Panama is the the Regional Logistics Center for Humanitarian Assistance (CLRAH) and in the first 6 months of the year dispatched some 670.5 tons of supplies, worth $13.6 million, to 38 nations of Latin America. This is according to data from the Ministry of Government (Mingob), the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. The UN Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) sent 481.4 tons of aid with a value of $8.87 million to 30 countries in the Americas. including equipment relating to the Covid pandemic. othe supplies included personal protective equipment (PPE), hygiene equipment, cooking and cleaning equipment, mosquito nets, plastic sheets and collapsible drums.
On Covid-19, the Ministry of Health (Minsa) is investigating the application of an annual vaccination against Covid-19, starting in 2023.
5 AUGUST 2022
UK: LAW COMMISSION TO UNDERTAKE REVIEW OF THE CRIMINAL APPEALS SYSTEM
On 5 August, the Law Commission announced that it has been asked by the Government to examine the need for reforms to the appeals system, to ensure that the courts have the right powers to enable the effective, efficient and appropriate resolution of appeals. The comprehensive review will include a public consultation. The project will consider the need for reform, with particular focus on identifying any inconsistencies, uncertainties and gaps in the law that may be hindering the ability of the appeals system to function as effectively and fairly as possible. The review will begin with initial scoping and pre-consultation engagement with stakeholders, followed by a published consultation paper containing provisional proposals for reform, a formal consultation process, and a published final report containing recommendations for reform.
SIHANOUKVILLE: PROJECTS GRIND TO HALT IN CAMBODIA RESORT TOWN
On 5 August, Nikkei Asia carried an article saying that the Cambodian city of Sihanoukville was once billed as “the Macau of Southeast Asia” as it embarked on a multibillion-dollar construction boom of casinos, malls and high-rise condos, mostly funded by Chinese investors. That boom went bust 3 years ago, leaving over 1,100 half-built projects gathering dust as developers scrambled for solutions. Now, the article asks, with the Chinese economy slowing, is the Sihanoukville dream gone for good?
FORMER PUERTO RICO GOVERNOR ARRESTED ON BRIBERY CHARGES
On 4 August, the Wall Street Journal reported that former Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced had been arrested and charged with participating in a bribery scheme to finance her 2020 gubernatorial campaign. The alleged bribery scheme took place December 2019 through June 2020 and involved bank executives, a former FBI agent and a political consultant, according to the DoJ.
RUSSIAN BILLIONAIRE ALEXANDER ABRAMOV SUING AUSTRALIAN FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER OVER FINANCIAL SANCTIONS
On 5 August, ABC News reported that a steel mogul, Alexander Abramov, a Russian billionaire is suing Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister and claims sanctions imposed over the invasion of the Ukraine have caused him severe reputational damage. Abramov co-founded Russia’s largest steel producer, Evraz.
ABRAMOVICH’S EVRAZ PROFITS PLUNGE 99.5% AS SANCTIONS BITE
On 5 August, Market Insider reported that Russian steel giant Evraz saw its profits fall by 99.5% in the first half of the year due to sanctions and as demand for its products dried up.
RUSSIAN ACCUSED OF MONEY LAUNDERING AND RUNNING A BITCOIN EXCHANGE EXTRADITED TO US FROM GREECE
On 4 August, CNN reported that a Russian national accused of running a multibillion-dollar cryptocurrency exchange that allegedly profited from various hacking and extortion schemes has been extradited from Greece. Alexander Vinnik is accused of operating a cryptocurrency exchange known as BTC-e that allegedly did business with ransomware gangs, drug dealers and identity thieves.
UK: CHINESE NATIONAL DETAINED ON TEESSIDE IN RELATION TO ALLEGED UNDERGROUND BANKING IN CHINA
On 4 August, the Northern Echo reported that the 33-year-old man, a Chinese national, was detained on suspicion of money laundering as part of a NCA investigation. The investigation relates to the alleged laundering of criminal cash through so-called Daigou shopping, where high-value retail items such as watches, jewellery, or designer goods are purchased in the UK and then shipped to China to be re-sold.
CHEQUE FRAUD: STILL A MAJOR CHALLENGE IN THE DIGITAL AGE
On 21 July, ABA Risk & Compliance in the US carried an article saying that cheques remained the payment method most impacted by fraud activity, at 66%, according to reports from the 2021 Association for Financial Professionals Payments Fraud and Control Survey. Financial institutions encounter deposit fraud in many ways, including counterfeits, forgeries, alterations, serial numbers, stop payments and cheque kiting. It lists what it says are 3 proven ways to combat cheque fraud.
DISCLOSURE OF OVERHEARD PRIVATE BUSINESS CONVERSATIONS
On 5 August, an article from Bird & Bird was concerned with a recent High Court data protection case in the UK where the confidential discussions were overheard by someone who was on the opposite side of a business acquisition which the claimant was involved in. The judgment concerned an application for an injunction preventing disclosure of the content of the private, business conversations between representatives of the claimant, which were overheard by the defendant from another room during the course of the business acquisition meeting. The article explains that the law protects such information and allows those whose privacy, or confidence, has been breached to bring claims for breach of confidence and/or for misuse of private information. Another point raised was that general CCTV warning sign will not suffice in showing consent for the compilation or retention of personal data under the GDPR.
ENGLISH CIVIL COURT DISCLOSURE PILOT MADE PERMANENT
On 4 August, an article from Hogan Lovells advised that from 1 October the disclosure pilot in the Business and Property Courts will become a permanent part of the court rules. It says that the key takeaway from a client perspective is that parties need to think carefully about their disclosure obligations, and what disclosure they want or need from their opponents, at a much earlier stage in the litigation process.
BRIEFING: THE DATA PROTECTION AND DIGITAL INFORMATION BILL
On 5 August, the House of Commons Library released a briefing paper on this Bill which was introduced in the House of Commons on 18 July, and which is scheduled to have its second reading on 5 September.
UK: PORTS AND SHIPPING FAQ
On 5 August, the House of Commons Library released a briefing paper intended to answer FAQ about ports and shipping, including devolution, harbour powers, international treaties, decarbonisation, ferry passenger rights and seafarer employment rights.
CANADA’S YUKON/US BORDER CREATES A RIPE ENVIRONMENT FOR ORGANISED CRIME
On 4 August, OCCRP reported on a sparsely populated nearly 200,000 mile stretch of land wedged between the Alaska and the Arctic Circle where organised crime is growing, according to report from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Force (RCMP). Nearly a quarter of all Yukoners belong to Canada’s First Nations populations. According to the RCMP, the rate of overdose death in the province is more than double that of the rest of Canada.
KAZAKHSTAN ARRESTS 23 FOR RUNNING CRYPTO CRIME RING
On 4 August, OCCRP reported that Kazakh authorities had arrested 23 people suspected of being members of a gang that used threats and blackmail to force IT specialists into running underground cryptocurrency mining farms. The racketeers would turn a profit of $300,000 to $500,000 per month for running illegal mining farms in the town of Talgar in the country’s Almaty region. The energy-rich nation currently ranks as the third-largest miner of bitcoin in the world, right after the US and China.
TRAVELLING GANG OF SOUTH AMERICAN THIEVES DISMANTLED AFTER ROBBERIES IN FRANCE AND SPAIN
On 5 August, a news release from Europol advised that law enforcement authorities in Spain, France and Chile, supported by Europol’s European Serious Organised Crime Centre, have closed in on a network of South American thieves who arrived in Europe as ‘tourists’ only to then carry out a string of burglaries in residential areas in France and Spain. 4 suspects – 2 Chileans, 1 Peruvian and 1 Argentinean – have been arrested in Spain.
ISLAMIC STATE’S PRIMED FOR RESURGENCE IN SYRIA
On 5 August, Eurasia Review reported that a new analysis says that for the last 3 years, ISIS – The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria – has demonstrated considerable resilience against persistent coalition efforts at its eradication and has been slowly adapting, consolidating, and creating an environment favourable to its potential resurgence in central and north-eastern Syria.
HOW TO ADDRESS MODERN SLAVERY RISK ARISING FROM LABOUR SHORTAGES
On 4 August, an article from Out-Law says that the current labour shortages experienced around the world present a modern slavery risk to businesses. Criminal gangs are profiting from practices that provide unscrupulous or unwitting companies with access to workers who are subject to slavery, forced labour, servitude or human trafficking. Often the exploited workers include migrant labourers and other vulnerable groups. It says that businesses should be monitoring their supply chains to spot modern slavery ‘red flags’ and ensure that they comply with legal obligations that may apply to them.
ENGLISH COURTS INCREASINGLY GRAPPLING WITH COMPLEX CRYPTO DISPUTES
On 4 August, an article from Out-Law says that the courts have adapted quickly to increasingly complex disputes involving crypto assets, citing a recent ruling in a dispute over the ownership of an account worth roughly £30 million.
DHL SURVEY REVEALS SMALL BUSINESS EXPORTERS EXPERIENCE ONGOING POST-BREXIT CHALLENGES
On 4 August, CILT says that the new survey reveals mixed perspectives among small- and medium-sized British exporters for the remainder of the year, with one third of those who export or plan to (33%) feeling the outlook for their business is more positive for 2022, with the remaining disagreeing (30%) or undecided (37%). Reflecting on the time since the UK’s exit from the EU, businesses surveyed report ongoing challenges and concerns since the departure.
ISLE OF MAN FSA PUBLIC STATEMENTS – TRIDENT TRUST COMPANY (IOM) LIMITED AND R & M MANAGEMENT (IOM) LIMITED
On 5 August, the Financial Services Authority published 2 separate news releases containing public statements relating to –
- the failings of Trident IOM that occurred during the period 2010 and 2020 and the penalty imposed; and
- the failings of R&M that occurred during the period 2010 and 2020 and the penalty imposed.
It is said that the failings identified at the firms could have significantly increased the risk that services could have been exploited by persons who may wish to launder money or finance terrorism. The firms were both licensed entities and Trident IOM provided management and administration services to R&M. Since February 2019, Trident IOM has been subject to enhanced supervision around aspects of its conduct of regulated activity including its programme of remediating the contraventions and breaches identified. R&M has also been subject to enhanced supervision since February 2019 around aspects of its conduct of regulated activity including its programme of remediating the contraventions and breaches identified.
THE OLD SCHOOL FRIENDS RUNNING A UK FORMATION AGENCY LINKED TO THE RUSSIAN LAUNDROMAT SCANDAL
On 3 August, Finance Uncovered was concerned with the UK-based company formation agency ComForm, formed in 2007, it soon became one of the leading suppliers of low-cost anonymous British companies, catering to customers across the former Soviet Union. Several companies created by the formation agency Pestuns founded have been linked to controversy. It is said that there is no suggestion that Comform, its employees, nominees or proxies participate in or know of wrong-doing linked to companies it helped create.
US NEARS AGREEMENT ON NIGERIAN GOVERNOR’S MONEY LAUNDERING CASE
On 5 August, Bloomberg reported that the US is nearing an agreement with the brother of a leading member of Nigeria’s ruling party to resolve a court case over more than $140 million that it says was laundered by the politician. The case involves 4 investment portfolios held in trust for Abubakar Bagudu, the governor of the north-western Kebbi state, and his family since 2013. The US alleges that he was part of a network controlled by former dictator Sani Abacha that misappropriated billions of dollars in the 1990s.
KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THE CFIUS ANNUAL REPORT FOR 2021
On 5 August, Torres Trade Law provided a brief summary of the highlights of the US Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States Annual Report to Congress for calendar year 2021.
US: THE CHIPS AND SCIENCE ACT COULD BRING BIG CHANGES
On 5 August, an article from Bass Berry & Sims was concerned with the new Act which provides $52.7 billion in subsidies and incentives to domestic semiconductor manufacturers to strengthen existing supply chains and better compete with China. It is explained that the legislation the bill requires a “covered entity” seeking CHIPS funding to enter into a “guardrails provision” agreement with the Department of Commerce – prohibiting the entity from engaging in any “significant transaction” promoting the “material expansion of semiconductor manufacturing” in China or any “other foreign country of concern”. A “foreign country of concern” is defined to include China, North Korea, Russia, and Iran. The firm says in the article that Congress now has a tool with the guardrails provision to limit US investments in select sectors of foreign economies, and that it believes this could have significant implications for the future of outbound corporate investment.
GOVERNMENT CRITICS FEAR INDIA’S REVISED AML LAWS MAY BE USED AGAINST THEM
On 5 August, the Strait Times reported that a decision by the Supreme Court to uphold the powers of the country’s financial crime investigation agency has drawn flak, with legal experts concerned that the authorities can continue to detain suspects without bail on weak evidence. It has also stoked fears that critics of the government, including the opposition, may be targeted under amended laws. The BJP government claims the amendments were necessary to strengthen the Enforcement Directorate’s ability to investigate serious financial crimes. Modi’s government has used the law and the ED, which operates under the Ministry of Finance, more vigorously than its predecessors.
US: ITAR-RELATED OPEN GENERAL LICENSES AND RELATED FAQ
On 5 August, a post from Baker McKenzie reported that, in July, the Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls issued 2 Open General Licenses (OGL) permitting certain re-exports and retransfers to certain parties under the International Trade in Arms Regulations (ITAR). One OGL authorises limited re-transfers of unclassified defence articles to the Australian, Canadian, and UK governments. The second authorises re-exports of defence articles to, and among, the same recipients in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom as the first OGL. The several FAQ also issued seek to explain the use of the OGL.
MEXICAN ARCHEOLOGICAL ITEM RETURNED HOME BY BELGIAN AUTHORITIES
On 5 August, Newsroom Panama reported that the items were to be auctioned in the city of Bruges in March. However, the Mexican authorities contacted the auction house, which stopped the sale of the figures. It is reported that, in the last 4 years the Mexican Government has recovered 8,970 pieces of cultural heritage from abroad.
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