Panama Covid-19 update – the fifth wave continues, with 5 new fatalities reported today, alongside 1,842 new cases. Active cases now stand at 27,280, with 38 in ICU and 215 in other wards.
30 MAY 2022
BASEL INSTITUTE ON GOVERNANCE ANNUAL REPORT
On 30 May, the BIS issued its annual report. Among other things it says it has noticed an encouraging new trend in how government leaders are responding to the Basel AML Index – our flagship tool for assessing money laundering and terrorist financing risks in jurisdictions around the world. Also, anti-corruption Collective Action, a cornerstone of the Basel Institute’s mission for nearly 20 years, is now widely acknowledged as an effective approach to stimulate and facilitate public-private and other multi-stakeholder collaboration on corruption and governance issues.
GREECE AND IRAN AT LOGGERHEADS OVER TANKER SEIZURES
On 30 May, Seatrade Maritime News reported that a stand-off has developed between Greece and Iran over the seizure of oil tankers in the waters of Greece and the Persian Gulf.
8 TRADERS ARRESTED IN TANZANIA FOR SMUGGLING GOLD
On 29 May, LatestLY reported that 8 traders have been arrested in Tanzania’s north-western in connection with smuggling out of the country an unspecified amount of gold. In 2019, Tanzania set up government-controlled minerals trading centres in efforts aimed at curbing illegal exports of gold and other precious metals.
A PUBLIC CAMPAIGN “STOP SMUGGLING” TARGETS CITIZENS OF BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA (BIH)
On 30 May, the Sarajevo Times reported that the Indirect Taxation Authority (ITA) has launched a public campaign “Stop Smuggling”, whose goal is to enable all citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) who have any information about the evasion of indirect taxes and illegal trade in goods, especially tobacco products, to report it. Citizens can also send a photo and location where cigarettes and tobacco are illegally sold.
SRI LANKA: AN EXHAUSTED ECONOMY BURDENED BY SMUGGLING
On 30 May, the Daily FT reported that, with governments and authorities focused on the multiple crises at hand, there has been an apparent rise in smuggling after a brief lull during months of pandemic pressure. Cigarettes are the most popular contraband item.
LEBANON QUESTIONS CAR TYCOON GHOSN AFTER INTERPOL NOTICE
On 30 May, Yahoo News reported that a judge had questioned disgraced auto tycoon Carlos Ghosn in Beirut, days after Lebanon received a wanted notice for him from Interpol. The French prosecutor’s office in the Paris suburb of Nanterre said last month that it issued an international arrest warrant for the former head of Nissan and Renault and four other people based on an investigation opened in 2019 into money laundering and abuse of company assets. It was the second Red Notice that Lebanon received in the case; the first was issued in January 2020, a few days after Ghosn fled Japan for Lebanon in a gripping escape. Lebanon does not extradite its citizens.
FRAUDSTER OWING £76 MILLION FACES JAIL THREAT FOR ‘EXTRAVAGANT’ PARTIES
On 30 May, the Evening Standard reported that Gerald Smith, a fraudster who flew round the world despite owing taxpayers tens of millions of pounds is facing a new prison term after using secret accounts to splash out on “extravagant” parties and meals. The spending took place even though he had been banned by a judge from disposing of any assets and now faces up to 2 years in prison for breaching this order.
NCA LEADS INTERNATIONAL COALITION TACKLING CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
On 30 May, a news release advised that the National Crime Agency is the chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT) – an international collective of law enforcement agencies from 12 countries working to tackle child sexual abuse.
COLOMBIA AND PANAMA DISMANTLE EX-FARC DRUG TRAFFICKING NETWORK
On 27 May, OCCRP reported that authorities have dismantled a drug trafficking ring that used semi-submersible vessels to move tonnes of cocaine from the Pacific Coast to Central and North America, and the operation disrupted the supply along one of the region’s main cocaine corridors.
EU DATA PROTECTION GUIDANCE BRINGS WELCOME NEWS FOR UK SUPPLIERS
On 30 May, an article from Out-Law says that new guidance issued by the European Commission will be welcomed by UK-based suppliers involved in complex post-Brexit data transfer arrangements, but the guidance highlights a data protection “compliance gap” in relation to other data transfers, according to experts. The EU has published a new Q&A on Standard Contract Clauses (SCC).
START OF TRIAL OF KAZAKHSTAN’S EX-HEALTH MINISTER ON EMBEZZLEMENT CHARGES
On 26 May, Rferl reported that former Kazakh Health Minister Elzhan Birtanov, removed in 2020 amid a surge in coronavirus cases, has gone on trial on embezzlement charges. He and former Deputy Health Minister Olzhas Abishev, are suspected of embezzling about $1.2 million that had been allocated by the government for the digitisation of the Health Ministry.
US WINS LATEST LEGAL BATTLE TO SEIZE RUSSIAN YACHT IN FIJI
On 26 May, AP reported that the US won the latest round of a legal battle to seize a $325-million Russian-owned superyacht Amadea in Fiji, with the case now appearing headed for the Fiji Supreme Court. The US argues that the Cayman Islands-flagged luxury yacht is really owned by the sanctioned Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov, an economist and former Russian politician.
MIGRANT FRUIT PICKERS IN UK CHARGED THOUSANDS IN ILLEGAL FEES
On 27 May, the Bureau of Investigative Journalists reported on a joint investigation by the Bureau and the Guardian about 150 Nepalese workers who came to work at a farm in Herefordshire as part of the government scheme, many of them claiming to have paid agents working for a UK-licensed recruitment company. The findings suggest that the underfunding of labour enforcement, combined with the rapid expansion of the seasonal worker scheme – which aims to plug shortages created by Brexit and Covid-19 – could be putting thousands of migrant labourers at risk of exploitation. Any additional recruitment fees are illegal under UK law and can result in a labour provider being stripped of its licence.
CAN THE WEST BRING KLEPTOCRATS TO JUSTICE?
An article from Transparency International on 25 May posed this question, saying that a new report finds that, from layers of secrecy to legal challenges to the complexities of international cooperation, governments targeting the illicit wealth of Russian elites face myriad obstacles – despite their strong pledges to act decisively following the invasion of Ukraine.
SUSPICIOUS CHINESE FUNDS SHOULD HAVE RAISED ‘ALARM BELLS’ AT CANADIAN BANKS
On 30 May, an article from OCCRP reported that, for 8 years, Chinese property developer Chen Runkai used hundreds of wire transfers to move tens of millions of dollars into accounts at Canadian banks –– a technique experts say is a hallmark of money laundering. However, Canada’s biggest banks accepted the money without flagging it to the country’s financial regulator, and only one financial institution acted: the Vancouver arm of Switzerland’s UBS bank filed a SAR in 2012 after noting massive flows of unexplained money into a Chen family account.
NEW NFT OF LOOTED AFRICAN ART RELEASED
On 30 May, the Art Law & More blog from Boodle Hatfield reported that a new NFT project has been released which seeks to find an alternative form of restitution of African looted art. The project, titled “Looty”, plans to (legally) make NFT of artifacts known to have been looted from Africa and sell them, with 20% of the proceeds going to a fund to provide a young African artist with a grant.
RUSSIA INTRODUCES RUBLE-BASED PAYMENT PROCEDURE FOR IP-RELATED CONTRACTS
On 30 May, Baker McKenzie reported that, on 27 May, a new Decree provided that Russian persons (the Russian state, regional state authorities, municipalities and Russian residents) are instructed to make payments for the use of intellectual property to foreign IP right-holders (including penalties, fines and other payments) by transferring funds in rubles to a special O-type bank account opened in the name of the foreign IP right-holder.
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