Bribery and Corruption

Anti-bribery proposals face criticism

Experts have criticised a proposal to prevent people implicated in foreign bribery cases from securing help with legal fees from their employers as part of any corporate settlement. The proposals called for the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) to develop a set of ‘global standards for corporate settlements based on best practice’ however they have been labelled unworkable and unethical by white-collar crime specialists.

Law Society Gazette, 11 April 2016

US authorities aim for guilty plea from Och-Ziff over bribery allegations

The US Justice Department have been looking at hedge fund Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC as a five-year international bribery investigation comes to a close.

The investigations by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission have examined whether Och-Ziff, the nation’s largest publicly traded hedge-fund, with $42 billion of assets under management, knowingly paid bribes to government officials to obtain an investment from Libya’s sovereign-wealth fund and in natural-resources deals in other African countries.

Bloomberg, 12 April 2016

Egypt's ex-agriculture minister sentenced to 10 years for corruption

Egypt's former agriculture minister, Salah El Din Mahmoud Helal, and his office manager were each sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined E£1 million Egyptian pounds ($112,613.88) and E£500,000 pounds respectively after being convicted of taking bribes in return for land licenses.

Reuters, 11 April 2016

Petrofac calls in auditors to tackle bribery allegations

It is reported that the services firm, Petrofac, is investigating claims that a former executive paid $2 million to secure a major oil contract in Kuwait. 

The claims are linked to the global corruption scandal involving Monaco-based Unaoil. It is alleged that Petrofac's former vice-president requested that Unaoil make confidential payments via a bank account in Pacific tax haven Marshall Islands.

The Telegraph, 7 April 2016

Admission of conspiracy in FIFA corruption

Former Fifa vice president, Alfredo Hawit, pleaded guilty to four conspiracy counts linked to a bribery scandal in football's governing body. Each count could lead to up to 20 years in jail. He is also due to forfeit $950,000 (£668,000).

BBC News, 11 April 2016 

The US Department of Justice launches new FCPA Pilot Program

As part of its effort to promote transparency and accountability, on 5 April 2016 the DOJ launched a one-year pilot program in the Fraud Section’s FCPA Unit, which provides guidance to prosecutors for corporate resolutions in FCPA cases.

The pilot is designed to motivate companies to voluntarily self-disclose FCPA-related misconduct, fully cooperate with the Fraud Section, and, where appropriate, remediate flaws in their controls and compliance programs.

The US Department of Justice, 5 April 2016

Cyber Crime

Major sites including New York Times and BBC hit by 'ransomware' malvertising

A number of major news websites have seen adverts hijacked by a malicious campaign that attempts to install “ransomware” on users computers, according to a warning from security researchers Malwarebytes.

When the infected adverts hit users, they redirect the page to servers hosting the malware, which includes the widely-used (amongst cybercriminals) Angler exploit kit. That kit then attempts to find any back door it can into the target’s computer, where it will install cryptolocker-style software, which encrypts the user’s hard drive and demands payment in bitcoin for the keys to unlock it.

The Guardian, 16 March 2016

Cyber fraudsters reap $2.3 billion through email wire-transfer scams

Businesses have lost billions of dollars to fast-growing scams where fraudsters impersonate company executives in emails that order staff to transfer to accounts controlled by criminals, according to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Reuters, 8 April 2016

Database allegedly containing ID numbers of 50 million Turks posted online

A database posted online allegedly contains the personal information of 49 million people on the Turkish citizenship database, potentially making more than half of the population of the country vulnerable to identity theft and massive privacy violations.

The Guardian, 4 April 2016

Fraud

SFO reportedly investigating Tata's UK operations

Speciality Steels, a business unit of Tata Steel (UK) Limited are being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

It has been reported that the investigation was opened after police responded to allegations that documents concerning the composition of the company's products may have been falsified by Tata staff.

Serious Fraud Office, 8 April 2016

The Guardian, 8 April 2016

Libor: Witnesses to be called in Libor fixing trial of ex-Barclays staff

Witness evidence in the third case the SFO has brought in respect of its ongoing investigation of Libor fixing is due to be heard this week.

Former Barclays traders Stylianos Contogoulas, Jay Merchant, Alex Pabon and Ryan Reich, along with one of Barclays' former Libor submitters Jonathan Mathew, have been charged with conspiracy to defraud on allegations of conspiring to manipulate US-dollar linked Libor between June 2005 and September 2007.

The trial, which began last week, is being heard at Southwark Crown Court, is scheduled to run for roughly 12 weeks. 

City AM , 11 April 2016

NCA demand quicker access to offshore firm records

It is reported that the National Crime Agency is demanding quicker access to the corporate records of secretive offshore companies in Britain’s overseas territories including the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

Talks between the National Crime Agency, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and tax havens are continuing alongside the fallout from the Panama Papers, however, no final agreement with the overseas territories has been reached.

The Guardian, 10 April 2016    

Health and Safety

Men jailed after fatal falls

Two men have been jailed after two men fell from a roof they were repairing.

Allan Thomson was jailed for six years and received a fine of £400,000 and Michael Smith was sentenced to eight months and received a fine of £90,000 after being found guilty of health and safety failings.  

The incidents occurred on the same day leaving one man dead and the other with life-changing injuries.

Shponline.co.uk, 12 April 2016

Worker fatally crushed in trench

A self-employed contractor has been given a six month custodial sentence after an employee was killed when the trench he was working in collapsed on him.

Health and Safety Executive, 11 April 2016

Money Laundering

Prosecutors raid Panama Papers Law Firm HQ

The offices of the Mossack Fonseca law firm were raided on 12 April by prosecutors on Tuesday looking for evidence of money laundering and financing terrorism following the leak of documents about tax havens it set up for wealthy international clients.

The Telegraph, 13 April 2016

Former top banker arrested on suspicion of money laundering

Spanish police have arrested former top banker Mario Conde on suspicion of money laundering. Mr Conde was previously found guilty of embezzlement committed when he was chairman of Banesto Bank.

The money laundering charges relate to an alleged attempt to launder €13m that he had embezzled from the bank.

BBC News, 11 April 2016

Argentina's former president faces investigation

Former Argentinian president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, is the subject of a court investigation into large-scale international money laundering.

The Guardian, 9 April 2016

Sanctions

China announces sanctions against North Korea

China has announced a number of sanctions against North Korea.

The restrictions essentially prohibit any trade connected to North Korea's missile or Nuclear programmes.

The Independent, 5 April 2016

Tax

EU to shame tax-free riders with business disclosures

European Commission proposes greater transparency rules for milti-national companies.

The proposals build on the Commissions work to tackle corporate tax avoidance in Europe.

European Commission, 12 April 2016