Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations


Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Punjab National Bank detects $1.8 billion fraud

India’s state-run Punjab National Bank has discovered a $1.8 billion fraud at a single branch in Mumbai.

Punjab National Bank announced on 14 February in an exchange filing that it has notified investigative agencies about the fraudulent and unauthorised transactions.

The bank also said in its statement that the fraud could affect other banks that have made transfers for the same customers.

South African police raid Gupta houses

South African police raided the Johannesburg homes of Ajay, Atul and Tony Gupta, who have close ties to South African President Jacob Zuma, on 14 February.

The raids were part of an investigation into whether the Guptas used their friendship with President Zuma to win state contracts and influence political appointments.

Local media reports that one Gupta brother and a family associate were arrested as part of the raid.

German prosecutors investigate “Goldfinger” tax evasion scheme

German prosecutors are investigating individuals and lawyers for using a tax loophole known as “Goldfinger”, which was made illegal in 2013, to avoid paying income tax, according to German newspaper Handelsblatt.

The paper reports that at the end of January, 800 Bavarian police officers arrested seven individuals and raided over 200 business and private premises in Germany, Switzerland and Austria as part of the investigation

As part of the scheme, individuals set up gold-dealing companies and used gold transactions, which have a 0% tax rate, to avoid paying income tax on their earnings.  

South Korea: ex-president’s confidant sentenced in bribery scheme

The former confidant of South Korea’s ex-president, Park Geun-hye, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on 13 February for influence peddling and corruption, according to reports.

Choi Soon-sil was also fined 18 billion won (US$16.6 million) for pressuring companies including Lotte Group to donate to foundations she controlled

On the same day, Lotte Group chairman Shin Dong-bin was also sentenced to two years and six months for paying bribes to Choi. Shin has been ordered to forfeit 7 billion won (US$6.4 million).

In a statement on 13 February, Lotte Group reportedly said Shin’s sentence was “unexpected”. Choi will appeal against her sentence.

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