Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

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Friday, 28 February 2020

OFAC investigates UK plastics company

Essentra, a plastic and fibre products supplier based in the UK, said in its 2019 annual report that it is under investigation by the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

The company said that it had voluntarily disclosed the results of several internal investigations to OFAC and estimates the agency will order it to pay penalties worth £2.3 million for sanctions violations.

The company said in the report that the alleged misconduct related specifically to its filters division and that it is fully cooperating with the US government.

National Bank of Romania opens broad money laundering probe

Romania’s central bank has launched a money laundering investigation into lenders over suspicious financial transactions from outside the country, according to Bloomberg.

The National Bank of Romania is reportedly investigating up to 17 banks, or half the country’s banking sector, in a probe that was initiated by Romania’s Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT).  

Nicolae Cinteză, head of the bank’s supervisory department, reportedly said at a news conference on 26 February that at least one of the banks processed money from Denmark’s Danske Bank, which admitted in 2018 to failing to check €200 billion worth of suspicious financial transfers through its Estonian branch.

FCA investigates NMC Health amid accounting scandal

The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has launched an investigation into NMC Health after it emerged that there were possible discrepancies in its financial statements, according to reports.

The news came the day after the UAE-based healthcare company fired its CEO Prasanth Manghat amid an international investigation into allegations of financial mismanagement raised by hedge fund Muddy Waters.

The company has put its CFO on extended sick leave and suspended a member of its treasury team over concerns the investigation was impeded.

Japanese minister flies to Lebanon to make case for Ghosn’s return

Japan’s vice justice minister will meet the Lebanese justice minister on 2 March to argue for the return of fugitive former Nissan and Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn, according to reports.

Hiroyuki Yoshiie and Albert Serhan will discuss the possibility of Ghosn returning to Japan to stand trial on charges of financial misconduct and underreporting his salary.

Ghosn denies wrongdoing and escaped from custody in Japan in December after he accused Japanese prosecutors of violating due process and his human rights.

France has also opened an investigation into Renault linked to the Ghosn case. Prosecutors in Nanterre are looking into suspicious financial flows between Renault and a car dealership in Oman between 2009 and 2020.

Dechert partner applies to stay ENRC spying lawsuit

Neil Gerrard, head of investigations at Dechert in London, has applied for a stay of the lawsuit he brought against Kazakh mining company ENRC and Diligence International. 

Gerrard and his wife Ann are suing ENRC and private investigations firm Diligence International for harassment, trespass and misuse of private data, claiming that they issued private investigators to tail them to a private island off the cost of St Lucia. Both companies deny wrongdoing.

Gerrard has asked for a stay of the proceedings until a lawsuit brought by ENRC against him, his firm and the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has ended. 

ENRC has alleged that Dechert, who formerly represented the company, leaked confidential information to the media and the SFO, and have accused the SFO of misfeasance in public office. The parties deny wrongdoing. 

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