It is noticeable that, with the increase in Covid cases here in Panama, the proportion of people wearing masks, especially indoors, appears to have increased. Mask wearing on public transport (and in medical facilities and for food workers) had remain mandatory anyway.
I also read that in New York a new recommendation is for masks in public once more.
In other diseases, and given the concern over modest numbers of cases here, I note that it has been reported that, worldwide, there were 619,000 deaths from malaria in 2021.
9 DECEMBER 2022
FINNISH CUSTOMS FINDS LINKS TO RUSSIA TYCOONS IN YACHT PROBE
On 7 December, Bloomberg reported that Finnish Customs has transferred 8 yachts to its National Enforcement Authority following an investigation into vessels potentially linked to owners covered by sanctions against Russia and Belarus. It found that 7 of the leisure craft could be linked to entities on the EU sanctions lists.
TURKISH MISSILES USED IN SYRIA INCLUDE EUROPE-PRODUCED PARTS
On 6 December, the Washington Post reported that commercial brakes produced by a Dutch company to be used in ambulances in Turkey instead ended up in missiles used by Turkey in attacks in north-eastern Syria. After being notified that the brakes were being used in military applications, the Dutch company said it had cut off its business relationship with its Turkish customer.
ONLINE CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGNS USE CRYPTOCURRENCY TO SUPPORT RUSSIAN PARAMILITARY GROUPS IN UKRAINE
On 5 December, Kharon reported that Russian far-right and neo-Nazi paramilitary units fighting in Ukraine continue to raise cryptocurrency through online fundraising efforts in order to support their operations. There are tens of thousands of followers on Telegram, raising funds for military gear and equipment.
UK: FREEZING ORDERS – RUSSIAN OLIGARCH GETS A SECOND CHANCE
On 6 December, an article from Eldwick Law was concerned with a recent case in the UK which upheld a challenge against a freezing order on a Russian oligarch, Petr Aven, whose British assets were frozen in February. Shortly before he was sanctions, the NCA had obtained freezing orders, and then a search warrant, and began further investigations. The companies handling the funds sought a judicial review challenging the lawfulness of refusal to set the orders aside, while the NCA brought its own challenge against the lawfulness of the decision to vary them.
UK: REPORTING SCAMS PRETENDING TO BE FROM COMPANIES HOUSE
On 7 December, Companies House issued updated guidance on what to do if you think you have spotted a scam pretending to be from Companies House, and providing examples of scam emails, letters and telephone calls.
SANTANDER UK FINED £108 MILLION OVER MONEY LAUNDERING FAILINGS
On 9 December, the BBC reported that Santander has been fined £107.8 million over “serious and persistent gaps” in its AML controls which opened the door to “financial crime”. The failings affected the oversight of accounts held by more than 560,000 business customers between 31 December 2012 and 18 October 2017, and led to more than £298 million passing through the bank before it closed accounts.
HONG KONG: 3 MEN ARRESTED BY CUSTOMS IN HK$150 MILLION ILLICIT CIGARETTE BUST
On 9 December, The Standard reported that 3 men were arrested as customs busted 2 large-scale illicit cigarette smuggling cases. Including the illicit cigarettes seized in this operation, customs have seized about 694 million suspected illicit cigarettes this year. The number already exceeded last year’s total seizure amount by 60%.
LEBANESE COURT SENTENCES ‘CAPTAGON KING’ TO 7 YEARS IN PRISON WITH HARD LABOUR
On 9 December, Al-Arabiya reported that this is said to be the first time a major drug baron is convicted in a captagon case in Lebanon. Hassan Dekko, a Lebanese-Syrian drug kingpin with high-level political connections in both countries, is accused of once running an empire out of a Lebanese border village in the notoriously lawless Bekaa region.
BROTHERS DEFRAUDED THE RUSSIAN STATE OF BILLIONS USING A SCOTTISH LIMITED PARTNERSHIP
On 9 December, Open Democracy reported on a case in Russia involving 2 Russian businessmen, Ziyavudin and Magomed Magomedov, who were arrested on embezzlement and organised crime charges in 2018, and a Moscow court has found the brothers guilty of racketeering and embezzlement. The article says that the SLP was set up in 2010 and registered, along with thousands of similar entities, at an Edinburgh residence 2 miles from Companies House. Its entire public bureaucratic footprint consisted of 2 filings. One is its certificate of registration. The other is the belated LP6, effectively its dissolution.
INCOMING EU REGULATIONS INCREASE SCRUTINY ON FORCED LABOUR IN SUPPLY CHAINS
On 8 December, an article from Dentons sets out to explain how the Forced Labour Regulations may impact your company and what steps you can take.
UK EXPORTERS ISSUED COMPOUND SETTLEMENTS FOR UNLICENSED STRATEGIC EXPORTS
On 9 December, the Department for International Trade issued Notice to Exporters 2022/31 which sets out compound penalties related to unlicensed exports of dual use goods, military goods and related activity controlled by the Export Control Order 2008.
REVEALED: THE FULL INSIDE STORY OF THE MICHELLE MONE PPE SCANDAL
On 9 December, the Guardian published a feature on this scandal involving a Conservative Party member of parliament and the “VIP Lane” procurement channel for unusable PPE equipment during the pandemic.
WHAT LIES BEHIND JAMAICA’S PERPETUAL LOOP OF STATES OF EMERGENCY?
On 8 December, an article from Insight Crime says that the broad state of emergency announced across Jamaica in order to rein in rising violence has been met with scorn, as it is the latest in a long line of such measures that have achieved little.
THE PREDICTABLE DOWNFALL OF PERU’S PEDRO CASTILLO
On 8 December, Insight Crime published an article saying that he is the sixth president in 6 years and one of several to face allegations of corruption. However, he is unique in that he is the first to face an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office while still president and to try an apparent coup d’état to stay in power.
TOKYO OLYMPICS BRIBERY SCANDAL THREATENS TO DERAIL WINTER GAMES BID
On 7 December, the Guardian reported that a bribery scandal that threatens to derail a bid by a Japanese city to host the Winter Games. Police arrested Haruyuki Takahashi, a former Tokyo Olympics executive, on suspicion of taking bribes in return for helping companies become official sponsors for last year’s event.
CROATIA: RUSSIA-LINKED SUPERYACHT WILL BE SOLD – PROCEEDS WILL GO TO UKRAINE
On 8 December, Insurance Marine News reported that the yacht was seized in connection with EU sanctions at the Port of Rijeka in Croatia and had been moored in Croatia for some time. It is said that the yacht belongs to Viktor Medvedchuk, but will be transferred to the Ukrainian government and sold at an auction overseen by Ukraine’s Asset Recovery and Management Agency (ARMA).
CHINA PRIMER: ILLICIT FENTANYL AND CHINA’S ROLE
On 8 December, the US Congressional Research Service issued this briefing saying that a addressing illicit fentanyl in the context of the ongoing opioid crisis in the US is a domestic and foreign policy issue for Congress.
US SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY ON THE HUMANITARIAN CARVEOUT ACROSS UN SANCTIONS REGIMES
On 9 December, a news release from the US Treasury advised of her statement following the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2664, which establishes a humanitarian carveout across UN sanctions regimes. She welcomed adoption of a ground-breaking Resolution to implement a standardised humanitarian carveout across UN sanctions regimes.
G7 CYBER EXPERT GROUP RELEASES NEW REPORTS ON RANSOMWARE AND THIRD-PARTY RISK
On 8 December, a news release from US Treasury advised that the G7 Cyber Expert Group (CEG) – which US Treasury Office of Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure (OCCIP) co-chairs alongside the Bank of England – recently released 2 reports addressing ransomware and third-party risk within the financial sector. These free and publicly available resources are intended to help financial sector entities better understand cybersecurity topics as agreed upon by a multilateral consensus –
The Fundamental Elements of Ransomware Resilience for the Financial Sector: aim of this document is for financial institutions – both public and private – to use its guidance for their own internal ransomware mitigation activities. Additionally, the collaboration between the G7 jurisdictions on producing this report highlights global efforts to promote the resilience of the financial sector;
The Fundamental Elements of Third-Party Risk Management for the Financial Sector: updates a previous version published in 2018. Due to the increasing use of service providers by financial institutions in central operational functions and the subsequent vulnerabilities created by this reliance.
ISLE OF MAN: 7 SANCTIONS NEWS RELEASES
On 9 December, the Isle of Man published 7 news releases advising the amendment of 1 entry on the Sudan sanctions list; the addition of 1 entry and correction of 3 entries to the Russian sanctions regime; addition of 3 entries under the Myanmar sanctions regime; the addition of 1 entry to the Mali sanctions regime; the addition of 10 entries under the Iran (human rights) sanctions regime; the addition of 8 entries under the global human rights sanctions regime; and the addition of 5 entries under the global anti-corruption sanctions regime.
WHY ARE OIL TANKERS STUCK IN TURKISH WATERS?
On 9 December, a factsheet from EurActiv reported that Turkey’s maritime authority said that it would continue to block the passage of oil tankers that do not carry appropriate insurance letters, adding that insurance checks on ships in its waters were a “routine procedure”.
UK SANCTIONS 2 MOLDOVAN OLIGARCHS CHARGED WITH CORRUPTION
On 9 December, the Mail Online reported that 2 Moldovan oligarchs who are allegedly implicated in a $1 billion bank fraud and other illicit schemes have been added to a new UK sanctions list. Ilan Shor and Vladimir Plahotniuc fled Moldova in 2019 as they faced a series of corruption charges.
THE FINE ART OF FRAUD – FRAUDULENT MISREPRESENTATION, TRACING, BUYER’S RIGHTS, AND MUCH MORE
Taylor Wessing has made available this article about Inigo Philbrick, dubbed the ‘Mini-Madoff’ of the art world, and British art dealer Timothy Sammons. It is said that the prospects of recovery are slim. Sammons was declared bankrupt in 2017, and Philbrick, it was said by the prosecution, does not have sufficient assets to pay his victims. The article examines the civil and criminal remedies available to victims of art fraud. Whilst both Philbrick and Sammons were convicted in the US and the related civil claims span not only England but also multiple other jurisdictions, the article will focus exclusively on the treatment of relevant facts under English law.
BELGIUM: 4 PEOPLE ARRESTED AS PART OF INQUIRY INTO GULF STATE BUYING EU INFLUENCE
On 9 December, the Guardian reported that Belgian police seized cash and searched 16 properties across Brussels during major investigation into corruption and money laundering. Belgian police seized €600,000 in cash, computers and mobile phones after searches at 16 properties across Brussels.
GREECE PASSES INTELLIGENCE BILL BANNING THE SALE OF SPYWARE
On 9 December, the Guardian reported that the Greek parliament has passed a Bill overhauling the country’s intelligence service (EYP) and banning the sale of spyware, as the government tries to mitigate the impact of a phone-tapping scandal still under investigation.
FORMER WALL STREET TRADER CONVICTED OF FRAUD IN PRECIOUS METALS SPOOFING SCHEME
On 9 December, a release from Mondo Visione advised that a federal jury in Illinois convicted a former trader at JPMorgan Chase and Credit Suisse of fraud in connection with a spoofing scheme in the gold and silver futures markets.