Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations


Monday, 04 February 2019

Singapore police investigate reports of alleged financial wrongdoing at Wirecard

Singaporean police are investigating reports of alleged financial irregularities at German financial services provider Wirecard.

According to reports, Singapore police said on 4 February that they are looking into reports by the Financial Times in relation to alleged wrongdoing at Wirecard’s Singapore office.

The FT reported that Singaporean law firm Rajah & Tann had found evidence indicating “serious offences of forgery and/or falsification of accounts” at Wirecard.

The firm reportedly investigated Wirecard’s Singapore office and identified potential civil and criminal violations in at least five jurisdictions: Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, and Germany. 

In a statement, Wirecard said the company has extensive and continuous governance procedures and refers to the Financial Times coverage as “misleading”.

Rajah & Tann didn’t immediately return calls and emails for comment. Wirecard released a statement by the firm that that the inquiry is ongoing and that the firm has not made conclusive findings of criminal misconduct by any Wirecard employee.

Munich state prosecutors have started a preliminary investigation into potential market manipulation but are are not investiging Wirecard itself, the office said.


Anti-corruption candidate wins El Salvador presidential election

The former mayor of San Salvador, Nayib Bukele, will become El Salvador’s new president after winning almost 54% of votes and campaigning on a slogan of “There’s enough money when no one steals”.

The supreme electoral court declared Bukele, originally considered an outsider, the winner on 3 February, with Carlos Calleja coming in second place with less than 32% of the vote.

“Today we won in the first round and we made history,” the president-elect reportedly said. “We have turned the page on power.”

Bukele’s plans to combat corruption include establishing a UN anti-corruption commission in El Salvador, akin to the international Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG). Guatemala’s president is seeking to expel that commisison.

Deloitte seeks review of 1MDB fine

Deloitte will apply to the Malaysian Securities Commission (SC) to review the 2.2 million ringgit (US$535,612) fine it imposed on the firm for four alleged breaches in audits of companies owned by 1MDB, according to reports.

“Deloitte PLT respects the role of the SC to regulate and safeguard the Malaysian capital market and takes its responsibilities as an audit firm seriously,” the firm reportedly said in a statement, following a consultation with its legal counsel.

“We are, however, disappointed with the decision,” the firm said.

On 30 January, the SC alleged that Deloitte had failed to report accounting irregularities to support audits of Bandar Malaysia and 1MDB real estate. The fine it gave to Deloitte is the maximum available under Malaysian law.

Australia rejects whistleblower payment proposals

The Australian federal government has dismissed the Australian Labor Party’s plan to financially reward whistleblowers who report corrupt employers, claiming Australia already has “world-class whisteblower protections,” according to reports.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten said on 3 February that if elected, his party will introduce measures to pay whistleblowers with funds from financial misconduct-related penalties collected by the government.

The Australian Labor Party also said it would establish a protection authority and stream existing laws into a single whistleblowing act.

However, the federal government reportedly criticised the plan as “wacky” and said that the country’s existing whistleblower laws are satisfactory. The plan is yet to be considered by the House of Representatives.

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