Panama Covid-19 update – a slight surge in new cases reported today, with 479 new cases – the highest daily number since 3 March. Not surprisingly, the number of active cases is up, by 217 to 2,519. 10 patients are in ICU and 68 in other wards, with another 19 in quarantine in the hospital-hotels.
19 April 2022
MONEY LAUNDERING ALLEGED INVOLVING RUSSIAN-OWNED SUPERYACHT DETAINED IN FIJI
On 18 April, the SuperYacht News channel on You Tube reported that the superyacht Amadea, which had reached Fiji from the Caribbean, had been detained on arrival for alleged breaches of Fiji’s customs law. However, subsequently local media reported that the crew had been interviewed by the FBI and the vessel was now being detained for breaches of customs law and for suspected money laundering. The vessel is reportedly owned by sanctioned Russian billionaire and politician Suleiman Kerimov.
ISLE OF MAN: 4 ENTRIES ON ISIL/AL-QAIDA SANCTIONS LIST AMENDED
A news release from the Isle of Man on 19 April advised that 4 entries on the ISIL/Al-Qaida sanctions list had been amended.
ISLE OF MAN: RUSSIA SANCTIONS
On 19 April, 2 further news releases from the Isle of Man confirmed that Eugene TENENBAUM and David DAVIDOVICH had been added to Russia sanctions list; and that the Russia General Trade Licence had been revised to include aircraft and aeroengines and the provision of insurance services relating to aviation within the scope of the licence.
US: DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE INVESTIGATION OF SOLAR PANEL IMPORTS PUTS SOLAR PROJECTS AT RISK
On 15 April McGuire Woods LLP reported that in March the US announced an investigation into imports of solar panels assembled in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, on suspicion that they are circumventing duties intended to limit imports of solar cells and panels from China. It says that there is a fear that this will cause significant harm to US crystalline silicon module producers, as these companies depend on imports of solar cells due to a lack of production capacity within the US.
GREECE AND ITS SEAPORTS ARE A KEY DESTINATION FOR ILLICIT TRADE IN COUNTERFEIT AND PIRATED GOODS
On 15 April, the World Trademark Review reported that a new EU report says that Greece is one of 5 Member States that accounts for more than 90% of the total detentions of suspected counterfeit goods in the EU internal market. It says that sea transport plays a leading role in channelling counterfeits into the Greek market as the greatest volume of counterfeits arrives at the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki via container ships.
UK RUSSIA SANCTIONS UPDATED
On 14 April, OFSI at HM Treasury published updated guidance on Russian sanctions.
US SANCTIONS BELARUS AIRLINE BELAVIA FLEET
On 19 April CH Aviation reported that the US had added sanctions to 10 more aircraft, including 7 belonging to Belavia. It explained that the provision of any services (including refuelling, handling, maintenance, or air navigation services) or parts for US Government-embargoed aircraft can be considered a violation of US sanctions.
GREECE SEIZES RUSSIAN TANKER AS PART OF EU SANCTIONS
On 19 April, Devdiscourse reported that the Russian-flagged Pegas, with 19 Russian crew members on board, was seized near Karystos.
NEW ZEALAND IMPOSES NEW SANCTIONS ON RUSSIAN BANKS
On 19 April, Reuters reported that New Zealand had announced new sanctions on Russian banks and financial institutions. It was imposing sanctions on 18 entities, including Russia’s central bank, sovereign wealth fund and the largest financial institutions in the country.
SHIPS CARRYING RUSSIAN FERTILISERS FIND WAY TO BRAZIL DESPITE SANCTIONS
On 18 April, Yahoo Finance reported that preliminary shipping data shows orders being fulfilled and vessels heading for Brazil, potentially allowing a normal grain planting season. At least 24 vessels carrying almost 678,000 tonnes of Russian fertilisers from ports in the country are expected to reach Brazil in the next weeks.
THE PONZI SCHEME THAT BROKE LEBANON
On 18 April, an article from Foreign Affairs starts by saying that, in the last 2½ years, Lebanon’s economy has been in free fall. The country’s currency has lost more than 90% of its value against the US dollar; GDP has shrunk by nearly 60%; and close to 80% of Lebanese have slipped below the poverty line, along with practically all of the 1.5 million Syrian refugees living in Lebanon. Hundreds of thousands of people have fled the country. The crisis is said to have been caused by what has been described as “something similar to a Ponzi scheme”: for years, the country’s central bank used ordinary bank depositors’ money to finance the corrupt and wasteful spending of successive Lebanese governments.
GEORGIA WORKING TOWARDS FATF-COMPLIANT DIGITAL CURRENCY REGULATIONS
On 15 April, Coingeek reported that the Georgian central bank has been working with international partners to draft a new Bill that governs the industry. Georgia is working with the IMF to develop its regulatory framework.
ASIA-PACIFIC BANKS NEED TO INCREASE VIGILANCE TO TRADE-BASED MONEY LAUNDERING RISKS
On 19 April, Regulation Asia reported that a recent Regulation Asia webinar discussed the need for greater vigilance to TBML risks and how workflow enhancements can improve outcomes. It says that, in recent years, growing complexity and higher trade volumes have presented new opportunities for criminal organisations and bad actors to exploit international trade systems to launder proceeds of crime. This year, the risk of illicit trade has come into even greater focus following pandemic-related supply chain issues and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
COMING CHANGES TO CANADA’S AML LAWS
On 18 April, BLG Advocates in Canada published an article saying that the 2022 federal budget announced that new regulations will be enacted to extend AML/CFT obligations to payment service providers (PSP) and crowdfunding platforms, as well as legislative changes to strengthen the main federal AML/CFT and related laws. There is also to be a proposed infusion of $89.9 million over 5 years to support Canada’s FINTRAC and the acceleration of the initiative to implement a publicly-accessible beneficial ownership registry for federal companies in Canada.
ASIA’S BOOMING CARBON MARKET – THE ROAD TO NET-ZERO OR A MINEFIELD OF RISKS?
On11 April, Control Risks published this article on Asia and the market for voluntary carbon offsets on the back of commitments at the last UN climate summit (COP26), as countries across the globe pledged to various net-zero targets. It says that increasing carbon taxes and incentivising growth in voluntary carbon markets (VCM) are a step in the right direction in prompting businesses to reduce emissions. However, it says, these mechanisms are not without risks and could have unintended consequences for businesses. It mentions “greenwashing” risks, as well as the impact of offset schemes on the rights of local communities, especially on those with unrecognised or contested claims to forest lands, will emerge as a critical challenge that can affect the commercial viability of projects.
HAITI RESURFACES AS TRANSIT HUB FOR US-BOUND COCAINE
On 18 April, Insight Crime reported that extradition for the second time of a notorious Haitian cocaine smuggler to the US serves as a reminder of Haiti’s little-known status as a drug trafficking transit point.
THE FUTURE DIRECTION OF INSOLVENCY LAW AND CRYPTOCURRENCY IN ENGLAND
On 19 April, Dentons published an article which considers how insolvency law may develop in response to the increasing frequency of cryptocurrency transactions, focusing on how the courts may classify cryptocurrencies as a matter of English property law, and the implications of this in areas such as directors’ duties and antecedent transactions.
BRITISH MEN ACCUSED OF DUPING WINE COLLECTORS IN ‘£76 MILLION PONZI SCHEME’
On 19 April, The Drinks Business reported that the 2 men face 4 charges in the US, including money laundering and wire fraud, in connection with a fine wine “Ponzi scheme”. They allegedly lured would-be investors with the proposition of heady returns backed by cellars that housed fine wines.
FORMER VIETNAMESE COAST GUARD LEADERSHIP CHARGED WITH EMBEZZLEMENT
On 18 April, RFA reported that authorities in Vietnam have arrested 7 coast guard officers, including the former commander and the top Communist Party leader, for allegedly embezzling the military branch’s funds.
SANCTIONED RUSSIAN OLIGARCHS LINKED TO £800 MILLION WORTH OF UK PROPERTY
On 16 April, the BBC reported that a dozen sanctioned Russians are linked to an estimated £800 million worth of property in the UK.
NORTH KOREA TO SEND 30 ‘TECHNICIANS’ TO GUINEA FOR AGRICULTURAL COOPERATION
On 19 April, NK News reported that North Korea will dispatch the “technicians” to Guinea to work in the agriculture sector, showcasing efforts to nurture bilateral ties despite international sanctions that prohibit DPRK citizens from working abroad.
IRAN’S EFFORT TO RESUME CAR IMPORTS STALLS
On 19 April, Rferl reported that, with demand surging for new automobiles in Iran, the government took steps last year to reverse a long-standing ban on the import of foreign cars, but the plan fell through for unknown reasons. It is said that this leaves consumers with little choice but to keep waiting in line for the opportunity to buy domestically-produced vehicles in support of an industry accused of rampant corruption and putting “death wagons” on the road.
SEIZED YACHTS NEED TO BE DECOMMISSIONED TO MITIGATE SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENTAL RISKS, WARNS SURVEYOR
On 19 April, Global Trade Magazine reported that a global firm of marine surveyors and engineering consultants has made the comments after the seizure by port authorities across Europe of a number of high-profile superyachts thought to be owned by Russian oligarchs. It is said that action should be taken to make them safe – machinery should be deactivated, systems drained down, discharge overboard valves closed, fire systems checked and engines prepared for cold lay-up in accordance with Classification Society and OEM guidelines.
US CONGRESS REPORT: DIGITAL WALLETS AND SELECTED POLICY ISSUES
On 18 April the US Congressional Research Service produced a report which looks at digital wallets and policy issues arising out of their use. Law firm Fried Frank has also produced a useful, and short summary.
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