Panama Covid-19 update – positivity in tests fell to “only” 14% today – but there were still 1,584 new cases reported and 4 new fatalities. There are also 15,828 active cases, with 38 in ICU and 197 in other wards; but only 15 in the hospital-hotel quarantine.
25 JUNE 2022
SMALL ARMS AND LIGHT WEAPONS PROLIFERATION AND VIOLENCE: ESTIMATING ITS SCALE AND FORMS
On 22 June, Relief Web published a briefing paper which summarises the available data which is considered reliable from credible sources. Most of this data comprises estimates which suffer from gaps in collection by governments. Reliability is somewhat improved after a few years of cross-checking by UN bodies. It outlines the proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALW) and describes the scale of SALW violence by providing a detailed analysis of significant statistics. It concludes with some recommendations to governments that would improve the collection and reporting of relevant data that will help curb the proliferation and violent use of SALW by different actors. The Small Arms Survey estimates that 1 billion firearms are in global circulation as of 2017: 857 million (85%) are in civilian hands (includes gangs, non-state armed groups and private security companies); 133 million (13%) are in military arsenals; and 23 million (2%) are owned by law enforcement agencies. A total of 38 countries exported at least $10 million worth of small arms and light weapons, including their parts, accessories, and ammunition.
US BUREAU OF INDUSTRY AND SECURITY (BIS): A NEW APPROACH TO IDENTIFYING CERTAIN “CRITICAL TECHNOLOGIES”
An article from Morrison and Foerster LLP on 24 June said that in May the BIS announced a shift that discards the “emerging” and “foundational” technologies distinction altogether and introduces a new categorisation of “Section 1758 technologies”. It says that BIS will abandon its attempts to determine which technologies subject to new export controls under the Export Control Reform Act (ECRA) are “emerging” or “foundational” and instead identify all such technologies together as “Section 1758 technologies”. The article argues that the change could lead to an increase in designations of such technologies and, in turn, more transactions could trigger mandatory filings with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).
RUSSIA SANCTIONS: NEW GUIDANCE ON THE UK AVIATION AND SPACE GOODS INSURANCE BAN
An article from Steptoe & Johnson on 24 June included mention of revised guidance in relation to the prohibition on providing insurance and reinsurance services in relation to certain specified aviation and space goods and technology. The changes clarify that the prohibition would not apply when the insurance in question is for the benefit of the non-Russian owner of the goods/technology, rather than the user or operator of such goods/technology; or the items remain in Russia as the result of the termination of a lease and against the lessor’s will, or are being flown out of Russia in the process of being returned to their owner.
PAKISTAN: CUSTOMS SEIZES A LARGE QUANTITY OF SMUGGLED BLANKETS
On 25 June, the Pakistan Observer reported that the Pakistan Customs Enforcement Collectorate’s Anti-Smuggling Organisation in Karachi had seized a huge quantity of smuggled blankets in a raid conducted in the Orangi Town area. It seized 217 bundles of smuggled blankets. It did not indicate the origin of the blankets.
PAKISTAN JAILS 2008 MUMBAI ATTACK HANDLER SAJID MIR AHEAD OF FATF ON-SITE VISIT
On 25 June, various media in India reported that Sajid Majeed Mir, 44, one of India’s most wanted terrorists and the main man behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks by Lashkar-e-Taiba, a militant Islamist organisation operating against India. Despite having previously been declared dead by Pakistan, he has now been jailed for over 15 years in a terror-financing case by an anti-terrorism court in the country, which is struggling to exit the grey list of the FATF. Mir is also on the FBI’s list of most-wanted terrorists, and the US has placed a bounty of $5 million on him for his role in the Mumbai terror attacks that left 166 people dead, including 6 Americans.
THE REAL ESTATE SECTOR IS OF TOP CONCERN TO THE COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO MONEY LAUNDERING IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
On 24 June, the Richmond News in Canada published an article about the findings of the Cullen Commission, saying that nearly half of the recommendations are directly or indirectly related to real estate regulations in BC despite inconclusive findings. Of the 101 recommendations made in the final report, 40 are directly related to real estate, and several others are ancillary, such as proposals to strengthen AML policies within financial institutions and the asset forfeiture legal regime, as well as greater controls on notaries and lawyers, who process transactions.
GREECE FILES $214 MILLION LAWSUIT AGAINST NOVARTIS OVER BRIBERY
On 24 June, OCCRP reported that, after years of investigations, obstructions and politicking, Greece has taken legal action against Swiss-based pharmaceutical giant Novartis over allegations it bribed doctors to inflate drug prices. The scandal first erupted in 2016 and involved former prime ministers and ministers suspected of accepting tens of millions of euros from the Swiss pharmaceutical giant in order to secure high prices for its products.
REDISTRIBUTING FROZEN ASSETS – A LEGISLATIVE PERSPECTIVE
In the 23 June edition of Trust & Verify, the newsletter from VERTIC starts be restating the basic position – asset-freezing measures are part of economic or financial sanctions regimes, and frozen assets remain the property of the sanctioned person or entity. To transfer the ownership of property would constitute expropriation and would normally be unlawful under international law, unless there has been a legal determination that they are the proceeds of criminal activities. It says that, no matter the route, the legal path to the redistribution of assets in a sanctions framework is not a straightforward one. Under international law, the assets of convicted war criminals can be used to compensate victims – although this measure has never been applied to Russia.
ELIMINATING THE USE OF HIGHLY ENRICHED URANIUM (HEU) FOR CIVIL PURPOSES: LOSING MOMENTUM?
Another article in the 23 June edition of Trust & Verify, the newsletter from VERTIC, says that, since at least 2006, there has been a concerted effort to eliminate the use of highly enriched uranium (HEU) for civil purposes and to promote non-HEU alternatives. ‘Civilian’ HEU can be defined as HEU that has been fabricated into fuels for power and research reactors or for marine propulsion. In other words, for non-weapon purposes. It notes that, as of late 2015, there were over 150 nuclear-powered submarines and ships that continue to use HEU as fuel; about 100 research reactors fuelled with HEU (although others put the figure at 72 research reactors); and, several countries still use HEU neutron ‘targets’ for medical radioisotope production. More recently, 22 countries were said to have at least 1 kg of HEU in their civilian stocks.
NEW TYPE OF SHIP COULD BE NEEDED TO CARRY ELECTRIC VEHICLES
On 24 June, Lloyds List reported that Lithium-ion batteries can enter into an uncontrollable self-heating state in event of a fire, warns protection and indemnity insurance specialist. He says that older ships were designed to carry internal combustion engine vehicles, whether that is a pure car carrier, a car and truck carrier or a ro-ro. Design has not quite caught up with the changeover to electric vehicles.
OUTSOURCING MANUFACTURING OF SENSITIVE ITEMS TO FOREIGN FIRMS PRESENTS US EXPORT CONTROL CHALLENGES
On 22 June, an article from Williams Mullen says that while outsourcing the design and manufacturing of products, components and software to foreign contractors has become a significant part of manufacturing in the US, if the items involved are subject to export restrictions, outsourcing the design and/or manufacturing of these items to foreign firms can raise significant export control requirements – and potential legal liability – for the US companies involved. It notes that this includes 3D printing of parts, quoting an official who stated that outsourcing 3-D printing of space and defence prototypes to China harms US national security.
PODCAST: GLOBAL FISH TRANSSHIPMENT NETWORKS
On 23 June, the Center for International maritime Security released a podcast in which Dr Gohar Petrossian, an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and the Director of the International Crime and Justice Master’s Program at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, discusses global fish transshipment networks, how to identify central actors, and recommendations for enforcement organisations.
HOW BEEF GIANT JBS’S LINKS TO AMAZON DEFORESTATION AND HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES ARE AIDED BY UK, US AND EU FINANCIERS, IMPORTERS AND SUPERMARKETS
On 23 June, Global Witness published an article saying that 70% of the felled Amazon is now populated by cattle, with Brazilian meat company JBS – reportedly the world’s largest – the top buyer. An audit of its supply chain by Brazilian prosecutors in one Amazon state had caught it buying over one-third of its cattle from ranches responsible for illegal deforestation.
HOW EUROPEAN RUBBER IMPORTS AND FINANCING HAVE DRIVEN THE DESTRUCTION OF CLIMATE-CRITICAL FORESTS IN WEST AND CENTRAL AFRICA
On 16 June, Global Witness reported that rubber plantations across west and central Africa linked to almost 520 km2 of deforestation since 2000. The EU imports over 30% of all rubber shipped by Africa’s top producers, yet rubber is excluded from the bloc’s recently proposed anti-deforestation legislation; although rubber, not palm oil, appears to be the biggest export-driven threat to west and central Africa’s climate-critical tropical forests. Almost all plantations linked to deforestation are currently owned by just 3 multinational companies, which together have made deals worth billions of euros with European banks such as Rabobank, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank and Barclays.
TUNISIA: IMPRISONED EX-PRIME MINISTER JEBALI HOSPITALISED FOLLOWING HUNGER STRIKE
On 25 June, Middle East Eye reported that Jebali, arrested for alleged money laundering. Jebali is a former senior official in the Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party that is a key rival of President Kais Saied.
WHISTLEBLOWING MOVING UP UK GOVERNMENT AGENDA DESPITE FCA SHORTCOMINGS
On 21 June, an article in FT Adviser says that the FCA response to whistleblowing has been criticised, such as when warnings given about London Capital and Finance and Blackmore Bond ahead of their collapses were not heeded. Last year, the FCA took steps to encourage whistleblowers to call out financial institutions for various acts of wrongdoing via the launch of its “In confidence, with confidence” campaign. The article considers the level of success that the FCA has achieved so far in encouraging and protecting whistleblowers, the stumbling blocks that appear to be inhibiting substantive progress, and how whistleblowers may best navigate the risks of the current landscape.
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