTIONS ACT ENACTED IN NEW ZEALAND
On 22 March, Insurance Marine News reported that the first tranche of sanctions designates an additional 364 political and military individuals to a travel ban list, and places sanctions on Russian Leader Vladimir Putin and the 12 members of his Security Council, 1 bank and 18 other entities.
PODCAST: WHAT THE REVISED OECD RECOMMENDATION MEANS FOR THE PRIVATE SECTOR
In the latest TRACE podcast, Drago Kos, Chair of the OECD’s Working Group on Bribery, and Dan Kahn, former head of the DOJ FCPA Unit and now a partner in Davis Polk’s DC office, wrap up the series on the OECD revised Recommendation with a focus on the very practical implications for companies.
BRIDGESTONE AMONG JAPAN’S GROWING RUSSIA EXODUS
In its 24 March edition, Nikkei Asia reported that at least 37 Japanese companies plan to suspend or shrink business operations in Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
JAPAN’S TOP OIL REFINERS ENEOS HOLDINGS AND IDEMITSU KOSAN ARE HALTING RUSSIAN CRUDE OIL IMPORTS
On 23 March, Nikkei Asia reported that Eneos Holdings and Idemitsu Kosan will halt Russian crude oil imports after the fulfilment of current contracts. It says that sanctions on Russia have made it hard to conduct business and also as companies come under pressure to boycott the country.
US ENDS ZTE PROBATION AFTER 5 YEARS
On 23 March, Mobile World Live reported that Chinese vendor ZTE in a hearing related to alleged visa fraud had its probation period ended as scheduled.
SHIPS LEAVING RUSSIAN PORTS DOWN 35% SINCE START OF INVASION
On 23 March Lloyds List reported that the number of vessels leaving Russia for international ports has tumbled in the weeks following its attack on Ukraine. 885 vessels departed Russian ports in the 3 weeks to 24 February, which compares with 579 departures over the 3 weeks ending 16 March.
Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed! I have a page where you can do so, and where one-off contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymea3coffee.com/KoIvM842y