Panama Covid-19 update – La Prensa reported that, on the occasion of the activities related to Holy Week (a big thing in Catholic Panama), the Ministry of Health (Minsa) reiterated its call to the population to continue with biosecurity measures to avoid Covid-19 infections, while warning that the pandemic is not over.
Meanwhile, to reinforce the message, 1 new fatality and 136 new cases reported today, with 8 patients in ICU and 77 in other wards.
11 April 2022
EU GUIDANCE TO THE MEMBER STATES CONCERNING FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT FROM RUSSIA AND BELARUS
On 6 April, the EU published this Guidance in the light of the war in Ukraine and resulting sanctions measures. In part, it explains that the FDI Screening Regulation provides an essential EU-wide framework in which the Commission and the Member States can coordinate their actions on foreign investments to ensure the protection of security and public order if such objectives are threatened by foreign direct investments. Member States may also screen investments that do not fall within the scope of application of the FDI Screening Regulation, provided such control is done in compliance with the EU Treaty provisions on free movement of capital and establishment.
EU DATA ACT: 6 IMPOSSIBLE THINGS BEFORE BREAKFAST?
A Commentary from the Centre for European Policy Studies on 11 April says the proposed Act, published in February, pursues (at least) 6 challenging goals, in the light of the Commission having estimated that 90 % of European data are currently in the hands of a fistful of US-based tech giants. It is argued that the provisions portray a completely different view of the digital economy, from the locus of free-flowing data to a patchwork of private data, shared data, and publicly available (and appropriable) data. It will also have to grapple with a lack of effective enforcement, and the ability of tech giants to dodge regulation, or even use it to pursue their own interests.
JAPAN’S SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA: ASSET FREEZING
On 11 April, Japanese law firm Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu published an article which outlines the sanctions against Russia that the government has introduced up to 21 March in relation to asset freezing.
FINLAND RETURNS TO RUSSIA $46 MILLION ARTWORKS SEIZED UNDER EU SANCTIONS
On 10 April, India Today carried an AP report saying that that a shipment of art works from Russian museums has been returned to Russia after it was seized under EU sanctions against Moscow. It is said that the Foreign Ministry granted a special permit to return the consignment. The shipment was seized at a border crossing at the beginning of April, with the works returning to Russia after loan to museums in Europe and Japan.
APG RECOGNISED THE “IMPROVEMENT” IN THE ROLE OF MACAU’S CASINO REGULATOR IN AML/CFT
On 8 April, GGR Asia reported that the FATF-style regional body, Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), had made the comment in its Mutual Evaluation Follow-up Report 2021 on the Macau, and which has not been made public. However, it is reported that there was “no change in the overall ratings” of the APG regarding Macau’s technical compliance on AML/CFT.
AUSTRALIA’S SENATE URGES THE COUNTRY TO STOP “DRAGGING ITS FEET” OVER DNFBP AML REGULATIONS
Comply Advantage reported on 11 April that an extensive report into the adequacy of Australia’s AML/CFT measures has condemned a delay in expanding the scope of the country’s regulations.
UK: ALTERNATIVES TO RUSSIAN OIL: SAUDI ARABIA, THE GULF AND VENEZUELA?
On 11 April, a briefing from the House of Commons Library says that a US ban on Russian oil and gas is immediate, while the UK intends to phase out oil imports by the end of 2022. The EU plans to reduce Russian gas imports by two-thirds by the end of the year. The paper examines the challenges in getting those states most able to supplement Russian production, particularly Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Venezuela, to increase production. They have mostly either stayed neutral in the conflict or supported Russia.
OVERSEAS BUSINESS RISK: CAMBODIA
On 11 April, the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office issued updated guidance on key security and political risks which UK businesses may face when operating in Cambodia, the section on IP having been updated.
UK: SANCTIONS GENERAL LICENCE PERTAINING TO THE CONTINUING OPERATION OF CHELSEA FOOTBALL CLUB AND ITS SUBSIDIARIES
On 11 April, HM Treasury issued a General Licence relating to Roman Arkadyevich Abramovich and ownership and operation of the football club and its subsidiaries.
SPANISH POLICE DISMANTLE FAKE ONLINE SOFA STORE OPERATION
On 8 April, OCCRP reported that Spain’s Civil Guard had arrested 3 individuals accused of fraudulently selling high-qualify sofas that in fact did not exist. Authorities report that the group has defrauded at least 175 people for over half a million euros.
US CUSTOMS INTERCEPTS PACKAGES CARRYING 6 HUMAN SKULLS BOUND FOR IOWA
On 8 April, the Des Moines Register reported that United States Customs and Border Protection agents at O’Hare International Airport’s International Mail Facility in Chicago discovered 6 human skulls bound for Iowa last month. It is unknown why these skulls were being shipped to Iowa from the Netherlands.
BIDEN ANNOUNCES MEASURES TO CRACK DOWN ON ‘GHOST GUNS’
On 11 April, the Guardian reported that President Biden has announced an attempt to crack down on “ghost guns”, kits which can be bought without a background check, from which a working gun can quickly be made, and which have been used in an escalating number of shootings.
REVIEW OF THE EU WASTE SHIPMENT REGULATION
A briefing from the EU Parliament Research Service on 11 April considers the Impact Assessment which, it says, convincingly illustrate the identified problems to address.
CAMEROON, THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO (THE DRC) AND THE REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO HAVE ANNOUNCED THEIR INTENTION TO ADOPT CRYPTOCURRENCY AND BLOCKCHAIN BASED SOLUTIONS
On 11 April, a release on Mondo Visione advised that the 3 countries have agreed on such solutions to drive future economic progress. It also says that layer one proof-of-stake blockchain, The Open Network (TON) is the leading contender to become the blockchain to power this. The DRC has also confirmed that it is considering a new national stablecoin, built on the TON blockchain.
MALAYSIA: FUGITIVE BUSINESSMAN DETAINED BY AUTHORITIES AFTER SURRENDERING FOLLOWING A YEAR-LONG HUNT
On 11 April, the Malay Mail reported that Datuk Seri Nicky Liow Soon Hee, who is wanted for alleged multiple money laundering and commercial crimes cases, had been detained by authorities after he surrendered to police following a year-long hunt. It further reported that he is the founder of Winner Dynasty Group, and has alleged ties with a transnational organised crime leader known as Wan Kouk-koi @ Broken Tooth in Macau.
CONVICTION OVER €23 MILLION CROSS-BORDER EU VAT FRAUD
On 7 April, the Luxembourg Times reported that the case involved the circulation of platinum coins through companies based in Hamburg. A Slovakian national has been jailed for more than 3 years following an investigation by the EU’s European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO).
EVIDENCE OF THE EFFECT OF THE WAR ON DRUG DEMAND AND SUPPLY IN UKRAINE
The UN Office of Drugs and Crime has produced a report saying that outbreak of the armed conflict in Ukraine can have a significant impact on people who use drugs and on drug trafficking inside and around Ukraine; as well as a risk to the continued delivery of drug treatment services that are vital for people with drug use disorders.
ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME AND BIOLOGICAL THREATS IN THE GREATER MEKONG AREA
A report from the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime says that most of the vast number of commodities derived from wildlife and other environmental resources that are traded illicitly across the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) have direct or indirect implications for biological threats. The most serious of these is the risk of zoonotic pathogens and their implications for health.
SANCTIONS THREATEN TO SPOIL JAPAN-RUSSIA FISHING RIGHTS TALKS
In its 12 April edition, Nikkei Asia reported that Japan has kicked off annual negotiations with Russia on commercial fishing quotas off the coast of Hokkaido, but the talks are clouded by its plans to strengthen sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine.
A SOUTH AMERICAN LITHIUM CARTEL FACES LONG ODDS
On 11 April, an article from World Politics Review says that all 3 countries of Latin America’s so-called lithium triangle — Chile, Bolivia and Argentina — all have leftist leaders who want their governments and citizens to benefit more from the extraction of their countries’ natural resources. Lithium is vital for the batteries that will power the green energy transition. However, it is argued that even if Chile, Bolivia and Argentina could overcome difficulties to establish a lithium cartel, it’s not clear that they control enough of the world’s lithium production to be able to manipulate prices.
SINGAPORE: PRECIOUS METALS AND GEMS – AML/CFT
On 1 March, the Monetary Authority of Singapore issued a Notice which requires financial institutions to have robust controls to detect and prevent the flow of illicit funds or activities through its financial system. The controls include the need for them to identify and know their customers (including beneficial owners), to conduct regular account reviews, and to monitor and report any suspicious transactions.
ISLE OF MAN CONFIRMS 2 NAMES ADDED TO BOSNIA & HERZOGOVINA SANCTIONS LIST
A news release from the Isle of Man on 11 April confirmed that, as previously announced by the UK, Zeljka CVIJANOVIC and Milorad DODIK had been added to sanctions lists.
ISLE OF MAN CONFIRMS AMENDMENT OF 3 ENTRIES ON RUSSIA SANCTIONS LIST
On 11 April, a news release from the Isle of Man confirmed that the entries for Evgeny Alekseevich FEDOROV, Tigran Organesovich KHUDAVERDYAN, and Katerina Vladimirovna TIKHONOVA had been amended.
UK: DISGRACED CONVEYANCER JAILED FOR LAUNDERING PROPERTY SCAM CASH
On 11 April, trade publication, The Negotiator reported on a conveyancer who was struck off in 2001 for misappropriation of clients’ funds has been jailed after his latest crimes were exposed by a tip-off. The former solicitor was involved in laundering cash of organised criminals running an international timeshare fraud scheme based in Spain.
RUSSIAN DRAFT LAW TO CRIMINALLY PROSECUTE DIRECTORS AND OFFICERS FOR SANCTION COMPLIANCE
On 11 April, Morgan Lewis published an updated article about a draft law before the Russian State Duma which would amend the Russian Criminal Code to make compliance with sanctions a criminal offense for directors and officers, punishable by severe penalties, including long-term imprisonment.
SEYCHELLES: EX-PRESIDENT FRANCE-ALBERT RENÉ’S WIFE AND SON, TOGETHER WITH SEVERAL ECONOMIC ADVISORS TO THEN-PRESIDENT RENÉ, FACE A RANGE OF CORRUPTION AND ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES
On 11 April, Eurasia Review carried an OpEd piece which claims that the case however, appears to be bogged down amidst new evidence that implicates President Wavel Ramkalawan’s inner circle in the alleged abuses. This, it is said, includes Vice President Ahmed Afif and former-President James Michel. The original corruption case relates to the disappearance of $50 million gifted by the UAE to the Seychelles in 2002 at a time of economic crisis.
OFAC UPDATES 3 ENTRIES ON LIBYA SANCTIONS LIST
On 11 April, OFAC advised that 3 existing entries for individuals on its Libyan sanctions lists had been amended.
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