Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

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Friday, 21 February 2014

Singapore anti-corruption official jailed

Edwin Yeo, the former assistant director of Singapore's Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau was yesterday sentenced to 10 years for misappropriating over S$1.75 million (US$1.38 million) in public funds and committing forgery. Acccording to press reports, Yeo committed the offences between 2009 and 2012 to fund a gambling habit. Only S65,000 (US$51,000) of the misappropriated funds have so far been recovered. Thirty-nine-year-old Yeo had worked at the agency for 15 years.

SEC appoints trading and markets division director

WilmerHale partner Stephen Luparello will be the next director of the Securities and Exchange Commission's trading and markets division. He takes over from John Ramsay, who will step down next month. Luparello specialised in enforcement, securities litigation and broker-dealer compliance and regulation at WilmerHale. He will head a division responsible for regulating securities market participants, as well as self-regulatory bodies such as stock exchanges and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). He was formerly a vice chair at FINRA, where he was key in creating its Office of the Whistleblower and Office of Fraud Detection and Market Intelligence. SEC chair Mary Jo White said: "The agency will greatly benefit from Steve's knowledge, leadership and insight. He is an experienced market regulator and well positioned to lead the division as we continue to fulfil the commission's mission."

Japanese employee facing bribery charges leaves Deutsche Bank

A Deutsche Bank employee charged with bribery offences by the Japanese police has now left the company. Shigeru Echigo, who worked in the bank’s pension fund sales department in Tokyo, is accused of entertaining a pension fund manager by paying for luxury meals and holidays. He was arrested late last year. In Japan, pension fund managers are viewed as public officials as they are partly responsible for the national pension scheme.

FC Barcelona charged with tax fraud

A Spanish court has charged football club Barcelona with committing tax fraud, according to Spanish reports. The allegation relates to the purchase of Brazilian footballer Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior – commonly known as Neymar – last summer. At the time of the transfer the club said it had paid €57.1 million to buy the player but it has since revealed it actually paid €86.2 million, which includes payments to the player and his family.

Austrian bank executives accused of paying bribes to Syrian officials

Prosecutors told an Austrian court that former employees at OeBS, a banknote printing company, paid bribes to officials at both Syrian and Azerbaijan banks in exchange for winning contracts to print money for them. According to the Austrian Times, nine people are charged in connection with the bribery investigation; seven of those worked for OeBS and the other two are lawyers.

Norton Rose expands into Brazil

Hot on the heels of the launch of its global regulation and investigations practice, Norton Rose has taken the initiative to Brazil, opening its first foreign legal consultancy in Rio de Janeiro, where the firm will offer anti-corruption and bribery advice among its services. Glen Faass, who also works on corporate and M&A matters, leaves his current post at the firm's Bogotá office to lead the new outpost together with new hire and former BP assistant general counsel Andrew Haynes.

SEC fines Credit Suisse US$196 million

The US Securities and Exhange Commission has fined Credit Suisse for providing cross-border brokerage and investment advisory services to US clients, from at least 2002 until 2008, without having registered with the commission. The bank will disgorge US$82 million, pay US$64 million pre-judgment interest, and pay a US$50 million penalty, coming to a total of US$196 million. It has also admitted wrongdoing. According to an SEC administrative judgment, the bank collected around US$82 million in fees over the period in question. Enforcement head Andrew Ceresney said: "The broker-dealer and investment adviser registration provisions are core protections for investors. As Credit Suisse admitted as part of the settlement, its employees for many years failed to comply with these requirements, and the firm took far too long to achieve compliance."

SEC's Binger leaves NYC for Philly

The US Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) has appointed Sharon Binger, former lead investigator on the SEC’s investigation into FCPA violations at oil & gas company Total, to director at its regional office in Philadelphia, it announced on Thursday. Binger succeeds Daniel Hawke, who stepped down last year to lead the national market abuse unit at the SEC’s enforcement division.

Denso exec pleads guilty to obstruction charge

A former Denso Corp executive suspected of deleting emails and other electronic documents after learning of FBI raids on the company has agreed to plead guilty to obstructing justice and will spend a year in US prison.

Kazuaki Fujitani, a former Denso director who was working as a general manager in the company’s Toyota Sales Division at the time, deleted a number of emails between the company and its rivals regarding bids sent to Toyota for heater control panels.

The company admitted to taking part in a conspiracy to rig bids for those parts – just one in a web of auto parts cartels to come to light since – and paid a $78 million fine for fixing the price of the heater panels and electronic control units.

Fujitani becomes the 29th executive to be charged in the ongoing auto parts price-fixing and bid-rigging investigation.

“Today’s charge demonstrates the antitrust division’s commitment to protecting the integrity of grand jury investigations,” says Brent Snyder, head of criminal enforcement at the antitrust division.

Fines from the 26 companies who have pleaded guilty have topped $2.25 billion.

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