It is said that First Quantum Minerals Ltd. continues to work the massive Cobre Panama open mine despite a government order to close commercial operations after talks for a new tax arrangement collapsed – and it is said that the Government has not closed the door to a resumption of talks…
Meanwhile, Panama has reported 52 cases of hantavirus (caused by the aerosol spread of dried mouse droppings) and 6,087 of malaria. 1,239 cases of leishmaniasis (generally spread through the bite of phlebotomine sandflies and generally only causing skin sores), 4 cases of Zika, and 6 of chikungunya (a rare viral infection transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito, characterised by a rash, fever, and severe joint pain that usually lasts for 3 to 7 days) are also reported.
18 DECEMBER 2022
AIR CARGO INDUSTRY – ALLEGATIONS THAT SOME POLAR AIR CARGO MANAGERS RECEIVED ‘ILLICIT’ PAYMENTS FROM A FORWARDER
On 7 December, Loadstar reported allegations in a New York court case that the Polar Air COO and several companies controlled by Polar managers or others received payments made between 2014 and 2021 and based on volumes flown.
NEW DANGEROUS GOODS REGULATIONS FROM 1 JANUARY TO IMPACT SHIPPERS AND FREIGHT FORWARDERS
On 15 December, Loadstar reported on changes, saying that one of the biggest in the road freight regulations means that many more consignors/shippers and freight forwarders will come into scope of the Dangerous Goods Safety Adviser (DGSA) legislation. There are also further changes to the rules on moving lithium batteries by air. On 2 November, Loadstar had reported on a new white paper from TT Club, UK P&I Club and consultants Brookes Bell which said that the risks presented by transporting lithium-ion batteries is sufficient to warrant new regulation.
SINGER AND HUSBAND AT CENTRE OF FRAUD ALLEGATIONS AND $62 MILLION BATTLE FOR CONTROL OF US CHURCH
On 18 December, the Belfast Telegraph reported that a Northern Irish couple who relocated to the US and co-founded a church there 23 years ago are facing a $62 million fraud lawsuit in California. They deny any wrongdoing. But in the case 9 former church members, including the widow of the late founder of the movement, have filed a lawsuit alleging that they took control of the Anaheim church and its assets, valued at $62million, under false pretences.
DEMAND FOR SOUTH AFRICAN SUCCULENTS CULTIVATES CRIMINALITY AND THREATENS BIODIVERSITY
On 16 December, ENACT Africa carried an article saying that some of South Africa’s endemic succulent species are being illegally harvested to near extinction in the wild to supply the international horticultural market seeking South African plants for their beauty, rarity and often whimsical shapes. South Africa is home to 3 of the world’s 36 biodiversity hotspots and one of these is the Succulent Karoo, which covers 116 000 km2 across the Western and Northern Cape provinces and across the border into Namibia. Although not new, incidents of illegal succulent plant harvesting began to increase in 2019. Because illegal harvesting and trade increased exponentially in a short period, South Africa’s policy and regulatory frameworks do not yet provide the necessary safeguards to effectively protect most of the targeted species from illegal harvesting and trade.
POORLY ENFORCED REGULATIONS AND BANS RESULT IN THE REGIONAL TRAFFICKING OF DONKEY SKIN THAT IS WIPING OUT THE LOCAL POPULATION
On 14 December, ENACT Africa reported on this distressing problem. It says that donkeys that are so valuable to West African communities are increasingly falling prey to transnational organised criminal groups, who take advantage of weak regulation, and profit from the ready supply across West Africa and continual demand from Asia.
WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO STUB OUT NORTH AFRICA’S ILLEGAL TOBACCO TRADE?
On 14 December, ENACT Africa posed this question, saying that the illicit trafficking of tobacco is a multibillion-dollar business worldwide; and that one of the major global smuggling routes flows through the Balkans region of Eastern Europe to North Africa. In 2017 over 10 billion cigarettes manufactured in the free-trade zone of Jebel Ali in the UAE were smuggled to North Africa either directly or via Greece and the Balkans. Of these, nearly 4 billion were shipped to Tunisia and 2 billion to Libya, via either Greece or the Balkans, some of which were then trafficked back into illicit markets in Western Europe.
SIGNATURES FOR SALE: A LOOK INSIDE THE CORPORATE SECRECY INDUSTRY
On 14 December, the Stolen Asset Recovery Institute from the World Bank and UNODC published policy recommendations following a recent conference and developed by it, Finance Uncovered and Transparency International Canada. The meeting set out to shed light on questionable practices of the corporate secrecy industry and highlighted mechanisms designed to evade corporate transparency rules. In particular, it found, nominees are a major but underappreciated point of vulnerability in efforts to increase corporate transparency. Measures to address misuse of nominees need to be a core part of policy efforts to improve transparency of corporate entities.
WHEN CAN PROFESSIONALS SUE THEIR CLIENTS FOR BREACHING DUTIES TO THEM?
On 7 December, 4 New Square Chambers published this interesting article saying that, when professionals are sued, it’s not unusual for them to make an assertion that their clients were “up to something”, or to complain that they had provided wilfully misleading or incomplete instructions. The articleexamines what the recent case law in England & Wales tells us about where this type of allegation can lead. It asks if professionals are able to argue that clients owe them duties to act in good faith and failed to do so. It also looks at situations, such as with some professionals’ engagement letters – particularly those of auditors – which contain express duties requiring clients to provide complete and accurate information. It is said that it is always worth reviewing the engagement letter to identify and work out how best to plead any duties the client owed, arguing that they are a surprisingly under-utilised feature of professional negligence claims.
JERSEY: LAWYERS ARGUE WITH POLICE OVER PAY OUTS FOR ILLEGAL RAIDS
On 18 December, Jersey Evening Post reported that lawyers acting for companies with alleged links to sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich have locked horns with the States police’s legal team over how much unlawful raids on their offices should cost Island taxpayers. The advocates representing the 2 firms have told the Royal Court that the force should pay a bigger share of the legal bills they have run up arguing the search warrants were illegal.
JERSEY: ASSEMBLY APPROVES DEFERRED PROSECUTION SCHEME IN ISLAND
On 18 December, the Jersey Evening Post reported that a move to allow businesses to ‘avoid prosecution’ for financial crimes has been approved by the Assembly. The Home Affairs Minister, who brought the proposition, said that a similar law had been introduced in the UK a decade ago, and introducing it in the Island would demonstrate Jersey’s commitment to a well-regulated finance industry, as it would provide an ‘additional tool to sanction legal entities’.
NOTES ON CREATING AN EXPORT CONTROL REGIME
On 15 December, CSIS published an article saying that direct experience with regime creation points to essential requirements to translate welcome ideas into an actual regime. The article provides some of these requirements. It says that the growing recognition among allies of the risks of unconstrained technology transfer to China has led to a wave of proposals for new export controls in the Trade and Technology Council, AUKUS, the Quad, and perhaps with a collection of semiconductor-producing nations.