Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

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Monday, 31 March 2014

Australia caught up in FIFA bribery investigation

Chinese authorities have seized US$14.5 billion worth of assets from former government official Zhou YongKang, as well as his family and associates. According to Reuters, over 300 of Zhou’s relatives and political associates have been interviewed by police in recent months. Before retiring in 2012, Zhou was the country’s domestic security chief overseeing the country’s law enforcement and intelligence-gathering agencies.

Times Media Group deal faces dual investigation in South Africa

South Africa’s Financial Services Board (FSB) and the investigations unit of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) are investigating a Times Media Group (TMG) share sale. According to Business Report, the agencies are examining the circumstances surrounding Caxton & CTP Publishers and Printers’ sale of its stake in TMG to Blackstar Group, a Malta-based and London-listed private equity company.

Business Report reports the deal took place during a ‘closed period’, where company insiders, including company directors and directors of subsidiaries, are banned from trading in company shares in a month-long period leading up to the publication of financial reports. The FSB and JSE declined to clarify exactly what behaviour is being investigated or confirm which parties are subject to the probe.

The FSB said in a statement: “The FSB has logged an investigation into share transactions in Times Media Group. Unfortunately, this means the FSB cannot provide details as we are precluded from doing so by the secrecy provisions of section 88 of the Financial Markets Act, 2012.”

TMG chief executive Andrew Bonamour is also a non-executive director at Blackstar, which now owns a 32.3 per cent stake in TMG.

JPMorgan raided in Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) searched the office of Fang Fang, former chief executive of JPMorgan’s investment banking operations in China, on 26 March, according to Reuters. Fang is reportedly a key figure in US investigations of the bank’s hiring practices in China. The US Securities and Exchange Commission and US Department of Justice are investigating whether JPMorgan and other banks violated the FCPA by hiring Chinese officials’ relatives in order to retain business.

FCA to scrutinise benchmarking controls

Reducing the risk of traders manipulating key benchmarks is on the UK Financial Conduct Authority’s agenda for the coming year, the agency said today. Following the Libor scandal and the FCA’s investigation into potential manipulation of foreign exchange rates, the watchdog’s business plan for 2014-2015 includes a forward-looking review to assess whether companies have the correct controls and procedures in place.

In the business plan, the FCA also sets out its commitment to establishing a framework to supervise Libor, while the agency furthermore plans to extend anti-money laundering assessments, and to work on enhancing whistleblower activity.

Chinese authorities seize US$14.5 billion assets in corruption investigation

South Africa’s Financial Services Board (FSB) and the investigations unit of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) are investigating a Times Media Group (TMG) share sale. According to Business Report, the agencies are examining the circumstances surrounding Caxton & CTP Publishers and Printers’ sale of its stake in TMG to Blackstar Group, a Malta-based and London-listed private equity company.

Business Report reports the deal took place during a ‘closed period’, where company insiders, including company directors and directors of subsidiaries, are banned from trading in company shares in a month-long period leading up to the publication of financial reports. The FSB and JSE declined to clarify exactly what behaviour is being investigated or confirm which parties are subject to the probe.

The FSB said in a statement: “The FSB has logged an investigation into share transactions in Times Media Group. Unfortunately, this means the FSB cannot provide details as we are precluded from doing so by the secrecy provisions of section 88 of the Financial Markets Act, 2012.”

TMG chief executive Andrew Bonamour is also a non-executive director at Blackstar, which now owns a 32.3 per cent stake in TMG.

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