Panama Covid-19 update – the Government appears to have switched to weekly, instead of daily, reports. Mind you, it has other things to worry about, with a march in the vicinity of the National Assembly of teachers, parents and workers who have joined together to demand that the government freeze the prices of fuel and the basic food basket. Bus drivers are due to start a strike from 18 July, and teachers have walked out, with others threatening to do so. Protests have blocked some main roads – though with the traffic in and around Panama City it might have been hard to distinguish protests from the norm (this afternoon, I left my wife on a bus trapped in rush hour traffic, walked the couple pf miles home, calling at a supermarket for a bit of shopping on the way, and still made it home long before her…).
Anyway, today the Ministry of Health reported 11 new fatalities this week – 2 on Monday, 4 on Tuesday and 5 on Wednesday, but none since. There were another 686 cases reported on Monday, 1,737 on Tuesday, 1,762 on Wednesday, 1,683 on Thursday and 1,578 today. Test results are said to be still high, at 18.9% and, as of today, there were 29 patients in ICU nationwide, with 154 in other wards.
8 JULY 2022
ISLE OF MAN: NORTH KOREA AND BELARUS SANCTIONS AMENDMENT AND 2 RUSSIA GENERAL LICENCES
On 8 July, the Isle of Man advised that, following the UK, 1 entry on the North Korean sanctions list had been amended, 1 on the Belarus sanctions list, and that 2 new General Licences had been granted in respect of Russian sanctions. One General Licence, subject to certain conditions, allows a person to make use of the retail banking services of a designated credit or financial institution provided that the payments made or received are intended for the personal use of a person. The second General Licence allows for a 30-day wind down period of positions involving Rosbank PJSC (Rosbank) or any entity owned or controlled by Rosbank.
CARGO LIQUEFACTION TOP CAUSE OF LOSS OF LIFE IN DRY BULK SHIPPING
On 8 July, Seatrade Maritime News reported on this problem, little known outside the shipping world, but which has claimed the lives of 70 seafarers in the last decade, in 27 bulk carrier total losses over the last 10 years. The sloshing caused by cargo liquefaction in bad weather can result in vessels sinking in a matter of minutes with a large loss of life.
NCA TO UPGRADE DATA SYSTEMS TO BETTER USE INTEL PROVIDED BY BANKS ON ORGANISED CRIME
On 14 June, Public Technology reported that the NCA is to upgrade data systems in a bid to improve its ability to use intelligence on potential organised crime activity provided by banks. The reform scheme was set out in the government’s 2019 Economic Crime Plan, which outlined an intention to “ensure we have the right information… [to help] ensure we have the right information”. The National Data Exploitation Capability programme run by the NCA sought to appoint a “data and technology delivery partner” to assist with the “development and replacement of end-of-life systems” that currently support authorities’ processing of SAR and the intelligence they provide; with the closing date for tenders being 24 June.
DANISH GAMBLING REGULATOR REPRIMANDS CASUMO OVER MONEY LAUNDERING VIOLATION
On 8 July, iGB reported that, that until 11 March this year, Casumo’s risk assessment did not adequately contain identification and risk assessment of customer types; and that Casumo failed to sufficiently identify and risk-assess its delivery channels, as no risk assessment had been made of its mobile app.
BET-AT-HOME’S GAMBLING LICENCE SUSPENDED IN GREAT BRITAIN PENDING REVIEW
On 7 July, iGB reported that the Gambling Commission said that the review and consequent suspension follows concerns that “activities may have been carried out contrary to the Gambling Act 2005”.
SUZUKI HALTS MYANMAR ASSEMBLY, STYMIED BY FOREIGN CURRENCY CURBS
On 8 July, Nikkei Asia reported than the Japanese carmaker had suspended auto production at 2 factories in Myanmar due to its inability to import necessary parts now that the military government is insisting on allocating foreign currency based on what it sees as need. Suzuki was one of the first automakers to set up an assembly plant in Myanmar. However, it has had to suspend production there due to the difficulty of exchanging its kyat earnings for dollars.
IRISH FACEBOOK DECISION ADDS PRESSURE TO REACH EU-US TRANSATLANTIC DATA DEAL
On 7 July, the Wall Street Journal reported on an order from Ireland’s Data Protection Commission that would block Facebook from sending European user data to the US, raising pressure on US and European negotiators to complete a recent data-transfer deal that could help thousands of companies sidestep disruption. If approved by the EU, Facebook and Instagram would be told to suspend the transfers.
CANADA-BASED CRYPTO BROKER VOYAGER DIGITAL FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY PROTECTION
On 6 July, the Wall Street Journal reported on the latest problem for the crypto sector. It says that US federal regulators have warned for years that crypto trading platforms and other dealers of crypto assets do not offer customer protection for investors and savers that apply when banks or brokerage firms fail. The Voyager website also says, “Cryptocurrency held on the Voyager Platform is not protected by FDIC insurance or any other government-backed or third-party insurance”.
THE POLITICAL CRISIS IN TUNISIA
On 6 July, the Brookings Institution carried a post about the situation in Tunisia. This includes a new draft Constitution which envisions an authoritarian, hyper-presidential system with few checks on the President’s power that could permit a form of effective dictatorship.
NEW CORPORATE ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITY ESTABLISHED IN IRELAND
On 7 July, articles from Arthur Cox and others reported on the new Corporate Enforcement Authority (CEA) has been established following the commencement of the Companies (Corporate Enforcement Authority) Act 2021. The CEA is tasked with investigating and prosecuting company law failures and replaces the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement. The reforms introduced by the Act enhance the investigation and enforcement capability of the CEA and are expected to lead to an increase in enforcement activity around company law offences, as well as changes in the way that those failures are investigated. Commitments have been made to resource the CEA to a greater extent than was the case with the Director of Corporate Enforcement (which the CEA has replaced). Simultaneously, some important changes have been made to underlying companies’ legislation.
AT EUROPE’S LARGEST PORT, RUSSIA SANCTIONS MEET THEIR TOUGHEST TEST
On 8 July, the New York Times carried a feature about Rotterdam, saying that the practical business of sanctions policing happens at the sprawling terminals of Rotterdam and smaller ports around Europe, and it is a vastly complex, labour-intensive task that, officials admit, is far from perfect. It says that Rotterdam was falling short in its efforts to block illegal activity, like a massive trade in cocaine. The port intercepted some €5 billion worth of the drug last year, but Europol has said that Rotterdam and its Belgian neighbour, Antwerp, remained the biggest gateways for cocaine into Europe.
NEW ZEALAND: BANK OF NEW ZEALAND AND NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK RECEIVE FORMAL WARNING UNDER AML/CFT ACT
On 8 June, the National Tribune reported that BNZ was issued a formal warning for failing to report the correct location for around 50,000 domestic physical cash transactions in prescribed transaction reports (PTR) between November 2018 and April 2020. Separately, the National Australia Bank’s local unit for failing to report approximately 50,000 transactions.
UK: COUNTERFEIT CIGARETTE SALES UP BY MORE THAN A THIRD IN 2021
On 8 July, Talking Retail reported that the consumption of counterfeit and contraband cigarettes rose at its fastest rate for 5 years in 2021, according to a study commissioned by manufacturer Philip Morris. The research, carried out by KPMG, found counterfeit cigarette consumption drove the increase, with a jump of 34.1%; and this meant the number of counterfeit cigarettes smoked topped 3 billion for the first time since the study began 16 years ago.
US: REQUEST FOR COMMENTS FOR TRADE STRATEGY TO COMBAT FORCED LABOUR
On 8 July, Wiley Rein LLP published an article saying that the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) had published a notice and request for comment (RFC) on the Biden Administration’s “Trade Strategy to Combat Forced Labor”. The deadline for comments is 5 August. The USTR is to create its first-ever strategy to combat forced labour in traded goods and services, and, to develop this strategy, it will review the strengths and weaknesses of existing US Government interagency policies and tools regarding forced labour. USTR invites interested parties, including the private sector and labour organisations, to submit comments that will be used to define the strategy’s objectives, tools, and action items.
XINJIANG SUPPLY CHAINS COME UNDER GROWING SCRUTINY
On 6 July, RUSI published a Commentary saying that the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act stands for more than just protest, for it portends an era of much greater government intervention in global supply chains.
ISLE OF MAN – CIVIL PENALTIES UNDER BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP ACT – RUSSIA SANCTIONS UPDATE – EXPORT CONTROL UPDATE
The Order Paper for the final sitting of the Island’s Parliament on 19 July includes –
- Regulations which introduce civil penalties for contraventions of certain additional provisions of the Beneficial Ownership Act 2017;
- Regulations updating Russia sanctions legislation; and
- An Order updating export control law by applying UK legislation.
ISLE OF MAN: ANTI-BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION STRATEGY 2022-2027
The Order Paper for the Tynwald sitting on 19 July includes this strategy report.
US CONGRESS SHOULD INSIST THAT US DOLLARS NOT FUND UN PROCUREMENT FROM RUSSIAN COMPANIES
On 21 June, Defense One carried an article which says that the UN continues to spend tens of millions of dollars a year on Russian goods and services. This procurement, which principally involves Russian companies providing aircraft and pilots to UN peacekeeping missions, undermines US and allied efforts to counter Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
REPORT SEES US LOGISTICS COSTS RISE TO HIGHEST LEVELS IN 10 YEARS
On 7 July, Global Trade Magazine said that the management consultancy A.T. Kearney has produced the American 2022 State of Logistics Report for the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals. It says that in 2020/21 overall growth in business logistics costs was an extraordinary 22.4% as compared to a compound annual growth rate of 5.8% over the past 5 years. Kearney estimates that at the beginning of 2022, logistics accounted for 8% of US GDP, reversing more than 10 years of decline.
US: OWNER OF TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES ARRESTED FOR ALLEGED $45 MILLION INVESTMENT FRAUD SCHEME INVOLVING OVER 10,000 VICTIMS
A US DoJ news release on 29 June alleged that Neil Chandran, 50, of Las Vegas, owned a group of technology companies that he used in a scheme to defraud investors by falsely promising extremely high returns on the premise that one or more of his companies, operated under the banner of “ViRSE,” was about to be acquired by a consortium of wealthy buyers.
AUSTRALIA: FORMER ATO STAFFER CHARGED FOR ACCEPTING $150,000 BRIBE
On 7 July, Accounts Daily reported that a taxpayer allegedly paid the Australian Tax Office employee to reduce $6 million in personal and business debts.
FACT SHEET: US FRAMEWORK FOR INTERNATIONAL ENGAGEMENT ON DIGITAL ASSETS
On 7 July, the US Treasury issued this Factsheet, saying that the framework is guided by the principal policy objectives of the US as laid out in the Executive Order on Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets, published on 9 March, and tailored to reflect the international aspects of the work of the relevant agencies.
MEXICAN SECURITY FORCES SEIZE RECORD FENTANYL HAUL
On 7 July, Swissinfo reported that the Mexican army and national guard seized a record quantity of fentanyl in the northern state of Sinaloa, in a rare bust of manufacturers of the powerful synthetic opioid. The seizure of 542.7 kg of fentanyl, alongside some 555 kg of meth, 31 kg of cocaine, 7 kg of heroine, and over 71,000 kg of chemical precursors, at a warehouse and resulted in 10 arrests.
COCAINE AND NARCO-POLITICS IN THE MOSQUITIA REGION OF HONDURAS
On 7 July, an article from Insight Crime reported that, nestled on the easternmost extremity of Honduras, the sparsely-populated La Mosquitia region hugs the country’s Caribbean coast and is home to mountainous forest, lowland marshes and tropical rainforest. It says that a significant amount of the cocaine that enters Honduras from Colombia and Venezuela passes through the area, either by go-fast boat or in small jets.
LEBANON: COLLAPSE, UNCERTAINTY, REJUVENATION – OR THE NEXT BIG WAR?
On 8 July, a Commentary from RUSI speculated on the future of Lebanon, saying that it has never been in a worse state outside wartime. It is in the third year of a crushing economic crisis, with political paralysis, heightened social tensions, and the ongoing negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the 2020 Beirut port explosion, the human impact is sobering. The country’s catastrophically poor economy severely limits its ability to weather the gathering storm of a global uneven pandemic recovery, supply chain bottlenecks, energy volatility, crushing inflation – and now a war of aggression affecting food security. For the 11th year in a row – since the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War – Lebanon’s real GDP per capita has fallen. The most likely major escalation that could snowball is a conflict between Israel and Iran.
UK: NEW TRADE SANCTIONS ON BELARUS WERE INTRODUCED ON 5 JULY
On 5 July, the Department for International Trade published Notice to Exporters 2022/20 about the changes, and also updated guidance on Belarus sanctions.
EX-FIFA BOSSES BLATTER AND PLATINI FOUND NOT GUILTY AFTER FRAUD TRIAL IN SWITZERLAND
On 8 July, the BBC reported that former Fifa president Sepp Blatter, 81, and vice-president Michel Platini, 67, have both been found not guilty following their fraud trial in Switzerland over a payment of £1.6 million made by Blatter to Platini in 2011. Both men had denied wrongdoing and said the transfer was belated payment for Platini’s advisory work for FIFA. They were banned from football in 2015 and indicted in November 2021.
UK: THE FORMER HEAD OF OPERATIONS IN THE TWO CITIES CHURCH CHARITY HAS BEEN CHARGED WITH FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING
On 8 July, the Church Times reported that that the sum involved is in the region of £5 million. The man resigned in 2019, but last year the London Diocesan Fund (LDF) made a report to Action Fraud, and a serious incident report to the Charity Commission.
OPTIONS TO PROMOTE BROADER ADOPTION OF THE LEGAL ENTITY IDENTIFIER (LEI) IN CROSS-BORDER PAYMENTS
On 8 July, a release on Mondo Visione advised that the Financial Stability Board (FSB) – an international body that monitors and makes recommendations about the global financial system – has issued this report on 7 July. the report explores options to improve the adoption of the LEI, an Action Point in the G20 Roadmap to Enhance Cross-border Payments. The report sets out recommendations and options for improving the adoption of the LEI in cross-border payments to assist in achieving the goals of the G20 Roadmap. Achieving goals will depend on promoting uptake of the LEI among non-financial corporates as well as financial institutions. The FSB will review progress in implementing these recommendations and publish a progress report by end-2024, together with a review of progress in implementing the recommendations of the LEI peer review.
Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed! At Buy me a Coffee one-off contributions start as low as $3, at
NOTE THAT THE ABOVE LINK IS NOW CORRECTED AND WORKS!