I know its the peak (and end) of the rainy season here in Panama, but it is still unusual for virtually a whole day to be lost to rain…only petering out at 3 in the afternoon. Never mind, will be in Curacao in a couple of weeks, with hopefully no rain!
13 NOVEMBER 2022
US RETURNS 192 STOLEN ARTIFACTS TO PAKISTAN
On 12 November, Associated Press of Pakistan reported that the US had returned 192 stolen antiquities — valued at nearly $3.4 million — to Pakistan, after an investigation into Indian-American art dealer, Subhash Kapoor. The items were looted in the 1990s. Kapoor had owned an art gallery in New York called Art of the Past and a side business that specialised in selling antiquities from South-East Asia when he was accused of smuggling and selling stolen artifacts.
RUSSIAN OLIGARCHS AND COMPANIES UNDER SANCTIONS ARE AMONG LOBBYISTS AT COP27
On 13 November, the Guardian reported that Russian oligarchs and executives from multiple companies under international sanctions are among the lobbyists currently attending Cop27 in Sharm el-Sheikh. Among those listed as part of the Russian delegation at the pivotal climate talks are the billionaire and former aluminium magnate Oleg Deripaska, the billionaire Andrey Melnichenko, the founder and former board member of the Swiss-headquartered fertiliser company EuroChem Group, Gazprom has sent 6 delegates to the talks, alongside the managing director of Sberbank, oil company Lukoil, the mining company Severstal, and Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works, oil and gas company Tatneft sent 3 lobbyists, and the metallurgical companies Severstal and NLMK Group, part of an industry that has faced sanctions by the EU.
FROM NEGOTIATIONS TO SANCTIONS – BUSY TIME FOR CRIME IN HAITI
On 11 November, an article from Insight Crime said that, after Haitian authorities reclaimed control of the country’s largest fuel terminal, a flurry of sanctions and arrest warrants against politicians and gang leaders materialised. The article analyses several recent developments involving some of the country’s most serious criminal actors.
PANAMA: THE STRUCTURE AND ‘MODUS OPERANDI‘ OF CRIMINAL GROUPS DEDICATED TO THE SMUGGLING OF COCOBOLO WOOD
On 13 November, la Estrella de Panama began a 3-part investigation of the illicit trade in cocobolo, a wood with great demand in the international market, with values above any other species, and which is illegally uprooted from protected forests. In 2013, Panama acted to have cocobolo included in Appendix II of the CITES Convention as a protected species and controlled use to ensure its sustainability.
RUSSIAN OIL CAP DOUBTS SPUR INSURER FEARS OF SHIPS LEFT AT SEA
On 12 November, Hellenic Shipping News reported that oil-laden tankers risk being left languishing at sea if insurers do not urgently get clarity on an unfinished G7 and EU plan to cap the price of Russian crude.
ZAMBIA: DRUG ENFORCEMENT COMMISSION REPORTEDLY INVESTIGATING FORMER PRESIDENT EDGAR CHAGWA LUNGU ON ALLEGATIONS OF MONEY LAUNDERING
On 13 November, an article in the Lusaka Times said that the former President, his supporters, and some members of the public are questioning the legality of the actions by DEC in investigating the former President in light of the fact that he possesses presidential immunity from prosecution under the Constitution.
INDIA: CENTRAL BANK RBI WARNED OF ELECTORAL BONDS’ MISUSE FOR MONEY LAUNDERING
On 10 November, the Deccan Herald reported that the RBI warned about the possibility of electoral bonds being used for money laundering in the run-up to the rolling out of the scheme but the warning was rejected by the Ministry of Finance.
SHADY CONTRACTS, BACKDOOR DEALS SPUR ILLEGAL GOLD MINING IN BOLIVIAN AMAZON
A report from Mongabay on 8 November says that illegal gold mining has led to widespread deforestation and mercury pollution and the Bolivian Amazon faces a growing risk of environmental destruction in the years to come from this ever-expanding industry. An investigation found that miners take advantage of the government’s lack of resources and slow-moving bureaucracy to avoid accountability for the harm they do to the environment; they also rely on illegal, backdoor agreements with well-funded foreign investors to maximise production.