India, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand

India

Supreme Court dismissed petition filed by former home minister in money laundering case

The Supreme Court has rejected a plea by former Maharashtra home minister, Anil Deskmukh, for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to provide reports relating to the corruption case filed against him. 

In April, the CBI informed the court that their preliminary investigation has identified evidence of serious offences having been committed. 

The court further commented that Deskmukh's petition should not be entertained just because of his previous role as a minister and that there must be something extraordinary warranting an interference in an investigation by the court. [19 Nov 2021]

SEBI warns Debenture Trustees about dealing in unregulated products

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has announced that it has come to its attention that some registered Debenture Trustees are undertaking activities related to unregulated products such as acting as a trustee for digital gold.

SEBI has reiterated that undertaking activities related to unregulated products are not in accordance with section 12(1) of the SEBI Act 1992, read with the SEBI (Debenture Trustees) Regulations 1993.

SEBI has advised that Debenture Trustees disassociate themselves from undertaking activities related to unregulated products. [3 Nov 2021]

Indonesia

Prosecutors seek death sentence in graft trial

Indonesian prosecutors are seeking the first-ever death sentence for a defendant in a major corruption case. The defendant is accused of encouraging a military insurer to make bad investments for personal gain. He is also accused of money laundering by investing in other assets, inflicting a loss of Rp 12.6 trillion (USD 878 million). 

According to Article 2 of the Anti-corruption Law, graft conviction can be punishable by death if the crime is committed during a national emergency due to natural disasters or economic crisis, and/or it is a repeat crime.

Prosecutors argued that the defendant is a repeat offender as he was previously convicted in a separate corruption case. [6 Dec 2021]

Philippines

AMLC filed money laundering cases involving P1.3 billion (USD 25 million)

Over a period of eight months in 2021, 85 criminal and civil cases involving approximately P1.31 billion (USD 25.4 million) were filed by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

AMLC chairman and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno announced that the financial intelligence unit continues to ramp up initiatives against money laundering despite the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The AMLC has also signed memoranda of understanding with 51 jurisdictions and memoranda of agreements with 39 law enforcement and government agencies, as well as joining with the Philippine National Police to foster cooperation and coordination in combating money laundering. [30 Dec 2021]

Singapore

Singapore Court holds that bribery is not a defence to loan recovery claims

Justice Philip Jeyaretnam in the Singapore High Court has overturned the assistant registrar's decision and denied a metal trading company and its directors the leave to defend an Indian's bank loan recovery claim.

The judge held that the Indian bank was a victim of both the briber and the bribed individual, whose unlawful behaviour could not be attributed to the bank. The doctrine of illegality had not been evoked in the current case because it is not a contract to pay a bribe and commit a crime. Rather, it is a contract procured through a bribe and should be dealt with under the principles of equity.

He further pointed out that there was no Singaporean public policy requiring the court to refuse enforcing a contract secured through bribery. [25 Nov 2021]

South Korea

South Korea pardons former President Park Geun-hye

Former South Korea President Park Geun-hye, who was ousted from office and sentenced to 22 years in prison for corruption and abuse of power, has been pardoned and released from prison, after spending around four years and eight months in jail. 

When Park was in office, it was discovered that he and a close confidant received millions in bribes from some of South Korea's richest companies, including Samsung, in exchange for favourable government decisions. [24 Dec 2021]

Taiwan

Taiwan FSC fines three banks over theft from clients

Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) has fined three banks, whose employees or sales agents embezzled client funds totalling NT$20 million. The FSC fined CTBC Bank (中信銀行) NT$14 million, Bank SinoPac (永豐銀行) NT$4 million and Bank of Panhsin (板信銀行) NT$2 million.

The banks were criticised for their insufficient internal controls and failures to exercise anti-money laundering measures. [30 Dec 2021]

Thailand

New draft amendments to Anti-Money Laundering Act has been approved

The Thai Cabinet has approved a new draft amendment to the Money Laundering Act to cover more offences including child pornography, tax dodging and loan sharking.

The proposal, submitted by the Anti-Money Laundering Office, aims to enhance Thailand's anti-money laundering framework and ensure it stays in line with international standards, as set out by the Financial Action Task Force. [30 Dec 2021]