OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JUNE 16

Panama Covid-19 update – a new report says that hospitalisations for Covid-19 increased over the last 15 days, but there was a decrease in ICU admissions. On the other hand, in May, over 1.3 million people passed through Tocumen International Airport, over 703,000 more than May 2021.

Today saw 1,958 new cases but no new fatalities, with 21,230 actives cases (up 100 over yesterday), with 36 patients in ICU and 220 in other wards. Test result positivity remains just below 20%.

16 JUNE 2022

ISLE OF MAN SANCTIONS UPDATES – RUSSIA, IRAN, ISIL/AL-QAIDA

On 16 June, the Isle of Man issued 3 news releases advising of changes to sanctions lists.  This were the amendment of 1 entry on the Iran sanctions lists, 39 entries amended and 3 corrected on the Russia lists, and 6 entries amended on the ISIL/Al-Qaida sanctions list.

https://www.gov.im/news/2022/jun/16/financial-sanctions-iran-nuclear/

https://www.gov.im/news/2022/jun/16/financial-sanctions-isil-daesh-and-al-qaida/

https://www.gov.im/news/2022/jun/16/financial-sanctions-russia/

2 STOLEN CULTURAL OBJECTS ARE RETURNED BY SPAIN TO ITALY

On 16 June, a post on the Art Law & More blog from Boodle Hatfield reported on a ceremony at the Italian Embassy in Madrid at which a 16th Century gilded wooden reliquary depicting Pope Clement I, and a 16th Century painting in oil by an anonymous Lombard artist titled Luncheon.  One came to the attention of investigators that it may be being sold by an antique dealer in Madrid, and the other came to light when Interpol located it at a Spanish auction house.

https://artlawandmore.com/2022/06/16/celebrations-at-the-italian-embassy-in-madrid-as-two-stolen-objects-are-returned/

US: BitMEX CO-FOUNDER SENTENCED TO PROBATION ON AML CHARGE

On 16 June, the Wall Street Journal reported that Benjamin Delo, a co-founder of cryptocurrency derivatives exchange BitMEX, had been sentenced to 30 months’ probation.  He also paid a $10 million penalty as part of a deal with prosecutors and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/bitmex-co-founder-sentenced-to-probation-on-u-s-compliance-charge-11655339914

AIRCRAFT FROZEN: WHEN WORLDWIDE FREEZING ORDERS BITE

On 14 June, an article from CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP said that an English court has granted a ‘without notice’ application for a worldwide freezing order preventing the owner of an aircraft from dealing with its aircraft, save in the normal course of its charter business, following the owner’s failure to pay a judgment debt and comply with other court orders.  It also said that issues raised are a useful reminder of the steps that a judgment creditor can take to preserve and, importantly, identify assets to enforce against when confronted with a recalcitrant judgment debtor.

https://www.cms-lawnow.com/ealerts/2022/06/aircraft-frozen-when-worldwide-freezing-orders-bite?cc_lang=en

REMOVING RUSSIAN SEA MINES NEAR KEY UKRAINE PORTS COULD TAKE MONTHS

On 15 June, Dryad Global reported that a UN agency said that removing sea mines near Ukraine’s key ports could take months, and hundreds of seafarers are still stranded in the region following Russia’s invasion of the country.  It says that some 450 foreign seafarers remain stranded on over 80 ships in Ukrainian ports, down from about 2,000. 

https://channel16.dryadglobal.com/removing-russian-sea-mines-near-key-ukraine-ports-could-take-months

THE INTERNATIONAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE HAS PUBLISHED A NEW REPORT ON PIRACY AND ARMED ROBBERY AGAINST SHIPS IN SE ASIA

On 16 June, Dryad Global reported that an ICC report revealed that, of 37 incidents recorded worldwide in the first 3 months of 2022, 41% of them occurred in SE Asian waters, which remain one of the most perilous waters – in particular, the Singapore Strait, the Strait of Malacca and the Indonesian waters.  It highlights the problems with the definition of “piracy” in international law and how it could or should be amended.  It says that as long as the number of pirate attacks in SE Asian waters remains high, governments in the region must put a higher priority on the issue and act with greater urgency; and revising piracy law and strengthening implementation practices would be a good start.

https://channel16.dryadglobal.com/stemming-the-tide-of-piracy-in-southeast-asia

US TO ASSESS IF EGYPT-LEBANON GAS DEAL VIOLATES SANCTIONS AFTER TERMS AGREED

On 16 June, Devdiscourse reported that a deal to sell gas from Egypt to Lebanon via Syria was being examined.  Using Egyptian gas is part of a US-backed effort to address Lebanon’s crippling power shortages. 

https://www.devdiscourse.com/article/headlines/2074664-us-to-assess-if-egypt-to-lebanon-gas-deal-violates-sanctions-after-terms-agreed–us-official

NIGERIA REVAMPS AML/CFT FRAMEWORK

On 16 June, The Banker reported that the framework has been transformed in recent weeks, as a raft of new legislation, along with fresh guidance from the country’s central bank, has shaken up the decade-old system of existing rules.  For Nigerian financial institutions, it says, these changes will have profound implications, as the costs and complexity of operating in Africa’s largest economy both increase.  It notes, for example, that the Money Laundering Act introduces prohibitions against the “splitting” of transactions, whereby individuals and corporate entities split payments to keep the value of a transaction below regulatory reporting requirements. 

https://www.thebanker.com/Banking-Regulation-Risk/Nigeria-revamps-AML-CFT-framework?ct=true

UK: CONSULTATION ON POLICE REQUESTS FOR THIRD PARTY MATERIAL

On 16 June, the Home Office advised that a consultation had been launched which explores issues around police requests for personal records such as health, education and social service records (known as third party material) during criminal investigations.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/police-requests-for-third-party-material

REPORT LINKS ALLEGED ENVIRONMENTAL AND LABOUR ABUSES IN THE XINJIANG UYGHUR AUTONOMOUS REGION TO PVC

On 16 June, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that a scholarly report has been released linking alleged environmental and labour abuses in the XUAR to PVC.

https://www.strtrade.com/trade-news-resources/str-trade-report/trade-report/june/pvc-identified-in-report-as-being-made-in-xuar-and-or-using-xuar-labor

US CUSTOMS INTERCEPT COUNTERFEIT CAR SENSORS

A news release from US Customs and Border Protection on 15 June advised that officers in Minneapolis recently stopped 2 shipments that contained 300 counterfeit General Motors (GM) Brand Tire-Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) from Hong Kong.

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/cbp-officers-minneapolis-intercept-counterfeit-car-sensors

AUSTRALIA: WHAT IMPACT WILL THE FEDERAL ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION HAVE ON BUSINESS?

On 15 June, a legal briefing from Herbert Smith Freehills considers the commission promised by the new Labour government to be “powerful, transparent and independent” with extraordinarily wide powers granted to royal commissions.

https://www.herbertsmithfreehills.com/insight/creating-a-federal-anti-corruption-commission-what-does-it-mean-for-australian-business

IRS ASKS SWITZERLAND FOR CLIENT DATA FROM 26 INSTITUTIONS

On 14 June, Swissinfo reported that the IRS wants further information from the Swiss authorities on account data at 26 financial institutions.  The IRS has made numerous requests for information in the past.  The requests for administrative assistance concern bank accounts of US clients who had not previously given their consent to the handing over of their account data by the Swiss institutions.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/us-tax-authority-asks-switzerland-for-client-data-from-26-institutions/47673760

JP MORGAN CHASE HAS WON A HIGH COURT BATTLE AGAINST NIGERIA OVER $1.7 BILLION IN DAMAGES OVER A DISPUTED 2011 OILFIELD DEAL

On 14 June, Yahoo Finance reported that the civil case, which was heard earlier this year, relates to the purchase by Shell and Eni of Nigeria’s OPL 245 offshore oilfield.  Nigeria had alleged JPMorgan was “grossly negligent” in its transfer of funds paid by the energy majors to a company linked to the country’s disgraced former oil minister, as per instructions received from Nigerian government officials.

https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/jp-morgan-wins-1-7-114059478.html

3D-PRINTED GUNS ARE APPEARING ON BRITISH STREETS

On 15 June, Sky News reported that those who create and share the designs for these firearms have thousands of followers on Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.  The Metropolitan Police have told Sky News that they have recovered 4 3D-printed guns since 2018. 

https://news.sky.com/story/3d-printed-guns-how-easy-is-it-to-obtain-an-illegal-firearm-in-the-uk-and-who-is-doing-it-12630777

HOW CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENTS OBSTRUCT COMPLIANCE

A post from the FCPA Blog on 16 June argues that attempts to impede feedback and complaints are always bad for compliance; and yet, confidentiality agreements (in their many different forms) are everywhere.  It says that the SEC has exposed how companies misuse confidentiality agreements.  It also argues that most companies now include “non-disparagement” clauses in employment contracts and separation agreements, and these increase the chances employees will be confused about their rights and the consequences if they complain outside the company.

https://fcpablog.com/2022/06/16/how-confidentiality-agreements-obstruct-compliance/

THE TALIBAN’S DRUG BAN IS OFF TO A SLOW START

On 16 June, an article from World Politics Review reported that, in April, the Taliban announced a blanket ban on drug production and use in Afghanistan. However, the article says that the timing of the announcement suggests that the ban will not go into effect immediately, and even if the Taliban are serious about implementing it, they will face obstacles in doing so.  The trade is estimated by the UN to be worth $2.7 billion a year.  It concludes that, for now, it is too early to tell how serious the Taliban is about implementing the ban, and they themselves probably do not know yet what their next step will be.  But for all the uncertainty, it is already having an indirect impact on the drug trade, for example, with prices rising.

https://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/30614/for-taliban-afghanistan-opium-ban-will-be-hard-to-implement

CANADA: INCREASED ACTION ON IMPORTS PRODUCED BY FORCED LABOUR

On 16 June, KPMG reported that Canadian importers need to closely examine their supply chains so that goods produced by forced or compulsory labour are not inadvertently imported.  Canada has stated that it intends to propose legislation to guarantee Canadian companies exercise due diligence so that they are not using forced labour for any of their products or components.

https://home.kpmg/us/en/home/insights/2022/06/tnf-canada-increased-action-imports-forced-labor.html

RUSSIA USING INTERNATIONAL NORTH SOUTH TRANSPORT CORRIDOR (INSTC) TO INDIA TO OVERCOME SANCTIONS-RELATED CHALLENGES

On 16 June, Loadstar explains that the INSTC is a 7,200 km multimodal, cross-border freight network that links Russia to Central Asia, Iran and India, involving sea, rail and road links.  It was initiated by India, Russia and Iran in 2000, with an agreement signed in 2002, but was never used to its full potential.

https://theloadstar.com/russia-uses-instc-corridor-to-beat-sanctions-and-drive-trade-with-iran-and-india/

5 AREAS OF PRODUCTION SIGNIFICANTLY AFFECTED BY SUPPLY CHAIN DISRUPTION

On 16 June, an article in Global Trade Magazine identified 5 production areas that significantly impact supply chain disruption – raw material availability; material costs; freight rates; labour shortages; and disrupted production and demand forecasts.

https://www.globaltrademag.com/5-areas-of-production-significantly-affected-by-supply-chain-disruption/

HONG KONG: FIRM FINED $3.8 MILLION FOR BREACHES OF AML REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS

On 16 June, a release from Mondo Visione advised that the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has reprimanded and fined China Everbright Securities (HK) Limited (CESL) $3.8 million for failures in complying with AML/CFT regulatory requirements.  CESL failed to implement adequate and effective systems and controls to guard against and mitigate the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing associated with third party deposits between January 2015 and February 2017. 

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/hong-kong-securities-and-futures-commission-reprimands-and-fines-china-everbrigh-1/

NORTH KOREA: LEGISLATIVE BASIS FOR US ECONOMIC SANCTIONS

A briefing paper from the US Congressional Research Service on 16 June says that US economic sanctions imposed on North Korea were a response to its activities related to weapons proliferation, especially its tests since 2006 of nuclear weapons and missile technology; regional disruptions; international terrorism; narcotics trafficking; undemocratic governance; and illicit activities in international markets, including money laundering, counterfeiting of goods and currency, and bulk cash smuggling.

https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/R/R41438

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CORPORATE DIGITAL IDENTITY: NO SILVER BULLET, BUT A SILVER LINING

A paper from the Basel Institute on Governance on 16 June says that corporate digital identity (ID) has the potential to dramatically simplify the identification and verification of companies and to reduce the risks and costs of doing business. It also says that, provided there is political will, technological innovation and policy can help in several areas to facilitate corporate digital ID and thus enhance overall efficiency, market integrity, financial stability and inclusion.  Legal Entity Identifier (LEI), decentralised identifiers (DID) and reforms built on public individual digital ID systems show particular promise, particularly for SME, thereby supporting broader sustainable development, employment and innovation.  The paper examines these innovations in corporate digital ID and explore pathways for the future.

https://www.bis.org/publ/bppdf/bispap126.pdf

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US SANCTIONS TARGET AN INTERNATIONAL SANCTIONS EVASION NETWORK SUPPORTING IRANIAN PETROCHEMICAL SALES

On 16 June, OFAC imposed sanctions on a network of Iranian petrochemical producers, as well as front companies in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the UAE that support Triliance Petrochemical Co. Ltd and Iran’s Petrochemical Commercial Company (PCC), entities instrumental in brokering the sale of Iranian petrochemicals abroad.  This network helps effectuate international transactions and evade sanctions, supporting the sale of Iranian petrochemical products to customers in the PRC and the rest of East Asia.

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20220616

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy0819

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HOW VINYL FLOORING MADE WITH UYGHUR FORCED LABOUR ENDS UP IN US “BIG BOX” STORES

An article from The Intercept on 14 June considered the example of Home Depot’s Lifeproof line: vinyl planks made to look like wood that lock together without glue.  The article says that the story of vinyl flooring begins 6,600 miles away in the Xinjiang region of north-western China, where it is intertwined with the persecution of the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs.  Home Depot itself says that it prohibits the use of forced or prison labour in its supply chain.  However, a newly-issued report asks all companies that source from China — including Home Depot — to scrutinise their supply chains.  It is said that the report has major implications for the retailers and marketers of flooring, and there are a lot of people walking around their homes right now on floors that are virtually certain to be made in part with forced labour.  In the report, researchers focus in part on a flooring factory in Vietnam called Jufeng New Materials that supplies Lifeproof tiles to Home Depot, via a Georgia-based company called Home Legend.

https://theintercept.com/2022/06/14/china-uyghur-forced-labor-pvc-home-depot

The report, “Built on Repression”, is available at –

https://www.shu.ac.uk/helena-kennedy-centre-international-justice/research-and-projects/all-projects/built-on-repression

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EUROPEAN DRUG REPORT 2022: TRENDS AND DEVELOPMENTS

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) has released its 1922 report.  The Trends and Developments report presents the EMCDDA’s latest analysis of the drug situation in Europe. Focusing on illicit drug use, related harms and drug supply, the report contains a comprehensive set of national data across these themes and key harm-reduction interventions.

https://www.emcdda.europa.eu/system/files/publications/14644/EDR_2022_18-ONLINE.pdf

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UK AMENDS 4 ENTRIES ON CHEMICAL WEAPONS SANCTIONS LIST

On 16 June, a Notice from HM Treasury advised that 4 existing entries on the list of those persons and entities subject to sanctions for being involved in the proliferation and use of chemical weapons.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1083370/Notice_Chemical_Weapons_160622.pdf

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UK SANCTIONS AMENDMENTS – MYANMAR, SYRIA, LIBYA, IRAN

On 16 June, HM Treasury published several Notices advising changes to UK sanctions lists –

  • Adding 6 entities to the Myanmar sanctions lists;
  • Amending the entries for 3 entities and 1 individual on the Syrian sanctions lists;
  • Amending the entry for 1 individual on the Libya sanctions list;
  • Amending 12 entries for individuals on the Iran (human rights) sanctions lists; and
  • Amending 3 entries for individuals on the counter-terrorism sanctions list.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1083377/Notice_Myanmar_160622.pdf

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1083388/Notice_Syria_160622.pdf

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1083388/Notice_Syria_160622.pdf

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1055453/Notice_Iran__Human_Rights__160222.pdf

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1083374/Notice_Counter_Terrorism__International__160622.pdf

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MALTA TAKEN OFF THE FATF GREY LIST

On 16 June, Malta Today and the Times of Malta reported that Malta had been removed from the FATF grey list following a vote at the FATF Plenary.  A formal announcement is expected on 17 June.

https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/117326/malta_taken_off_the_greylist_by_fatf#.YqsZ3qLMKUk

https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/malta-removed-from-fatf-grey-list.962000

Meanwhile –

EMPLOYERS’ ASSOCIATION CALLS ON GOVERNMENT AND OPPOSITION TO SAFEGUARD MALTA’S REPUTATION

On 16 June, Newsbook in Malta reported that the Malta Employers’ Association has called on the government and the Opposition to commit towards the promotion and safeguarding of Malta’s reputation across all levels.  This came in reaction to the news that Malta has been removed from the FATF’s grey list. 

https://newsbook.com.mt/en/employers-association-calls-on-government-opposition-to-safeguard-maltas-reputation/

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UK ADDS 12 NEW NAMES TO RUSSIA SANCTIONS AND CORRECT ANOTHER        

On 16 June, a Notice from HM Treasury advised that 12 new entries have been added to the consolidated list and are now subject to an asset freeze.  In addition, the existing entry for Yuriy Volodymyrovych IVAKIN has been corrected.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1083380/Notice_Russia_160622.pdf

The sanctioned names include Russian Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova – for the forced transfer and adoption of Ukrainian children – and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, his prominent support of Russian military aggression in Ukraine.  Also included were 4 senior military officials from a unit “known to have killed, raped, and tortured civilians” in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/uk-sets-russia-sanctions-barbaric-103516824.html

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-sanctions-russian-linked-to-forced-transfers-and-adoptions

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