Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

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Thursday, 20 September 2018

Bank of America fined $30 million

The US Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has ordered Bank of America to pay a $30 million civil penalty for attempted manipulation of the Isdafix benchmark between 2007 and 2012.

The CFTC said in a 19 September statement that the Bank of America cooperated with the investigation and has commenced “significant remedial action” to strengthen internal compliance measures.

Bank of America accepted the fine without admitting or denying wrongdoing.

US judge ends General Motors’ $900 million three-year DPA

US District Judge Alison Nathan at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York has dismissed General Motors’ (GM) September 2015 three-year deferred prosecution agreement with the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, which resolved charges that the US car manufacturer concealed a defect in its cars that led to the deaths of at least 15 people.

The judge reportedly dismissed the case at a hearing on 17 September after prosecutors said that GM had complied with the 2015 agreement, which required it to pay $900 million and install an independent monitor. 

Liberia investigates missing $100 million in new banknotes

The Liberian government has launched an investigation into several shipments containing $100 million worth of new banknotes – one-fifth of the country’s budget – that went missing after they had arrived in the port of Monrovia between November 2017 and August this year, according to reports.  

The government has banned 15 officials, including Charles Sirleaf, the son of Liberia’s former president, from leaving the country as it investigates the missing money. Sirleaf, who is the deputy at the Central Bank of Liberia, has denied the allegations.

Online Liberian newspaper FrontPage Africa reported on 19 September that containers full of the money went missing after they were taken from the port in March by the central bank’s staff.  

Najib charged with money laundering and abuse of power

Malaysian prosecutors charged former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak with 21 counts of money laundering and four counts of abuse of power on 20 September, Reuters reports.

Razak was arrested by Malaysian police on 19 September as part of the country’s investigation into billions of dollars missing from the Malaysian development fund 1MDB. Najib has pleaded not guilty.

The most recent charges relate to how $556 million ended up in Najib’s personal account. Najib was charged on 8 August with abuse of power and criminal breach of trust for allegedly embezzling $10.5 million from 1MDB. Najib also pleaded not guilty to these charges.

Denmark’s Financial Services Authority reopens Danske Bank probe

Denmark’s Financial Services Authority (FSA) said in a 19 September statement that it has reopened an investigation into Danish bank Danske Bank, after the bank published its internal investigation into anti-money laundering compliance failures at its Estonian branch on 19 September.

The FSA closed its investigation into Danske Bank’s anti-money laundering compliance measures in May 2018. The agency said that it will now examine “whether the basis for our decision in respect of Danske Bank’s management and control relating to the money laundering issues in the Estonian branch has changed”.

In May, the FSA found “serious deficiencies in the bank's governance” and ordered it to spend an extra £500 million on compliance.

Libyan Investment Authority accuses JPMorgan unit of participating in $6 million bribery scheme

The Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) has reportedly accused Bear Stearns, a New York investment bank bought by JPMorgan in 2008, of paying $6 million in bribes to a businessman close to former Libya dictator Muammar Gaddafi to secure a $200 million bond deal, according to Bloomberg.

The paper reports that the LIA made the allegations in 18 September court filings in a London lawsuit the investment fund launched against JPMorgan in April.

The LIA said in the papers that the payments were sent to Walid Al-Giahmi to arrange deals in a bond contract that was a “sham”. JPMorgan has until next month to respond to the allegations.

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