Panama Covid-19 update – another day with no new fatalities, but 203 new cases reported, giving us 2,450 active cases (227 down on yesterday). 11 patients are in ICU and 89 in other wards.
27 MARCH 2022
THE MYSTERY OF THE RUSSIAN SECRET SERVICE YACHT CREW
On 25 March, a report from eSysman SuperYachts said that one of 2 crews used by the Russian-owned superyacht in Italy are apparently all members of the FSB (the foreign service successor to the KGB) – the other is all-British. The MY Scheherazade is now said to be owned by Eduard Khudainatov, the former president of Rosneft, the state-run Russian energy company, who is currently not subject to EU sanctions. The suggestion in the report is that having the alternate crew (who were all apparently identified by Bellingcat) all being secret service personnel supports the suspicion that the vessel was owned or used by President Putin, with the alternate crew being used when he was aboard.
The report also updates the circumstances of the superyacht A, which flew the flag of the Isle of Man, although the authorities there cancelled its registration last week. She reportedly sailed from the Maldives to Dubai with her AIS turned off. Like other Russian-owned superyachts, she is said to be heading eventually for Vladivostok.
ZURICH INSURANCE REMOVES Z SYMBOL AFTER LETTER USED TO SHOW SUPPORT FOR UKRAINE WAR
On 26 March, Reuters reported that Zurich Insurance has removed its Z logo from social media after the letter became a symbol of support in Russia for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
COSTA RICA; SUSPECTS IN $125 MILLION EMBEZZLEMENT CASE UNDER HOUSE ARREST
On 27 March, News room Panama reported that Carlos Cerda, of the Meco group, and Melida Solís, the owner of the H Solís construction company, had been placed under a form of house arrest. They are accused of being involved in alleged bribery in exchange for public works. They were formerly in preventive detention. The newspaper reports that there are 28 other detainees, and 75 people being investigated, in connection with the case, which is known as the Cochineal case.
RUSSIA SEIZES RARE SWISS WATCHES IN SANCTIONS REPRISAL
On 27 March, the Straits Times reported that Russian agents seized millions of dollars’ worth of Audemars Piguet watches in Moscow in an apparent retaliation for Swiss sanctions.
ARMS TRANSFERS TO UKRAINE
The Forum on the Arms Trade publishes a resource page to track developments related to arms transfers, including pledges and/or deliveries from more than 20 countries plus the EU.
ISLE OF MAN: ADVICE FROM THE FSA REGARDING SANCTIONS
On 10 March, the FSA issued a letter saying that a multi-agency approach is being coordinated in response to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine to ensure the Isle of Man is not exposed as a weak link in international pressure on the Putin regime. It notes that sanctions imposed by the UK are automatically implemented and enforced in the Isle of Man by the Customs & Excise Division of the Treasury. The information in the letter is intended to remind all regulated and registered persons of their obligations under AML/CFT legislation – but notes that it is important to note that sanctions obligations apply to all persons and businesses in the Isle of Man.
CANADA: SPECIAL BULLETIN ON RUSSIA-LINKED MONEY LAUNDERING RELATED TO SANCTIONS EVASION
FINTRAC in Canada has issued this Special Bulletin which provides background and information relevant to Russia-linked money laundering in order to inform reporting entities on recognising characteristics of completed or attempted financial transactions related to the laundering of the proceeds of crime. It says that it is also possible that money laundering may be connected to the evasion of sanctions measures that have been imposed under the law.
ENTIRE FORMER BOARD OF SWEDBANK ESTONIA SUSPECTED OF MONEY LAUNDERING
On 25 March, the Baltic Times reported that the Office of the Prosecutor General is said to have suspicions against the banking unit of Swedbank Estonia and its former heads of participating in money laundering exceeding €100 million, according to the daily Postimees citing the weekly Eesti Ekspress.
THE PROBLEM OF COUNTERFEIT BEARINGS ON THE RISE
On 27 March, Machinery Market reported that, after a petrochemical processor was recently forced to make an emergency shutdown, it transpired that the company was being supplied with counterfeit SKF bearings and, at a time of rising demand and growing pressures on supply chains, relates a warning that suggests that the problem of counterfeiting could be on the rise.
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