Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

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Friday, 12 July 2019

Brazil Operation Car Wash prosecutors charge 11 in highway bribery case

The Car Wash task force of the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office (MPF) charged 11 individuals on 11 July with corruption and money laundering for receiving kickbacks from Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht.

Former governor of Paraná, Beto Richa, and his chief of staff Deonilson Roldo were among the individuals charged. The MPF allege that in 2014 the pair accepted money from Odebrecht for campaign financing and personal enrichment in return for excluding potential competitors interested in bidding for a R$7.2 billion ($1.9 billion) highway project.

According to the MPF’s press release, another lawsuit related to the case in which Richa is a defendant is still ongoing.

Richa has previously denied  wrongdoing. 

ENRC to subpoena consultant over alleged SFO leaks

A federal judge at the US District Court for the District of Maryland has authorised Kazakh miner ENRC to subpoeana US-based consultant Phillip van Niekerk.

ENRC filed an application to question Niekerk over whether he helped the UK Serious Fraud Office leak confidential information to reporters during its investigation. The SFO is investigating whether ENRC bribed officials in Kazakhstan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The company denies wrongdoing.

The court has ordered Niekerk to provide deposition testimony on 30 July.

France picks new PNF chief

The French Ministry of Finance has appointed Jean-François Bohnert, who has been the chief prosecutor at the Reims Court of Appeal since 2016, as the new head of the Public Prosecutor’s Office (PNF). 

The ministry selected Bohnert on 11 July, according to Radio France Internationale. He will replace Éliane Houlette, who left the authority on 28 June.

The French public radio service reports that Bohnert, who was one of two nominees in the running to become the head of the new European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), has now dropped out of the race. The news means the other nominee, Laura Codruța Kövesi, will probably be appointed. 

Kövesi is the former head of Romania’s National Anti-Corruption Directorate. 

US AG recuses himself from Boeing probe

US Attorney General William Barr has recused himself from the Justice Department Boeing investigation into two recent crashes that killed 346 people, Bloomberg reports.

Barr has reportedly stepped back from the matter because his former law firm, Kirkland & Ellis, is part of a team representing the company. Also acting for the company in the probe is Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan and McGuire Woods.

The US attorney general’s approach in the Boeing probe differs from how he acted in the investigation into Goldman Sachs and its role in the multibillion-dollar 1MDB scandal, which Kirkland & Ellis is also acting in. Barr obtained an ethics waiver to oversee the 1MDB probe.

Mexican authority seizes wife of former Pemex CEO’s holiday home

Mexico’s Office of the Attorney General (FGR) has reportedly seized a holiday home belonging to Marielle Helene Eckes, the wife of former CEO of state-owned oil company Petróleos Mexicanos, Emilio Lozoya.  

A judge sanctioned the seizure of the property, which the FGR allege was bought for Eckes by steelmaker Altos Hornos de México (AHMSA) as part of a bribery scheme.

The FGR issued arrest warrants for Lozoya, Eckes, two other members of his family and a real estate agent on 5 July in relation to money transfers AHMSA made to a shell company allegedly set up by Brazilian construction company Odebrecht to pay bribes to Lozoya and members of his family.

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