One place you don’t want to spend your time in Panama is in its prison system, which is said to be 50% overpopulated, with 21,953 inmates. According to a troubling report in today;s La Estrella de Panama, Panama has 476 detainees per 100,000 inhabitants, one of the highest rates in the region, second only to El Salvador, which has 605 per 100,000.
21 NOVEMBER 2022
HONG KONG: BILL COULD POTENTIALLY IMPACT THOUSANDS OF LUXURY GOODS MANUFACTURERS, IMPORTERS, EXPORTERS, DISTRIBUTORS AND RETAILERS IN HONG KONG
An article from Haldanes on 18 October says that all traders (including hawkers) need to be aware of the new requirements under the Bill and how it might apply to them. The legislation involved is the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (Amendment) Bill 2022. This Bill also addresses a number of AML/CFT issues identified in a national risk assessment published pursuant to periodic assessment requirements of FATF. The article says that while a lot of attention has been drawn to the AML Bill’s regulation of virtual asset service providers, in particular the introduction of a licensing regime for crypto-asset exchanges, the section introducing a registration regime for all dealers in precious metals and stones in Hong Kong seems to have slipped under the radar.
OECD GUIDELINES FOR MULTINATIONAL ENTERPRISES
On 17 November, ius Laboris in Germany published an article saying that the Guidelines set standards for responsible business conduct, including in relation to supply chain ethics and worker representation and, in recent years, they have been deployed as a powerful ‘soft law’ tool in a range of contexts both in Germany and internationally. They provide government-backed recommendations on responsible business conduct, and the article describes and evaluates the Guidelines and their potential application from a German perspective and beyond.
ANALYSIS: NORTH KOREA’S ONGOING MISSILE TESTS AND SHIPPING RISKS
Risk Intelligence has produced a briefing on the recent missile tests and the potential problems for shipping in the Sea of Japan and the Pacific, and while missiles have so far landed outside sea lanes North Korea has failed to provide navigational warnings, which it is said is a cause for concern.
WHY DUAL-USE AND DEFENCE TECHNOLOGIES ARE THE NEXT GROWTH SECTORS
An article from real Clear Defense on 21 November is concerned with trends that indicate that the dual-use and defence technology sectors, driven by the confluence of geopolitical, technological, and market forces, are looking at growth.
NORTH KOREA VIOLATING UN SANCTIONS BY PRODUCING UNIFORMS FOR RUSSIAN SOLDIERS IN UKRAINE
On 21 November, Newstrack reported that sources inside North Korea have told Radio Free Asia that North Korean factories are making uniforms for Russian troops in defiance of UN sanctions.
EU: NEW REPORT SHOWS RISE IN RECREATIONAL USE OF NITROUS OXIDE
On 21 November, a news release advised that a rise in the supply and recreational use of nitrous oxide (‘laughing gas’) is the focus of a new report from the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA). The report points to the risks and harms associated with the drug, which is now widely available, cheap and popular among some young people. Nitrous oxide has a variety of legitimate medical, industrial, commercial and scientific uses (e.g. as a food additive or anaesthetic in medicine); but for over 200 years it has also been used for its psychoactive effects, including feelings of euphoria, relaxation and detachment.
NEW ANALYSIS ON THE DRUG SITUATION IN THE WESTERN BALKANS
On 21 November, the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) released a new report. The report offers a top-level analysis of drug markets, their drivers, facilitators and consequences, as well as an overview of drug policy and the law, drug use, harms and responses. It concludes with a regional overview of each of the major drug types, focusing on use, production and trafficking. Additional challenges, such as corruption, violence and the internationalisation of organised crime networks are also considered.
The EMCDDA has also published updated national drug situation overviews for North Macedonia and Serbia.
NEW FINDINGS ON DRUG MARKETS IN THE EASTERN AND SOUTHERN EUROPEAN NEIGHBOURHOOD POLICY REGIONS
On 21 November, the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) released another new report looking at the situation in Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
WHAT IS DEVICE FINGERPRINTING?
On 21 November, Digiday published this updated article on “fingerprinting” as a tactic for collecting information to identify individuals’ devices online, saying that Google and Mozilla have recently targeted device fingerprinting as a privacy-invasive practice that they are looking to eradicate as part of a broader crackdown on online tracking. It explains that it is a way to combine certain attributes of a device — like what operating system it is on, the type and version of web browser being used, the browser’s language setting and the device’s IP address — to identify it as a unique device.
WHAT PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE ON DEFORESTATION AT COP27?
A Commentary from RUSI on 18 November posed this question, saying that there has been little progress since the promises made at Glasgow in 2021. It says that this year’s commitments are already being criticised for falling short of the action that is needed, against a historical precedent of missed targets and political reprioritisation; and that urgent action to tackle deforestation is needed now more than ever.
BELGIUM’S TRADE IN RUSSIAN DIAMONDS CONTINUES DESPITE MORAL PRESSURE
On 20 November, the Guardian reported that, despite the war in Ukraine that has halted billions of dollars in trade, Belgium continues to import diamonds from Russia, albeit in much diminished quantities. This is even more striking as the trade affects only one EU Member State – Belgium – which has always said it would not block a ban.
ECUADOR PRISON QUIETLY RELEASED TOP ALBANIAN COCAINE KINGPIN
On 18 November, Insight Crime reported that Ecuadorean prison authorities quietly released Dritan Rexhepi, one of Europe’s most notorious cocaine traffickers, last year, in a surprising move that risks empowering the country’s Albanian crime groups. He previously Rexhepi escaped from a police station in Albania in 2006 and then Italian and Belgian prisons in 2011 – all 3 countries currently have extradition warrants for him and have convicted him of homicide, drug trafficking, and armed robbery. He was also reportedly arrested for a series of 2011 bank robberies in Spain. He was detained in Ecuador and sentenced in 2015 to 13 years for cocaine trafficking.
CORRUPTION, COCAINE, AND GOLD: INTERVIEW WITH SURINAME’S PRESIDENT SANTOKHI
On 17 November, Insight Crime published an interview with the President of Suriname, South America’s smallest country, saying that it faces multiple challenges – as a cocaine transit route to Europe, an illegal gold mining hub, and a front line in the fight against kleptocracy. A former police officer and former justice minister between 2005 to 2010, he defeated Suriname’s then-most powerful person: a convicted drug trafficker, alleged murderer, and a 2-time President between 2010 and 2020.
ICO DATA TRANSFERS GUIDE CLARIFIES DATA EXPORTER ROLE IN SUB-PROCESSING
An article from out-Law on 21 November says that technology providers could rethink how they package arrangements around the sub-processing of personal data into the products and services they offer businesses in response to new guidance issued by the UK’s data protection authority.
NEW INTERNATIONAL STANDARD TO IMPROVE TRACKING OF GOODS ACROSS COMPLEX SUPPLY CHAINS
On 21 November, a release on Hellenic Shipping News says that, in today’s globalised economy, goods move through complex supply chains and cross borders – often numerous times, which involves multifaceted interactions among a variety of suppliers and trade actors. It says that the UN agency, UNECE, helps to shed light on the key question of “where are my goods? – a question that arises frequently, as goods move along multiple steps in supply chains between the seller and the buyer using the UN/CEFACT Track and Trace Standard for Multi-Modal Transport. The new standard was presented to the 28th UN/CEFACT Plenary in October.
THE BOGUS COMPANIES EXPLOITING BRITAIN’S REGISTRATION RULES
An article from The Spectator on 19 November criticises what is said to be mass abuse of Britain’s companies-registration process. Barriers to setting up a company are low, but perhaps, it says, not so good that anyone, anywhere in the world, can set up a UK-registered firm for the small fee of £12. They do not need to provide proof of identity, still less that they are making a serious attempt to set up a viable business. All they need is some sort of British address to put on the form: an address which can easily be lifted from the internet. Nor is there much to stop people registering companies with bogus directors, even including people unaware of how their names are being used.
THE PHILIPPINES AND THE TRADE IN THE PALAWAN PANGOLIN
A report from the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime on 17 November says that, between 2018 and 2019, seizures of Palawan pangolins increased more than 9-fold compared with the previous 18 years. The report sets out how trafficking of the Palawan pangolin has grown over the last 2 decades, with what appears to be a sharp acceleration from around 2016. This rise has been linked both to shifts in the broader illicit economy in the Philippines, burgeoning links between pangolin consumer populations and the country, and global shifts in the patterns of illicit trade. It also describes the challenges facing the Filipino government agencies charged with responding to wildlife trafficking, which have created gaps in the state response that trafficking networks have profited from.
US: 2 RUSSIAN NATIONALS CHARGED WITH RUNNING MASSIVE E-BOOK PIRACY WEBSITE
On 16 November, a news release from US DoJ advised that an indictment and a complaint were unsealed charging Russian nationals Anton Napolsky and Valeriia Ermakova with criminal copyright infringement, wire fraud and money laundering for operating Z-Library, an online e-book piracy website. They was arrested on 3 November in Argentina at the request of the US. At the same time, Z-Library’s network of online domains was also taken offline and seized by the US Government, pursuant to a court order.
‘HEIST OF THE CENTURY’: HOW $2.5 BILLION WAS PLUNDERED FROM IRAQI STATE FUNDS
On 20 November, an article from the Guardian says that mystery surrounds embezzlement of tax revenues, which appears to have been facilitated by some of the highest offices in the country. Iraqis have called it “the heist of the century” – a brazen multibillion-dollar plundering of state coffers that has gripped the country.
EXPLAINER: IRAN’S DRONE EXPORTS WORLDWIDE
On 16 November, the US Institute for Peace published a briefing saying that by Autumn 2022, Iran had also exported drones or drone technology to at least 5 countries on 4 continents as well as to at least 7 proxy militias in the Middle East.
OFAC NEW RUSSIA SANCTIONS GENERAL LICENSE
On 21 November, OFAC advised that it had issued General License 13C relating to certain transactions involving the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation.
US: FORMER HIGH-RANKING SOMALI LIEUTENANT-COLONEL ARRESTED AND ACCUSED OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
A news release from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement on 18 November advised that officers had arrested Yusuf Abdi Ali, aka Tukeh, 69, a former high-ranking Somali army officer accused of multiple human rights violations against Somali civilians during the 1980s.
2 ESTONIAN CITIZENS ARRESTED OVER $575 MILLION CRYPTOCURRENCY FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING SCHEME
On 21 November, Yahoo News reported that the US DoJ has said that 2 Estonian citizens were arrested in Tallinn on an 18-count indictment for their alleged involvement in a $575 million cryptocurrency fraud and money laundering conspiracy, said to be connected to cryptocurrency mining service called HashFlare. The money laundering conspiracy allegedly involved at least 75 real properties, 6 luxury vehicles, cryptocurrency wallets, and thousands of cryptocurrency mining machines.