Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations


Wednesday, 24 April 2019

US charges former GE engineer with trade secret theft

The US Department of Justice has indicted a former engineer employed at US power company General Electric and a Chinese businessman for economic espionage and conspiring to steal trade secret theft. 

In the 1 August 2018 indictment, which was unsealed on 23 April, the DOJ accuses Xiaoqing Zheng, who was employed at GE’s Schenectady, New York site, of stealing GE’s trade secrets to benefit China.

Zheng allegedly stole electronic files about turbine technology and emailed them to Chinese businessman Zhaoxi Zhang, who was based in China.

Xiaoqing Zheng has hired New York-state law firms Luibrand Law Firm and Breeding Henry Baysan, according to court filings. Zhang has not hired legal counsel.

BT executives in London oversaw accounting scandal, say Italian police

Italian police have seized emails showing that top London-based executives at BT insisted on using “aggressive, anomalous and knowingly wrong accounting practices”, according to Reuters.

In a report seen by Reuters, the police say Brian O’Ferrall, finance director at BT Wholesale, sent emails asking colleagues in Italy to adjust accounts to boost profits. O’Ferrall did not respond to a Reuters’ request for comment. 

Milan prosecutors opened an investigation into the British telecoms company in January 2017 over allegations of false accounting and embezzlement in its Italian branch.

The allegations arose after a KPMG investigation found “improper” transactions, which at the time BT’s then-CEO Gavin Patterson reportedly said was confined to its Italian unit.

Swedish political parties call for review of financial regulator's resourcing

Two Swedish political parties have called on the government to review if the country’s financial regulator has adequate resources to oversee money laundering at banks, according to Bloomberg

The two parties, the Left Party and the Christian Democrats, also reportedly want the government to review if bank secrecy laws need to be changed.

The country’s oldest bank, Swedbank, faces investigations in Sweden, the US and Estonia over its alleged handling of billions in illicit money that flowed through the Estonian unit of Danish bank Danske Bank. Swedbank fired its CEO on 28 March amid ongoing scrutiny.


Ukraine bureau of investigation raids anti-corruption office

Prosecutors from Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) raided the country’s National Anti-corruption Bureau (NABU) on 23 April.

NABU’s press secretary confirmed the raid in a post on Facebook and said the search was part of an investigation into whether law enforcement agencies took bribes to close criminal cases tied to the alleged embezzlement of state funds in the defence sector.

She added that investigators for the SBI, a body specifically designed to probe crimes allegedly committed by NABU, are specifically looking into whether officials at the authority deliberately failed to investigate alleged embezzlement tied to state-owned defence company Ukroboronprom.


Brazil Superior Court shortens Lula’s 12-year corruption sentence

Brazil’s Superior Court of Justice in Brazil has reportedly reduced the 12-year corruption and money-laundering sentence imposed on former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for receiving an apartment from an engineering company in exchange for contracts Petrobras.

The appellate court shortened the sentence to eight years and 10 months in prison and reduced his fine after reportedly finding the previous sentence “excessive”. 

Lula is currently appealing against the 13-year sentence separately imposed on him in February for receiving renovations on his country house as bribes from two construction companies.

Lula, who has consistently denied wrongdoing, may be partially released in September if he is successful in the second appeal, according to reports

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