Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

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Monday, 08 July 2019

Zimbabwe introduces unexplained wealth orders

The Zimbabwean government published an amendment to the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Amendment Bill (2019) on 5 July giving authorities powers to seek explanations from people about their sources of income, according to local reports.

The new law gives the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and Zimbabwe Republic Police powers to apply to the High Court for unexplained wealth orders (UWOs) if the authorities suspect assets are ill-gotten.

Individuals who make false statements in response to UWOs can be jailed for up to two years and the High Court can impose fines of up to $65,000.

Mexico issues arrest warrants for Lozoya and family

Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office issued arrest warrants for Emilio Lozoya, the former head of state oil company Pemex, three members of his family and a real estate agent on 5 July, according to reports.

The arrest warrants are in relation to money transfers made by steelmaker Altos Hornos de México (AHMSA) to a shell company allegedly set up by Brazilian construction company Odebrecht in the British Virgin Islands to pay bribes to Lozoya and members of his family.

Lozoya, who is reportedly accused of pocketing $10 million in bribes from Odebrecht, has denied wrongdoing. 

Satabank fined €3 million over AML measures

Malta’s Financial Services Authority and Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit have fined Maltese bank Satabank €3 million for breaching money laundering laws, according to reports.

The regulators also froze Satabank’s funds and appointed EY to administer its assets following a joint inspection that found the bank’s anti-money laundering measures were too weak.

The police is investigating the bank over suspicious transactions with potential links to fuel smuggling, drug trafficking and trade with sanctioned countries.

Satabank has reportedly said that it is taking all appropriate action in respect of investigations by the authorities.

Nordic banks join forces to combat money laundering

The Nordic region’s six main banks have together established a joint venture company to develop a platform for identifying customers, according to a press release.

The company, set up by Danske Bank, DNB, Nordea Bank, SEB, Handelsbanken and Swedbank, will launch know-your-customer services to large and medium-sized Nordic-based companies in 2020.

The European Commission has approved the initiative in accordance with EU merger control rules.

Banks across northern and eastern Europe have been embroiled in a money laundering scandal since an internal investigation in September 2018 revealed that customers used Danske Bank’s Estonian branch to spread up to €200 billion in suspicious transactions across the globe.

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