The local newspaper, La Estrella de Panama, has produced a timeline of the effects of Covid-19 on Panama from November 2019 to the end of May.
As cases have dropped to lower levels, though not have disappeared entirely, the Government has announced that the so-called “hospital hotels” are to cease being used. Since March 2020, around 23,000 patients used the 24 facilities – hotels and hostels throughout the country. In that time, 3 of the patients died. The former convention centre, converted into a temporary hospital, will continue to accept mild and moderate cases requiring quarantine.
Meanwhile, today a second case of moneypoz is reported (the first now having recovered). The 33-year-old male is said to have contracted the disease abroad.
6 AUGUST 2022
EU NOTICE: THE IMPORT BAN ON RUSSIAN CRUDE OIL AND PETROLEUM PRODUCTS AND BLENDED OIL
On 6 August, the EU Sanctions blog reported that on 3 August the EU issued a Notice saying that the ban covers Russian oil mixed with oil of other origin, unless the exact share of the non-Russian-origin oil can be clearly demonstrated, and if the proportion cannot be determined then the whole shipment is banned.
JAPAN: SCIENCE COUNCIL SAYS DRAWING LINE BETWEEN MILITARY AND CIVIL USE TECHNOLOGY IS DIFFICULT
On 28 July, The Mainichi daily published an article saying that the Science Council of Japan (SCJ) has drawn up a statement claiming that it’s become difficult to simply separate dual-use technology that can be applied to both military and civilian use from other technologies. The SCJ said that the growing significance of science and technology relating to national security, such as artificial intelligence and quantum technology, makes it difficult to impose blanket restrictions on research by discerning the possibility of a technology being diverted to military use.
INDIA: ENFORCEMENT DIRECTORATE INVESTIGATES CRYPTO EXCHANGE WAZIRX
On 5 August, Coindesk issued a video report saying that authorities had raided properties related to a director of the Mumbai-based trading platform and frozen $8.14 million in funds in connection with alleged money laundering.
COLOMBIA FIU FINDS EVIDENCE OF CRYPTO MONEY LAUNDERING
On 5 August, Citywire reported that the head of the country’s FIU Colombia had said that it had detected signs of money laundering and terrorist financing activities through the use digital assets. The comments came following the release of proposed draft rules released by the Financial Superintendence which would create an AML/CFT risk management system, including guidelines for methods of tracing crypto transactions. These were proposed to support the country’s ‘Sandbox’ initiative launched in 2021 which allows banks to work more closely with cryptocurrency exchanges to buy and sell digital assets.
UK: NATIONAL SECURITY AND INVESTMENT ACT 2021 – ORDER PREVENTING THE ACQUISITION OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RELATING TO VISION-SENSING TECHNOLOGY
A Briefing from law firm HFW has advised that, for the first time, a final order has been published under the National Security and Investment Act 2021 to block a proposed transaction, in this case the acquisition by a Chinese company of intellectual property under a licence agreement relating to vision sensing technology. This was in relation to a licence agreement which had been entered into between the University of Manchester and Beijing Infinite Vision Technology Company Ltd. The impact of the order is that it prevents the “acquisition of the intellectual property from proceeding”.
CHILE ONLINE GAMBLING LAUNCH STALLED DUE TO TAX CONCERNS
On 5 August, SBC Americas reported that Chile’s online gambling marketplace launching has stalled due to political conflicts surfacing over outstanding tax concerns. There were plans to launch the country’s regulated online gambling by 2023, which would collect $55 million in taxes per year as well as shut down 900 unlicensed websites on the black market. However, it is now stated that the proposed taxes need to be reviewed.
IRELAND: SCREENING OF THIRD COUNTRY TRANSACTIONS BILL 2022
On 4 August, Irish law firm Matheson provided an article on the Bill designed to implement the EU Screening Regulation and put in place the legal tools to screen investments by non-EU/EEA undertakings and individuals of certain key infrastructure assets with an Irish nexus, in particular concerning foreign investments into critical utilities and infrastructure sectors, high-tech and personal data focussed businesses, and media businesses. It says that the key takeaways are that this new regime involves very low thresholds, covers a wide variety of sectors and needs to be considered in parallel with merger control rules. It remains to be seen how it will be implemented in practice.
CRYPTOASSETS HELD BY INDIVIDUALS: WHAT CONSTITUTES “TRADING” FOR UK TAX PURPOSES
On 4 August, a post from CMS Law says that HMRC continues to update and expand its guidance on the taxation of cryptoassets held by individuals; and CMS law says that a series of posts will explore various tax topics relevant to individuals buying, holding and disposing of cryptoassets. This article considers what constitutes a “trade” for tax purposes.
US: ALLEGED OPERATOR OF THE ILLICIT CRYPTOCURRENCY EXCHANGE BTC-E EXTRADITED FROM GREECE
A release on Mondo Visione on 5 August was concerned with Russian national Alexander Vinnik, who has been extradited to the US to be held accountable for operating BTC-e, a criminal cryptocurrency exchange, which allegedly laundered more than $4 billion of criminal proceeds.
US: FORMER UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR SENTENCED FOR MAIL FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING AFTER LIVING AS A FUGITIVE IN IRAN AND TURKEY FOR MORE THAN A DECADE
A news release from US DoJ on 4 August advised that Parviz Sharifrazi, age 70, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, had been sentenced to 24 months in federal prison following his convictions for mail fraud and money laundering. In 2008 and 2009, he was working as an associate professor at Southern University and trying to raise money for an unrelated business venture in Iran. He and a co-defendant conceived a scheme to defraud Southern by submitting fraudulent equipment quotes in the names of fictitious vendors and causing Southern to approve the quotes, while concealing their involvement in the scheme.
RUSSIA BECOMES INDIA’S THIRD-LARGEST COAL SUPPLIER IN JULY
On 6 August, Hellenic Shipping News reported that Russia became India’s third-largest coal supplier in July, with imports rising by over a fifth compared with June to a record 2.06 million tonnes. It says that Russia has historically been the sixth-largest supplier of coal to India, behind Indonesia, South Africa, Australia, and the US, with Mozambique and Colombia alternatingly featuring in the top 5.
BIDEN ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES NEW APL LANDMINES POLICY
On 24 June, the Stimson Center reported on an announcement which comes after a comprehensive review that began in April 2021 and essentially reverses the Trump Administrations January 2020 APL policy and reverts back to the policy established by the Obama Administration in 2014. The Trump Administration policy allowed the production and use of antipersonnel landmines for future conflicts, and this approach represented a dangerous roll back decades of US practice and approach, isolated the US. Instead, the US will now no longer produce, acquire, or replace antipersonnel mines and that the US would no longer use antipersonnel landmines anywhere in the world except for the Korean Peninsula. It also pledged — outside of Korea — not to assist or otherwise encourage other countries to engage in activities prohibited by the Mine Ban Treaty and to destroy any landmine stocks not required for the defence of South Korea.
THE PRESIDENTS OF RUSSIA AND TURKEY HAVE AGREED TO TRADE IN RUBLES
On 6 August, TeleSUR reported that the presidents of Russia and Turkey signed a memorandum on the development of their trade and discussed the use of Russian Mir cards. The Mir card system is currently used in Turkey, Vietnam, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and is a Russian alternative to European and US payment systems.
THE US STATE DEPARTMENT CHILD SOLDIERS PROTECTION ACT LIST
On 27 July, the Stimson Center reported on the latest annual report which includes a list of governments that have been identified as using or recruiting child soldiers, or supporting armed groups that do. The Child Soldiers Protection Act 2008 aims to prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers worldwide by restricting the provision of certain US weapons and military assistance to countries whose governments or government-supported armed groups use or recruit child soldiers. The 2022 CSPA list includes 12 countries – Afghanistan, Burma, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iran, Mali, Russia, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. Russia is a new entry on the 2022 CSPA list – the only country to be listed for the first time this year. Several of the countries on the 2022 CSPA list have a long history of being implicated in child soldiers use – such as the DRC, Somalia and Yemen.
EU VAT ADMINISTRATIVE COOPERATION: CONSULTATION CLOSED ON 25 JULY
The EU Commission call for evidence on the framework for administrative cooperation on VAT and the fight against VAT fraud in the EU closed on 25 July. It is said that responses to the call for evidence will assist the EU Commission in its evaluation of all cooperation tools and which will focus predominantly on the provisions introduced in 2018. One of the things considered is how the rules set out in the VAT e-Commerce Package have been applied since they entered into force on 1 July 2021, since administrative cooperation on VAT is crucial for the proper functioning of the ‘one-stop-shop’.
RUSSIA’S WAR ON UKRAINE: A SANCTIONS TIMELINE
On 2 August, the Peterson Institute for International Economics published an updated version of its interactive sanctions timeline.
RUSSIAN HYPERSONIC FLIGHT SCIENTIST ARRESTED FOR TREASON
On 5 August, Newsweek reported that scientist Alexander Shipliuk, an expert in hypersonic flight, has been arrested for alleged treason, according to Russian public media. He is the director of the Siberian Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics of the Russian Academy of Sciences and becomes after his arrest the third Russian scientist arrested on suspicion of treason in recent months.
QUEEN DRAGGED INTO DIPLOMATIC ROW OVER 31 TONS OF VENEZUELAN GOLD IN A LONDON VAULT
On 6 August, The i reported that a legal battle over 31 tons of gold in a London vault has taken a new twist after the head of Venezuela’s central bank cited letters from the Queen as evidence the haul belongs to them. The president of Venezuela’s central bank, claims diplomatic letters signed by the Queen are evidence that Britain recognises the government of President Nicolas Maduro.
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