Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

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Tuesday, 01 March 2016

Apple GC: FBI request could weaken all iPhones

Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell warned US Congress’s House Judiciary Committee on 1 March that the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s request to unlock an iPhone used by the San Bernardino shooter sets a “dangerous precedent” that would allow hackers to “wreak havoc” and more easily access customers’ personal data.

Sewell has been called to testify in front of the committee after Apple contested a US federal court’s order to help government investigators break into the iPhone of Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the shooters in the attack in San Bernardino that killed 14 people. 

SEC investigating Valeant Pharmaceuticals

Quebec-based pharmaceutical company Valeant Pharmaceuticals said on 29 February that it is being investigated by US authorities, including the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), though it declined to reveal the nature of the probe, according to reports. 

In October, Valeant was forced to deny allegations by Citron Research, a stock commentary website, that accused it of accounting fraud. 

The SEC is reportedly also investigating whether Salix Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary Valeant acquired in 2015, misled investors about is inventory levels in 2014.

Volkswagen emission scandal legal costs may exceed £5bn

Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller has said the company will delay its end-of-year financial results, in part because the legal costs of the car manufacturer’s investigation into the emissions scandal may exceed £5.2 billion, the amount the company set aside to deal with the matter.

Speaking to the BBC on 1 March, Müller also said the conclusion of US investigations into the company could take longer than expected

US authorities, including the Department of Justice, have been probing Volkswagen after it emerged in September that the German car manufacturer had installed illegal software in its cars to cheat emissions tests.  

Brazil Petrobras prosecutors ask for permission to probe Lula

Curitiba prosecutors have asked the country's Supreme Court to grant them permission to investigate whether Brazil’s former president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, received bribes from Brazilian engineering and construction companies Odebrecht and OAS, according to reports. 

In September, Brazil's Supreme Court moved Curitiba Petrobras cases involving elected officials to São Paulo

Lula's lawyer argues that Curitiba prosecutors have no jurisdiction over the matter because prosecutors in São Paulo are already investigating the bribery allegations. 

Deposit in Malaysian leader's account was not a Saudi donation, investigators say

Overseas anti-corruption investigators believe a US$681 million deposit into Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s bank account originated from the country’s 1MDB development fund, according to the Wall Street Journal. The newspaper did not reveal the identity or nationality of the investigators in question.

The investigators’ reported findings contradict the Malaysian attorney general’s claim that the deposit was a donation from the Saudi royal family.   

France examining possible Olympic bid corruption

French investigators have expanded the scope of their inquiry into the International Association of Athletics Federations to include allegations of corruption in the voting and bidding process for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, according to the Guardian. 

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