Panama Covid 19 – the number of patients with Covid in ICU in the country has fallen to just 6 – the lowest it has been for 6 months. However, 1 new fatality was reported today, with 342 new cases, and a drop off 159 in active cases to 2,754. There are 97 patients in other wards.
24 MARCH 2022
JERSEY: ANTI-BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION
On 23 March, Appleby published an article saying that Jersey has enacted domestic legislation known as the Corruption (Jersey) Law 2006, which came into force in March 2007. However, the UK Bribery Act 2010, also shapes expectations and practices in Jersey, given the Island’s close commercial co-operation with the UK.
STEINHOFF SETTLEMENT APPROVAL A BIG WIN FOR INVESTORS
On 23 March, an article from Burford Capital reported that a settlement of securities fraud claims against Steinhoff International Holdings NV has become effective. This was after 3 years of complex, contentious negotiations between Steinhoff, its financial creditors, 6 separately represented shareholder groups and various other parties. Burford represented one of the shareholder groups consisting of several of the world’s largest asset managers, including 3 of Steinhoff’s 5 largest institutional shareholders. Steinhoff is a Dutch corporation headquartered in South Africa, and at one point distributed over 40 retail brands in over 30 counties through its operating subsidiaries and was valued at nearly €20 billion. An investigation would eventually uncover a €6.5 billion accounting fraud and these disclosures caused Steinhoff’s share price to decline by nearly 90%, wiping out €12.6 billion of market capitalisation.
EU IMPORT ONE-STOP SHOP SCHEME AND VAT THRESHOLD REGIME
On 23 March, an article from Eurofast said that a new set of rules based on the EU Council Directive 2006/112/EC that affects online cross border business to customer (B2C) sales came into force in July 2021. The new rules, briefly discussed below, aim to simplify the online shopping experience for both sellers and consumers using digital tools and platforms. The One Stop Shop (OSS) was introduced for sellers and platforms, and it is intended for the declaration and payment of the VAT by registering in one EU Member State for all distance sales of goods and cross border supplies of services to customers within EU.
IRAN’S REVOLUTIONARY GUARD UNVEILS UNMANNED ‘SMART SUBMARINES’
On 22 March, Dryad Global reported that state TV reported that IRGC has added “smart submarines” – unmanned underwater vehicles – to its navy. The new speedboats are said to be able to travel at up to about 109 mph and are able to launch missiles and rockets. The information originates from the Times of Israel.
DISAGREEMENT OVER REASON FOR DROP IN SEA PIRACY IN GULF OF GUINEA
On 24 March, Dryad Global reported that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) have expressed disagreement over which institution is responsible for the reduction. However, despite the reduction, the Gulf of Guinea continued to account for all kidnapping incidents globally, with 57 crew taken in 7 separate incidents in 2021.
AUSTRALIAN COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA AUTHORITY (ACMA) BLOCKING ORDERS FOR WEBSITES SAID HAVE BEEN OFFERING OFFSHORE ONLINE GAMBLING AND AFFILIATE MARKETING IN THE COUNTRY ILLEGALLY
On 24 March, iGB reported that a further 6 blocking orders had been added to the list which now includes 426 illegal gambling websites. The first was blocked in November 2019.
NICARAGUAN OPPOSITION LEADER GETS 8-YEARS IN JAIL
On 23 March, Newsroom Panama reported that Nicaraguan opposition leader Cristiana Chamorro has been jailed for 8 years after being found guilty of money laundering in a case that she claims was politically motivated.
SPAIN CONSULTATION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND SUSTAINABILITY DUE DILIGENCE LAW
On 24 February, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP published an article about a consultation on a draft Bill on the protection of human rights, sustainability and due diligence in transnational business activities. It will establish binding obligations for Spanish transnational companies and transnational companies operating in Spain to observe environmental and human rights in all business activities, including the implementation of due diligence throughout their value chain. The consultation closed on 3 March.
ISRAEL AND UKRAINE WAR SANCTIONS
On 20 March, an article from Barnea Jaffe Lande sets out a general description of the relevant international regime of sanctions and the possible repercussions on Israeli companies and individuals. It says that while, to date, Israel has not imposed formal sanctions on activities with Russia in the context of the war in Ukraine, Israeli companies face exposure to business and legal risks relative to the international regime of economic sanctions, even without Israel expressly adopting the sanctions.
SPAIN: DISMANTLING OF POLISARIO SMUGGLING NETWORK
On 23 March, Sahara News reported that Spanish authorities have arrested a doctor, said to be the kingpin of a vast criminal network that specialised in stealing, selling and smuggling of medicines and medical equipment. This network, operated by members of the Polisario leadership, transports these stolen products from Spain to Algeria, before selling them across African markets. The Polisario Front is a politico-military organisation with an aim of ending Moroccan control of the former Spanish territory of Western Sahara.
UK: 5 ACCUSED OF SMUGGLING COCAINE WORTH £160 MILLION CLEARED
On 23 March, Plymouth Live reported that they have been found not guilty of trafficking 2 tonnes of the drug in the luxury yacht Kahu before it was towed into Plymouth. A sixth man had already had charges against him dropped.
ZAMBIA: EX-MINISTER JOSEPH MALANJI ARRESTED FOR ALLEGED MONEY LAUNDERING
On 24 March, My Joy Online reported that he was arrested by the AML unit of Zambia’s Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC).
REGULATION OF TRADE SECRETS IN CENTRAL AMERICA: AN OVERVIEW
On 23 March, an article from Dentons reported that Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama regulate trade secrets in their laws on industrial property, while Costa Rica has a specific Law to deal with this — the Law on Undisclosed Information.
UK: NURSE JAILED IN LANDMARK SLAVERY CASE FORCED TO HAND OVER ILLICIT EARNINGS
A news release from NCA on 23 March advised that a London-based nurse currently serving an 18-year prison term for trafficking Nigerian women to Europe and forcing them into sex work has been ordered to hand over almost £184,000. She was the first British national to be convicted under the Modern Slavery Act for offences committed overseas, in a landmark prosecution led by the National Crime Agency in 2018.
SPANISH POLICE ARRESTED DOZENS OF PEOPLE SUSPECTED OF HAVING TAKEN PART IN A DOCUMENT FORGING SCHEME THAT ENABLED IMMIGRANTS TO OBTAIN RESIDENCE PERMITS THROUGH FAMILY REUNIFICATION
On 23 March, OCCRP reported that, of the 48 detained, 15 are suspected of belonging to an organised crime group while 33 are believed to have been customers. The forged documents – payrolls, registration and housing reports – are part of the government’s requirements to obtain residence permits with the purpose of family reunification.
SERVING NOTICE TO TERMINATE A CONTRACT IN RUSSIA
On 23 March, an article from Out-Law provided advice as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted many companies to try to extricate themselves from their business operations and commercial relationships with counterparties based in Russia.
US SANCTIONS UP ANTE IN HUNT FOR GUATEMALA’S HUISTAS DRUG CLANS
On 23 March, an article from Insight Crime reported that the US Government has taken major actions against one of Guatemala’s most enduring drug clans whose leaders have spent years evading authorities from both countries. The US Treasury has imposed sanctions against the group and 7 of its core members, while the State Department offered a $10 million reward for information leading to the arrest of top Huistas leader, Darío Molina López.
SANCTIONS: IMPACT ON DIVIDENDS AND OTHER CORPORATE ACTIONS
On 24 March, an article from Eversheds Sutherland says that companies should be alert in relation to the payment of dividends (or indeed any other corporate actions that would result in funds being paid or an economic benefit passing to shareholders) where the beneficial owner or other person ultimately receiving the funds or economic benefit is a sanctioned person.
ALEXEI MORDASHOV AND TUI: PANDORA PAPERS SHED LIGHT ON $1.4 BILLION RUSSIAN SANCTIONS MYSTERY
On 22 March, ICIJ published an article about how Mordashov, one of Russia’s richest tycoons, transferred most of his ownership stake in tourism conglomerate TUI to a Caribbean shell company controlled by the mother of his children.
UK MINISTER IN BVI FOR URGENT TALKS ON SANCTIONING RUSSIAN OLIGARCHS
On 23 March, the Guardian reported that a Foreign Office minister is in the BVI for urgent discussions on how sanctions against Russian oligarchs with cash stored in the islands can be implemented. It notes that the visit also came weeks before the report of a UK Government-commissioned public inquiry into corruption in the government of the islands is due to be published.
ISLE OF MAN: RUSSIA/BELARUS SANCTIONS UPDATE
On 24 March, the Isle of Man issued 3 news releases confirming the 65 new additions to the Russian and Belarus sanctions regime lists, and issue of a General Licence, effective to 2 May, which allows for winding down any derivatives, repurchase, and reverse repurchase transactions involving the Central Bank of the Russian Federation (CBR); National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation (NWF); and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation (MF).
UK: ONLINE SAFETY BILL INTRODUCED TO PARLIAMENT – 5 THINGS YOU CAN DO NOW TO PREPARE YOUR BUSINESS
On 24 March, an article from Field Fisher reported that the Bill sets out a new legal and regulatory framework for identifying and removing illegal and harmful content on the internet. It is an ambitious (and contentious) attempt to reign in the “wild west” of self-regulation by Big Tech companies. For businesses that fall within scope, the article details 5 things that it can start doing now to help ensure that it is in compliance by the time the Bill becomes law.
UK: NOTICE TO EXPORTERS 2022/11 – PROCESSING OF STRATEGIC EXPORT LICENCES FOR UKRAINE
On 24 March, the Department for International Trade published this Notice saying that the current situation is impacting the length of time it takes the ECJU to process applications for Ukraine and other destinations. It says that it appreciates applicants’ patience, and the respect and courtesy given to its staff when speaking to them during this very busy period.
UK: NOTICE TO EXPORTERS – EXPORT LICENCE CHANGES, INCLUDING REQUIREMENT FOR PRIOR NOTICE OF CERTAIN OGEL
On 24 March, Notice to Exports 2022/10 from the Export Control Joint Unit advised that it had revised 4 Open General Export Licences (OGEL) to require registration before first use of the licence. 2 other OGEL have been revised to allow items to be exported from the UK, after repair in the UK, or the country of original manufacture.
OFAC NEW FAQ RE PROHIBITIONS OF EXECUTIVE ORDER 14024 AND OTHER RUSSIA-RELATED SANCTIONS AND GOLD-RELATED TRANSACTIONS OR PERSONS PARTICIPATING IN THE GOLD MARKET?
On 24 March, OFAC issued FAQ 1029, which asked if EO 14024 and other Russia-related sanctions prohibited gold-related transactions or persons participating in the gold market?
AUSTRALIA: FREEZING ORDERS AGAINST FOREIGN-OWNED COMPANY TO AVOID SALES PROCEEDS BEING TRANSFERRED OUTSIDE OF AUSTRALIA
On 24 March, an article in International Tax Review is concerned with a case in the federal court involving State Grid International Australia Development Company Limited. In this case, the actual tax event had not occurred and had not been definitely calculated, but the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) considered there was a high risk that the sales proceeds would be immediately transferred outside of Australia and thus urgently sought to intervene with these freezing orders.
US CHARGES 4 RUSSIAN HACKERS OVER CYBER-ATTACKS ON GLOBAL ENERGY SECTOR
On 24 March, the Guardian reported that 4 Russian government officials are alleged to have engaged in 2 major hacking campaigns between 2012 and 2018 that targeted the global energy sector and affected thousands of computers across 135 countries.
UK: FCA IS REMINDING ALL REGULATED FIRMS OF THEIR EXISTING OBLIGATIONS WHEN THEY ARE INTERACTING WITH OR EXPOSED TO CRYPTOASSETS AND RELATED SERVICES
A release on Mondo Visione on 24 March advised of some areas of risk that firms need to consider. The FCA warned that this is not a complete list and firms should consider any further controls and requirements which apply to them. They should read the statement from the FCA together with the latest guidance on how firms should manage financial crime risks associated with cryptoassets in the ongoing Russia/Ukraine conflict.
NICARAGUA CONVICTS NEWSPAPER OWNER
On 24 March, Digital World reported that a Nicaraguan court has found the owner of a prominent newspaper, La Prensa owner Lorenzo Holmann Chamorro, known for criticising the government of President Daniel Ortega guilty of money laundering. He is the cousin of Cristiana Chamorro, a journalist who has been sentenced to 8 years in prison after being convicted of money laundering and embezzlement.
US: PARAGUAYAN EX-OFFICIAL SENTENCED IN MONEY LAUNDERING SCHEME
On 24 March, the Mail Online reported that a former member of Paraguay´s Congress has been sentenced to nearly 3 years in prison for her role in an international money laundering scheme. Cynthia Elizabeth Tarragó Diaz, 42, and her husband, Raimundo Va, 46, had pleaded guilty in September 2020 to conspiracy to commit money laundering.
US DOJ CHARGES FROSTIES NFT CREATORS WITH FRAUD
On 24 March, Crypto Briefing reported that the DoJ has charged Ethan Nguyen and Andre Llacuna, the creators of the Frosties NFT series, with fraud and money laundering.
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