Panama Covid-19 update – well, at least, despite dengue and other diseases known to be some sort of risk here, at least the authorities report that there are no known cases of the new bogeyman, monkeypox. We have the monkeys, but not the pox – the right way around!
What we do have is dust from the Sahara until 24 May, with authorities recommend mask-wearing, especially if you have some form of allergy – a good job, perhaps, that the general mask mandate has not been totally lifted.
Today – 1,758 new cases and 2 new fatalities; with active cases falling again, down 1,400 to 26,614. There are now 34 patients in ICU and 190 in other wards.
23 MAY 2022
WELLS FARGO TO PAY $7 MILLION OVER ALLEGED AML GLITCHES
On 20 May, the Wall Street Journal reported that a brokerage arm of the company has agreed to pay $7 million in a settlement with the SEC after alleged glitches in a new AML system let suspicious transactions escape initial notice, and failed to file at least 34 reports between April 2017 and October 2021.
CHINESE COURT ALLOWS FOR THE RECOGNITION AND ENFORCEMENT OF AN ENGLISH COMMERCIAL COURT JUDGMENT FOR THE FIRST TIME
On 20 May, Bird & Bird reported that recognition and enforcement of English court judgments in China has now been made easier following a recent ground-breaking judgment by the Shanghai Maritime Court allowing for the recognition and enforcement of an English court judgment under the principle of reciprocity.
UK: IMPORTS OF CONTROLLED DRUGS GAMMA-BUTYROLACTONE (GBL) AND 1,4-BUTANEDIOL (1,4-BD), WHICH HAVE LEGITIMATE USES IN INDUSTRY
The Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) (Revocation) (England, Wales and Scotland) Regulations 2022 come into force on 14 June and revoke regulations made last year. Advisory body ACMD’s report on GHB and related substances (GHBRS) recommended a licensing system for these drugs, and regulations implementing this change were due to come into force on 15 June. The revocation of the regulations made in 2021 will mean that, as is the case now, no business will require a Home Office controlled drugs licence to lawfully import, export, produce, supply or possess these drugs from 15 June. The Government will consult further on how to control the trade without unnecessary disruption to the legitimate trade.
UK: SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA AS AT 20 MAY
On 20 May, the House of Commons Library published a briefing outlining the situation as on 20 May. It says that further sanctions are expected to be introduced on a rolling basis.
ITALY PUTS A COMPANY AND A BRANCH OF A GERMAN TRANSPORT OPERATOR UNDER GOVERNMENT CONTROL OVER MAFIA INFILTRATION
On 23 May, OCCRP reported that the Italian branch of the German transport and logistics company DB Schenker and Italian company Aldieri SP were put under the special administration of the Italian state due to alleged infiltration by ‘Ndrangheta. The investigation began when a truck carrying goods for DB Schenker was caught with 30 kg of drugs attempting to cross into the UK. The truck was operated by the Italian company, whose founder, Nicola Bevilacqua was convicted of mafia association in 2006.
HONG KONG: CUSTOMS ARRESTS 3 AND SEIZES 78 MILLION BLACK-MARKET CIGARETTES
On 22 May, the South China Morning Post reported on a series of raids on a gang which used 3 industrial units to store and repackage goods. The seizures constituted the biggest haul of illegal tobacco products hidden in storage facilities in a single operation in 2 decades.
STUDY: REGULATE LEDGERS AND NOT INDIVIDUAL CRYPTO PROVIDERS
On 20 May, Coindesk reported that a study from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) says that regulators should stop looking at individual entities like banks, and start looking at the whole decentralised network.
US: FRAUDSTERS USED SHAM NON-PROFIT TO BUY LUXURY CARS WITH MONEY MEANT TO BUY KIDS FOOD
On 20 May, the New York Post reported that 3 fraudsters had pleaded guilty to using money meant to feed Pennsylvania children to buy a line of luxury cars and fancy clothes. They admitted to setting up a sham non-profit that obtained federal funds supposed to provide meals to underprivileged kids after school and over the Summer, the scam involving about $4 million between 2015 and 2019.
SKY TV RELEASES TRAILER FOR TIMELY DOCU-SERIES ONCE UPON A TIME IN LONDONGRAD
On 16 May, Sky reported that a series explores 14 mysterious deaths in the UK with alleged connections to Russia, delving into the hidden underworld of Russian exiles in London to link some of the most internationally significant cases in living memory — including the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, the suspicious death of oligarch Boris Berezovsky and the attempted assassination of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal.
US: INVESTOR AND ORGANISER OF COCAINE SMUGGLING OPERATIONS VIA SEMI-SUBMERSIBLE VESSELS PLEADS GUILTY
A news release from US DoJ on 20 may advised that that Oscar Adriano Quintero Rengifo (aka “Guatala), 34, had pleaded guilty and faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. He was arrested in Colombia on 29 January 2021, and extradited to the US on 26 January this year. He was part of a transnational criminal organisation that smuggled cocaine from South America. The organisation primarily sent vessels such as self-propelled semi-submersible vessels to Guatemala, where the cocaine was then smuggled over the Guatemala/Mexican border and then into the US.
MIAMI MAN JAILED AND LOSES $6 MILLION HOME OVER $115 MILLION SCAM INVOLVING BABY FORMULA
On 22 May, Raw Story highlights a Miami Herald report that Johnny Grobman, 48, received an 18-year and 4-month sentence after convictions on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud; wire fraud; money laundering; conspiring to obtain pre-retail medical products worth $5,000 or more by fraud or deception; theft of pre-retail medical products; and smuggling goods from the US. He and co-defendants were involved in a massive commercial fraud that involved infant formula, eye-care products and other products regulated by the FDA. The group worked a scam from 2013 to 2018 based on the lie that they had government procurement contracts in Suriname and US manufacturers of infant formula and other products sold them to the trio at a reduced rate, but reimported them for sale in the US.
US: SUMMARY OF UYGHUR FORCED LABOR PREVENTION ACT, FORCED LABOUR “WITHHOLD RELEASE ORDER” ENFORCEMENT MECHANISMS
On 23 May, KPMG reported that US Customs and Border Protection had released a document that summarises — in table format —t he Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act and forced labour “withhold release order” (WRO) enforcement mechanisms.
NON-FUNGIBLE TOKENS (NFT): A LEGAL PERSPECTIVE – IP INFRINGEMENT
On 23 May, a briefing from Field Fisher was the second in a series of articles seeking to dispel some of the confusion and common misconceptions that surround Non Fungible Tokens (NFT) when it comes to ownership, intellectual property infringement, commercial issues, data protection, and regulatory risks. In this one the firm first takes a look at some of the issues to watch out for when it comes to the potential for copyright and trade mark infringement when minting and selling NFT — whether as part of the initial drop or on the secondary market. Then it turns to what rights-holders can do to protect and enforce their rights.
EMERGING COCAINE TRAFFICKING ROUTES BETWEEN LATIN AMERICA AND MIDDLE EAST FUEL DRUG TRADE EXPANSION
On 19 May, an opinion piece from Homeland Security Today says that drug seizures in Turkey, Spain, and Latin America as well as the arrests of Turkish drug traffickers continue to be indicators of active drug-trafficking networks involving groups in the Middle East and Latin America. It says that drug-trafficking groups, particularly those in Turkey and the Middle East, are resourceful and quick to adapt as circumstances change and new opportunities arise. It tries to explain why drug traffickers have chosen Turkey and the Middle East as an alternative to other land and sea routes to destinations worldwide.
UKRAINE AND POLAND AGREE ON JOINT CUSTOMS CONTROL
On 22 May, Reuters reported that Ukraine and Poland have agreed to establish a joint border customs control and work on a shared railway company to ease the movement of people and increase Ukraine’s export potential.
BIDEN ADMINISTRATION EASES SOME TRUMP-ERA CUBA RESTRICTIONS
On 23 May, an article from Holland & Knight LLP said that the Administration announced on 16 May a series of measures that will ease certain restrictions former President Donald Trump imposed on Cuba. It says that these represent a significant change to the Biden Administration’s Cuba policy and may provide much needed relief in the human rights and entrepreneurial spaces.
THE CRISIS IN MALI
On 23 May, the US Congressional Research Service published a briefing paper on the situation in Mali, where a military junta ousted an elected president in 2020, then overthrew civilian transitional leaders the following year. The junta has engaged in an increasingly bitter confrontation with former colonial power France — which has led counterterrorism operations in Mali since 2013 — and with other leaders in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), who have imposed sanctions in response to Mali’s failure to adhere to a previously agreed election timeline. Local insurgent groups affiliated with Al Qaeda and the Islamic State are active across central and northern Mali. Other rebel groups, communal militias, and criminal bands are also active, some with apparent state backing.
A NEW UN CONVENTION ON CYBERCRIME: FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS COME FIRST
On 20 May, a news release from the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) advised that the EDPS had published an Opinion on 18 May about the EU participation in the UN negotiations for a Comprehensive International Convention on Countering the Use of Information and Communications Technologies for Criminal Purposes (the future UN convention on cybercrime). EDPS is concerned that, if not specifically addressed, the future UN convention risks weakening the protection of individuals’ fundamental rights, including the rights to data protection and privacy guaranteed under EU law, given the large number of countries, which each have their own legal system, that are partaking in its negotiations. As such, EDPS advises the EU not to become party to the future UN convention on cybercrime, if its final draft does not guarantee these fundamental rights.
EBA PUBLISHES FINAL TECHNICAL STANDARDS TO IDENTIFY SHADOW BANKING ENTITIES
On 23 May, a release on Mondo Visione advised that the European Banking Authority (EBA) has published its final draft Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) specifying the criteria to identify shadow banking entities for the purposes of reporting large exposures. The final draft RTS clarify that entities carrying out banking activities or services and which have been authorised and supervised in accordance with the EU prudential framework, shall not be considered as shadow banking entities.
Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed! I have a page where you can do so, and where one-off contributions start as low as $3, at
NOTE THAT THE ABOVE LINK IS NOW CORRECTED AND WORKS!