Panama Covid-19 – 5 fatalities reported today, with the percentage of positive tests still at 20%. 3,417 new cases are reported, with the number of current active cases falling by just 189 to 29,289. There are 35 in ICU and 239 in other wards.
20 MAY 2022
US: FEDERAL JUDGE REPLACED IN BIG CRIMINAL COPYRIGHT CASE
On 19 May, the Wall Street Journal reported that one of the largest criminal copyright cases in US history has a new judge and potentially a new headache for the DoJ in its decadelong effort to extradite and convict Kim Dotcom, founder of the file-sharing service Megaupload Ltd. It is said that if lawyers for Kim Dotcom are successful in raising doubts in New Zealand about the legitimacy of the US case, they could derail efforts by US prosecutors to bring him to the US to stand trial.
US: CONVICTED INSURANCE MOGUL ORDERED TO GIVE UP CONTROL OF COMPANIES
On 18 May, the Wall Street Journal reported that a North Carolina court has ordered convicted insurance mogul Greg Lindberg to turn over control of hundreds of his private companies to a special board in an effort to salvage 4 financially troubled insurers that have been under regulatory supervision since 2019. The court order concluded that he committed fraud in failing to abide by a 2019 agreement under which North Carolina’s insurance department seized control of the insurers from Mr. Lindberg.
CHINA’S EVOLVING APPROACH TO FOREIGN AID
A new paper from SIPRI says that China’s role in foreign aid and, more broadly, in development cooperation on the global stage has grown significantly since it began 7 decades ago – particularly in recent years, through such platforms as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The paper provides a timely analysis of the evolution of China’s foreign aid policy with a particular focus on the developments since 2000. It discusses China’s development finance to Africa and the major sectors receiving Chinese aid. It also analyses recent trends of Chinese foreign aid and identifies some of the challenges that China faces as it becomes a major player in international development financing.
BOLLYWOOD ACTRESS’ HUSBAND FACES MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES RELATING TO ALLEGED PORNOGRAPHY RACKET
kyc reported that The Enforcement Directorate (ED) in India has registered a a case against businessman Raj Kundra, the husband of Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty. The charges relate to a pornography racket which preyed on young aspiring girls for which he was jailed last year, it is now alleged that the proceeds were routed out of India through hawala channels.
NEW UK MODERN SLAVERY BILL ANNOUNCED AS THE UK’S FRC PUSHES COMPANIES TO IMPROVE REPORTING
On 18 May, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer published an article which examines the new Modern Slavery Bill announced in the 2022 Queen’s Speech, saying that a recent report published by the UK Financial Reporting Council on compliance with the existing requirements under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and the FRC’s suggestions for modern slavery reporting in annual reports. It says that mandatory reporting on whether particular steps have been taken will make it more difficult for companies simply to omit reporting on aspects of their modern slavery compliance which are not up to scratch, and will make it easier for civil society organisations to benchmark companies against one another.
RUSSIAN SANCTIONS – DOES ENGLISH LAW PROTECT PARTIES WHO NOW HAVE NON-PERFORMABLE CONTRACTS?
On 17 May, an article from DWF LLP was concerned with a recent High Court case involving a shipping company and in which the court upheld an appeal from an arbitration that a ‘reasonable endeavours’ requirement in a force majeure clause, invoked due to sanctions on Russia in 2018, did not require a party to accept non-performance of a contract. The case arose as a result of sanctions placed on Russian entities in 2018.
US ADDITIONAL SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA: CONSULTING SERVICES BAN, EXPORT CONTROLS
On 19 May, an article from the National Law Review detailed the new restrictions introduced on 8 May, with an OFAC sanctions package imposed in conjunction with new export controls on industrial goods implemented by the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS).
EU: ECJ RULES ON THE CORRELATION BETWEEN EU CUSTOMS DUTIES, EXCISE DUTY AND IMPORT VAT IN A SMUGGLING CASE
On 19 May, Baker McKenzie reported on a recent case which was concerned with the unlawful introduction of cigarettes from Belarus to Lithuania in September 2016. In addition to the penalty order imposed, it was also decided to confiscate and destroy the goods concerned. The basic question was – did the extinguishment of the customs debt (by destruction of the goods involved) mean that the correlating excise duty and import VAT debt are also extinguished? The court ruled that the customs debt concerned was extinguished, according to EU customs law; but the excise duty and import VAT debt was, under the circumstances of this case, not also extinguished based on the relevant EU Directives which govern such taxes.
PANAMA: PRESIDENT MAY VETO CRYPTO REGULATION LEGISLATION CITING AML CONCERNS
On 19 May, Yahoo Finance reported that lawmakers last month approved a law that would allow citizens to use cryptocurrency. However, the Bill must be signed by the President before it can come into force. However, he says that he may veto the Bill because he wants guarantees that it complies with global AML standards.
EU ATTEMPTS TO SAVE IRAN NEGOTIATIONS
On 19 May, the Arms Control Association reported that the EU lead negotiator Enrique Mora travelled to Tehran in an attempt to get negotiations back on track. The EU foreign policy chief has said that the trip was “positive enough” to relaunch talks to bring the US and Iran back into compliance with the JCPOA. The EU continues to act as an intermediary between the US and Iran, which are not negotiating directly to restore the JCPOA.
Meanwhile, on 20 May, the US Congressional Research Service published its latest briefing on Iran’s nuclear programme and its compliance with international obligations.
HONG KONG AND MACAO: EU PUBLISHES ANNUAL REPORT ON POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS
On 20 May, the European Commission and the High Representative have today adopted their latest annual reports on political and economic developments in the 2 Special Administrative Regions.
RUSSIA SANCTIONS FALLOUT: SUPERYACHT BUILDER HEESEN TRANSFERRED TO DUTCH OWNERSHIP
On 19 May, Superyacht News reported that, as a result of the sanctioning of one of Heesen’s ultimate beneficial owners – Russian-Azerbaijani businessman Vagit Alekperov – it is said that the shipyard has announced that it is now 100% Dutch-owned once more. It is said that the shares in Heesen have been transferred to an independent Dutch foundation. Heesen has delivered an average of 3.4 superyachts per year and expects to deliver 6 superyachts in 2022.
JERSEY: FORFEITURE OF £1.9 MILLION OF FUNDS STOLEN FROM NIGERIA
A news release from the Jersey Government on 19 May advised that the courts in Jersey had approved a forfeiture order involving Lieutenant General Jeremiah Timbut Useni (Retired) and seeking the forfeiture of approximately £1.9 million deposited into Jersey numbered bank accounts in a false identity between 1989 and the late 1990s.
HONDURAS: ARREST OF “COCAINE MOM” – BELIEVED TO BE THE HEAD OF ONE THE COUNTRY’S LARGEST DRUG CARTELS THAT USED PLANES, TRUCKS AND BOATS TO MOVE TONNES OF COCAINE TO THE US
On 20 May, OCCRP reported that Herlinda Bobadilla was arrested shortly after the US placed a $5 million bounty on her and on each of her 2 sons.
CANNABIS LAW AND LEGISLATION IN THE UK
This brief from CMS Law explains that it is, in principle, lawful to produce, supply, offer to supply, import, export, have in possession or cultivate (in the case of the plant) cannabis products, including medicinal products, when done under a relevant licence issued by the Home Office. However, Home Office policy has remained to not issue licences permitting recreational use. It explains the rules on hemp production – which may be lawfully cultivated and processed for industrial use under a so-called ‘Industrial Hemp’ licence issued by the Home Office.
SWISS COURT BLOCKS MUTUAL LEGAL ASSISTANCE TO RUSSIAN AUTHORITIES IN CASE INVOLVING A SWISS DEFENDANT AND ALLEGED MONEY LAUNDERING AND WEAPONS SMUGGLING
On 19 May, Jurist reported that the Swiss Federal Criminal Court has barred Russia from receiving legal assistance from the Swiss Government. Russia filed a request with the Swiss government for legal assistance in prosecuting the anonymous defendant in 2020. The court ruled that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine barred Russia from receiving any international legal assistance, due to its alleged flouting of international law.
PROVISIONAL AGREEMENT REACHED ON EU SINGLE WINDOW WHICH WILL MAKE CUSTOMS CLEARANCE EASIER AND FASTER
On 19 May, a news release from the EU advised that the EU Council and the European Parliament had reached a provisional agreement on a single window for customs which sets the appropriate conditions for digital collaboration between customs and partner competent authorities. The aim is to make international trade easier, shorten customs clearance times and reduce the risk of fraud. It will also help reduce the administrative burden for traders.
LATIN AMERICAN EXPERTS HELP EUROPEAN GANGS PRODUCE COCAINE AT HOME
On 19 May, Insight Crime reported that Europe’s increasing demand for cocaine has propelled changes in the global drug production network, with cocaine now being producing in Europe by local criminals with the help of their Latin American counterparts. The article includes an interview in which experts from EMCDDA discuss the drug trafficking and consumption landscape in Europe and the impact of the arrival that Latin America’s highly-experienced traffickers could have on Europe.
13 ARRESTED FOR TRICKING ELDERLY WITH LOVE IN ITALY
A news release from Europol on 20 May advised that the Italian Carabinieri Corps, supported by Europol, had dismantled a criminal organisation involved in a number of criminal activities including fraud, sexual exploitation and money laundering. The investigation also involved law enforcement authorities from Germany, the Netherlands and Romania. The criminal gang, composed predominantly of Romanian nationals, targeted elderly victims based in the South Italian region of Calabria. It used young women employed as domestic workers to defraud the elderly.
RIGHT-WING EXTREMISM IN THE EU
On 20 May, the EU Parliament Research Service published a briefing paper containing the results of a study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, which provides a discussion on the distinctive features of right-wing extremism as well as of violent actions perpetrated by right-wing extremists in the EU. It gives an overview and analysis of definitions, recent trends and responses to these actions and concludes with recommendations. In particular, the study highlights the need to develop a working definition of right wing-extremism in order to provide a better framework for understanding, studying and measuring the phenomenon.
RUSSIA: APPROVED LIST OF GOODS FOR IMPORTATION TO RUSSIA WITHOUT RIGHT-HOLDER’S CONSENT
On 20 May, Dentons reported that the Ministry of Industry and Trade has approved a list of goods and groups of goods for which parallel import to Russia is authorised, and it entered into effect on 7 May.
THE STORY OF A TON OF COCAINE THAT WENT MISSING IN GUINEA-BISSAU
On 4 May, an article from Der Spiegel says that the story of a ton of cocaine that went missing in Guinea-Bissau highlights the deep roots of the drug trade in the country. Guinea-Bissau is a major hub for cocaine from South America on its way onward to Europe.
DID A BERLIN DENTIST SWINDLE RUSSIA OUT OF MILLIONS?
On 18 May, an article in Der Spiegel says that a dentist and his Ukrainian mistress allegedly used forged Russian powers of attorney to sell Russian government-owned properties worth millions. Investigators, intelligence services and diplomats are now puzzling over the bizarre case. A criminal case has been unfolding in the German capital city that has reached the highest levels of politics. In addition to calling in the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Russian Embassy also asked the German Foreign Ministry for assistance.
THE WORLD’S LARGEST AIRCRAFT OWNER LOST 113 PLANES TO RUSSIA DUE TO SANCTIONS
On 18 May, CNN reported that AerCap Holdings, the aircraft leasing giant that is the world’s largest owner of jets, lost 113 planes when Russia seized them in response to sanctions. The seizures of the planes and 11 jet engines by Russian authorities caused AerCap to take a $2.7 billion pre-tax charge during the quarter, causing the company to report a net loss of $2 billion.
NO INSURANCE COVER FOR SHIP DETAINED UNDER VENEZUELAN ANTI-SMUGGLING LAWS
On 19 May, Insurance Marine News reported on a High Court decision which concerns mortgagees’ interest insurance and the standard exclusions in a war risk policy. The case involved a tanker in Venezuela and an allegation that the crew were attempting to smuggle diesel oil. The vessel was detained for about 14 months and then released. 4 members of the crew were subsequently tried and acquitted. The owners of the vessel claimed for a constructive total loss under their war risks cover.
NEW US EXPORT CONTROLS ON 4 NATURALLY OCCURRING, DUAL-USE BIOLOGICAL TOXINS (BREVETOXIN, GONYAUTOXIN, NODULARIN AND PALYTOXIN),
On 20 May, KPMG reported that the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the U.S. Department of Commerce has released for publication in the Federal Register proposed regulations proposing new unilateral export controls on 4 naturally occurring, dual-use biological toxins. These toxins have the potential (through either accidental or deliberate release) to cause casualties in humans or animals, degrade equipment, or damage crops or the environment. As they are now capable of being more easily isolated and purified due to novel synthesis methods and equipment, the absence of export controls on such toxins could be exploited for biological weapons purposes.
FAEROE ISLANDS ADOPT RUSSIAN SANCTIONS
On 20 May, the EU Sanctions blog reported that a new law which will largely track those of the EU and other partner states but does not provide for export bans on fish products or measures that may harm fisheries agreements.
UK: FCA CALLS FOR REPORTS OF SANCTIONS EVASION ISSUES OR WEAKNESSES IN SANCTIONS CONTROLS WHERE THEY RELATE TO REGISTERED FIRMS OR UK-LISTED SECURITIES
On 20 May, the EU Sanctions blog said that the reports in a number of ways, including via the authority’s whistleblowing team.
US: TECHNOLOGY EXECUTIVE SENTENCED TO A YEAR IN PRISON FOR ILLEGALLY EXPORTING COMPUTER EQUIPMENT FROM THE US TO A NUCLEAR RESEARCH AGENCY OF THE PAKISTANI GOVERNMENT
A news release from the US Immigration & Customs Enforcement on 20 May advised that Obaidullah Syed, 67, pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to export goods from the US without a licence from the Department of Commerce and to submitting false export information. From 2006 to 2015 he conspired with his company’s employees in Pakistan to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act by exporting computer equipment from the US to the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC).
THE UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT HAS MOVED TO EXPROPRIATE RUSSIAN-OWNED ASSETS IN UKRAINIAN TERRITORY
On 20 May, an article from Field Fisher reported that the “Law on Expropriation” entered into force on 7 March, with amendments expanding the scope of its application have been adopted and are waiting to be signed by the President.
QUINCECARE DUTY: PRIVY COUNCIL RULES THAT DUTY OF CARE IS NOT OWED TO NON-CUSTOMERS OF A BANK
On 20 May, a briefing from HFW explained a recent case where the Privy Council confirmed that banks do not owe a duty of care to non-customers who have been victims of fraud, even where the fraud was committed through an account with that bank.
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