Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations


Friday, 07 June 2019

EU reviews past money laundering cases at European banks

The European Commission has said it is reviewing past money laundering cases at several banks, including Deutsche Bank and Société Générale, to decide on possible changes to its anti-money laundering rules, according to Reuters.

The review is part of the EU’s broader plan to combat money laundering after scandals erupted in various EU countries, including Denmark, Estonia and Malta.

Malta’s finance minister, Edward Scicluna, reportedly said the government is looking into establishing an institution to deal with money laundering. “We will need to have a much bigger institution than present to deal with the issue,” he reportedly said. He also said Malta is in favour of creating an EU-wide institution to tackle the misconduct. 

Deutsche Bank head of investment among 70 under investigation in cum-ex probe

German prosecutors have extended their investigation into dividend-stripping transactions, known as cum-ex trades, to include several current and former executives of Deutsche Bank as suspects, the bank confirmed in a statement on 6 June.

The prosecutors were already investigating two former employees over the matter Deutsche Bank said in the statement. 

The announcement came after Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that Deutsche Bank’s head of investment banking, Garth Ritchie, and former board member Josef Ackermann are among 70 former and current executives being investigated by Cologne prosecutors. Ritchie has reportedly declined to comment and Ackermann has not responded to the allegations.

Deutsche Bank said in the statement that it did not “participate in an organized cum/ex market, neither as short seller nor as Cum/Ex purchaser”. 

Privilege claims delay investigations, Dutch authorities say

Dutch authorities want to improve the process to resolve legal privilege disputes to avoid delays to investigations.

In a statement on 7 June, The Netherlands Public Prosecution Service (OM) said that it currently has to put investigations on hold until privilege disputes are resolved by investigative magistrates, which can be a lengthy process.

Dutch newspaper NRC reports that Shell and the OM are currently at odds over whether privilege attaches to documents seized in 2016 in a Nigeria bribery investigation. Shell reportedly claims these are covered by in-house privilege.

The OM told the paper that it will make its final decision on whether to prosecute Shell and its executives over the alleged bribery after the privilege dispute concludes. Shell denies wrongdoing. 

Mexican Supreme Court judge allegedly transferred millions to overseas accounts

A Mexican Supreme Court judge allegedly failed to disclose the transfer of millions of pounds and dollars to accounts in the UK and US to local tax authorities, according to local reports.

The UK National Crime Agency and the US Treasury Department reportedly found that Judge Eduardo Medina Mora transferred £2.3 million from his HSBC account in Mexico to his personal account in the UK and $2.1 million dollars to his account at HSBC in the US between 2013 and 2017.

According to local reports, the money sent overseas by Mora is almost six times his income as a public servant.

Mora has denied any wrongdoing.

Confederation of African Football president released after questioning

French authorities have reportedly released Confederation of African Football president, Ahmad Ahmad, after he was questioned for several hours over corruption allegations, according to Reuters

The African football body reportedly fired general secretary Amr Fahmy in April after he accused Ahmad of bribery and misuse of the organisation’s funds.

Fahmy reportedly alleged that Ahmad ordered bribes of $20,000 be paid to the accounts of African football association presidents.

Fifa reportedly said in a statement: “Fifa is unaware of the details surrounding this investigation and is therefore not in a position to make any comment on it specifically.”

Ahmad reportedly denied wrongdoing.

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