Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

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Tuesday, 03 September 2019

Guatemala’s incoming president to replace CICIG

Guatemala’s president-elect, Alejandro Giammattei, has said he intends to replace the UN-sponsored International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) with a state commission, according to the Financial Times. 

Outgoing President Jimmy Morales, who hands over to Giammattei in January, last year refused to renew the mandate of CICIG and barred its chief Iván Velásquez from the country.

CICIG’s mandate expired on 3 September after helping to bring 120 cases over its 12 years of operation in Guatemala.

Giammattei told the newspaper that the new commission would “go deeper” than CICIG but did not provide any further details. 

UK police conclude investigation into Euribor juror misconduct

Police in the UK have concluded an investigation into possible juror misconduct in the trial of two ex-Barclays bankers convicted of manipulating the EU interbank offered rate (Euribor), the Court of Appeal for England and Wales heard on 3 September.

Lawyers for Carlo Palombo and Colin Bermingham, who are serving a combined nine years in prison, will have two weeks to review a redacted version of the investigation before deciding whether to include it in an application for leave to appeal against the convictions.

News of the investigation broke in July, and was reportedly prompted by a complaint one of the jurors made about the behaviour of another juror.

Ukraine parliament votes to strip politicians of immunity

The Ukrainian parliament passed a constitutional amendment on 3 September lifting members of parliament’s immunity from prosecution, according to reports

In the past, prosecutors required a parliamentary vote for every instance where they wanted to prosecute a member of parliament. The immunity will be cancelled from 1 January 2020. 

The change fulfils an anti-corruption election promise by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the former comedian who won a majority in the April election. Before the vote, the president had said it was time to consign lawmakers’ immunity “to the dustbin of history”, arguing that 90% of Ukrainians wanted to see this happen.

Najib Razak attempts to recover assets seized by Malaysian police

Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak is reportedly attempting to claim several items, including money and jewellery, seized by Malaysian police as part of an investigation into sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.

Razak, who is currently on trial in Kuala Lumper over his alleged role in misappropriating billions from the fund, reportedly lodged a formal claim to the goods in an asset-forfeiture case that Malaysian police brought against Sarawak-based trading company OBYU Holdings. Najib denies wrongdoing in the 1MDB scandal.

OBYU Holdings reportedly owned properties Malaysian police raided in 2018 because of alleged links to Najib and 1MDB.

At Najib’s trial on 3 September, a former special officer to Najib reportedly told the court that Jho Low, an alleged financier for 1MDB, had “extraordinary powers” in the country, including working on international relations for Malaysia.

Low, who is currently a fugitive, has been charged over his role in the 1MDB scandal in both the US and Malaysia. He has previously denied wrongdoing.

 

Ghosn’s lawyer accuses Japanese prosecutors of collusion

Japanese prosecutors have committed human rights violations and colluded with car manufacturer Nissan in their investigation of Carlos Ghosn, the businessman’s lawyer François Zimeray at Zimeray & Finelle Avocats reportedly told Le Journal du Dimanche.

Zimeray accused prosecutors in Tokyo of leaking confidential information about the investigation to the media and of drawing up a “secret agreement” with Nissan. He also said that the prosecutors’ actions had compromised the possibility of a fair trial.

Ghosn, the former boss of Nissan and Renault, is under investigation for allegedly embezzling €11 million from the companies. He is also facing charges of aggravated breach of trust and lying about his income. He denies wrongdoing.

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