Bribery and Corruption

Former top Chinese official receives life sentence for bribery

Sun Zhengcai, a former Chinese Communist Party official, has been jailed for life after being found guilty of taking bribes in excess of $26.7m (£19.6m). Sun pleaded guilty to the charges in April. This latest sentence falls as a part a wider campaign by President Xi Jinping to tackle widespread corruption in China, which has seen more than a million officials prosecuted since the beginning of his presidency.

BBC, 9 May 2018

Sanctions

US reinstates sanctions against Iran following withdrawal from nuclear deal

US President Trump has outlined plans to withdraw the US from the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, which was put in place in return for the waiver of sanctions previously imposed by the UN, US and the EU.

The US Treasury has announced that the sanctions will not take place with immediate effect, but rather be enforced following 90-day and 180-day wind-down periods.

Sanctions will be reinstated against Iran's oil sector, aircraft exports, precious metal trades and the purchase of US dollar banknotes by the Iranian Government.

BBC, 9 May 2018

Money Laundering 

Hong Kong alliance announced against money laundering in Asia

Government representatives from China, the Philippines, Thailand and Cambodia met this week to exchange information on how to regulate illicit money flows. Regulation is especially difficult in the face of fast-growing financial technology across Asia. The group is backed by regulators, former central bankers and government officials. China has long struggled with money laundering. Macau, popular for gambling, has introduced facial recognition technology at ATMs to prevent funds being laundered from mainland China.

Reuters, 9 May 2018

Fraud

Former chairman of Anbang Insurance Group Co sentenced to 18 years imprisonment for fraud

A Shanghai court sentenced Wu Xiaohui to 18 years in prison following convictions for fund-raising fraud and embezzlement. Wu was accused of masterminding a $10.2 billion fraud. He used unauthorised sales of short-term, high-yield investment insurance products to rapidly expand Anbang, which famously bought the New York Waldorf Astoria Hotel in 2014. This verdict is further evidence of President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign.

Bloomberg, 10 May 2018

Arrests over suspected VAT fraud totalling £12 million in Glasgow

Two men, aged 45 and 60, have been arrested in Glasgow in part of an HMRC investigation. They are suspected of VAT fraud totalling £12 million. HMRC said it will "continue to pursue criminals who attack the tax system and we ask anyone with information about suspected VAT fraud to report it to HMRC."

BBC, 10 May 2018

Cyber Crime

HMRC warns of tax rebate fraudsters

HMRC explained that criminals contact members of the public via email or text message. They claim the individual is entitled to a tax rebate, in an attempt to obtain personal and account details. HM Treasury Minister Mel Stride MP reminded the public that HMRC only sends information on tax rebates by post or via an individual's employer. Genuine tax rebate calculations will be sent between June and October. In March 2018, HMRC received 84,549 phishing reports. HMRC advice on how to recognise phishing scams is available here. This is part of HMRC's wider strategy to tackle fraud.

HMRC, 9 May 2018

Financial Regulation

FCA investigates Interserve

Interserve Plc announced its exit from the energy from waste business in August 2016. The FCA is investigating its handling of inside information and market disclosures during this exit. This follows various statements from the company, including stating it would take an exceptional change of £70 million in August 2016, then doubling this to £160 million in February 2017. Interserve stated that it will fully cooperate with the investigation. The company's own Chief Executive Debbie White has described Interserve as having an inefficient operating model. This is part of a larger problem of underperforming contracts in Britain's outsourcing sector. 

Reuters, 11 May 2018

Environmental Crime

Arrest as Environment Agency cracks down on waste crime

A 46 year old male was arrested on 9 May 2018 by the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit following an investigation into the illegal dumping of waste.

The arrest forms part of the Crime Unit's joint enforcement action with the Environment Agency against the dumping of 20,000 to 25,000 tonnes of baled waste at 17 sites across the North West, North East and the Midlands which is expected to continue for the next few months.

GOV.UK9 May 2018

Vessel owner fined for fishing in Bass Nursery Area during closed period

The Marine Management Organisation brought a prosecution against William Paul Chapman – the master and owner of unlicensed vessels "Spirt" and "Last Minute". Chapman was sentenced on 12 April 2018 at Bodmin Magistrates Court.

Fishing is prohibited during 1 May to 30 November in the Camel Estuary in Cornwall (a Bass Nursery Area) where Chapman was found commandeering a vessel carrying 10 bass, two of which were below the minimum conservation size.

Chapman pleaded guilty to three offences relating to the catching of the bass and was ordered to pay a total £1,000 fine and £1,000 in costs.

GOV.UK, 8 May 2018

Health and Safety

£2 million fine for DHL following fatality

In February 2015 Krzysztof Sontowski was unloading a lorry at DHL's Milton Keynes depot when he was crushed as it began to reverse. He was at the rear of the vehicle and became trapped between the loading bay and the lorry as he tried to get the driver's attention. He sustained fatal injuries.

The court was told that the incident was a result of a wheel locking mechanism failing on equipment used to unload lorries and that the company had experienced a similar issue in 2012 which was reported but not dealt with by managers.

DHL admitted two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974and were fined £2 million.

SHP3 May 2018

Construction company fined £200,000

Tonic Construction Ltd has been fined £200,000 following an incident in 2016 involving employee Shaun Carter. Carter was driving a forward tipping dumper onto a spoil heap when it became stuck on the edge of the heap. Carter jumped from the vehicle but was struck as it flipped over. He suffered serious head injuries and died.

The HSE found that no barriers were in place to prevent over-running and that this was practice not only on this site but on other sites used. In addition, a sheer face had been created by the earlier removal of some spoil by an excavator.

Tonic Construction Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 2(1) of Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974and was fined £200,000 plus a victim surcharge of £170 and costs of £5,565.80.

SHP4 May 2018

CPM Group Limited fined £660,000 for conveyor fatality

Manufacturing company CPM Group Limited has been fined after a worker was trapped by a conveyor and suffered fatal injuries. Jeffery Baulf was carrying out maintenance to the machine when it started working. It had not been isolated.

The HSE found that procedures to isolate machinery had not been implemented by CPM and that control measures were not checked before Baulf began work. Enclosures were present to prevent access to dangerous moving parts of machinery and these enclosures were controlled by a key system. Upon investigation a spare key was found, allowing access without isolating the machine.

CPM Group Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £660,000 plus costs of £14,563.57.

SHP10 May 2018