Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

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Monday, 09 September 2019

Steinhoff in South African privilege dispute

The head of South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), Major-General Alfred Khana, reportedly told South Africa’s parliament on 4 September that the DPCI cannot complete an investigation into dual-listed German and South African retailer Steinhoff without access to an internal investigation conducted by PwC.

The DPCI opened an investigation into Steinhoff in December 2017 over alleged accounting irregularities linked to billions of euros of assets.

Heather Sonn, the chair of the company, reportedly said in a seperate parliamentary hearing that parts of the report had been kept from investigators because of legal professional privilege, potential harm to investors and the possibility that revealing the full report could breach EU data privacy laws.

The company is also under investigation in The Netherlands and Germany. 

Another Indian enforcement agency investigating Rolls-Royce bribery

India’s Enforcement Directorate (ED) announced on 8 September that it is investigating whether Rolls-Royce violated the country’s Prevention of Money Laundering Act by paying a middleman to win contracts, the Press Trust of India reports.

A spokesman for the agency reportedly said the investigation was launched following a first information report filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). GIR reported on the CBI’s own investigation into alleged bribery at Rolls-Royce India in July.

The ED is part of India’s Finance Ministry and is primarily responsible for enforcing laws related to money laundering and foreign exchange. The CBI, meanwhile, has a broader remit to investigate high-profile economic crimes and corruption cases in India.

Rolls-Royce has not commented on the ED investigation but said of the CBI case: “no-one currently working for Rolls-Royce in India played any part in these energy deals.”

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