OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MAY 5

Panama Covid-19 update – the numbers continue their seemingly unstoppable rise, with active cases rising by another 1,730 today to reach nearly 10,000, at 9,669. 2,117 new cases reported today (the highest daily figure since early February), as testing numbers inevitably increase – with 11,503 tests returining a positivity rate of 18.4%. The numbers in hospital (either with Covid, or because of it) remain relatively modest, with 16 in ICU and 109 in other wards, with another 20 people in quarantine in hospital-hotels.

At least one can reassure oneself somewhat (perhaps) with the news that, with a lethality of 1.1%, Panama is among the countries with a low incidence of deaths due to the pandemic in Central America, accroding to the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).

5 MAY 2022

UK: PROGRESS ON THE REGISTER OF OVERSEAS ENTITIES

On 5 May, a post from the Land Registry and Companies House reported on progress on the new Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act, which received Royal Assent on 15 March.  A new register will require overseas entities that own UK land to declare their beneficial owners or managing officers.  Overseas entities who already own land in the UK will be given 6 months to register their beneficial owners or managing officers. This 6-month period will not begin until the new register has been launched.  The Act will apply to land bought since January 1999 in England and Wales, since December 2014 in Scotland, and to land bought from the day the Act comes into force in Northern Ireland. Companies incorporated in the Republic of Ireland fall under the definition of an overseas entity.  Work is progressing at pace on the creation of the new register.  Companies House will soon be writing to all overseas entities captured by the Act who own land in England, Wales and Scotland to make sure that they know about their new responsibilities.

https://companieshouse.blog.gov.uk/2022/04/27/progress-on-the-register-of-overseas-entities/?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=

NIGERIA: LAW TO OUTLAW RANSOM PAYMENTS

On 2 May, Dryad Global reported that the Nigerian Senate has passed a Bill imposing jail terms of at least 15 years for paying a ransom to free someone who has been kidnapped, and made the crime of abduction punishable by death in cases where victims die.  The Bill will now be debated in the lower House of Representatives before being sent for the president to sign. At least $18.34 million was paid to kidnappers as ransom – mostly by families and the government – between June 2011 and March 2020.

https://channel16.dryadglobal.com/nigeria-outlaws-ransom-payments-kidnap-now-punishable-by-death

DUTCH DOCK WORKERS REFUSE TO UNLOAD TANKER CARRYING RUSSIAN OIL

On 2 May, Dryad Global reported that the tanker took on about 60,000 tons of diesel at Russia’s Primorsk port in late April.  It was refused entry to a Swedish port, before being turned away from Rotterdam and then Amsterdam. 

https://channel16.dryadglobal.com/dutch-dock-workers-refuse-to-unload-tanker-carrying-russian-oil

INTERNATIONAL MARITIME BUREAU LATEST GLOBAL PIRACY AND ARMED ROBBERY REPORT

The International Chamber of Commerce has released the latest global piracy and armed robbery report.  It calls for efforts to be sustained in the Gulf of Guinea despite a welcome decrease in reported piracy and armed robbery incidents in these highly risky waters.  It records 37 incidents in the first 3 months of 2022 – compared to 38 incidents over the same period last year – with nearly half of them (41%) occurring in SE Asian waters, particularly in the Singapore Straits.  South American ports account for 27% of the global incidents, with 10 reported events.

https://iccwbo.org/media-wall/news-speeches/icc-imb-urges-continued-caution-while-welcoming-lull-in-crew-kidnappings-in-gulf-of-guinea/

NEW RUSSIAN LEGAL FRAMEWORK PROHIBITING RUSSIANS FROM ENTERING TRANSACTIONS WITH DESIGNATED PERSONS AND THE EXPORT OF CERTAIN RUSSIAN ITEMS ON BEHALF OF SANCTIONED PERSONS

On 4 May, Baker McKenzie reported that on 3 May, President Putin signed Decree No. 252 on Russian countersanctions against individuals and entities of the countries which have imposed sanctions on Russia.

https://sanctionsnews.bakermckenzie.com/new-russian-legal-framework-for-blocking-sanctions-prohibiting-i-russian-persons-from-entering-transactions-with-designated-persons-and-ii-the-export-of-certain-russian-items-in-favour-of-sancti/#page=1

IRISH RT JOURNALIST BRYAN MacDONALD ADDED TO UK SANCTIONS LIST

On 5 May, The Times reported that an Irish journalist employed by Russian state-funded media has been added to the UK sanctions list.  He is Head of the Russian and Former Soviet Union Desk for Russia Today.  He began working with RT in 2013 after writing an op-ed entitled ‘How Do You Solve A Problem Like Ukraine?’ before being taken on full time. Prior to the invasion, he forecast that Russia would not invade Ukraine, describing fears of impending war as “media hysteria”.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/irish-rt-journalist-bryan-macdonald-added-to-uk-sanctions-list-gn985vt2r

SAUDI AUTHORITIES BUST 45 TONS OF SMUGGLED KHAT

On 4 May, Al Monitor reported that authorities announced the seizure of 45.6 tons of khat as well as 760 kg and border security forces arrested 41 Saudi citizens.

https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2022/05/saudi-authorities-bust-45-tons-smuggled-khat

SMUGGLED KANGAROOS LEAVE INDIAN FORESTRY OFFICIALS MYSTIFIED

On 5 May, Al Jazeera reported that kangaroos were found roaming near woodlands in east India, 5,000 miles away from Australia, and their case has left India dumbfounded.

https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2022/5/5/smuggled-kangaroos-leave-indian-forestry-officials-mystified

HIGH-TECH COMPONENT MANUFACTURER WARNS OF DUAL-USE EXPORT CONTROL RISKS

On 4 May, Knowles Precision Devices (KPD), maker of a wide variety of highly engineered Capacitors and Microwave to Millimetre Wave components for use in critical applications in military, medical, electric vehicle, and 5G market segments, issued an Application Note.  This warned of the risks of being affected by dual-use export controls for multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCC), used in many electrical systems which demand higher operating voltages and temperatures, along with higher capacitance values – particularly in the fast-growing area of power electronics for electric vehicles (EV).  If a company manufactures a product that can be used for both civilian and military purposes, the product may require further review to determine if it would be regulated under a country’s dual-use legislation laws. 

https://info.knowlescapacitors.com/hubfs/DualUseLegislation_App%20Note.pdf?hsCtaTracking=7d31ac05-1bed-4c23-a72f-7d1278153ae1%7C43e78b1a-d840-4cd5-a713-5a25ccf2ac1f

THAI AND HONG KONG BANKS MOST USED IN BEC FRAUDS IN US

On 5 May, Infosecurity reported that the FBI has warned that fraudsters have tried to steal over $43 billion via business email compromise (BEC) attacks over the past 6 years, with Asian banks the primary recipients of stolen funds.  It is said that, although 140 countries have received stolen funds, banks in Thailand and Hong Kong were the most common destinations last year.  China came in third, followed by Mexico and Singapore.

https://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/news/fbi-thailand-hong-kong-banks-bec/

MONEYVAL WEBSITE LAUNCHED IN SPANISH

On 5 May, the FATF-style regional body MONEYVAL announced that the website will make available relevant content on the Council of Europe´s work to promote human rights, democracy and the rule of law among Spanish speaking audiences.

https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/-/launch-of-website-in-spanish

EU: REGULATING DISTORTIVE FOREIGN SUBSIDIES IN THE INTERNAL MARKET

On 4 May, the EU provided an update, saying that Member States had agreed a negotiating mandate for the regulation on foreign subsidies distorting the internal market.  A Regulation aims to address the distortions created by subsidies granted by non-EU countries to companies operating in the EU’s Single Market.  It will establish a comprehensive framework for the EU Commission to investigate any economic activity benefiting from a third-country subsidy on the internal market and to set up a specific framework for subsidies granted by third countries in the context of large concentrations and large public procurement procedures.

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2022/05/04/reglementer-les-subventions-etrangeres-generant-des-distorsions-sur-le-marche-interieur-le-conseil-adopte-sa-position/

UK SANCTIONS: OFSI GENERAL LICENCES

On 5 May, HM Treasury updated its list of sanctions General Licences with links to expired licences.

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/ofsi-general-licences

UN RAPPORTEUR: SWISS BANKING LAWS CURTAIL FREE SPEECH

On 4 May, OCCRP reported that a provision of Swiss banking law prescribes a prison sentence of up to 3 years and a fine for whoever discloses confidential information about a client. This, it says, has effectively muzzled journalists and whistleblowers from revealing that war criminals, drug traffickers, their money launderers and other criminals keep their ill-gotten funds in Swiss banks.  UN Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression is quoted as saying that it has “a chilling effect and leads journalists to self-censor.  This is prior-censorship, that is, censoring the media before they can even investigate or publish”.   She has told the Swiss Government the Swiss government at the beginning of March that the provision contradicts the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights.  She is said to be planning to bring the issue up with the UN’s human rights council in June.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/16278-un-rapporteur-swiss-banking-laws-curtail-free-speech

3 GERMAN FUGITIVES ARRESTED IN SPAIN FOR PROVIDING SHADOW BANKING SYSTEM TO CRIMINALS

On 5 May, Europol reported that police have broken up a money laundering ring which was operating a parallel banking system for criminals, with arrests in Malaga on 30 March.  The suspects are believed to have run a shadow banking system which processed hundreds of millions of euros of criminal transactions isolated from any oversight mechanisms governing the legal financial system. 

https://www.europol.europa.eu/media-press/newsroom/news/three-german-fugitives-arrested-in-spain-for-providing-shadow-banking-system-to-criminals

HEAD OF RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH ON DRAFT EU SANCTIONS LIST

On 5 May, the Guardian reported that the EU plans to impose sanctions on the head of the Russian Orthodox church, Patriarch Kirill, a long-serving Kremlin ally.  He is said to be one of 57 people who would face an EU travel ban and asset freeze under new listings being discussed by Member States.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/05/head-of-russian-orthodox-church-patriarch-kirill-eu-sanctions-list-draft

https://www.eurasiareview.com/05052022-eu-commission-proposes-sanctions-against-patriarch-kirill/

LE HAVRE COCAINE BUST MARKS FRENCH PORT’S PROMINENCE IN PIPELINE TO EUROPE

On 4 May, Insight Crime reported that the smugglers, who were shot at by police, escaped the scene but left behind 280 kg of cocaine.  Such interdictions have skyrocketed in Le Havre this year.  By early February, authorities had already seized some 2.2 tons of cocaine – more than in all of 2019.  Le Havre authorities set a record in 2021 when they interdicted over 10 tons of cocaine, roughly 45% of the 23 tons seized in France last year.  Le Havre’s growing cocaine imports remain dwarfed that seized in Antwerp or Rotterdam last year, but it is now firmly established as a major entry point for Europe-bound cocaine in its own right.

https://insightcrime.org/news/new-french-connection-cocaine-seizures-jump-le-havre/

THE UK ECONOMIC CRIME (TRANSPARENCY AND ENFORCEMENT) ACT – A JERSEY PERSEPCTIVE

On 5 May, Appleby published a short article saying that most notable change from a Jersey perspective is that a new Register of Overseas Entities, for foreign companies which own UK property.  It advises that Jersey structures that already own UK property, or are about to acquire UK property, need to consider their obligations under the Act.

https://www.applebyglobal.com/publications/the-economic-crime-transparency-and-enforcement-act-2022-a-jersey-perspective/

EUROPEAN DATA PROTECTION AUTHORITIES AGREE TO ENHANCE COOPERATION

On 4 May, Out-Law reported that data protection authorities across Europe have agreed to work more closely together to investigate and enforce major issues of data protection law that affect citizens across the continent.  This cooperation is said to include working to an action plan, bolstering information sharing practices, and potentially working on joint investigations together under the GDPR – and a special EDPB taskforce could be set up to support such investigations.

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/news/european-data-protection-authorities-agree-to-enhance-cooperation

ISLE OF MAN: NEW LEGISLATION TO GIVE EFFECT TO UK RUSSIA SANCTIONS

The Order Paper for the sitting of the Island’s parliament on 17 May includes the following measures, which give legal backing to various recent UK sanctions measures in Island law – Russia Sanctions (Application) Regulations 2022 [SD 2022/0098]; Russia Sanctions (Application) (No.2) Regulations 2022 [SD 2022/0101]; Russia Sanctions (Application) (No.3) Regulations 2022 [SD 2022/0102] and Russia Sanctions (Application) (No. 4) Regulations 2022 [SD 2022/0117].

https://www.tynwald.org.im/business/opqp/opqp/2022-PP-0064.pdf

COLOMBIA: CHANGES TO BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP LAW

On 4 May, an article from Dentons is concerned with amendments to introduce several changes to the previous effective ownership regime, in order to adjust and comply with recommendations from FATF.  The changes modify the definition of effective ownership in favour of beneficial ownership, created the Beneficial Ownership Registry (RUB) and the Unincorporated Structures Identification System (SIESPJ). 

https://dentons.cardenas-cardenas.com/en/insights/articles/2022/may/4/beneficial-owner-registration

US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE TRICKED INTO PAYING $23.5 MILLION TO PHISHING ACTOR

On 2 May, the Bleeping Computer website reported on the conviction of Sercan Oyuntur, 40, from California, managed to divert to his personal bank account DoD funds destined for a jet fuel supplier. 

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/us-dod-tricked-into-paying-235-million-to-phishing-actor/

EBA UPDATES ITS GUIDELINES FOR ASSESSING EQUIVALENCE OF PROFESSIONAL SECRECY REGIMES OF THIRD COUNTRY AUTHORITIES

On 3 May, the European Banking Association advised that it had published its updated Guidelines for assessing equivalence of professional secrecy and confidentiality regimes of third country authorities, to widen the scope and the purpose of the assessment.  It has updated its Guidelines on equivalence of confidentiality regime of third countries, to allow for –

  • a wider scope of the assessment (to include all relevant provisions in the CRD, PSD2, BRRD and AMLD, as applicable to the specific third country authorities); and
  • a wider purpose (to support cooperation arrangements and facilitate participation in supervisory, resolution and AML colleges).

https://www.eba.europa.eu/eba-updates-its-guidelines-assessing-equivalence-professional-secrecy-regimes-third-country

UK: PROBE INTO TINY ACCOUNTANCY FIRM KING & KING OVER SANJEEV GUPTA AUDITS

On 4 May, City AM reported that the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) said it would be probing King & King’s audits of financial results posted by 4 of separate companies linked to Sanjeev Gupta, and his GFG Alliance metals empire.

https://www.cityam.com/uk-watchdog-launches-probe-into-tiny-accountancy-firm-king-king-over-sanjeev-gupta-audits/

EQUATORIAL GUINEA SAYS IT WILL CRACKDOWN ON FAKE-FLAG SHIPS

On 4 May, Insurance Marine News reported that Equatorial Guinea has said that it will be prosecuting the owner of sunken oil tanker Xelo for allegedly ‘fraudulently’ flying the country’s flag.  It is also said that that the country had also requested international collaboration to detect vessels illegally flying Equatorial Guinea’s flag.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/equatorial-guinea-says-it-will-crackdown-on-fake-flag-ships/

INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CLASSIFICATION SOCIETIES (IACS) ADOPTS NEW REQUIREMENTS ON CYBER SAFETY FOR SHIPS

On 4 May, Insurance Marine News reported that IACS has adopted 2 new Unified Requirements (UR) on the cyber resilience of ships and will be applied to new ships contracted for construction on and after 1 January 2024, though they may be applied in the interim as non-mandatory guidance.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/iacs-adopts-new-requirements-on-cyber-safety/

FBI ARRESTS 2 PUERTO RICO MAYORS ACCUSED OF CORRUPTION

On 5 May, La Estrella de Panama reported that the FBI had arrested the mayors of Aguas Buenas and Humacao, with the 2 being accused of corruption and the island’s Governor has demanded their resignation.  This means that there are now 5 mayors arrested so far during this 4-year term for being involved in a corruption scheme in Puerto Rico.

https://www.laestrella.com.pa/internacional/mundo/220505/fbi-arresta-dos-alcaldes-puerto-rico-senalados-corrupcion

RUSSIA: NEW DECREE IMPOSES NEW RESTRICTIONS ON DISTRIBUTION OF PROFITS TO FOREIGN CREDITORS AND INTRODUCES CERTAIN CLARIFICATIONS TO THE EXISTING LIMITATIONS

On 5 May, a post from Baker McKenzie says that the Decree also clarifies the application of certain Russian countermeasures on transactions with persons from unfriendly states related to the purchase and sale of real estate, operations with additional shares and equity, discharge of independent guarantees and warranties and payments made under certain types of leasing agreements.

https://sanctionsnews.bakermckenzie.com/new-russian-presidential-decree-imposes-new-restrictions-on-distribution-of-profits-and-introduces-certain-clarifications-to-the-existing-limitations/

PROPOSAL TO USE TAX LAW TO DENY TAX CREDITS TO US COMPANIES THAT PAY RUSSIAN TAXES

On 5 May, an article on Lawfare says that income tax has historically been used as a tool of foreign policy, mostly to steer US investment to strategically important countries.  It calls for more tax tools for imposing costs on foreign targets when national security warrants it, saying that existing rules and tax treaties are inadequate.

https://www.lawfareblog.com/tax-sanctions-and-foreign-policy

https://www.statista.com/chart/13640/press-freedom-index

CHINESE SHIP MAKES FIRST KNOWN VOYAGE TO DPRK

On 5 May, NK Pro reported on what is said to be a rare appearance of a foreign-flagged ship outside a North Korean port since start of COVID-19 pandemic. 

https://www.nknews.org/pro/chinese-ship-makes-first-known-voyage-to-dprk-flaunting-maritime-conventions/

NEW ROAD-RAIL INTERMODAL TERMINAL IN ROMANIA AS EUROPE-CHINA GATEWAY

On 5 May, Loadstar reported that DP World is going ahead with plans announced last year for a new road-rail intermodal terminal in Aiud, Romania, to be operational in the first half of next year.  It is said to sit directly on the trainline that links Europe to China via Central Asia. 

https://theloadstar.com/new-romania-terminal-will-become-europe-china-intermodal-gateway/

US: FINRA FINES 2 CROWDFUNDING COMPANIES FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH SECURITIES REGULATIONS PERTAINING TO PROTECTION OF INVESTORS

On 4 May, Fried Frank reported that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) had settled with one portal after it agreed to a censure, a $1,400,000 fine and engage an independent compliance consultant.  The other portal agreed to a censure, a $350,000 fine and a certification that it has established policies, procedures and internal controls to remediate any issues.

https://www.findknowdo.com/news/05/04/2022/finra-fines-two-crowdfunding-portals

https://advisor.visualcapitalist.com/historical-oil-prices/

BORIS BECKER: A LESSON UNDER THE INSOLVENCY ACT 1986

On 4 May, a briefing from HFW says that Boris Becker has been sentenced to 2½ years in prison in relation to the 4 criminal charges he was convicted of under the Insolvency Act 1986.  It says that Mr Becker’s conviction is proof that, regardless of celebrity status, the court will take a strict approach when a bankrupt has been found to be contravening the Act.

https://www.hfw.com/downloads/004000-HFW-LIT-Boris-Becker-A-Lesson-under-the-Insolvency-Act-1986.pdf

Meanwhile, on 5 May, the Guardian reported that Boris Becker will be considered for deportation, the Home Office has confirmed, as experts said the potential battle could set a legal precedent and Becker may have to represent himself in court if he wants to remain in the UK.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2022/may/05/boris-becker-could-face-deportation-home-office-confirms

US: EVEN INDIRECT INCOME FROM CANNABIS CAN GET YOU BANNED FROM BANKRUPTCY

On 5 May, an article from Ward & Smith PA warns that, despite widespread trends in state-level legalisation and decriminalisation of high-THC cannabis and growing acceptance of cannabis among Americans, cannabis and cannabis products remain illegal under federal law.  It goes on to say that, in situations of financial difficulty or distress, cannabis operators and their owners, vendors, suppliers, and business partners lack guaranteed access to the bankruptcy courts.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/even-indirect-income-from-cannabis-can-3357300/

SWISS POLICE SEIZE 500 KG OF COCAINE AT NESPRESSO FACTORY

On 5 May, the Guardian reported that it was found in a shipment of coffee beans delivered to a Nespresso plant.  The initial investigation indicated the shipment originated in Brazil.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/05/swiss-police-seize-cocaine-nespresso-factory

COTTON TRACEABILITY PANEL INVESTS £1MILLION IN SUPPLY CHAIN INNOVATIONS

On 4 May, CILT reported that Better Cotton, the sustainability initiative for cotton, has gathered a group of international retailers and brands to enable the delivery of new traceability solutions and bring greater visibility to the cotton supply chain. It will work with suppliers, NGOs and independent experts in supply chain assurance.  Traceability within the cotton supply chain will soon become a market “must” with international legislators to toughen rules. New rules presented this March by the European Commission aim to better protect consumers against false environmental claims and introduce a ban on greenwashing.

https://ciltuk.org.uk/News/Latest-News/ArtMID/6887/ArticleID/36664/Cotton-traceability-panel-invests-1631million-in-supply-chain-innovations

EX-DUBLIN AIRPORT COP JAILED FOR MONEY LAUNDERING

On 5 May, the Belfast Telegraph reported that the NCA started an investigation into Mark Adams, 42, a former Dublin Airport policeman from Malahide, in May 2018 after he was stopped at Belfast International Airport before boarding a flight to Alicante.  Over €180,000 euros was found by Border Force in 2 folders in his hand luggage.  Both had been disguised to look like they contained legally privileged documentation.

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/ex-dublin-airport-cop-jailed-for-money-laundering-41618942.html

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where one-off contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymea3coffee.com/KoIvM842y

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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