Panama Covid-19 update – with a week to go before the (partial) relaxation of the face mask mandate, the mandatory use of masks will will only apply in medical facilities, public transport and for those who handle food (the latter is a new point, to me at least). The Health Minister has also said that all people who have problems with the immune system or suffer from a chronic disease, are recommended to wear a mask, as are people 55 years and older.
4 JULY 2022
SUPPLY CHAIN CHALLENGES MAY LIMIT WIND POWER EXPANSION
On 26 May, a paper from Oxford Analytica explained how pricing pressures are limiting supply chain expansion and causing manufacturing to shift from Europe to Asia. With raw material vulnerabilities already evident, OECD countries will struggle to maintain full supply chain security for a key energy transition technology.
LEGAL PROFESSIONAL PRIVILEGE (LPP) IN AUSTRALIAN TAX
On 1 July, an article from DLA Piper explained that the Australian Tax Office (ATO) had released an updated version of its voluntary “protocol” for taxpayers who wish to claim legal professional privilege (LPP) when they are asked for certain documents. The article says that ATO and professions have been working for at least 4 years to try to reduce disputes about whether LPP applies to documents sought by the ATO, especially those sought by statutory notices using coercive powers; but says that, while helpful, it is unlikely to prevent major disputes.
VERTIPORTS: THE STORY SO FAR
On 30 June, Reed Smith LLP published an update on vertiports, to be used by eVTOL unmanned delivery machines, saying that there has been a real sense of momentum building in this sector over the last few months. It points out that April saw the opening of Urban-Air Port Ltd’s pop-up ‘Air-One’ in a car park in Coventry, marking the world’s first fully functioning hub’ for eVTOL aircraft and delivery/cargo drones and demonstrating the possibilities of this new category of infrastructure.
A REGULATORY REVIEW OF NFT
On 30 June, K&L Gates LLP published Part 2 of its review, which takes a deeper look at local regulatory control (or lack thereof) of the sector. Part 1 explained what a non-fungible token (NFT) means and the opportunities they present. Part 3 will consider the copyright issues with NFT.
UK: CONSOLIDATED CORPORATE UPDATE JANUARY-JUNE 2022
On 30 June, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP published this Update which summarises the major developments in UK corporate law and regulation which have occurred over the last 6 months and which will be of relevance to UK listed companies.
GERMANY’S NEW FEDERAL GAMING REGULATOR COMMENCES WORK
On 1 July, iGB reported that this new regulator had started work and that die Glücksspielbehörde (GGL) replaces Saxony-Anhalt State Administration Office as the body charged with taking action against unlicensed cross-state operations and activities across Germany.
ECOWAS LIFTS MALI ECONOMIC SANCTIONS
On 3 July, All Africa reported that leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have lifted economic and financial sanctions imposed on Mali, after its military rulers agreed a return to civilian rule by March 2024 and published a new electoral law. However, the heads of state decided to maintain sanctions on individuals, and the suspension of Mali from ECOWAS, until the return to constitutional rule.
UKRAINE SAYS RUSSIAN SHIP CARRYING STOLEN UKRAINIAN GRAIN DETAINED BY TURKEY
On 4 July, EurActiv reported claims by Ukraine that Turkish customs authorities have detained a Russian cargo ship, the Russian-flagged Zhibek Zholy,carrying grain which Ukraine says is stolen.
AFRICA: ILLEGAL FISHING THRIVES DUE TO LACK OF KNOWLEDGE AND PATROL CAPACITY
On 4 July, Defence Web reported that weak governance, lack of transparency, and limited administrative and legal frameworks to address IUU fishing compound maritime challenges, experts say. A lack of patrol vessels and surveillance systems makes it hard for authorities to monitor regional waters, particularly the Gulf of Guinea’s combined coastline of more than 6,000 km.
INSIDE LAVISH LIFESTYLE OF WANTED FRAUDSTER WHO FLED TO DUBAI OWING HMRC £2.2 MILLION
On 4 July, Birmingham Live claimed an exclusive for an article about the lavish lifestyle of wanted fraudster Ardip Singh Hayre who fled to the UAE after a warning to pay back £2.2 million – or be thrown back in jail.
UK: DIGITAL IDENTITY CERTIFICATION FOR RIGHT TO WORK, RIGHT TO RENT AND CRIMINAL RECORD CHECKS
On 1 July, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport published updated guidance on how digital identity providers can become certified to complete digital identity checks for the ‘Right to Work’, ‘Right to Rent’ and DBS schemes.
UK: CRITICAL MINERALS INTELLIGENCE CENTRE
On 4 July, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy advised that the UK’s first-ever centre to collect and analyse information on the supply of critical minerals has officially launched. It will provide up to date data and analysis on supply of critical minerals – such as cobalt, lithium and graphite, which are essential to manufacturing products such as electric vehicle batteries, wind turbines and fighter jets. It will be run by the British Geological Survey.
LARGE QUANTITY OF AMMUNITION SEIZED AT HAITI WHARF
On 3 July, the Daily Herald reported the seizure of 114,000 5.56mm for assault rifles type, 2,000 9mm and 4,000 7.62mm bullets. During this same operation, 2.9mm-calibre pistols, a 38-calibre revolver, 30 magazines and 20 AK-47 rifle cases were also seized. According to initial information, this ammunition, weapons and accessories were imported from the US and transported to Port-de-Paix aboard a cargo ship from Florida.
CANADIAN-CHINESE BUSINESSMAN XIAO JIANHUA WHO DISAPPEARED FROM HONG KONG HOTEL IN 2017 STANDS TRIAL IN CHINA
On 4 July, the Guardian reported that China has formally put Canadian-Chinese tycoon Xiao Jianhua on trial, more than 5 years after his alleged abduction. It says that he is likely to be charged with illegally collecting public deposits, which can carry a prison sentence of 5 years or more, depending on severity.
LEBANON-ISRAEL MARITIME BORDER DISPUTE RETURNS
On 4 July, Eurasia Review reported that a maritime border dispute between Lebanon and Israel has returned to the fore following a security development in which warplanes and an Israeli missile ship intercepted 3 drones that approached from Lebanon’s side toward the airspace over Israel’s economic waters.
CIVIL SETTLEMENT IN RELATION TO BRIBERY ACT OFFENCES: DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SCOTLAND AND ENGLAND
On 4 July, an article from Out-Law says that Scotland has a separate legal system to England and Wales, and the Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) regime does not operate in Scotland. As a result, civil recovery remains the only option short of prosecution for Scottish prosecutors to resolve bribery cases.
GREEN ENERGY’S DIRTY SECRET: ITS HUNGER FOR AFRICAN RESOURCES
On 30 June, an article from Foreign Policy says that the dirty secret of the green revolution is its insatiable hunger for resources from Africa and elsewhere that are produced using some of the world’s dirtiest technologies. What’s more, it says, the accelerated shift to batteries now threatens to replicate one of the most destructive dynamics in global economic history: the systematic extraction of raw commodities from the global south in a way that made developed countries unimaginably rich while leaving a trail of environmental degradation, human rights violations, and semi-permanent underdevelopment all across the developing world.
NETHERLANDS: FORMER COP ACCUSED OF HANDLING €4.2 MILLION IN MONEY LAUNDERING SCHEME
On 1 July, NL Times reported that a former police officer had been arrested on suspicion of offering underground financial services, and laundering about €4.2 million. The suspect once trained as a police officer, but was fired for violating his professional secrecy.
FRANCE: PROSECUTORS OPEN AN INVESTIGATION INTO ALLEGATIONS OF POTENTIAL COMPLICITY IN WAR CRIMES MADE AGAINST GROUPE CASTEL IN THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
On 1 July, Yahoo Finance reported that the local unit of the French food and beverage group is suspected of having made payments to a local militia, a source said.
CFTC CHARGES SOUTH AFRICAN POOL OPERATOR AND CEO WITH FRAUD INVOLVING BITCOIN
A news release from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on 30 June announced that it had filed a civil enforcement action against Cornelius Johannes Steynbergand Mirror Trading International Proprietary Limited (MTI), and that this action is the largest fraudulent scheme involving Bitcoin charged in any CFTC case.
HUMAN TRAFFICKERS ‘USING UK UNIVERSITIES AS COVER’
On 3 July, The Observer reported that universities have been urged to be on high alert for human trafficking after suspected victims brought to Britain on student visas vanished from their courses and were found working in exploitative conditions hundreds of miles away.
CFATF VIRTUAL PLENARY & WORKING GROUPS MEETING
On 1 July, the FATF-style regional body, the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), reported on the CFATF LIV Plenary and Working Groups meetings held virtually 17 May to 3 June. It discussed the MER of Grenada and Aruba and various evaluation follow-up reports and noted that the on-site for Suriname took place in March.
ISLE OF MAN: AMNESTY FOR INELIGIBLE COVID-19 FINANCIAL SUPPORT PAYMENTS
On 4 July, the Isle of Man Government advised that any individuals and businesses who have received financial support through the coronavirus schemes, which they were ineligible for, would have 20 working days to come forward to arrange repayment. This is said to be to allow businesses and self-employed individuals to review the claims they have made and ensure they were fully entitled to the funds. Following this period, a formal review of all claims, from any of the coronavirus support schemes, will take place.
NERVOUS STAFF AND NO BANKERS: WESTERN BUSINESSES STRUGGLE TO EXIT RUSSIA
On 4 July, Hellenic Shipping News said that, for foreign companies still working out what to do with their stranded Russian assets, President Vladimir Putin’s seizure of a major oil and gas project in Sakhalin is a powerful warning – move fast or else. Companies have been wrestling with how to exit in ways that limit the financial impact, do not put employees at risk and, in some cases, offer the opportunity to return in future. It says that many Western companies have run into problems trying to leave.
FORMERLY SEIZED IRAN-FLAGGED (EX-RUSSIAN FLAGGED) TANKER TOWED TO PIRAEUS
On 4 July, Insurance Marine News reported that the tanker Lana (ex-Pegas), which was seized by Greece in April (prompting retaliatory seizures of Greek ships by Iran), and saw part of its cargo confiscated by the US, was being towed to the port of Piraeus, after Greek authorities approved its release.
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