Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

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Monday, 10 July 2017

Barclays may face fresh SFO charges

Barclays is expected to learn within two weeks whether it will face a fresh set of charges relating to its 2008 fundraising efforts in Qatar, the Financial Times reports.

The newspaper says that the UK’s Serious Fraud Office is preparing to make a charging decision on Barclays Bank, a subsidiary of the Barclays parent company.

Barclays has yet to indicate how it will plead to charges brought by the SFO on 20 June concerning its activities in Qatar.

Israel questions individuals over Thyssenkrupp deal

Israeli police have detained six individuals, including former public officials, as part of a criminal investigation into a US$1.5 billion order of Thyssenkrupp submarines, according to Reuters on 10 July.

The six were questioned under caution over allegations of bribery, fraud, money-laundering and tax offences after the Israeli justice ministry decided in March to look into the purchase of three submarines.

German authorities are reportedly also examining the deal.

Latvian bank appeals against French money-laundering fine

Latvian bank Rietumu Banka has said in a statement that it will appeal against a French court ruling ordering it to pay €80 million over its role in a scheme in which French clients evaded taxes and laundered at least €200 million through the bank.

A Paris court fined the bank on 6 July. It also barred the bank from operating in France for five years.

In the statement, the bank said that it strongly disagrees with the decision, and that it never has been involved in tax evasion.

Court restricts witness’ use of evidence in HSBC forex rigging trial

The US District Court for the Eastern District of New York has ruled that Mark Johnson, HSBC’s former global head of foreign exchange, can disclose evidence to his co-accused, as long as that information isn’t used as part of a related extradition hearing. 

Johnson and the former head of HSBC Holdings in Europe, Stuart Scott, are both accused of rigging foreign exchange markets.

Johnson has previously told the New York court that he will disclose evidence to Scott, who is a witness in Johnson’s case, to assist Scott in his fight against extradition from the UK to the US.

The court ruled that discovery materials can be disclosed to Scott as a witness but Scott’s counsel cannot use the evidence as part of his extradition case. 

Samsung heir refuses to testify in ex-South Korean president’s corruption trial

The vice chairman of Samsung, Lee Jae-yong, has refused to testify at the bribery trial of the former president of South Korea, Park Geun-hye, because it may jeopardise his own corruption hearing, according to reports.

Lee was scheduled to testify at Park’s bribery hearing on 10 July, but cited a provision in South Korea’s criminal procedure act that gives individuals the right against self-incrimination. 

Park is accused of colluding with her confidant, Choi Soon-silto obtain bribes from South Korean companies, including Samsung. Choi denies wrongdoing. Park pleaded not guilty to the charges on 23 May.

Lee, who also denies wrongdoing, was charged over the matter on 17 February.

Swiss Federal Court rejects Platini’s appeal against football ban

The Swiss Federal Court on 6 July rejected Michel Platini’s appeal against his four-year ban from working in the football industry, imposed in 2015 over ethics breaches, the BBC reports.

In doing so, the court upheld the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s 2016 ruling against Platini, the former president of the Union of European Football Associations. 

Platini was found guilty of accepting a payment of £1.3 million in 2011 from the head of Fifa at the time, Sepp Blatter.  

Platini and Blatter deny any wrongdoing, and said that the payment was for work that Platini had not previously been paid for. 

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