Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations


Friday, 15 November 2019

Angola approves new anti-money laundering law

The Angolan parliament approved a draft law that clarifies the definition of Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs), the Angola Press reported on 14 November.

The Law on Preventing and Combatting Money Laundering, Financing Terrorism and the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction now defines PEPs as anyone holding public office and their third-generation relatives.

The new definition is consistent with Financial Action Task Force recommendations.

Brazil’s Supreme Court demands confidential financial data from central bank

The president of Brazil’s Supreme Court ordered the country’s central bank to yield confidential financial data on more than half a million people, according to Folha de São Paulo.

José Antonio Dias Toffoli reportedly demanded the Central Bank of Brazil turn over 600,000 financial reports compiled by the Financial Activities Control Board (COAF) as part of an inquiry into allegations the agency used the data without adequate judicial authorisation.

The agency’s activities were suspended in July 2019 after Toffoli granted an injunction at the request of Flavio Bolsonaro, son of President Jair Bolsonaro and senator in his own right, who was the subject of a corruption investigation.

Iranian national receives 46-month sentence in US for sanctions evasion

A US court has sentenced an Iranian national to 46 months in prison for conspiring to violate sanctions on Iran, according to a statement from the US Department of Justice (DOJ).

Behzad Pourghannad pleaded guilty in August 2019 after he and his two co-defendants, Ali Reza Shokri and Farzin Faridmanesh, made repeated efforts between 2008 and 2013 to export tonnes of carbon fibre to Iran via third parties, in some cases changing shipping labels so as to avoid detection.

The DOJ said in its statement that carbon fibre “has a wide variety of uses, including in missiles, aerospace engineering, and gas centrifuges that enrich uranium.”

Estonian finance minister says Russian security services laundered money through its banks

Estonia’s finance minister Martin Helme has reportedly claimed that Russian security services have been laundering money through Estonian banks to finance their operations abroad, according to reports.

Helme reportedly linked some of the suspicious Russian state funds to Swedbank’s Estonian branch, causing shares in the Swedish bank to fall. The bank has not commented publicly on the report. 

Helme also reportedly said that Estonia is “very worried” that Russian entities facing US sanctions are using its financial system. He said country is sharing its banking information with US authorities in an attempt to root out sanctions evaders.


SNC-Lavalin bought Libyan dinars on the black market, court hears

Canadian engineering company SNC-Lavalin bought Libyan dinars from the black market, the Montreal Gazette reports.

Former SNC-Lavalin chief financial officer Gilles Laramée reportedly told a Montreal court on 15 November that SNC-Lavalin resorted to the black market to buy Libyan dinars between 2001 and 2005, when the Royal Bank of Canada denied the company’s request to buy the currency legitimately.

Laramée spoke at the trial of former SNC-Lavalin vice-president Sami Bebawi, who is charged with fraud, bribery and possession of the proceeds of crime linked to a water project in Libya. He has pleaded not guilty.

Samherji CEO steps aside amid corruption investigation

Thorsteinn Már Baldvinsson, the CEO of Icelandic seafood company Samherji, has temporarily stood down while an internal investigation into alleged bribery in Namibia takes place.

Samherji announced the news on 14 November, adding that it has taken the step to demonstrate the “complete integrity” of the ongoing investigation. The company also said that it had not yet been approached by any authorities but would cooperate with them if need be.

An investigation by various media outlets based on WikiLeaks documents reportedly uncovered evidence of Samherji employees bribing Namibian officials to win preferential treatment. Namibia’s fisheries minister and its justice minister deny allegations of receiving bribes, but resigned on 14 November, according to reports.

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