Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

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Tuesday, 02 April 2019

Sweden drops Browder complaint against Swedbank

Sweden’s Economic Crime Authority (EBM) has decided not to investigate Bill Browder’s criminal complaint alleging that accounts at Swedbank were used to launder up to $176 million between 2006 and 2011.

Browder filed his complaint on 6 March 2019. EBM said it had dropped Browder’s complaint as the transfers involving Swedish accounts had occurred before tighter anti-money laundering legislation was introduced in 2014 and as a statute of limitations had expired in the case.

EBM searched the head office of Swedbank in late March as part of a separate investigation over its handling of potentially illicit money that flowed from the Estonian unit of Danish bank Danske Bank. Swedbank released a redacted internal investigation into the matter on 22 March.

UK FRC launches governance review of KPMG’s audit practice

The UK’s Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has initiated an assessment of the governance, controls and culture within Dutch company KPMG’s audit practice.

In an emailed statement on 2 April, a spokesperson for the FRC said: “As one of the UK’s major audit firms it is vital that investors and others have confidence in its ability to perform its core work to the highest standards.” A team from Allen & Overy Consulting will support the FRC’s review.

The FRC opened a separate investigation into KPMG over the audits it conducted into collapsed UK construction company Carillion in January 2018.

The agency will be replaced by a new oversight body called the Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority in 2020.

Renault reports Ghosn's Oman payments to prosecutors

French car manufacturer Renault has informed French prosecutors of allegedly suspicious payments the former CEO of Renault Carlos Ghosn may have made to car distributors in Oman and Lebanon, according to reports.

The information was provided to Renault by partner Nissan, according to Le Figaro.

Ghosn’s Paris-based lawyer, Jean-Yves Le Borgne, told the press he was unaware of Renault reporting any payments to the prosecutor and that an Oman-based Nissan supplier had received bonuses that were related to its performance.

In January, Japanese press reported that Ghosn paid $48 million to Nissan distributors run by two acquaintances in Oman and Lebanon. The payments were reportedly made from a company cash reserve at the centre of breach of trust allegations against Ghosn. Japanese prosecutors allege that Ghosn used the reserves for personal purposes. The former executive has denied charges in Japan that he improperly used Nissan company funds.

Renault is conducting an internal investigation following Ghosn’s arrest in November.

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