Panama Covid-19 update – numbers continue high, or even increased, with 2,973 new cases and 3 new fatalities. Active cases are up to 28,406, with 36 in ICU and 294 in other wards. Testing continues to produce a high positive result, at 20.5% – although for us a new test has now cleared out daughter, although my wife continues in quarantine (and my birthday weekend jaunt is loost…)
9 JUNE 2022
INDONESIAN NAVAL OFFICERS REPORTEDLY ASKED FOR $375,000 TO RELEASE A FUEL TANKER
On 8 June, Reuters reported claims that Indonesian naval officers have asked for $375,000 to release a fuel tanker they detained the week before for anchoring illegally in Indonesian waters off Singapore. It notes that Reuters reported a dozen similar detentions last year, and in those cases, the shipowners made unofficial payments of about $300,000 each.
FIRST SFO TRIAL OF 2022 RESULTS IN DOUBLE CONVICTION
On 8 June, Security Matters reported that the SFO in the UK had secured the convictions of the 2 company directors behind fraudulent green investment schemes in Brazil, which took in approximately £37 million of investments. Meanwhile, the SFO also confirmed the imprisonment of a convicted fraudster who conned investors out of £72.5 million with false claims of supplying services to the London Olympic Village.
PODCAST – DISHONEST PROFESSIONALS: RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
On 1 June, 4 New Square chambers released a podcast which aims to bring listeners up to date on some of the core features of allegations of dishonesty in the professional liability context. It considers what dishonesty is, and how the boundaries of ‘blind-eye knowledge’ have been tested; the practicalities of proving dishonesty and ways that allegations of fraud have been summarily determined in recent cases; the causes of action which are unlocked by pleading dishonesty, and in particular the developments in the law of bribery and secret commissions and misrepresentation; and finally, the pros and cons of alleging fraud.
PORTUGAL – THE GENERAL REGIME FOR THE PREVENTION OF CORRUPTION ENTERS INTO FORCE
On 8 June, Garrigues provided a 6-step checklist on compliance with the new law. Companies have 1 year to finalise the full adaptation of their compliance programs or endow their organisation with all the necessary means to implement, review and control an effective system for preventing cases of corruption or face the regulatory penalty regime.
US: AUDIT AND ADVISORY FIRM PAYS $1.9 PENALTY FOR IMPROPER CONDUCT RELATED TO WORK FOR COLLAPSED CRYPTO COMPANY LONGFIN
On 8 June, the Wall Street Journal reported that CohnReznick LLP has agreed to pay $1.9 million to resolve SEC charges accusing the audit and advisory firm of improper professional conduct in connection with its audit of Longfin Corp., a cryptocurrency company accused of fraud.
QUAD NATIONS PLAN TRACKING FOR CHINA ILLEGAL FISHING IN INDO-PACIFIC
On 3 June, Dryad Global reported that India, US, Japan and Australia announce plans to launch a satellite-based maritime security system at the Quad summit in Tokyo to check China’s illegal fishing in the Indo-Pacific region.
GERMANY: SANCTIONS ENFORCEMENT ACT I – SEEN AS THE FIRST PACKAGE OF LEGISLATIVE REFORMS TO THE COUNTRY’S ENFORCEMENT OF EU SANCTIONS
On 9 June, European Sanctions blog reported on the adoption of this new legislation, intended to enact short-term regulatory changes. A further Act is expected to establish a national register for frozen assets and assets of unclear origin.
PROPOSED NEW US EXPORT CONTROLS ON MARINE TOXINS
On 8 June, Squire Patton Boggs reported that, on 23 May, the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published in the Federal Register a proposed rule and request for comments. The proposed rule also would identify the synthesis and collection of these toxins for evaluation as “emerging and foundational technologies”.
LITHUANIA TO CONTINUE PUSHING FOR SANCTIONS AGAINST PATRIARCH KIRILL
On 9 June, LRT reported that the Lithuania Foreign Minister has said that the country will seek to have Russian Orthodox Church leader Patriarch Kirill blacklisted in the 7th package of EU sanctions on Russia. He was excluded from the 6th package of sanctions at Hungary’s request.
GENETICALLY-MODIFIED PINK PINEAPPLE IS ILLEGAL IN THAILAND, SMUGGLERS FACE JAIL
On 9 June, Thiager reported that a type of genetically-modified pink pineapple is being illegally sold in Thailand, according to a warning issued by the Ministry of Agriculture. ‘Pinkglow’ pineapples are allegedly less sour than regular pineapples. Thailand has a strict GMO-free policy in place, and smuggling Pinkglows into the kingdom is a criminal offence.
IRAN “SMUGGLING MISSILE PARTS VIA PASSENGER FLIGHTS”
An article in the Jerusalem Post on 9 June reported that Iran has resorted to smuggling precision missile components into Syria via hand luggage on European passenger flights, following an alleged Israeli Air Force strike in May that damaged runways at Damascus International Airport.
UK: FOURTH DOCK WORKER CHARGED WITH DRUG IMPORTATION
A news release from the NCA on 9 June advised that a 44-year-old man has become the fourth Portsmouth dock worker to be charged with drug importation offences as part of a NCA investigation.
UK: POST-LEGISLATIVE ASSESSMENT OF THE FRAUD ACT 2006
On 8 June, the MoJ published a memorandum which provides an updated post legislative assessment of the Fraud Act 2006 for submission to the House of Lords Select Committee on the Fraud Act 2006 and Digital Fraud. This was in response to its queries to consider again how effective the Fraud Act 2006 is in tackling fraud and in particular, fraud committed digitally.
NIGERIA: MILITARY DESTROYS 40 ILLEGAL OIL REFINERIES
On 9 June, OCCRP reported that the Nigerian Army had destroyed 40 illegal refineries and arrested 21 people in a continued clampdown against oil theft in the oil-rich Niger Delta Region. Oil theft, conducted through tapping and siphoning off official pipelines, is rampant in the region. The massive pollution caused by oil drilling has disrupted farming and fishing, 2 main sources of income in the region.
SUSPECT ARRESTED IN SLOVAKIA FOR SPREADING HATE SPEECH AND 3D PRINTED WEAPONS MANUALS
A news release from Europol on 8 June advised that an investigation has led to the arrest of a dangerous right-wing extremist. The individual, known in the international far-right cyberspace, is suspected of spreading extremist hate speech and terrorist activities. Linked to groups and individuals spreading neo-Nazi, far-right and white supremacist extremist propaganda, he is part of the so-called Siege extremist movement. The suspect allegedly published instructions and diagrams for manufacturing improvised cold weapons, home-produced automatic firearms, explosives and mines, and instructions for sabotage attacks.
RECORD HAUL OF ‘SYNTHETIC QAT (KHAT)’ NARCOTICS SEIZED AT SPANISH PORT
On 8 June, The National reported that Spanish police made Europe’s biggest seizure of substances derived from the khat plant, confiscating more than 3.2 tonnes of synthetic cathinones at Barcelona port.
FRAGILE BORDERS: THE ROLE OF CUSTOMS IN SITUATIONS OF CONFLICT AND FRAGILITY
On 7 June, a report from WCO is based on the outcomes of the research programme initiated in 2016 and initially focused on African countries, particularly the Sahel and East Africa, as well as countries in the North Africa and Middle East. It analyses the specificities of and state responses in border areas in situations of fragility and conflict. It also shares insights on how Customs can manifest their role in fragile borderlands and post-conflict situations.
GREECE PREVARICATES OVER IRAN CRUDE SEIZURE AS DIPLOMATIC STORM ERUPTS
On 8 June, Lloyds List reported that shipment of a confiscated Iranian oil cargo to the US has met days of delay as the Greek Government mulls its next move in efforts to free 2 Greek tankers recently snatched by Iran in retaliation. It has temporarily blocked 2 shipments of Iranian crude seized by the US amid diplomatic negotiations over the return of 2 Greek tankers seized by Iran last month.
CONNECTIONS TO PARAGUAY PROSECUTOR’S MURDER STRETCH FROM COLOMBIA TO BRAZIL
On 8 June, Insight Crime reported that new details have emerged about the assassination of Paraguayan prosecutor Marcelo Pecci, including that the hit was methodically planned in the Colombian city of Medellín, that its intellectual authors in Paraguay paid more than $500,000 and that Brazil’s most powerful gang was involved.
SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS BEING MADE IN EVIDENCE COLLECTION OF ISIL/DA’ESH’S CRIMES IN IRAQ
A news release from the UN on 8 June advised that significant investigative progress in the collection of evidence has been made into the financing, use of chemical weapons and crimes committed by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), aka Da’esh, the head of the UN team investigating that group’s crimes told the Security Council, as speakers welcomed the Team’s use of technology to facilitate prosecution and stressed the need to address the group’s continuing proliferation across other regions.
POLICE PROBE INTO CHINESE MONEY LAUNDERING SYNDICATE HEADQUARTERED IN AUSTRALIA
On 8 June, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that police have uncovered a suspected Chinese money laundering syndicate headquartered in Victoria and NSW that is moving hundreds of millions of dollars annually to China and across the globe, raising serious questions about whether it is turning a blind eye to organised crime.
FRAUD WITH SALE OF USED CARS IN CZECH REPUBLIC HALTED WITH EUROJUST SUPPORT
On 8 June, a news release from Eurojust advised that authorities in the Czech Republic and Romania have halted a fraud scheme allegedly involving the sale of used cars, depriving close to 200 victims of approximately €1.6 million. During an action day, 17 places were searched and 4 suspects were arrested in both countries.
US AUTHORITIES TO START COLLECTING MARIJUANA BUSINESS DATA TO HELP COMBAT MONEY LAUNDERING
On 8 June, the Marijuana Moment website reported that the US Treasury is proposing to start collecting data on marijuana businesses from banks, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has posted a notice in the Federal Register saying it plans to track marijuana businesses as part of an annual Risk Summary Form (RSF) that needs to be filed by financial institutions. The notice says the data allows the agency to “better identify those institutions, and areas within institutions, that may pose heightened risk and allocate examination resources accordingly”.
NEW YORK: THE ISSUANCE OF US DOLLAR-BACKED STABLECOINS
On 8 June, the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) Superintendent has issued new DFS Regulatory Guidance, setting foundational criteria for dollar-backed stablecoins issued by DFS-regulated entities. This is said to be the first US financial regulator to issue stablecoin expectations to virtual currency industry.
US PROPOSES $4.3 BILLION FOR URANIUM TO WEAN USERS OFF RUSSIA SUPPLY
On 7 June, Bloomberg reported that the Biden administration has a $4.3 billion plan to buy enriched uranium directly from domestic producers to wean the US off Russian imports of the nuclear-reactor fuel. Energy officials made the case that any interruption in the supply of enriched Russian uranium could cause operational disruptions at commercial nuclear reactors, the person said. The proposal requires approval from Congress.
SWISS FEDERAL COUNCIL CONFIRMS THAT SWITZERLAND WILL NOT EXPORT WAR MATERIEL TO UKRAINE
A news release from the Federal Council on 3 June advised that it had reached a decision on the matter of allowing Swiss war materiel to be transferred by third countries to Ukraine, and on the export of war materiel supplies in the form of individual parts and assembly packages to European defence companies. Under the War Materiel Act Switzerland cannot approve requests to transfer Swiss-produced war materiel to Ukraine. However, it also says that deliveries of war materiel supplies in the form of individual parts or assembly packages can still be made to European defence companies, even if these parts or packages will be used to produce war materiel abroad that could later be transferred to Ukraine.
THE FIRST NFT INFRINGEMENT CASE IN CHINA
On 9 June, a post from Field Fisher reported on a recent court decision in the first NFT infringement case in China, which it is said is likely to have implications for Chinese and foreign businesses looking to safeguard their rights in the emerging NFT space in China. In the case, the NFT platform was found liable for its failure to fulfil its duty of care to verify the copyright owner of the work when approving the NFT. It ordered the platform to immediately delete the NFT work and compensate the Plaintiff for losses.
GAME OVER FOR LOOT BOXES?
On 9 June, a post from Field Fisher posed this question in the light of a recent report published by the Norwegian Consumer Council which criticises the use of loot boxes in video games. It reviews the current position in the EU under consumer protection laws and gambling laws. The post advises that studios and publishers releasing games with loot boxes should keep a watching brief, and whether an EU-wide approach is adopted remains to be seen.
LITHUANIA TO BAN ANONYMOUS CRYPTO WALLETS
On 9 June, Crypto Briefing reported that the Finance Ministry is looking to ban non-custodial crypto wallets, with a new regulation which also imposes strict regulations on crypto service providers operating within the nation.
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