It has been reported that, given the drop in coronavirus cases, the Minister of Health has announced that the “pop-up” temporary Panama Solidarity Hospital, set up in 2020, is to be dismantled. It is said that the Ministry is looking to use the structure either as a whole or in sections, with several hospitals that have requested part of the structure.
18 OCTOBER 2022
POLAND: FREEZING OF ACCOUNTS BY LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITIES – KEY INFORMATION FOR BUSINESSES AND MANAGERS
On 12 October, Wardynski & Partners published this article containing key information about freezing of businesses’ accounts: Who can order a freeze on an account, and in what circumstances? How can the holder defend against a freeze of their account? Is it possible to prepare for a freezing order, and how can it be combatted.
US EXPANDS SANCTIONS AUTHORISATION OF INTERNET-BASED ACTIVITIES IN WAKE OF PROTESTS IN IRAN
On 17 October, the Compliance & Enforcement blog from the Program on Corporate Compliance and Enforcement at the New York University School of Law published this post about the latest Biden Administration effort to support the Iranians protesting the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who was arrested by Iran’s Morality Police for allegedly violating the country’s laws on female dress and who died in police custody.
CANADA SANCTIONS RUSSIAN JOURNALISTS, ACTORS
On 18 October, Macau Business News reported on the latest round of Russian sanctions from Canada. It designated 34 Russian journalists, actors and television presenters, as well as state-owned national TV Zvezda, calling them “propaganda agents” for their government.
SOUTH KOREA WELCOMES JAPAN’S ADDITIONAL SANCTIONS ON NORTH KOREA OVER MISSILE THREATS
On 18 October, the Korea Times reported on Japan’s decision to expand sanctions on North Korea over its continued sabre-rattling highlighted by its recent string of ballistic missile launches. It announced its plan to freeze the assets of 5 more organisations for their involvement in the advancement of the North’s nuclear and missile development programs.
CANADA: SIEMENS SOUGHT FOR ‘GUIDANCE’ ON EXPORT OF REPAIRED TURBINE TO RUSSIA
On 17 October, the National Post reported on further developments around the controversy involving the repair of a turbine for a Russian gas pipeline earlier this year. Siemens Energy Canada Ltd says it halted its scheduled maintenance work on a turbine for the Nord Stream 1 pipeline when Canada imposed economic sanctions on Russia in March, but then applied for an received an export permit.
RUSSIA’S ROSNEFT MOVES INTO TANKER CHARTERING AS EU BAN LOOMS
On 17 October, Al Arabiya reported that Russia’s biggest oil exporter Rosneft has expanded its tanker chartering business. Previously, it would sell its oil at the port of loading, meaning the buyer would have to find tankers and handle freight and insurance costs for the voyage.
MALTA: FATF GREY LIST REMOVAL LIFTED INVESTORS’ MOOD
On 18 October, Malta Today reported that the removal of Malta from the FATF grey list in June improved confidence, according to a EY survey. However, other concerns are said to have held its ratings below 2020 levels.
NETHERLANDS: BUNQ BANK CLAIMS A “LANDMARK” VERDICT IN THE DUTCH COURTS OVER THE USE OF AI FOR AML PROCESSES
On 18 October, Finextra reported that the Dutch Central Bank (DNB) had originally prohibited the challenger bank’s use of AI and machine learning to conduct AML monitoring.
UK: FOREIGN INFLUENCE REGISTRATION SCHEME TO MAKE CLANDESTINE POLITICAL ACTIVITY ILLEGAL
On 18 October, a news release from the Home Office said that new legislation to compel those acting for a foreign power or entity to declare political influencing activity – and criminalise those who do not. The Foreign Influence Registration Scheme (FIRS) is provided for by an amendment to the National Security Bill.
UK: IR35 COMPLICATIONS TO CONTINUE AFTER GOVERNMENT U-TURN
On 18 October, HR Magazine reported on the implications of the announcement that the proposed repeal of IR35 reform would be reversed. The change would have meant employers would no longer be responsible for assessing workers’ employment status and handling all tax and national insurance contributions for self-employed contractors and agency workers.
IS RUSSIA’S WAR IN UKRAINE AIDING THE SURVIVAL OF THE VENEZUELAN REGIME?
On 17 October, a Commentary from RUSI posed this question, saying that Venezuela’s partnership with Russia is likely to become ever closer as a result of the latter’s growing international isolation. It contends that, whether or not Maduro is governing after 2025, the elite believe they are powerful and capable of maintaining their international status for years to come.
REPORT: SOLICITORS REGULATION AUTHORITY (SRA) WITH “BEEFED UP” POWERS SHOULD BE THE SINGLE BODY POLICING MONEY LAUNDERING ACROSS THE UK LEGAL SECTOR
On 18 October, Legal Futures reported that campaign groups Spotlight on Corruption and Global Integrity have issued a report saying that the 9 UK legal regulators were providing “uneven and inadequate” enforcement of the rules and were 3 times more likely to engage in “quiet chats” than take formal action.
VENEZUELA’S LEGAL TOBACCO INDUSTRY RISKS GOING UP IN SMOKE
On 17 October, Insight Crime published an article saying that Venezuela’s largest cigarette producer, Bigott, has sounded the alarm over a rapid rise in illegal cigarettes being used in the country, with contraband cigarettes accounted for 44% of all tobacco sales in Venezuela.
GRENADES AND LAND MINES – WHY ECUADOR REMAINS A STOREHOUSE FOR EX-FARC MAFIA
On 14 October, Insight Crime reported that military-grade weaponry, including caches of grenades and landmines, continue to be found in northern Ecuador, showing how Colombian armed groups continue to use the country as a strategic outpost. It says that Ecuador’s criminal problems are intrinsically linked to Colombia’s armed groups for several reasons.
REPORT: 1 MILLION TONNES OF OFF-SPEC SHIPPING FUELS DETECTED EVERY YEAR
On 17 October, Insurance Marine News reported that a new report from Lloyd’s Register and marine consultancy Thetius estimated that in excess of 1 million tonnes of off-specification or non-compliant fuels were detected in vessels each year, costing ship operators between $27,000 and $50,000 per incident.
IS IT THE END OF THE LINE FOR BLACK SEA GRAIN DEAL? OR IS IT RUSSIAN BRINKMANSHIP?
On 17 October, Insurance Marine News reported that Russia has submitted concerns to the UN about the agreement between Russia, Ukraine, the UN and Turkey about the Black Sea grain corridor. Russia is reportedly prepared to reject the renewal of the deal next month unless its demands are accommodated.
US COMMERCE DEPARTMENT RELEASES UPDATED ENFORCEMENT GUIDANCE REGARDING ANTI-BOYCOTT VIOLATIONS
On 17 October, a post from Baker McKenzie advised that, on 6 October, a new policy was published aimed at enhancing enforcement of the anti-boycott rules administered by the US Department of Commerce. The changes are intended to bring penalty determinations in line with Commerce’s current view of the severity of certain types of anti-boycott violations.
US: EXTREMIST GROUPS ABUSE TAX EXEMPTIONS. HERE’S WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT IT
On 18 October, a post on Lawfare looked at tax exemptions granted to such as private militia groups in the US. It considers one which was federally recognised as a charitable non-profit and classified under National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities (NTEE) code R, which denotes groups dedicated to promoting civil rights. This, the American Border Patrol, is said to be just one of at least 90 extremist groups that have registered as tax-exempt charities with the IRS.
UK: DELIVERY OF EMPLOYMENT SUPPORT SCHEMES IN RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
The National Audit Office has produced this report which covers the HM Treasury and HMRC COVID-19 pandemic response from October 2020 until the schemes closed at the end of September 2021. It considers how the Departments managed risks in continuing to implement and refine the schemes during the remainder of their existence, what impact the schemes had, and how the Departments managed the risk of error and fraud.
NICARAGUA: EU SANCTIONS REGIME PROLONGED FOR A FURTHER YEAR
On 13 October, the EU advised that it had prolonged the framework for imposing targeted restrictive measures in view of the situation in Nicaragua for an additional year, until 15 October 2023.
DESPITE SANCTIONS, RUSSIAN FUEL IS STILL SELLING — HERE’S WHO’S BUYING
On 16 October, VOX reported that new markets and illicit tactics are part of Russia’s strategy for making up losses, with China, India, and Italy the top destinations for Russian crude oil. It notes that petroleum isn’t the only energy source Russia produces, and the US and EU aren’t the only markets for those products, as Russia still has LNG, coal, and nuclear energy to help the economy.
MEXICO FILES ANOTHER LAWSUIT AGAINST US GUN DEALERS
On 14 October, OCCRP reported that Mexican officials have sued 5 gun dealers from Arizona for allegedly providing weapons to criminal groups and cartels in Mexico. The lawsuit alleges that 5 Arizona gun dealers routinely and systematically engage in the illicit trafficking of weapons, including military-style guns, for criminal groups in Mexico through sales to proxies (straw purchasers) and arms traffickers.
US: DoJ STRENGTHENS FIGHT AGAINST ELDER FRAUD
On 10 October, The Crime Report said that, since September, 150,000 elderly Americans have been refunded $52 million they lost as a result of fraud schemes — but the number represents only a small fraction of victims of what some law enforcement authorities call “grandparent scams” – when a fraudster, often connected to a transnational criminal group, calls an older adult with the spurious information that a family member is in trouble and needs financial help to pay for bail, or medical expenses. Now federal authorities have announced a major expansion of the government’s Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force, adding 14 additional US Attorney’s Offices around the country to the program.
CALIFORNIA LAUNCHES LARGEST ILLEGAL POT ERADICATION PUSH IN THE COUNTRY
On 12 October, The Crime Report reported that California is expanding its multi-agency seasonal marijuana eradication program into a year-round effort aimed at investigating who is behind illegal pot farms that undercut the legal economy and cause massive state-wide environmental damage. Its campaign is being made a permanent Eradication and Prevention of Illicit Cannabis (EPIC) task force.
OFAC FINDING OF SANCTIONS VIOLATION BY NODUS INTERNATIONAL BANK INC
On 18 October, OFAC announced a Finding of Violation to Nodus International Bank, Inc, an international financial entity located in Puerto Rico, for violations of the Venezuelan Sanctions Regulations (VSR), and the Reporting, Penalties and Procedures Regulations (RPPR).
KPMG RESPONDS TO EUROPEAN COMMISSION PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON THE SAFE INITIATIVE RE ENABLERS OF TAX AVOIDANCE
On 13 October, KPMG published its response to the European Commission’s public consultation on the “Tax evasion & aggressive tax planning in the EU – tackling the role of enablers” (SAFE) initiative.
EUROPEAN COMMISSION ISSUES CALL FOR EVIDENCE AND PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON A NEW COMMON CORPORATE TAX SYSTEM IN THE EU (BEFIT)
On 18 October, KPMG reported on a call for evidence for an impact assessment and asked for public feedback on proposed policy options for a new corporate tax system referred to as “Business in Europe: Framework for Income Taxation (BEFIT)”. Interested parties are asked to provide feedback and comments by 5 January, and the planned adoption by the Commission of a legislative proposal is expected for the third quarter of 2023.
MEXICO MULLS ENDING DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME, POTENTIALLY AFFECTING CROSS-BORDER SHIPMENTS
On 18 October, Freightwaves reported that, after years of discussion, Mexico is close to finalising legislation that would say goodbye to daylight saving time (DST) across most of the country. If approved, it would abolish the practice of turning the clocks forward and back by 1 hour each spring and fall. Mexico would turn back its clocks for DST for the last time in the country on Oct. 30. The clocks would not be turned forward for DST in Spring 2023.
REPORT: FRAUD AND THE UK JUSTICE SYSTEM
On 18 October, Professional Security Magazine reported on a report on England & Wales from the House of Commons Justice Committee which complained of ‘an epidemic of fraud cases’ and even a growth in these crimes, ‘if there is not a considerable shift in the way they are investigated, prosecuted, and prevented’. It is said that fraud currently accounts for 40% of crime and the figure is growing. It is said that the most effective way to tackle fraud is to prevent it occurring in the first place, and that this requires co-operation across the private and public sectors, with the Government using its convening power.
NEW ZEALAND: REGULATOR WARNS SAVINGS & INVESTMENT BANK OVER AML/CFT SHORTCOMINGS
In its 19 October edition, Scoop reported that the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) has issued a formal warning to InvestNow Savings & Investment Service Ltd for failing to comply with AML requirements, including conducting customer due diligence, and having adequate and effective processes.
UNODC TEACHING MODULE SERIES
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has co-created and jointly developed a series of peer-reviewed teaching modules and other tools with academics to assist them in teaching on some of today’s most crucial threats. Specifically, the series of teaching modules aims to support tertiary level educators and academics in their efforts to transmit knowledge and create a deeper understanding of rule of law related issues, with a focus on the subject areas of organised crime, trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, firearms, cybercrime, wildlife crime as well as counter-terrorism. The teaching modules are designed for use as either stand-alone teaching resources, or as a means of enhancing existing courses in criminology, law, political science, international relations, sociology, and many other disciplines.
DOES US CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION HAVE THE LEGAL AUTHORITY TO SEIZE MERCHANDISE MADE WITH FORCED UYGHUR LABOUR?
A post on Lawfare on 18 October contends that, notwithstanding other implications for the importer, when it comes to the goods themselves, CBP enforcement authority is limited to detaining and then excluding such goods from the customs territory of the US – seizure and forfeiture are unavailable.
US: ORDER TEMPORARILY DENYING EXPORT PRIVILEGES OF RUSSIAN AIRLINE URAL
On 18 October, KPMG reported that the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the US Department of Commerce has published an order temporarily denying export privileges of a Russian airline, URAL Airlines JSC. The order relates to use of US-origin aircraft or equipment, subject to export controls, on international flights, including from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; Dushanbe, Tajikistan; Khudzhand, Tajikistan and Tamchy, Kyrgyzstan to Russia after 2 March without the required BIS authorisation.
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