-  Investigations updates from around the world

Tuesday, 01 April 2014

Hong Kong and New Zealand investigating forex

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has ordered banks to internally investigate their foreign exchange operations, it said today, and New Zealand’s Commerce Commission has confirmed it is also conducting an antitrust investigation of potential foreign exchange benchmark rigging.

US to seize Iran-owned NYC real estate

A midtown New York office tower built by the late Shah of Iran is to be forfeited as the building’s co-owners, Assa and the not-for-profit Iranian Alavi Foundation, acted as a front for Iran’s Bank Melli, a US judge has ruled.

Monday, 31 March 2014

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.

Chinese authorities seize US$14.5 billion assets in corruption 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.

Australia caught up in FIFA bribery investigation

Australia’s team that bid for the 2022 World Cup has been accused of paying bribes to former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, according to the UK’s Mail on Sunday. The newspaper said a whistleblower reported the alleged US$428,00 bribe to Kirkland & Ellis partner Michael Garcia, who is leading FIFA’s internal investigation of bribery during the bidding processes for the World Cups in 2018 and 2022.

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.

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.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Japan and Vietnam cooperate in bribery probe

The Tokyo Prosecutor’s Office and government investigators in Vietnam are jointly investigating claims that a Tokyo-based company paid US$1.3 million to foreign officials to win contracts, according to Voice of America.

SFO charges three brokers in Libor investigation

The UK’s Serious Fraud Office has charged three former ICAP brokers in connection with the manipulation of Libor, the agency said in a statement. Danny Wilkinson, 47, Darrell Read, 49, and Colin Goodman, 52, who all worked for brokerage company ICAP, have been charged with conspiring to defraud between 2006 and 2010.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

UBS suspends six traders amid forex probe

Swiss bank UBS has suspended six forex traders in New York, Zurich and Singapore as it continues to conduct an internal investigation of allegations concerning currency benchmark rigging, according to The Financial Times.

Walmart FCPA cost reaches US$439 million

Supermarket chain Walmart has spent US$439 million investigating allegations of bribery around the world in the last two years, the company revealed in its latest SEC filing. In 2011, the company disclosed possible FCPA violations to US authorities concerning its activities in Mexico.

FCPA Professor launches consulting service

Mike Koehler, who runs the FCPA Professor blog, has set up a consulting service aimed at legal professionals. The service, called FCPA Connect, provides advice on FCPA enforcement and compliance issues to lawyers, in-house counsel and compliance officers.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

FIFA top brass tried to remove internal investigator

An internal investigation by football governing body FIFA of alleged corruption concerning the voting procedure for two World Cup tournaments was nearly blocked, according to Reuters. It's alleged that certain senior FIFA officials last week tried to prevent the investigation, which is led by New York Kirkland & Ellis partner Michael Garcia, from continuing.

Switzerland's FINMA appoints UK head

Switzerland's Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has appointed Briton Mark Branson as chief executive, the authority said in a statement today. Branson has been acting as interim head of the authority since February, when Patrick Raaflaub stepped down from the position.

Pinnacle's South African chief charged with bribery

The executive director of South African technology company Pinnacle Holdings has been charged with attempting to bribe a senior police official to win a supply contract, according to local reports.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Victor Dahdelah v Mark MacDougall and Akin Gump judgment

You can read what Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith said about the Serious Fraud Office’s handling of the Victor Dahdelah investigation here.

Toyota pays out US$1.2 billion but avoids criminal prosecution

Japanese car manufacturer Toyota entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the US Department of Justice to settle charges of wire fraud. Toyota admitted to misleading consumers about problems that caused cars to accelerate when drivers tried to slow down.

Orthofix hit with new FCPA investigation while under DPA

Medical equipment manufacturer Orthofix has notified the US Department of Justice and the Securities & Exchange Commission of bribery allegations related to a Brazilian subsidiary. In its latest SEC filing, the company said it is still under a three-year deferred prosecution agreement concerning a previous bribery offence in 2012 involving Mexican subsidiary Promeca.

Swedish bribery investigation extends to Uzbek president’s daughter

Swedish prosecutors have opened an investigation of the Uzbek president’s daughter Gulnara Karimova in connection with bribery allegations concerning telecoms company TeliaSonera. According to Reuters, prosecutors told a court in Stockholm that they suspect Karimova “orchestrated” the bribery scheme.

Monday, 24 March 2014

WilmerHale hires former FBI head

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr has hired the former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Robert Mueller III as partner in its investigations and strategic counselling practices, the firm has said.

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