THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – APRIL 9

Panama Covid-19 update – active cases have dropped by 41 to 2,287, while numbers in hospitals are very low – just 5 in ICU, 61 in other wards, with just 5 people in the so-called hospital-hotels. Neverthless, 5,283 reported tests resulted in 254 new cases being recorded and 2 new fatalities.

9 APRIL 2022

THE COMPLEX OWNERSHIP OF USMANOV’S SUPERYACHT DILBAR

On 8 April, Superyacht News video reported that on the superyacht Dilbar, currently detained in Germany.  Believed to be owned by Alisher Usmanov, the German authorities have now said it is technically owned by his sister, Gulbahor Ismailova, and in looking into its ownership are said to have found 36 offshore companies and no less than 90 SAR relating to Usmanov alone.  The sister (plus another sister of Usmanov) are now on the sanctions lists, it is reported, and is also said to be on record as the beneficial owner of up to 27 accounts at Credit Suisse (according to the “Suisse Secrets” leak).  The paper owner of the superyacht was a Cayman company, which was in turn owned by a Cyprus company, which was assigned to a Swiss holding company, and this was owned by a trust.  However, the sister had been registered as beneficial owner since 2017.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCpIeqRmT8o

UK: YACHT USED IN COCAINE SMUGGLING OPERATION UP FOR AUCTION

On 9 April, the Northern Echo reported that the 120-feet yacht, MY Kahu, was seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, and will be sold unreserved, meaning it will go to the highest bidder of the auction.

https://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/20057309.yacht-used-cocaine-smuggling-operatio-auction/

2 LIVE PYTHONS BEING SMUGGLED INTO SINGAPORE SEIZED AT ROAD CHECKPOINT

On 9 April, The Star reported that officers found the pythons hidden in a styrofoam box in the cabin of the Malaysia-registered lorry, which was transporting cement.  The snakes, which are 4.8 metres and 3.8 metres long, are reticulated pythons – a species protected under CITES.

https://www.thestar.com.my/aseanplus/aseanplus-news/2022/04/09/caught-two-live-pythons-being-smuggled-into-singapore-seized-at-tuas-checkpoint

JAPANESE FINANCIAL SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA

On 7 April, Greenberg Traurig published an article saying that the government has issued a series of orders to freeze assets owned by the Russian government and related banks, companies, and individuals, in coordination with the international community’s sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

https://www.gtlaw.com/-/media/files/insights/alerts/2022/04/gt-alert_japanese-financial-sanctions-on-russia-over-invasion-into-ukraine.pdf?sc_lang=en

UK: HIGH COURT APPLICATION BY VTB CAPITAL PLC FOR THE APPOINTMENT OF ADMINISTRATORS

On 7 April, an Alert from Greenberg Traurig was concerned with a case described by the judge as described as “an unusual case in all sorts of ways”, with the court faced with a number of questions relating to how the UK’s insolvency regime can interact with the sanctions packages introduced in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

https://www.gtlaw.com/en/insights/2022/04/english-high-court-considers-administration-application-for-russian-vtb-banks-london-arm

HOW MULTINATIONALS AVOID TAXES IN AFRICA AND WHAT SHOULD CHANGE

On 7 April, an article in The Conversation argues that  tax revenues are being undermined by the ability of some of the wealthiest taxpayers – including many transnational companies – to effectively opt out of the corporate tax system. It refers to a new paper which investigates the effect of tax dodging on development in Africa, with a focus on Nigeria and Zambia.

https://theconversation.com/how-multinationals-avoid-taxes-in-africa-and-what-should-change-179797

https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/JFC-01-2022-0012/full/html?skipTracking=true

DO SANCTIONS CREATE FORCE MAJEURE?

On 5 April, an article in Forwarderlaw posed this question in the light of a court case in London which raised an important issue on the extent of a party’s entitlement to serve a force majeure notice in circumstances where an alternative mode of performance, albeit of a non-contractual nature, was available to it.  It involved the shipment of a cargo of bauxite from guinea to Ukraine, only for the charterers to be subject to OFAC sanctions.

http://forwarderlaw.com/2022/04/05/do-sanctions-create-force-majeure/

PROPOSED EU DIRECTIVE ON CORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY DUE DILIGENCE

On 8 April, CMS Law published an article on the “CSDD Proposal”, published on 23 February, which aims to impose obligations on companies, their subsidiaries and their value chains to identify and tackle adverse human rights and environmental impacts.  The article says that the Directive would very significantly increase ESG litigation risk in Europe.  It would convert numerous environmental, human rights and social rights treaties into hard law with a direct right to sue for adverse impacts and introduce tough regulatory powers.   It would also have potential international reach.

https://www.cms-lawnow.com/ealerts/2022/04/the-proposed-directive-on-corporate-sustainability-due-diligence-a-step-change

UK ANNOUNCES MULTIPLE DEVELOPMENTS TO MAKE THE UK A GLOBAL HUB FOR CRYPTOASSETS

On 7 April, an Alert from CMS Law was concerned with key announcements were made regarding the development of the UK cryptoasset sector with the aim of making it a global hub for cryptoassets.  CMS law advises that firms operating in the UK market should follow these changes closely to see how the landscape further develops.

https://www.cms-lawnow.com/ealerts/2022/04/uk-announces-multiple-developments-to-make-the-uk-a-global-hub-for-cryptoassets-april-2022

THE UK PERSONS OF SIGNIFICANT CONTROL (PSC) REGIME FOR COMPANIES

CMS Law has provided a guide to the PSC Register for limited companies, LLP and Scottish Limited Partnerships.

https://cms.law/en/gbr/publication/uk-psc-regime

DISMANTLING OF CRIMINAL NETWORK THAT FORCED VICTIMS INTO STREET BEGGING IN GERMANY AND AUSTRIA

A news release from Eurojust on 7 April reported that judicial and law enforcement authorities in Romania, Hungary and Germany have dismantled a criminal network that recruited vulnerable victims, transported them abroad and forced them into street begging.  The victims were misled by false promises about job opportunities in other EU countries before instead being transported to Germany and Austria where they were forced into begging on the streets.

https://www.eurojust.europa.eu/news/dismantling-criminal-network-forced-victims-street-begging-germany-and-austria

EU BANS THE PROVISION OF HIGH-VALUE CRYPTO SERVICES TO RUSSIA

On 8 April, Coindesk reported that EU Member States had agreed to ban the provision of high-value crypto-asset services to Russia as part of a fifth package of sanctions imposed in response to the Ukraine war.

https://www.coindesk.com/policy/2022/04/08/eu-bans-providing-high-value-crypto-services-to-russia/

US AND CABO VERDE AUTHORITIES INTERDICT LARGE COCAINE SHIPMENT

On 8 April, Defence Web reported that the US Navy, US Coast Guard and Interpol have assisted Cabo Verde authorities with the interdiction of a vessel smuggling approximately 6,000 kilograms of suspected cocaine.  The operation involved a Brazilian-flagged fishing vessel operating in the international waters of the Atlantic Ocean near the west coast of Africa.

https://www.defenceweb.co.za/sea/sea-sea/us-cabo-verde-authorities-interdict-large-cocaine-shipment/

FIRST EU NAVAL FORCE (EU NAVFOR) ANTI-PIRACY PATROL DRUGS BUST

On 8 April, Defence Web reported that, with piracy at an all-time low in the Indian Ocean off Somalia and the Horn of Africa, the EU mission Atalanta, originally charged with protecting World Food Programme (WFP) vessels from pirates, had narcotics interdiction added to its responsibilities in February.  Now 2 French Navy vessels, serving with Atalanta, seized 4 tons of cannabis and 90 kg of heroin on a stateless dhow.

https://www.defenceweb.co.za/featured/first-eu-navfor-drug-bust/

FUNDAMENTAL CHANGES TO UK IMMIGRATION RULES FROM 6 APRIL

On 8 April, Dixcart reported on a number of new UK immigration rules which came into effect on 6 April.  The Tier 1 (investor) visa had already been closed to new applicants on 17 February.  A summary of the key changes is detailed in the article.

https://www.dixcart.com/fundamental-changes-to-uk-immigration-rules-april-2022/

EUROPEAN DATA PROTECTION BOARD (EDPB) GUIDELINES ON CODES OF CONDUCT USED AS TOOLS FOR TRANSFERS OF DATA

On 7 April, an article from Irish law firm McCann Fitzgerald about the Guidelines which provide useful guidance on what ‘codes of conduct’ as a transfer mechanism for international data transfers under Article 46 of the GDPR should address and on the adoption process. 

https://www.mccannfitzgerald.com/knowledge/data-privacy-and-cyber-risk/edpb-guidelines-on-codes-of-conduct-as-transfer-tools

WHAT IS A SPAC?

On 6 April, an article from DLA Piper explained that 2021 was a record year for initial public offerings (IPO) of special purpose acquisition companies (SPAC), an investment vehicle/shell company, as more than 613 SPAC completed their IPO in the US, raising more than $162 billion. 

https://www.dlapiper.com/en/us/insights/publications/2022/04/what-is-a-spac/

AUSTRALIAN COURT RULES PARTIAL DISCLOSURE OF PRIVATE REPORT WAIVES PRIVILEGE

On 31 March, an article from Herbert Smith Freehills reported that the Federal Court decided that a company lost privilege over a PwC probe report by telling shareholders the investigation absolved executives. It found that a company waived the legal professional privilege attaching to a report prepared by PwC in letters to shareholders and a stock exchange announcement which conveyed the proposed conclusion of the subject matter of the report.  The firm says that the decision is a reminder of the difficulties that can arise when balancing the need to keep shareholders informed against the desire to avoid waiving legal professional privilege.

https://www.herbertsmithfreehills.com/latest-thinking/all-or-nothing-%E2%80%93-australian-court-rules-partial-disclosure-of-private-report-waives

NEW RUSSIAN LAND MINE POSES SPECIAL RISK IN UKRAINE

On 6 April, the New York Times reported on a new type of landmine.  It explains that older types of land mines typically explode when victims accidentally step on them or disturb attached tripwires.  But the POM-3 has a seismic sensor picks up on approaching footsteps and can effectively distinguish between humans and animals.  The POM-3 is typically launched by a rocket and falls back to earth by parachute before sticking into the ground.  When the mine senses a person, it launches a small explosive warhead that detonates mid-air, producing fragments that are lethal up to about 50 feet away.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/06/us/politics/russia-ukraine-land-mines.html

RUSSIA’S RECENT ACTIONS AGAINST FOREIGN INVESTORS WILL GIVE RISE TO CLAIMS UNDER INTERNATIONAL INVESTMENT TREATIES

On 7 April, US law firm King & Spalding reported that Russia has responded to the exodus of Western companies and the recent economic sanctions imposed by Western governments by enacting or threatening countermeasures.  The Client Alert considers the implications of Russia’s countermeasures and the protections available to foreign investors under bilateral or multilateral investment treaties.

https://www.kslaw.com/news-and-insights/russias-recent-actions-against-foreign-investors-will-give-rise-to-claims-under-international-investment-treaties

AUSTRALIA: CRIME COMMISSION INQUIRY INTO POKIES MONEY LAUNDERING QUIETLY GETS UNDERWAY

On 9 April, ABC News reported that the New South Wales crime-fighting agency is investigating money laundering in pubs and clubs but any revelations remain hidden because all hearings are taking place in private.  “Pokies” are fruit machines, FOBT and other forms of gambling or gaming machines, commonly found in clubs and casinos.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-10/nsw-crime-commission-inquiry-into-pokies-money-laundering/100977954

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Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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