The Panamanian Government has announced the extension of the fuel subsidy until (at least) 15 January – petrol is currently $3.25 per gallon.
In other news, the first 1,400 doses of monkeypox vaccine have arrived – to date just 16 cases have been detected in the country.
The latest Covid-19 update shows that 725 new cases were added in the week to 15 October (at one time, of course, that weekly figure would have been a modest daily one – the highest number of daily cases during the week was 184). In some good news, just 1 new fatality was reported, and test results fell slightly to 3.3%.
After a local newspaper announced recently that former President Martinelli remains the most popular politician both in panama and Central America as a whole (though I am told that newspaper is also owned by Martinelli…), La Prensa, which is no friend of his, has published a report linking Odebrecht bribery money to his Super 99 supermarket company.
17 OCTOBER 2022
AMERICAN EXECUTIVES IN LIMBO AT CHINESE CHIP COMPANIES AFTER US BAN
On 16 October, the Wall Street Journal reported on the plight of American workers who hold key positions throughout China’s domestic chip industry. Now, those workers are in limbo under new US export control rules that prohibit US citizens from supporting China’s advanced chip development. At least 43 senior executives working with 16 publicly-listed Chinese semiconductor companies are US citizens.
NIKOLA FOUNDER TREVOR MILTON CONVICTED OF SECURITIES FRAUD
On 14 October, the Wall Street Journal reported that company founder Trevor Milton had been convicted of securities fraud for what prosecutors said were repeated lies about the development of the company’s zero-emissions trucks and technology.
JAPAN’S SUSHI OPERATIONS SCANDAL UNDERMINES INDUSTRY REPUTATION
On 17 October, Nikkei Asia reported that Japan’s conveyor-belt sushi industry ran into controversy this month after the arrest of a top executive on suspicion of illegally obtaining operational data from a competitor where he previously worked, including menu cost lists and supplier data. Police also asked prosecutors to investigate the company on suspicion of violating laws aimed at preventing unfair competition.
JAPAN INTRODUCES FURTHER SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA AND BELARUS
On 14 October, Baker McKenzie reported that Japan introduced further sanctions on 7 October, involving 81 individuals and 9 Russian entities who are considered to have been directly responsible for the unilateral annexation of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
SOUTH KOREA: PROSECUTORS RAID SSANGBANGWOOL GROUP OVER CURRENCY SMUGGLING ALLEGATIONS
On 17 October, the Korea Herald reported that prosecutors had raided Ssangbangwool Group over allegations the underwear maker smuggled a huge sum of foreign currency out of the country about 3 years ago. They suspect that dozens of executives and employees took part in the alleged currency smuggling by hiding dollars inside books on their trips to China. Under the law, foreign currency in excess of US$10,000 must be reported to customs when taken out of the country. Prosecutors are reportedly looking into the possibility of the foreign currency flowing into North Korea. At that time, Ssangbangwool signed an agreement on economic cooperation projects with the North Korea.
MALAYSIA: E-WASTE SMUGGLED INTO THE COUNTRY LEAVES A TRAIL OF POLLUTION
On 16 October, a Special Report from Malaysiakini claimed that more than 1,000 containers with tonnes of e-waste were illegally imported and processed in Malaysia, leaving the country with a vast amount of pollution in its land, air and water; and that there are at least 200 plants, large and small, that are recycling e-waste illegally in the country.
AUSTRALIA: STAR ENTERTAINMENT SAYS REGULATOR-NAMED MANAGER TO RUN SYDNEY CASINO
On 17 October, Reuters reported that a regulator-appointed manager would be stepping in to run its Sydney casino after an investigation by an independent commission found it had failed to prevent money laundering and criminal activity.
ACTION AGAINST CRIMINAL GROUP THAT STOLE HUNDREDS OF CARS IN FRANCE USING FRAUDULENT SOFTWARE
On 14 October, a news release from Eurojust announced that, supported by Eurojust and Europol, French authorities, in collaboration with Latvia and Spain, have taken action against an organised crime group that used fraudulent software to duplicate keys and steal cars in France. In a coordinated action carried out in the 3 countries involved, 31 suspects were arrested and 22 locations were searched.
US: EXPORT CONTROL RESTRICTIONS IMPOSED ON A CHINESE INDIVIDUAL AND COMPANIES IN CHINA, INDIA, AND TURKEY OVER SANCTIONS VIOLATIONS
On 17 October, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that the restrictions were imposed for the transfer to or acquisition from Iran, Syria, or North Korea of goods, services, or technology controlled under multilateral control lists or otherwise having the potential to make a material contribution to the development of WMD or cruise or ballistic missile systems.
ARREST WARRANT FOR THAI SENATOR ISSUED AND QUICKLY RETRACTED
On 13 October, OCCRP reported that, for a few tense hours, Thai Senator Upakit Pachariyangkun was wanted for arrest in connection with an alleged drug trafficking and money laundering ring operating out of a casino in the Golden Triangle. But the arrest warrant for Upakit appeared to have been quickly cancelled. One influential Thai news programme reported that it never existed, while another outlet took down a story about the warrant without explanation. Police have declined to comment.
ONGOING EPPO INVESTIGATION INTO THE ACQUISITION OF COVID-19 VACCINES IN THE EU
On 14 October, a news release from the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) confirms that it has an ongoing investigation into the acquisition of COVID-19 vaccines in the EU, but no further details will be made public at this stage.
INSIDE FCA PODCAST: FIGHTING FINANCIAL CRIME
On 4 October, the FCA released this podcast containing a recent speech by Executive Director of Markets, Sarah Pritchard, speaking at the Financial Crime Summit in London. She talks about working together with firms and agencies to share intelligence and quickly respond to evolving threats. She also discusses the different ways the rising cost of living will impact financial crime. Finally, when taking questions from participants, she details the FCA’s work with its many partners to address some of the challenges for system-wide effectiveness and the importance of information sharing over the next 5 years and beyond.
HOW ECUADOR AND VENEZUELA FACE DIFFERING INVASIONS OF FAKE US DOLLARS
On 13 October, Insight Crime reported that a wave of fake or modified US dollars, usually in small bills, has been flooding Venezuela and Ecuador, with authorities seemingly at a loss about how widespread their use has become or the impact they might be having on the economy. While for Venezuela, most of these appear to come from Colombia and Peru, entrepreneurial gangs in Ecuador have begun producing their own fake bills, benefiting from the fact the US dollar is already legal tender there.
UKRAINE ECONOMIC RECONSTRUCTION COMMISSION
The Center for Strategic and International Studies has established this body to produce a policy framework that will help attract private sector investments to support Ukraine’s future economic reconstruction. To support the commission, CSIS will convene a series of working groups that will address a range of issue-specific areas that are critical for reconstruction and modernisation of the Ukrainian economy, including agriculture, energy, and transportation and logistics, as well as addressing the impact of corruption on private sector investment.
OFAC-OFSI ENHANCED PARTNERSHIP
On 17 October, a post from OFSI in the UK reported on a recent multi-day technical exchange held in London between OFAC and OFSI. It says that over the coming months, OFAC and OFSI officials working on implementation and enforcement will be further exchanging best practices and strengthening working relationships at all levels.
OFAC GENERAL LICENSE AUTHORISING CERTAIN TRANSACTIONS INVOLVING PUBLIC JOINT STOCK COMPANY TRANSKAPITALBANK AND AFGHANISTAN
On 17 october, OFAC issued a new General License covers transactions involving Public Joint Stock Company Transkapitalbank (TKB), or any entity in which TKB owns, directly or indirectly, a 50% or greater interest, that are ultimately destined for or originating from Afghanistan and prohibited by Executive Order (EO) 14024. It takes effect from 12:01 a.m. EST, 18 January 2023.
CRACKDOWN ON CANNABIS-TRAFFICKING CRIMINAL NETWORK: 12 ARRESTS IN FRANCE AND SPAIN
A news release from Eurojust advised that authorities in France and Spain have taken action against an organised crime group involved in trafficking of cannabis. Most members of the network belong to the same family.
MOZAMBIQUE: MASSIVE WEAPONS CACHE UNEARTHED IN CABO DELGADO
On 17 October, Defence Web reported that Rwandan soldiers in Mozambique unearthed a massive cache of weapons and ammunition in what is described as “pre-emptive action” to prevent ASWJ (Al Sunnah wa Jama’ah) operatives using them in future.
US AND MEXICO CALL FOR INTERNATIONAL FORCE TO BREAK GANGS’ STRANGLEHOLD ON HAITI
On 17 October, the Guardian reported that it would not be a blue-helmeted UN force but the US-Mexican resolution to be endorsed by the security council and granted authority to use force if necessary under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. On 7 October, the Haitian government appealed for the immediate deployment of an “international specialised force” to bolster the outgunned and outmanned Haitian police to allow for the distribution of fuel, water and other basic needs.
FEDERAL COURT CONCLUDES RECEIVERSHIP IN CFTC PONZI SCHEME ACTION RESULTING IN THE RECOVERY OF OVER $1 BILLION
On 17 October, a release on Mondo Visione advised that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has announced the successful conclusion of the receivership in CFTC v. Walsh, et al., a $1.3 billion Ponzi scheme case the CFTC filed in 2009. A court approved the receiver’s final account and report, discharged the receiver, and accepted the receiver’s request to deposit the remaining receivership funds with the court.
RUSSIA’S PROPOSED LAW ON NORTHERN SEA ROUTE NAVIGATION
On 17 October, a post on Lawfare was concerned with a recent draft legal amendment, proposed on 4 August, which would require, among other things, diplomatic clearance for any foreign warships transiting the straits of the Northern Sea Route.
ADDRESSING GAPS IN US EXPORT CONTROLS RELATED TO CHINA
The Trade Compliance website published a post on 17 October which starts by saying that the Washington Post had published an investigation showing that US-origin software is central to China’s hypersonic missile development. It says that this is part of a broader trend in which US-originated technology, including semiconductors, have been exported to key strategic end uses in China. It says that while the US has a robust system of export controls, recent cases highlight systematic limitations of US export control policy related to China that need to be addressed.
JERSEY: AUTOMATIC IMPLEMENTATION OF UK SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA
On 23 September, the Jersey FSC published a news release explaining that an amendment was made to the Sanctions and Asset-Freezing (Implementation of External Sanctions) (Jersey) Order 2021 allowing automatic implementation of certain future amendments to the UK’s Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 with effect in Jersey.
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