Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

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Tuesday, 08 January 2019

Guatemala expels UN anti-corruption commission

Guatemala has unilaterally ended the mandate of the UN-sponsored International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), claiming it endangered national security and human rights, according to reports.

Foreign Minister Sandra Jovel reportedly announced on 7 January that CICIG, which had been investigating politicians including President Jimmy Morales for corruption, had 24 hours to leave the country.

Jovel said Morales would remain committed to fighting corruption. The president denies the allegations against him.

The UN’s secretary-general António Guterres has “strongly rejected” Guatemala’s decision.

CICIG’s expulsion from Guatemala comes right off the back of a decision to deny entry to one of its officials on 5 January.

Credit Suisse settles RMBS misconduct allegations

Swiss bank Credit Suisse has settled allegations of misconduct over residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) from 2012 with the New York State Attorney General’s office.

Credit Suisse said in an emailed statement that it was pleased to have resolved this legacy RMBS-related matter but did not confirm the amount the bank has to pay.

In the original charges filed in November 2012, then-New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman accused Credit Suisse of deceiving investors by misrepresenting the quality of loans underlying mortgage-backed securities it sold in 2006 and 2007, resulting in losses of approximately $11 billion.  

China offered to bail out Malaysia’s 1MDB fund to obtain infrastructure deals

Chinese officials offered to bail out 1MDB and to use their influence to get the US and other countries to drop corruption investigations into the Malaysian development fund, including a probe into then-Prime Minister Najib Razak, according to minutes of undisclosed meetings in 2016 seen by the Wall Street Journal.

Chinese officials also offered to bug the homes and offices of the paper’s reporters in Hong Kong who were investigating the fund. 

In return, Malaysia offered stakes in railway and pipeline projects for China’s Belt and Road Initiative. 

China’s foreign ministry has denied that Belt and Road project money was used to bail out 1MDB. Najib, who has been charged in Malaysia with money laundering tied to the fund, has denied the allegations. 

Mozambique indicts 18 in "Tuna Bond" investigation

Mozambique’s Attorney General’s office (PGR) said on 7 January it had indicted 18 suspects in an investigation into a $2 billion bond scandal to raise money for a tuna fishing fleet three days after the US Department of Justice charged three former Credit Suisse bankers and the country’s ex-finance minister on 4 January over the same wrongdoing in a separate case. 

In the press release, the PGR said it will seek to prosecute individuals charged in the US and other jurisdictions. The authority said that it has not received responses to formal information requests to authorities in countries including the UAE, UK, and US

Former finance minister Manuel Chang was arrested in South Africa while en route to Dubai on 29 December under a US-issued international arrest warrant. On 8 January Chang attended a hearing at Kempton Park Magistrates Court in Johannesburg to request bail.

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