Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

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Thursday, 18 April 2019

Hussain disputes forfeiture amount

The convicted former CFO of UK IT company Autonomy, Shushovan Hussain, has argued that he should not be ordered to forfeit $9.2 million to the US government.

Hussain’s lawyers argued in a 17 April filing at a federal court in San Francisco that the UK national should not be ordered to pay more than $2.6 million as the government’s request is unreasonable

“It seeks forfeiture of millions of dollars that Hussain never actually received because they were withheld and paid to tax and other authorities in the UK,” they said.

A jury at the federal court convicted Hussain of fraud in April 2018 for making false representations about Autonomy’s value during HP’s $11 billion acquisition of the company in 2011.

Hussain is appealing against the conviction.

Romanian Senate approves draft changes to criminal code

The upper chamber of Romania’s parliament has approved changes to the country’s criminal code, which could close several high-level ongoing corruption cases, according to Reuters.

One of the draft changes includes shortening the statute of limitations covering certain offences that would lead to the closure of several ongoing cases. 

The lower chamber of Romania’s parliament will vote on the revised criminal code next week, which Reuters says is likely to pass. 

Romania’s president, Klaus Iohannis previously tabled proposals to ban politicians from using emergency ordinances to amend criminal legislation and ban pardons for corrupt officials. The European Commission has also expressed concern at Romania’s attempts to change its judicial laws through the decrees.

Najib’s lawyer reads from Billion Dollar Whale to request documents in 1MDB trial

A lawyer for Najib Razak, the former prime minister of Malaysia, has read out excerpts from Billion Dollar Whale, a book chronicling events of the 1MDB scandal during his trial in a bid to obtain documents from ex-financier Jho Low, according to reports.

Harvinderjit Singh reportedly read aloud the excerpts in the High Court on 17 April, as well as extracts from certain Wall Street Journal articles, but expressed that he was not admitting that their contents were true.

The extracts included an alleged message sent by fugitive businessman Low stating that $681 million would be deposited in Najib’s account. The lawyer wants to obtain a transcript of the message. Najib and Low have been charged with money laundering tied to 1MDB. Both have consistently denied wrongdoing. 

Public protector has lost credibility, South Africa Corruption Watch director says

The executive director of South Africa NGO Corruption Watch has said that the credibility of the country’s Public Protector’s Office has “plummeted” under its current head, according to Bloomberg

David Lewis reportedly said that the new public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, appointed in 2016, is “erratic at best and apparently is ill-equipped to deal with the demands of the job, but also in certain circumstances seem to be towing a very direct political line”.

A spokesperson for Mkhwebane reportedly denied his claims, pointing out that “all other public protectors have also been criticised heavily”.

NCA targets bank account of former Syrian security chief's daughter

The UK National Crime Agency is attempting to freeze the bank account of Anisseh Chawkat, the daughter of former Syrian security chief Assef Chawkat, who lives in London, the Evening Standard reports.

Anisseh Chawkat’s account reportedly contains £25,000. Her father, who was reportedly a deputy of Syrian president Bashar al Assad reportedly died in a suicide bombing attack in 2012.

Chawkat is reportedly contesting the freezing order.

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