China

China to establish new anti-corruption agencies

Following the Communist Party of China (CPC)'s initiative to establish new supervisory committees investigating corruption and other public post-related offences, in December 2016, China's top legislature has approved the establishment and issued a decision which outlined the function of the new supervisory committees (Decision). The new supervisory committees are designed to consolidate the investigatory functions of separate anti-corruption agencies (including supervision and corruption prevention departments and procuratorates' divisions handling public post related crimes such as bribery offences). Currently, Beijing and another two provinces are piloting the reform. In January 2017, the head of the new committees in these three provinces have been selected, with a view to having the new committees start up running soon in the new year.

In accordance with the Decision, the new supervisory committees have a wide range of enforcement powers, including powers of surveillance, authority to summon suspects and witnesses for interrogation, search and freeze assets and power to impose penalties.  According to the Vice Minister of the Ministry of Supervision, an expanded group – including government officials, managerial personnel in state owned enterprises and institutions and other personnel that perform public functions -- would monitored by the new commissions; non-CPC members that are not under the jurisdiction of the country's current anti-corruption watch dog will be covered by the new body.

Former China Resources vice-chairman pleads guilty to graft charges

Wang Shuaiting, the former vice-chairman of state-owned China Resources, stood trial on graft charges before a local court in Shenzhen city, China, in end of November 2016. Wang pleaded guilty to charges of accepting bribes worth more than RMB40 million (approximately US$5.8 million) and embezzling another RMB7 million during his tenure with China Resources. In exchange for the bribes taken, Wang took advantage of his management positions at China Resources and assisted bribe givers with investment, personnel appointment and promotion. It was reported that eight former officials of China Resources, including the former chairman and Wang, were investigated by Chinese authorities for corruption. The former chairman was charged by prosecutors for bribery criminal offences in December 2016.

China jails former deputy sports minister for graft

In December 2016, a court in Henan province jailed a former deputy sports minister (equivalent of a vice minister), Xiao Tian, who once sat on China's Olympics committee for 10 and a half years after finding him guilty of criminal bribery offences. The court found that Xiao had taken, directly or via others, RMB7.96 million (approximately US$1.15 million) in bribes when he held various official sports positions between 1997 and 2014, in exchange for helping with job promotions winning projects and holding of sports events.

Chinese court jails former coal group chiefs for bribery

In December 2016, a Chinese court in Jiangsu province jailed two former chiefs of state-owned Shanxi Coking Coal Group, China's largest coking coal producer. Bai Peizhong, the former group chairman, was convicted of criminal offences of taking and offering bribes.  Bai was found to have taken bribes worth more than RMB 35 million (approximately US$5.08 million) in exchange for providing benefits in matters such as coal supply, job promotion. Bai also offered bribes to police in an attempt to conceal the bribes he had taken (the policemen involved were convicted of accepting bribes in a separate case). Bai was sentenced for 13 years and six months and fined RMB3 million (approximately US$436,000). Liao Shuanzhu, former deputy manager of the group, was also convicted of criminal bribery offences and was sentenced to 16 years and fined RMB2 million (approximately US$291,000). Liao was found to have provided benefits to construction companies in construction projects in return for bribes taken.

Multiple former senior Chinese officials jailed for graft

In December 2016, Chinese courts jailed a number of former senior Chinese officials for criminal bribery offences. Du Shanxue, a former deputy governor of the coal-rich northern Shanxi province was convicted of criminal bribery offences with a life sentence, after being found that he had taken bribes worth RMB80 million (approximately US$11.52 million) between 2003 and 2013 and provided assistance on matters such as business operations and job promotions. Ling Zhengce, the former deputy head of the parliamentary advisory body in Shanxi, the elder brother of Ling Jihua (the former aide to former President Hu Jintao and who was jailed for life in July for corruption) was found guilty of taking RMB16 million (US$2.30 million) in bribes from 2001 to 2014 in exchange for assistance in project approvals, business operations and job promotions.  Ling was sentenced to 12 and a half years, and was fined RMB15 million. Chen Chuanping, the former Communist Party chief of Shanxi province, was also found guilty of bribery offences and sentenced to six and a half years in jail. Sui Fengfu, former deputy head of the provincial People's Congress Standing Committee of Heilongjiang, China's northernmost province, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for taking bribes totaling over RMB10.4 million (approximately US$1.6 million) in exchange for providing assistance with selection, job promotion and winning projects. Similarly, Yang Weize, former Communist Party chief of Nanjing of Jiangsu province, Liang Bin, a former senior official in Hebei province (close to Beijing), Si Xinliang, a former senior political advisor in China's east Zhejiang province, Qiu He, a former senior official of the Communist Party of China in southwest province Yunnan, were sentenced, in separate cases, to 8 to 14.5 years in prison for accepting bribes.

Singapore

Former Micron manager fined for attempted bribery

Bernard Quek Joo Kwang, a former tool installation manager of Micron Semiconductor (Micron), was fined S$30,000 for soliciting a bribe of more than S$100,000 from Tialoc Singapore, a subcontractor of Micron's. It was reported that Quek asked for a 5 per cent commission for all Tialoc's existing projects with Micron as an inducement for future projects with Micron.

Company director faces 30 months' jail for corruption

A Singaporean company director of TAC Contracts was sentenced to 30 months’ imprisonment for corruption offences in December 2016. TAC Contracts operates in the waterproofing and general works industry. Investigations showed that Donald Ling Chun Teck had been giving corrupt payments to his clients (which included managing agents, contractors and property agents) directly or via his sales staff in order for TAC Contracts to obtain business with these clients. These payments were disguised as referral fees, commissions, or tokens of appreciation.

Graft scandal: Ex-ST Marine CEO jailed 10 months and fined

In December, a former chief executive officer and president of ST Marine, a subsidiary of blue-chip engineering giant ST Engineering, See Leong Teck, was sentenced to 10 months' in prison and a S$100,000 fine in one of the largest graft scandals in corporate Singapore history. Investigations showed ST Marine officers had been giving cash bribes to its customers' employees, claimed as "entertainment expenses" since at least 1996, with the approval of the company's senior management team. At least S$24.9 million in kickbacks were paid between 2000 and 2011 to employees of ST Marine's customers, mainly overseas firms, in order to obtain ship-repair contracts and other business. See, who helmed ST Marine from 1998 to 2008, had pleaded guilty to one charge each of corruption, falsification of accounts, and failure to act honestly and use reasonable diligence in the discharge of his duties as the director of a company. He is the fifth of seven former senior ST Marine executives charged in the case to be convicted. Four of the five have since been sentenced, with three given a jail term.

Vietnam

Vietnam: Government Bans New Year Gift-Giving To Curb Bribery

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has banned government officials from offering gifts to their superiors for the Lunar New Year, known locally as Tet, which falls on 28 January 2017. Media reported that the Prime Minister said that all kinds of Tet gifts would be prohibited, and that the entire administrative system that includes government officials from central to local levels must follow.

Malaysia

MACC, IRB team up to better combat graft criminals

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) and the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) have formed a strategic partnership to combat corruption – by signing an agreement in December 2016 the two authorities will share and refer information on criminal corruption and power abuse cases. Among others, the cooperation between MACC and IRB will ensure that information on criminal corruption and power abuse cases investigated by MACC will simultaneously be referred to IRB for action. Through this cooperation, any individual involved in criminal corruption and power abuse will not only face action under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Act 2009, but also potentially the Income Tax Act 1967, in particular those related to tax payment evasion.

Taiwan

Official involved in financial crime

Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau officer Yang Chao-chung was charged with corruption, insider trading and leaking secrets after being found to have participated in an insider trading scheme. Investigation findings indicated that Yang invested money in the stock market in the hopes of recouping his earlier losses, and colluded with Teng, a stock market trader who used the inside information to short-sell Phison Electornics Corp (Phison) shares. Yang allegedly told Teng about impending raids on Phison that were connected with a probe into possible financial irregularities.