THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JUNE 18

Still away and struggling even more with the old laptop…so that’s my excuse for any omissions, errors etc.

Panama Covid-19 update – keeping an eye on another, lesser threat – dengue – with 773 cases  so far in 2022 and, of these, 676 had no warning signs; 93 did, and 4 were serious with 1 fatality. Although the worst affected area is the Caribbean coastal area of Bocas, there were many cases elsewhere, including in Panama City.

Today’s Covid statistics – still high – 18,298 active cases; no new fatalities; 2,053 new cases; 10,666 tests and 19.2% positive; 36 in ICU and 208 in other wards.

18 JUNE 2022

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE GDPR?

On 15 June, an article in Politico said that since its entry into force, the landmark regulation has come under mounting criticism from privacy activists and even some of Europe’s own data protection authorities for failing to deliver.  The Irish Data Protection Commission in particular has been the target of blame, with critics lamenting that its enforcement of the legions of Dublin-headquartered tech companies like Meta and Google under its jurisdiction has been slow and limp.  Now, it says, the European Data Protection Supervisor has made questioning whether the EU’s cherished data protection rulebook is up to scratch a cornerstone of his mandate.

https://www.politico.eu/article/wojciech-wiewiorowski-gdpr-brussels-eu-data-protection-regulation-privacy

USING AFGHANISTAN’S FROZEN FUNDS TO PAY 9/11 FAMILIES IN THE US COULD BACKFIRE

An article in World Politics Review on 17 June was concerned with a proposed a plan for the $7 billion of frozen Afghan reserves that have been locked up in US financial institutions since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August.  Half was to be placed in a trust that would benefit the Afghan people, with the rest remaining frozen until a US court rules as to whether it could be used to settle the Taliban’s legal debts with the families of 9/11 victims.  However, complaints included the potential use of the reserves for the 9/11 settlement being seen as particularly unethical given the near-famine conditions in Afghanistan.

https://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/30618/for-the-u-s-afghanistan-funds-are-better-left-alone

IRELAND LOBBIED BY CONSULTANCY FIRMS ON SCOPE OF RUSSIAN SANCTIONS

On 18 June, the Irish Times reported that liquidators and lawyers were lured by lucrative fees for winding up companies linked to Russia but fear falling foul of sanctions in process.  It is said that firms have lobbied the Government for legal clearance from sanction rules so they can wind down Russian-linked companies.

https://www.irishtimes.com/ireland/2022/06/18/consultants-seek-legal-route-through-sanctions-to-liquidate-moscow-linked-entities/

PRESIDENT OF PANAMA VETOES CRYPTO BILL, CITING NEED FOR AML GUARANTEE

On 17 June, Investing.com reported that the President of Panama has decided to slam the brakes on the new crypto Bill, despite its approval by the National Assembly 2 months ago. The rationale for the veto was largely related to the FATF Recommendations, which underline the need for “fiscal transparency” and measures for the “prevention of money laundering”. 

https://www.investing.com/news/cryptocurrency-news/president-of-panama-vetoes-crypto-bill-citing-need-for-antimoney-laundering-guarantee-2838254

INDIA’S BIGGEST CRYPTO PONZI SCAM?

The India Times on 17 June published an article asking this question, saying that more than 60,000 user ID and email addresses have been traced by Pune police in the GainBitcoin case.  The scheme reportedly guaranteed a 10% monthly return in Bitcoin-on-Bitcoin deposits for 18 months via multi-level marketing programmes.

https://www.indiatimes.com/worth/news/what-is-gainbitcoin-scam-572474.html

https://www.statista.com/chart/27631/number-of-drug-seizures-on-the-rise

US DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS TAKEN STEPS TO IMPOSE VISA RESTRICTIONS ON 5 CUBAN OFFICIALS

On 16 June, a news release from the State Department advised that the officials involved are connected to unfair trials and unjust sentencing and imprisonment of peaceful July 2021 protesters.  

https://www.state.gov/state-department-takes-steps-to-impose-visa-restrictions-against-cuban-officials/

UK: NEW SIMPLIFIED RULES FOR CUSTOMS TRANSIT ARRANGEMENTS AND DECLARATIONS OF IMPORTED GOODS UNDER A FREE ZONE 

BIFA in the UK reported that HMRC released further information on 9 June, in the form of a new Tax Information and Impact Note and the Customs (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2022.

https://www.bifa.org/news/articles/2022/june/simplified-customs-transit-arrangements?l=y

YACHTS AND RUSSIA SANCTIONS

In its latest Comprehensively Yachts briefing, HFW, focuses mainly on the implications for the yachting industry of the Russian sanctions, including for insurance, crew etc.  It also looks at Brexit and insurance, and the establishment of a new international shipping registry for the US.

https://www.hfw.com/Comprehensively-Yachts-Industry-Briefing-Jun-22

VIETNAM JAILS HIGH-PROFILE ENVIRONMENTALIST ON TAX EVASION CHARGE

On 18 June, the Daily Mail reported that a high-profile environmentalist and anti-coal campaigner in Vietnam has been jailed for 2 years on tax evasion charges – Nguy Thi Khanh is a globally recognised climate and energy campaigner.  She had been the first Vietnamese winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-10929271/Vietnam-jails-high-profile-environmentalist-tax-evasion.html

YACHT BROKER WITH CLOSE TIES TO JERSEY HAS BEEN ADDED BY US TO THE RUSSIAN SANCTIONS LIST

On 18 June, the Jersey Evening Post carried an article about sanctions imposed on Evgeniy Kochman and 2 Jersey-registered companies he runs – Imperial Yachts and BLD Management.  The businesses were registered in Jersey through the Fiduchi Group, and use a post box at the company’s Kensington Street office for filings with the JFSC.  Mr Kochman owns 5% of each company, with the remainder held by Fiduchi Trustees Ltd – beyond that the ownership is unclear.

https://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2022/06/18/us-targets-jersey-linked-russian-yacht-broker/

LITHUANIA BANS TRANSIT OF SANCTIONED RUSSIAN GOODS TO KALININGRAD

On 18 June, Rferl reported that Lithuania has begun a ban on the rail transit of goods subject to EU sanctions to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, which is sandwiched between Lithuania and Poland, became part of the Soviet Union after World War 2, has a population of about 430,000 people and hosts the headquarters of Russia’s Baltic Sea fleet.

https://www.rferl.org/a/lithuania-bans-transit-sanctioned-russian-goods-kalingrad/31904337.html#0_8_10089_8766_2710_241573833

 

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!

THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – 17 JUNE

Away from again and using an old, slow laptop that had not been used for so long that it took forever to boot up, update etc… Because of these 2 factors, the list below is largely unsifted…

PANAMA COVID-19 UPDATE – some hopefully good news, as test results are down (but still at 14%), as are total active cases etc. On the other hand, total cases to date have exceeded 900,000. Here in the provinces, it seems to me that, from an unscientific study of people on the street, more people are wearing their face masks in the open – but this might have something to do with there being less ex-pats here, perhaps?

1,451 new cases reported today and 2 new fatalities; 19,220 active cases, with 39 in ICU and 209 in other wards.

17 JUNE 2022

WITNESS EVIDENCE: WHEN ARE WITNESS SUMMARIES PERMITTED INSTEAD OF WITNESS STATEMENTS AND WHEN SHOULD MATERIAL BE STRUCK OUT FROM A WITNESS STATEMENT?

On 8 June, Charles Russell Speechlys published an article explaining that, in England & Wales, where a party is unable to obtain a witness statement for use at trial, they must obtain permission from the court to be able to serve a witness summary instead.  It may also order the removal of certain material from a witness statement.

https://www.charlesrussellspeechlys.com/en/news-and-insights/insights/litigation–dispute-resolution/2022/witness-summaries-and-witness-statements/

AN INTRODUCTION TO FREEZING ORDERS

On 15 June, Haynes & Boone LLP published an article explaining that freezing orders (or freezing injunctions) are one of the most powerful forms of interim relief obtainable from the English courts.  A party subject to a freezing order is directed by the court not to deal with or dispose of its assets save in the very limited circumstances provided in the order.

https://www.haynesboone.com/news/alerts/an-introduction-to-freezing-orders

DISCLOSING COMPANY DOCUMENTS – WHEN DOES PRIVILEGE APPLY?

On 15 June, Keystone Law published this article which explains the issues directors should understand when disclosing company documents; as well as the rights of directors, shareholders and third parties when requesting documents.

https://www.keystonelaw.com/keynotes/disclosing-company-documents-when-does-privilege-apply

HIKVISION CAMERAS HELP XINJIANG POLICE ENSNARE UYGHURS

On 14 June, a report from Axios said that cameras made by Chinese surveillance company Hikvision are deeply integrated into an intelligence program aimed at tracking and detaining Uyghurs and other ethnic groups in Xinjiang.  These findings are said to add further weight to allegations the surveillance technology giant is complicit in the Chinese government’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

https://www.axios.com/2022/06/14/report-hikvision-cameras-xinjiang-police-uyghurs

PANAMA: JUDGE ACQUITS KEY FIGURES IN MOSSACK FONSECA/PANAMA PAPERS SCANDAL

On 16 June, Infobaie and others reported that a Panamanian court has provisionally dismissed Ramon Fonseca and Jürgen Mossack, founders of the now-defunct law firm linked to the hack known as the “Panama Papers” involving Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht, and 39 others investigated for alleged money laundering crimes in the case.  It is claimed that the Prosecutor’s Office “did not demonstrate which accounts were created in Panama, created with the purpose of hiding money of illicit origin, nor the amounts of money entered from offshore companies”. 

https://www.infobae.com/america/agencias/2022/06/17/justicia-de-panama-sobresee-a-mossack-y-fonseca-imputados-por-lava-jato/

https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/en-espanol/noticias/story/2022-06-16/panama-absuelven-a-bufete-en-caso-de-blanqueo-de-capitales

https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/judge-acquits-key-figures-panama-papers-scandal-85453967

JULIAN ASSANGE STATEMENT AND EXTRADITION FACTSHEET

On 17 June, the Home Office blog published a statement and factsheet concerning the approval by the Home Secretary of the extradition to the US.

https://homeofficemedia.blog.gov.uk/2022/06/17/julian-assange-statement-and-extradition-factsheet/

UK: BORDER OPERATING MODEL – A GUIDE TO HOW THE BORDER WORKS WITH THE EU

On 16 June, the Department for International Trade published an updated version of this publication, which has been updated to reflect the revised timetable for the introduction of the next (delayed) stage of UK import requirements, as well as including additional detail on policies and processes.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-border-operating-model

UK: DATA PROTECTION LAWS CONSULTATION – GOVERNMENT RESPONSE

On 17 June, the UK Government published its response to the consultation on a process of reforming the UK’s regime for the protection of personal data.  A Data Reform Bill will increase financial penalties for those pestering people with nuisance calls and minimise number of annoying cookie pop-ups people see on the internet.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/data-a-new-direction

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-data-laws-to-boost-british-business-protect-consumers-and-seize-the-benefits-of-brexit

SPAIN ARRESTS 14 LINKED TO ILLEGAL DUMPING OF OVER 200,000 TONNES OF WASTE

On 16 June, OCCRP reported that the 14 people were employed across multiple companies and are suspected of illegally dumping more than 115,000 tonnes of hazardous waste without properly documenting or recycling it beforehand.  Also brought to light was the illegal exportation of plastic waste to Southeast Asia under the guise as raw materials, when it should have been resigned to decay as waste following proper decontamination.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/16449-spain-arrests-14-linked-to-illegal-dumping-of-over-200-000-tonnes-of-waste

STING OPERATION REVEALS ‘NDRANGHETA-COLOMBIAN CARTEL PARTNERSHIP

On 16 June, OCCRP reported on the arrest of 38 suspects and the seizure of 4.3 tonnes of drugs during an international operation that laid bare the lucrative partnership between Italy’s ‘Ndrangheta and Colombia’s Urabeños cartel.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/16451-sting-operation-reveals-ndrangheta-colombian-cartel-partnership

ORGANISED CRIME POURS COLD WATER ON ETHIOPIA’S COFFEE EXPORTS

On 16 June, a report from the Institute for Strategic Studies says that Ethiopian law prohibits the sale of export-quality coffee locally.  Despite this, the country – regarded as the birthplace of coffee – hasn’t been able to control these sales.  The illegal trade has grown into an organised criminal enterprise.  Ethiopia is Africa’s largest coffee exporter and the fifth largest globally. Coffee is the country’s main export commodity.  Exporting coffee from Ethiopia is tightly controlled under the federal government’s jurisdiction.  Sources allege that government employees are complicit in the illegal trade, altering the coffee’s documentation so that exporters can sell locally.

https://issafrica.org/iss-today/organised-crime-pours-cold-water-on-ethiopias-coffee-exports

MINERS AS INTERMEDIARIES: EXTRACTABLE VALUE AND MARKET MANIPULATION IN CRYPTO AND DeFi

On 16 June, this report from the Basel Institute on Governance says that cryptocurrencies and decentralised finance (DeFi) protocols built on them rely on validators or “miners” as intermediaries to verify transactions and update the ledger.  These can choose which transactions they add to the ledger and in which order, they can engage in activities that would be illegal in traditional markets such as front-running and sandwich trades. The resulting profit is termed “miner extractable value” (MEV).  It says that addressing this form of market manipulation may call for new regulatory approaches to this new class of intermediaries.

https://www.bis.org/publ/bisbull58.pdf

CRYPTOCURRENCIES AS AN ENABLER OF ORGANISED CRIME

This report from the Global Initiative on Transnational Organised Crime aims to provide a broad overview of cryptocurrencies and organized crime, as a means to better understand the challenges posed by emerging blockchain technologies and decentralised finance.  It argues that blockchain technologies and their derivatives are a significant technological innovation, but one that has unclear use cases and outcomes.  Potential use cases are currently speculative and surrounded by uncertainty, hype and, in many cases, fraud and Ponzi schemes.

https://globalinitiative.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/GITOC-Crypto-crime-and-control-Cryptocurrencies-as-an-enabler-of-organized-crime.pdf

ALEXEI ISAIKIN, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER OF VOLGA-DNEPR, SANCTIONED BY UK

On 17une, Loadstar reported that Isaikin had been added to UK sanctions lists, and probably because of a deal signed with the mayor of Moscow in April to restore freight routes and import and export trades.

https://theloadstar.com/volga-dnepr-boss-sanctioned-for-moscow-deal-signed-on-putins-instructions/

DIVERSIFYING SUPPLY CHAINS: THE ROLE OF DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE AND OTHER OFFICIAL FINANCE

This brief from CSIS on 10 June explores some of the risks posed to economic development around the world by problems with global supply chains (and proposed solutions) and lays out the role foreign assistance can play in de-risking and diversifying supply chains by building capacity in new partner countries.

https://csis-website-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/publication/220610_Savoy_Diversifying_SupplyChains.pdf?amuNJudMyT6DQd27i.9YafkUvcsSNoIp

NORWAY ADOPTS THE EU’S SIXTH SANCTIONS PACKAGE AGAINST RUSSIA

On 17 June, Wikborg Rein reported thatNorway had adopted additional Russia-related sanctions, by largely implementing sanctions equivalent to the EU’s sixth sanctions package (which was adopted by the EU on 3 June). 

https://www.wr.no/en/news/sanctions-alerts/norway-adopts-the-eus-sixth-sanctions-package-against-russia/

OFAC SANCTIONS NICARAGUAN STATE MINING COMPANY

On 17 June, the US Treasury announced that OFAC had designated the state-owned Nicaraguan mining company Empresa Nicaraguense de Minas (ENIMINAS) as well as one official of the Government of Nicaragua, Ruy Lopez Delgado, the president of the board of directors of ENIMINAS.

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20220617

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy0822

OFAC ADDS FORMER NATIONAL TREASURER OF VENEZUELA TO SANCTIONS LISTS

On 17 June, OFAC added Carlos Erik MALPICA FLORES to its sanctions.  He is a former National Treasurer of Venezuela; a former Vice-President of Finance for Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA); and a former Presidential Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs.

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20220617_33

US TREASURY COMMENDS UNPRECEDENTED CENSURE OF RUSSIA BY FATF

A news release from the US Treasury on 17 June reported that FATF, at its Plenary session, had again condemned the Russian war against Ukraine and, in an unprecedented step, took action to restrict Russia’s FATF membership privileges.

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy0823

https://www.fatf-gafi.org/publications/fatfgeneral/documents/ukraine-june-2022.html

OUTCOMES OF THE FATF PLENARY, 14-17 JUNE

On 17 June, a news release from FATF detailed the outcome of the Plenary held during the week in Berlin.  FATF expressed its deepest sympathies for the people of Ukraine and continues to deplore the huge loss of life caused by the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.  As a result of the invasion, FATF agreed to severely limit the Russian Federation’s role and influence within the FATF.  FATF also –

  • approved a report that will help the real estate sector to better detect and prevent money laundering;
  • finalised a targeted update on implementation of the FATF requirements on virtual assets and virtual asset service providers (VASP);
  • finalised a report that shares good practices and recommendations for combating money laundering and terrorist financing by sharing information while adhering to data protection and privacy;
  • agreed to start new work that includes a project on countering the laundering of proceeds from ransomware attacks;
  • agreed an update to the FATF best practices paper on combating the abuse of NPO;
  • agreed to undertake new projects on the misuse of citizenship and residency by investment schemes, guidance for assessors on how to assess implementation of the UN Convention Against Corruption, and a horizontal review on how the non-financial sector facilitates corruption;
  • considered Mutual Evaluation Reports on Germany and the Netherlands;
  • added Gibraltar to jurisdictions subject to increased monitoring, but removed Malta;
  • made no changes to the list of high-risk jurisdictions

https://www.fatf-gafi.org/publications/fatfgeneral/documents/ukraine-june-2022.html

https://www.fatf-gafi.org/publications/fatfgeneral/documents/outcomes-fatf-plenary-june-2022.html

https://www.fatf-gafi.org/publications/high-risk-and-other-monitored-jurisdictions/documents/increased-monitoring-june-2022.html

FIGHT AGAINST VAT FRAUD: EU COUNCIL AUTHORISES DEEPENING COOPERATION WITH NORWAY

On 17 Jun, a news release from the EU advised that the EU Council had authorised the opening of negotiations with Norway to strengthen the agreement between the EU and Norway on administrative cooperation, combating fraud and recovery of VAT claims.

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2022/06/17/fight-against-vat-fraud-council-authorises-deepening-cooperation-with-norway/

RUSSIAN BILLIONAIRE LAUNCHES LEGAL ACTION AGAINST AUSTRALIA’S FOREIGN MINISTER OVER SANCTIONS

On 17 June, the Guardian reported that Russian billionaire Alexander Abramov has launched legal action against Australia’s minister for foreign affairs, seeking to be removed from its sanctions list.  He lives in Switzerland and made a fortune estimated at more than US$6 billion from the Russian steel industry, and was among business, military and political figures sanctioned by Australia in April.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/jun/18/russian-billionaire-launches-legal-action-against-australias-foreign-minister-over-sanctions

PANAMA STAYS ON FATF HIGH-RISK LIST BUT PROGRESS ON 11 PARTS OF ITS 15-POINT ACTION PLAN

On 17 June, La Estrella de Panama reported on the outcome of the FATF Plenary from a Panamanian perspective.

https://www.laestrella.com.pa/economia/220617/panama-mantiene-lista-gafi-avanza-11-puntos-plan-accion

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!