As of today, the deadline for signing, there is no sign of the Panamanian Government and First Quantum having signed a renewal of the agreement on the massive (and highly lucrative – in the last quarter, 39% of the company’s income came from the Panama concession) copper mine. The company says a proposed $375 million a year payment is “reasonable”…
Meanwhile, the media also reports on increased malaria cases in the country, roughly doubled this year over 2021, with 5,419 cases reported and 1 death.
15 DECEMBER 2022
RANSOMWARE PAYMENTS UNDER ENGLISH LAW: KEY CONSIDERATIONS FOR STAKEHOLDERS
On 14 December, an article from Mayer Brown highlights some of the key legal issues facing businesses that have suffered a ransomware attack with particular reference to the latest UK guidance and the relevant sanctions regimes. It says that directors and senior management therefore must not only work to prevent ransomware and other cyber attacks from happening, but be prepared if the company’s cyber defences are breached. One critical point for senior management can be boiled down to the question: to pay or not to pay?
UKRAINE CANCELS LICENCES OF 3 “RUSSIAN-CONTROLLED” GAMBLING OPERATORS
On 14 iGB reported that the Ukrainian Commission for the Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries (KRAIL) has cancelled the licences of 3 online gaming operators that it determined were ”controlled” by Russian nationals.
US PROSECUTORS TARGETING RUSSIAN OLIGARCHS SHIFT FOCUS TO SERVICE PROVIDERS THAT SUPPORT THEM
On 29 November, an article from the Wall Street Journal reported that a DoJ task force created in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is increasingly shifting its attention from yachts and private jets to the professional network of service providers that enable Russian oligarchs to move and hide their money around the world. It said that the indictment of Graham Bonham-Carter demonstrates how the focus has moved toward the service providers who facilitate sanctions evasion, as well as how enforcement has become an increasingly multilateral effort involving the close coordination of the US and its allies in Europe.
US IS MOVING TO IMPOSE SANCTIONS ON ONE OF RUSSIA’S WEALTHIEST MEN, VLADIMIR POTANIN BUT THE SANCTIONS WILL NOT TARGET NORNICKEL, A SOURCE OF MUCH OF HIS PERSONAL WEALTH
On 14 December, the Wall Street Journal reported that the US is moving to impose sanctions on one of Russia’s wealthiest men, Vladimir Potanin, as well as on some of his financial companies. Sanctions are expected to include Potanin, his wife Ekaterina Potanina and a yacht he owns, Interros, an investment holding company Mr. Potanin controls, and Rosbank, which it bought earlier this year. However, But the sanctions action won’t include the metals giant MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC, aka Nornickel, a source of much of Mr. Potanin’s personal wealth. This company is responsible for about 5% of the world’s annual production of nickel, and nickel is a key component of electric-vehicle batteries. The company also produces some 40% of the world’s palladium, which goes into catalytic converters and semiconductors, and supplies what are called energy-transition metals such as cobalt and copper.
UK ARTS MINISTER: ART EXPORT LICENCES SHOULD BE REFORMED
On 13 December, the Art Newspaper explained that the criteria for issuing export bars have remained unchanged since 1952, and that the UK Government is considering a reform of its export licensing system for major artworks, to offer potential benefits to foreign museums around the world.
CANADA RENEWS SANCTIONS AGAINST NORD STREAM TURBINE REPAIRS
On 15 December, MSN and others reported the Government of Canada has indicated that it will revoke a sanctions waiver that allowed Nord Stream 1 turbines to be repaired. The waiver initially was granted at Germany’s request.
UK: SOCIALITE JAMES STUNT CLEARED OF FORGERY BUT FACES MONEY LAUNDERING RETRIAL
On 15 December, Business Matters reported that the socialite and former son-in-law of Bernie Ecclestone, faces a retrial over his alleged role in a £260 million money laundering scam after the jury failed to reach a verdict. He was one of 8 defendants on trial over an alleged criminal network under which, prosecutors said, £266 million was deposited in the bank account of the gold dealership Fowler Oldfield from 2014 to 2016.
REPUBLIC OF BELARUS (SANCTIONS) (OVERSEAS TERRITORIES) (AMENDMENT) ORDER 2022
THE RUSSIA (SANCTIONS) (OVERSEAS TERRITORIES) (AMENDMENT) (NO. 4) ORDER 2022
On 15 December, these 2 Orders were published. They update the relevant existing legislation to align it with that in the UK. The amendments apply to the British Overseas Territories, including Anguilla, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Montserrat, Pitcairn, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and BVI.
DDoS-FOR-HIRE SERVICES TAKEN OUT IN INTERNATIONAL OPERATION
A news release from NCA on 15 December advised that an international operation targeting tools and services used to commit serious cyber attacks has seen the takedown of 48 of the world’s most popular ‘booter’ sites which enabled cyber criminals to execute Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.
UK: TICKET TOUTS JAILED FOR FRAUD HAVING PROFITED FROM RE-SELLING ORDERED TO PAY £6.2 MILLION CONFISCATION ORDER
On 15 December, Access All Areas reported that the 2 men were sentenced to prison in February 2020 for fraudulent trading and possessing articles for fraud. The case was the first successful prosecution related to large-scale ticket fraud. The married couple ran BZZ Limited, which they used to buy and resell tickets at inflated prices for concerts by artists including Ed Sheeran, Madness, and McBusted.
UK: SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY FOR FORMER SPANISH KING UPHELD ON APPEAL
On 14 December, the Law Society Gazette reported that the Court of Appeal upheld the immunity in a case involving allegations that the former king of Spain harassed a woman over a 2-year period, the Court saying that the King was entitled to immunity in regards to the allegations which pre-dated his abdication.
ALBANIAN EX-OFFICIAL WANTED IN CONNECTION WITH CALL CENTRE FRAUD
On 15 December, OCCRP reported that Spain has issued an arrest warrant for a former senior government official in Albania exposed by OCCRP as the owner of a call centre that allegedly defrauded victims around the world by steering them into fake investments. Amant Josifi, a former adviser to the Albanian Defence Ministry had close business ties to Prime Minister Edi Rama’s brother.
CORRUPTION AND CRIMES LINKED TO THE TRANSFER OF ATHLETES INCREASE RISK AMONG MINORS AND VULNERABLE ADULTS
On 17 November, a report from the UN Office on Drugs & Crime says that a huge influx of money at the top level of professional sport, rapid growth of legal and illegal sports betting and marked technological advances have transformed the way sport is performed and consumed. It says that corruption risks have greatly affected the systems used for the transfer of athletes, putting minors and vulnerable adults at risk.
UK COURT RULING HIGHLIGHTS PRIVILEGE AND DISCLOSURE ISSUES RELATING TO EMAILS IN CORPORATE IT SYSTEMS
On 14 December, an article from Out-Law says that a recent decision by the High Court, refusing to grant a declaration that company officers could not assert privilege in respect of emails stored in a corporate email system, provides useful lessons to businesses on legal professional privilege (LPP) and disclosure. The key issue the court had to decide in relation to the application was whether the tort defendants could assert privilege as against claimants over information and documents held on corporate IT systems of a company the claimants had acquired, including email servers and other computer drives.
HOW DID THE CASTEDO CLAN RUN THE DRUG TRADE IN NORTHERN ARGENTINA?
On 14 December, an article from Insight Crime says that a recent court case confirmed the group’s extensive connections to authorities and how they came to dominate the drug trade with Bolivia. The conviction has revealed the extent of the family clan’s connections with corrupt state representatives, but the article says that its leader’s downfall has done little to dent overall drug trafficking in Argentina.
TRADE MARK LAW: NICE CLASSIFICATION FROM 1 JANUARY SEES DIGITAL GOODS AUTHENTICATED BY NON-FUNGIBLE TOKENS (NFT) LISTED SEPARATELY FOR THE FIRST TIME, AND THIS WILL FACILITATE TRADE MARK REGISTRATION
On 15 December, an article from Out-Law made this prediction, saying that the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and numerous other national trade mark offices will apply the new version to every application for trade mark registration received from 1 January.
PRIVACY SHIELD 2.0: EU-US DATA TRANSFERS DECISION DRAFTED
On 15 December, an article from Out-Law says that a new framework for transferring personal data from the EU to the US, could be in effect by spring 2023 after the European Commission published a draft decision endorsing the framework.
RUSSIA’S WAR ON UKRAINE: A SANCTIONS TIMELINE
On 13 December, the Petersen Institute for International Economics has issued an updated version of this tool which provides details of developments in many countries along a timeline.
DELIVERIES OF MILLIONS IN HARD CASH PROMPTS CONCERN OVER FINANCIAL TRANSPARENCY IN AFGHANISTAN
On 10 December, ABC News in Australia reported on receipts by Da Afghanistan Bank of 3 separate cash injections of $US40 million for “humanitarian aid”, in November and December, and each delivery was passed to a commercial bank. The bank has not clarified where the cash is coming from, or what it meant by humanitarian aid, prompting concerns over financial transparency in Afghanistan. The article asks why are such large sums of cash being sent to Afghanistan?
EARLY LESSONS FROM THE EU GEOECONOMIC RESPONSE TO RUSSIA’S INVASION OF UKRAINE
On 8 December, the Danish Institute for International Studies issued a report which sets out to investigate the early lessons learned in different EU institutions and Member States during the period of this ‘sanctioning of warfare’. It presents a series of recommendations for how the EU can improve its use of geoeconomic instruments when confronted with acute security threats.
ITALY: EPPO SEIZES IMPORTED ELECTRIC CARS IN ANTI-FRAUD OPERATION
A news release from the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) on 14 December advised that 28 new electric vehicles by a well-known car manufacturer had been seized at the Port of Rome. The vehicles had been imported from China to Italy, and were destined for Austria, the place of residence of the importer. The investigation showed that the importation of these vehicles into the EU was never authorised, either by the brand of the car company or by any of its agents or licensees – therefore constituting an illicit parallel import. The value being understated, the real value of the imported vehicles was more than 10 times the value declared to customs, and the taxable value of the shipment exceeds €900,000.
NIRAV MODI LOSES BID TO TAKE EXTRADITION FIGHT TO UK SUPREME COURT
On 15 December, The Hindu reported that Nirav Modi fled India in 2018 before details of his alleged involvement in large-scale fraud at the Punjab National Bank became public. Modi lost the bid to take his fight against extradition to India on charges of fraud and money laundering to the Supreme Court.
THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF RUSSIA SANCTIONS
On 13 December, the US Congressional Research Service published a briefing paper, saying that sanctions have created challenges for Russia but to date, have not delivered the economic “knock out” that many predicted. New sanctions on Russian oil exports implemented in December 2022 may increase economic pressure on the government.
ISLE OF MAN: WARNING THAT WIFI ROUTERS FOUND TO BE AT RISK OF SERIOUS CYBER-ATTACK
On 15 December, the Office of Cyber-Security & Information Assurance (OCSIA) issued a public warning concerning 363 Draytek wi-fi routers said to be in use in the Island, by both personal users and businesses. OCSIA is urging Island residents who use Draytek Vigor routers to check their device and update it with the latest firmware patch as soon as possible.
PORTUGAL – THE NEW DIGITAL NOMAD VISA
Dixcart produced a briefing on 1 December saying that the Portuguese Government announced the introduction of a new visa for digital nomads, which came into force on the 30 October, allowing remote workers and/or self-employees to pursue their profession in Portugal.
UK: RUSSIA (SANCTIONS) (EU EXIT) (AMENDMENT) (NO. 17) REGULATIONS 2022
On 15 December, the EU Sanctions blog published a helpful post about these Regulations which make further amendments to the Russia sanctions regime.
UK RUSSIA SANCTIONS GENERAL LICENCE
On 15 December, HM Treasury advised that OFSI had issued General Licence INT/2022/2448692 which allows for a 7-day wind down period in respect to financial prohibitions in Regulations 16, 17 and 18B of the 2019 Russia Regulations. The General Licence takes effect on 16 December and expires on 22 December.
THE TECHNOLOGIES MIGRANTS ENCOUNTER DURING THEIR JOURNEYS AS WELL AS THE HUMAN RIGHTS IMPLICATIONS OF THEIR USE
On 15 December, CSIS in the US published a report. To understand how widespread the use of these technologies is, CSIS has created 2 realistic yet fictional migrants, who encounter them first-hand on their journeys across Central America and West and North Africa. The interactive report allows readers to track their journeys and see the types of technology they interact with in order to understand where their data goes and how it is used. The report is part of a larger project aimed at understanding the use and export of technology for border and migration management and the associated human rights risks, and opportunities to use these technologies in a rights-respecting manner.
CANADA ADDS 67 PEOPLE AND 9 ENTITIES TO ITS SANCTIONS LISTS
On 15 December, the EU Sanctions blog reported that, on 7 December, Canada listed 67 people and 9 entities under its Russia, Iran and Myanmar sanctions regimes.
THE TOP 5 PORTS IN THE US 2022
On 15 December, Global Trade Magazine published the list of the top 5 US ports during 2022. With the complete annual figures yet to be released, it has taken data from the first 10 months of the year to give an indication of what the final yearly figures could look like. In reverse order, the 5 are – Houston, Savannah, Long Beach, New York/New Jersey, and Los Angeles.
US PROPOSED RULE: DEFINITION OF “ACTIVITIES THAT ARE NOT EXPORTS, RE-EXPORTS, RE-TRANSFERS, OR TEMPORARY IMPORTS”
On 15 December, KPMG reported that the US State Department had proposed 2 new entries to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to expand the definition of “activities that are not exports, reexports, retransfers, or temporary imports”.
US COMMERCE DEPARTMENT ADDS 36 ENTITIES TO THE ENTITY LIST FOR EXPORT CONTROL
On 15 December, KPMG reported that the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the Commerce Department had released for publication in the Federal Register a final rule amending the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) by adding 36 entities to the Entity List. KPMG says that the entities have been determined to be acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the US and will be listed on the entity list under the destinations of China and Japan. 3 other existing entries are removed and another moved to the Entity List from another list. Entities on the Entity List are subject to licence requirements for the export or transfer of specified items, such as some US technologies.
US AMENDMENTS TO EXPORT ADMINISTRATION REGULATIONS (EAR) “UNVERIFIED LIST” (CHINA, PAKISTAN, RUSSIA)
On 15 December, KPMG reported that the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the Commerce Department had released a final rule amending the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) by removing 9 persons from the “unverified list” (UVL) and adding them to the Entity List, all under the destination of Russia. BIS has been unable to verify the bona fides of all 9 persons. BIS is also amending the EAR by removing 27 persons from the UVL, 1 under the destination of Pakistan and 26 under the destination of China, because BIS was able to verify their bona fides. The Unverified List (UVL) is a trade restriction list published by BIS, consisting of certain foreign persons, entities, or governments. Someone can be added to the list if officials cannot verify the bona fides (i.e., legitimacy and reliability about the end-use and end-user of items subject to the EAR) of such persons because an end-use check, such as a pre-licence check (PLC) or a post-shipment verification (PSV), cannot be satisfactorily completed for reasons outside of the US Government’s control. Inclusion on the list involves licensing restrictions, but not the total ban that can result from being on the Entity List.
HAITI (SANCTIONS) (ISLE OF MAN) ORDER 2022
On 15 December, the UK published this Order which extends to the Isle of Man, with necessary modifications, the UK’s Haiti (Sanctions) Regulations 2022, as amended from time to time. The Haiti Regulations, as modified and extended to the Isle of Man by this Order, provide that those persons designated by the UN as responsible for or complicit in, or having engaged in, directly or indirectly, actions that threaten the peace, security or stability of Haiti are designated for the purposes of these Regulations.
FLORIDA PASTOR AND SON ARRESTED IN ALLEGED $8 MILLION COVID RELIEF FRAUD SCHEME
On 15 December, the Guardian reported that a pastor and his son have been arrested for allegedly fraudulently obtaining more than $8 million in federal Covid relief funds. They are said to have used such funds for luxury expenses including a multi-million-dollar house near Walt Disney World.
ISLE OF MAN: MOCK MONEYVAL ASSESSMENT EXERCISE
The FSA Stakeholder e-Bulletin on 15 December included the news that it had taken part in a mock assessment in November aimed at helping the Isle of Man to prepare for its next formal MONEYVAL evaluation, expected in 2025. A number of agencies were involved in the exercise, which was coordinated by the Cabinet Office and conducted by experienced assessors from outside the Isle of Man. The subsequent report, which is scheduled for publication soon, is likely to set out a number of recommendations for action ahead of the next MONEYVAL inspection.
US: FORMER VENEZUELAN NATIONAL TREASURER AND HUSBAND CONVICTED IN INTERNATIONAL BRIBERY SCHEME
A news release from US DoJ on 15 December advised that a federal jury in the Southern District of Florida had convicted the former National Treasurer of Venezuela and her husband for their roles in a billion-dollar currency exchange, bribery, and money laundering scheme. Claudia Patricia Diaz Guillen, 49, and her spouse, Adrian Jose Velasquez Figueroa, 43, both Venezuelan citizens, were extradited from Spain earlier this year. The conspiracy involved bulk cash hidden in cardboard boxes, offshore shell companies, Swiss bank accounts, and international wire transfers sent by Gorrin to purchase multiple private jets, yachts, and to fund a high-end fashion line started by Diaz and Velasquez in Southern Florida.
UK: PPE STORAGE COSTS HIT £1 BILLION
On 15 December, the Good Law Project in the UK released details of an investigation showing that ‘storage costs’ on unused, and unusable, PPE in 2022 has reached a staggering £1.04 billion – and is rising. It says that 2 years after the first lockdown, the Government is still spending £1 million a day on storage with ‘VIP’ lane PPE companies yet again the beneficiaries. It highlights one such company that received over £300 million in Government PPE contracts after being shepherded through the unlawful ‘VIP’ lane, has been paid a further £138 million to store PPE.