Panama Covid-19 update – as well as Covid (and my wife’s aunt, who is also our architect working on a new project, has now come down with Covid…), there is also dengue to worry about, as the Ministry of Health reports 480 cases so far this year, with 1 fatality, and that 30% of the cases originated in a sinle Caribbean province.
With Covid, 3 corregimientos of Panama City have at least 300 active cases each (corregimientos are districts of the city) – including our own, with 325 cases and an Rt rate of 1.45. Overall, active cases are up again, by another 2,135 to 29,478. Tests are still showing a high positive rate, at 22%. Hospital numbers are more or less stable, with 35 in ICU and 204 in other wards. Another 81 are in hospital-hotels.
19 MAY 2022
SHIP INSURANCE CLAIMS TO RISE AS BLACK SEA REMAINS HIGH RISK AREA
On 16 May, Dryad Global reported that insurers are expected to receive multiple marine insurance claims from ships damaged or lost as the conflict in Ukraine spills over into sea lanes. 6 merchant vessels hit by projectiles – sinking 2 of them – around Ukraine’s coast. One report has estimated industry-wide insured marine losses from the conflict could range from $3-6 billion, with $5 billion a working estimate.
ONLY 14 OUT OF 22 COASTAL COUNTRIES IN THE WEST AND CENTRAL AFRICA CONDUCT INSPECTIONS ON SHIPS CALLING AT THEIR PORTS
On 17 May, Dryad Global explained that countries are required to conduct port state control checks on foreign ships visiting their ports to ascertain that the ships comply with the requirements of international regulations.
EU COURT REJECTS APPLICATION TO REMOVE NAME FROM SYRIA SANCTIONS LIST
On 18 May, the EU Sanctions blog reported that the General Court has rejected an application by Amer Foz, who was listed due to his family business interests and his association with his brother, Samer Foz, who is also listed.
SHIPPING BOTTLENECKS AFFECT PORT OF NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY
On 18 May, the Wall Street Journal reported that the cargo surge that has affected US ports for almost 2 years is starting to overwhelm the Port of New York and New Jersey. The backup of container ships waiting outside averages 14 vessels and has begun to mirror conditions at the busiest US container port complex at Los Angeles and Long Beach, where congestion has severely delayed shipments. Among the problems is that the port’s container yards are clogged with 120,000 empty boxes, more than double the usual number; and the port plans to open 10 acres of land to store empty boxes and ease some of the congestion.
US: CFTC SIGNALS INTENT TO INCREASE ENFORCEMENT OF CRYPTO-RELATED CASES
On 18 May, the Wall Street Journal reported that the number of cases of alleged digital asset fraud and manipulation continues to accelerate and the regulator has filed more than 50 enforcement actions related to digital asset activity since 2015, and more than half of those cases involved allegations of fraud with 23 crypto-related cases were filed within the last fiscal year.
ONLINE GAMBLING IN MALAYSIA
On 18 May, an article from Rajah & Tann points out that in 2019 the government said that it intended to amend gambling laws to include provisions which deal with online gambling, but the 1950s laws have not caught up with the times and have not been updated to include express provisions to define and regulate online gambling in Malaysia. It refers to a recent court case against a number of online operators under the AML law for the forfeiture of monies in bank accounts, and certain movable and immovable properties belonging to the respondents. The application failed.
CLARIFICATION THAT LITIGATION PRIVILEGE AND LEGAL ADVICE PRIVILEGE ARE NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE
On 18 May, an article from Stephenson Harwood LLP is concerned with a recent High Court case which it is said provides welcome clarification as to the possible co-existence of legal advice privilege and litigation privilege. It also noted that the judge pointed out that because legal advice privilege will apply to legal advice so that it is not necessary to claim litigation privilege too.
DATA TECHNOLOGY COMPANY HAS ANNOUNCED THE RELEASE OF NEW AML GUIDE FOR CRYPTO FIRMS
A news release on Cision on 19 May advised that ComplyAdvantage had produced the new guide.
TOGO ATTACK ‘SHOWS TERRORISM IS SPREADING’
On 19 May, an article in EurActiv reported that around 15 assailants were killed during a “terrorist” attack in the north of Togo that also left 8 soldiers dead. Togo’s troops are deployed in the north of the country to try and contain a jihadist threat pushing south from Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger where militants linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group operate.
DIGITAL EVIDENCE IN APPEAL JUDGEMENT TRANSCRIPTS
On 19 May, a news release from the Home Office advised of findings from a study that explored the presence of digital evidence in appeal judgements as a proxy for changes in police investigations. The study examined Court of Appeal case transcripts from 2010 and 2018 and assessed them for references to digital evidence. It found a decline in references to mobile phone calls and call data across the period while, in contrast, there was a marked increase in digital evidence sourced from social media platforms.
EU: Q&A ABOUT THE EU JUSTICE SCOREBOARD
On 19 May, the EU published this Q&A about the EU Justice Scoreboard, a comparative information tool which aims to assist the EU and Member States to improve the effectiveness of national justice systems. It shows trends in the functioning of national justice systems over time. It does not present an overall single ranking, but an overview of how all the justice systems function. This is based on various indicators that are of common interest to all Member States.
UK: LAW SOCIETY PROPOSES SLAPP CURBS
On 18 May, the Law Society Gazette reported that the Law Society for England & Wales has echoed calls for a clampdown on so-called ‘lawfare’, but warned of ‘unintended consequences’ if reforms are not properly thought through. It was responding to the UK Government’s March consultation on strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP), saying that the focus of anti-SLAPP efforts should be on improving existing rules and procedure.
US: BOSS OF ‘GROUP AMERICA’ GANG ACCUSED OF MISUSING COVID-19 BAILOUT FUNDS
On 18 May, OCCRP reported that Mileta Miljanic, the putative leader of the criminal clan, and a Serbian-American drug lord with alleged links to the Gambino crime family, will remain in a New York jail for misusing COVID-19 bailout funds.
LIBERIA ROCKED WITH ANOTHER DIPLOMATIC PASSPORT ABUSE SCANDAL
On 19 May, OCCRP reported that Liberia stopped issuing diplomatic passports after one was found in the home of a prominent businessman who was arrested in the US for wire fraud and money laundering. Sheik Bassirou Kante was issued a diplomatic passport although he wasn’t a diplomat. 3 years ago, the then-director of the Passport and Visas Department was suspended from office for being unable to account for several diplomatic passports.
FIATA LAUNCHES PAPERLESS FORWARDER BILL OF LADING (FBL) SOLUTION
On 17 May, forwarder’s trade body FIATA says that the document update is designed to ease the work processes of its members, allowing them to become digital freight-forwarders. It is described a pragmatic solution to move from paper documents to paperless FIATA bills of lading (BL), which can be issued directly through their everyday tools.
MONEYVAL CARRIES OUT EVALUATION VISIT TO ESTONIA
On 17 May, the Council of Europe reported that, as part of the mutual evaluation of Estonia, a team of evaluators from the Council of Europe’s Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (MONEYVAL) carried out an on-site visit to Estonia from 25 April to 6 May.
GREECE GOES AFTER NOVARTIS FOR ALLEGED BRIBERY AND KICKBACKS
On 18 May, BioSpace reported on plans to sue Novartis over what he alleges are illegal practices. The scandal has been playing out for several years, with Novartis alleged to have paid Greek public officials and health care providers to increase prescriptions for its drugs and maintain higher prices.
NOT LEGAL FOR THE US TO SEIZE RUSSIAN OFFICIAL ASSETS
On 18 May, Swissinfo reported that the US does not have legal authority to seize Russian central bank assets frozen due to its invasion of Ukraine, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said. Treasury officials have also expressed concerns about setting precedents and eroding other countries’ confidence in holding their central bank assets in the US.
HMRC HAS FINED PROPERTY BUSINESSES, INCLUDING ESTATE AGENTS AND VALUERS, FOR BREACHING AML REGULATIONS
On 17 May, Mortgage Solutions reported that HMRC has published the full list of firms who received penalty notices for failing to comply with the rules around money laundering. The largest fine issued to a property firm was the £52,000 levied against a property auction house based in Birmingham for failing to apply for registration at the required time.
THE JALISCO CARTEL’S QUIET EXPANSION IN GUATEMALA
On 18 May, an article from Insight Crime says that investigations and intelligence indicate that the Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) is striking partnerships with drug rings in Guatemala – active on the Pacific Coast and the western border with Mexico – that receive shipments of cocaine from Colombia and Venezuela and deliver them to the cartel.
US: PUBLICATION OF THE FIRST VOLUME OF THE NATIONAL FIREARMS IN COMMERCE AND TRAFFICKING ASSESSMENT
On 17 May, a news release from the US DoJ advised that the NFCTA is a 4-part, comprehensive examination of commerce in firearms and the diversion of firearms to illegal markets. Volume I presents and analyses data collected by ATF and other federal agencies related to the manufacture, exportation, and importation of firearms. It is said to be the first joint academic study on topic in more than 20 years.
THE INNER WORKINGS OF CATTLE TRAFFICKING FROM CENTRAL AMERICA TO MEXICO
On 18 May, an article from Insight Crime said that the illegal trafficking of cattle, across country borders, has spread north from the natural reserves of Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala, to enter the food supply chain in Mexico and even the US. InSight Crime says that it has followed step-by-step how these cattle are smuggled into Mexico, bringing in millions of dollars along the way.
5 REASONS THAT RUSSIA’S NUCLEAR EXPORTS WILL CONTINUE, DESPITE SANCTIONS AND THE UKRAINE INVASION. BUT FOR HOW LONG?
On 17 May, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists carried an article saying that Rosatom provides technical expertise, enriched fuel, and equipment to nuclear reactors around the world. It argues that Russia’s dominance in the nuclear energy market will likely endure in the short term for 5 main reasons, which it details.
NEW RISKS IN RANSOMWARE: SUPPLY CHAIN ATTACKS AND CRYPTOCURRENCY
This paper from the Belfer Center provides an overview of the current ransomware landscape while also indicating towards potential emerging solutions. It says that, with the first attack dating back to 1989, ransomware is far from a new phenomenon. However, as of late, ransomware attacks have significantly changed in nature, becoming larger, more sophisticated, and more frequent. Organised and often state-backed hacking groups not only perpetuate sophisticated, targeted campaigns, but also franchise the infrastructure needed to carry such campaigns and sell it as Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) on the dark web. It says that promising solutions address the vulnerability of complex software reliant on outside code components, such as software bill of materials (SBOM) and vulnerability disclosure databases, or address the pay-out, such as stricter cryptocurrency regulations.
THE FOREIGN INVESTMENTS SECURITY SCREENING MECHANISM HAS FINALLY ARRIVED IN THE NETHERLANDS
On 18 May, an article from Field Fisher said that, on 17 May, the Dutch Senate adopted the Act for security screening of investments, mergers and acquisitions. To protect national security, the Act includes a test for acquisition activities that lead to the acquisition of control over or significant influence on vital providers, certain suppliers of vital providers or companies that possess sensitive technology.
THE UK BAN ON ADVERTISING PRESCRIPTION-ONLY MEDICINES
An article from Field Fisher on 19 May said that the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has served a stark reminder of the ban on advertising prescription-only medicines to private beauty and wellness clinics offering Kenalog injections to hay fever sufferers. In April, it guidance on ‘allergy’ advertising and now it has published 4 rulings against beauty and wellness clinics advertising prescription-only medicines to hay fever sufferers.
AUSTRALIA: NEW RUSSIAN AND BELARUS SANCTIONS, INCLUDING ON WAGNER GROUP
On 19 May, the EU Sanctions blog reported that Australia had imposed further Russia/Belarus sanctions on a number of individuals and entities in Russia and Belarus, including the Wagner Group and a number said to be involved in the promotion of Russian propaganda and disinformation, including the Internet Research Agency LLC.
A FRAMEWORK FOR INTERNET USERS TO CATEGORISE THE VIRTUAL PLATFORMS THEY USE AND TO UNDERSTAND THE LIKELIHOOD THAT THEY MAY ENCOUNTER EXTREME CONTENT ONLINE
The RAND Corporation in the US has produced this product which explains how the proliferation of messaging forums, social media networks, and other virtual community platforms has coincided with an increase in extremist online activity. It then presents a framework to describe and categorise the platforms that host varying amounts of extreme content as mainstream, fringe, or niche.
US CUSTOMS: MOTH INTERCEPTION IS FIRST ENCOUNTER OF SPECIES SINCE 1912
On 17 May, Homeland Security Today reported that a recent moth interception by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists at Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) involving a flight from the Philippines is now considered to be the first encounter of the species since 1912. Apparent insect exit holes were discovered in the seed pods a passenger was carrying, believed to be made by moths which are members of family Pyralidae.
US CUSTOMS TO WARN IMPORTERS OF KNOWN UYGHUR FORCED LABOUR ISSUES
On 19 May, Kharon reported that US Customs and Border Protection has announced that it will be giving importers notice of known past imports of goods made with Uyghur forced labour, in advance of the implementation of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act from 21 June.
PEACE IN YEMEN? POTENTIAL SCENARIOS AND MARITIME SECURITY IMPLICATIONS
A White Paper from Risk Intelligence says that the insecurities in the Gulf are largely a result of the war in Yemen, and has a maritime dimension. It sets out to provides insight into the maritime security impact of the war in Yemen and presents 3 potential scenarios for an end to the conflict, with one being more likely and described in detail with potential variations.
CANADA: PROPOSALS TO EXPAND THE SCOPE OF SANCTIONS TRAVEL BANS
On 19 May, the EU Sanctions reported on a Bill currently in the Canadian parliament to amend Canadian sanctions legislation.
ISLE OF MAN CONFIRMS 3 RUSSIAN AIRLINES ADDED TO SANCTIONS LIST, WITH 2 EXISTING ENTRIES AMENDED
On 19 May, a news release advised that ROSSIYA AIRLINES, URAL AIRLINES and AEROFLOT have been added to sanctions lists. At the same time, 2 existing entries have been corrected.
ISLE OF MAN: SYRIA SANCTIONS – 6 ENTRIES AMENDED
On 19 May, the Isle of Man confirmed that 6 existing entries on the Syria sanctions list had been amended.
US: $44 MILLION DIGITAL ASSET AND COMMODITY FUTURES FRAUD
A release on Mondo Visione on 19 May advised that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has announced that it has filed a civil enforcement action charging Oregon and Illinois Residents and a Florida Company with fraudulently soliciting at least $44 million for participation interests in a so-called income fund invested in digital assets and other instruments. The enforcement action also charges the defendants with operating an illegal commodity pool and failing to register as a Commodity Pool Operator.
HONG KONG SECURITIES AND FUTURES COMMISSION (SFC) HAS BANNED A FORMER LICENSED REPRESENTATIVE FROM RE-ENTERING THE INDUSTRY FOR LIFE
On 19 May, a release on Mondo Visione advised that the SFC has banned Mr Ho Pak Hay, a former licensed representative of KGI Asia Limited (KGI) and KGI Futures (Hong Kong) Limited (KGI Futures). It says that the SFC found that Ho had misappropriated and misused funds totalling $1.8 million received from 3 clients between February 2018 and July 2019 after he privately agreed to make investments for them.
MALAYSIA: INSURANCE AGENTS CHARGED FOR OBSTRUCTING THE COURSE OF JUSTICE, FALSIFICATION OF RECORDS AND PROVIDING FALSE INFORMATION
On 19 May, a release on Mondo Visione advised that the 2 agents had been charged in connection with an inquiry undertaken by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
US/EU PRIVACY SHIELD 2.0 — THIRD TIME’S THE CHARM?
On 19 May, a post from Lawfare reported that, in March, the EU President and the US President had announced that they had agreed to a Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework. This follows nearly 2 years of negotiations after the original 2015 agreement struck by the two — the Privacy Shield — was found to be deficient by the Court of Justice for the European Union (CJEU) in 2020. After detailing the new agreement, the post warns that this new agreement will almost certainly find its way back to the CJEU for review. And while that process will take some time, this new agreement could very well be struck down, too, and along similar lines.
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