Panama Covid-19 update – 293 new cases reported today and 2 new fatalities; with active cases up by 84 to 2,607; with 10 in ICU and 87 in other wards.
31 MARCH 2022
ISLE OF MAN: RUSSIA AND BELARUS SANCTIONS AMENDMENTS
On 31 March, the Isle of Man published 2 news releases advising that an entry on the Russian sanctions list for Sergey Pavlovich IVANOV had been amended, and that a duplicate entry for Aleksander Aleksandrovich MIKHEEV had been deleted; and that on the Belarus sanctions list, the entry for OJSC KB RADAR-MANAGING COMPANY HOLDING RADAR SYSTEM had been amended.
STEMMING THE TIDE OF FAKE MEDICINE IN GABON
On 17 March, an article in ENACT Africa reported that cheap and deadly counterfeit drugs are found around every corner in Gabon’s major cities, despite their dangers. Criminals selling counterfeit medicine in Gabon include wholesale smugglers, cigarette vendors and street hawkers, who openly peddle painkillers, tranquillisers, cough syrups and rheumatism medication, among others. Counterfeit medicines are frequently found at roadside stalls, which are common in cities but rarely regulated. Most users of counterfeit medicine buy from roadside hawkers because fake drugs are cheaper and easier to obtain than genuine medicines. The article makes various recommendations
OECD WORKING GROUP’S PHASE 4 REPORT ON FRANCE DISTRIBUTES GOOD AND BAD MARKS
On 29 March, an article from Soulier Avocats considers the good and bad points in the December report on France’s progress in the fight against foreign bribery. It says that the 237-page Phase 4 Report, including annexes, highlights France’s notable achievements in the fight against foreign bribery since Phase 3 in 2012.
STAFF WORKING ON LUXURY YACHTS AND PRIVATE JETS OWNED BY SANCTIONED RUSSIAN OLIGARCHS COULD FACE PUNISHMENT AS UK GOVERNMENT TIGHTENS RESTRICTIONS
On 31 March, Business Insider reported that crew working on superyachts and private jets belonging to sanctioned Russian oligarchs could be subject to UK sanctions after the government tightened restrictions.
BILLIONAIRE HUANG BOUGHT $1.7 BILLION IN CHIPS AT STAR CASINO, INQUIRY HEARS
On 31 March, Australian Financial Review reported that Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo bought $1.7 billion worth of chips at Sydney’s Star casino over 5 years to 2018 but its senior compliance manager did not investigate the source of the cash. It was said that senior executives would have known about Huang Xiangmo’s gambling as he was a top-3 debtor to the casino.
UK: TRADE IN DUAL-USE ITEMS (COUNCIL REGULATION (EC) NO 428/2009) (AMENDMENT) REGULATIONS 2022
These new Regulations make amendments to the control lists in the retained EU Dual-Use Regulation are a direct consequence of the UK membership of the Wassenaar Arrangement. The Wassenaar Arrangement control lists are kept up to date to reflect changing circumstances and technological developments and are part of a regime for the control of exports, transfer, brokering and transit of dual-use items.
UK RUSSIA SANCTIONS GUIDANCE UPDATED
On 31 March, HM Treasury issued updated guidance which extends prohibitions to non-government controlled Ukrainian territory.
UK NOTICE TO IMPORTERS 2953: RUSSIA IMPORT SANCTIONS
On 30 March, the Department for International Trade published this latest Notice to Importers which is concerned with import prohibitions in force under the Russia Sanctions Regulations 2019, as amended. An amendment to the Regulations extends the existing import sanctions measures in relation to Crimea and the city of Sevastopol to the non-government-controlled areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine.
RUSSIAN TANKERS GO DARK OUT AT SEA TO CIRCUMVENT SANCTIONS
On 31 March, OCCRP reported that Russian oil and chemical tankers are disabling their on-board automated identification systems (AIS), thereby keeping authorities in the dark as to their whereabouts while at sea. The move is seen as an attempt by Russia to circumvent international sanctions brought about by the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
CHILE BECOMES INCREASINGLY FERTILE GROUND FOR MARIJUANA PLANTATIONS
On 30 March, Insight Crime reported that authorities have discovered several marijuana plantations in a mountainous region of central Chile, revealing that the country is no longer just a major destination point for cannabis but a producer as well.
IRELAND: ORGANISED CRIMINALS INFILTRATING SPORT TEAMS TO FIX MATCHES
On 29 March, the Irish Times reported that the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau has said that it was conducting multiple ongoing investigations into suspected match fixing. It is said that gangs were attempting “to infiltrate themselves into clubs and teams” to rig matches by having a key player deliberately underperform “to ensure a match or a game goes a certain way”.
EL SALVADOR DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY TO COMBAT GANGS
On 30 March, OCCRP reported that El Salvador has declared a state of in order to combat criminal organizations across the country which authorities blame for 73 homicides committed just over a weekend, making it one of the deadliest since the country’s civil war ended in 1992. Under the 30-day measure. Salvadorans will not be allowed to gather in larger groups while security forces will be able to arrest suspects without an order.
SWISS PRIVATE BANK PICTET RAIDED IN PETROBRAS-LINKED PROBE
On 30 March, Yahoo News reported that prosecutors searched the offices of Swiss private bank Pictet in mid-March in connection with a criminal probe into dealings with Brazilian state-run oil firm Petrobras – the so-called Car Wash probe (Lava Jato).
GAFILAT ON-SITE VISIT TO ECUADOR IN THE FRAMEWORK OF THE FOURTH ROUND OF MUTUAL EVALUATIONS
On 31 March, the FATF-style regional body for Latin America reported that an evaluation team is to hold an on-site visit to Quito from 28 March to 8 April. The Mutual Evaluation process of Ecuador formally began in November 2021, and will end next December 2022.
ECB PUBLISHES REPORT ON PAYMENT PREFERENCES AS PART OF DIGITAL EURO INVESTIGATION PHASE
On 30 March, the European Central Bank said that it had published the findings of its commissioned research on EU citizens’ payment habits and their attitudes towards digital payments in order to gain a deeper understanding of user preferences as part of the digital euro project. It is said that the report shows a strong preference for payment methods with pan-European reach and universal acceptance in physical shops and online. High safety and security standards seen as fundamental for digital payment methods.
UK LAW COMMISSION PUBLISHES DRAFT LEGISLATION FOR THE LEGAL RECOGNITION OF ELECTRONIC TRADE DOCUMENTS
On 31 March, Reed Smith published a post in its Ship Law Blog refers back to a 2021 consultation paper which highlighted the fundamental “possession problem” for electronic trade documents: simply put, under English law, electronic trade documents, being intangible things, cannot be legally “possessed” and so cannot function like their paper equivalents. The Law Commission has now published its revised recommendations and draft legislation in a report laid before Parliament. It says that the Law Commission’s latest proposals on electronic trade documents represent a significant step towards updating and aligning English law with the rapid technological change which brings about the digitalisation of international trade.
PRESIDENT BIDEN’S EXECUTIVE ORDER ANNOUNCES US POLICY OBJECTIVES ON DIGITAL ASSETS
On 31 March, an Alert from K2 Integrity was concerned with the Executive Order outlining the US Government’s national policy objectives and “whole-of-government” strategy for understanding the benefits and addressing the risks of digital assets. The EO sets forth an interagency policy coordination process to research and analyse digital assets and CBDC technology.
US SEES COMPLIANCE, EVEN ‘SELF-SANCTIONING’, ON RUSSIA EXPORT CONTROLS IN ASIA
On 28 March, Reuters reported that the US has not seen any indications of non-compliance in Asia with export controls on Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine, and companies are even self-sanctioning. It is said that major players know there is a significant risk to their business if they don’t comply because of actions the US could take.
VENEZUELAN GOLD AND NICARAGUA’S ORTEGA-MURILLO REGIME
A Commentary from CSIS on 8 March explored how the Maduro regime has been spreading the wealth derived from illicit mining to other governments in the region – specifically, it says that Nicaragua’s dictatorship, headed by President Daniel Ortega and First Lady and Vice President Rosario Murillo, has been a prime recipient of Venezuela’s largesse and illicit financial linkages. It also says that the Maduro regime’s gold-running scheme via Nicaragua continues a long-standing trend of illicit finance from Venezuela to Nicaragua first observed in its Petrocaribe programme, which provided a platform to launder an estimated $4 to $6 billion from Petróleos de Venezuela, SA (PDVSA) to Nicaragua.
US LIST OF AIRCRAFT EXPORTED TO RUSSIA IN APPARENT VIOLATION OF US EXPORT CONTROLS
On 31 March, KPMG reported that the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the Department of Commerce has updated a list of aircraft that have flown into Russia in apparent violation of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). BIS added 73 new aircraft and removed 12 aircraft that have been authorised to return to owners in partner countries.
IRAN’S CENTRIFUGES: MODELS AND STATUS
On 30 March, the Iran Watch website said that Iran possesses thousands of gas centrifuges that are the mainstay of its nuclear programme. These spin uranium hexafluoride gas (UF6) to separate uranium isotopes suitable for nuclear fuel, a process known as uranium enrichment. The number and capacity of these machines determine Iran’s “breakout” time: how long it would take Iran — if it decided to do so — to produce the fuel for a small nuclear arsenal. The machines are also key to Iran’s ability to “sneakout” by producing nuclear weapon fuel at secret sites. A table sets out the capacity and primary materials of each of Iran’s currently-deployed centrifuge models, as well as the number of each model known from publicly-available IAEA reports to be installed and/or producing enriched uranium at Iran’s 3 declared enrichment sites: the Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) and Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP) at Natanz and the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP) at Fordow.
CAYMAN ISLANDS IMPROVES ITS FATF TECHNICAL COMPLIANCE
On 31 March, an article from Conyers noted that, in February 2021, FATF determined that the Cayman Islands was compliant or largely compliant with 39 of the FATF 40 Recommendations at the time. This was further upgraded in October 2021, and the Cayman Islands is now rated as compliant or largely compliant with all 40 FATF Recommendations. Separately, the Cayman Islands remains under monitoring with regards to the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force’s (CFATF) effectiveness review.
US: FORMER COAL COMPANY VICE PRESIDENT ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH FOREIGN BRIBERY, MONEY LAUNDERING, AND WIRE FRAUD
On 31 March, a news release from US DoJ advised that a former coal company executive, Charles Hunter Hobson, 46, of Knoxville, Tennessee, was arrested on charges of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), laundering funds, and receiving kickbacks as part of an alleged scheme to pay bribes to government officials in Egypt in connection with contracts with an Egyptian state-owned and state-controlled company, Al Nasr Company for Coke and Chemicals (Al Nasr).
OECD OPENS CONSULTATION ON NEW CRYPTO-ASSET REPORTING FRAMEWORK AND CHANGES TO CRS
On 31 March, DQ in the Isle of Man reported that the OECD has opened a consultation on a new Crypto-Asset Reporting Framework (CARF) as well as on changes to the Common Reporting Standard (CRS).
CHINA SANCTIONS US OFFICIALS WHO “LIED” ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS
On 31 March, La Estrella reported that China has announced that it has applied sanctions against an unspecified group of US officials it accused of “fabricating lies” about the human rights situation in China.
EXAMINING DIGITAL CURRENCY USAGE BY TERRORISTS IN SYRIA
An article in the CTC Sentinel explores examples emerging from networks operating in Syria; and some of the specific factors in Syria that might influence the use of digital currencies by networks linked to the Islamic State and Al-Qaida’s past and present Syria-based associates.
CHEMICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION: TRANSFER DISCREPANCIES IN SCHEDULED CHEMICALS TRADE FLOWS
On 21 March, the Stimson Center reported that discrepancies in annual declarations of scheduled chemicals transfers challenge the ability to track the international trade of Schedule 2 and 3 chemicals. In the 2019 declaration, 581 transfers involving 92 States Parties showed discrepancies.
CHEMICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION: MONITORING AND TRACKING CHEMICALS (MATCH) PROJECT
The Stimson Center on 31 March said that the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) requires that States Parties report annually on the transfer of chemicals listed under the Convention as part of ongoing efforts to prevent the re-emergence of chemical weapons programmes. The MATCH project is a prototype software system that will attempt to address fundamental challenges to reconciling transfer data for commonly traded Schedule 2 and Schedule 3 chemicals by establishing a secure, authoritative distributed ledger to simulate transfers between hypothetical States Parties. The project began in September 2021 and runs through January 2023.
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