Panama Covid-19 update – yesterday’s statistics were 267 new cases, active cases unchanged at 3,438, no new fatalities, 7 in ICU and 64 in other wards.
Today saw a jump in new cases, with 774 recorded, but just 1 new fatality, and now only 4 in ICU, with 71 other patients in the other wards.
La Prensa has published a breakdown of the Covid variants detected in Panama since February 2020 –
26 APRIL 2022
EU: VAT FIXED ESTABLISHMENT IN PARENT-SUBSIDIARY SUPPLIES
On 21 April, Arendt & Medernach published an article saying that the Court of Justice of the European Union has further clarified the concept of a ‘fixed establishment’ for VAT purposes. In a recently published case the CJEU held that a foreign subsidiary that provides services exclusively to its parent company established in another Member State does not automatically qualify as a fixed establishment of the parent company.
SOUTH AFRICA: COUNTERFEIT AND ILLICIT GOODS AND THE “BORDER MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY”
On 21 April, Adams & Adams reported that in 2019 the President pledged that government would do more in an attempt to address the importation and smuggling of counterfeit and illicit goods into the country; and in 2020, in an attempt to create a more efficient process for overall border control and reduce the corruption element, the Border Management Authority Act was signed into law. The model will be implemented at land, air and seaports of entry.
AUSTRALIA: WHAT IS CONSIDERED IN THE ‘NATIONAL INTEREST’ WHEN ASSESSING A REQUEST FOR A SANCTIONS LICENCE?
On 22 April, an article from Nyman Gibson Miralis explains that Australian individuals and companies can obtain a sanctions permit to allow an activity related to a designated person or entity that would otherwise be prohibited by an Australian sanctions law – provided the activity meets specific criteria, such as being in the “national interest”.
JAPAN AND RUSSIA SIGN SALMON, TROUT FISHING DEAL DESPITE SANCTIONS
On 26 April, The Mainichi reported that Japan and Russia have signed a deal on Japan’s fishing quota for salmon and trout spawned in Russian rivers in an agreement that comes despite Japan’s economic sanctions against Russia.
BOTSWANA: VEGETABLE SMUGGLING FROM SOUTH AFRICA ON THE RISE
On 25 April, Mmegi Online reported that a ban on importation of select vegetable varieties into the country from South Africa and other countries is keeping the police on their toes. In December the government decided to ban some vegetable imports in a bid to force local food retailers to buy vegetables from local farmers but efforts to meet the national demand are falling short.
FRENCH POLICE RAID SANJEEV GUPTA-LINKED BUSINESSES IN MONEY LAUNDERING PROBE
On 25 April, the Financial Times reported that police have raided the Paris offices of GFG Alliance as part of a probe into the metal magnate’s affairs. Last year, French authorities joined the UK SFO in undertaking an investigation.
NEW REGISTER OF OVERSEAS OWNERSHIP OF UK PROPERTY
On 26 April, Bird & Bird published an article about the Economic Crime Act 2022, which includes a new requirement for overseas entities to register their details, and details of their beneficial owners and controllers, at Companies House. The article takes the form of a Q&A.
FIFA 22 LOOT BOXES NO LONGER REGARDED AS GAMBLING IN THE NETHERLANDS
On 25 April, Bird & Bird reported that the Administrative Jurisdiction Division of the Council of State has issued a decision that loot boxes do not automatically qualify as of games of chance. The Division also set out clear steps to be followed when assessing loot boxes under gambling legislation.
LITHUANIA: MORE ACTION NEEDED TO CURB HIGH-LEVEL CORRUPTION IN POLITICS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT
On 26 April, the Council of Europe issued a news release saying that its Group of States against Corruption has called for further measures to prevent corruption in Lithuania. In a new evaluation report, GRECO finds that Lithuania has a comprehensive normative and institutional framework to tackle corruption, which will be further improved by the new Law on the Prevention of Corruption. However, it says that implementation of the applicable rules, prevention of corruption and overall coordination still leave room for improvement.
THE HISTORY OF WEB SCRAPING AND WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS
On 25 April, Bdaily carried an article saying that web scraping has existed for almost as long as the internet itself and plays an important role in today’s digital world. It remarks on a recent decision by a US court of appeal, which concluded as an interim decision that the collection of publicly accessible data does not breach the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFFA), following a legal challenge from LinkedIn. The article sets out to answer the question: what are the origins of this technology, what role does it play in today’s business landscape and what will the outcome of the ruling mean for the future?
US COURT DECISION IN DERIPASKA v OFAC
On 25 April, Kenneth Rijock published on his blog the text of the decision of the US Courts of Appeal on the claim by Deripaska that OFAC had acted unlawfully in placing him on the US sanctions lists.
UK: NOTICE TO EXPORTERS 2022/15: EXPORT CONTROLS STATISTICS WEBSITE DATA AVAILABILITY
On 25 April, the Department for International Trade published Notice to exporters 2022/15. This advises on changes to the strategic export controls: reports and statistics website to accommodate licences processed by the new system (LITE), to replace SPIRE.
NEW YORK’S “DIAMOND ENTERPRISE” CRIME BOSS SENTENCED TO OVER 4 YEARS
On 25 April, OCCRP reported that a man responsible for running a multi-year underground criminal enterprise involved in threats, money laundering, fraud, and illegal gambling was sentenced to 51 months in prison – the second time he has been sentenced for such offences. Abduramen Iseni (aka ‘Diamond’) was involved in the so-called “Diamond Enterprise” from 2017-2020 and, under his leadership, the group offered protection, connections, and influence in the criminal underworld.
US: A RECENT FINE COULD SERVE TO FURTHER INCENTIVIZE THE FILING OF COMPLAINTS AGAINST CARRIERS IMPOSING UNREASONABLE DEMURRAGE AND DETENTION FEES ON CARGO CONTAINERS
On 26 April, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported on a recent decision by the Federal Maritime Commission where it found that an ocean carrier imposed and refused to waive detention charges on 14 days when the drayage company was making a “concerted effort” to return empty containers but the carrier had insufficient appointments for doing so. It is said that an increasing number of shippers are filing complaints alleging unreasonable detention and demurrage charges and the FMC has clarified its policies to encourage them.
GUINEA’S FORMER PRESIDENT ALPHA CONDE RELEASED FROM HOUSE ARREST
On 25 April, Jurist reported that Conde from office by the army in September 2021, which led to the country’s suspension from the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States.
CHINA RELEASES TYPICAL CASES OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY PROTECTION BY CHINA CUSTOMS IN 2021
On 25 April, the National Law Review reported that the customs authorities had released the Typical Cases of Intellectual Property Protection by China Customs in 2021. This highlighted the seizure of intellectual property infringing goods bound for both import and export. Infringing products targeted both foreign and Chinese companies including Huawei, Johnson & Johnson, automobile manufacturers, Apple, Samsung, Crocs, Disney, Ugg and more.
UK: LEGAL REGULATORS “NEED TO DO MORE” IN DEALING WITH STRATEGIC LAWSUITS AGAINST PUBLIC PARTICIPATION (SLAPP)
On 26 April, Legal Futures reported that a new report says that the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), Bar Standards Board and other legal regulators need to do more to deal with SLAPPs because they are undermining the profession’s reputation. It also urged lawyers to ensure they are meeting high ethical standards when threatening journalists with legal action.
UK: CPS ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF THE SERIOUS ECONOMIC, ORGANISED CRIME AND INTERNATIONAL DIRECTORATE (SEOCID)
On 26 April, an article from Eversheds Sutherland reported that the CPS had formed a new team of specialists in organised and economic crime prosecutions which will work with investigators to “disrupt the emerging threats of organised criminal gangs using cyber technology”.
UK: FCA SUCCESSFUL “TEST” OF NEW FREEZING AND FORFEITURE POWERS
On 26 April, Eversheds Sutherland reported on the FCA having secured an Account Forfeiture Order against QPay Europe Limited to forfeit up to £2,000,000 held in its name following proceedings brought by the FCA under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. It says that this appears to be the first time the FCA has used such powers, which are already well used by other agencies with powers of criminal investigation and prosecution.
ART SEIZED IN RAID ON OLEG DERIPASKA US HOME – BEFORE THE UKRAINE WAR
On 25 April, Bloomberg Quint reported that federal authorities suspect Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska has been evading US sanctions. Deripaska had been on US sanctions lists since 2018. It is said that the investigation of Deripaska’s assets is now part of an escalating US crackdown on ultra-rich Russians suspected of laundering money and hiding assets to help finance Putin’s regime.
BRUSSELS PREPARES TO HIT RUSSIA WITH ‘SMART SANCTIONS’ ON OIL IMPORTS
On 25 April, EurActiv reported that the EU is said to be working on a sixth sanctions package and one of the issues it is considering is some form of an oil embargo – in a way that maximises pressure on Russia while minimising collateral damage on EU states.
INDONESIA BANS PALM OIL EXPORTS
On 25 April, Insurance Marine news reported that Indonesia, which is the world’s top palm oil producer, has announced that it planned temporarily to ban exports of palm oil. Indonesia accounts for more than half of the global palm oil supply – to ensure the availability of food products at home, as global food inflation had hit a record high. However, Indonesian government officials are said to have told palm oil companies that the export ban would cover shipments of refined, bleached, deodorized (RBD) palm olein but would not include crude palm oil.
OLIGARCH YACHT-HUNTING IS ENERGISING THE BATTLE AGAINST FINANCIAL CORRUPTION
An article from Forbes on 26 April says that a new US task force, KleptoCapure, with the IRS and its global partners, is not only trying to bring down Russian oligarchs but pushing to overhaul an opaque, secretive financial system.
SYRIAN GETS 10 YEARS IN JAIL IN KUWAIT FOR FAKE SAUDI PROPERTY DEALS
On 26 April, Gulf News reported that the defendant was charged with fraud over selling phantom real estate in Mecca and Medina.
BREXIT: THE MAJOR TRADE DISRUPTION CAME AFTER THE UK-EU AGREEMENT TOOK EFFECT IN 2021
A post from the LSE on 26 April summarises the findings of new research on how Brexit has affected the UK’s goods trade with the EU relative to the rest of the world. It says that the introduction of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) resulted in a major disruption of UK-EU trade.
LACK OF BIS GUIDANCE ON NEW RUSSIA/BELARUS FDP RULE CREATES COMPLIANCE CHAOS
On 23 April, an article from Torres Law was concerned with a form of sanctions and export controls, the Russia/Belarus Foreign Direct Product (FDP) Rule and the Russia/Belarus-Military End User (MEU) FDP Rule. These Rules, generally, restrict the sale to Russia and Belarus of foreign-produced items produced with certain controlled US-origin software or technology. It argues that the practical outcomes and effects of the new rules are unclear; and that without guidance from the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), legal and compliance practitioners – as well as their clients operating in the global marketplace – are left to form their own interpretations of these already complex rules at the expense of their and their client’s reputations and businesses.
KAFKA IN AMERICA: WHEN JUDGES DON’T KNOW THE LAW
On 26 April, The Crime Report carried an article saying that some 32 US states allow at least some low-level state court judges to adjudicate without a law degree. A new paper says that this sets up a situation in hundreds of civil legal cases involving small claims suits, evictions and other minor disputes, where the only individual in the courtroom who is aware of the law is the attorney for the prosecution.
EU GENERAL COURT DECISION IN GIBRALTAR STATE AID CASE
On 19 April, KPMG reported that, on 6 April, the General Court of the EU gave its decision in a case concerning the compatibility with EU law of Gibraltar’s corporate income tax exemption regime for royalties and of related individual tax rulings. In part, the Court upheld the EU Commission’s finding based on which Gibraltar’s corporate tax exemption for royalty income applicable until 31 December 2013 constitutes unlawful State aid. It thus confirmed that Gibraltar’s historic general exemption for royalty income represented unlawful State aid.
FATF UPDATED LIST OF JURISDICTIONS WITH AML DEFICIENCIES
On 25 April, a post from Fried Frank said that FinCEN had advised of the changes to the FATF lists, noting that Zimbabwe was removed from the list; and that the UAE was added (though adding that UAE has been making significant progress towards strengthening its AML/CFT regime).
HUGE JUMP IN CUSTOMS DUTIES FOR UK BUSINESSES AND CONSUMERS AS BREXIT BITES
On 26 April, Taxation reported that UK businesses and consumers have paid 62% more in customs duties on goods imported to the UK in the year to 31 March, as Brexit changes take effect. They paid £4.8 billion in customs duties, a new record, up from £2.9 billion in 2020-21.
BERNIE MADOFF’S FORMER HAMPTONS HOME IS BACK ON THE MARKET FOR $22.5 MILLION
On 26 April, Forbes reported that the former Hamptons home of disgraced financier is back on the market. Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison and died at the age of 82 in 2021, guilty of what was described as the biggest Ponzi scheme in history.
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