On the third day of the huge Odebrecht bribery and corruption trial in Panama City, the prosecutor detailed the payments of alleged bribes and the increase in the prices of the works affected.
14 SEPTEMBER 2022
AFGHAN FUND – ESTABLISHMENT OF FUND FOR THE PEOPLE OF AFGHANISTAN
On 14 September, the US announced the establishment in Switzerland of a fund to benefit the people of Afghanistan, $3.5 billion of Afghan central bank reserves for the benefit of the people of Afghanistan while keeping them out of the hands of the Taliban and other malign actors. The Afghan Fund will maintain its account with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) based in Switzerland.
UK: DIRECTOR DISQUALIFICATION IN RESPECT OF DISSOLVED COMPANIES IN 2022
On 13 September, an article from Herrington Carmichael LLP looks at the situation in the light of the he Rating (Coronavirus) and Director Disqualification (Dissolved Companies) Act 2021. Under the both directors and former directors of solvent companies that were dissolved are at risk of disqualification, whereas previous legislation only covered insolvent companies. The article summarises where this risk may arise. If a director or former director is deemed as unfit for company management by the court, it will be duty bound to make a disqualification order.
PANAMA: 8-YEARS JAIL SENTENCE FOR CORRUPTION CONFIRMED FOR FORMER OMBUDSMAN
On 13 September, Newsroom Panama reported that the Supreme Court had confirmed the sentence of 8 years in prison, passed in 2020, on Patria Portugal for the crime of embezzlement.
US AND CUBA: MORE EVIDENCE THAT THE HELMS-BURTON ACT IS BACKFIRING
On 7 September, a post on the Transnational Litigation Blog considered the situation re Title III of the Act, which created a civil remedy allowing US nationals to sue any person who “traffics” in property confiscated by the Cuban government for damages in an amount 3 times the value of the property. In 2019, President Trump lifted the suspension of Title III and allowed Helms-Burton claims to be filed for the first time. The post says that a recent decision shows why the statute has backfired, in a case where the court affirmed dismissal of trafficking claims against a Canadian mining company for lack of personal jurisdiction. The post argues that the decision confirms the difficulty of suing foreign corporations under Helms-Burton, and means that such litigation will continue to be concentrated against US companies that are subject to general jurisdiction in US courts.
PERSPECTIVES ON THE 2019 HAGUE JUDGMENTS CONVENTION FROM THE US AND CANADA
On 12 September, the Transnational Litigation Blog published a post about the Hague Judgments Convention, and which examines the Convention from the perspectives of the US and Canada. The United State has signed but not yet ratified it, while Canada has not yet signalled its intentions regarding the Convention, and the path to treaty implementation raises distinct issues in each country.
Meanwhile, on 8 September, a separate post looked at how California, in 2 recent cases, appears to have contravened another convention, the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters (ala the Hague Service Convention).
GUIDANCE FRAMEWORK FOR THE RESPONSIBLE USE OF THE LIFE SCIENCES INCLUDING DUAL-USE RESEARCH
On 13 September, the World Health Organization published the global guidance framework for the responsible use of the life sciences: mitigating biorisks and governing dual-use research, which aims to provide values and principles, tools and mechanisms to support Member States and key stakeholders to mitigate and prevent biorisks and govern dual-use research. The framework adopts the One health approach and focuses on the role that responsible life sciences research can play in preventing and mitigating risks caused by accidents, inadvertent or deliberate misuse with the intention to cause harm to humans, nonhuman animals, plants and agriculture, and the environment. The framework is primarily intended for those who have responsibilities in the governance of biorisks, such as policy makers and regulators in charge of developing national policies to harness the potential benefits of the life sciences while constraining their risks – and is also directed towards scientists and research institutions, educators, trainers, project management staff, funding bodies, publishers, editors, security actors, the private sector and all relevant stakeholders that are part of the research life cycle.
BULKER SHIP STUCK IN LATVIA FOR 6 MONTHS DUE TO RUSSIAN SANCTIONS
On 13 September, Maritime Executive reported that a bulker vessel has been caught in a legal trap due to the sanctions against Russian interests. The 62,500 dwt Asian Majesty, registered in Singapore and operated by U-Ming Marine of Taiwan, has been anchored in the Gulf of Riga, Latvia since March 2022 caught in limbo with even the Latvia authorities unable to find a path to release the ship.
SAUDI AUTHORITIES ARREST AROUND 150 SMUGGLERS IN NARCOTICS BUST
On 14 September, Al Arabiya reported that Saudi Arabia’s border security patrols have seized a haul of narcotics across several locations across the country and arrested 146 smugglers. Border guards seized more than 48.6 tons of the narcotic plant khat, more than 1.5 tons of hashish and 634,000 tablets of amphetamine.
EUROPEAN CRITICAL RAW MATERIALS ACT
A news release from the EU on 14 September says that the proposed Act should provide a shared understanding of which critical raw materials can be considered as particularly strategic. This requires setting criteria for identifying raw materials which are of particular strategic relevance for our twin transition and defence needs, including economic importance, supply concentration, strategic applications and forecasted supply gaps. This, it is said, would give a much-needed signal to private investors on priority needs and guide European and national efforts.
CRIMINAL CROSSROADS: DRUGS, PORTS & CORRUPTION IN THE DOMINICAN REPOUBLIC
On 7 September, Insight Crime published a 3-part series of articles which look at the infrastructure, the trafficking networks, and the corruption facilitating organised crime in the Dominican Republic.
ECUADOR: GHOST COMPANIES AND TAX FRAUD
On 9 September, a 19-minute video from the Centre for European Policy Research considers the problem of fake companies that issue fake receipts so that clients can claim fraudulent tax deductions. The video looks at how the tax authority in Ecuador recouped lost revenues.
FORMER ENGLAND FEMALE FOOTBALL PLAYER TURNED DRUG GANG ACCOUNTANT LIVED HIGH LIFE
On 14 September, the Daily Post reported that Faye Dunn, 38, a former England footballer, who became a money launderer for a drug gang, enjoyed the high life with her then partner. She had been jailed for 3 years and 9 months for money laundering for a criminal drug gang.
UAE: DUE DILIGENCE REGULATIONS FOR RESPONSIBLE SOURCING OF GOLD
The UAE Ministry of Economy has published this guidance which applies to all Regulated Entities established and/or operating in the territory of the UAE and all commercial free zones and the members of their boards of directors, management and employees. Specifically, and without prejudice to the definition of a DNFBP, the relevant regulations are applicable to all such natural and legal persons involved in the activity of refining.
AUSTRALIA: GOVERNMENT EXPECTS CORRUPTION BILL TO BE ON SCHEDULE
On 12 September, the New Daily reported that the government insists it will establish an anti-corruption commission by year’s end, as Prime Minister Anthony Albanese holds the line against critics who say a planned fortnight of mourning the Queen’s death will be too disruptive.
PODCAST: LEONID VOLKOV, ALEXEI NAVALNY’S CHIEF OF STAFF
In the latest TRACE podcast, Leonid Volkov joins the podcast to talk about Putin’s obsessive campaign against Navalny, who was first poisoned with Novichok and later imprisoned. Volkov also discusses the deep roots of corruption in Russia and how the west can support Russians determined to end the looting of their country. (This episode was originally published in 2021).
EUROPE’S SHIFT FROM RUSSIAN OIL CREATING ‘MASSIVE STIMULUS’ FOR TANKERS
On 12 September, Seatrade Maritime News reported that tankers generally, but VLCC in particular, will benefit spectacularly as Europe’s energy trades transform and the ban on Russian crude oil imports comes into effect in December.
CLAIMS AGAINST CRYPTO EXCHANGES: THE NEXT BATTLEGROUND IN CRYPTO ASSET FRAUD?
On 14 September, an Insight from Field Fisher reported that a recent case before the High Court in England held that crypto currency exchanges can hold crypto assets on constructive trust for a defrauded claimant and that claimant may have an action for breach of trust against the exchange and a direct avenue to seek relief against the exchange in the event the exchange fails to comply with duties of trustees when put on notice that they may hold the proceeds of a fraud. The article looks at the potential legal battlegrounds that could be fought between a defrauded claimant and a crypto exchange, in particular which claims a claimant could make against an exchange and how these might be defended.
ITALY: 5 PEOPLE ARRESTED FOR SMUGGLING MIGRANTS INTO WESTERN EUROPE ON PRIVATE JETS
On 14 September, the BBC reported that the suspects gave the migrants fake diplomatic papers for the Caribbean nation of St Kitts and Nevis. Private jets, officially heading to the Caribbean, took them from Turkey to a stopover at a European airport, where the migrants declared their real identity and claimed asylum. Police believe the gang charged about €10,000 per person. The 5 suspects have been arrested in Rome and Brussels and 2 other suspects are still on the run.
US: 2022 STATE-BY-STATE RANKING OF CANNABIS REGULATIONS
On 14 September, an article from Thompson Coburn LLP provides a holistic review of the current cannabis laws in every state including the District of Columbia, from favourable to cannabis businesses to most restrictive.
GERMANY BANS 1,700-STRONG ‘ROCKER’ GANG FOR VIOLENT CRIME LINKS
On 14 September, the Guardian reported that a group of rockers, United Tribuns – a subculture of leather-clad bikers and others who often flout the law – has been banned by Germany’s interior ministry over its links to violence and organised crime. Police raided 50 addresses said to be connected to the group.
Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!
At Buy me a Coffee single contributions start as low as $3, at