Panama Covid-19 update – while the Covid cases continue show a modest uptick, and just to make one a bit more depressed again, the health ministry has reported the first death from dengue, with 418 cases reported so far this year…
On the Covid front, the 6,484 test undertaken show a worrying 8.4% positive hit rate. This comes alongside 2 new fatalities, with 542 new cases and 3,328 active cases (up by 195 over yesterday). There are 7 patients in ICU and 65 in other wards.
22 APRIL 2022
CARLOS GHOSN: FRANCE ISSUES ‘INTERNATIONAL ARREST WARRANT’ OVER RENAULT CASH CLAIMS
On 22 April, Sky News reported that a French magistrate had issued warrants for Ghosn and the current owners or former directors of an Omani vehicle distributor.
BIDEN RELUCTANT TO REMOVE IRAN’S REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS FROM TERROR LIST
On 20 April, France 24 reported that President Biden appears determined to keep the “terrorist” designation on Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, which Iran is demanding be removed before it returns to a deal on curbing its nuclear programme.
AUTHORISED PUSH PAYMENT (APP) FRAUD AND THE DUTIES OWED BY THE REASONABLY PRUDENT BANKER
On 19 April, Stevens & Bolton LLP published an article about a recent court case in England which involved the role of the so-called Quincecare duty of care. It says that the decision provided helpful clarity on the scope of banks’ duties; and that it was confirmed that where a bank has reasonable grounds for believing that an order to transfer funds is an attempt at misappropriation, its duty to make enquiries can extend to instructions from individual personal banking customers.
WHAT DESIGNATING RUSSIA AS A STATE SPONSOR OF TERRORISM WOULD MEAN
On 20 April, Crowell Moring published an article in the light of Ukraine’s President calling for the US to designate Russia a State Sponsor of Terrorism. It explains that such a designation would have far-reaching implications and would automatically trigger some of the most aggressive unilateral sanctions available, including restrictions on financial transactions, defence exports and sales, and foreign aid.
UK MINISTERS READY BAN ON HEALTH GOODS FROM CHINA’S XINJIANG PROVINCE
On 21 April, politico reported that ministers are preparing to ban the UK Government from buying health goods made in China’s Xinjiang region, amid mounting pressure from Conservative MPs over Beijing’s treatment of the Uyghur people. The proposed law could require private companies obtaining NHS contracts to meet criteria on modern slavery grounds, potentially creating a blacklist of companies.
EUROPEAN CUSTOMERS “BYPASSING SANCTIONS” BY USING CHINESE AGENTS FOR CHINA-EUROPE RAIL FREIGHT
On 22 April, Loadstar carried an article claiming that some European forwarders were still using the rail service and some European consignees were “using Chinese forwarders to bypass the sanctions”. It is said that the sanctions “don’t include the use of Russian Railways’ assets, they’re more for targeting financial instruments”.
OIL TRADERS HELP RUSSIAN OIL REACH GLOBAL MARKETS
On 22 April, WAER published an article from NPR saying that, despite sanctions, oil refineries from India to Spain are still purchasing Russian crude, and that the drop-off in Russian oil exports was minimal and has strongly rebounded in April, despite fears of supply shortages driving recent high oil prices. It says that much of this oil trade is facilitated by a highly efficient and sometimes controversial group of middlemen: oil trading companies.
IMPOUNDED RUSSIAN TANKER TO BE RELEASED BY GREECE AMID CONFUSION OVER SANCTIONS
On 22 April, the Insurance Journal reported that a Russian tanker impounded by Greece and reportedly carrying Iranian oil will be released, with a government official saying that the coast guard has been ordered by the AML authority to release the vessel. It is said that, that following checks, there were no legal grounds to continue impounding the ship as it had recently changed ownership and its new owner was not on an EU sanctions list.
EGYPT SENDS FORMER MP TO PRISON FOR ANTIQUITIES SMUGGLING
On 22 April, Latestly in India reported that an Egyptian court sentenced a former member of parliament and others to 10 years in prison for smuggling antiquities out of the country, as part of a campaign to stop the trade. It is reported that Egypt has drastically stepped up efforts in recent years after the turmoil following the 2011 Arab Spring uprising.
MONEYVAL LAUNCHES THE EVALUATION PROCESS OF AZERBAIJAN
On 22 April, the Council of Europe reported that MONEYVAL has launched its 5th round mutual evaluation process of Azerbaijan, with a training session training organised virtually and attended by more than 80 representatives of the financial intelligence unit, law enforcement and supervisory authorities from Azerbaijan.
2 ASSOCIATES IN STEVE BANNON’S CRIMINAL CASE ADMIT TO FRAUD
On 21 April, Yahoo Finance reported that, while Steve Bannon was pardoned by former President Trump, 2 of his associates in the same case have now pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering, as well as lying on a tax return. The scam involved supporters of “We Build the Wall” having donations diverted into a non-profit linked to Steve Bannon, Trump’s long-time advisor.
FCA WARNS CHALLENGER BANKS OVER MONEY LAUNDERING CONCERNS
On 22 April, AOL reported that the UK regulator has warned challenger banks to stop cutting corners in combating financial crime so that customers can set up accounts quickly and easily.
UK: IMPORTS OF ENERGY FROM RUSSIA
On 22 April, a briefing from the House of Commons Library presents the latest monthly data on UK imports of gas, oil and coal from Russia. It also includes data for Europe, although this is less up to date.
EVOLVING LEGAL ISSUES FOR NFT
On 21 April, an article from Braumiller Law Group PLC published an article which aims to clear up some of the obfuscation around NFT, outline the evolving legal environment for NFT, and explore their current and potential use cases.
UK: RUSSIA IMPORT PROHIBITIONS IN FORCE
On 21 April, updated Notice to Importers 2953 detailed import prohibitions in force under the Russia Sanctions Regulations 2019, as amended.
The Department for International Trade also issued guidance on imports from Russia and Belarus requiring additional duties and the terms of exemption.
RUSSIA SANCTIONS: AMENDED UK GENERAL LICENCE RE VTB BANK
On 21 April, HM Treasury issued an amended General Licence to allow any payments in connection with the insolvency proceedings of the UK subsidiary of VTB.
US CUSTOMS PROPOSES PROHIBITING ENTRY OF VESSELS OVER THE VIOLATION OF CERTAIN LAWS AND REGULATIONS RELATING TO THE PERFORMANCE OF LONGSHORE WORK
On 22 April, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that US Customs and Border Protection is proposing to amend its regulations prohibiting entry into US ports of vessels owned or chartered by an entity found to be in violation of certain laws and regulations relating to the performance of longshore work.
PRESIDENT BIDEN HAS ISSUED A PROCLAMATION PROHIBITING RUSSIAN-AFFILIATED SHIPS FROM ENTERING US PORTS FROM 28 APRIL
On 22 April, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that much of Russian ship traffic to the US carried oil, imports of which the US has already banned.
FRANCE SAYS RUSSIAN MERCENARIES STAGED ‘FRENCH ATROCITY’ IN MALI
On 22 April, the Guardian reported that the French army says it has filmed Russian mercenaries burying bodies near a Malian military base to falsely accuse France’s departing forces of leaving behind mass graves.
SINGAPORE EDITOR JAILED FOR DEFAMATION OVER CORRUPTION CLAIMS
On 22 April, the Guardian reported that the editor of a now-closed Singaporean news outlet has been jailed for 3 weeks for defamation over a letter published on the site that alleged corruption among government ministers.
UN: CRYPTO THEFT BECOMES ‘FUNDAMENTAL’ TO NORTH KOREA’S ILLICIT FINANCING ACTIVITIES
On 22 April, the Korea Herald reported that a member of the UN Panel of Experts’ annual report should reflect the ‘central importance of cyber-enabled financial crime’. North Korean state-sponsored cryptocurrency theft has become a “fundamental part” of the country’s illicit financing activities to fund its nuclear and missile programs, a UN independent expert has said.
SANCTIONED WEAPONS MOGUL WHO SUPPLIED RUSSIA’S TROOPS HAS TIES TO PHILIP MORRIS
On 21 April, Yahoo News carried a Reuters report saying that a long-time Russian business associate of Philip Morris International Inc – Igor Kesaev, 55, a billionaire whose holdings have included a major stake in a weapons plant supplying Russia’s military – has been sanctioned by the EU for aiding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
UKRAINIAN WORKERS FLEE ‘MODERN SLAVERY’ CONDITIONS ON UK FARMS
On 19 April, the Guardian reported that hundreds of Ukrainians are believed to be living and working informally in Britain after escaping from farms they were working at, with many claiming to have been subjected to conditions of modern slavery. It also refers to a report from the Home Office and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) published at the end of last year which found that seasonal workers on a post-Brexit pilot scheme launched in 2019 to harvest fruit and vegetables were subjected to “unacceptable” welfare conditions. Issues cited by some workers included a lack of health and safety equipment, racism, and accommodation without bathrooms, running water or kitchens.
AML/CFT: GAFILAT ON-SITE VISIT TO ECUADOR
The FATF-style regional body for Latin America reported that the mutual evaluation onsite visit to Quito took place from 28 March to 8 April. The mutual evaluation process of Ecuador formally began in November 2021, and will end in December 2022.
Gibraltar FIU notes 38% increase in SAR in the first quarter of 2022
SPAIN: FRAUD INVOLVING 78 BABIES OF PREGNANT IMMIGRANTS BORN IN MELILLA, WHO PAID UP TO €3,000 FOR SPANISH PARENTS TO REGISTER THEM AS IF THEY WERE THEIR CHILDREN
On 22 April, La Estrella reported that 79 people were arrested, although the total of those involved is said to reach 117, among which there are fictitious fathers, intermediaries and mothers of the newborns. The women, mostly of Moroccan origin, gave birth in the regional hospital of Melilla, the Spanish enclave in North Africa.
AUSTRALIA ADDS 147 MORE NAMES TO RUSSIA SANCTIONS LIST
On 22 April, the EU Sanctions blog advised that Australia had made a large number of additions to its sanctions lists.
ISLE OF MAN CONFIRMS 26 NEW ADDITIONS TO RUSSIA SANCTIONS LISTS, 30 OTHERS AMENDED
On 22 April, the Isle of Man confirmed that 26 entries have been added to the consolidated list and are now subject to an asset freeze; and that another 30 entries have been amended and are still subject to an asset freeze.
TAXATION OF THE DIGITALISED ECONOMY
On 21 April, KPMG published the latest update of this publication covering direct and indirect taxes.
UK RUSSIA SANCTIONS GENERAL LICENCE RE PAYMENTS TO GAZPROMBANK OR A SUBSIDIARY FOR THE PURPOSE OF MAKING GAS AVAILABLE IN THE EU
On 21 April, HM Treasury issued this General Licence which runs to 31 May.
MEXICO TO OPERATE DIGITAL CURRENCY IN 2025
On 22 April, TeleSUR reported that the governor of the Mexican Central Bank (Banxico) has announced that her institution will issue a digital currency in 2025.
US: GAO TELLS DHS TO REASSESS ACQUISITION STRATEGY FOR RADIATION DETECTION SYSTEMS
On 22 April, Homeland Security Today reported that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has recommended that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reassess its acquisition strategy for radiation portal monitors. This is after a review which found replacement monitors have been delayed by more than three years, and those being tested have higher nuisance alarm rates than monitors currently in use at ports.
OFAC ANNOUNCES A NUMBER OF COUNTER-NARCOTICS SANCTIONS DELETIONS
On 22 April, OFAC announced that a number of individuals and entities had been removed from the sanctions lists.
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THIRD COUNTRIES ALIGNING WITH EU SANCTIONS MEASURES
On 22 April, the EU published 4 news releases –
North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia agreed to align with changes to Syrian sanctions made by EU Council Decision (CFSP) 2022/242;
North Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Ukraine agreed to align with EU Council Decision (CFSP) 2022/582 which added 217 names to the Ukraine sanctions regime;
North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Ukraine have agreed to align with EU Council Decision (CFSP) 2022/579 which adopted additional sectoral measures targeting the Belarusian financial and road transport sectors; and
North Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Ukraine have agreed to align with EU Council Decision (CFSP) 2022/578 which involved further restrictive measures in response to Russia’s actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine.
DENMARK; DANSKE BANK FACES $1.5 MILLION FINE FOR GDPR VIOLATION
On 22 April, Robins Kaplan LLP reported that Danske Bank, Denmark’s largest bank, faces a fine of approximately $1.5 million from the Danish Data Protection Agency (DPA) for a failure to comply with the GDPR’s data deletion requirements. It is said that this latest enforcement action from a DPA shows that businesses won’t necessarily receive a free pass for the GDPR’s stringent data deletion requirements when presented with technically complex problems such as ensuring data deletion across multiple IT systems.
Q&A: NEW CLIMATE-RELATED DISCLOSURE REGULATIONS FOR UK COMPANIES AND LLP
On 22 April, Skadden published this Q&A containing answers to key questions companies may have about the new requirements. The relevant regulations are currently in draft form and this Q&A reflects the Regulations as announced on 28 October 2021
UK GAVE SANCTIONED RUSSIANS ‘GOLDEN VISAS’ AFTER FIRST UKRAINE INVASION IN 2014
On 22 April, the Guardian claimed that 7 Russians now under sanctions were awarded controversial “golden visas” by the UK after Vladimir Putin’s regime first invaded Ukraine in 2014, the government has admitted.
MAN WHO FLED MALTA WHEN SUPERMARKETS ORWED €40 MILLION ARRESTED IN SCOTLAND ON SUSPICION OF FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING
On 22 April, the Scottish Daily Express reported that Ryan Schembri is the former boss of More Supermarkets which collapsed in 2014, with the 43-year-old owing a reported €40 million worth of debts. He fled Malta in 2014 and lived in both Dubai and London before eventually settling in Scotland.
DUTCH POLICE ARREST 12 IN ILLEGAL GAMBLING, DRUG TRAFFICKING AND MONEY LAUNDERING RAIDS
On 22 April, Casino Beats reported that Dutch police have carried out raids in 4 regions of the country as part of an investigation into alleged illegal gambling, drug trafficking and money laundering.
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