Bribery and Corruption

SFO charges two individuals in Unaoil investigation

The SFO has charged a former territory manager and former partner of Unaoil, following a criminal investigation into the company and people connected with it, which was first announced in 2016. Basil Al Jarah and Ziad Akle are both accused of conspiring to pay bribes in order to secure contracts for Unaoil's client, SBM Offshore, in Iraq.

The two men have been charged on counts of conspiracy to make corrupt payments, and an extradition request has been submitted to Monaco in respect of a third man on related charges. The SFO investigation into the company continues.

SFO, 16 November 2017

US makes arrests following alleged bribing of African officials

The former home secretary of Hong Kong and former foreign minister of Senegal have been arrested on accusations they bribed officials in Chad and Uganda to secure commercial advantages for a Chinese energy firms. The alleged bribes, of almost $1 million, were allegedly paid, respectively, to the president and foreign minister of the two countries.

Patrick Ho and Cheikh Gadio have been charged with violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. CEFC, the energy firm at the heart of the allegations has strongly denied any wrongdoing, though no comment has been made by Chadian or Ugandan officials.

ABC News, 22 November 2017

BBC, 21 November 2017

Argentina introduces new corporate criminal liability offence

The National Congress of Argentina has passed a new law introducing criminal liability on corporations for various corruption offences. The moves comes after the OECD requested its introduction, to ensure Argentina's compliance with Anti-Bribery Conventions.

Offenders can face fines of five times the amount of any benefit they obtain from the corrupt behaviour, and may face a ten year ban from submitting bids for public contracts. However, the law does permit corporates to have their sentence reduced if they assist in providing information to prosecutors.

Reuters, 8 November 2017

Money Laundering

JMLSG publishes revisions to Guidance

The Joint Money Laundering Steering Group (JMLSG) has published proposed revisions to its guidance to take account of recent changes made by the Government in the finalisation of the new Money Laundering Regulations, and also include references to the Criminal Finances Act 2017 which came into effect at the end of September.

The JMLSG have invited comments on the proposed changes to be submitted by 4 December 2017.

JMLSG, 17 November 2017

Cyber Crime

Cyber-risks are one of the FCA's top priorities, says Chief Operating Officer

Nausicaa Delfas, the COO at the FCA, stressed the importance of cyber issues in a speech to the Cyber Security Summit and Expo 2017. She noted that cyber issues are a challenge for each of the FCA's objectives: to secure appropriate protection for consumers; to protect and enhance the integrity of the UK financial system; and to promote effective competition in the interests of consumers.

She also made clear that cyber risks are not just a technical issue: "As well as having the right technology to protect, detect, recover and respond, it is important to move people into the right mindset on security – right from the top, board members, and staff; and from a process perspective, be able to recover and respond – essential for resilience of your business and services."

FCA, 15 November 2017

Cisco to share cyber-crime data with Interpol

Technology company Cisco has signed an agreement to begin sharing its cyber-crime data with Interpol. The data will relate to criminal trends in cyber-space, emerging and known cyber-threats, and malicious attacks. However, the company said it would not involve sharing customer data with Interpol.

Interpol said on their website: "The agreement will enhance threat detection from around the world and also paves the way for potential future collaboration between the two organizations on training and knowledge sharing. The exchange of information and expertise between the public and private sectors is vital in combating cybercrime and no country or company can do this alone."

Business Insider, 21 November 2017

Interpol, 21 November 2017

Sanctions

US imposes more sanctions on North Korea

The United States has imposed more sanctions on North Korea in response to its continuing nuclear missile programme. The latest measures are aimed at its shipping operations, and in particular at shipping companies that have facilitated trade with North Korea, including three Chinese firms.

The sanctioning of Chinese firms is likely to prove controversial, with the US counting on support from China in its push to halt funding to North Korea. The Chinese Embassy in Washington released a statement saying it "opposes unilateral sanctions out of the UN Security Council framework".

BBC, 21 November 2017

TIME, 22 November 2017

Lithuania introduces new sanctions law for individuals

Lithuania has adopted what are known as "Magnitsky-style" sanctions. The new law allows Lithuania to ban entry to individuals where there is serious ground for belief that they are guilty of corruption or human rights abuses. The law was passed unanimously by the Lithuanian Parliament and enters into force on 30 January 2018.

The name of the sanctions comes from Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who was imprisoned after exposing large-scale frauds amongst Russian officials. The US, UK, Canada and Estonia also have similar rules in place.

EUobserver, 16 November 2017

OCCRP, 16 November 2017

Environmental

House building company fined over construction pollution

Harron Homes (Harron), a Leeds-based house building company, failed to control silt run-off from its Farriers Croft estate in 2015. The discharge led to the pollution of a watercourse from a Huddersfield construction site. The Environment Agency (EA) had investigated the discharge after reports of contaminated run-off which was entering a tributary of Grimescar Dyke.

At the Magistrates' Court on 20 November 2017, Harron admitted to one charge of causing illegal discharges and was fined £120,000, £8,706.71 in legal costs and a £120 victim surcharge. Rosalind Emsley-Smith, prosecuting for the EA, described to the court how an officer visited the site on 20 November 2015 and saw polluted water flowing out of the entrance of the construction site. She also told the court how Harron was additionally pumping silt contaminated water from site excavations which entered into the watercourse. Harron then attempted to control the silt run-off by installing settlement tanks after the EA's visit.

Following further reports of pollution in November and December 2015, the EA investigated the site again and found that the settlement tanks system was inadequate due to the silty water that was being discharged. Samples taken from the discharges showed there to be nearly 35,000 milligrams of suspended solids per litre of water, which had a significant impact on the water quality in the watercourse up to 3km further downstream. A healthy watercourse is expected to have a concentration lower than 30 milligrams per litre.

In mitigation, Harron stated that they had now put procedures in place to prevent future pollution incidents.

Gov.uk, 21 November 2017

 

Health and Safety

Guest house owner fined £250,000 following London Fire Brigade prosecution

A London guest house owner has been fined £250,000 and given and a six month suspended prison sentence following a prosecution by the London Fire Brigade after removing the staircase from his property. He pleaded guilty to four offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

He was converting the building into guest house accommodation from a house of multiple occupation. This involved removing the internal staircase to put in a lift and fitting an open external staircase to the rear of the property which would provide the only emergency means of escape. A Building Regulations application for the refurbishment was turned down due to safety concerns by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Following a visit to the property by building inspectors, the Fire Brigade were alerted to deficiencies and fire safety failings none of which had been remedied by the time a follow up visit was carried out. A prohibition notice was then issued restricting the use of the guest house to the ground floor of the three storey building.

SHP, 21 November 2017

£3.6 million fine after worker electrocuted on live rail line

London and Southeastern (LSER) and Wetton Cleaning Services Limited (Wettons) have been fined £2.5 million and £1.1 million respectively in a prosecution brought by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).

Roger Lower was electrocuted after falling on a live 750 volt rail at West Marina Depot in East Sussex. He was cleaning the sides of the trains with colleagues but was later found lying on the tracks. Cleaners at West Marina were supposed to be protected from the live rail by ’Protection Boards’, but ORR Inspectors found that none of the four Boards present in this location was in use.

Wettons was employed by LSER to clean its trains and the West Marina depot was leased from Network Rail for that purpose. ORR’s investigation revealed health and safety failures by both Wettons and LSER, contravening the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Wettons was prosecuted under Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act. LSER was prosecuted under Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act. LSER and Wettons were ordered to pay costs of £162,000 each.

SHP, 21 November 2017

£1.2 million fine following driver fatality

Howden Joinery Ltd, has been fined £1.2 million after the death of a visiting HGV driver at one of its premises. Richard Brown, an agency driver, was delivering kitchen worktops to a Howden Joinery Ltd site in Workington when he was crushed to death as a forklift truck (FLT) overturned whilst lifting kitchen worktops from the trailer of the HGV.

An investigation into the incident found the FLT had been overloaded and visiting delivery drivers were not kept at a safe distance from the loading and unloading operations.

Howden Joinery Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £1.2 million and ordered to pay costs of £33,902.00.

SHP, 23 November 2017