Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

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Thursday, 25 July 2019

Police investigating alleged juror misconduct in Euribor trial

Police in the UK are investigating allegations that a juror behaved improperly during the trial of two former Barclays traders accused of rigging the Euribor interest rate, according to Bloomberg.

Police reportedly spoke to nine out of the 12 jurors who found Colin Bermingham and Carlo Palombo guilty of manipulating Euribor in April, after one juror complained about the behaviour of another. The alleged misbehaving juror is reportedly one of the three who police have not yet spoken to.

Bermingham and Palombo were sentenced to a combined nine years in prison and are reportedly appealing the conviction. 

Judge acquits Lula of two charges in Angola case

A Brazilian federal court judge has acquitted former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of two charges related to a bribery scheme to secure financing for projects in Angola, according to reports

Brazil’s Federal Prosecution Service (MPF) in 2016 alleged that Lula used his influence to arrange financing for construction company Odebrecht to finance projects in Angola, and received kickbacks in return. The MPF has also charged Lula’s nephew and Marcelo Odebrecht, the former CEO of Odebrecht, in the case.

On 24 July, the judge reportedly acquitted six of the 10 defendants originally charged, including Marcelo Odebrecht. The charges against Odebrecht were reportedly settled during his sentencing in a separate case in 2016.   

Lula has denied any wrongdoing. 

KPMG fined over US bank audits

KPMG has been handed a £5 million fine by the UK Financial Reporting Council (FRC), the Financial Times reports.

The FRC will reportedly announce the fine in the coming days. KPMG reportedly admitted to misconduct in its auditing of BNY Mellon between 2007 and 2011. KPMG has not commented publicly on the matter.

The £5 million fine was reportedly awarded at an independent disciplinary tribunal. The FRC had reportedly asked the tribunal to impose a £12.5 million fine. 

The fine is the latest in a series of FRC penalties against KPMG. In April, the audit firm was fined £6m for work done at Equity Red Star and in May the firm was fined £5m for work done at the Co-Operative Bank.

The FRC also announced in April that it would be conducting a review of the the Dutch firm's general audit practices.

SRA sees hike in money laundering reports

The UK Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) reported a 43% increase in reported instances of money laundering between 2017 and 2018, according to its Upholding Professional Standards Report.

The SRA said in the report published on 25 July that it received 218 reports of money laundering in the first nine months of 2018 compared to 152 that it received in the same period in 2017. The report also highlighted 19 cases of dubious investment schemes between 2017 and 2018.

Anna Bradley, chair of the SRA Board, said in a press release that the authority takes “firm and fair action” when things go wrong to make sure that the standards the public expects are upheld.

ENRC files lawsuit against former PM of Kazakhstan

Kazakh mining company ENRC filed a lawsuit in a London court against former Kazakhstan prime minister Azekhan Kazhegeldin on 24 July, alleging that he illegally obtained and shared private company information.

ENRC alleges that Kazhegeldin intentionally acquired information that had been copied from ENRC’s IT systems by an IT consultant, Robert Trevelyan, without the company’s knowledge or authorisation.

Trevelyan was contracted by ENRC in 2008 and again in 2011 as part of an internal investigation conducted by DLA Piper, an later, Dechert.

ENRC claims that it can be inferred that Kazhegeldin disclosed ENRC’s confidential and privileged information with third parties, including the UK’s Serious Fraud Office, which opened a bribery investigation into the company in 2013.

Dechert and Trevelyan have not commented publicly on the matter

Mother of Pemex CEO arrested in Germany

Gilda Margarita Austin, the mother of former Pemex CEO Emilio Austin Lozoya, was arrested on 24 July by Interpol agents on the island of Juist in Germany, according to reports.

Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office charged Austin on 24 July with money laundering over a $155,000 deposit made to her bank account.

Mexico’s Attorney General has accused Lozoya and several of his family members of engaging in a wide-ranging bribery and money laundering scheme involving Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht and steelmaker Altos Hornos de México (AHMSA).

Lozoya and his mother have denied allegations of wrongdoing.

Interim Romanian prosecutor-in-chief given another six-month mandate

Călin Nistor will remain Romania’s chief prosecutor for a further six months as the country’s justice minister searches for a permanent head of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA), according to reports.

Nistor was appointed in February. Romania’s previous prosecutor-in-chief, Laura Kövesi, was sacked in July 2018 and reports suggest she is increasingly likely to become head of the new European Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Kövesi led the DNA from 2013 to 2018 and corruption prosecutions rose sharply during her tenure.  

Justice Minister Ana Birchall told Mediafax that the quality of the potential new chief prosecutors is very high. 

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