Panama Covid-19 update – after a few days of seemingly declining numbers, today saw (along with an increase in test numbers) a rise in the number of active cases, ICU numbers and other hospitalisations – although numbers in the hospital-hotels had fallen. The test results were up to 24.8% positive.
3,876 new cases and 3 new fatalities, 38 cases in ICU and 220 in other wards.
24 MAY 2022
NEW ZEALAND MOVES TOWARD PROPOSAL OF MODERN SLAVERY LEGISLATION
On 20 May, Ropes & Gray LLP reported that, on 8 April, the New Zealand government commenced a consultation on legislation addressing slavery and worker exploitation. The legislation would create due diligence and disclosure obligations for a large number of companies operating in New Zealand. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment in New Zealand was soliciting feedback on the proposal. This Alert provides an overview of the proposal and how it compares to other corporate modern slavery legislation.
SEC GUIDANCE: DISCLOSURE OBLIGATIONS STEMMING FROM RUSSIA’S INVASION OF UKRAINE
On 20 May, an article from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner said that on 3 May, the Division of Corporation Finance issued guidance reminding companies with disclosure obligations under US securities laws to be cognisant of any disclosures that may be warranted as a result of the direct or indirect impact on a company’s business due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It called for detailed disclosures relating to direct or indirect exposure to Russia, Belarus, or Ukraine.
US NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION SUSPENDS GENERAL LICENSE AUTHORITY TO EXPORT RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL TO RUSSIA
On 19 May, Torres Trade Law reported that the NRC suspended the general license authority under NRC regulations to export radioactive material and deuterium for nuclear end-use to Russia. Exporters of such material must now apply to the NRC for a specific licence to export to Russia.
A BRIEF GUIDE ON HEARSAY EVIDENCE IN SCOTTISH CIVIL LITIGATION
On 20 May, Brodies LLP published an article, saying that while there are well-known and strict hearsay rules in the criminal courts, what are the rules on hearsay within the civil courts in Scotland?
Bet365 REPRIMANDED OVER AML FAILURE IN DENMARK
On 24 May, iGB reported that the Danish regulator has reprimanded Bet365 after it failed to carry out due diligence checks on a high-spending customer. The regulator said it would not pursue any prosecution of Bet365, noting the operator had subsequently introduced new business procedures for customer due diligence procedures and investigation.
ART DEALER IN RELATIONSHIP WITH MADE IN CHELSEA REALITY TV STAR JAILED FOR £80 MILLION FRAUD
On 24 May, the Evening Standard reported that a London art dealer Inigo Philbrick, 34, who has galleries in London and Miami, has been jailed for 7 years in the US. He was also ordered to forfeit the £80 million involved. He misrepresented the ownership of artworks and sometimes sold ownership to multiple people and entities without their knowledge. He closed his galleries and fled the US to Vanuatu in 2019.
PIRACY IN THE GULF OF GUINEA – NEW LEGISLATION IN NIGERIA
HFW has released a new Briefing Note about a new law, which came into force on 12 May and may change the Nigerian government’s approach to the situation in the Gulf. The Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011 has now been repealed and replaced by a new law, the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act 2022.
UK: UPDATED FREEPORT GUIDANCE
On 24 May, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities published updated guidance on freeports in England, with added information on the tax and customs measures for business interested in operating.
SUSPECTED HEAD OF A CRIME GROUP THAT USES SMUGGLED ALBANIAN MIGRANTS TO FARM CANNABIS HAS BEEN ARRESTED BY NCA
A news release from the NCA on 24 May advised that the man, aged in his fifties, was arrested by officers at an address in Prestatyn, North Wales. All 3 were arrested on suspicion of conspiring to cultivate and distribute cannabis and money laundering. It is believed the crime group has links to a Western Balkans organised crime group which facilitated the illegal entry of Albanian nationals into the UK.
MOLDOVAN ‘THIEF IN LAW’ AND HIS ASSOCIATES ARRESTED IN EUROPEAN CRACKDOWN
A news release from Europol on 24 May announced that a total of 14 members of a powerful gang have been arrested in Romania, France and Moldova. It says that one of the most powerful criminal groups in Moldova, known as ‘Patron’ after its ringleader, has been dismantled.
BANGOR CITY: THE POP STAR, THE FOOTBALL CLUB AND THE MAFIA LINK
On 24 May, the BBC carried a remarkable story of how one of the UK’s oldest football clubs has ceased playing football, is tens of thousands of pounds in debt and its future is bleak. The BBC says that its investigation also found that the club’s owner, Domenico Serafino, 55, who owned another football club in Italy, worked with an accountant who once had Mafia links and who was convicted in 2010 over his role in a multi-million pound drug trafficking and money laundering operation run by Italy’s most powerful and dangerous organised crime group, the ‘Ndrangheta.
EUROJUST SAYS THAT NEW INVESTIGATIONS ON CORE INTERNATIONAL CRIMES INCREASE BY 44% SINCE 2016
On 23 May, a news release from Eurojust announced that investigations and prosecutions of the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes (known collectively as core international crimes) have steadily risen within the EU since 2016. A total of 1,547 new cases were opened in 2021, compared with 1,073 in 2016, which represents a 44% increase. In 2021, 3,171 cases were ongoing across all Member States. It says that the trend can be attributed, in part, to the escalation of conflicts and grave human rights violations near EU borders (most recently in Ukraine, Belarus and Syria), leading to an influx of refugees into Member States. The higher level of expertise now available among national authorities also explains the increase in investigations.
LINKS THAT AROUND 30 WEALTHY BUSINESSMEN, SUPPORTERS OF VLADIMIR PUTIN’S REGIME, HAVE WITH SWITZERLAND
On 9 May, the Public Eye website carried a report about the group, all of which are said to have companies, bank accounts or properties between Geneva and Zug. It says that this is further evidence of the central role played over the past 3 decades by the “Swiss rear base”.
RUSSIAN OLIGARCH ‘HANDED SWISS COMPANY OVER TO WIFE’
On 23 May, Swissinfo reported that the effectiveness of sanctions against Russia have again been called into question as it emerged that an oligarch, Andrey Melnichenko, transferred his stake in a fertiliser company, EuroChem, to his wife. It also notes that Italian authorities have impounded his yacht that is said to be worth $600 million.
SOUTH KOREA: POLICE MOVING TO FREEZE LUNA FOUNDATION GUARD MONEY IN THE WAKE OF THE TERRAUSD (UST) STABLECOIN COLLAPSE
On 23 May, Coindesk reported that police have asked various crypto exchanges to ban Luna’s capability of withdrawing company funds, but it was not clear which exchanges were asked or whether they have complied.
KPMG HIT BY LATEST IN STRING OF FINES OVER ROLLS-ROYCE BRIBERY SCANDAL
On 22 May, Sky News reported that the auditor will be fined more than £4 million for its work on the accounts of Rolls-Royce Holdings dating back more than 10 years. The fine relates to the firm’s work for Rolls-Royce, which in 2017 paid more than £670 million to settle bribery charges in the UK and US.
SINGLE WINDOW FOR SHIP DATA EXCHANGE TO BECOME MANDATORY
On 24 May, Hellenic Shipping News reported that the IMO Facilitation Committee has adopted amendments to the Facilitation (FAL) Convention which will make the single window for data exchange mandatory in ports around the world, marking a significant step in the acceleration of digitalisation in shipping. The Facilitation Convention was adopted in 1965 and contains standards and recommended practices and rules for simplifying formalities, documentary requirements and procedures on ships’ arrival, stay and departure. The latest amendments are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2024.
ISLE OF MAN: AMENDMENT OF IRAN SANCTIONS ENTRY AND 63 ENTRIES ON RUSSIA SANCTIONS LIST
On 24 May, 2 news releases advised that the existing entry in the Iran sanctions list for Parvis FATAH had been corrected, and that no less than 63 existing entries in the Russia sanctions list had been amended
US WILL NOT RENEW RUSSIA SANCTIONS GENERAL LICENSE RELATED TO DEALINGS IN CERTAIN DEBT OR EQUITY
On 24 May, KPMG reported that OFAC had announced that it will not renew the provisions of General License 9C — Authorizing transactions related to dealings in certain debt or equity — issued pursuant to the Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions Regulations, and that therefore the License will expire on 25 May.
US: HOW DOES HOMELAND SECURITY COMBAT WMD, AND HOW COULD THEIR EFFORTS IMPROVE?
On 3 May, the US Government Accountability Office in the US published a post saying that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in 2018, set up its Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office (CWMD). This office merged several DHS offices and efforts with the goal of improving the department’s coordination of federal and state-level preparation to counter WMD threats. The post was concerned with a new GAO report on what efforts CWMD uses to combat WMD and how it could improve its efforts. It found that the new radiation monitors have been delayed by more than 3 years, and those being tested have higher nuisance alarm rates than monitors currently in use at ports. The GAO makes 4 recommendations, including that CWMD should reassess its current acquisition strategy for replacing radiation portal monitors.
US: A RASH OF THEFTS OF SEMICONDUCTOR-LOADED POWERTRAIN CONTROL MODULES FROM PARKED TRUCKS
On 23 May, Freightwaves reported that it is said that the theft of common powertrain control module 4 units relate to the ongoing shortage of microchips. Harvesting and reprogramming the modules allow them to work in other trucks. It is also reported that a shortage of semiconductors is one of the major shortfalls limiting new truck production, and is a big reason why low-mileage used trucks have practically doubled in price in the US over the past year.
UK GOVERNMENT DID ENCOURAGE PREMIER LEAGUE TO APPROVE NEWCASTLE FC TAKEOVER
On 24 May, the Guardian reported that an investigation had found that the UK Government worked for months to encourage the Premier League to approve the controversial Saudi Arabia-backed takeover – despite the Government, and Boris Johnson, repeatedly saying publicly that they had no involvement in the takeover talks.
WOLFSBERG GROUP OFFERS GUIDANCE ON USE OF NEGATIVE NEWS TO ASSESS FINANCIAL CRIME RISK
On 24 May, Thomson Reuters reported that a paper from the Wolfsberg Group of 13 major international banks comes as many financial institutions are struggling with how to address customers in Russia who have not yet been sanctioned but might be targeted by the US government and its allies due to their ties to Russian government.
HOW HEZBOLLAH IS SPARKING INSTABILITY IN LATIN AMERICA
On 24 May, Oil Price.com said that extreme socioeconomic inequality, weak central governments, organized crime, and the vast profits generated by cocaine have inflamed geopolitical instability in Latin America for decades. That confluence of factors has created a fertile environment for illegal armed groups pursuing ideological goals, the substantial earnings that the narcotics trade generates, or both. It argues that one non-government armed group taking advantage of the opportunities present in Latin America is the militant Lebanese Shia political organisation. It says that Hezbollah has constructed a well-oiled money laundering and cocaine trafficking network in Latin America; and that analysts estimate that narco-trafficking and money laundering operations raise more money for Hezbollah than any other of its businesses, highlighting how important those activities are to the organisation. It is said that the terrorist group established a notable presence in the tri-border area comprised of Puerto Iguazu Argentina, Ciudad del Este Paraguay and Foz do Iguazu Brazil to take advantage of the highly profitable illicit opportunities which exist in the region and boost earnings. It is also said that Hezbollah emerged as a crucial source of income for Venezuela, which in turn allowed the terror group to establish substantial illicit operations in Venezuela.
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