Panama Covid-19 update – while the number of active cases shows a small fall, there were 3,678 new cases and 5 new fatalities reported today. Testing results continue to cause concern, with 15,267 tests showing a 24.1% positive result. There are now 36 patients in ICU, with numbers on other wards up to 229 and 50 others in quarantine in hospital-hotels. No monkeypox cases yet, though 1 suspected case was reported as being investigated in relatively nearby Ecuador (and Panama is a transit point for many Ecuador-bound passengers).
27 MAY 2022
CORRUPTION INVESTIGATIONS IN SOUTH AFRICA HAVE ENERGISED A CITIZEN-LED ACCOUNTABILITY MOVEMENT
On 28 April, a Commentary from RUSI says that South African investigative journalism and active civil society have kept kleptocratic activities at the forefront of the national conscience. It points out that the Zondo Commission has uncovered kleptocracy on an unprecedented scale during the 9-year period of Zuma’s presidency (2009–18).
MALAYSIA: AN ANALYSIS OF CIVIL FORFEITURE OF PROPERTY FOR THE OFFENCE OF “ONLINE GAMBLING”
On 25 May, an article from SKRINE says that Malaysian law provides for civil forfeiture of property seized where there is no prosecution or conviction for a money laundering or terrorism financing offence (i.e. a predicate offence). The article is concerned with a case in which the High Court embarked on a detailed analysis of the term “instrumentalities of an offence” and the establishment of a predicate offence of online gambling in considering an application to forfeit.
JAPAN TO ENABLE FIGHTER JET AND MISSILE EXPORTS TO 12 NATIONS
On 27 May, Nikkei Asia reported that the Japanese government plans to allow exports of fighter jets, missiles and other arms to 12 countries, including India, Australia as well as some European and SE Asian nations, and regulatory changes to allow for the exports could come by next March.
8,000 SMUGGLED DURIAN SAPLINGS SEIZED ON THAI-LAOS BORDER
On 27 May, The Nation in Thailand reported that durian is one of 11 Thai plants prohibited from being exported, as smuggling of the protected plants out of the country for cultivation elsewhere would severely impact Thailand’s agricultural sector and economy. The durian fruit is native to Asia and its consumption and cultivation is very common in countries such as Malaysia, India, Thailand, Indonesia or Vietnam.
MAN CHARGED WITH EXPORTING US AVIATION TECHNOLOGY TO CHINESE
On 27 May, San Jose Inside reported that Jonathan Yet Wing Soong of San Jose had been charged with smuggling and violating export control laws. He was employed by Universities Space Research Association, a non-profit corporation contracted by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), 2016-2020 as a program administrator. He is accused of unlawfully and without a licence exported and facilitated the sale and transfer of software to Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (BUAA).
GREECE: US SEIZES 600,000 BARRELS OF SMUGGLED IRANIAN CRUDE OIL
On 27 May, it was reported by Arab News that the US has confiscated more than 600,000 barrels of smuggled Iranian crude oil from a tanker, the Pegas, off the coast of Greece. Pegas, was targeted under 2 sets of sanctions — against Russia because it is Russian owned, and against Iran because it was carrying Iranian oil. Greece said the ship had been seized as part of EU sanctions on Russia for the invasion of Ukraine, but the vessel was later released. The tanker was renamed Lana on 1 March and has been flying the Iranian flag since 1 May.
UK: GUN SUPPLIER USED 3D PRINTER TO MAKE WEAPONS FOR ORGANISED CRIME GROUPS
A news release from the NCA on 26 May announced that a gun supplier from Birmingham who used a 3D printer and ammunition press to make viable weapons from parts ordered on the dark web has been jailed for 27 months.
HACKERS CAN SECURE ACCESS TO ONLINE ACCOUNTS BEFORE USERS EVEN CREATE THEM
On 26 May, OCCRP reported that a new report from Microsoft identifies 5 different ways such accounts can be hacked, with the distinguishing feature “that the attacker performs some action before the victim creates an account at the target service”. Researchers analysed 75 online services and found that at least 35 ― including Instagram, LinkedIn, WordPress, Dropbox, and Zoom ― were susceptible to this type of hack.
ARE THERE LESSONS TO BE LEARNED FROM 3 RECENT HIGH COURT DECISIONS CONCERNING ALLEGATIONS OF DISHONESTY?
An article from 1 Crown Office Row chamber on 24 May posed this question. The cases involved the 3 types of appeal that can bring a disciplinary/regulatory case before the High Court. It says that the cases affirm the approach that the High Court has taken to dishonesty by professional people.
UPDATED EXPERT GUIDE ON CANNABIS LEGISLATION
On 26 May, CMS Law produced an updated version of its guide which allows stakeholders to obtain detailed and updated information on the latest developments in cannabis legislation in key markets.
SOUTH AFRICA: 5 FORMER TOP TRANSNET OFFICIALS ARRESTED FOR FRAUD AND CORRUPTION
On 27 May, All Africa reported that 5 ex-senior Transnet officials, including former chief executive Siyabonga Gama, have been arrested on charges of money laundering, corruption and fraud. Transnet is a large rail, port and railway operator and featured in the Zondo Commission reports on corruption in South Africa.
3 DECEASED IRANIANS REMOVED FROM SWISS SANCTIONS LIST
On 27 May, the EU Sanctions blog reported that Switzerland has removed Ahmad Zargar, Mohammad Hejazi and Seyyed Hasan Firuzabadi from its Iran sanctions list following their deaths.
E-INVOICING AND DIGITAL REPORTING GLOBAL UPDATES
On 27 May, KPMG issued an update of this guide.
6 CHARTS SHOWS KEY ROLE FIREARMS MAKERS PLAY IN AMERICA’S GUN CULTURE
On 26 May, in the wake of just the latest massacre in the US, The Conversation published this article dealing with some critical facts about the firearm industry.
PALM OIL INDUSTRY SEEKS DELAY TO DEFORESTATION LAW
On 24 May, Unearthed carried an article saying that trade association representing EU chocolate associations and leading brands such as Mars, Cadbury, Ferrero and Nestle signed a statement against a key measure in the EU Regulations. It says that this latest effort to weaken the proposed deforestation law follows an attempt by leading soya groups, which lobbied the European Commission whilst at COP26.
INDIA: INTERIM BAIL TO AVANTHA GROUP PROMOTER IN MONEY LAUNDERING CASE
On 27 May, NDTV reported that the Delhi High Court granted an 8-week interim bail to businessman Gautam Thapar Avantha Group, the promoter in a money laundering case, on the grounds of medical issues in order to enable him to seek treatment.
PALM BEACH ART DEALER CHARGED WITH SELLING FAKES
On 27 May, BNN Bloomberg reported that Daniel Elie Bouaziz, a French citizen born in Algeria, and an art dealer in Palm Beach, Florida, has been charged with mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering for allegedly selling forged works from artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Banksy and Roy Lichtenstein to unsuspecting clients. Bouaziz is accused of purchasing low-cost reproductions from online auctions and then passing them off as original or authentic.
ARGENTINA ENTERS THE WORLD OF MEDICAL CANNABIS AND INDUSTRIAL HEMP
On 27 May, La Estrella de Panama reported that Argentina is opening up to the medical cannabis market and the hemp industry, a “new” productive sector. Its Parliament has approved a law which authorised private producers and marketers to initiate strategies that guarantee the safety, quality, control and traceability of the cannabis production chain, something that since 2017 was reserved for the State and authorised for therapeutic, palliative and scientific use. The law also establishes the Regulatory Agency of the Hemp and Medicinal Cannabis Industry (Ariccame).
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