OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JUNE 4

Panama Covid-19 update – active cases have fallen by 567, but still remain at 29,395. There were 3,056 new cases and 2 new fatalities reported; with 37 in ICU and 250 in other wards.

4 JUNE 2022

PANAMA: ALLEGED EMBEZZLER DE OBARRIO CHARGED “IN ABSENTIA

On 3 June, Newsroom Panama reported that Adolfo Chichi De Obarrio, the former private secretary of exPresident Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014), had been charged in absentia for alleged embezzlement of the defunct National Aid Program (PAN).  In 2021, De Obarrio was arrested in Italy but was later released when it was established that the Panamanian National Assembly had not ratified the treaty of extradition.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/alleged-embezzler-de-obarrio-declared-in-absentia

NGO FILE SUIT AGAINST FRENCH ARMS FIRMS OVER YEMEN SALES

 On 2 June, AP reported that a group of NGO had filed a lawsuit against 3 French arms manufacturers for what they claim was their complicity in alleged war crimes in Yemen.  They accuse Dassault Aviation, Thales Group and MBDA France of selling weapons and equipment to the coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE since 2015, despite widespread evidence that civilians were deliberately targeted.

https://apnews.com/article/politics-middle-east-saudi-arabia-france-5a5b1df8aa25e3abcc4a90e1fec23b77

‘TIGER KING’ STAR ARRESTED BY FBI ON MONEY LAUNDERING ALLEGATIONS

On 4 June, the Post & Courier in South Carolina reported that “Tiger King” star Bhagavan “Doc” Antle, 62, had been arrested by the FBI.  Antle was featured on the hit Netflix series “Tiger King,” about animal handler and zoo operator Joe Exotic.  He faces charges relating to wildlife trafficking and conspiracy to wildlife traffic charges, as well as conspiracy to violate the Endangered Species Act and animal cruelty charges related to trafficking of lion cubs.

https://www.postandcourier.com/myrtle-beach/news/tiger-king-star-doc-antle-arrested-by-fbi-on-money-laundering-allegations/article_c2fdb3dc-e39b-11ec-b3c6-8b7b0db1b0d0.html

A DOZEN SHIPS ALONGSIDE IN UKRAINE COULD BE DECLARED TOTAL LOSSES

On 1 June, Lloyds List reported that around 12 to 15 vessels trapped in Ukraine will likely be declared constructive total losses if fighting in that country continues until August, with marine insurers braced for a hit provisionally estimated at tens of millions of dollars – and several dozen more ships will become CTL if the war is not over by next February.  It is reported that there are approximately 190 vessels alongside at Ukrainian ports; and this figure only includes vessels transmitting AIS from the beginning of May – some vessels may have turned off AIS on account of the fighting, making greater precision difficult.

https://lloydslist.maritimeintelligence.informa.com/LL1141112/Dozen-ships-alongside-in-Ukraine-could-be-declared-total-losses

UK OFFICIALS SAID TO BE IN LINE FOR IMMUNITY IN ASSISTING CRIMES OVERSEAS

On 4 June, the Guardian reported that Ministers and spies would be given immunity from accusations of assisting crimes overseas under a new national security law to be debated by Parliament.  The concerns centre on a change to the Serious Crime Act 2007, which made it an offence to do anything in the UK to encourage or assist a crime overseas.  It is said that under a proposed amendment this would be disapplied where “necessary for the proper exercise of any function” of MI5, MI6, GCHQ or the armed forces.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jun/04/uk-officials-spies-ministers-impunity-assisting-crimes-overseas-draft-security-bill

ENGLAND & WALES: LAW SOCIETY QUESTIONS NEED FOR EXTRA REGULATION

On 1 June, Local Government Lawyer reported that the Law Society has questioned the need for additional regulation in its response to a Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) consultation on proposed changes to its rules and Codes of Conduct aimed at clarifying the SRA’s approach to issues around appropriate treatment of work colleagues by the individuals and firms it regulates.

https://www.localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk/careers/626-careers-news/50687-law-society-questions-need-for-extra-regulation-as-sra-consults-on-changes-to-approach-on-treatment-of-work-colleagues

CRYPTOASSETS, RESTRUCTURING, AND INSOLVENCY UNDER ENGLISH LAW

On 1 June, an article from Clifford Chance considers the current status of English law as it relates to cryptoassets, restructurings and insolvency.

https://www.cliffordchance.com/content/dam/cliffordchance/briefings/2022/06/decoding-distress.pdf

FORCED LABOUR PALM OIL IN GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAINS

On 2 June, a report from C4ADS says that the production of palm oil has long been reliant on deforestation and forced labour.  C4ADS analysis shows that the food conglomerates that feed millions — including giants such as Nestlé and Cargill — continue to enable forced labour through their indiscriminate import of tainted palm oil.  It makes claims against a Malaysian company, Sime Darby Plantation Berhad, and says that trade data indicates that several major food multinationals continue to buy and import products from this company.  US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has banned imports from Malaysia’s Sime Darby Plantations.  It is said that, despite clear evidence of forced labour, major food companies continue to purchase palm oil from Sime Darby Plantation and its Malaysian affiliates.

https://c4ads.org/blogposts/2022/6/2/spoiled-fruit

PARAGUAY’S SLOW SLIDE INTO A STATE HELD HOSTAGE TO DRUG TRAFFICKING

On 2 June, France 24 published an article on disturbing signal that parts of the South American country are falling under the influence — and bullets — of organized crime and drug traffickers.  A small, landlocked country of 7.3 million between Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil, Paraguay has traditionally been known as a marijuana producer.  However, now it is said to have become the regional distribution centre for Andean cocaine, and from Paraguay, shipments are sent through the ports of Buenos Aires and Montevideo to Europe.

https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220602-paraguay-s-slow-slide-into-a-state-held-hostage-to-drug-trafficking

UK MPs RAISE ALARM ABOUT SECRET ARMS EXPORT FINES

On 2 June, Politico reported that MPs from across the political divide are applying pressure on the UK Government over the secretive punishment regime for British businesses that breach weapons export rules.  One exporter was fined £2.7 million in February — the biggest sanction ever handed out — but the sum was part of a deal that allows the company to remain unnamed. 

https://www.politico.eu/article/pressure-over-secretive-uk-arms-export-fines/

CONGO AUDITOR SAYS $400 MILLION WENT MISSING FROM STATE MINING COMPANY

On 4 June, Yahoo Finance reported that more than $400 million in tax advances and loans that Democratic Republic of Congo’s state mining company Gecamines said it paid to the national treasury cannot be found, according to a report by the government’s public finances watchdog.  Gecamines has long been dogged by accusations of corruption made by NGO and opposition politicians.

https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/congo-auditor-says-400-million-132432847.html

CAN I HOLD CRYPTOCURRENCY ON TRUST?

On 1 June, DQ in the Isle of Man reported that, for the first time an English Court has considered whether cryptocurrencies could be held on trust.  However, the comments were obiter dicta, meaning that the court’s comments were not part of the binding decision, but were purely an expression of its views. 

https://dq.im/can-i-hold-cryptocurrency-on-trust/

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

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

NOTE THAT THE ABOVE LINK IS NOW CORRECTED AND WORKS!

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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