Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

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Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Bank of England warned SFO against criminal charges for Barclays

The CEO of the Prudential Regulation Authority, Sam Woods, told the then-director of the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in 2017 that there would be unpredictable consequences if the authority were to charge Barclays over 2008 payments to Qatar, according to the Financial Times.

Woods reportedly questioned whether a corporate criminal charge would be in the public interest.

The SFO charged Barclays with fraud by misrepresentation and unlawful financial assistance in connection with a $3 billion investment from Qatar during the 2008 financial crisis. 

The Southwark Crown Court dismissed the case against Barclays in May 2018, and in October the High Court of England and Wales dismissed an SFO attempt to reinstate the charges. 

IBA report finds third of female lawyers experienced sexual harassment

An International Bar Association survey of 7,000 professionals in the legal industry revealed that one in three female respondents had been sexually harassed in a workplace context.

The survey, which included responses from professionals in 135 countries, also found that one in 14 male respondents said they had been sexually harassed, and that approximately one in two female respondents and one in three male respondents had been bullied in connection with their employment.

The IBA’s report is the largest ever global survey on the prevalence, nature and impact of bullying and sexual harassment in the legal profession. 

Frankfurt prosecutors investigate Deutsche Bank clients for tax evasion

Frankfurt prosecutors raided homes and offices on 15 May as part of an investigation into eight individuals suspected of setting up offshore companies to evade tax.

Bloomberg reported that the raids are targeting clients of Deutsche Bank, who were helped by the bank’s British Virgin Islands unit to set up offshore companies, and are related to a November raid on the bank. That raid was part of an investigation into allegations that bank employees laundered money on behalf of clients.

The bank said in a press statement that prosecutors are investigating private individuals and that the bank is cooperating with the public prosecutor’s office and is submitting all requested documents.  

British Columbia deliberates launching public inquiry into money laundering

The government of British Columbia in Canada is set to decide on 15 May whether to launch a public inquiry into money laundering after a report revealed that C$7.4 billion of suspicious money flowed through the province last year, according to Canadian news outlets.

The report, dated 31 March, estimates that C$5 billion was funnelled through real estate and drove up home prices by 5%, and that C$46.7 billion was laundered through Canada as a whole in 2018. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reportedly called the findings “extremely alarming”.

On 2 April, British Columbia proposed a bill aimed at preventing property owners from hiding their identities behind shell companies, in an effort to combat money laundering and tax evasion.

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