Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations


Tuesday, 10 September 2019

PwC’s India operating ban overturned

A tribunal in India has overturned an order banning the Indian affiliate of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) from operating in the country for two years.

The Securities Appellate Tribunal in Mumbai concluded “that the order of debarment was not the appropriate choice” of punishment for the auditor’s role in a 2009 accountancy fraud dubbed “India’s Enron”.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India banned the Big Four auditor in 2018 for its failure to identify “glaring anomalies” in the $1.7 billion fraud at IT services company Satyam. The regulator also ordered PwC to disgorge $2 million in fees – a decision that was upheld in the recent tribunal judgment.

General Electric head under investigation in France

Prosecutors in Paris are investigating Hugh Bailey, general manager at General Electric France, over allegations of “improper acquisition of interest”, according to Reuters.

Bailey joined the conglomerate in 2017, following a stint as an officer in the French treasury. His lawyer, Benjamin van Gaver at August Debouzy in Paris, reportedly said that his client strongly denies the allegations and will cooperate with the authorities.

General Electric itself has described the allegations as “completely baseless”.

Former Dominican Republic officials to stand trial over Odebrecht bribes

The trial of five former Dominican Republic government officials, who are accused of receiving bribes from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht, is reportedly scheduled to begin at the country’s Supreme Court of Justice on 12 September.

The defendants, which include the former minister of public works and communications and the former director of the country’s water authority, are all reportedly accused of receiving bribes from Odebrecht’s former representative in the country, Angel Rondón, who will also stand trial.

Odebrecht admitted to paying $92 million in bribes to government officials in the Dominican Republic as part of a $3.6 billion settlement with US, Swiss and Brazilian prosecutors in 2016. The company reached a $184 million settlement with Dominican Republic authorities over the matter in January 2017.

Former Brazilian energy minister accused of taking bribes for giant dam project

Brazilian authorities have accused a former energy minister and his son of receiving £9.7 million in bribes from Odebrecht relating to the construction of the Belo Monte dam. Prosecutors allege the men also received bribes from waste management firm Estre Ambiental.

The State Attorney's Office in Paraná has accused Edison and Márcio Lobão of laundering the money they received through inflated purchases of real estate and fine art. In a 10 September statement prosecutors claim the bribes were paid between 2008 and 2014 while the schemes to launder the money continued until this year.

Reuters reports that Márcio Lobão has been arrested over the charges, while the elder Lobão remains at large.

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