Significant movement in China's anti-corruption regime following the Communist Party's national congress

There has been significant movement in China's anti-corruption drive since the Communist Party's 19th National Congress in mid-October. This includes:

  • President Xi Jinping has pledged to continue the anti-corruption drive commenced at the start of his tenure in November 2012.
  • A new National Supervision Commission will be introduced next year and will take over from the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. It will also expand the anti-graft campaign to include employees in state-backed institutions who are not party members.
  • Anti-graft supervision reforms will be expanded nationwide next year. Supervisory Commissions will be set up at the provincial, city and county levels. The new bodies will be over seen by the National Supervision Commission.
  • Wang Qishan, head of the Central Committee for Discipline Inspection, is stepping down from the Politburo Standing Committee.
  • Lin Guoyao, the former party secretary of Longyan, has been appointed chief of the party disciplinary commission at the China Insurance Regulatory Commission.
  • Li Xinran, who has spent 22 years working at the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, has been appointed chief of the party disciplinary commission at the China Banking Regulatory Commission.
  • An increased focus on combatting financial crime and systemic financial risk. We have published a short bulletin in relation to this initiative, which can be found here.  

China's amended Anti-Unfair Competition Law – what the bribery provisions mean for companies doing business in China

China's amended Anti-Unfair Competition Law (amended "AUCL") comes into force on 1 January 2018. Much has been written about the various iterative drafts released over the 18-month consultation period. But the final amended AUCL omits some of the more radical amendments proposed and in some ways represents a reduced risk to companies provided they transact on commercial and well-documented terms. We set out our analysis below of the anti-bribery provisions.

Please click here for a full overview of key amendments to the AUCL.

1.34 million officials punished for graft since 2013

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection has announced that since 2013 roughly 1.34 million officials had been punished as part of President Xi Jingping's anti-corruption drive. The anti-corruption drive was said to target both 'tigers and flies', investigating and punishing both high and low ranking officials. As a result, 94.8% of country-level party bureaus have now reportedly set up corruption policing mechanisms.

Most wanted graft suspect jailed for corruption

Yang Xiuzhu, China's most wanted graft fugitive in 2015, was jailed in mid-October for 8 years after being convicted for embezzlement and taking bribes. Last year the former deputy mayor of Wenzhou city surrendered herself to Chinese authorities. She was in hiding for 13 years. 

In the three years she was deputy mayor, she embezzled nearly 20 million yuan in public funds and had accepted over 7 million yuan in gifts. She pled guilty and was fined 800,000 yuan in addition to her prison sentence.


MACC launches standard for anti-bribery management system

An anti-bribery management system has been launched by the joint action of the Department of Standards Malaysia and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission ("MACC"). It is intended to operate as a guide for organisations seeking to implement their own anti-bribery management systems. It is designed to be of broad application able to be used by public or private entities in small, medium or large organisations.

Compliance with the standard, known as MS ISO 37001:2016, is currently voluntary. However, the MACC has noted that the standard has received international recognition as a standard promoting good governance. They further stated that: “Any organisation can use MS ISO 37001:2016 as guidance to establish, implement, maintain, and improve its anti-corruption management system."


Duterte creates Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission

Following abuse of power and corruption accusations directed at Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and her deputies, President Duterte has created the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission ("PACC").

The PACC will have the power to conduct probes, issue subpoenas and enlist the help of security forces to assist with enforcement. The PACC will also be able to issue suspensions of up to 90 days. The PACC will report the results of their investigation to the president and will make recommendations for his approval.

Two groups have brought allegations of corruption, including graft and betrayal of public trust, against Morales and her deputies, prompting the creation of the PACC. The creation of the PACC also comes shortly after Morales and her deputies pursued a fact finding investigation into the president's alleged illegal bank deposits.

The executive order creating the PACC noted that: "There is a need to create a separate commission under the Office of the President solely dedicated to providing assistance to the president in the investigation and hearing of administrative cases and complaints." The president will be able to instruct the commission to investigate other presidential appointees.

South Korea

Corruption prosecution of Park Geun-Hye

The trial of the ex-president of South Korea, Park Geun-Hye, has continued to develop this month. Park was impeached in December last year following a corruption scandal relating to the alleged offering of governmental favours to tycoons. A criminal trial in relation to the corruption allegations commenced in May this year and includes charges of bribery, coercion and abuse of power. Park has maintained her innocence.

In mid-October her entire defence team resigned claiming that the proceedings were 'political revenge' and that any defence argument for Park was meaningless. The resignation followed a decision to extend her detention period until April 2018. As a result, the Court appointed five state attorneys to defend her. The change may result in delays given that her new lawyers will have approximately 120,000 pages of court documents to review.

Two of Park's aides, Ahn Bong-geun and Lee Jae-man, have also been apprehended on suspicions that they took bribes from the National Intelligence Services between 2013 and 2016. The two aides have not previously been detained in relation to the corruption scandal but were indicted without detention for not attending a parliamentary hearing on the matter.

In the midst of these developments, Park has also now been expelled from her party. Meanwhile, Jay Y. Lee, the heir to South Korea's Samsung Group, has commenced his appeal against his conviction for bribing Park.The underlying case is of interest as it involves no direct request for assistance from Park, but rather implied solicitation.


New Chief of the National Accountability Bureau

Retired Supreme Court Justice, Javed Iqbal, has been appointed head of the National Accountability Bureau, Pakistan's anti-corruption regulator. Iqbal is also working as chief of the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances, but has said he will resign following the finalisation of a report by that commission. He has announced that he will complete probes in all pending cases.

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Shariff indicted for corruption

The former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Shariff, has been indicted along with his daughter and son-in-law by the Accountability Court. The charge, brought by the National Accountability Bureau follows the Prime Minister's disqualification from office in July due to undeclared sources of income. The disqualification stemmed from the Panama Papers leaks in 2016.

Mr Shariff is currently subject to three separate actions for corruption in the court. The Court refused an application to delay the indictment until the completion of a petition against the filing of the multiple actions. The Court reserved its decision in relation to an application for the merger of the three actions.