China

China issues guidelines for monitoring overseas activities of Chinese firms

Guidelines have been issued by China's state planner for monitoring overseas activities of Chinese firms and individuals. The guidelines are primarily aimed at preventing tax fraud, money laundering and illegal financing but will also cause violations of international conventions and United Nations resolutions, disruptions of foreign economic cooperation, adverse impacts on the Belt and Road initiative or actions harming China's reputation to be recorded as infractions. Records of the infractions will be publically available once the scheme is implemented. A range of punishments will be available and may include rejecting applications for overseas investments, restrictions on access to subsidies and refusals to sell state land. No timeframe has been publicised for implementing the scheme.

Zhou Liang named vice chairman of China's banking regulator

The former head of the organisation department of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, Zhou Liang, has been appointed as vice chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission. The change occurs as part of the governmental shakeup following Communist Party's five yearly national congress in October.

Singapore

Guidebook on curbing insider trading

The Singapore Exchange has released a guidebook designed to assist companies in preventing insider trading. A copy of the guidebook, entitled "Handling of Confidential Information and Dealings in Securities: Principles of Best Practice" can be found here.

The guide contains recommendations for encouraging control over confidential information, restricting staff dealing in a company's securities and creating a culture of confidence. It is designed to be used by a range of professionals and is encouraged to be adapted for use by bankers, lawyers and accountants. Specifically, the guide covers the following areas:

  • arrangements for ensuring confidential information remains confidential;
  • minimising the risks of accidental leakage of confidential information;
  • characteristics of effective trading restrictions on dealing in securities; and
  • how to promote strong awareness of the importance of handling and controlling confidential information.

Although the guide does not have the force of law, it is likely that it will be considered by regulators when assessing the appropriateness of systems put in place by companies.

New FS-ISAC office in Singapore with focus on cybersecurity

The MAS and the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Centre ("FS-ISAC") have launched the FS-ISAC Asia Pacific Regional Analysis Centre’s office in Singapore.

The FS-ISAC currently supports 49 financial institutions across nine Asia Pacific countries. This collaboration focuses on fighting cybercrime across those nine countries.

The centre will provides 24/7 local and global coverage with threat information sharing, actionable intelligence, and tools and resources for responding to cybercrime incidents. It has also involved the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Temasek Polytechnic, a Singaporean tertiary education institution, to provide internship opportunities for students with the hope of producing more specialised IT talent for future threats.

Malaysia

Financial General Manager convicted for bribery

The Court of Appeal has upheld Khairuddin Khalid's, a former financial general manager of Mimos Berhad, five year prison sentence and MYR 2 million fine for soliciting and accepting bribes. Khalid had initially been convicted in the Sessions Court for eight counts of soliciting a bribe from Muhammad Khalid Ismail, executive chairman of Corporate Eight Asset Management Sdn Bhd, in exchange for Mimos Berhad's investment in the company. Seven of these convictions were overturned on appeal by him to the High Court on the basis that there was not sufficient evidence to support the convictions. The prosecution subsequently appealed the decision to the Court of Appeal, which restored three of the convictions. In doing so the court found that there was sufficient evidence to support the convictions. The prosecution has withdrawn its appeal against the acquittal on the other charges.

Philippines

Philippines' second biggest bank penalised US$35m for fraud

Metropolitan Bank & Trust has been sanctioned by the Philippine central bank for an internal fraud that cost the lender PHP 1.75 billion. The sanctions followed an arrest in July of a Metrobank official suspected of funneling loans into fictitious accounts which were then transferred to other private accounts she owned. Sanctions included a reprimand and the suspension of directors and officers said to have been complacent in their duties. It was also ordered to pay a fine of PHP 4.45 billion (US$35m).

AMLC approves registration and reporting guidelines

The Anti-Money Laundering Council ("AMLC") has approved the AMLC registration and reporting guidelines (ARRG) of all covered persons. Casinos will have separate guidelines, but the ARRG otherwise consolidates all related AMLC resolutions since 2004.

The guidelines will take effect on 4 January 2018. A copy of the guidelines can be found here.

South Korea

Proposal to amend anti-corruption act by changing the price limits on gifts

The Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission has approved a proposal to amend the Improper Solicitation and Graft Act to change the price ceilings on some gifts. The Act, which has been in operation for 15 months, currently imposes a price limit on gifts for occasions like weddings and funerals at KRW 100,000 and a limit on gifts for agricultural, livestock and fishery goods to KRW 50,000. The agricultural and fisheries industries have lobbied against this limit claiming to have suffered a decrease in sales. The proposal seeks to amend these limits to KRW 50,000 for gifts for occasions like weddings and funerals and KRW 100,000 for gifts for agricultural, livestock and fishery goods. The amendment requires final endorsement by the cabinet and it is the second time the commission has attempted to change the limits with a similar proposal being rejected last month.

Korea to use AI to better combat money laundering

Kim Yong-beom, vice chairman of the Financial Services Commission, has said that it will build an information analysis system using AI, starting in 2018. The objective of this proposal is to develop a system that will better assist in processing the increasing number of financial transactions reports, and do this in a more sophisticated and systematic manner. The proposal has been prompted by concerns about the increasing sophistication of online money laundering and the increase in use of crypto currencies to hide the proceeds of transnational crime.

Indonesia

Anti-graft court finds construction firm guilty of embezzlement

The Duta Graha Indah, a private construction company, has been found guilty of corruption by an anti-graft court in Jakarta.

The company was found to have embezzled IDR 14 billion from funds allocated to the construction of a hospital and to have misused a budget markup of IDR 33.4 billion in constructing a guest house project. The offences are said to have caused IDR 24 billion and IDR 54.74 billion in state losses respectively.

The case is the first time a company has been sentenced under the country's anti-corruption law. It has been ordered to return the embezzled amounts to the state. Dudung Pruwadi, the former chief executive of the company, was also sentenced to five years' imprisonment.