Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

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Thursday, 27 April 2017

Brazil’s new abuse of power bill may stymie corruption investigations

Brazil’s parliament has voted to approve a bill that will see prosecutors suspended for six months if they commit abuse of power violations, such as through illegally collecting evidence through wiretaps, or violating bank secrecy rules without judicial authorisation, Reuters reports.

Brazil’s Senate agreed to introduce the abuse of power bill by a vote of 54–19 on 26 April. Prosecutors and judges have criticised the bill, which they say curbs their ability to investigate corruption cases properly.

At least 24 of the senators are currently under investigation for alleged corruption tied to Brazil’s state-controlled oil company Petrobras. 

Simon Airey leaves DLA Piper for Paul Hastings

DLA Piper’s head of tax investigations will leave the firm to join Paul Hastings on 2 May.

Airey was a founding member of DLA Piper’s Global Investigations Initiative and recently represented Soma Oil & Gas while the company was under investigation for corruption by the UK Serious Fraud Office.  

“Simon brings similar prestige and a leading reputation to the London office, where he will be an integral part of our team.” said Paul Hastings’ chair Seth Zachary.

Failure to prevent tax evasion offence to become UK law

The UK Criminal Finances Bill, which will introduce the offence of failure to prevent tax evasion, is expected to become law on 28 April.

The new offence, which was first floated in 2015, holds companies criminally liable for failing to prevent associated persons from facilitating tax evasion unless the corporate proves it had reasonable measures in place to stop the misconduct from occurring. 

The bill will also allow law enforcement agencies, including the UK Serious Fraud Office, to obtain unexplained wealth orders from the High Court of England and Wales. The orders require individuals to explain their source of income where there are reasonable grounds to suspect it was obtained illegally.

Mary Jo White to head Debevoise crisis response team

Debevoise & Plimpton has formed what it calls a ‘Strategic Crisis Response and Solutions Group’, combining practitioners with expertise in foreign bribery, cybercrime, data privacy, parallel civil litigation, monitorships and more in one team overseen by former US Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White, who recently returned to the firm after four years with the agency.

The group is stocked with a large number of other prosecutors and other government officials, not least the SEC’s former head of enforcement, Andrew Ceresney, former US attorney general, Michael Mukasey, and John Gleeson, a former judge at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. Together, the group will offer companies “a rapid response team whose wisdom background and knowledge are matched to the specific challenge at hand,” the firm said in a statement on 27 April.

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