The Minister of Health has acknowledged that Panama faces a “sixth wave” of Covid-19, albeit (so far) at much more modest levels than in the past waves.
Meanwhile, the province of Panama Oeste reports to date 130 cases of dengue with warning signs, 6 with severe dengue and 1 death.
17 NOVEMBER 2022
UK: WELL-KNOWN CRIMINAL GANG LEADER HAS AVOIDED 7 YEARS BEING ADDED TO HIS PRISON SENTENCE AFTER PAYING BACK £1.2 MILLION FROM A MONEY LAUNDERING OPERATION
On 16 November, Security Matters reported that convicted London gang leader Thomas ‘Tommy’ Adams had his available assets determined by the Judge to be £1,243,270.75 and a Confiscation Order was made against him for that sum.
US: WHY YOUR BUSINESS NEEDS A RANSOMWARE PAYMENT POLICY
On 17 November, a post on the Compliance and Enforcement blog from the Program on Corporate Compliance & Enforcement at the New York University School of Law reviewed the situation involving ransomware attacks and payments.
DRIFTING MINES HAVE BEEN FOUND ALONG THE COASTS OF TURKEY AND ROMANIA, AS WELL AS ELSEWHERE IN THE BLACK SEA
An article from Real Clear Defense considered the threat from errant sea mines in the Black Sea, pointing out that an Estonian cargo ship has already been sunk by a mine during this war, though it’s unknown whether the mine was fixed or drifting. It also points out that this threat is not limited to the Black Sea: over the last several years, Yemen’s Houthi rebels periodically have released drifting mines into the Red Sea. It explains that there are several reasons why various actors use drifting mines in preference to fixed mines, including to put at risk mine clearing vessels.
NEW RESEARCH SHOWS WHERE FISHING VESSELS TURN AIS OFF
On 16 November, an article from Dryad Global says that new analysis harnesses automatic identification system, or AIS, data to provide information about global fishing activity, including illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. A study in Science Advances, the journal of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science, is said to present the first global dataset of AIS disabling in commercial fisheries, which obscures up to 6% of vessel activity. It is said that disabling was particularly common within and adjacent to EEZ with overlapping claims, such as the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) that are disputed by the UK and Argentina, and that the political conflicts in these regions may create blind spots for enforcement.
INDIA: WHY COURTS ARE INCREASINGLY PULLING UP THE ENFORCEMENT DIRECTORATE
On 16 November, scroll reported that there have been several instances recently where courts have criticised the agency for its investigation process. This criticism from the court comes after Opposition leaders and civil society members have condemned the central agency for using it vast powers under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002 to allegedly targets critics of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
UK: AUSTRIAN BANKER FIGHTS EXTRADITION TO US ON MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES
On 16 November, Reuters reported that Peter Weinzierl – former chief executive of Meinl Bank, later renamed Anglo Austrian AAB Bank – is accused of helping launder hundreds of millions of dollars in a scheme linked to Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht involving the use of slush funds to pay bribes to public officials around the world.
FRANCE ISSUES GUIDELINES ON FOREIGN INVESTMENT CONTROL REGIME
On 16 November, an article from Skadden said that, on 8 September, the French Ministry of the Economy’s (MOE) General Treasury Department published its first set of guidelines on French foreign direct investment (FDI) control, and to to provide clarifications with respect to French FDI rules, key concepts and review processes.
UK: SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA
On 16 November, the House of Commons Library provided an updated research paper.
NEW OECD DATA HIGHLIGHT MULTINATIONAL TAX AVOIDANCE RISKS AND THE NEED FOR SWIFT IMPLEMENTATION OF INTERNATIONAL REFORM
On 17 November, a news release from OECD says that new data highlight continuing base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) risks and the need to implement the 2-pillar solution to ensure that large multinational enterprises (MNE) pay a fair share of tax wherever they operate and earn their profits. A new report covering over 160 countries and jurisdictions, includes new aggregated Country-by-Country Report (CbCR) data on the activities of almost 7,000 MNE, representing a major boost in tax transparency efforts.
GHANA JUNIOR FINANCE MINISTER SACKED OVER CORRUPTION ACCUSATIONS
On 17 November, OCCRP reported that the President had dismissed the controversial Harvard Business School-educated Junior Finance Minister, Charles Adu Boahen, after he was implicated in trying to collect bribes from supposed investors.
UK: LAW COMMISSION SEEKS VIEWS ON DECENTRALISED AUTONOMOUS ORGANISATIONS (DAO)
On 16 November, the Law Commission explained that a DAO is a new type of organisational structure involving multiple participants online, that may rely on a blockchain systems, smart contracts, or other software-based systems; and that DAO are increasingly important in the context of crypto-token (cryptocurrency) and decentralised finance markets. The Law Commission has launched a public call for evidence and asked users and other experts for information about how DAO can (and should) be characterised, and how the law of England and Wales might accommodate them now and in the future. The consultation closes on 25 January.
CANADA: NEW SANCTIONS AGAINST IRANIAN DRON EMANUFACTURERS AND HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATORS
On 16 November, Jurist reported that Canada has announced a new round of sanctions against the Iranian regime. The sanctions target 6 senior officials accused of committing human rights violations, particularly during “brutal crackdowns on protesters”, and 2 Iranian weapons manufacturing companies: Shahed Aviation Industries and Qods Aviation Industries, which Canada claims supplied Russia with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and drones used during the invasion of Ukraine.
OPERATION OPSON XI TARGETING FOOD FRAUD LED TO AN INCREASED NUMBER OF SEIZURES OF FAKE FOOD AND BEVERAGES ACROSS EUROPE
A news release from Europol on 17 November advised that, between December 2021 and May 2022, reports from 26 countries showed that almost 27,000 tonnes of fake food had been seized.
CAMBODIAN WILDLIFE OFFICIAL AMONG 8 CHARGED IN US WITH SMUGGLING ENDANGERED MONKEYS
On 17 November, the Guardian reported that 8 people in the US have been charged with smuggling endangered monkeys, including a Cambodian wildlife official arrested while travelling to a conference on protecting endangered species.
MEXICO’S DRUG CARTELS SHARE FENTANYL CHEMICAL SUPPLIERS
On 16 November, an article from Insight Crime reported that, despite being locked in fierce competition over control of a wide array of criminal economies, Mexico’s 2 most powerful organised crime groups are reportedly sourcing precursor chemicals from the very same suppliers to produce fentanyl.
RANSOMWARE ACTIVITY DOUBLES IN TRANSPORTATION AND SHIPPING INDUSTRY
On 17 November, Hellenic Shipping News carried news of a new report from Trellix, the cybersecurity company, “The Threat Report: Fall 2022”. The report analyses cybersecurity trends from the third quarter of 2022.
US: CHINESE INTELLIGENCE OFFICER SENTENCED TO 20 YEARS FOR AVIATION ESPIONAGE
On 16 November, Flying reported that a Chinese intelligence officer who worked for China’s Ministry of State Security, was sentenced to 20 years in prison after being convicted for attempting to steal trade secrets from US aviation and aerospace companies. Beginning in December 2013, Xu targeted leading companies, such as GE Aviation, by recruiting its expert employees to visit China under the guise of asking them to deliver a university presentation. He also paid their travel costs and provided stipends. In April 2018, he was arrested in Belgium while trying to meet a GE employee. He was eventually extradited to the US.
BOC AVIATION HAS BECOME ONE OF THE LATEST AIRCRAFT LEASING FIRMS TO LAUNCH LEGAL ACTION AGAINST INSURERS TO RECOUP LOSSES FROM AIRLINERS STRANDED IN RUSSIA
On 16 November, Flying reported that the Dublin-based aircraft lessor, is suing 16 insurance companies, including Swiss Re, Chubb European Group, Lloyd’s of London, and AIG Europe. It is said to have 17 aircraft stuck in Russia amounting to a loss valued at $804 million.
CHINA’S GLOBAL PORT INVESTMENTS GIVE RISE TO SECURITY WORRIES
On 13 November, the Wall Street Journal reported that security concerns related to Chinese investment in overseas ports are mounting as its companies acquire more stakes at shipping hubs around the world and geopolitical tensions rise. Chinese companiesnow run major container terminals in locations including Belgium, Israel, Spain, Sri Lanka and the UAE [plus a container port at either end of the Panama Canal]. All told, Chinese and Hong Kong-based companies hold stakes in terminal leases or concessions at 95 foreign ports.
US BLOCKS MORE THAN 1,000 SOLAR PANEL SHIPMENTS OVER CHINESE SLAVE LABOUR CONCERNS
On 11 November, Reuters reported an exclusive that more than 1,000 shipments of solar energy components worth hundreds of millions of dollars have piled up at US ports since June.
SANCTIONED WILDLIFE TRAFFICKING GROUP TIED TO LOGISTICS COMPANIES IN SOUTH-EAST ASIA
On 15 November, Kharon reported that OFAC has imposed sanctions against a network involved in wildlife trafficking. The Malaysia-based Teo Boon Ching trafficking group relied on an international network of companies to import the illicit wildlife products from Africa and transport them throughout Asia.
FOREIGN-OWNED JOINT VENTURES IN XINJIANG TIED TO ENTITIES ENGAGED IN FORCED LABOUR
On 16 November, Kharon reported that 2 Xinjiang-based joint ventures involved in chemical production exhibit key indicators of the use of forced labour based on government advisories. The 2 joint ventures are located in an economic development zone and owned by a state-owned entity that have both benefited from Chinese government labour transfers. The other owner is a European multinational company based in Germany and one of the world’s largest chemical producers.
CANADA: PROPOSED BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP REPORTING REQUIREMENTS FOR TRUSTS POSTPONED
On 17 November, KPMG reported that the Department of Finance recently delayed implementation of proposed rules requiring the disclosure of certain information on each trustee, beneficiary, settlor and protector of trusts, subject to limited exceptions, for 12 months, to tax years ending after 30 December 2023.
CANADA: QUEBEC MAN CHARGED WITH TERRORISM OVER ALLEGED HAITI COUP PLOT
On 17 November, the Guardian reported that Canadian police have charged a Quebec man, Gerald Nicolas, 51, with terrorism over allegations he conspired to overthrow the government of the late Haitian president Jovenel Moïse, who was later assassinated in a separate plot.
US: PHARMACIST CHARGED WITH ILLEGALLY DISTRIBUTING PRESCRIPTION COUGH SYRUP AND EARNING MILLIONS IN PROFITS
A news release from the FDA on 16 November advised that a licensed pharmacist has been charged with wire fraud, money laundering, and illegally dispensing prescription cough syrup worth millions of dollars. Zaman Alshafey, 35, of Dearborn, Michigan, was the owner and operator of Med Pro Pharmacy in Livonia, Michigan.
CAMBODIA: FATF’S EARLY-2023 VISIT LIFTS HOPES FOR GREY-LIST EXIT
On 17 November, the Phnom Penh Post reported that with FATF set to arrive in Cambodia in early 2023 to assess the government’s efforts to stop money laundering, the Minister of Interior said he regarded it as a prime opportunity for the Kingdom to get itself removed from the grey list of countries at high risk for money laundering.
THE BASEL AML INDEX 2022: ONE STEP FORWARD, FOUR STEPS BACK
On 17 November, an article from Ballard Spahr LLP was a guest blog by a representative of the Basel Institute on Governance about the Institute’s recent release of the 2022 Index.
US CONGRESS IS LETTING INTERNATIONAL MONEY LAUNDERERS OFF THE HOOK
On 17 November, an Opinion piece in the Washington Post makes this argument, saying that watchdog groups maintain that the US is still the world’s number 1 country for money laundering. It is said that this is because its leaders are failing to stop enemies from abusing democratic institutions — and failing to stop Americans from helping them. Right now, it says, a perfect example of this dysfunction is quietly unfolding in Congress, where an important effort to close a huge international money laundering loophole is being thwarted.
IRAN AND VENEZUELA ACCUSED OF COORDINATING INFLUENCE CAMPAIGN TO FREE COLOMBIAN BUSINESSMAN
On 17 November, The Record reported that Iran and Venezuela have allegedly been orchestrating a years-long influence campaign to free Alex Saab, a well-known Colombian businessman with ties to both countries. He who was arrested in Cape Verde and extradited to the US, where he awaits trial on money laundering charges, being accused of helping Venezuela and Iran evade sanctions imposed by the US Government.