Sanctions, proliferation, money laundering, export and trade control news etc
Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section
Thought we were away this weekend, until checking directions to the accommodation I found that I had rearranged the trip until next weekend…
At least this meant I didn’t miss the interesting Japan exhibition at the Biblioteca Nacional in the lovely Parque Omar Torrijos (only in Panama, maybe, would you have a park named after a popular dictator, who turned a former golf course into the best recreational park in the city). Bonzai, kimonos, kendo and manga…
La Prensa reported that at least 5high-profile officials of the administration of former President Ricardo Martinelli (who was President 2009-2014) have suffered harsh judicial setbacks in recent months. Some have had convictions confirmed for crimes ranging from embezzlement, corruption, and money laundering.
Meanwhile the Ministry of Health (Minsa) reported that so far this year, 958 cases of dengue have been confirmed nationwide. However, to date no deaths have been reported.
Had to go to the US Embassy this morning, and judging from the queue at the gate everyone is planning to leave Panama…odd to find the consular official commenting on my “scouse” accent (it turned out he was from Norwich). It has to be said that the Embassy is in a lovely setting, with nice gardens, and I saw a toucan flying across. This is very unlike the almost anonymous British Embassy, tucked away on a busy street in the city, and occupying just a small part of an equally anonymous office block.
The National Consumer Price Index (CPI) of Panama showed a year-on-year variation of 2.0% in February, and virtually no change compared to January. It was said that the products with the greatest increases year-on-year variation were housing, water, electricity and gas (as electricity is cheap, has been subsidised since the start of the pandemic, and retirees get a discount anyway – gas is also subsidised and water bills seem very modest – so I am not sure how this can be).
On 17 March, a Notice from HM Treasury advised that Brian McDonald, head of Russia desk for the English language edition of RT (formerly Russia Today), has been deleted; the entry for Igor Makarov have been amended; and a duplicate entry for the Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant has been deleted.
After Costa Rica extradited Panamanian gang leader, Jorge Rubén Camargo Clarke (aka “Cholo Chorrillo”), to the US on 3 February, comes news that Costa Rica has now extradited his wife to Panama. Nancy Abigail Guerrel Góngora faces money laundering charges in Panama.
In other news, the Government reports that tourism numbers have recovered, but are still below pre-pandemic levels. We saw a few today, down on the Amador Causeway and at the Biomuseo, most of whom appeared to be Europeans, and met up with a couple of Croatian lads.
On 16 March, the EU Parliament Research Service published a briefing which says that reflagging to a flag of convenience is a practice whereby a shipowner registers their ships in a country with relatively light controls or low standards, for instance in the area of environmental or employment law. While this is legal in principle, it is often combined with illegal practices, including the circumvention of sanctions. The IMO and the EU are trying to tackle abusive reflagging.
On 14 March, Mills & Reeve published this article about Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs), which it says present an important issue within society, politics and the legal profession, particularly in a libel and privacy context. It looks at how SLAPPS impact freedom of speech and public participation, why there is a current focus at a governmental and regulatory level and what future change might be on the horizon. The article signposts the full SRA guidance in the UK which is a must read and conclude with the recent high-profile Arron Banks libel case.
On 16 March, the EU Sanctions blog reported that OFSI in the UK had issued updated guidance which now includes a section on ownership and control. The guidance includes information on the due diligence efforts that OFSI may consider to be potentially mitigating.