FORMER CHAIRMAN OF CHINA NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION SENTENCED TO 16 YEARS FOR CORRUPTION
Jiang Jiemin, the former chairman of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and its listed firm PetroChina, China's biggest oil producer, has been sentenced to 16 years imprisonment for taking bribes and abuse of power. A court in Hubei province found Jiang guilty of "receiving bribes, possessing large amounts of assets of unknown provenance and abusing power as a state-owned company employee". Jiang's case follows the high-profile case of Zhou Yongkang, the former head of China's Ministry of Public Security and one of Jiang's former close aide who was sentenced to life in prison in June.
CORRUPTION SUSPECT ARRESTED AFTER HIDING IN THE US FOR 15 YEARS
The Chinese authorities arrested Zhenyu Zhu, one of the one hundred suspects listed on China's "Sky-Net" list of most-wanted fugitives suspected of economic crimes. Zhu was formerly the head of the security department of an ICBC branch in Sichuan province. It is alleged that he embezzled over Rmb 10 million (around US$ 1.6 million) through mortgage loan schemes and fled to the US in August 2001. After hiding for 15 years, Zhu surrendered himself at his parents' home in Shanghai. Zhu is the fifteenth suspect to be captured in the Sky-Net operation (a scheme China has used to identify and track down fugitives suspected of economic crime including corrupt officials).
CHINA REPATRIATES WANTED CHINESE BANKER FROM MALAYSIA
The Malaysian Government extradited Zaisheng Zhan, a Chinese banker also listed on China's "Sky Net" list (see above). Zhan worked for a branch of China Agricultural Bank in the southern Fujian province. He is accused of committing large scale fraud and illegally obtaining RMB 680 million (around US$ 107 million) before he fled to Malaysia in late 2012. He is the thirteenth fugitive to be repatriated since April.
300 INDIVIDUALS DECLARE RS 3000 CRORE IN INDIA'S BLACK MONEY VOLUNTARY DISCLOSURE PERIOD
Nearly three hundred individuals declared a total of around Rs 3000 crore (around US$ 460 million) of "black money" (meaning tax evaded income) during the voluntary disclosure period, which ended on the last day of September 2015. Under a new law brought in by the National Democratic Alliance government, tax evaders were given a 90-day period to declare their black money and come clean. The terms of the law allow them to pay 30% income tax and a 30% fine (60% of the total black money) in order to avoid prosecution. Although the Modi government insists that the purpose of the new law is to discourage tax evasion, experts say that people are reluctant to make the disclosure because of lack of clarity on immunity, questions of confidentiality, fear of future harassment, and lack of time given to do so.
CBI CONTINUE RAIDS OVER BANK OF BARODA FRAUD
CBI raided fifty privately-owned locations suspected to be involved in the Bank of Baroda Fraud. CBI officials said that those private companies were involved in transferring black money amounting to as much as Rs 6,172 crore from Bank of Baroda (BoB), a public sector bank, to Hong Kong in July 2014. Some of these used fake addresses to make illegal transfers through BoB's Ashok Vihar branch. The money transferred was allegedly sent as advance payments for agricultural products transactions that never happened. Nearly 8,000 such transactions were flagged in the audit.
MALAYSIA'S ROYALS CALL FOR ACTION ON CORRUPTION
Malaysia's royal rulers made an unprecedented call for a quick and transparent investigation into the corruption scandal involving the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and the state-fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). In July, Wall Street Journal reported that 1MDB transferred US$700 million to a personal account under Najib's name. Both Najib and 1MDB deny any wrongdoing. The rulers have called for the investigations to be transparent and for the findings to be reported comprehensively to the public in order to ensure that the people's trust in the government is maintained.
CDC CHAIRMAN INVITING ADVICE ON FIGHTING CORRUPTION
Meechai Ruchupan, Chairman of Thailand's Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) is seeking advice on fighting graft. Meechai emphasised that fighting "rampant corruption" is a priority issue. The current anti-graft authorities in Thailand are the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Election Commission. Meechai said that he would consider any advice and evaluate the possibility of establishing a new agency to fight corruption. Meechai is also planning to set up a system to prevent corruption at the policy-making level, including imposing stricter criteria on election candidates.
CENTRAL BANK PUBLISHES GUIDELINES ON PREVENTING MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERRORIST FINANCING
The Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) has published a set of guidelines for financial institutions on managing the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing. It has also mentioned that it will soon announce further guidance on customer due diligence for banks, finance companies and money changers. In accordance with the Basel Committee's core principles, the CBM is under a duty to establish and maintain a system to "identify, measure, evaluate, monitor, report and control and mitigate all material risk on a timely basis." The guidelines are considered a step forward to combat money laundering in a country where banks often lack the resources and understanding to identify money laundering risks. Several years ago, CBM issued a checklist to help banks identify and report suspicious financial activities.
SGX REVIEWING COMPANIES’ COMPLIANCE WITH CORPORATE GOVERNANCE CODE
The Singapore Exchange (SGX) is currently reviewing how locally-listed companies are abiding by the "comply or explain" requirement in the Singapore Code of Corporate Governance. The review is part of SGX's drive to raise governance standards of listed companies. It will cover annual reports of over five hundred and fifty companies released in the 12 months up to June 30, 2015. SGX intends to publish its findings on a "statistical and no-name basis" to help identify the areas that need improvement.
CORRUPTION MOST PROBLEMATIC FACTOR FOR DOING BUSINESS IN PAKISTAN
According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), Pakistan has improved its ranking in the WEF's annual Global Competitiveness Report, which assesses the competitiveness landscape of 140 economies. Pakistan jumped three spots to number 126 out of 140 economies. The report identifies corruption, tax rates, inflation, access to financing and insufficient government bureaucracy as the five most problematic factors for doing business in Pakistan.
SOUTH KOREA TO EXPEL OFFICIALS TAKING BRIBES EXCEEDING US$900
A new law has been issued that subjects any public official who receives a bribe exceeding the value of one million won (US$900) in exchange for favours to immediate removal from office. If the bribe is less than one million won, the public official will be subject to severe disciplinary action. An official removed from office will not be allowed to perform public service duties for a duration of five years, and his/her severance pay and pension will be reduced by fifty percent. The new law will come into effect in November.