China

Former Shanghai trade zone chief sentenced to 17 years' imprisonment

A former vice mayor and trade zone chief of Shanghai was sentenced to 17 years' imprisonment for accepting bribes and embezzling funds. Before his post as Shanghai vice mayor, Ai Baojun was the chairman of state-owned Baoshan Iron and Steel, one of the largest steelmakers in China. Ai was found to have accepted bribes of more than RMB 40 million (approximately $5.8 million), from 2000 to 2014, from when he ran the steelmaker, and throughout his time in Shanghai government and the free trade zone. Ai was said to be the highest-level Shanghai official sentenced so far in China's anti-corruption campaign.

New rules to confirm regulators' ban

China's anti-corruption watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection has announced it is drafting rules in relation to regulators of the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) from an anti-corruption perspective. According to the CBRC, officials working in regulatory positions are banned from taking roles at financial firms within three years after they resign from their posts. The new drafted rules follow complaints of loopholes which have made enforcement difficult and multiple scandals leading to former regulatory employees facing fines and bans.

Multiple former senior Chinese officials jailed for corruption

In the last month, Chinese courts have convicted a number of former senior Chinese officials for bribery related offences. To name a few, former vice governor of Anhui province has been found to have taken bribes of RMB 80.8 million (approximately US$12 million) and has been given a life sentence. The former mayor of Jinan City and former Party chief of Nanning City has been sentenced to 14 years' and 11 years' imprisonment respectively for accepting bribes.

South Korea

Former South Korea president Park Geun-hye on trial for corruption charges

On 23 May 2017, the former President of South Korea, Park Geun-hye, began her trial for multiple charges of abuse of power, bribery, coercion and leaking government secrets. Park has denied all charges in the trial, which could conclude with the female leader facing life imprisonment. Park's alleged dealings sparked mass protests in South Korea which led to her impeachment last December and her removal from office by a constitutional court ruling in March. Park is facing a 120,000-page charge sheet, according to South Korean media, and a total of 18 charges, all of which she has denied. The trial is expected to last for up to six months.

South Korea fines Novartis and suspends insurance coverage on Novartis drugs

South Korea's Ministry of Health and Welfare has fined the Korean unit of Swiss pharmaceutical firm, Novartis, approximately $49.6 million and suspended insurance coverage on various drugs for six months. The company faces charges over offering illegal rebates to doctors, worth approximately $2.3million, from 2011 to 2016 to illegally promote its drugs.

Compulsory vehicle recall following whistleblower reporting

An automotive engineer, who was previously a long standing employee of Hyundai Motor Group, has provided documents to the South Korean government which has prompted a compulsory recall of 240,000 Hyundai and Kia vehicles. Kim Gwang-ho has revealed his suspicions of Hyundai reportedly concealing dangerous defects from the public and authorities. Mr Gwang-ho sent documents to officials in South Korea and the US in support of his allegations.

Singapore

Executives plead guilty in Navy scandal  

Two Singapore based executives of Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA) pleaded guilty in a US federal court, admitting they assisted GDMA's owner Leonard Glenn Francis in overcharging the US Navy in a bribery scheme that has exceeded $38 million. Mr Francis recently pleaded guilty to bribing Navy officials with travel, hospitality, cash and other services in return for contracts in South East Asia.

The Singapore executives have pleaded guilty to submitting fictitious bids to the Navy and following this, inflating GDMA's invoices. Peterson and Raja, the two individuals also admitted to creating fake port authorities at various locations and would request in counterfeit documents that the Navy pay port tariffs rates. The investigations, which continue, have currently resulted in charges against 20 Navy officials, as well as 5 GDMA executives.

Indonesia:   

Businessmen convicted for offering bribes

An individual has been convicted of offering bribes to four officials in a corruption case relating to a Maritime Security Board procurement project. The individual has been sentenced to over two years' imprisonment. Fahmi, along with two executives of his company, bribed the Maritime Security Board deputy chief to win a tender for a sea surveillance satellite systems project, worth an estimated $16.7 million. The two executives were also sentenced to 1.5 years' imprisonment and fined.

Malaysia:   

Malaysia announces anti-corruption movement

The Anti-Corruption Revolution Movement (Gerah campaign) launched recently in Malaysia will see around 2,000 Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers visit selected locations nationwide every month to raise awareness of anti-corruption and urge the public to report corruption and power abuse cases to MACC. Additionally, the MACC deputy chief commissioner has urged civil servants to report bribery cases, and has indicated that the anti-corruption body is prepared to use all available laws against corruption including a provision requiring anyone offered, given or promised a bribe to report it to the MACC or the police, with failure to do so punishable with a maximum RM100,000 fine and/or maximum 10 years' imprisonment sentence. The movement follows incredibly low reporting statistics, despite many incentives to cooperate by the government. MACC has set a three year deadline for Malaysia to raise its position in the Corruption Perceptions Index.

MACC arrests TNB manager in corruption case

A Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) project manager and a renovation company owner were arrested by the MACC in a corruption investigation. The project manager allegedly accepted a BMW vehicle despite allocating the tender for a renovation project to another contractor. The renovations are believed to have taken place in 2014 in several TNB offices in Kuala Lumpur.

Vietnam: 

Report highlights bribery as a continued problem

A Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) report has highlighted bribery as a continued issue that Vietnamese businesses face. The report reviews Resolution 35 and highlighted the risk of corruption in access to public services especially where government approvals, licences in land management or documents to access bank loans are involved.