Panama Covid-19 update – not a good day for Covid statistics with 3,910 new cases reported, a 1,501 increase in active cases and hospital numbers up – and 4 new fatalities. The positive result rate on tests remains high, with 22.1% on 17,618 tests performed. There are 25,630 active cases, with 35 in ICU, 189 in other wards and 60 in hospital-hotel quarantine.
17 MAY 2022
DETAINED RUSSIAN YACHT COSTING FIJI $640,000 A WEEK
Superyact news from eSysman reported claims that the detention of a Russian-owned superyacht, that the US authorities were seeking to seize under sanctions was costing the small country of Fiji $640,000 a week to detain and maintain. The High Court in Fiji allowed a stay on the seizure and handing of the yacht to US authorities, with a further court hearing due on 18 May.
MOST EXTREMIST VIOLENCE IN THE US COMES FROM THE POLITICAL RIGHT
SFO LONG-RUNNING INVESTIGATION INTO A BOILER ROOM FRAUD HAS HELPED HUNDREDS REGAIN MONEY THEY LOST
On 12 May, an article from Rahman Ravelli says that the SFO is set to return a further £1 million to more than 200 people who lost money to a boiler room fraud as part of its investigation codenamed Operation Steamroller. It said the case involved one of the biggest-ever examples of a boiler room fraud, where people are pressured into buying over-valued or even worthless shares. The 7-year investigation led to the successful prosecution of Australian national Jeffrey Revell-Reade in 2014, who was jailed for 9½ years and given a confiscation order totalling £7.5 million.
AN OVERVIEW OF THE TYPES AND USES OF GUERNSEY LAW TRUSTS
An article from Carey Olsen on 16 May is concerned with features, uses and taxation of trusts.
FIRST BVI FREEZING ORDER GRANTED AGAINST ‘PERSONS UNKNOWN’ IN CRYPTO FRAUD CASE
On 12 May, an article from Walkers was concerned with a decision of the BVI Commercial Court on 4 May. This was the first time that the BVI court has granted a freezing order over assets held by persons unknown in relation to crypto fraud and follows similar decisions in the UK and other Commonwealth countries where such relief is now commonly granted.
SWISS SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA –OVERVIEW AND USEFUL LINKS
On 13 May, Lenz & Staehelin published a document detailing the current state of Swiss sanctions on Russia.
UK: NEW RIGHT TO WORK CHECK GUIDANCE FOR EMPLOYERS
On 16 May, an article from Richmond Chambers said that new provisions came into force on 6 April which will begin the phasing out of the use of Biometric Residence Cards and Permits (BRC/BRP) and Frontier Worker Permit (FWP) to prove lawful immigration status in the UK when seeking employment. New guidance was published on 22 April.
THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION HAS UPDATED ITS RUSSIA SANCTIONS-RELATED FAQ
On 17 May, the EU Sanctions blog reported that the EU had updated its various FAQ.
US AGREES TO EASE TRUMP-ERA SANCTIONS ON CUBA
On 16 May, the BBC reported that, under new measures approved by the Biden administration, restrictions on family remittances and travel to the island will be eased. The processing of US visas for Cubans will also be speeded up. However, no bodies will be removed from the Cuba Restricted List, a State Department register of companies linked to the communist government in Havana with whom US citizens are barred from doing business.
WESTERN BRANDS NEED TO BE AWARE OF RAFT OF NEW RUSSIAN SANCTIONS COUNTERMEASURES WHICH MAY IMPACT ON THEIR EXIT STRATEGIES
On 13 May, Field Fisher published an update about Russia trying to put in place measures to ensure they are complying with the evolving and expanding list of sanctions rules which have been imposed on Russia; and laws which seek to punish persons and entities who are associated with “unfriendly states”.
CHILE’S CONSTITUTIONAL ASSEMBLY REJECTS MAJOR MINING OVERHAUL
On 14 May, Reuters reported that the constitutional assembly in the world’s top-copper producing nation rejected a major overhaul to mining rights, including expanding Chilean state ownership. It would have given the state exclusive mining rights over lithium, rare metals and hydrocarbons and a majority stake in copper mines, but faced fierce opposition from the mining sector.
SWITZERLAND: NGO FEARS DUBAI GOLD IMPORTS EVADING RUSSIA SANCTIONS
On 17 May, Swissinfo reported that Switzerland has recorded a significant increase in gold imports from the UAE since the introduction of sanctions against Russia, and NGO Swissaid calls for more transparency to determine whether this gold is coming from Russia.
IRAN: ALL BANKS MUST CREATE AML/CFT DEPARTMENTS
On 15 May, the Financial Tribune reported that the Central Bank of Iran has announced rules for an independent AML and counter-terrorist financing department for all banks and credit institutions.
EU: RULES ON EXPORT AND IMPORT AUTHORISATIONS AND TRANSIT MEASURES FOR FIREARMS
On 17 May, a briefing from the EU Parliament Research Service considers amendments of EU Regulation (EU) No 258/2012 which lays down procedural rules at EU level for export, import and transit of firearms, their parts and components and ammunition. The Regulation’s overall strategic objective is to reduce the risk of illicit trafficking in firearms for civilian use by ensuring coherence across EU Member States with regard to rules on external trade. Following a review, the Commission established that shortcomings were mainly derived from a lack of clarity in certain parts of the regulation, and legal mismatches generating security risks.
WILL SOARING GANG ARRESTS IN EL SALVADOR OVERWHELM ITS PRISONS?
On 16 May, Insight Crime reported that President Nayib Bukele has overseen the mass imprisonment of tens of thousands of people, potentially jeopardising recent efforts to mitigate overcrowding and gang control in the country’s jails. Authorities claim to have made over 30,000 arrests since 27 March, when the legislature approved emergency powers that loosened rules on arrests and curtailed civil liberties.
ABU DHABI HOTEL SAID TO HAVE SERVED AS MONEY LAUNDERING FRONT
On 13 May, The Print in India reported that the Enforcement Directorate has claimed that a hotel based in the UAE “served” as a money laundering front for the Popular Front of India (PFI).
LEBANON CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR’S SON MOVED MILLIONS ABROAD
On 13 May, OCCRP reported that, in late 2019, a financial crisis led Lebanese banks to block most depositors from withdrawing or transferring US dollars, but the central bank governor’s son was able to move more than $6.5 million overseas. The restrictions were never made official, meaning that a well-connected few could still access and move their deposits.
UK GAMBLING COMMISSION SETTLEMENT WITH GAMBLING OPERATORS FOR £675,000 FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AND AML FAILURES
On 17 May, Gambling Industry News reported that the UK Gambling Commission had announced that Jumpman Gaming Limited and Progress Play Limited were to pay a combined total of £675,000 in regulatory settlements following investigations that uncovered social responsibility and AML failures. A review found that found that AML protocols were not followed correctly while the company also failed to promoter safer gambling and, as a result, failed to protect those vulnerable to the harms of problem gambling.
CHINESE COUPLE DENY ENGAGING IN MONEY LAUNDERING IN TAIWAN
On 17 May, Focus Taiwan reported that the husband and wife were arrested on suspicion of spying for China, and they were indicted on money laundering charges in 2021 – the spy case was dropped in November 2021 due to a lack of evidence. They are CEO and a board member, respectively, of China Innovation Investment, a Hong Kong-based company that invests in areas such as information technology, telecommunications, manufacturing, service, property, infrastructure, and life science. It is alleged that money transfers and real estate purchases in Taiwan were an attempt to conceal funds obtained by fraudulent means.
NIGERIA’S TREASURY CHIEF ARRESTED OVER MULTI-BILLION FRAUD
On 17 May, FIN24 in Nigeria reported that head of Nigeria’s Treasury has been arrested for alleged involvement in fraud and money laundering. Ahmed Idris, Nigeria’s accountant-general, was arrested on 16 May.
NEW SANCTIONS FROM US LEAD TO TANKER REMAINING UNDER DETENTION IN GREECE
On 16 May, Hellenic Shipping News reported that the tanker Pegas (IMO 9256860), which had been seized by the Greek authorities on 20 April but which was then ordered to be released because the flag had been changed and the owner was not a sanctioned company, has been “re-detained” after new US sanctions put the owner, Russian shipping company TransMorFlot LLC, under sanctions.
CRYPTOCURRENCIES IN ASIA AND BEYOND: LAW, REGULATION AND ENFORCEMENT
The Basel Institute on Governance has published this Working Paper which draws on a detailed analysis of how selected countries are addressing legal, regulatory and enforcement issues around cryptocurrencies and other virtual assets. The analysis is focused on Asia, but set in the context of global trends in crypto law, regulation and enforcement. It explores critical questions that will shape policies around virtual assets at the corporate, national and international levels.
UK: ENFORCEMENT ACTION BY THE GAMBLING COMMISSION AND 2 POLICE FORCES AGAINST INDIVIDUALS ORGANISING ILLEGAL LOTTERIES ON FACEBOOK GROUPS
On 16 May, an article from Ince said that officers have secured a POCA order for the forfeiture of £140,000 seized from the bank account of one of the individuals identified as running raffles and competitions for private gain. It says that the case highlights the need for specialist legal advice to be taken on complying in full with the provisions in the Gambling Act when seeking to offer a lottery. It notes that, in 2020/2021, the Gambling Commission issued almost 400 ‘cease and desist’ orders against the organisers of unlawful promotions, usually raffles to win high-value goods, advertised on Facebook.
AN ITALIAN COURT WILL APPOINT A SPECIAL ADMINISTRATOR TO TAKE CHARGE OF A DEUTSCHE BAHN UNIT AFTER IT BECAME CAUGHT UP IN AN ANTI-MAFIA INVESTIGATION INTO ONE OF ITS SUBCONTRACTORS
On 17 May, Reuters reported that a special administrator to take charge of transport group Schenker Italiana SpA after an investigation that began in April 2020 into a haulage business suspected of being run by the ‘Ndrangheta, found business ties to 2 companies. The order, issued by a court in Milan, will be in place initially for a year.
NFT: US, EU, AND UK KEY TRADEMARK CONSIDERATIONS
On 17 May, an article from Jones Day explores the interaction of IP with NFT with the focus on trademarks. It argues that the law relating to trademarks will need to be tested in court to establish how existing laws will apply in this new context.
HOW COCAINE IS FLOWING BETWEEN LATIN AMERICA AND AUSTRALIA
On 17 May, Insight Crime published an article saying that cocaine found around Australia’s coastlines have shone a spotlight on a variety of methods apparently used to smuggle it from South America. It says that, seeking to more consistently penetrate the final frontier of cocaine markets, Latin American traffickers have laid the groundwork for more effective cocaine shipments to Australia, seen as an extremely lucrative market.
CAN PERU COUNTER DRUG TRAFFICKING BY BUYING ALL THE COCA?
On 17 May, Insight Crime posed this question, saying that a government proposal for Peru to purchase all the country’s coca production has generated fierce debate, but experts question whether it is even feasible.
18 ARRESTED IN RAIDS CONNECTED TO TWITCH MONEY LAUNDERING SCANDAL IN TURKEY
On 17 May, Dexerto reported that a new wave of raids in Turkey, in response to a Twitch money laundering scam, has resulted in 18 arrests as authorities crackdown on alleged perpetrators.
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