Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations


Tuesday, 05 March 2019

Nordea bank says it reported suspicious behaviour

Nordea has said that allegations made by Finnish broadcaster Yle  that the Nordic bank handled €700 million in suspicious transactions between 2005 and 2017 have already been reported to relevant authorities, according to Reuters.

“We recognise that our systems in the past may not have been robust enough to counter this sort of financial crime. For that we are truly sorry,” the bank reportedly added. 

The Finnish broadcaster reported the news on 4 March as part of a series of a special investigation into leaked papers showing how vast sums of Russian money were channelled into western banks known as Troika Laundromat

Former Nissan chairman to be released on bail

Former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn will be released from jail on Wednesday after Tokyo prosecutors lost an appeal against the decision to grant him bail of 1 billion yen (US$8.9 million), according to reports

Ghosn was granted bail on 4 March. Tokyo prosecutors lost the appeal against the bail decision on 5 March. 

Japan’s Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission (SESC) charged Ghosn on 10 December 2018 with aggravated breach of trust and filing false statements about his income. He has pleaded not guilty.

While in prison, Ghosn was reportedly subjected to continuous interrogation and little contact with his lawyer.

Nissan filed a criminal complaint against Ghosn on 11 January. Nissan’s internal investigation into the matter is ongoing.

Second Canada minister quits over SNC-Lavalin scandal

Canada’s minister of digital government, Jane Philpott, announced her resignation on 4 March citing her “serious concerns” over evidence that the former justice minister was pressured to help the Montreal-based engineering company enter into a settlement to resolve Libya bribery charges. 

Jody Wilson-Raybould testified before Canada’s parliament on 27 February that she had been pressured by officials and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to help SNC-Lavalin enter into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) to resolve the charges while she was justice minister. Trudeau has denied wrongdoing. 

Wilson-Raybould stepped down from her more recent ministerial role on 12 February.

SNC-Lavalin’s trial over the allegations began in October 2018 after Canada’s Public Prosecution Service told the company, which denies wrongdoing, that it would not be offered a DPA

Kenyan police question finance minister over dams scandal

Kenya’s Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) summoned Finance Minister Henry Rotich for a second round of questioning on 5 March over a multimillion-dollar scandal involving advance payments for two dam projects, according to reports.

The DCI announced on 25 February that it was investigating what it described as a fraudulent construction deal for two dams, valued at US$63 million. Local news reports that although the finance ministry has made payments towards the construction of the Arror and Kimwarer dams, they have not been built. 

The DCI is investigating an advance payment of US$20 million to Italian construction company CMC Di Ravenna for the dam construction, according to local reports

Former Mitsubishi execs found guilty of bribery in Japan’s first plea deal

The Tokyo District Court has handed two former Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems executives suspended sentences in Japan’s first case involving a plea bargain deal, according to reports.

The court sentenced Fuyuhiko Nishikida and Yoshiki Tsuji to 18 and 16 months’ respectively, for bribing an official from Thailand’s Ministry of Transport.

The bribes were paid to receive favourable treatment in unloading cargo as part of a power plant project.

Japan introduced the plea-bargaining system in June, which enables companies and individuals to receive a reduced sentence in return for cooperation in investigations. The former Mitsubishi plea bargain was agreed shortly afterward in July.

ASIC to interview top Commonwealth Bank of Australia executives

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is scheduled to interview the former chairman and CEO of Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) over a money laundering scandal that saw the bank agree to the country’s largest-ever corporate settlement, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Former CEO Ian Narev and ex-chairman Catherine Livingstone have not commented publicly on the report.

CBA agreed to pay A$700 million ($496 million) in June 2018 in a settlement with the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre that ended one of the money laundering investigations the bank faces. ASIC continues to investigate the company.

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