Panama Covid-19 update – for the fifth day in a row there were more than 3,000 new cases recorded today, testing results remain high at 22.7%, and our corrigimenta (district) is highlighted as one of the hotspots (though my wife tested negative, when felt a bit off). 3,203 new cases and 5 new fatalities reported today, although active cases show a small decrease for the second day in a row, down to 29,133. There are 36 patients in ICU, 224 in other wards and 86 people in the hospital-hotels.
21 MAY 2022
MARTINELLI BROTHERS SENTENCED TO 36 MONTHS IN PRISON IN US FOR CONSPIRING TO LAUNDER $28 MILLION FROM ODEBRECHT AND NAMED THEIR FATHER, FORMER PRESIDENT RICARDO MARTINELLI AS HAVING GIVEN THE ORDERS
On 20 May, Newsroom Panama reported that Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares had been sentenced to 36 months in prison and 2 years of supervised release for conspiring to launder $28 million from Odebrecht, but they confessed that their father, a former President of Panama gave the orders. An application before the same court was for the seizure of nearly $18.9 million, with some of the funds in 2 accounts at Bank Vontobel AG in Switzerland in the name of the companies Diamong Investments Corp. and Waterspoon International Ltd, as well as assets including a beachfront condominium in Miami.
THE CASE OF THE MISSING DIAMONDS: A BEST-PRACTICES PRIMER IN MULTIJURISDICTIONAL ASSET RECOVERY
In the latest (Issue 9) edition of the always-interesting FIRE Magazine, includes an article about the inquiries that were undertaken after the bags of diamonds held in a Swiss bank vault and used as collateral for a credit line were found to hold nothing but worthless diamond dust, and the Mintz Group was brought in by the bank to track down the missing gems. It provides 4 principles to follow in such an investigation.
THE PRIVILEGE AGAINST SELF-INCRIMINATION IN ENGLISH LAW
Another article in Issue 9 of FIRE Magazine looks at the equivalent of “taking the Fifth” in US law, in English civil and criminal law.
Another article in Issue 9 of FIRE Magazine considers the new reality of advanced phone hacking in the light of the NSO Group revelations. It concludes that it is prudent for individuals working with sensitive data, and their clients, to take precautions to limit risk of compromise.
“FORTIFICATION” AND GUARANTEES AGAINST DAMAGES WHEN SEEKING FREEZING ORDERS (MAREVA INJUNCTIONS)
Another article in Issue 9 of FIRE Magazine provides a guide to so-called “fortification” when there is a need to provide an undertaking in damages as a pre-condition to obtaining a freezing order, which sometimes causes problems for the applicant in showing that they have sufficient assets within the jurisdiction to give validity to the undertakings being offered.
TRACING CRYPTOCURRENCY AND THE ENGLISH COURT’S POWER TO COMPEL DISCLOSURE FROM FOREIGN RESPONDENTS
Yet another article says that recent cases illustrate the limits of the English court’s powers to compel disclosure from parties outside the jurisdiction.
AML: NEW GUIDANCE ON ADVERSE/NEGATIVE NEWS SCREENING
On 20 May, an article from Hogan Lovells explains that undertaking screening for negative news, also known as adverse news or adverse media, assists financial institutions to understand the risks posed by existing and prospective customers. It says that on 11 May the Wolfsberg Group published useful FAQ on “negative news screening” or NNS.
TAXING AUTHORITIES IDENTIFY PROBLEM BEHAVIOURS IN NFT MARKETS
On 20 May, Miller Nash LLP reported that the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement, a group consisting of agencies from Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, the UK, and the US, briefly mentioned the group’s investigation into a globally coordinated NFT fraud scheme worth at least $1 billion; and that this comes less than a month after the grouping released a bulletin warning about risks associated with NFT.
FRANCE: BILLIONAIRE BENY STEINMETZ LOSES LANDMARK GUINEA BRIBERY CASE
On 21 May, OCCRP reported that mining magnate Beny Steinmetz has lost a major case against Guinea, after an arbitration court ruled his company – BSG Resources (BSGR) – bribed a former dictator’s wife with tens of millions of dollars to obtain valuable mining rights and then engaged in a cover-up. It reports that this development follows a January 2021 bribery conviction in Switzerland over the same events, for which he was sentenced to 5 years in prison. His appeal in the case is due to be heard in late August.
SEYCHELLES: ‘MISSING $50 MILLION CASE’ – CHARGES AGAINST 2 ACCUSED AMENDED AND CHARGES AGAINST 3 DROPPED
On 19 May, All Africa reported that the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACCS) had filed amended charges for money laundering against businessman Mukesh Valabji and former First Lady Sarah Zarqhani Rene, and dropped charges against 3 others in the case of the $50 million that went missing from government accounts. This follows amendment of the country’s legislation which allow the ACCS to investigate and prosecute offences of money laundering committed prior to the enactment of the law, as the offences are alleged to have taken place from 2002 onwards.
BELGIUM: COURT REVERSES LIQUIDATION OF GUPTA STEEL OPERATIONS
On 19 May, Euronews reported that GFG Alliance’s steel operations in Belgium will be restarted shortly, after a court overturned a ruling that they should be put into administration. The company is owned by commodities tycoon Sanjeev Gupta, who has been trying to refinance his international network of steel and aluminium and energy businesses following the collapse of supply chain finance firm Greensill Capital last year.
PAKISTAN: FORMER HUMAN RIGHTS MINISTER ARRESTED OVER LAND GRABBING ALLEGATION
On 21 May, the Guardian reported that Pakistan’s former human rights minister, Shireen Mazari, has been arrested over a decades-old land grabbing allegation.
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