Panama Covid-19 update – the city very quiet, as so many people vanished for the holiday weekend. Other good news is that the number of active cases fell to 2,569, with 271 new cases and no new fatalities. There are just 9 people with Covid in ICU, with 80 more in other wards.
15 April 2022
NEW ZEALAND: NEW MODERN SLAVERY LEGISLATION
ON 14 April, the firm of Russell McVeagh published an article saying that the New Zealand Government is commencing consultation regarding a legislative response to modern slavery and worker exploitation, forced labour, people trafficking and slavery. It is said that the legislative proposals would adopt a disclosure and due diligence approach which places obligations on all types of entities, regardless of size. Responses to the consultation are being accepted until 7 June.
LAZARUS NORTH KOREA CRIME RING LINKED TO $540 MILLION AXIE INFINITY CRYPTO HACK
On 14 April, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Lazarus Group is being linked by US authorities to the hack of the online game Axie Infinity in March which is said to be one of the largest in the history of cryptocurrencies. The perpetrators stole 173,600 ether and 25.5 million of the stablecoin USD Coin, or USDC, worth about $540 million at the time of the attack.
US DoJ OPENS HAS OPENED AN INVESTIGATION INTO NORWAY’S PETRONOR E&P ASA
On 14 April, the Wall Street Journal reported that the DoJ had opened an FCPA investigation following allegations of corruption at the oil-and-gas company’s operations in West Africa. December saw a raid by Norwegian authorities of the company’s offices in Oslo and the arrest of its then CEO, Knut Søvold.
JAPANESE FINANCIAL SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA OVER INVASION INTO UKRAINE
Greenberg Traurig has issued a Client Alert explaining sanctions imposed by Japan and providing a link to the relevant lists from the Ministry of Finance.
US PUSHES UN TO BAN TOBACCO EXPORTS TO NORTH KOREA
On 14 April, TJI reported that the US is pressuring the UN Security Council to further sanction North Korea over its renewed ballistic missile launches by banning tobacco and halving oil exports to the country.
EUROPEAN PORTS SEEK CLARITY AND UNIFORMITY IN BAN ON RUSSIAN VESSELS
On 14 April, Lloyds List reported that the European Sea Ports Organisation, which has 23 members, says that while it supports sanctions against Russia, there needs to be clarity and uniformity in the application of the ban on Russian vessels to avoid what it calls ‘port shopping’.
MEXICO’S CARTELS CORNER THE CHINESE MARKET FOR ILLEGAL WILDLIFE
On 14 April, Insight Crime carried an article saying that the full threat posed to Mexico’s biodiversity by both Mexican and Chinese organised crime networks has been revealed in a new report from the Brookings Institute, which shows how unsustainable quantities of Mexico’s marine and terrestrial wildlife are being poached.
SWISS-BASED TRADING FIRM KOLMAR FACES CRIMINAL INQUIRY
On 14 April, Swissinfo reported that Swiss justice authorities have opened criminal proceedings for alleged smuggling of gas oil belonging to a Libyan state-owned company.
NETHERLANDS: FIRM FINED €2 MILLION FOR FAILING AML COMPLIANCE
On 12 April, IPE reported that Rotterdam-based asset manager Robeco had been fined €2 million after the regulator determined that checks on clients and their transactions had significant shortcomings. The compliance failings occurred between 2018 and 2020, and all concerned retail investor accounts.
RANSOMWARE GROUP HAS AN HR DEPARTMENT, PERFORMANCE REVIEWS AND AN ‘EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH’
On 13 April, CNBC reported that the group operates much like a regular company, with salaried workers, bonuses, performance reviews and even “employees of the month”; and that some workers were told they were working for an advertising company and likely were unaware who was employing them. The Russian group had been identified by the FBI as one of the most prolific ransomware groups of 2021. A series of document leaks reveal details about the size, leadership and business operations of the group known as Conti.
SWISS BANK BOSS CONVICTED IN FRAUD TRIAL AFTER PUTTING STRIP CLUBS ON EXPENSES
On 13 April, Sky News reported that, Pierin Vincenz, the 65-year-old former Swiss “banker of the year” was charged with making millions through illicit deals while CEO of Raiffeisen Switzerland. He has alsobeen sentenced to nearly 4 years in prison after claiming nearly £165,000 on expenses to cover his strip club visits.
ALLEGED BIKIE EXTRADITED TO WESTERN AUSTRALIA FOLLOWING $32 MILLION CASH SEIZURE
On 15 April, the Sydney Morning Herald reported in a video report that the alleged member of a biker gang has been extradited to Western Australia, after detectives caught the accused money launderer on the Gold Coast. He had been charged with money laundering and conspiring to sell 50 kg of dangerous drugs, including 30 kg of methamphetamine, 10 kg of cocaine and 10 kg of heroin.
FORMER COCA-COLA EXECUTIVE SENTENCED OVER UK BRIBERY SCHEME
On 14 April, the Financial Times reported that a former manager received £1.2 million in bribes to award contracts to certain companies and has now been sentenced to 20 months in prison. 5 other defendants were also convicted, and 3 companies were fined for failing to prevent bribery.
US: FINANCIAL ASSOCIATIONS RAISE CONCERNS ON EXPANDED BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP REPORTING
On 14 April, Fried Frank reported that financial associations have raised concerns about the SEC’s proposed amendments to rules governing beneficial ownership.
COUNTER-PIRACY EFFORTS IN THE GULF OF GUINEA PAY DIVIDENDS
On 14 April, an article in Homeland Security Today says that there has been a welcome decrease in reported incidents in the Gulf of Guinea region with 7 incidents reported since the start of the year. However, the threat to innocent seafarers remains and is best exemplified with a recent attack where a Panamax-sized bulk carrier was boarded by pirates in April.
ICE ARRESTS 23 KNOWN OR SUSPECTED HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATORS ACROSS THE US DURING OPERATION SAFE NATION
On 12 April, a news release from US Immigration & Customs Enforcement advised that 23 fugitives sought for their roles in known or suspected human rights violations had been arrested during a nationwide operation. All foreign nationals arrested during this operation have outstanding final orders of removal and are subject to repatriation to their countries of origin. Those involved included 2 known or suspected human rights violators from China, complicit in forced abortions and sterilisations by government entities; and 2 individuals from South and Eastern Europe implicated in human rights violations, including membership in military units known for massacres and the persecution of civilians. However. 16 came from Central and South America.
SEC: CHARGES AND AN ASSET FREEZE AGAINST SEVERAL LAS VEGAS-AREA INDIVIDUALS AND COMPANIES ALLEGEDLY BEHIND A NEARLY HALF-BILLION DOLLAR PONZI SCHEME INVOLVING PURPORTED PERSONAL INJURY SETTLEMENTS
On 15 April, a release on Mondo Visione advised that the defendants allegedly falsely told hundreds of investors, including many in their own church community, that they would earn 12.5% quarterly returns by making purportedly risk-free investments. According to the complaint, none of the $449 million raised from investors over a 5-year period was used for this purpose.
AUSTRALIA IS 8 YEARS LATE IN FULFILLING A PROMISE TO EXPAND ITS AML LAWS
On 14 April, an article in The Diplomat says that, in 2014, the Australian government made a promise to meet the recommendation by FATF to include Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBP) under the umbrella of AML/CFT laws. It is said to be alongside Haiti and Madagascar as one of only 3 countries that have failed to act.
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