Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

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Monday, 16 January 2017

Camargo Corrêa to seek full leniency deal for executives

Brazilian engineering firm Camargo Corrêa is negotiating a plea bargain with Brazilian prosecutors that will seek full leniency for 40 executives, Brazilian magazine Veja reported.

In a statement provided to Reuters, Camargo Corrêa said it was the first company to seek a full leniency deal, as part of Operation Car Wash.

In August 2015, Camargo Corrêagreed to pay back 700 million reais (£176 million) in damages, after investigators uncovered that the firm had engaged in bribery and price-fixing practices. 

Dropped Soma investigation cost SFO £60,000

The UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) spent almost £60,000 on a dropped corruption investigation into UK-based oil exploration company Soma, City AM reports.

Responding to a Freedom of Information request, the SFO said it had spent £59,912 on its investigation into alleged bribery and corruption at Soma. The total is not thought to include the cost of hiring permanent staff as the agency does not divide these costs on a case-by-case basis for most investigations.

The agency closed its investigation in December, concluding that there was “insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction.”

Swiss prosecutors interview Gulnara Karimova in Uzbekistan

Swiss prosecutors recently questioned Gulnara Karimova in connection with a money-laundering investigation, according to the Wall Street Journal. Karimova has been under house arrest in her home country of Uzbekistan since 2014, when local prosecutors accused her of misappropriating US$200 million. Swiss enforcers are investigating Karimova, the daughter of Uzbekistan’s late president Islam Karimov, for allegedly accepting close to US$800 million in bribes from telecoms companies in exchange for lucrative contracts.

The Journal reports that according to Karimova’s Swiss lawyer, Grégoire Mangeat of Mangeat Attorneys at Law in Geneva, she was interviewed for a total of 23 hours over the course of 9 and 10 December.

Emissions cheating investigations could widen in Europe

Prosecutors in Paris have launched a judicial investigation into possible emissions cheating at French carmaker Renault, focusing on the implications for public health, Reuters reported on 13 January quoting an anonymous source.

On 15 January, France’s environment minister, Marie-Ségolène Royal, told French weekly Le Journal du Dimanche that controls performed for other carmakers exceeded permissible standards to a different extent.

Meanwhile, the European Commission is looking into allegations of emissions violations at Fiat Chrysler, after the US Environmental Protection Agency accused the carmaker on 12 January of installing illegal software in its cars to cheat US emissions tests. Authorities in France, Germany and the UK are reportedly also investigating potential local implications of the allegations.

French prosecutors appeal against acquittals in landmark tax evasion case

The National Financial Prosecutor's Office in France has said it will appeal against a ruling that acquitted art dealer Guy Wildenstein and seven others of evading US$265.7 million in taxes through trust funds, according to Reuters.  

A French court reportedly said on 12 January that Wildenstein and seven others, including his relatives and lawyers, had not broken any laws by disseminating his wealth through overseas trust funds.

In a statement on 13 January, prosecutors told Reuters that there are valid grounds for an appeal against the decision given that “the case had shown a clear intention to evade paying tax”. 

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