Panama Covid-19 update – the fifth wave shows no sign of slowing, with another 3,951 new cases reported today and the rate of positive test results at 24.4%. There are currently 30,857 active cases, with 40 patients in ICU and 205 in other wards. 3 new fatalities were reported today.
26 MAY 2022
IRAN USED SECRET UN RECORDS TO EVADE NUCLEAR PROBES
On 25 May, the Wall Street Journal reported that Iran secured access to secret UN atomic agency reports almost 2 decades ago and circulated the documents among top officials who prepared cover stories and falsified a record to conceal suspected past work on nuclear weapons.
UK: APP FRAUD – CLAIM IN UNJUST ENRICHMENT AGAINST BANK FAILS
On 25 May, an alert from CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP was concerned with a Highh Court case in which it was held that the defendant bank was not unjustly enriched at the expense of the claimant for losses suffered at the hands of fraudsters. The claim was based on the Bank’s apparent unjust enrichment. The article says that recent decisions from the English court have tended to be in favour of providing certainty for banks and to confine their boundaries of their legal liabilities, particularly in relation to the Quincecare duty, which is often used by claimants to pursue claims in APP Fraud situation.
LAFARGE INDICTED FOR ‘COMPLICITY IN CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY’ IN SYRIA
On 18 May, TRT World reported that a French appeals court had confirmed a charge of complicity in crimes against humanity against the cement group Lafarge over alleged payoffs to Daesh during Syria’s civil war. Lafarge has acknowledged that it paid nearly $13.7 million to middlemen to keep its Syrian cement factory running in 2013 and 2014, long after other French companies had pulled out of the country.
UK: REVISED ATTORNEY GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR INVESTIGATORS, PROSECUTORS AND DEFENCE PRACTITIONERS ON THE APPLICATION OF THE DISCLOSURE REGIME
On 25 May, the Attorney General’s Office published these revised guidelines under the Criminal Procedures and Investigations Act 1996. They replace the existing Guidelines issued in 2020 and the Supplementary Guidelines on Digital Material issued in 2013. The Guidelines are intended to operate alongside the Judicial Protocol on the Disclosure of Unused Material in Criminal Cases. It is reported that the revised Guidelines are intended to stop invasive and disproportionate requests for complainants’ private information during criminal investigations. They take effect from 25 July.
THE VULNERABLE MARITIME SUPPLY CHAIN
On 25 May, an article from Security Week published by Dryad Global says that, with around 90% to 95% of all shipped goods at some stage travel by sea, this makes the global maritime industry the world’s single largest and most important supply chain. Successful cyberattacks against the maritime supply chain would have the potential to damage individual companies, national finances and even the global economy. It says that the maritime sector includes the ports and the vessels that use them, and that while the port authorities are already under threat and attack by ransomware gangs, less attention has been paid to the threat of attacks against the vessels.
A “PIRATE” ATTACK ON A VESSEL WHICH CARRIES OUT WORK IN THE GULF OF MEXICO
On 25 May, Dryad Global reported that a group of at least 5 heavily armed people illegally boarded the ship off the coast of Dos Bocas, Tabasco, obtaining loot consisting of tools, communication equipment and 35 autonomous breathing apparatus.
PRIVY COUNCIL CONFIRMS THAT QUINCECARE DUTY IS LIMITED TO PROTECTING CUSTOMERS AND DOES NOT EXTEND TO PROTECT THIRD PARTIES
On 24 May, an article from Herbert Smith Freehills concerned a case before the Privy Council in London involving a decision of the courts in the Isle of Man. It says that, in the latest decision to consider the Quincecare duty, the Privy Council confirmed that the duty is limited to protecting the customers of a bank, and does not extend to protecting any third party beneficiaries of its customer’s accounts.
IRELAND: ANTI-CORRUPTION & BRIBERY COMPARATIVE GUIDE
On 25 May, an article from law firm Arthur Cox provided a Q&A guide to anti-corruption and bribery laws in Ireland.
AUSTRALIA TO BLOCK ACCESS TO A FURTHER 9 OFFSHORE GAMBLING AND AFFILIATE WEBSITES
On 26 May, iGB reported that the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has requested that access to a further 9 offshore gambling and affiliate websites be blocked. They were said to be offering services to Australian players without a licence. If approved, this would mean that since the ACMA made its first blocking request in November 2019, a total of 481 illegal gambling websites have been blocked.
US TREASURY TO STUDY HOW RUSSIANS COULD USE HEDGE FUNDS AND PRIVATE EQUITY TO EVADE SANCTIONS
On 25 May, the Wall Street Journal reported that Russian oligarchs and elites might look to use investment advisers as a low-risk way to evade US sanctions because of the industry’s vulnerability to illicit finance. Other media reports have suggested the use of informal channels, such as hawala.
PRO POKER PLAYER ARRESTED ON FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES RE ALLEGED SPORTS BETTING SCHEME
On 25 May, Fox News reported that Cory Zeidman, 61, a professional poker player, had been arrested for his alleged involvement in a sports betting scam.
EUROJUST: EU COUNCIL ADOPTS NEW RULES ALLOWING THE AGENCY TO PRESERVE EVIDENCE OF WAR CRIMES
A news release on 25 May advised that, to help ensure accountability for crimes committed in Ukraine, the EU Council had adopted new rules allowing Eurojust to preserve, analyse and store evidence relating to core international crimes, including war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. They will enter into force on the day following its publication in the Official Journal.
FINGERPRINTING TECHNIQUE DEVELOPED TO VERIFY THE GEOGRAPHICAL ORIGINS OF VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
On 26 May, Technology Networks reported on a new authentication tool to check the geographical origin of virgin olive oil as a control on the quality, tradition and product linked to a territory, for use to detect adulteration and commercial fraud.
PRIVATE PROSECUTIONS AND ECONOMIC CRIME: A ROUTE TO JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS
On 26 May, a news release from law firm Mishcon de Reya says that economic crime is widely reported to be on the increase, but with the limited resources of the state’s agencies stretched widely across the full spectrum of criminal offending, victims of fraud and related crimes are too often denied justice and left without effective recourse. It suggests that private prosecutions can nevertheless provide victims with a route to justice.
ONE OF CHINA’S BIGGEST-EVER MILITARY CORRUPTION SCANDALS ALLEGEDLY FUNNELLED PROCEEDS INTO CANADIAN BANKS BEFORE INVESTING IN LUXURY VANCOUVER REAL ESTATE
On 26 May, a report from OCCRP said that the money involved allegedly came from a major Chinese military corruption case that landed a lieutenant general with a suspended death sentence. It says that the Canadian federal government has been quietly analysing the source of a suspect’s wealth through documents dating back to before he arrived in Canada in 2006 through the now defunct Immigrant Investor Program.
GREEN HYDROGEN – THE POTENTIAL FOR SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA TO EXPLOIT ITS EXTENSIVE RENEWABLE ENERGY CAPACITY TO EMERGE AS THE LARGEST EXPORTER OF THE FUEL OVER THE NEXT 2-TO-3 YEARS
An article from Control Risks on 26 May says that it expects oil and gas economies in the region will instead prioritise blue hydrogen production, particularly as this fuel type increasingly becomes regarded by importers as a bridge in the clean energy transition. However, realising the region’s full potential as a global green hydrogen export hub is unlikely to materialise in the short term, amid high costs and limited installed renewable energy capacity to create green hydrogen. South Africa will likely produce the region’s first exports, with feasibility studies on a first project well under way.
EUROPEAN FISHING FLEETS ACCUSED OF ILLEGALLY NETTING TUNA IN INDIAN OCEAN
On 26 May, the Guardian reported that European fishing fleets have been illegally netting tuna from dwindling stocks in the Indian Ocean, according to data presented to EU authorities and analysed by expert groups. The report is from the charity Blue Marine Foundation along with Kroll, the corporate investigation company.
PUTIN SIGNS DECREE ALLOWING RESIDENTS OF NEWLY OCCUPIED UKRAINIAN TERRITORIES TO GET RUSSIAN CITIZENSHIP
On 26 May, Jurist reported that President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree allowing residents of 2 Ukrainian regions, Kherson and Zaporizhzhya, parts of which have been occupied by Russian forces during Moscow’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, to obtain Russian citizenship.
IS THE JALISCO CARTEL ON THE BRINK?
An article from Insight Crime on 25 May said that the CJNG’s reign as Mexico’s most dominant and ruthless cartel may be showing the same signs of wear that foreshadowed the downfall of its many predecessors.
REPORT: THE ROSEWOOD CRISIS IN MALI
On 25 May, the Environmental Investigation Agency published a report showing that the illegal and unsustainable trade in rosewood from Mali has fuelled corruption, driven pressure on communities and activists, and has been used as a conduit for ivory trafficking between West Africa and China.
INVESTORS FORCE HOME DEPOT TO REVIEW WOOD-SOURCING POLICY OVER LOGGING CONCERNS
On 23 May, Mongabay reported that some of Home Depot’s plywood is allegedly sourced from vulnerable forests in Ecuador’s Chocó region and the Brazilian Cerrado, and conservationists and investors have pressured the home improvement giant to clean up its supply chain; and pressure from investors and conservationists has forced Home Depot to re-evaluate how it does business.
BULK CARRIER MASTER CHARGED WITH DRUG SMUGGLING INTO AUSTRALIA
On 25 May, Insurance Marine News reported that Australian Federal Police has charged the Montenegrin 51-year-old master of a bulk carrier for his alleged role in the plot to import 320 kg of cocaine into Australia.
IRANIAN OIL TANKER ARRIVES IN VENEZUELAN WATERS TO DISCHARGE IRANIAN CRUDE
On 25 May, Insurance Marine News reported that a ship carrying about 1 million barrels of Iranian heavy crude, arrived recently in Venezuelan waters for delivery to the country’s largest refinery. Iran and Venezuela recently expanded a swap agreement signed last year.
NUCLEAR BRINKMANSHIP: US SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN EXPLAINED
A post from Lawfare on 26 May follows the reported stalemate in the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear programme. It is said that this the result of 2 reported Iranian demands: first, that the US withdraw the designation of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO); and second, that the Biden Administration guarantee that a future US administration will not withdraw from the revived JCPOA. The post is intended to help explain the legal background behind the FTO designation in the context of the US sanctions regime and to highlight other possible obstacles — namely, the potential for the US Congress to limit the President’s ability to waive sanctions against Iran — that may arise if a new agreement is reached.
PREVENTING CATASTROPHIC BIOTERRORISM: GUARDING AGAINST EXPLOITATION OF THE LIFE SCIENCES AND BIOTECHNOLOGY
The May edition of the CTC Sentinel carried this article which says that bioscience and biotechnology advances offer extraordinary promise, but they are also accompanied by emerging biological risks — specifically the potential for catastrophic accidents or deliberate misuse by malicious actors seeking to cause harm. Non-state actors could exploit the legitimate global bioscience research and development enterprise to gain the knowledge and materials to develop and disseminate a biological weapon. The article outlines the actions that governments, the private sector, and civil society can take to prevent a catastrophic act of bioterrorism and how to guard against exploitation of the life sciences and biotechnology.
DESPITE SANCTIONS, RUSSIAN CRUDE EXPORTS REMAIN HIGH
On 26 May, an article from Vortexa reported that Russian crude oil exports remain very high and sanctions are unlikely to hinder Russian players from exporting oil over the coming months more than they already do. Accordingly, further production losses appear to be off the table for now.
US RUSSIA SANCTIONS: ROSSIYA AIRLINES AND AN ABRAMOVICH JET
On 26 May, EU Sanctions blog reported that the US had denied the export privileges of Rossiya Airlines for 180 days from 20 May after it was found to operated multiple US-origin aircraft on flights into Russia without the necessary licence. In addition, it had identified a second airliner, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, as owned by US-listed Roman Abramovich as being in likely violation of US export controls. Providing any service to this aircraft also requires authorisation.
IRAN NUCLEAR MILESTONES: 1967-2022
On 26 May, the Wisconsin project on Nuclear Arms Control published a timeline, starting in 1967, of developments in Iran’s nuclear energy and weapons programmes.
RUSSIAN MERCENARIES ACCUSED OVER USE OF MINES AND BOOBY TRAPS IN LIBYA
On 26 May, the Guardian claimed an exclusive in an article saying that UN investigators say Wagner Group fighters did not mark mines’ positions and may even have rigged bomb to teddy bear. Investigators found that Russian mercenaries in Libya systematically broke international law by laying mines in civilian areas without any attempt to mark their location or remove the lethal devices. It is said that booby traps were responsible for the death of two mine clearers working for an NGO.
WHAT BRITISH COLUMBIA’S MONEY LAUNDERING INQUIRY MISSED
An article from Pique News Magazine on 26 May said that the Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in BC will table its final report on 3 June. However, there will be some questions left unexplored. It says that the inquiry did not explore potential transnational organized criminal networks and foreign state actors behind the illicit movement of cash through BC casinos and other sectors of the province’s economy. Nor did the inquiry explore money laundering in British Columbia’s securities industry.
HONDURAS: AUTHORITIES DETAIN A COLOMBIAN SENATOR AT AIRPORT WITH UNDECLARED $68,000
On 26 May, La Estrella de Panama reported that Colombian Senator-elect Piedad Córdoba, 67, was detained with almost $68,000 that she did not declare at an airport. The senator was carrying the money hidden in a suitcase and was required when she intended to take a commercial flight to Panama, according to local media.
RUSSIA SANCTIONS AND CRYPTOCURRENCIES: POLICY ISSUES
On 26 May, a briefing from the Congressional Research Service says that, as the G7 and EU seek to sustain economic pressure on Russia, and Russia seeks ways to mitigate the impact of sanctions, some in Congress are asking whether cryptocurrencies offer Russia a way to evade sanctions. This briefing discusses related policy issues and proposed legislation.
THE EU, US, AND UK ANNOUNCE THE CREATION OF THE ATROCITY CRIMES ADVISORY GROUP (ACA)
On 25 May, a news release from the US Embassy in Ukraine says that the group will reinforce current EU, US and UK efforts to further accountability for atrocity crimes in the context of Russia’s ongoing war of aggression against Ukraine; and will support the War Crimes Units of the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine (OPG) in its investigation and prosecution of conflict-related crimes.
UKRAINIAN AUTHORITIES HAVE INFORMED CYPRUS ABOUT THE SEIZURE OF $420 MILLION WORTH OF SHARES AND SECURITIES LINKED TO A RUSSIAN BILLIONAIRE AND OTHER BUSINESSMEN
On 24 May, the Washington Post reported that a government spokesman had told the Associated Press that Ukraine raised the matter with “the relevant authorities of the Republic of Cyprus”. The target has been named as Mikhail Fridman of Alfa Bank, a Russian lender with major operations in Ukraine. The article notes that Russians received Cypriot passports under the country’s once lucrative citizenship-by-investment programme that was scrapped 2 years ago in the wake of an undercover TV report.
JAPAN’S UNIVERSITIES TO SCREEN FOREIGNERS
On 23 May, Reuters reported that Japan is asking universities for greater scrutiny of foreign students and scholars to prevent technology leaks to places like China, partly for its own national security but also to safeguard exchanges with US and European universities.
7 YEARS OF CRYPTO ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS PRECEDED US DESIGNATION OF RUSSIAN CRYPTO MINE BITRIVER
On 26 May, an article from Kharon reported that the designation of Bitriver in April was the first US sanctions action targeting a crypto mining operation. However, it also notes that US regulatory and law enforcement agencies have been addressing the exploitation of cryptocurrencies for years, with regulatory enforcement actions and criminal cases going back to 2015.
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