Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

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Monday, 18 March 2019

Banca d’Italia bans ING Italy from taking on new customers

Italy’s central bank has prohibited ING’s Italian branch from engaging in transactions with new customers after an inspection revealed the firm’s “shortcomings” in money-laundering compliance.

In a 16 March press release, Banca d’Italia said that the Dutch bank’s current clients in Italy will not be affected and that ING is already actively strengthening its anti-money laundering measures.

The bank conducted the inspections which led to the ban between 1 October and 18 January.

Malaysia AG says it did not have all documents before charging ex-Goldman Sachs banker

Malaysia’s Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) has said that it does not yet have the full set of supporting documents in its case against Roger Ng, a former Goldman Sachs banker charged in connection with the 1MDB scandal, according to reports.

The AGC made the announcement in the Sessions Court on 18 March after defence counsel for Ng complained it had not received any prosecution documents to prepare for trial.

Prosecutors are reportedly looking for documents from Goldman Sachs in Singapore, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.

US and Malaysian authorities are currently investigating Goldman Sachs for its role as an underwriter for three bonds that raised $6.5 billion for Malaysian fund 1MDB. Ng and others allegedly paid bribes to ensure 1MDB awarded Goldman Sachs a role in the transactions.

A new pretrial hearing in the case against Goldman Sachs will reportedly be held on 24 June.

OAS enters plea agreement in Peru

Brazilian construction firm OAS entered a plea deal with Peruvian prosecutors to provide evidence on corruption cases, Reuters reported on 15 March.

OAS is under investigation in Peru for alleged bribery to win infrastructure projects in the capital city. Peruvian prosecutors raided the offices of OAS on 12 January 2018, 12 days after the country introduced corporate criminal liability for corruption and money laundering.

At the time, prosecutors said they were investigating whether OAS played a part in the Odebrecht bribery scheme after Odebrecht entered into a $2.6 billion agreement with US, Swiss, and Brazilian authorities in December 2016 after admitting to bribing officials in several countries, including Peru.

Steinhoff's internal investigation finds accounting irregularities

South African furniture company Steinhoff released the results of an internal investigation into accounting irregularities at the company on 15 March. The probe found that a group of executives inflated profit and asset values.

Steinhoff commissioned Big Four consultancy PwC to conduct the internal investigation and evaluate concerns raised by Steinhoff’s external auditor, Deloitte, after Steinhoff announced in December 2017 that its chief executive had resigned amid accounting irregularities.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Steinhoff’s acting chairwoman, Heather Sonn, told South Africa’s parliament in January 2018 that the chairman of Steinhoff’s audit committee had reported the former chief executive of the company to police for allegedly breaking anti-corruption laws.

Rio Tinto and former executives win partial dismissal of fraud charges

The US District Court for the Southern District of New York has dismissed four of the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) 11 charges against Anglo-Australian mining company Rio Tinto, the company’s former CEO Thomas Albanese and ex-CFO Guy Elliot.

The defendants’ motion to dismiss was partially granted in an 18 March order.

The SEC charged Albanese, Elliot and Rio Tinto in October 2017 over allegations the company overstated the value of coal-mining assets in Mozambique.

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