Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

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Thursday, 11 April 2019

Peruvian judge authorises raids and orders arrest of ex-president in Odebrecht-linked probe

A Peruvian judge has reportedly authorised raids on several properties as part of an investigation into bribes paid to local officials by Brazilian construction company Odebrecht and ordered the arrest of former president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.

Prosecutors have reportedly accused him of helping Odebrecht win contracts in Peru while he was a cabinet minister in the government of his predecessor former president Alejandro Toledo. The order will reportedly keep Kuczynski in preventative detention for 10 days. 

The Peruvian government has been attempting to repatriate Toledo from the United States since 2017 after a Peruvian judge issued a warrant for his arrest on suspicion that he received bribes from Odebrecht.

While leading Peru, Kuczynski reportedly asked US President Donald Trump to deport Toledo to Peru.

Spain investigates money laundering allegations linked to Danske Bank

Spanish prosecutors are investigating claims that €35 million of Russian money flowed to individuals of Russian and ex-Soviet Union origin in Spain, according to news outlet EUobserver

The money is reportedly linked to Danske Bank’s money laundering scandal and was moved through Moldova, Ukraine, Lithuania and Estonia before reaching Spain, where it was used to buy real estate and car manufacturing equipment among other items. EUobserver says that some of the money ended up in Spain’s Caixabank.

An internal investigation into Danske Bank in September 2018 revealed that the Danish bank allowed €200 billion worth of suspicious transactions to pass through its Estonian branch. 

South African court recommends US extradition of Mozambique ex-finance minister

The Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court in Johannesburg has reportedly said that Mozambique’s former finance minister, Manuel Chang, can be extradited to the US, where he is wanted on charges related to a $2 billion debt scandal.

The judge’s ruling is a recommendation to justice minister Michael Masutha, who will have the final say.

Chang was arrested in South Africa on 29 December on the back of a US-issued international arrest warrant. Chang denies wrongdoing. 

Mozambique’s Attorney General’s office is also seeking to prosecute Chang and 17 other individuals in relation to the debt scandal.

The same court will now consider Mozambique’s request for Changs extradition.

Ex-Swiss banker convicted of corporate espionage

A Zurich court has convicted a former employee of Swiss Bank J. Safra Sarasin of one count of corporate espionage for leaking documents to German authorities about a scandal related to cum-ex transactions, according to reports

The ex-employee is known only as Volker S. The court handed him a 13-month suspended prison sentence and a fine of 20,400 Swiss francs ($20,380). The same court convicted Volker S’s colleagues Bernhard V and Eckart Seith, a German lawyer, of lesser violations of the Swiss bank secrecy law but acquitted them of other charges including corporate espionage and extortion.

Seith and Bernhard V have been ordered to pay fines of 165,600 and 129,600 Swiss francs respectively if they do not break the law during a two-year probation period. 

J&F seeks to include Baker McKenzie lawyer's resignation in case against the firm

Brazilian company J&F Investimentos, the holding company of meatpacker JBS, has asked the Superior Court of the District of Columbia for permission to amend its complaint against Baker McKenzie, which formerly acted for the company, in an 8 April filing.

J&F is suing Brazilian firm Trench Rossi and its alliance firm Baker McKenzie over malpractice concerning settlement negotiations that preceded J&F entering into a 10.3 billion reais ($3.18 billion) bribery settlement with Brazilian prosecutors in May 2017.

J&F want to amend the complaint to include “new information” that Baker McKenzie lawyer Joan Meyer resigned from the firm in February  “as a result of her concerns about the firm’s conduct” in the J&F settlement. 

J&F executives deposed Meyer on 1 April in a linked case over what she said in the resignation letter. 

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