OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – AUGUST 12

Having, so far, avoided the effects of the recent month-long protests here (except for the temporary banana shortage in the supermarkets…), even after a trip into the interior, it was interesting to see an article in Americans Quarterly about the background to the protests.

https://www.americasquarterly.org/article/in-panama-protesters-want-deeper-reform/

Hopefully, there will not being any trouble getting to the ruins of the original Panama City, Panama Viejo, burned down following an attack by the pirate Henry Morgan. This weekend sees the 503rd anniversary celebrations. As it is (almost) within walking distance from us, at least we should make it.

As well as the price control for a longer list of essential food stuffs etc, following the protests, another Decree requires the reduction of 170 medicines by 30%, though the chamber of commerce has asked for implementation to be delayed.

Meanwhile, on the Covid-19 front, the health ministry reported that 75% of those hospitalised are over 60 years old with an incomplete vaccination schedule and with at least one underlying chronic disease.

12 AUGUST 2022

UK: GOVERNMENT PLANS FOR REFORM TO TACKLE STRATEGIC LAWSUITS AGAINST PUBLIC PARTICIPATION (SLAPP)

On 11 August, Travers Smith LLP published an article about a package of measures designed to tackle the increased use of SLAPP in the courts of England and Wales.  the package sets out high-level plans for a new mechanism for the early dismissal of SLAPPs, and a new cost-capping regime to deter powerful actors from silencing critics through protracted and expensive litigation. In July, the MoJ published a summary of the results of its consultation and concluded that there was robust evidence of the existence of SLAPP and associated behaviours in England and Wales.  Explaining the plans, the article says that it remains to be seen whether the proposals can effectively ensure that the reforms don’t stifle legitimate reporting, and don’t prevent individual and corporate actors from legitimately protecting their interests.

https://www.traverssmith.com/knowledge/knowledge-container/government-plans-for-reform-to-tackle-strategic-lawsuits-against-public-participation-slapps-in-england-and-wales/

LETTER TO OVERSEAS ENTITIES WHO OWN OR LEASE PROPERTY OR LAND IN THE UK

On 10 August, Companies House announced that a letter had been sent  to overseas entities who already own or lease property or land in the UK and must register information with Companies House by 31 January, concerning the Register of Overseas Entities which came into being in the UK on 1 August.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/letter-to-overseas-entities-who-own-or-lease-property-or-land-in-the-uk

RUSSIA SANCTIONS: UK HIGH COURT HAS GRANTED THE ADMINISTRATORS OF PETROPAVLOVSK PLC PERMISSION TO ENTER INTO A SALE AND PURCHASE AGREEMENT 

On 12 August, the EU Sanctions blog reported that the English holding company that owns gold mining and exploration entities operating in eastern Russia was unable to pay its debts following the imposition of Russia sanctions.  Its administrators were granted permission to enter into a sale and purchase agreement (SPA) with UMMC-Invest to prevent the company’s collapse, and it was held that the urgency of the case and the expected lead time meant that the court should not withhold relief pending a licence from OFSI.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2022/08/uk-high-court-grants-petropavlovsk-administrators-permission-to-enter-into-sale/

IRELAND RANKS HIGHEST IN FRAUD RISK IN EUROPE

On 9 August, Reg Tech Analyst reported that Ireland has the highest fraud risk index in Europe with a rating of 7.44, according to research from a payment processing information service.  It is also second in terms of the amount of money lost to fraud per 1,000 cards at €5,145.  However, the UK has the highest number of fraud cases per 1,000 inhabitants, and France recorded the highest fraud value and volume per 1,000 cards.

https://member.regtechanalyst.com/ireland-ranks-highest-in-fraud-risk-in-europe/

INSIDE KAZAKHSTAN’S GIANT CRYPTO-MINE

Worth a look is a 3½-minute video from the BBC, released on 31 January, showing inside a vast “mine” containing 50,000 computers in the desert near the northern city of Ekibastuz.

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/technology-60148754

US: URANIUM MINING COMPANY BUYING UP HOMES TO AVOID HAVING TO CLEAN UP WASTE FROM DECADES OF URANIUM PROCESSING

On 8 August, ProPublica reported on Homestake in north-west New Mexico where there is said to be 22 million tons of uranium waste left over from milling ore to supply power plants and nuclear bombs.  Beginning in 1958, a uranium mill owned by Homestake Mining Company of California processed and refined ore mined nearby.  The waste it left behind leaked uranium and selenium into groundwater and released the cancer-causing gas radon into the air.  The mill closed in 1990 and regulators have failed to hold the company to account when it missed clean-up targets, and now the company is bulldozing a community in order to walk away.

https://www.propublica.org/article/new-mexico-uranium-homestake-pollution

CRYPTO’S COLLAPSE DEALS NEW CHALLENGE FOR REGULATORS IN SINGAPORE

On 11 August, the Wall Street Journal reported on problems for Singapore, 2 years after it opened its doors to cryptocurrency firms.  Crypto brokers, lenders, exchanges and blockchain companies flocked to the financial hub after it enacted a regulatory framework for payment services in early 2020, although only about a dozen of applications had been approved before the recent problems in the market.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/cryptos-collapse-deals-new-challenge-for-regulators-in-singapore-11660210380

AFTER UKRAINE, IS KAZAKHSTAN NEXT IN THE KREMLIN’S SIGHTS?

An article from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on 10 August posed this question arguing that a recent social media post by former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev warning that northern Kazakhstan could be next in line after Ukraine was quickly taken down, but it reflects the mindset of Russian hawks and is entirely in keeping with Russian political dialogue, where few taboos remain.  It points out that Kazakhstan is generally regarded as Russia’s closest ally after Belarus, but since the outbreak of war many in Russia have regarded Kazakhstan’s actions as being unworthy of an ally.  It has adhered to Western sanctions against Russia and its President stated that Kazakhstan would not be recognising the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics”.   Kazakh authorities also sent humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

https://carnegieendowment.org/eurasiainsight/87652

DATA PROTECTION: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CHINA’S DRAFT SCC FOR DATA EXPORT

On 11 August, an article from Bird & Bird said that, on 30 June, the Cyberspace Administration of China released a draft of the long-awaited standard contract for personal information export and an accompanying regulation for public consultation.  The article highlights the key provisions of the draft standard contract and relevant regulation and set out observations on the proposed measures.

https://www.twobirds.com/en/insights/2022/china/what-you-need-to-know-about-chinas-draft-sccs-for-data-export

THE UK HAS REMOVED 20 FOREIGN CRIMINALS ON A CHARTER FLIGHT TO ALBANIA

On 12 August, the Home Office published a news release saying that the foreign national offenders removed had received combined prison sentences of more than 46 years and were convicted of crimes including possession with intent to supply class A drugs, possession of an offensive weapon in a public place and production of a class B drug.  Since January 2019, to the year ending December 2021, the UK has removed 10,741 foreign national offenders.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/foreign-criminals-and-illegal-entrants-to-the-uk-removed-to-albania

THIRD COUNTRIES ALIGN WITH EU TERRORISM SANCTIONS

A news release from the EU on 11 August advised that North Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, Ukraine, Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland and Liechtenstein have agreed to align with recent changes to terrorism sanctions on 18 July under Council Decision (CFSP) 2022/1241.

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2022/08/11/declaration-by-the-high-representative-on-behalf-of-the-eu-on-the-alignment-of-certain-countries-with-council-decision-cfsp-2022-1241-on-the-application-of-specific-measures-to-combat-terrorism/

AUSTRALIAN-BORN JUDGE RELEASED FROM IMMIGRATION DETENTION IN KIRIBATI

On 12 August, the Guardian reported on the situation in Kiribati, saying that David Lambourne, who serves on the high court of Kiribati, was detained after a failed attempt by the Kiribati government to deport him. Lambourne is a long-time Kiribati resident and was formerly the solicitor-general.  With Lambourne and another judge suspended, and the commission of 2 court of appeal judges shortly expiring, Kiribati is on the verge of having no functional judiciary.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/aug/12/australian-born-judge-held-in-detention-in-kiribati-despite-court-ordering-his-release

Meanwhile, ABC News carried an article on 11 August –

Fewer than 120,000 people inhabit Kiribati yet they apparently hold $682 million in Australian banks

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-08-12/tax-evasion-common-reporting-standard-ato-bank-accounts-kiribati/101317140

RUSSIAN OIL PRODUCTION FALLS LESS THAN 3% AS SANCTIONS HAVE ‘LIMITED’ EFFECT

On 11 August, the Guardian reported that Russian oil production has fallen by less than 3% since the invasion of Ukraine, with sanctions having only a “limited” effect, the International Energy Agency has found.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/aug/11/russia-oil-production-sanctions-limited-effect-ukraine-war

UK: HIGH COURT RESTRAINING ORDER OVER NFT CONFIRMS THEM TO BE “PROPERTY” UNDER ENGLISH LAW

On 11 August, an article from Eversheds Sutherland was concerned with a recent case involving a decision which is a further example of the English Courts’ willingness to develop and apply existing case law to contemporaneous disputes, in this case in relation to crypto assets and persons unknown who might be out of the jurisdiction (a common feature of such cases) to ensure victims have a timely means of tracing and recovering stolen assets.

https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/Financial-services-and-dispute-investigation/High_Court_confirms_that_NFTs_are_property_for_the_purposes_of_English_law_and_are_deemed_located

UK REGULATION OF THE CRYPTOASSET INDUSTRY 

On 11 August, an article from Corker Bining said that the regulation began some time ago.  In January 2020, UK cryptoasset businesses became obliged to register with the FCA for the purposes of the Money Laundering Regulations, thus putting them on the path to a level playing field with banks and other financial services institutions with regard to AML obligations.

https://corkerbinning.com/cryptoassets-and-the-campaign-of-uk-regulators/

UK: THE JETSET TYCOON, THE TORY COUNCIL, AND THE MISSING £138 MILLION OF TAXPAYERS’ MONEY

On 11 August, the Good Law Project said that a Conservative council has been accused of misusing half a billion pounds of taxpayers’ money, with £138 million of that cash now seemingly unaccounted for.  It says that, through a series of secretive deals involving public money, Thurrock Council is believed to have invested a staggering £665 million into a local businessman’s ventures over the course of 4 years, with money used to buy dozens of solar farms more than a hundred miles away.

https://goodlawproject.org/news/tycoon-tory-missing-138m/

FRENCH COURT PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION INTO SUSPICIONS OF MONEY LAUNDERING AND TAX EVASION INVOLVING FORMER CZECH PRIME MINISTER ANDREJ BABIŠ

On 12 August, Radio Prague International reported that the French Court for the Investigation of Serious Criminal Activities has opened a preliminary investigation into suspicions of money laundering and tax evasion in connection with the purchase of real estate in France by the former Prime Minister.  It is investigating the circumstances under which Babiš acquired 2 properties in southern France.

https://english.radio.cz/french-court-evaluates-whether-babis-guilty-tax-evasion-8758531

DUTCH AUTHORITIES ARREST SUSPECTED TORNADO CASH DEVELOPER

On 12 August, Investing.com reported that authorities in the Netherlands have arrested a developer that is suspected to be involved in money laundering through the crypto mixing service Tornado Cash.

https://www.investing.com/news/cryptocurrency-news/dutch-authorities-arrest-suspected-tornado-cash-developer-2871393

IUU FISHING

Windward has produced this white paper which is said to feature Windward’s proprietary, AI-driven data and behavioural insights to help one better understand the world of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.  This is designed to help in protecting a nation’s EEZ, intersecting jurisdictions, and international waters (where applicable) from illicit activities and environmental crimes. 

Percentage of IUU hot spots June 2021-June 2022

https://windward.ai/read/illuminating-iuu-fishing

GUATEMALA’S MARCH TOWARD AUTHORITARIANISM

An article from Americas Quarterly on 10 August commented on the situation in Guatemala and its move towards autocracy and kleptocracy, including an effort to neutralise independent journalism as well as civil society and Indigenous organisations.   The article says that the broad US application of Magnitsky Act human rights and corruption sanctions to Guatemala would help, as would multilateral trade sanctions on certain industries.

https://americasquarterly.org/article/guatemalas-march-toward-authoritarianism/

RUSSIA CAN’T FIGHT A WAR AND STILL ARM THE WORLD

On 12 August, an article in Foreign Affairs says that Russia has lost hundreds of planes, tanks, and armoured vehicles in Ukraine.  The longer the war continues, the more challenging the situation will be for Russia’s defence industrial base, which is being targeted by unprecedented Western sanctions and export controls.  The article contends that these strains are likely to have long-term implications for Russia’s ability to project power abroad, especially in the Middle East, where it has long competed with the US and Europe as a major supplier of advanced weapons and spare parts.

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/russian-federation/russia-cant-fight-war-and-still-arm-world

THE BLADED ‘NINJA’ MISSILE USED TO KILL AL-QAIDA LEADER IS PART OF A SCARY NEW GENERATION OF UNREGULATED WEAPONS

On 5 August, an article in The Conversation about a variant of the Hellfire missile, originally conceived in the 1970s and 80s to destroy Soviet tanks.  Rapid improvements from the 1990s onwards have resulted in multiple variants with different capabilities, including the Hellfire R9X “Ninja”.  It is not new, though it has remained largely in the shadows for 5 years. It does not rely on an explosive warhead, but uses the speed, accuracy and kinetic energy of a 100 lb missile fired from up to 20,000 feet, armed with 6 blades which deploy in the last moments before impact.

https://theconversation.com/bladed-ninja-missile-used-to-kill-al-qaida-leader-is-part-of-a-scary-new-generation-of-unregulated-weapons-188316

RANSOMWARE NOW THREATENS THE GLOBAL SOUTH

On 12 August, a Commentary from RUSI argues that increased targeting of developing and middle-income countries by ransomware actors presents a challenge to political resilience, economic development and global cyber security; and a spate of ransomware targeting countries in the Global South has demonstrated an evolution in attackers’ tactics.  It says that high-income countries have an economic and moral interest in ensuring ransomware does not create significant disruptions in middle-income and developing countries.  It explains that there are likely a number of push and pull factors that have incentivised ransomware operators to diversify their targeting to include more victims in the Global South.

https://rusi.org/explore-our-research/publications/commentary/ransomware-now-threatens-global-south

US REVISION OF CCL AND EAR TO IMPLEMENT CONTROLS ON TECHNOLOGIES

On 12 August, KPMG reported that the Commerce Department Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has released for publication in the Federal Register an interim final rule revising the Commerce Control List (CCL), as well as corresponding parts of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), to implement controls on 4 technologies that reflect certain controls decided by governments participating in the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies.

https://home.kpmg/us/en/home/insights/2022/08/tnf-us-revision-ccl-ear-implement-controls-technologies.html

FEDERAL REGISTER NOTICE PROVIDES NEW INFORMATION ON THE UFLPA ENTITY LIST

On 11 August, Miller & Chevalier issued a Trade Compliance Flash advising details of a Notice which announces entities added to the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) Entity List, outlines a process for the addition of further entities to the List, and sets forth how entities may petition for removal from the List.

https://www.millerchevalier.com/publication/trade-compliance-flash-federal-register-notice-provides-new-information-uflpa-entity

JAPAN SCREENS FOREIGN RESEARCHERS FOR ESPIONAGE RISKS

In its 13 August edition, Nikkei Asia reported that getting into Japan has become harder for international researchers and students – and not just because of the coronavirus.  New disclosure rules require applicants to provide information on where they have travelled and who is paying for their stay. 
This added layer of scrutiny is part of the government’s effort to stem outflows of valuable research findings and technology.  China offers lucrative incentives for scientists who can bring such advantages to the country.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Japan-immigration/Japan-screens-foreign-researchers-for-espionage-risks

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https://www.iomtoday.co.im/news/multi-million-pound-fraudster-with-connections-to-island-is-jailed-559146

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GAFILAT GLOSSARY OF SPANISH AML/CFT TERMS

Useful, as it can be confusing to those of us used to English-language acronyms and abbreviations, such as FIU (which can be UIF) and FATF (GAFI)

https://www.gafilat.org/index.php/es/biblioteca-virtual/gafilat/glosario/3871-template-gafilat-glosario/file

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ANONYMOUS CHINESE SHIPOWNER SPENDS $376 MILLION ON 13 TANKERS FOR RUSSIAN SHIP-TO-SHIP TRANSFER HUB

On 9 August, Lloyds List reported that these are intended for a transhipment hub established mid-Atlantic to consolidate Russia-origin oil cargoes and described as “high risk”.  Lloyds List says that it has identified the use of many separate but interconnected single-ship shelf companies, and says that all the ships are aged 15 years or older, precluding them from chartering by most oil majors, as well being unable to secure conventional financing, suggesting the beneficial owner is cash rich.

https://lloydslist.maritimeintelligence.informa.com/LL1141873/Anonymous-Chinese-shipowner-spends-$376m-on-tankers-for-Russian-STS-hub

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INTER-AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK (IDB) DEBARS BRAZILIAN CONSTRUCTION COMPANY FOR CORRUPT AND FRAUDULENT PRACTICES RELATED TO A PROJECT IN BRAZIL

On 11 August, a post on the FCPA Blog advised that the Sociedad Anónima de Obras y Servicios Copasa do Brasil (Copasa) is ineligible to participate in projects and operations financed by the IDB during the 18-month debarment.  The ban also applies to projects funded by the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the African Development Bank.

https://fcpablog.com/2022/08/11/idb-debars-construction-company-for-failure-to-prevent-bribery/

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SEAFOOD FRAUD A GROWING INTERNATIONAL PROBLEM IMPACTING FOOD SAFETY

On 9 August, an article from SeafoodSource reported that a new study published in Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety found that seafood fraud is a growing international problem impacting food safety.  The study examined seafood fraud incidents over the past 10 years in order to analyse the types of fraud that commonly occur.  More than half of the issues reported across all 4 datasets involved the presence of illegal or unauthorized veterinary residues in seafood originating from Asia. 

https://www.seafoodsource.com/news/food-safety-health/seafood-fraud-a-growing-international-problem-impacting-food-safety-study-finds

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MEXICAN EX-PRESIDENT PEÑA NIETO PROBED FOR MONEY LAUNDERING

On 12 August, OCCRP reported that the office of Mexico’s attorney general said it has launched an investigation into former President Enrique Peña Nieto, weeks after a local anti-money laundering agency filed complaints against him for money laundering and illicit enrichment.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/16658-mexican-ex-president-pena-nieto-probed-for-money-laundering

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