After 3 weeks of protests, no less than 102 people have been detained – which to me shows either how well-behaved the protestors have been, or how softly softly the police have handled things. Actually saw a small protest in the city centre today, in a side street for some reason, a bit noisy but well- behaved and with several Policia Nacional hanging around, watching in a bored sort of way.
Perhaps more worrying is posts from ex-pats (as immigrants here insist on calling themselves) saying that it is a “snake season”, with more being seen than usual – although in 3 years I have only seen one (dead) boa constrictor…
Also had cause to visit a clinic in Costa del Este, and the photo shows the reception area. I particularly like the grand piano, with piped music as if it were being played. Not exactly how I remember the NHS back home, but obviously designed for ex-pats (sorry, immigrants), although I have found the care and treatment in the public clinics as good, if not quite so stylish…
28 JULY 2022
UK: SOLICITORS URGED TO HELP STEM “RISING TIDE” OF RANSOMWARE PAYMENTS
On 26 July, Security Matters reported that, in a joint letter, the National Cyber Security Centre and the Information Commissioner’s Office ask The Law Society to remind its members of their advice on ransomware and emphasise that paying a ransom will not keep data safe or be viewed by the Information Commissioner as a mitigation in regulatory action. The 2 bodies say that they have seen evidence of a rise in ransomware payments and that, in some cases, solicitors may have been advising clients to pay in the belief that it will keep data safe or lead to a lower penalty. In fact, they do not encourage or condone paying ransoms, which can further incentivise criminals and will not guarantee the return of files.
UK: 4 MEN CONVICTED FOR FRAUDULENTLY OBTAINING AND LAUNDERING BITCOIN AND OTHER CRYPTOCURRENCY WORTH TENS OF MILLIONS OF POUNDS FROM AN AUSTRALIA-BASED CRYPTOCURRENCY EXCHANGE
On 26 July, Security Matters reported that the fraud in 2017-18 came about after the ringleader identified and then exploited a loophole on the cryptocurrency trading platform, which allowed him and his associates to dishonestly obtain credits worth £21 million at that time. The group used a UK national based in Dubai to convert the cryptocurrency into cash, and it was then laundered through various foreign-based online accounts such that the offenders could realise the benefits of their crime. It is said that a “very significant amount” of the laundered assets have been returned or are otherwise in the process of being recovered on behalf of the Australian cryptocurrency exchange.
Meanwhile, on 28 July, the Guardian reported that the ringleader of Britain’s biggest ever money laundering gang has been jailed for 9 years after a “colossal” criminal enterprise was broken up by police. Abdulla Alfalasi, 47, an Emirati national, enlisted dozens of couriers in his role at the helm of the gang. In total they smuggled more than £100 million of dirty cash out of the UK to Dubai between April 2019 and November 2020.
FREEZING ORDERS: PRIVY COUNCIL CONSIDERS THE RECOVERY OF DAMAGES UNDER CROSS-UNDERTAKINGS
On 26 July, an article from Herbert Smith Freehills said that, in considering a Cayman Islands case, the Privy Council considered the approach to assessing damages payable by an unsuccessful claimant under the standard cross-undertaking to compensate the respondent to a freezing order for any loss resulting from the order. It says that the decision is relevant to applicants for freezing orders, who can potentially face very large claims if their substantive action fails, and to respondents with frozen assets who may wish to pursue such claims. It confirmed that damages under such cross-undertakings will generally be assessed in the same way as damages for breach of contract. It is pointed out that it will be incumbent on any would-be claimant to satisfy the court on the balance of probabilities as to what they would have done with the funds and with what result.
UK: WARNING FOR LEGAL PROFESSIONALS – DO NOT CUT CORNERS WITH DISCLOSURE
On 26 July, an article from RPC reported that the Bar Standards Board has suspended a “top criminal silk” (that is a barrister who is a QC) from practice on grounds of professional misconduct in respect of his failure to disclose material evidence during criminal proceedings in 2007. The decision, and the judgment made by the Court of Appeal in those proceedings, reiterates the importance of the ongoing obligation on legal professionals to give disclosure and comply with their duties to the court.
PORTUGAL: PREVENTION OF CORRUPTION AND PROTECTION OF WHISTLEBLOWERS
An article from PLMJ on 26 July advised on a legal framework applicable to companies with their registered office in Portugal and to branches in Portugal of companies with their registered office abroad, which employ 50 or more employees. A law on preventing corruption entered into force on 8 June and, in the case of medium-sized companies employing up to 250 people, whose annual turnover does not exceed €50 million or whose annual balance sheet total does not exceed €43 million, the implementation of the measures imposed by the new legislation must take place by 8 June 2023. he provisions concerned with a whistleblowing channel took effect as of 18 June. The article provides a summary of the provisions.
YAOUNDE ARCHITECTURE REGIONAL INFORMATION SYSTEM (YARIS) AND MARITIME LAW ENFORCEMENT IN THE GULF OF GUINEA
On 25 July, Dryad Global published an article explaining that the YARIS platform, an information-sharing tool or system, was developed in partnership with the Gulf of Guinea Inter-Regional Network (GoGIN ) project to aid the implementation of the Yaounde Architecture with the support of the EU. It is an information-sharing tool amongst the 27 maritime centres of the Yaounde Architecture, their partners and all stakeholders involved within 6,000 km of the coast of the Gulf, and a tool for connecting national administrations and enforcement agencies.
UK: SANCTIONS GENERAL LICENCE FOR INSURANCE
On 28 July, the EU Sanctions blog reported on a UK General Licence dated 22 July concerned with the making and receipt of payments by insurers involving building and engineering insurance. The Licence is good for all the autonomous UK sanctions regimes.
NICARAGUA: US SANCTIONS STATE-OWNED NICARAGUAN MINING COMPANY ENIMINAS AND ITS BOARD PRESIDENT FOR THEIR GROWING TIES WITH RUSSIA
On 28 July, Diálogo Americas reported that the 17 decision undermines one of the key revenue streams of the Ortega-Murillo regime.
RUSSIAN INTERMODAL CONTAINER OPERATOR PJSC TRANSCONTAINER HAS LAUNCHED A REGULAR FREIGHT SERVICE FROM HANOI TO MOSCOW
On 28 July, Railfreight.com reported that in May the service was launched, after Finland suspended rail freight traffic with Russia, in which TransContainer played a significant role. The journey takes around 35 days, reducing delivery times by 5-8 days compared to sea shipping, and the rail freight agreement between China, Russia, and Vietnam bypasses Western sanctions restrictions. It is noted that, since 2018, Russian Railways (RZD) has also collaborated with Vietnamese logistics operator Ratraco to open a rail corridor between the 2 countries through China.
NORTH KOREA RESUMES COAL SHIPMENTS TO CHINA IN VIOLATION OF SANCTIONS
On 27 July, RFA reported that North Korea has resumed shipping coal to energy-starved China to secure much needed foreign currency despite UN sanctions prohibiting the transactions.
FBI CHARGES FORMER LEBANESE MP’S EX-BODYGUARD WITH GUN SMUGGLING
On 27 July, Middle East Eye reported that a George Ajaltouni, former bodyguard of an MP who is the leader of Lebanon’s Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) and son-in-law of President Michel Aoun has been charged by the FBI with gun smuggling. Hundreds of weapons were allegedly purchased at gun shows and dealerships in Ohio and shipped them to Lebanon by hiding them in secret compartments in modified cars.
UK: CONSULTATION – POLICE REQUESTS FOR THIRD PARTY MATERIAL
On 28 July, the Home Office published a reminder about a public consultation which involves issues around police requests for personal records such as health, education and social service records (known as third party material) during criminal investigations. The consultation runs to 11 August.
UK: GUIDANCE ON FORCED MARRIAGE
On 28 July, the Home Office issued updated guidance (first issued in March) consisting of statutory guidance for heads of safeguarding organisations, and non-statutory guidance for front-line professionals, on forced marriage. Under UK law, forced marriage is a crime, and is a form of abuse directed towards a child or vulnerable adult, including adults who are forced into marriage against their free will.
HOW THE US TURNED THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION INTO A GOLDMINE
A report from EU Reporter on 28 July saying that what is striking about US assertion of exterritorial authority has been the extraordinary willingness of its European allies to tolerate it. It argues that, since the 1970s, the extraterritorial reach of US law has increased significantly as US policy-makers have pursued a wide range of US policy objectives; and that the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is one of many US statutes on which extraterritorial outreach has been built. Changes made in 1998 gave US agencies wide-ranging powers to investigate where even a remote link with US jurisdiction could be demonstrated and, following the changes, the average annual number of FCPA cases rose dramatically – between 1977 and 2000 an average of just over 2 FCPA cases were completed annually; but between 2001 and 2021 the annual average rose to just under 30 cases per year.
US OPIOID MANUFACTURER ANNOUNCES A $4.35 BILLION SETTLEMENT WITH STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO RESOLVE LAWSUITS CONCERNING ITS ROLE IN FUELLING THE US OPIOID EPIDEMIC
On 27 July, Jurist reported that Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is an Israeli multinational pharmaceutical company which manufactures prescription medication including opioids. State and local governments with lawsuits against Teva — excluding New York, which is pursuing separate litigation — are all potentially party to the settlement Teva announced. The settlement is not yet finalised, and is also contingent upon an indemnification agreement between Teva and the pharmaceutical company AbbVie’s Allergan unit, which Teva acquired in 2016.
EU: REMOVAL OF TAXATION-BASED OBSTACLES AND DISTORTIONS IN THE SINGLE MARKET IN ORDER TO ENCOURAGE CROSS BORDER INVESTMENT
On 28 July, the EU Parliament Research Service published a briefing paper saying that the coexistence of 27 different national tax systems in the EU brings about significant obstacles to cross-border business activity in the Single Market. The objective of the study reported on in the briefing is to show the context and developments in European secondary law that have led to the current situation or, at least, have not yet resolved it. In addition, it says, perspectives are shown as to how the described obstacles to cross border investment in the Internal Market can be countered both in the short and long term, both at the fundamental and also at the procedural or administrative level.
DEMURRAGE AND DETENTION CHARGES INCREASED BY 12% WORLDWIDE AND HAVE ‘BECOME A SIGNIFICANT COST CENTRE FOR SHIPPERS’
On 28 July, Hellenic Shipping news reported on a recent webinar, in which it was said that surplus containers are piling up at warehouses as demand wears out, resulting in rising demurrage and detention charges, contributing substantially to the operational costs for shippers.
MEETINGS OF THE GAFILAT WORKING GROUPS CONCLUDE
On 28 July, the FATF-style regional body for Latin America published a brief release on the conclusion of various meetings held in preparation for the XLV Plenary, which was to begin on 28 July.
VATICAN COURT REJECTS DISGRACED BANKERS’ APPEAL
On 26 July, OCCRP reported that justices of the Vatican City state’s Court of Appeals, have rejected the appeal of Angelo Caloia, the former director of the Vatican Bank, who was found guilty of embezzlement and corruption last year. This is said to confirm his verdict of 8 years in prison and a €12 million fine.
SINGAPORE: ARREST WARRANTS, INTERPOL NOTICES FOR COUPLE WHO ALLEGEDLY FAILED TO DELIVER LUXURY WATCHES AND BAGS
On 20 July, Channel News Asia reported that at least 180 reports involving 2 companies, Tradenation and Tradeluxury, were made to police. The complainants said they made advance payments to the company for luxury watches or bags, but the companies did not deliver the products. Tradenation was regulated under the Registrar of Regulated Dealers for AML/CFT purposes as a precious stones and metals dealer .
CANADA: LUXURY TAX ON AIRCRAFT EFFECTIVE 1 SEPTEMBER
On 21 July, KPMG reported that a new luxury tax on certain aircraft is set to become effective 1 September, on the same date that applies to vehicles and boats included in the scope of the new tax, and applies to subject vehicles and aircraft priced over $100,000, as well as subject boats priced over $250,000.
HOUSE OF COMMONS REGULATORY POLICY COMMITTEE (RPC) OPINION ON IMPACT ASSESSMENT FOR THE UK BAN ON NEW OUTWARD INVESTMENTS TO RUSSIA
On 8 July, the RPC published this Opinion which, among other things, says that such an Opinion could be improved with further discussion of the consequences of UK companies that currently invest in Russia choosing to relocate to third countries, the potential impact on business and trade relations and the likelihood that such firms will take advantage of proposed exemptions. It also says that the Foreign and Commonwealth and development Office is developing a monitoring framework to assess the impacts of sanctions on the target country as well as any unintended consequences.
US CUSTOMS AND COAST GUARD SEIZE MORE THAN 10 TONS OF KHAT
On 27 July, Homeland Security Today explained that Khat is a green, leafy plant typically grown in the Arabian Peninsula and many parts of Africa. It is chewed for its stimulant effect. The operation within the Seattle Maritime Port led to the seizure of more than 20,000 lb of dried khat with an estimated street value of $3.6 million. The khat, which was destined for the US, was shipped from Kenya as tea.
FAILING TO UNDERSTAND RESTRICTED PARTY SCREENING IN 2022 MEANS INCREASING RISK EXPOSURE
On 27 July, an article in Global Trade Magazine carried an article saying that the supply chain turmoil that has befallen US importers and exporters since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has put a new emphasis on supply chain visibility. Businesses of all sizes are looking for tools to give them clearer insight into how, where and when their goods are moving. It also says that smaller shippers, though also affected, have fewer resources to invest in a satisfactory level of monitoring and have felt less pressure to do so as they may only be dealing with a single foreign buyer or supplier (and in many cases only occasionally at that). It explains that Restricted Parties Screening (RPS) is a tool that enables businesses to screen partners and/or products in their supply chains to ensure they are not listed as restricted by a government entity. It is usually automated as the number of sanctions against various parties globally runs into the thousands with no central directory of restricted-party lists, so the process can be prohibitively onerous if done manually. Many exporters will often mistakenly assume that if a party is not listed in one list, they are safe to do business with.
HOW WILL RISING FREIGHT AND CONTAINER PRICES IMPACT SHIPPING RATES?
On 28 July, an article in Global Trade Magazine says that rising container prices put extra strain on company representatives who notice how the ballooning costs impact shipping rates. The article provides a closer look at this complex situation, and that people anxiously hoping for some relief from the current state of freight prices are probably out of luck. The article suggests that the best thing affected parties can do is try to control as many factors within their sphere of influence. Additionally, constant contact with customers about rate increases or delays will ensure everyone has the most accurate and up-to-date information.
INDEPENDENT REPORT SLAMS UK LEADERSHIP OVER MIGRANT CRISIS
On 25 July, an article in Homeland Security Today pointed out that, in 2021, 28,526 people arrived on the south coast of England in small boats, according to Home Office statistics – a significant increase from 236 in 2018. The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI) has found the Home Office response to the Channel migrant crisis is both ineffective and inefficient, exposing gaps in security procedures and leaving vulnerable migrants at risk.
CRYPTO INSIGHTS 2022
On 28 July Thought Leaders 4 published a new e-book of insights which examines the various areas of disputes where crypto is involved, including fraud and asset recovery; HNW divorce; private client services; and dispute resolution. Articles include on cryptoassets and UK money laundering law; legal remedies against persons unknown to combat cyber attacks; and digital assets in divorce.
THE SITUATION IN LIBYA: REFLECTIONS ON CHALLENGES AND WAYS FORWARD
This Report, dated June 2022, from the Stimson Center says that the UN Security Council is expected to renew the mandate of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) by the end of July 2022. The current mandate, adopted in March 2022, was a technical rollover of the previous mandate for the fourth consecutive time. The report summarises the main points raised in a recent discussion held under the Chatham House rule of non-attribution and does not necessarily represent the views of all participants. The meeting comprised a virtual workshop to discuss the situation in Libya and ways for the UN, including through the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), to strengthen its engagement in the country over the coming months.
UK: TRAVEL AGENT FACES MONEY LAUNDERING AND FRAUD CHARGES
On 28 July, the BBC reported that a travel agent suspected of duping hundreds of customers has been charged with fraud and money laundering totalling more than £1.6 million. Lyne Barlow was arrested in September 2020 after an investigation into claims surrounding discount holidays.
INDIA: MONEY LAUNDERING CASE REGISTERED AGAINST CAR DESIGNER DILIP CHHABRIA
On 28 July, India Today reported that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has conducted searches at premises linked to DC Motors owner, Dilip Chhabria. It is reported that his company, Dilip Chhabria (DC) Designs Private Limited, was allegedly found to have allegedly availed loans from some non-banking financial companies (NBFC) by posing as customers looking to buy DC sports cars.
PANAMA: FORMER PRESIDENT MARTINELLI APPLIES TO RUN IN 2024 ELECTION
On 28 July, La Estrella de Panama reported that, despite the various past and ongoing cases in which he has been involved, and the jailing of his 2 sons on money laundering charges in the US, Ricardo Martinelli had presented to the Electoral Tribunal his pre-candidacy in the 2024 Presidential elections. The former President 2009 to 2014 is being prosecuted in a case involving the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.
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