Panama Covid-19 update – the impact of the BA.2 uptick continues, with 625 rise in active cases and the hit rate of the testing at 12.2% the highest since 18 February. 1 new fatality was also reported, 5,242 active cases, 8 in ICU and 87 in other wards.
28 APRIL 2022
SOUTH AFRICA SIGNS JEDDAH AMENDMENT TO COMBAT ILLICIT MARITIME ACTIVITY
On 28 April, Dryad Global reported that South Africa has become the 17th signatory to the Jeddah Amendment to the Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCoC). The Jeddah Amendment covers measures for suppressing a range of illicit activities, including piracy, arms trafficking, trafficking in narcotics, illegal trade in wildlife, illegal oil bunkering, crude oil theft, human trafficking, human smuggling, and illegal dumping of toxic waste.
IS SOMALI PIRACY FINALLY UNDER CONTROL?
On 27 April, Dryad Global reported that the expiry of the UN Security Council’s (UNSC) counter-piracy Resolution 2608 on 31 March attracted little publicity, although it is the first time since 2008 that the Security Council has not renewed the region’s piracy resolution.
KENYA UNVEILS INTER-AGENCY GUIDELINES TO COMBAT TERRORISM AND TERRORISM FINANCING
On 13 April, All Africa reported that the guidelines are intended to improve organisational partnerships between investigative agencies and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, in collaboration with criminal justice partners, as well as to ensure effective coordination, collaboration, and cooperation in the investigation and prosecution of terror-related offences. Kenya’s position as East Africa ‘s regional financial, transport and communication hub, its strategic geographical location and proximity to jurisdictions that have been known to harbour terrorist groups and its porous borders makes the country vulnerable to terrorism and terrorist financing risks.
RUSSIA SANCTIONS COMPLICATE PAYING RANSOMWARE HACKERS
On 27 April, the Wall Street Journal reported that US sanctions against Russia have made the already difficult problem of how to resolve ransomware attacks more difficult. Separately, Benesch Law says that there are 3 main scenarios that could arise related to ransomware attacks and the current Russian sanctions.
UK NATIONAL CYBER SECURITY CENTRE (NCSC) AND ALLIES PUBLISH ADVISORY ON MOST COMMONLY EXPLOITED CYBER VULNERABILITIES
On 27 April, security Matters reported that the partners have published a joint advisory for public and private sector organisations alike on the 15 most commonly exploited cyber vulnerabilities in 2021. The advisory highlights the fact that malicious cyber actors aggressively targeted newly disclosed critical software vulnerabilities across the public and private sectors worldwide.
ELECTRONIC SIGNING ON CORPORATE TRANSACTIONS: WHAT IS CURRENT BEST PRACTICE?
On 27 April, RPC published an article saying that electronic signing has now replaced in-person signing as the norm for most lawyers and clients on corporate transactions. This article summarises the current guidance from a number of sources on conducting electronic signing procedures.
10 MEN FROM ONE AMSTERDAM FAMILY ARRESTED FOR MONEY LAUNDERING
On 28 April, NL Times reported that police in Amsterdam had arrested 10 men from one family on suspicion of money laundering. The alleged money laundering gang was arrested 2 weeks previously during raids at 15 locations, and 7 remain in custody. The “money laundering family” allegedly systematically helped drug syndicates to funnel tens of millions of euros in crime profits.
COURT RULES ISRAELI CITIZEN CAN BE EXTRADITED TO US ON MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES
On 27 April, the Jewish Press reported that the Jerusalem District Court has ruled that Yitzhak Cohen could be extradited to the US. He is accused of managing and operating an online prostitution network between January 2013 and September 2019, from Israel and together with his partner Tracy Reynolds, who resides in the US.
PHILIPPINES: ACTION AGAINST BDO AND UnionBank OVER DECEMBER HACKING INCIDENT
On 28 April, CNN reported that Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has announced it will sanction BDO Unibank and the Union Bank of the Philippines over the hundreds of unauthorised bank transfers in December. In December, over 700 customers of BDO, the country’s biggest bank, fell victim to a heist perpetrated by an unidentified group of hackers. Many of the victims said unauthorised bank transfers were directed to different UnionBank accounts.
UK: ESSAY MILLS ARE NOW ILLEGAL
On 28 April, a post from the UK Department of Education points out that essay mills – which facilitate cheating by helping academic writing, often by appearing to be legitimate – have been made illegal. It is now a criminal offence to provide or arrange for another person to provide contract cheating services for financial gain to students taking a qualification at a post-16 institution or 6th form in England, enrolled at a higher education provider in England and any other person over compulsory school age who has been entered for a regulated qualification at a place in England. It is also an offence for a person to make arrangements for an advertisement in which that person offers, or is described as being available or competent, to provide or arrange for another person to provide a cheating service.
UK GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO THE ADVISORY COUNCIL ON THE MISUSE OF DRUGS ON ITS ASSESSMENT OF THE HARMS OF GHB AND GBL
On 27 April, the Home Office published its response to the assessment provided by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD). It is said that officials are in discussion with other government departments and agencies to develop a detailed response to the recommendations.
UK: THE ONLINE SAFETY BILL: READING LIST
On 28 April, the House of Commons Library published this briefing which consists of a reading list provides a selection of media coverage, stakeholder responses and other material relevant to the Bill.
UK: EXPORT CONTROL (AMENDMENT) ORDER 2022
This Order is made under the Export Control Act 2002 to make amendments to the Export Control Order 2008, which implements the strategic export controls of the UK. The amendments introduce a prohibition on the export or transfer of non-controlled goods, software or technology to UK-embargoed destinations or a country subject to an arms embargo by the OSCE or the UN Security Council. The prohibition applies where the export is for, or on the behalf of, military forces, paramilitary forces, police forces, or security or intelligence services. It is said that this control is a consequence of programmes of concern in embargoed countries procuring goods and technology from the UK, which is being used to develop and enhance harmful capabilities intended for use against the UK, its allies, or innocent civilians. The Order also moves China (and its Special Administrative Regions, Hong Kong and Macao) into the list of countries that are embargoed destinations and subject to transit control for military goods, thereby giving it the same status as other countries subject to an arms embargo.
US: REPORT ON DEFENCE EXPORTERS’ EFFECTIVE COMPLIANCE PROCEDURES
On 28 April, Sandler Travis & Rosenberg reported on the annual report from the US State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls on the performance of its “Blue Lantern” end-use monitoring program. The report’s findings highlight the importance for defence exporters to maintain effective compliance procedures. The program aims to minimise the risk of diversion and unauthorized use of US defence articles, combat grey arms trafficking, uncover violations of the Arms Export Control Act, and build confidence and cooperation among defence trade partners. DDTC maintains a watch list with more than 224,500 entities that is used to flag export authorisation applications for possible Blue Lantern checks. The report on the leading causes of an unfavourable, although no instances of indications of potential or actual diversion were documented.
PHILIPPINE: AS FORMER DICTATOR’S SON CLOSES IN ON VICTORY, BUSINESSES SHOULD WATCH FOR REHASHING OF UNFINISHED FEUDS
On 28 April, Control Risks published an article warning that pre-election surveys and lobbying efforts by Manila’s elites suggest that the Philippines is about to hand a convincing win to presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr – the son and namesake of the late long-time dictator.
UK: THE CURRENT LEGAL PROTECTION FOR WHISTLEBLOWERS AND POTENTIAL REFORMS
A post from Corker Bining on 27 April reflected on the current legal protection for whistleblowers and looks at potential reforms that could be introduced.
WORLD BANK DEBARS ADVISORY AND CONSULTING COMPANY FOR A FRAUDULENT PRACTICE CONNECTED TO A PROJECT IN GEORGIA
On 28 April, a post from the FCPA Blog advised that Tbilisi-based non-profit, the Centre for Training and Consultancy (CTC), is ineligible to participate in projects and operations financed by the World Bank Group during the 18-month debarment. The debarment qualifies for cross-debarment by the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the African Development Bank.
US: CURRENT AND FORMER GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS TIED TO HUMAN TRAFFICKING PROBE IN GEORGIA
On 20 April, Yahoo News carried a USA Today report that 2 Georgia labour officials whose jobs involved protecting or advocating for farmworkers have links to one of the largest US human trafficking cases ever prosecuted involving foreign agricultural labourers brought into the US on seasonal visas.
EUROJUST SUPPORTS SEARCHES IN GERMANY, ITALY AND HUNGARY AGAINST USE OF FAULTY EMISSION DEVICES IN JAPANESE CARS
A news release on 27 April advised that Eurojust is assisting authorities in Germany, Italy and Hungary with a series of searches to counter the use of faulty emission devices in engines, used in cars of a Japanese producer. The devices were allegedly fitted in the Italian-built diesel engines of large numbers of cars, giving the impression that the vehicles’ nitrogen oxide emissions were in line with EU regulations. The engines were later assembled into various models of the car manufacturer at a Hungarian production plant.
DANSKE BANK SHELVES DIVIDEND AS FACES MONEY LAUNDERING FINE
On 28 April, BNN Bloomberg reported that Danske Bank A/S said it is in initial discussions with authorities in the US and Denmark on ending the money laundering scandal that has affected Denmark’s biggest lender since 2018, with potential fines are “likely to be material”.
UAE FREEZES ASSETS OF KINAHAN DRUG TRAFFICKING GANG
The Financial Times has reported that the UAE has frozen the assets of the Kinahan drug trafficking gang, adding to international pressure on an organisation that has deep ties with boxers and promoters at the highest levels of the sport.
HUAWEI CHIP SUPPLIER USES US SEMICONDUCTOR TECHNOLOGY
On 26 April, Kharon reported that Chinese semiconductor company Triductor Technology is a supplier of chips to companies on the US Department of Commerce’s Entity List, despite having procured and used US-origin software and layout IP licensed from US companies to design the chips.
CHINESE STATE-OWNED CONGLOMERATE PURSUES GLOBAL ACQUISITIONS WITH HIGH-TECH MILITARY APPLICATIONS
On 28 April, Kharon reported that Chinese state-owned railway conglomerate CRRC Corporation Ltd has acquired a sensitive military technology firm. It says that the case highlights the latest in a series of acquisitions made by CRRC in which the company takes a stake in a foreign company operating in a critical industry with military end-use applications to acquire their technology and know-how. This comes after, in September 2021, Italian authorities announced an investigation into 6 individuals over the sale of Italian drone-maker Alpi Aviation to Chinese state-owned companies. CRRC is a state-owned Chinese railcar manufacturer with exports to nearly 100 countries, including to Boston and Los Angeles in the US.
CHINA IS HUNTING UYGHURS AROUND THE WORLD, WITH HELP FROM SOME SURPRISING COUNTRIES
On 25 April, NBC reported that Chinese authorities are tracking down Uyghurs abroad — with help from countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and UAE. This is said to be revealed in a new report from the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Kissinger Institute on China and the United States. It is said that more than 5,500 Uyghurs outside of China have been targeted by Beijing, hit with cyberattacks and threats to family members who remain in China, and more than 1,500 Uyghurs have been detained or forced to return to China.
REBELS WITHOUT A CAUSE: THE NEW FACE OF AFRICAN WARFARE
An article in the May/June edition of Foreign Affairs argues that, whereas most armed groups on the continent once aimed to topple governments or secede and found new countries, those who take up arms these days are more likely to do so as a means of bargaining over resources. It also says that rebel groups in these and other countries have often challenged governments as a way of extracting pay-outs and other concessions. This fundamental change in the nature of conflict on the continent presents a quandary for outside actors, including the US, EU, and UN.
IRELAND: A FORMER HEAD OF FINANCE AT THE COUNTRY’S LARGEST HOSPICE IS TO FACE TRIAL ON A CHARGE OF DECEPTION ARISING OUT OF AN ALLEGED LOSS-MAKING SALE OF A PROPERTY BY THE HOSPICE
On 28 April, RTE reported that the former head of finance at Our Lady’s Hospice in Harold’s Cross in Dublin and a co-defendant businessman from Co Mayo are charged with dishonestly inducing Our Lady’s Hospice to sell a property at a loss.
PODCAST: NFT PRIMER – WHAT BUYERS, SELLERS AND ISSUERS NEED TO KNOW
On 28 April, a podcast from Mayer Brown sets out to will decipher these digital assets, explore a few of the legal issues surrounding them and discuss some of the steps companies need to consider as they look to leverage NFT as part of their business strategy.
NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCIAL SERVICES (DFS) HAS ISSUED NEW GUIDANCE TO NEW YORK STATE-REGULATED VIRTUAL CURRENCY ENTITIES ESTABLISHING THE USE OF BLOCKCHAIN ANALYTICS TOOLS AS A BEST PRACTICE TO PREVENT AND MANAGE FINANCIAL RISKS AND SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITIES
On 28 April, a release on Mondo Visione quoted the DFS Superintendent as saying that “Blockchain analytics tools provide companies with an efficient, data-driven way to conduct customer due diligence, transaction monitoring, and sanctions screening, among other things, which are all critical elements of our virtual currency regulation. We expect regulated entities to utilize best practices to uphold the safety and soundness of the virtual currency market and to protect consumers.”
FBI INFORMANT IN DEUTSCHE BANK PROBE FOUND DEAD
On 28 April, Newsmax reported that a man who aided the FBI’s investigation in a probe of Deutsche Bank over allegations of money laundering and other financial improprieties, has been found dead in Los Angeles, after being missing for more than a year. Valentin Broeksmit, 46, gave key documents and information to federal investigators related to Deutsche Bank.
GIVING RUSSIAN ASSETS TO UKRAINE — FREEZING IS NOT SEIZING
On 26 April, an article on Lawfare says that several recent opinions insist that President Biden already has the authority to transfer the frozen Russian assets to Ukraine and would face no constitutional impediments in doing so. The author of the new article says that he has grave reservations, based on constitutional and international law, about proposals to enact new legislation to bring about their preferred outcome. It says that grave and consequential matters of constitutional and international law are at stake; and US policymakers should not ignore these considerations just because doing so would make the American people, however briefly, feel good.
US: THE STATE SECRETS PRIVILEGE – NATIONAL SECURITY INFORMATION IN CIVIL LITIGATION
On 28 April, the US Congressional Research Service published a briefing paper saying that, over time, the Supreme Court has developed the common law doctrine known as the “state secrets privilege,” which protects sensitive national security information from being disclosed in civil litigation. It says that a frequent question in litigation involving the state secrets doctrine is how far courts should scrutinise the government’s assertions of the risk of disclosure once the privilege has been formally invoked.
WHY INDONESIA’S PALM OIL EXPORT BAN COULD BACKFIRE
On 28 April, an article from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace says that the ban threatens to upend domestic and global markets already struggling with the fallout from the pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
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