Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations


Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Malaysia’s former first lady faces new corruption charge

Rosmah Mansor, the wife of Malaysia’s former prime minister Najib Razak, has pleaded not guilty to allegedly accepting 5 million ringgit ($1.22 million) from a manager at engineering company Jepak Holdings for a contract to install solar energy panels in 369 schools in the state of Sarawak, according to reports.

Prosecutors charged her over the allegations on 10 April. The new charge adds to several counts under the Anti-Money Laundering Act, Anti-Terrorism Financing Act and the Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act she was indicted on in October 2018. Allegations she also denies.

Najib meanwhile faces and denies several corruption charges of his own, including money laundering tied to the 1MDB scandal.

Greek Novartis bribery case crumbles further

Greek prosecutors are set to clear four or five more politicians of bribery charges tied to Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis within a week due to a lack of evidence, according to local newspaper Ekathimerini.

The news comes after the prosecutors cleared former prime minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos and three former ministers of bribery charges on 8 April

In February 2018, allegations that two former prime ministers and eight former ministers received bribes from Novartis from 2006 to 2015, were leaked to the media.

The case was previously touted as the “biggest scandal since the establishment of the Greek state”.  

US spoofing case in Chicago ends in mistrial

A Chicago case against a computer programmer charged with helping Navinder Sarao, a London-based trader, manipulate financial markets ended in a mistrial on 9 April after a jury was unable to reach a verdict.

The US Department of Justice had accused Jitesh Thakkar of conspiring with Sarao to engage in spoofing in January 2018. Sarao pleaded guilty to wire fraud and spoofing charges in November 2016.

The news comes five days after US District Court Judge Robert Gettleman tossed out one conspiracy charge against Thakkar, stating there was “no evidence’’ that he conspired with Sarao to break the law.

Yahoo! proposes $117 million settlement for data breach as Equifax faces criticisms in Canada

US web services provider Yahoo! (now Altaba) has proposed to pay $117.5 million to settle a class action lawsuit with millions of people whose personal information was stolen in a three large data breaches between 2013 and 2016, according to reports.

The proposed settlement, which includes $55 million for victims, must now be approved by California federal judge Lucy Koh, who rejected an earlier Yahoo! proposal in January. 

Meanwhile, Canada’s Privacy Commissioner said on 9 April that credit reporting agency Equifax and its Canadian subsidiary fell far short of their privacy obligations to Canadians following an investigation into a 2017 data breach. Because of the seriousness of the issues identified, Equifax and its subsidiary have agreed to submit third-party audit reports to the commissioner for the next six years.

Airbus dismissed 100 individuals in 2018 in compliance crackdown

French airplane manufacturer Airbus dismissed 100 people and issued 300 warnings for ethics or compliance matters in 2018, Reuters reports.

The agency reported that the crackdown coincided with an increase in activity on the company’s internal whistleblower system. The concerns raised internally were reportedly to do with employment law, as well as 40 allegations of fraud, six allegations of bribery and 10 allegations of breaches of export controls.

The French National Financial Prosecutor’s Office, the UK Serious Fraud Office and US Department of Justice are all investigating Airbus over suspected bribery.

Australia to review if laws are tough enough on "senior corporate officers"

The Australian government has reportedly ordered a review of white-collar crime laws to increase scrutiny on senior managers, according to the country’s attorney general.

Attorney General Christian Porter reportedly said that he will announce that the Australian Law Reform Commission will be asked if the country’s criminal code “needs to incorporate provisions enabling senior corporate officers to be held liable for misconduct by corporations”.

Australia enacted whistleblower reforms on 12 March.  The country could also introduce deferred prosecution agreements if a bill that has been with the country’s parliament since late 2017 is passed. 

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