CHINA

Chairman of China Telecom investigated

Xiaobing Chang, the Chairman of the state-owned China Telecom Group, is being investigated by China's anti-graft body for "suspected serious violation of discipline" and has resigned from his post after being targeted. China Telecom is China's largest provider of telephone service, internet access and data service, and it occupies over 50% share of that market. Chang was nominated as the Chairman of China Telecom in August 2015, before which he had served as the Chairman of China Unicom, another giant state-owned telecom company since 2004.

ICBC disciplines 137 staff for breaching party's policy

The Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., the largest commercial bank in China, announced on 8 December that it has taken disciplinary actions against 137 staff that violated the Communist Party's anti-extravagance policy. The violations include hosting luxury feasts at a cost to the bank, participating in trips funded by clients and accepting gifts from subordinates during wedding ceremonies or funerals.

INDIA

Amendment to Prevention of Corruption Bill being considered by Parliament

The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill 2015 has been submitted to the Rajya Sabha (the upper house of Indian Parliament) for its consideration in early December. The Amendment aims to impose more severe punishments on criminals convicted of bribery. The Bill proposes to increase the minimum punishment from 6 months imprisonment to 3 years and the maximum punishment from 5 years to 7 years. Rajya Sabha has referred the bill to a special committee for clarification and to review if the amendment is in conflict with the power vested in the Lokpal by the Indian Supreme Court.

Three Government officials suspended for issuing fresh LOI

The Delhi Government announced that it has suspended three government officials from the transport department for issuing fresh Letter of Interest (LOI) for three-wheelers. The three officials were found to have issued the LOIs irregularly instead of issuing them in a chronological order of applications. It is also found that LOIs had been issued to certain intermediaries instead of applicants in many cases. The 3 officials are being hand over to the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Delhi Government commented that it has no tolerance to corruption at any level.

THAILAND

Thailand sets up bribery hotline for foreign investors

Thailand's anti-graft authority Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) has set up a 24-hour hotline (09 2668 0777) for foreign investors to report demands for bribes from state officials. PACC believes that the hotline will help foreign investors to speedily file complaints and contribute to improving the investment environment for foreign investors.

SINGAPORE

Ex-US Navy official charged with bribery and money laundering

A former US Navy employee, Gursharan Kaur Sharon Rachael, has been charged in a Thai court in relation to bribes of US$130,278. Kaur is alleged have taken the bribes, in the form of cash and accommodation in luxury hotels, from a military contractor in return for providing non-public US Navy information to the contractor.  Kaur also faces money laundering charges for converting the cash bribes to pay for an insurance policy and an option to buy a condominium.

PAKISTAN

Money laundering conducted by an ex-director found out in a bank acquisition

Following its acquisition of Khadim Ali Shah Bukhari (KASB) Bank, Bank Islami has filed a complaint with the Federal Investigation Agency in relation to an alleged money laundering scam. Bank Islami alleges that Nasir Ali Shah Bokhari, a former director of KASB Bank, laundered over Rs5 billion to China, Germany and Iran through bank accounts opened with KASB Bank by a fake company which was set up and registered in Cayman Islands in 2000.