THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MAY 7

Panama Covid-19 update – got my optional fourth vaccination, i.e. second booster, today at an open event at the national bus station. The vaccination record card wasn’t designed for so many injections, and the covid record has now taken over another category as well… They also checked that my digital record/vaccination certificate was suitably updated, and checked my phone number, just in case. All very efficient.

Meanwhile, the number of active cases shows another big jump today, up by 1,800 to 12,566; with 2,672 new cases and 1 new fatality reported today. Equally worrying is that the 12,361 tests undertaken resulted in 21.6% being positive. There remain just 16 people in ICU, with 122 in other wards and 26 in quarantine in hospital-hotels.

7 MAY 2022

ITALY ORDERS SEIZURE OF $700 MILLION YACHT LINKED TO VLADIMIR PUTIN

On 7 May, Sky News reported that the Scheherazade had been undergoing repairs in the port of Marina di Carrara, Tuscany, since September.  The action came as it was feared recent activity at the dockside suggested the crew might be preparing to sail the Scheherazade into international waters.  It is said that a source said police told Reuters the owner was Eduard Khudainatov, the former chief of Russian energy giant Rosneft who is not currently a target of EU sanctions.  However, a report in March saying it had evidence that the boat belonged to the Russian President.

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/italy-orders-seizure-of-700m-yacht-linked-to-vladimir-putin/ar-AAX124h?ocid=msedgdhp&pc=U531&cvid=e68c7b7aa7724e4d97b23258e32877bc

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/06/fears-superyacht-linked-putin-may-flee-italian-shipyard-scheherazade

US INDUSTRIAL BASE SHOULD PREPARE FOR EXPORT CONTROL REFORMS

On 3 May, an article in National Defense said that reviews of the structures of US export controls were underway or planned.  This included a broad technology-based review planned by the State Department, and a thorough review of the US Munitions List (USML) to determine whether any “critical and emerging technologies” should be included to the list and therefore subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).  The last major revision to the USML regarding an emerging technology took place in 2002, when a dedicated category for directed energy weapons was added.

https://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/articles/2022/5/3/industrial-base-should-prepare-for-export–control-reforms

WHO IS ALINA KABAEVA, PUTIN’S RUMOURED GIRLFRIEND ON PROPOSED EU SANCTIONS LIST?

On 7 May, The Week carried an article about President Vladimir Putin’s alleged girlfriend. Alina Kabaeva, who is also chairwoman of the National Media Group that holds stakes in almost all Russian media outlets.

https://www.theweek.in/news/world/2022/05/07/who-is-alina-kabaeva-putin-rumoured-girlfriend-eu-sanctions-list.html

CANADIAN REAL ESTATE HAS A MONEY LAUNDERING AND FRAUD PROBLEM

On 6 May, the Better Dwelling website carried an article saying that a 2020 report from the Canadian Intelligence Service Canada, just obtained, focuses on the scope and extent of money laundering in Canada.  The agency found real estate was used extensively as a tool for criminal activity.  It says that Canadian real estate is often exploited for money laundering due to opaque laws.

https://betterdwelling.com/canadian-real-estate-has-a-money-laundering-and-fraud-problem-intelligence-report/

FINAL REPORT OF BRITISH COLUMBIA’S PUBLIC INQUIRY INTO MONEY LAUNDERING DELAYED UNTIL JUNE

On 6 May, the National Post and others reported that the report had been due on 20 May, but an extension to 3 June was a result of several members of the Cullen Commission inquiry team contracting COVID-19.  The province announced the inquiry in 2019 after a series of reports to the government found what the commission called “extraordinary” levels of money laundering in the real estate, casino, horse racing and luxury car sectors, fuelled in part by the illegal drug trade.

https://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/b-c-money-laundering-report-granted-extension-until-june-3-after-covid-19-delays

LUXEMBOURG REGULATOR GUIDANCE FOR CONSUMERS IN THE CONTEXT OF VIRTUAL ASSETS

On 5 May, CMS Law reported that CSSF published guidance for consumers in the context of digital communication channels promoting the possibility of high returns with virtual assets. The Guidance reminds consumers of the potential risks of investing in them and it also underlines the fact that they are not necessarily a suitable investment for every type of investor.

https://www.cms-lawnow.com/ealerts/2022/05/luxembourg-regulator-guidance-for-consumers-in-the-context-of-virtual-assets

UK: BUSINESSES FRUSTRATED BY CONSTANT DELAYS TO POST-BREXIT IMPORT CHECKS

A news release from Logistics UK (which used to be the Freight Transport Association) said that the UK Government’s decision to rethink the introduction of post-Brexit import checks on certain goods arriving from the EU (originally scheduled to be introduced in July) while it finalises its 2025 Border Strategy will be met with mixed reactions from the industry.  Logistics UK is urging the government to make a clear – and final – commitment to a process and a deadline and ensure the necessary facilities, staff and processes are in place and ready to cope with the volume and patterns of trade.

https://logistics.org.uk/media/press-releases/2022/april-2022/businesses-frustrated-by-constant-delays-to-post-b 

US BOUNTIES HIT HONDURAN ‘TRANSPORTISTA’ FAMILY

On 6 May, Insight Crime reported that the US has offered a $5 million reward for information leading to the arrest of leaders of the Montes Bobadilla drug clan – a Honduran transport group.  The State Department says that the group moves drugs and launders illicit proceeds throughout Central America, Mexico and the US.

https://insightcrime.org/news/us-bounties-hit-honduran-transportista-family/ 

QUESTIONS SURROUND VENEZUELA’S RECENT SEIZURE OF RARE DRUG-SUB

On 6 May, an article from Insight Crime posed questions about the implications of the capture of a drug smuggling submarine close to the border with Colombia.  It is alleged that the vessel was deployed by an unspecified Colombian crime group to traffic drugs along the Arauca and Orinoco Rivers from Colombia to Venezuela’s Atlantic coast.

https://insightcrime.org/news/questions-surround-venezuela-seizure-rare-drug-sub/ 

US COMMISSION ACCUSES SWITZERLAND OF HIDING RUSSIAN ASSETS

On 5 May, Swissinfo reported that the Commission for Security and Cooperation in Europe (aka the Helsinki Commission) has issued hard-hitting criticism of Switzerland’s perceived role in hiding Russian assets.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/politics/us-commission-accuses-switzerland-of-hiding-russian-assets/47570650

BELGIUM REJECTS EXTRADITION REQUEST FOR FORMER ECUADORIAN PRESIDENT RAFAEL CORREA

On 7 May, TeleSUR reported that the Belgian Ministry is quoted as saying that “it will refuse to cooperate with the Ecuadorian Justice in the framework of political proceedings”.  Wanted for alleged bribery in Ecuador, Belgium granted asylum to Correa in that country, where his wife, Ann Malherbede, is from and has resided since 2017.

https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Belgium-Rejects-Correas-Extradition-Request-to-Ecuador-20220507-0004.html

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