As it is rumoured that the Panamanian Government is to announce an end to the pandemic, as has already happened int he US, the latest weekly statistics have been released. In the whole week, only 3 new fatalities were reported. 1,580 new cases have been reported, with a positivity rate of 5.7% (down from 7% last week). The number of active cases is down 1, 189 to 2,260, with 7 in ICU (down from 13 last week) and 75 in other wards (down 10).
20 SEPTEMBER 2022
THE ECONOMIC SUBSTANCE TEST: DIRECTED AND MANAGED IN THE UAE
On 17 September, Afridi & Angeli published an article about the Economic Substance Regulations of April 2019 (as amended) which imposed a number of reporting requirements for virtually all private companies in the UAE. Despite their relative newness, the Ministry of Finance has already started issuing heavy fines for companies which are not compliant with the regulations. Saying that the Ministry of Finance will apply the Economic Substance Test set out in Article 6 of the Regulations, the article explains what this means. It is recommended that companies genuinely attempt to direct their businesses from within the UAE rather than becoming satellite holding companies for businesses conducted in other countries.
AUSTRALIA: AFP CONFISCATES MORE THAN $600 MILLION IN CRIMINAL ASSETS AHEAD OF TARGET DATE
On 15 September, Nyman Gibson Miralis reported that the Australian Federal Police Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce (CACT) set an ambitious target in February 2020 to restrain $600 million worth of assets by the end of the 2024 financial year, and this target has been achieved ahead of schedule. Based on a press release from the AFP, the article provides details about the CACT and its asset confiscation and investigatory powers, and outlines some of its key achievements in stripping assets from criminals.
THE ROLE OF THE PRIVY COUNCIL AND THE BENEFITS THAT IT OFFERS AS A FINAL APPELLATE COURT TO THE BRITISH OVERSEAS TERRITORIES
On 16 September, Conyers published an article explaining the role of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, which was first established in 1833 and still serves as the highest court of appeal for several Commonwealth countries (including Jamaica, Grenada, the Bahamas and Trinidad & Tobago), 3 Crown Dependencies (Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man), and 14 British Overseas Territories (including Bermuda, the BVI and the Cayman Islands). It considers criticisms of, and advantages of, using the Court, concluding that it remains an important and valuable selling point for jurisdictions such as Bermuda, the BVI and the Cayman Islands.
JERSEY INTRODUCES ON US-STYLE LLC
On 16 September, Carey Olsen reported that, as of this month, Jersey has enacted the Limited Liability Companies (Jersey) Law 2018 which permits the formation of US-style “limited liability companies” (LLC). This follows the recent introduction of LLC to both the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.
KAZAKHSTAN CRACKS DOWN ON SANCTIONS-HIT RUSSIAN TRUCKERS
On 20 September, Devdiscourse said that imports from the EU to Kazakhstan by road usually go via Russia and Belarus and have traditionally been done mostly by Russian freight companies. With them being barred from entering the EU, Russian and Belarusian truckers have been switching loads on the Belarus border. Kazakhstan had demanded paperwork for the EU leg of the shipment, which they could not present, but temporarily lifted the requirement in the Summer. However, Kazakhstan has now said it would fully enforce the rules.
ELON MUSK SAID STARLINK WILL REQUEST EXEMPTIONS FROM IRAN SANCTIONS TO PROVIDE INTERNET SERVICES
On 20 September, MSN reported that Space X CEO Elon Musk will seek exemption from sanctions against Iran to provide internet service.
KOREA AND THAILAND CONDUCT JOINT CRACKDOWN ON DRUG SMUGGLING
On 20 September, the Korea Times reported that the customs agencies of Korea and Thailand have carried out a joint crackdown on drug smuggling and confiscated a large amount of methamphetamine and other narcotics. They confiscated 22 kg of methamphetamine, some 290,000 tablets of yaba, a combination of meth and caffeine, and other types of drugs following their 4-month operation that kicked off in May. The crackdown came as drug smuggling from Thailand and other SE Asian countries has spiked in recent years.
ODEBRECHT CASE: HOW THE CONTROVERSIAL HEARING IN PANAMA IS GOING
On 19 September, ECO TV Panama provided a brief update on the ongoing corruption case, with a total of 83 accused, including 2 former Presidents of the Republic.
US LIMITS EXPORT OF FENTANYL TO RUSSIA, CALLING IT A POTENTIAL WEAPON
On 15 September, the Washington Post reported that the US has strictly limited the export of fentanyl and related chemicals to Russia, saying that they “may be useful” as chemical weapons to support Russia’s “military aggression”, and sales to Russia and Belarus will now require an export licence.
UK: HOW TO FIND OUT IF A BUSINESS HAS REGISTERED WITH HMRC UNDER THE MONEY LAUNDERING REGULATIONS AND REPORT THEM IF THEY HAVE NOT
On 20 September, HMRC provided updated information, but warns that confirmation that a business is registered with HMRC is not an endorsement for you to enter into any commercial transactions with the business.
UK: DETAILS OF DELIBERATE TAX DEFAULTERS
On 20 September, HMRC issued the latest list of deliberate tax defaulters.
32 SUSPECTS TIED TO THE ITALIAN ‘NDRANGHETA ARRESTED IN SPAIN
On 20 September, a news release from Europol advised that the arrests were for involvement in large-scale drug trafficking and money laundering. They follow a complex investigation initiated by the Spanish Civil Guard who worked on this case together with the Italian Carabinieri and Guardia di Finanza, with the support of Europol and Eurojust.
THAILAND: CANNABIS BILL WITHDRAWN
On 16 September, TJI reported that a Bill to regulate the wider use of cannabis in Thailand has been sent back to the drafting committee for further revision.
IS CANNABIS LEGALISATION TO COME TO GERMANY NEXT YEAR?
On 19 September, TJI reported that the federal finance minister has plans, but the federal drug commissioner had said as recently as July that it was unlikely the cannabis legalisation law would come into force before 2024.
UK: PROPERTY RIGHTS, CRYPTO TOKENS AND DIGITAL ASSETS – 8 PREDICTIONS
A post on the UK Human Rights blog on 16 September offers a number of predictions about the future direction of English law on digital assets.
UK: TIME FOR INTERCEPT EVIDENCE TO BE ADMISSIBLE IN COURT?
On 19 September, an article in the Law Society Gazette posed this question, saying that intercepts remain inadmissible as evidence, which makes the jurisdiction an outlier. It asks if it is time to allow their use, when this could boost transparency and build public confidence? It observes that, using loopholes, it is sometimes possible to admit intercepts as evidence in English courts – such as in the EncroChat case, where the intercepts were obtained lawfully abroad.
ITALY: €2 MILLION SEIZED IN FRAUD CASE INVOLVING EU AGRICULTURAL FUNDS
A news release from the European Public Prosecutors Office on 16 September advised that the funds had been seized from an Italian company, which is active in the wine sector, and which is suspected of having fraudulently obtained EU funds related to the promotion of agricultural products within and outside the EU.
THE NEW EU AML/CFT SUPERVISION MODEL: EXPECTATIONS V FEASIBILITY
A news release from the EU on 16 September reported a speech by an EU Commissioner at the European Court of Auditors summit. He says that currently EU AML rules are based on Directives – which are transposed into national law; and that this has led to differences between Member States and indeed delays in implementation. Within these Directives, the rules laid out are not sufficiently granular, and there is not enough convergence; and there is not enough coordination at EU level. He goes on to consider a new EU Regulation and Directive, creating a new and better structure.
GERMANY’S IGNORED TRANSNATIONAL ORGANISED CRIME RISK?
On 16 September, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime said that Germany has a high score for having “mafia style” criminal groups – foreign and domestic, such as the Italian mafia, Russian-Eurasian organised crime groups, biker gangs and the so-called clan organisations. The article says that law enforcement needs to engage new strategies to successfully combat these structures, as an ‘external’ criminal threat within the country and beyond.
BNY MELLON, WARBURG GROUP, DEUTSCHE BANK TO PAY $60 MILLION IN ‘CUM-EX’ CASE
On 18 September, Yahoo News reported that the Bank of New York Mellon Corp, Germany’s Warburg Group and Deutsche Bank will pay €60 million to German tax authorities over the country’s “cum-ex” tax scandal – involving a scheme under which banks and investors would swiftly trade shares of companies around their dividend pay-out day, blurring stock ownership and allowing multiple parties to falsely reclaim tax rebates on the dividends.
WHY IS AUSTRALIA’S FINANCIAL CRIMES WATCHDOG INVESTIGATING THE PERTH MINT?
On 18 September, ABC News sought to explain the background to the investigation, saying that Australia’s financial crimes authority, AUSTRAC, is investigating the state-owned Perth Mint in a move that could have wide-reaching ramifications, not only for the WA government, but also for taxpayers. It asks what is the gold refiner suspected of doing wrong, and what’s the possible fallout?
US: PARTNERSHIP WITH ITALIAN AUTHORITIES LEADS TO ARTWORK RETURN
On 16 September, the FBI reported, in Part 2 of a 2-part article, how the FBI Art Crime Team agents recently returned several pieces of historical artwork back to their rightful owners — the Italian government.
THE SMUGGLING OF ANCIENT ANTIQUITIES: GOVERNMENTS AND ART WORLD URGED TO COLLABORATE TO END ILLICIT TRADE
On 14 September, Finance Uncovered published a report saying that the process of recovering items is complex. The international art market is notorious for its lack of regulation, thin documentation, and opacity. The article mentions Cambodia’s recent successes at recovering its stolen cultural treasures are the result of a decade-long campaign by a relics recovery team that is currently tracking more than 2,000 relics believed to be abroad in private collections and museums.
FIU – FinTech COOPERATION AND ASSOCIATED CYBERCRIME TYPOLOGIES AND RISKS
In July, the Egmont Group of FIU published this report, explaining what fintech is, legal regulatory frameworks, tools, risks and potential offences.
MORE THAN 2,000 BRITISH COMPANIES CONTINUE DOING BUSINESS WITH RUSSIA
On 20 September, the You Control website claimed that research shows that the total number of Russian business companies whose founders are British residents is 2,370; and that there are almost 5 times as many Russian companies in Britain as there are British companies in Russia.
NORTH KOREAN IT WORKERS SELL THEIR SKILLS ON FREELANCE PLATFORM UPWORK
On 20 September, NK Pro reported that, according to the UN Panel of Experts, DPRK allegedly hired Russians to create accounts for North Koreans to evade sanctions, using a US freelancing website.
UK: HMRC WILL CONTINUE RUNNING ITS CHIEF CUSTOMS SYSTEM BEYOND THE 30 SEPTEMBER DEADLINE, AMID DIFFICULTIES MIGRATING TRADERS TO THE NEW CDS
On 20 September, Loadstar reported that CHIEF was expected to be switched off for imports at the end of the month, as the new Customs Declaration Service (CDS) came into effect, with CHIEF continuing for exports until next year. However, it has been reported that CHIEF would remain operational for those unable to switch to CDS. In June, The Loadstar reported that as many as 220,000 businesses had not registered with CDS; and it seems much of the slow take-up was not down to trader intransigence, but difficulties in the registration process.
ISLE OF MAN CATCHES UP WITH UK SANCTIONS ANNOUNCEMENTS – RUSSIA, LIBYA, NORTH KOREA
On 20 September, 3 news releases from the Isle of Man advised of changes that follow recent corresponding changes to UK sanctions lists.
RUSSIAN OIL: UNDERSTANDING OFAC EARLY GUIDANCE AND RECOMMENDED TECHNOLOGIES
On 14 September, Windward published a post about the OFAC guidance on implementation of a maritime services policy and related price exception for seaborne Russian oil. It says that, as with an earlier Advosry, this new guidance concerns itself with highlighting illicit maritime activities.
EU’S TOP COURT OVERTURNS GERMAN DATA-RETENTION LAW
On 20 September, EU Observer reported that Germany’s privacy-invasive data-retention law is not compatible with EU law, according to the European Court of Justice. The German law was considered highly controversial because it required telecom operators to store users’ data for 4 or 10 weeks and make this data available to law enforcement authorities on request.
COURT CASE CONFIRMS ONCE AGAIN THE DIFFICULTIES FACED BY UK DEFENDANTS IN BRINGING INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL TORT CLAIMS TO AN EARLY CONCLUSION
An article from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner on 20 September was concerned with a case before the Court of Appeal in London and involving mining company BHP. This being an example of environmental group claims against UK-registered parent companies relating to incidents and damage suffered elsewhere as a result of their subsidiary’s operations. It is said that the case serves as a reminder of the tough challenge presented to UK-registered parent companies by such cases.
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