Bribery and Corruption

Lisa Osofsky confirmed as new head of Serious Fraud Office

Former FBI lawyer Lisa Osofsky has been confirmed as the new Director of the UK's Serious Fraud Office. Ms Osofsky will join the SFO from global firm Exiger where she led their investigative, compliance and assurance activities. She replaces the SFO's former permanent director, David Green, whose six-year term ended in April, and interim director Mark Thompson. Ms Osofsky is due to start on 3 September and Mr Thompson will return to his permanent role as Chief Operating Officer.

SFO, 4 June 2018

Bribery Act memorandum published

The government has released a memorandum on the implementation of the Bribery Act 2010 in order to assist with Parliament's post-legislative review by the House of Lords select committee. The policy summarises the provisions and objectives, the implementation and enforcement and also provides a preliminary assessment of its performance in England only. The Government's preliminary assessment is that the Bribery Act has fulfilled the functions that Parliament intended it to perform.

Ministry of Justice, 5 June 2018

Société Générale admits to LIBOR manipulation and corrupt payments

Société Générale SA, based in Paris, and its wholly-owned subsidiary have agreed to pay a combined penalty of more than $860m to resolve criminal charges with authorities in the United States and France relating to bribing Libyan officials with over $90m of corrupt payments and manipulating the LIBOR rate over a period of several years. This is the first time the US has reached a coordinated resolution with French authorities in a foreign bribery case.

US Department of Justice, 4 June 2018

Legg Mason settles with US for allegations of Libyan bribery

It has been reported that asset management firm Legg Mason Inc has settled with the US Justice Department for $64.2m to resolve anti-bribery allegations through one of its Libyan subsidiaries. Part of the deal included the DoJ agreeing not to prosecute the company.

Reuters, 4 June 2018

Money Laundering

Canara Bank fined by FCA for anti-money laundering failings

The FCA has fined Canara Bank £896,100 and imposed a restriction preventing it from accepting deposits from new customers for 147 days. The regulator found that Canara had failed to maintain adequate AML systems and failed to take sufficient steps to remedy identified weaknesses despite being notified.

FCA, 6 June 2018

Commonwealth Bank of Australia agrees to pay $700m for money laundering

It has been reported that the Commonwealth Bank has offered to pay $700m to settle civil proceedings relating to breaches of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws. The government's financial intelligence agency Austrac announced in August is was suing the Bank for 53,700 alleged breaches relating to the Bank's use of intelligent deposit machines that allow customers to anonymously deposit and transfer cash. If the federal court accepts this offer, it will be the largest civil penalty in Australian history.

The Guardian, 4 June 2018

Fraud

Four men sentenced for £2m fraudulent tax rebates

Four men who set up a filming company and tax relief scheme called Formula One Limited Liability Partnership in order to claim fraudulent tax rebates worth more than £2m have been sentenced. In order to benefit from the scheme, members could claim a share of the partnership's losses against their own income if they spent at least 10 hours a week working on it. The men submitted false tax returns and fabricated correspondence designed to deliberately mislead HMRC and obtain tax advantages over 15 months. Three of the men were sentenced to two years and eight months in prison and one received a prison sentence of 20 months suspended for two years and was ordered to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work.

CPS, 4 June 2018

Cyber Crime

Europol sets up EU-wide team to fight dark web crime

Europol has set up a dedicated Dark Web Investigations team, within the agency's European Cybercrime centre, to work together with global law enforcement to "share knowledge and expertise and discuss a coordinated approach to tackling crime on the dark web". Europol described the team's activities as a "360 degree strategy against criminality on the dark web". The team also aims to enhance joint technical and investigative actions and organise training, along with prevention and awareness campaigns.

Europol, 29 May 2018

Sanctions

Ericsson enters settlement for export and sanctions violations

The US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has announced it has entered into a settlement with the US and Swedish entities of telecoms company Ericsson. Ericsson has agreed to pay $145,893 in settlement of apparent violations of US sanctions measures relating to Iran. This related to Ericsson employees conspiring with a third party to export and reexport a satellite hub from the US to Sudan, as well as the provision of related services.

OFAC, 6 June 2018

US agrees deal with ZTE Corp that allows continued access to US suppliers

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has confirmed that the US has reached a deal with ZTE Corp, that will provide the Chinese telecoms company with renewed access to US suppliers. ZTE reached a settlement with the US authorities in 2017 relating to illegal trades with Iran and North Korea in breach of US export and sanctions violations.In April 2018, the US announced that ZTE had not adhered to the terms of this settlement, in particular because it had not subjected the individuals involved in the underlying trades to specific disciplinary processes identified in the settlement agreement.ZTE is heavily reliant on US components suppliers such as Qualcomm, Broadcom and Intel in order to manufacture its products.It is reported that the new settlement deal will involve a $1 billion fine and $400 million in escrow to cover any future violations.

Bloomberg, 7 June 2018

Russia passes "counter-sanctions" law

President Vladimir Putin has signed measures drawn up in response to US sanctions against Russia into law. The bill enables the Russian government to ban trade of goods with unfriendly countries. It has however been watered down since the initial offering drawn up by legislators, in order to avoid an overly negative impact on the Russian economy and Russian companies.

Reuters, 4 June 2018

Financial Regulation

FCA investigating TSB IT problems

The head of the FCA has reportedly written to Treasury Committee chairwoman Nicky Morgan to confirm a joint investigation with the Prudential Regulation Authority into TSB's IT migration when 1.9 million customers were affected.

In the letter, the FCA's chief executive stated: “The FCA has been dissatisfied with TSB’s communications with its customers and we have had concerns that TSB was not being open and transparent about the issues experienced.” It was also suggested that TSB boss Paul Pester should have been more forthcoming with MPs at the Treasury Committee hearing when he gave evidence. The FCA has the power to fine TSB.

The Guardian, 6 June 2018

FCA publishes draft rules on regulating claims management companies

On 1 April 2019, regulation of claims management companies (CMCs) will pass to the FCA and the FCA has published its proposals on authorising and supervising firms and the steps it will take should these companies breach FCA rules.

The proposals require CMCs to provide potential customers with a summary document containing important information such as illustration fees and an overview of the services. This must be provided before any contract is agreed. Under the proposals, free alternatives, such as ombudsman schemes, will need to be highlighted in any marketing material and CMCs will have to keep records of all calls for at least 12 months.

FCA, 5 June 2018

Environmental

Bank Holiday blitz nets illegal anglers

Environment Agency Fisheries Enforcement Officers visited 80 fishing locations in the North East over the Bank Holiday weekend to check anglers were fishing legally and found that 14 out of 389 anglers were doing so without a rod licence. 650 anglers were checked during May with 37 offence reports issued by the EA. The income from rod licence sales is used to fund Environment Agency work to tackle illegal fishing and protect fisheries which includes upgrading the facilities for anglers and improving fish habitats.

GOV.uk, 31 May 2018

Health & Safety

Fine for yacht company due to employee injuries

Sunseeker International Limited has been fined £167,000 following an incident involving an engineer on 28 January 2016. The employee was hit on the back of the head by a solid metal bracket and knocked unconscious. He suffered a large laceration to his head and concussion for several weeks. He did not return to work for 6 weeks and underwent 15 months of physiotherapy following the incident. The HSE found that there was no safe system of work for the task being undertaken.

Sunseeker International Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £167,000, with costs of £7,000 and a victim surcharge of £120.

SHP Online, 4 June 2018

Paper company fined £250,000 following fatality

Following an incident on 27 March 2017 RRS London Waste Papers Ltd have been found guilty of breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. A worker was found inside a chamber of a baling machine having suffered fatal crush injuries. The HSE investigation established that the worker had fallen down the loading hopper into the compaction chamber of the machine after most likely trying to clear a blockage. There was no safe method in place for clearing such blockages. RRS London Waste Papers Ltd was found guilty of breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £250,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,639.77 and a victim surcharge of £170.

SHP Online, 4 June 2018

Contractor fined after employee run over by road roller

Newlay Civil Engineering Ltd, a road resurfacing company, was fined £15,400 after an employee reversed a road roller over the leg of a fellow employee. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the vehicle was not operating with a flashing beacon and the reversing alarm was not working.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined. The HSE principal inspector said “this case highlights the importance of regular pro-active maintenance and pre-use inspection of work equipment, including flashing beacons and reversing alarms".

HSE.GOV.uk, 4 June 2018