The biggest news in the family was the explosion in downtown Panama City in the early morning which injured 21 people and caused damage to my brother-in-law’s law firm offices, which now needs new windows. The explosion was on the 12th floor of an residential building that opened for residents in May.
In other news, after last week seeing no fatalities from Covid-19, the first time in many months, there were 3 new fatalities reported in the latest statistics – for the week to 29 October. There were 805 new cases reported, 300 more than the previous week, 1,1006 active cases (up 187), with just 1 patient in ICU (it was 2 last week) and 61 in other wards (down 9), and with the test rate remaining at 4%.
1 NOVEMBER 2022
ISRAELI ELECTIONS SEEN AS REFERENDUM ON NETANYAHU WHO IS STANDING TRIAL ON CORRUPTION CHARGES
On 31 October, Sky News reported that Israelis were voting in the fifth election in 4 years, with former prime minister Netanyahu currently standing trial on corruption charges.
BURUNDI DECLARES BORDER WITH RWANDA OPEN AGAIN AFTER YEARS
On 25 October, AP reported that Burundi’s foreign affairs minister has officially declared that the border between the East African country and Rwanda has been reopened. It had been closed for almost 6 years, first amid political tensions and then by the COVID-19 pandemic.
CONGO EXPELS RWANDAN ENVOY AFTER M23 REBEL GAINS
On 30 October, Deutsche Welle reported that DRC has expelled Rwandan ambassador Vincent Karenga, in retaliation for Rwanda’s alleged support to a rebel group active in the east of the country. DRC authorities accuse Kigali of backing M23 rebels who are fighting in the nation’s eastern provinces. Rwanda has repeatedly denied the allegation.
FinCEN RENEWS GEOGRAPHIC TARGETING ORDERS (GTO)
On 27 October, an article from Fried Frank reported that FinCEN had renewed GTO requiring US title insurance companies to collect and report beneficial ownership information for certain residential real estate purchases. FinCEN also expanded the GTOs to include 2 new counties in Texas. The GTO last until 24 April.
UK: WHEN A DIRECTOR MIGHT BE LIABLE FOR WRONGS COMMITTED BY THE COMPANY (INCLUDING, SPECIFICALLY, BY WAY OF ACCESSORY LIABILITY)
On 28 October, an article from RPC considers a recent Court of Appeal decision which, it says, highlights the need to balance the fundamental principle of a company’s separate legal personality with the ability for claimants to have recourse for wrongs done to them where a company’s officers have contributed to the fault. It re-affirms the general principle of separate legal personality by declining to take an expansive interpretation of accessory liability. However, the decisions cited and referred to by the Court, as well as its own judgment, stress the difficulty of eliciting strict legal principles which govern a director’s personal liability for a company’s tortious acts, with many cases being decided on their specific facts.
A CLAIM OF IGNORANCE IN RELATION TO COMPANY AFFAIRS WILL NOT ABSOLVE A NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES
On 27 October, an article from Irish law firm William Fry is concerned with a recent judgment in the Irish courts which reaffirms that a claim of ignorance in relation to company affairs will not absolve a non-executive director of their responsibilities under the Irish company law; and that it is crucial that directors remain informed of company affairs, even if they are not involved in the day-to-day running of a company’s business.
UK: NEW SCHEME FOR ‘HIGH RISK’ PET IMPORTS
On 31 October, the Institute of Export & International Trade reported that DEFRA has introduced a new approved importers scheme for pet imports from certain “high risk” countries. Previously, there was a ban on commercial pet imports from Belarus, Poland, Romania and Ukraine. This ban included rescue animals. Under the scheme, a trader must be based (or have representation) in the UK, must not have committed any non-compliances over the last 12 months and provide details of any animal imports to the government – but it is said that it this does not include normal pet owners coming from those countries or Ukrainian refugees fleeing with their animals.
EU HAS DE-LISTED 7 PEOPLE FROM ITS TUNISIA SANCTIONS REGIME
On 31 October, the EU Sanctions blog reported that the EU had delisted 7 names from its sanctions regime.
THE SEPARATION OF POWERS IN THE UK’S OVERSEAS TERRITORIES
On 1 November, the House of Commons Library published a briefing paper which describes the separation of powers between the 3 branches of government in each of the UK’s 14 Overseas Territories.
MUTUAL RECOGNITION AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND EU OF EACH OTHER’S TRUSTED TRADER PROGRAMS
On 1 November, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that members of Canada’s Partners in Protection program will have their goods treated as low-risk and cleared by EU Customs faster. The CBSA will do the same for members of the EU’s authorised economic operator (AEO) program.
IRAQ CENTRAL BANK TAKES OVER PRIVATE BANK INVESTIGATED BY OCCRP
On 31 October, OCCRP reported that the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) has taken custody over a private bank, North Bank for Finance, whose majority owner had allegedly been misspending loans he took to finish a government project.
AFGHANISTAN OPIUM CULTIVATION IN 2022 UP BY 32%
A news release from the UN Office of Drugs and Crime on 1 November advised that the 2022 opium crop in Afghanistan is the most profitable in years with cultivation up by nearly one-third and prices soaring, even as the country is gripped by cascading humanitarian and economic crises, according to a new research brief from UNODC. A research brief is available.
IRAN: IRGC SEIZES TANKER SMUGGLING FUEL IN PERSIAN GULF
On 1 November, Eurasia Review reported that the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Navy captured a foreign oil tanker in the Persian Gulf said to be carrying 11 million litres of smuggled fuel.
EL SALVADOR’S ATTORNEY GENERAL “WORKED FOR TOP MS13 ALLY”
On 31 October, an article from Insight Crime was concerned with Rodolfo Antonio Delgado Montes, the current attorney general of El Salvador, saying that for over 2 years while in private practice in between government positions, he defended two people known to be important allies to the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13), El Salvador’s most powerful gang. It claims that after being appointed, he appointed the judge who had acquitted one of those allies, as the new deputy attorney general, his second-in-command. He also dismantled the Special Investigation Commission, the group of prosecutors that tracked the same man and hundreds of other gang members between 2014 and 2019. The commission and some prosecutors were transferred to a special AML unit; others resigned, and others fled the country. It goes on to allege other apparent links.
MANAGING GROWING SANCTIONS RISKS ACROSS SOUTH CAUCASAS AND CENTRAL ASIA
On 31 October, an article from Control Risks says that sanctions risks are on the rise across the post-Soviet space as Russia seeks to set up supply chains for “parallel imports”, including for sanctioned goods and services; and Russia will be tempted to pressure its neighbours to ensure closer economic cooperation and this could include activity that exposes companies to sanctions risks. It calls for expanded and extended due diligence by companies with involvement in the regions.
TRAFFICKED WOMEN SHUNTED ‘LIKE CATTLE’ AROUND AUSTRALIA FOR SEX WORK
An article from The Age on 30 October is part of a series examining a global human trafficking syndicate exploiting flaws in Australian border security and the immigration system. It says that the crime boss at the operation’s centre set up his Australian operation immediately after his release from jail in the UK, where he was implicated in a similar illegal sex ring. Previously identified by UK police as a Chinese triad boss nicknamed “The Hammer”, he is one of several crime syndicate figures using migration system gaps.
NEYMAR: SPANISH PROSECUTORS DROP ALL FRAUD AND CORRUPTION CHARGES AGAINST BRAZIL FORWARD AND OTHERS ACCUSED
On 31 October, Sky Sports reported that Spanish prosecutors have dropped all fraud and corruption charges against Brazil forward Neymar and other individuals accused over his transfer to Barcelona from Santos in 2013.
THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF VIDEO GAMING CONSOLES
On 25 October, Mongabay carried an article saying that game consoles require complex supply chains that rely on the mining of metals and rare-earth elements, the production of new plastics, and highly specialized manufacturing processes — linking the industry to oversized carbon emissions. It says that awareness of gaming’s oversized environmental impact has grown, and major manufacturers have promised to reduce the environmental footprint of their consoles over the next 2 decades, but consumer demand for longer console life spans and greater repairability will be key.
FOREIGNER AND 3 KENYANS FIGHT OVER MORE THAN $17 MILLION IN UNFROZEN FUNDS
On 1 November, Business Daily reported that 3 Kenyans are locked in a court battle with a woman from Laos over funds held in Ecobank accounts after the State withdrew a petition that had frozen the cash on money laundering fears. The funds were held in 3 bank accounts to KiwiPay PTE Ltd and Monthida Rashi, a Laotian.
FATF WARNS GREY-LISTED JAMAICA
The Royal Gazette on 1 November that, of all the countries on the latest grey list, Jamaica received the sternest warning. It strongly urged Jamaica “to swiftly demonstrate significant progress in completing its action plan by the February 2023 deadline or the FATF will consider next steps if there is insufficient progress”.
THE REGULATION OF VAPING PRODUCTS IN THE UK
On 1 November, an article from Field Fisher provided an update, saying that until now there has been no UK product standard covering CBD vaping but later this year the British Standards Institution (BSI) is expected to consult on a new standard for product safety, quality and performance.
US: FAQ CONCERNING ADDITIONAL EXPORT CONTROLS, CERTAIN ADVANCED COMPUTING AND SEMICONDUCTOR MANUFACTURING ITEMS FROM CHINA
On 1 November, KPMG reported that the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the Commerce Department had released guidance in the form of FAQ concerning the interim final rule amending the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to implement controls on advanced computing integrated circuits, computer commodities that contain such integrated circuits, and certain semiconductor manufacturing items.
eDISCLOSURE IN INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION: A HIGH-LEVEL GUIDE
On 1 November, Field Fisher published this Guide which considers the disclosure process, particularly electronic disclosure, in International Arbitration, and includes practical guidance on addressing the required steps within International Arbitration, from disclosure inception to production.
US: MAIL THEFT ON THE RISE NATIONWIDE
On 1 November, The Crime Report said that it is no longer the actions of lone wolf criminals, but now part of larger criminal organisations targeting mail carriers specifically for “arrow keys,” which unlock multiple blue drop boxes and other collection boxes throughout a community.
HOW TALIBAN RULE HAS WIPED OUT AFGHANISTAN’S GAINS AND PROVIDED HAVEN FOR TERRORISTS
On 31 October, an article in Homeland Security Today reported on the impact of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan on domestic and regional issues. These include opium cultivation, with production up despite a ban announced in April. It also says that the Taliban Taliban’s takeover of the country has presented opportunities for terrorist groups that have operated in the region to flourish.
ARMS TRANSFER AND SALW CONTROLS IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA: CHALLENGES AND STATE OF PLAY
On 1 November, SIPRI issued this report which provides an overview of the state of conventional arms transfer controls and small arms and light weapons (SALW) controls in MENA countries. It also explores how these controls could be strengthened in order to help to address security challenges and build confidence in the region.
IT’S TIME WE GOT SERIOUS ABOUT THE HACKER-FOR-HIRE INDUSTRY
On 31 October, an opinion article in EurActiv says that the state’s monopoly on digital violence and surveillance is challenged by the dominant role of non-state actors. Offensive cyber capabilities (OCC) are sold to the highest bidder by private entities as “products” – vulnerabilities, exploits or sophisticated software. But in the hacker-for-hire industry, this extends well beyond selling tools and includes full-fledged “services”, such as “access-as-a-Service” (AaaS), to support to customers in maintaining “access”, an operational foothold into the target’s system.
FINRA ISSUES REVISED SANCTIONS GUIDELINES
On 1 November, Bracewell PC reported that, in September, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority in the US had issued a notice alerting member firms to significant changes to its Sanctions Guidelines. The article summarises the key changes.
RUSSIAN MERCENARIES ACCUSED OF CIVILIAN MASSACRE IN MALI
On 1 November, the Guardian reported that Russian mercenaries of the Wagner Group in Mali have been accused of a new massacre of civilians following a major military operation in the centre of the unstable country.
WOLFSBERG GROUP COMMENT LETTER ON THE EU AML/CFT LEGISLATIVE PACKAGE
On 1 November, the Wolfsberg Group of leading banks published a letter sent to the EU and saying that it welcomes and supports the ambitious proposals to strengthen and harmonise the EU’s AML/CFT framework and regulatory oversight process. In the context of ongoing trialogue negotiations, the aim of our letter is to provide suggestions and observations on the following key issues: harmonisation of supervisory practices and standards; enhanced information-sharing in line with GDPR principles; and facilitating an effective risk-based approach.
AUSTRALIA; WATCHDOG GRANTED LICENCE TO A BUSINESS USED BY ‘MONEY LAUNDERERS’
In its 2 November issued, WA Today reported that a company got a green light from AUSTRAC to move money into and out of Australia, despite intelligence warnings and the prosecution of a related business in New Zealand.