Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations


Monday, 16 September 2019

RCMP intelligence chief charged with leaking secrets

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) charged Cameron Ortis, a senior official at the RCMP’s intelligence unit, on 13 September with violating national security laws by storing and processing sensitive information with the intent to share it.

According to the RCMP, Ortis faces five charges, including two under the criminal code and three under the Security of Information Act. He was arrested on 12 September and charged in court the following day.

A local news outlet reported that Ortis is an East Asia expert at the RCMP and that he allegedly planned to share terabytes of information with a foreign entity or terrorist group.  

Ortis has not publicly commented on the allegations.

RCMP investigates obstruction in SNC-Lavalin probe

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is investigating if government officials attempted to obstruct the bribery investigation into Canadian construction company SNC-Lavalin, The Globe & Mail reports.

The RCMP’s investigation has reportedly been hindered by the government’s refusal to waive confidentiality protections that allow politicians to decline to disclose details of government affairs discussions.  

Canada’s Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, Mario Dion, said in a report published on 13 August that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau breached Canadian law during the probe. Dion found that Trudeau’s attempts to convince the former justice minister to offer the company a deferred prosecution agreement in lieu of prosecution violated the Conflict of Interest Act.

Former JPMorgan trader settles CFTC spoofing case

The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced on 16 September that it has settled its spoofing case against former JPMorgan trader Christian Trunz.

Trunz, a former precious metals trader, has entered into a cooperation agreement with the CFTC’s division of enforcement.

Trunz pleaded guilty in August to one count of spoofing and a single count of conspiracy to commit spoofing as part of a criminal investigation by the US Department of Justice (DOJ). Trunz is cooperating with that investigation, the DOJ said at the time.

He is scheduled to be sentenced in February 2020 and is represented by Anthony Barkow and Katya Jestin at Jenner & Block in New York.

Metal traders charged with racketeering conspiracy

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) charged two current precious metal traders and a former trader in an indictment unsealed on 16 September for their alleged participation in a racketeering conspiracy in connection with manipulating precious metals futures contracts between 2008 and 2015.

The three defendants are Gregg Smith and Michael Nowak, who work at JPMorgan, and Christopher Jordan, who left the bank in 2009. 

On the same day, the CFTC charged Nowak and Smith with spoofing, engaging in a manipulative and deceptive scheme, and price manipulation.

Brian Benczkowski, the assistant attorney general for the Criminal Division at the DOJ, said the charges represent “the government’s most significant step to date” in its ongoing efforts to identify and prosecute fraud and manipulation in the US’s commodities markets.  

Reuters reported on 12 September that the bank had placed Nowak and Smith on leave.

Brazil’s COAF repeatedly overreached in AML investigations, says head of Supreme Court

Brazil’s anti-money laundering agency regularly acted without judicial approval and “proceeded to replace the judiciary” in its investigations, the president of the country’s Supreme Court reportedly told Reuters.

José Antonio Dias Toffoli said that the Council for Financial Activities Control (COAF) harmed itself and society by repeatedly responding to prosecutors’ requests for suspects’ financial information without judicial consent.

The comments follow Toffoli’s 15 July decision to suspend all investigations based on evidence provided by the COAF. Brazil’s attorney general has appealed against the decision.

The COAF made headlines earlier in the year when it was moved from the remit of the Ministry of Economy to the Ministry of Justice. After the transfer was reversed, it moved again in August, this time to the central bank.

Mitsubishi executive handed 18-month suspended sentence in Japan bribery case

The Tokyo District Court has handed an 18-month suspended sentence to a former Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems executive who bribed a Thai official, according to reports.

The court reportedly ruled that Satoshi Uchida, 65, authorised two subordinate executives to pay a Thai Transport Ministry official $361,000 for favourable treatment when unloading cargo. The subordinate executives were convicted of bribery in March.

Mitsubishi itself agreed a plea bargain in July 2018, as part of which it promised to provide information about its former staff. Japan introduced the plea-bargaining system to allow companies and individuals to receive reduced sentences in return for cooperation in investigations.

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