Feeling better today (though not 100%), but my wife is now taken to bed. Obviously not Covid, but seemingly nearly everyone we know seems to have something similar in the past few days – mainly among those returning to the country from abroad.
Somewhat surprisingly, considering its history and international business connections, the media here reports that, for the sixth consecutive year, Panama once again ranked as one of the countries with the “lowest” English language proficiency in the world. It seems that Argentina, Costa Rica, Cuba, Paraguay and Bolivia all score better. My personal experience is that where foreigners do speak English, many are more proficient than native speakers (possibly because they have to learn the language properly, rather than just picking it up…).
In other news, the first harvest of sea cucumber (holoturoids) produced on a marine farm is reported from Colón on the Caribbean coast. It is said that the farm expects a great demand from the international market, especially in Asia, from countries like China where it is an integral part of food and natural medicine with innumerable benefits.
6 DECEMBER 2022
COMOROS COURT SENTENCES FORMER PRESIDENT TO LIFE IN PRISON
On 28 November, France 24 reported that a court in the Comoros had handed down a life sentence for high treason to ex-president Ahmed Abdallah Sambi, who was tried in absentia and was convicted of selling passports to stateless people living in the Gulf. President from between 2006 and 2011, he passed a law in 2008 allowing the sale of passports at an exorbitant fee. The scheme aimed at the so-called bidoon – an Arab minority numbering in the tens of thousands who cannot obtain citizenship, and the former President was accused of embezzling millions of dollars under the scheme.
DISCLOSURE: A GUIDE TO SEEKING NORWICH PHARMACAL ORDERS
On 2 December, an article from Baker & Partners about Norwich Pharmacal Orders (NPO) in Jersey. An NPO is a disclosure order which allows information to be obtained from third parties who have become ‘mixed up’ in wrongdoing, helping individuals to investigate, pursue those ultimately responsible and (hopefully) recover their losses.
IRELAND: ANALYSIS OF DIRECTORS’ LIABILITY IN IRELAND
On 5 December, an article from the Maples Group said that the Irish High Court recently held directors and shadow directors personally liable for funds misappropriated by a company as part of a fraudulent investment scheme worth €186 million – the first time that an Irish court has pierced the corporate veil to hold directors personally liable. It says that the judgment serves as a stark reminder of the importance of directors’ duties and, in particular, the potential consequences for their dereliction by passive directors.
CANADA: THE DOCTRINE OF KNOWING RECEIPT: HOW A THIRD PARTY CAN BE LIABLE FOR RECEIVING PROCEEDS OF FRAUD
On 2 December, an article from Devry Smith Frank LLP explains that when a third party receives proceeds of fraud or trust property for their own benefit, and are enriched at the expense of a beneficiary, victims can sue to recover the property in the possession of the third party under the law of “knowing receipt”. In order to establish liability under the doctrine of knowing receipt, the victim must satisfy the court of 2 things: a receipt requirement and a knowledge requirement.
FOR LEGAL PRIVILEGE TO APPLY, PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY ARE NOT THE SAME
On 6 December, an article from RPC said that a recent case provided a helpful overview of the law on confidentiality and privacy where a claim to legal professional privilege (LPP) is made, highlighting that the 2 should not be equated. It says that the outcome is similar to that in another case in which access from and storage on a third party’s servers was held not to waive privilege.
NOKIA SENDS 4 APPLICATIONS FOR EXPORT LICENCE TO SUPPLY TO RUSSIA
On 5 December, Yahoo News reported that 2 applications were sent to European regulators, while another 2 were submitted to a US regulator, with one of the applications already accepted. Nokia does not plan to return to the Russian market but wants to complete contractual obligations and supply equipment. The share of Nokia equipment in the Russian market is 20-25%. All major telecom operators use the company’s equipment.
AIRCRAFT COMPANIES SUE INSURERS OVER LOSSES FROM RUSSIA SANCTIONS
On 6 December, the Irish Independent reported that 3 Irish-registered companies involved in international aircraft leasing have brought High Court proceedings against insurers’ refusal to provide indemnity for the loss of some $1.75 billion worth of airplanes detained in Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.
RUSSIA TURNS TO THE CHINESE YUAN FOR CROSS-BORDER PAYMENTS
On 5 December, the Payments Journal reported that the Russian Central Bank (RCB) said that roughly 50% of Russian cross-border payments are being made using currencies other than the euro and the dollar, and Russia has been increasingly turning towards the Chinese yuan for cross-border payments.
US CITIZEN AND 12 EGYPTIANS STAND TRIAL OVER SMUGGLING EGYPTIAN ANTIQUITIES
On 6 December, the Egypt Independent reported that 12 defendants, including a US citizen and 11 Egyptians, are on trial at the Cairo Criminal Court after being accused of smuggling Egyptian antiquities. One of the defendants was arrested red-handed at JFK Airport in the US, leading to authorities discovering the rest of his accomplices.
UK: ACMD ADVICE ON THE CLASSIFICATION AND SCHEDULE OF REMIMAZOLAM
On 2 December, the Home Office published a report from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) on the classification and schedule of Remimazolam. ACMD recommends that remimazolam should be controlled as a Class C drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Remimazolam is a prescription-only medicine, which can only be given by a healthcare professional experienced in sedation.
WIRECARD IN THE DOCK AS GERMANY’S BIGGEST FRAUD TRIAL SET TO START
On 6 December, RTE reported that former Wirecard executives go on trial, 2 years after the collapse of the payments company that produced Germany’s biggest postwar fraud scandal and sent shockwaves through the country’s political and financial establishment.
REPORT: MONEY LAUNDERING CRITICAL IN SUSTAINING SYNTHETIC OPIOID EPIDEMIC
On 5 December, OCCRP said that increasingly complex money laundering networks play a vital role in sustaining the synthetic opioid trade, which is linked to tens of thousands of deaths globally each year – and a new report from FATF on fentanyl and tramadol says authorities are not doing enough to fight back.
MEXICAN PROSECUTOR WHO LED INVESTIGATIONS INTO VIOLENT CRIMES OF ROMANIAN GANG IS ACCUSED OF BEING ON THEIR PAYROLL
On 5 December, a report from OCCRP says that after former member of the Riviera Maya gang was stabbed in Mexico by his onetime comrades. The Mexican prosecutor who led the investigation didn’t even look into them as suspects. Now, it says, they may have been paying him off. The Mexican prosecutor who was allegedly paid off by the head of the Romanian gang also investigated 2 major criminal cases involving its members, including a murder and an attempted murder.
US: THE UYGHUR FORCED LABOR PREVENTION ACT – POTENTIAL IMPACT ON CRITICAL MINERALS SUPPLY FOR CLEAN ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES
On 5 December, an article from White & Case said that the UFLPA established a rebuttable presumption that goods produced wholly or in part in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, or by certain identified entities, are made with forced labour, and therefore subject to an import prohibition in the US. The US Government has recently signalled that it will dedicate significant resources to bar imports of any product category where supply chain visibility suggests the possibility of forced labour. It says that there is a strong likelihood that US Customs will pay especially close attention to imported critical minerals and products containing critical minerals.
COCAINE SEIZURE IN INDIA INCREASED 3,479% IN 2021-22
On 5 December, the Big News Network reported that seizures of cocaine increased from 8.667 kg to 310.21 kg. There were also big increases in methamphetamine and heroin.
FORMER US MARINES PILOT FACING EXTRADITION TO THE US OVER ACTIVITY IN CHINA
On 5 December, the Guardian reported that Daniel Duggan was arrested on return from China at the request of the FBI. 6 weeks of high-security custody later, the charges against him remain sealed. His arrest coincided with warnings from Australian and British authorities over the practice of former military pilots being offered lucrative contracts to train pilots in China.
MASS GRAVES IN VENEZUELA CONNECTED TO DISAPPEARANCES IN ILLEGAL MINING HUB
On 5 December, an article from Insight Crime says that the discovery of 3 mass graves in Venezuela’s eastern state of Bolívar points to how sinister the increase in disappearances in the country’s illegal mining epicentre has become. At least 37 people had gone missing in Bolívar’s mining areas between September 2021 and April 2022.
FRENCH PROSECUTORS NAME UKRAINIAN SUSPECT IN LEBANESE CENTRAL BANK PROBE
On 5 December, Swissinfo reported that French prosecutors said that they have put a Ukrainian woman linked to the governor of Lebanon’s central bank under formal investigation as part of a cross-border probe into alleged fraud to the detriment of the Lebanese state. Anna Kosakova, with whom central bank governor Riad Salameh has a daughter, is suspected of aggravated money laundering.
CREDIT SUISSE FIGHTS $600 MILLION DAMAGES AWARD OVER MISHANDLING OF ROGUE BANKER
On 5 December, Swissinfo reported that a Bermuda judge awarded the damages to bank client and Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili in March after ruling that Credit Suisse Life had turned a “blind eye” to convicted fraudster Patrice Lescaudron’s misuse of Ivanishvili’s money. However, a lawyer for a Credit Suisse Group AG unit suggested the size of the ruling exaggerates what the returns would have been if the money had been invested properly.
THE DOWNSIDES OF DIGITAL REVOLUTION: CONFRONTING AFRICA’S EVOLVING CYBER THREATS
On 2 December, a report from the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime says that over the past 2 decades, Africa has experienced an unprecedented wave of technological diffusion and innovation. Africa’s digital revolution carries with it significant potential for benefit, but also enormous downsides, threats and challenges. The report looks at how Africa’s digital revolution is impacting and amplifying a broad array of security threats, including organised crime, critical infrastructure sabotage, cyber-espionage and armed conflict innovation.
UK: WHICH? CLAIMS BANKS ARE LEAVING CUSTOMERS WIDE OPEN TO SPOOFING FRAUD
On 2 December, Finextra reported claims that security failings at some of the UK’s largest banks are leaving customers vulnerable to fraud. To test how effective banks were at protecting their customers, Which? made calls to a test phone, spoofing the prominent numbers of 14 current account providers. The firms’ numbers were chosen if they were the ones printed on the back of debit cards or listed as fraud helplines on their websites. It found many were not utilising Ofcom’s ‘Do Not Originate’ (DNO) list, a shared resource with telecoms providers to help them identify and block calls from numbers that are most likely to be spoofed.
AML/CFT MUTUAL EVALUATION ONSITE OF BRUNEI DARUSSALAM
On 2 December, FATF-style regional body APG reported that an onsite visit for Brunei Darussalam’ 3rd APG Mutual Evaluation was conducted from 7 to 18 November. Brunei’s mutual evaluation report will be considered for adoption at the next APG Annual Meeting in July 2023.
HONG KONG POLICE SHUT DOWN MONEY LAUNDERING SYNDICATE SUSPECTED OF PROCESSING HK$168 MILLION THROUGH 100 BANK ACCOUNTS
On 6 December, the South China Morning Post reported that Hong Kong police have arrested 13 men and shut down a local money laundering syndicate that had used more than 100 bank accounts to process illegal funds. Those detained included 4 core members of the syndicate and 9 holders of the bank accounts that were used to collect and launder crime proceeds.
CANADA IMPOSES ADDITIONAL SANCTIONS ON THE IRANIAN REGIME: 4 INDIVIDUALS AND 5 ENTITIES TARGETED
On 5 December, Baker McKenzie reported that, on 2 December, Canada announced further amendments to the Special Economic Measures (Iran) Regulations in response to the Iranian regime’s “gross and systematic human rights violations and actions that continue to threaten international peace and security”. There are now over 275 parties listed under Schedule 1 of the Regulations. Among the newly listed parties are senior officials, prominent regime supporters, entities involved in transporting and developing UAV, and 1 media outlet – Javan News Agency.
ARMS TRANSFER AND SALW CONTROL-RELATED ASSISTANCE IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA: IDENTIFYING NEEDS AND BRIDGING GAPS
On 6 December, a report from SIPRI provides an updated picture of assistance activities involving countries in the region. It assesses to what extent assistance delivered in the region has been in line with the needs and requests of MENA countries and provides recommendations on the priorities that should be the focus of future assistance efforts. It argues that effective arms transfer and small arms and light weapons (SALW) controls are essential to help to ensure that the region, which is already plagued by conflicts and tensions, does not become even more unstable.
GLOBAL JURISDICTIONS IMPLEMENT RUSSIAN OIL BAN AND PRICE CAP POLICY—NEW COMPLIANCE EXPECTATIONS FOR INDUSTRIES INVOLVED IN GLOBAL OIL TRADE
On 6 December, Wilmer Hale published this Client Alert, saying that the new price cap policy will create complex new sanctions compliance and recordkeeping obligations for global industries involved (directly or indirectly) in Russian energy trade, including the insurance, trade finance, banking, brokering, navigation, shipping and refinery industries.
NATIONAL LAWS ON EU SANCTIONS WILL BE BETTER ALIGNED
On 6 December, Irish law firm McCann Fitzgerald reported that, in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the Council of the EU has decided that Member State legislation on sanctions should be better aligned. Council Decision (EU) 2022/2332 requires Member States to apply minimum rules on the definition of criminal offences and penalties in the area of sanctions and other restrictive measures.
‘DARK ACTIVITIES’ OF RUSSIAN-LINKED OIL TANKERS HAVE DOUBLED
On 6 December, the Guardian reported on analysis which shows that the number of Russian-affiliated oil tankers “going dark” to avoid being tracked in the South Atlantic has doubled in recent months in a sign of clandestine means being deployed to avoid sanctions.
WTO REPORT SHOWS INCREASE IN TRADE RESTRICTIONS AMIDST ECONOMIC UNCERTAINTY AND MULTIPLE CRISES
On 6 December, a news release advised that the WTO Director-General’s annual overview of developments in the international trading environment shows that trade restrictions are increasing in a context of economic uncertainty exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the food security crisis. WTO members are introducing restrictions at an increased pace, particularly on food, feed and fertilisers. The stockpile of import restrictions in force also continues to grow.
MAPPED: WHICH COUNTRIES HAVE THE HIGHEST INFLATION RATE?