UK: PROPOSED LAW CHANGE RE THE CORPORATE FAILURE TO PREVENT HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES

An article in the Law Society Gazette on 6 April was concerned with discussing the February report from the British Institute of International and Comparative Law – A UK Failure to Prevent Mechanism for Corporate Human Rights Harms – describing its vision of the Institute for how the “failure to prevent” model could operate to punish companies deemed responsible for human rights abuses in their supply chain.  The report claims that this would provide legal certainty regarding the human rights obligations that companies face, and encourage them to take steps to guard against abuses in their supply chain.  The article discusses practical issues, such as human rights abuses being defined differently by different countries.  The article proposes, as an alternative, modelling any new legislation on section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, as opposed to section 7 of the Bribery Act, with an independent human rights commissioner to oversee enforcement.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/legal-updates/corporate-failure-to-prevent-abuses/5103728.article

 

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OECD GLOBAL FORUM ON TRANSPARENCY AND EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION FOR TAX PURPOSES – 8 NEW PEER REVIEW REPORTS

On 7 April, Accountancy Daily reported that the OEC had released 8 new reports assessing compliance with the international standard on transparency and exchange of information on request.  Brunei Darussalam, Macau (China) and Switzerland – received an overall rating of “Largely Compliant”.  The overall rating of Barbados and the Seychelles was downgraded from “Largely Compliant” to “Partially Compliant” since their last reviews, highlighting some significant deficiencies.  Liberia, Peru and Tunisia – undergoing their first full peer reviews as only their legal framework had been reviewed so far – saw Liberia rated as “Partially Compliant” while Peru and Tunisia both obtained a “Largely Compliant”.

http://www.oecd.org/tax/exchange-of-tax-information/global-forum-publishes-new-peer-review-reports-and-reveals-compliance-ratings-for-eight-jurisdictions.htm

If you’d like to help to contribute to that (badly needed, but now ordered) new laptop or, even better, the new desktop said to be on its way, to replace the one now 5,000 miles away – https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – APRIL 6

Panama Covid-19 update – less confirmed cases added today than recently, though still over 100, and only 1 more fatality reported.  A “woman” day here today, with only those women allowed out 2 hours – though presume the 50% of taxi drivers allowed to operate must be mostly men…  More worrying is that the number of arrests for lockdown violators probably greater than the number of virus cases.  Life goes on, however, even after panic when laptop stopped working this morning.  New desktop not due until next week, but managed to find a place that could supply a new laptop in 2 days (but then the “broken” laptop decided to start working again…ho hum).

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6 April 2020

NEW SAFETY GUIDE ON SAFETY OF RADIATION SOURCES USED FOR INSPECTION AND NON-MEDICAL HUMAN IMAGING

On 31 March, the International Atomic Energy Agency advised that non-medical human imaging is the use of radiation to screen people for purposes other than medical diagnosis, medical treatment or biomedical research. Ensuring its safe use is the focus of the recently issued IAEA Safety Guide on this subject.  Such imaging includes screening of people to detect concealed objects, for instance prior to boarding an aircraft or when visiting a prison or to determine the presence of drugs in the bodies of suspected drug couriers.  It provides detailed guidance, based on the experience of national authorities, on how to safely use X-ray generators and other types of radiation sources for inspection purposes and for non-medical human imaging.

https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/new-safety-guide-on-safety-of-radiation-sources-used-for-inspection-and-non-medical-human-imaging-now-available

 

UK: NO VICARIOUS LIABILITY FOR ROGUE EMPLOYEE’S DATA PROTECTION BREACH

Gowling WLG has produced a briefing about the recent Supreme Court decision in the Morrison case, in which it was found that the company was not responsible for a rogue employee’s disclosure of the workforce’s payroll data.

https://reaction.gowlingwlg.com/rs/ct.aspx?ct=24F76818D3E10AEDC1D180AAD72F961EDFBE678FACA734FB7AC04B5C4BC9A920F35C1D89D3C3009C70483738FC465BF089EED3444509110EF699591994E02E8EDD57D3D40206C4B11C493B6E368F2EB60C872B50E82AA74E792C846380551

 

EU STRESSES HUMANITARIAN EXEMPTIONS IN SANCTIONS ALLOW FOR COVID-19 SUPPORT

A Declaration on 3 April from the EU has echoed that of the UN Secretary General that while both have called for an end to armed conflicts during the crisis, and that the terrorist threat has not gone away, the EU also stresses that sanctions should not impede the delivery of essential equipment and supplies necessary to fight the coronavirus and limit its spread worldwide.  It underlines that UN and EU sanctions provide for humanitarian exceptions.

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2020/04/03/declaration-by-the-high-representative-josep-borrell-on-behalf-of-the-eu-on-the-un-secretary-general-s-appeal-for-an-immediate-global-ceasefire/

 

SUPPLY-CHAIN FINANCE IS NEW RISK IN CRISIS

In an article on 4 April, the Wall Street Journal is concerned about supply chain finance, which took off after the 2008 financial crisis, and allows companies to borrow money to pay their bills.  It gives them flexibility with their cash for a low cost, but can paint a favourable picture of their liquidity because the deals effectively boost working capital but do not count as borrowing and do not need to be disclosed.  It says that the lack of reporting makes it impossible to know the scale of the lending, but estimates put it at hundreds of billions of dollars globally. It is widely used in sectors such as consumer packaged goods, telecommunications, chemicals, retail and aerospace.  The 3 biggest ratings companies have each issued reports last month highlighting the dangers of supply-chain financing, a fast-growing, opaque technique for delaying payments to suppliers to improve cash flow.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/supply-chain-finance-is-new-risk-in-crisis-11585992601

 

COMPANIES ARE FAILING TO DEPLOY KEY SOLUTION FOR EMAIL SECURITY

On 2 April, Dark Reading published an article claiming that a single — albeit complex-to-deploy — technology could stop the most expensive form of fraud – BEC or “business email compromise”.  In 2019, it is reported that the FBI received nearly 24,000 complaints of BEC fraud totalling $1.8 billion in losses.  It is said that Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance, or DMARC, significantly reduces attackers’ abilities to spoof targeted domains and business executives by validating the path from the sending server to the receiver’s inbox. In addition, the technology gives an organisation’s email administrator visibility into how their domain is being abused in emails.

https://www.darkreading.com/application-security/companies-are-failing-to-deploy-key-solution-for-email-security/d/d-id/1337478

 

UK: HIGH COURT UPHOLDS CONVICTION OF 2 MEN FOR CARRYING A FLAG OF THE KURDISTAN WORKERS PARTY, AN ORGANISATION PROSCRIBED UNDER THE TERRORISM ACT 2000

In its update on 5 April, 6KBW College Hill reported on the unsuccessful appeal by 2 men who had been convicted of taking part in a demonstration in which each carried a flag of the Kurdistan Workers Party, an organisation proscribed under the Terrorism Act 2000.   The appeal was concerned with whether the offence was one of strict liability, and if it were compatible with the ECHR.

https://blog.6kbw.com/posts/weekly-digest-6-april-2020

 

IF YOUR FORCE MAJEURE CLAUSE DOES NOT COVER COVID-19 ISSUES – CONSIDER THE ENGLISH LAW DOCTRINE OF FRUSTRATION

On 1 April, law firm HFW issued an article, saying that it does so after receiving numerous queries from clients as to whether the force majeure clauses in their contracts will protect them from any issues caused by delays and/or defaults arising from COVID-19.  It suggests that one possible option open to parties may be to rely on the English law doctrine of frustration.

https://www.hfw.com/Frustrated-If-your-force-majeure-clause-does-not-cover-Covid-19-issues

 

WHAT CORONAVIRUS MEANS FOR ONLINE FRAUD, FORCED SEX, DRUG SMUGGLING AND WILDLIFE CRIME

On 3 April, an article from the Brookings Institute in the US says that COVID-19 is influencing crime and illicit economies around the world.  Some of the immediate effects are likely to be ephemeral; others will take longer to emerge but are likely to be lasting.  For example, street crimes in the US and Europe has reduced, for obvious reasons, and with people at home, burglaries and home invasions have become more difficult.  However, with more people working and operating from home, expect a rise in online frauds, and countries that provide economic relief to those unemployed as a result of coronavirus can expect a rise in scams, with online thieves pretending to represent social security agencies and seek to obtain confidential information.  It remarks that border closures and the shutdown of much international air traffic means that smuggling illicit drugs long distances has become harder, and it is reported that Mexican drug-trafficking organisations said to be facing shortages of precursor agents for the production of fentanyl, as traffic from China and India — which normally provide supply — has been disrupted.

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2020/04/03/what-coronavirus-means-for-online-fraud-forced-sex-drug-smuggling-and-wildlife-trafficking

 

ISLE OF MAN CONFIRMS REMOVAL OF 1 NAME FROM SANCTIONS LISTS

A news release on 6 April confirmed that Ibrahim MOHAMED KHALIL had been removed from the list of those subject to sanctions connected with ISIL/Al-Qaida.

https://www.gov.im/news/2020/apr/06/financial-sanctions-isil-daesh-and-al-qaida-1/

US PROSECUTORS CHARGE FORMER FOX EXECUTIVES AND OTHERS IN FIFA CORRUPTION PROBE

On 6 April, Reuters reported new criminal charges against 2 former executives of 21st Century Fox Inc and a former co-CEO of Spanish media company Imagina Media Audiovisual SL, and Full Play Group SA, a Uruguayan sports marketing company.  The charges arise from a long-running investigation of corruption surrounding FIFA, soccer’s world governing body.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-soccer-fifa-usa/u-s-prosecutors-charge-former-fox-executives-others-in-fifa-corruption-probe-idUKKBN21O2N7

 

LAW SOCIETY OF ENGLAND AND WALES REQUESTS FURTHER POSTPONEMENT OF TRUST REGISTRATION DATE UNDER EU 5th MONEY LAUNDERING DIRECTIVE

STEP on 6 April reported that the Society has asked HMRC to consider deferring the commencement dates of the new Trust Registration Service (TRS) rules based on 5AMLD, and to defer the commencement date of the EU’s DAC6 Directive.  The current plan requires unregistered trusts already in existence to be registered by 31 March 2021.  The DAC6 disclosure and reporting rules for intermediaries involved in designing and promoting cross-border tax planning schemes are due to take effect in July.

https://www.step.org/news/law-society-england-and-wales-requests-further-postponement-trust-registration-date-under-5amld

 

COLOMBIA: VICE-PRESIDENT “TIED TO SENIOR NARCO”

Colombia Reports on 6 April carried a claim that Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez and her husband were in business with a senior drug trafficker.  It is reported that they worked together with a former Medellin Cartel narco in the development of a real estate project in Bogota.

https://colombiareports.com/colombias-vice-president-tied-to-senior-narco-report

 

TAX AVOIDANCE PROMOTERS TARGET RETURNING NHS WORKERS

Website Taxation on 6 April reported that HMRC is concerned that promoters of tax avoidance schemes are targeting workers returning to the NHS to help respond to the coronavirus outbreak.

https://www.taxation.co.uk/Articles/tax-avoidance-promoters-target-returning-nhs-workers

 

POLICE IN AUSTRALIA ARREST 2 MEN IN CONNECTION WITH A $2.6 MILLION BEC SCAM INVOLVING PHONEY INVOICES

Infosecurity on 6 April reported that police in Australia have arrested 2 men in connection with a BEC (business email compromise) scam involving phoney invoices.  They are believed to part of a larger syndicate.

https://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/news/australians-arrested-over-26m/

 

UK: DEPARTMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL TRADE OUTLINES SUPPORT AVAILABLE TO 160,000 EXPORTERS AND INTERNATIONAL INVESTORS DUE TO COVID-19

On 6 April, a news release from DIT advised that guidance on how to help secure export finance to keep trading during the coronavirus outbreak has been set out by government in direct communication to 160,000 exporters and investors.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-dit-offers-support-to-exporters-and-investors

 

DUE DILIGENCE IN THE AGE OF CORONAVIRUS

On 6 April, Cadwalader Wickersham and Taft LLP published an article – one of very, very many concerned with the coronavirus and its effect on business and business activities – saying that, in the context of COVID-19, there are significant challenges involved in conducting due diligence: hard-copy documents are inaccessible, in-person meetings have moved online, and on-site visits may be impossible.   It provides advice on how companies can and should nonetheless continue to comply with the law by adjusting policies and procedures, mitigating new risks that arise through the use of alternative diligence methods, and by staying abreast of changing regulatory expectations.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/covid-19-update-are-you-for-real-due-33150/

 

DEFENCE SECTOR CORRUPTION, AN UNDERESTIMATED FOE IN TIMES OF CRISIS

On 6 April, a Commentary from RUSI says that, as states look to militaries to help combat the coronavirus outbreak, they risk empowering forces weakened by corruption and poor governance.  It refers to Transparency International’s research which shows that in many developing and fragile states, defence sectors tend to be poorly governed, with high levels of secrecy and dysfunctional oversight structures often enable fraud, corruption and a wide range of abuses. The coronavirus crisis, like others before, has the potential to exacerbate these vulnerabilities, weakening militaries when they are needed most.  The article warns that, in the longer term and as the crisis recedes, it is key that attention to oversight and control of the defence sector becomes a priority, especially in fragile and conflict-affected states.

https://rusi.org/commentary/defence-sector-corruption-underestimated-foe-times-crisis

 

$1 MILLION PENALTY FOR MISLEADING “MADE IN USA” CLAIMS

On 6 April, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that the Federal Trade Commission reports that a home products company has agreed to pay $1 million as part of a proposed settlement of charges that it made false, misleading, or unsubstantiated claims that certain of its products are all or virtually all made in the US.

https://www.strtrade.com/news-publications-made-in-USA-claim-penalty-FTC-040620.html

 

DARKNET MARKET BANS SNAKE OIL CORONA “CURES”

On 6 April, OCCRP reported that Tor-hosted darknet site Monopoly Market has banned vendors seeking to use the platform to promote fraudulent coronavirus vaccines and cures.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/12021-darknet-market-bans-snake-oil-corona-cures

 

CYBERCRIMINALS TARGETING CRITICAL HEALTHCARE INSTITUTIONS WITH RANSOMWARE

A news release from Interpol on 6 April advised that INTERPOL has issued a warning to organisations at the forefront of the global response to the COVID-19 outbreak that have also become targets of ransomware attacks, which are designed to lock them out of their critical systems in an attempt to extort payments.  INTERPOL has issued a Purple Notice alerting police in all its 194 member countries to the heightened ransomware threat.

https://www.interpol.int/News-and-Events/News/2020/Cybercriminals-targeting-critical-healthcare-institutions-with-ransomware

 

US CUSTOMS SEIZES $150,000 IN COUNTERFEIT DESIGNER BRAND CHARMS FROM HONG KONG

A news release from US Customs & Border Protection on 6 April announced that officers in Pittsburgh recently seized a shipment of 645 designer brand name charms shipped from Hong Kong in an express courier parcel. If authentic, the charms would have had a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $150,150.

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/pittsburgh-cbp-seizes-150k-counterfeit-designer-brand-charms-hong-kong

 

WRONGFUL TRADING: THE LEGAL POSITION IN JERSEY

On 6 April, Appleby published an article following the recent announcement of a temporary suspension of wrongful trading rules in the UK, meaning that company directors would not be personally liable for their decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The article explains the current situation in Jersey, saying that the legal position in Jersey remains that a director has a duty not to allow the company to trade if they know (or is reckless as to whether) the company will not avoid insolvency.

https://www.applebyglobal.com/publications/wrongful-trading-legal-position-in-jersey/

 

CORONAVIRUS: IRISH REVENUE RELAXES CORPORATION TAX PRESENCE RULES

On 6 April, Out-Law published an article saying that the Irish Revenue has issued new guidance for companies, saying that it is prepared to disregard an individual’s presence or absence from Ireland for corporation tax purposes if it is due to travel restrictions related to coronavirus.

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/news/coronavirus-irish-revenue-presence-rules

 

US: MORE THAN HALF A MILLION MEDICAL SUPPLIES SEIZED FROM PRICE GOUGERS TO BE REDISTRIBUTED

On 6 April, Homeland Preparedness reported that the federal government has seized hundreds of thousands of personal protective equipment (PPE) from price gougers with the intent of redistributing them to front line workers working amid the COVID-19 crisis in New York and New Jersey.  The items included around 192,000 N95 respirator masks, 598,000 medical grade gloves, and 130,000 surgical masks, hand sanitiser, disinfectant, among other items.

https://homelandprepnews.com/stories/46891-more-than-half-a-million-medical-supplies-seized-from-price-gougers-to-be-redistributed/

https://fcpablog.com/2020/04/03/compliance-alert-covid-19-related-hoarding-and-profiteering-are-now-federal-offenses/

 

ADAPTATION OF FRENCH BANKRUPTCY LAW TO THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS

On 6 April, Dentons published an article saying that to help protect companies, employees and managers from the cash flow consequences of the current health crisis, the French Government, has made temporary changes to its bankruptcy law.

https://www.dentons.com/en/insights/alerts/2020/march/30/covid-19-firm-in-difficulty

 

NEW ZEALAND: FORMAL PUBLIC WARNING TO BROKER FIRM OVER AML FAILINGS, WITH PRIVATE WARNINGS TO 6 OTHERS

On 6 March, a release on Mondo Visione advised that the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) has issued a formal warning to NZX-accredited broker Tiger Brokers (NZ) Limited for failing to have several adequate AML protections in place.  The regulator has also privately warned 6 other businesses over their AML practices, mainly due to late auditing of their systems and controls.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/new-zealand-financial-markets-authority-issues-warning-to-tiger-brokers-and-six/

 

If you’d like to help to contribute to that (badly needed, but now ordered) new laptop or, even better, the new desktop said to be on its way, to replace the one now 5,000 miles away – https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

 

WEBINAR – INSIGHTS AND PRACTICAL ADVICE REGARDING FORCE MAJEURE, FRUSTRATION AND RECONSIDERING COMMERCIAL CONTRACTS

Eversheds Sutherland has made available a recording of a webinar where a panel answers some of the most common questions clients have asked us over recent weeks as well as digging into more detail around how your business should proceed with specific legal and technical challenges.

https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/coronavirus/coronavirus-webinar-Force-Majeure-Frustration-and-reconsidering-Commercial-Contracts_UK

 

If you’d like to help to contribute to that (badly needed, but now ordered) new laptop or, even better, the new desktop said to be on its way, to replace the one now 5,000 miles away – https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

DUE DILIGENCE IN THE AGE OF CORONAVIRUS

On 6 April, Cadwalader Wickersham and Taft LLP published an article – one of very, very many concerned with the coronavirus and its effect on business and business activities – saying that, in the context of COVID-19, there are significant challenges involved in conducting due diligence: hard-copy documents are inaccessible, in-person meetings have moved online, and on-site visits may be impossible.   It provides advice on how companies can and should nonetheless continue to comply with the law by adjusting policies and procedures, mitigating new risks that arise through the use of alternative diligence methods, and by staying abreast of changing regulatory expectations.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/covid-19-update-are-you-for-real-due-33150/

 

If you’d like to help to contribute to that (badly needed, but now ordered) new laptop or, even better, the new desktop said to be on its way, to replace the one now 5,000 miles away – https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

HONG KONG: THE 600 TONNES OF MEAT SMUGGLED TO CHINA EACH DAY BY SEA OUTWEIGHS THE AMOUNT SEIZED IN 3 MONTHS

The Hong Kong Free Press on 6 April reported on an investigation which found that frozen meat smuggling to Mainland China remains frequent despite multiple operations conducted by customs and marine police this year, with smuggling syndicates said to be operating daily.  The smuggling operation is said to involve about 100 vessels each evening, largely outnumbering the only 1 or 2 government launches that patrol the scene.  It is said that, on average, criminals are suspected to be smuggling over 600 tonnes of frozen meat every day, more than the amount that customs and marine police have seized in the past 3 months.

https://hongkongfp.com/2020/04/06/meat-smuggled-to-china-each-day-by-sea-outweighs-the-amount-seized-in-3-months/

 

If you’d like to help to contribute to that (badly needed, but now ordered) new laptop or, even better, the new desktop said to be on its way, to replace the one now 5,000 miles away – https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

CUBA: HELMS-BURTON LAWSUITS: RECENT DECISIONS CLARIFY THE STATUTE’S LIMITS AS CLAIMS CONTINUE

On 2 April, Skadden published an article reminding one that in May 2019, the US government made available a private right of action under Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, which had lain dormant for over 22 years, which provides US nationals whose “property” was “confiscated” by the Cuban government with a special rights of action.  This activation created immediate risks for companies doing business with or involving Cuba.  Several claimants have brought actions under the provision, and the article says that recent cases afford some guidance to defendants (or potential defendants) as they analyse their exposure to Title III claims.

https://www.skadden.com/insights/publications/2020/04/helms-burton-lawsuits

 

If you’d like to help to contribute to that (badly needed, but now ordered) new laptop or, even better, the new desktop said to be on its way, to replace the one now 5,000 miles away – https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y