Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

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Monday, 13 January 2020

Karimova’s artwork seized in Switzerland

Uzbekistan’s Prosecutor General’s Office reportedly said on 11 January that 70 pieces of art have been seized from the Swiss house of Gulnara Karimova, the jailed daughter of Uzbekistan’s former president.

Prosecutors in the Central Asian country are reportedly attempting to seize over $1.5 billion in Karimova’s assets with the help of Swiss, French, Russia and Latvian authorities.

Karimova is reportedly on trial in Uzbekistan for extortion, the embezzlement of funds and money laundering.

US prosecutors charged Karimova in March 2019 with conspiring to launder money as part of an alleged bribery scheme by Moscow-based Mobile Telesystems, which agreed to pay $850 million the same month to settle foreign bribery allegations.

Florida court throws out Havana Docks Helms-Burton case

The US District Court for the Southern District of Florida has dismissed a lawsuit brought by former tenants of the Havana dockyard against the Norwegian Cruise Line under the Helms-Burton Act 1996.

The lawsuit was one of many filed after US President Donald Trump unblocked Title III of the Act, which allows US entities to sue those who “traffic” in assets confiscated by the Cuban government in 1960, in May. 

In a 7 January order, the court ruled that the Havana Docks Corporation, which held a leasehold over the docks up until 2004, could not sue the Norwegian Cruise Line for conduct that occurred after the lease agreement expired.

The Norwegian Cruise Line had argued that it only used the docks from 2017 onwards.

Four days earlier, the court dismissed the Havana Docks Corporation case against Swiss cruise line MSC Cruises for similar reasons.  

Congressional panel in Guatemala backs arrest of CICIG judges

A Guatemalan congressional inquiry has recommended the arrest of judges and prosecutors it claims committed abuses at a now-defunct UN-backed anti-corruption body, according to Reuters. 

The inquiry, sanctioned by outgoing president Jimmy Morales, has since October 2019 heard how the Internal Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) allegedly engaged in illegal practices during its probe of government figures. The CICIG previously accused Morales himself of campaign finance violations, a charge he denies.  

Incoming president Alejandro Giammattei has not commented publicly on the recommendations.

The Constitutional Court of Guatemala previously attempted to block the congressional inquiry.

 

Infosys internal audit finds no evidence of misconduct

Indian multinational Infosys announced in a 10 January press release that its audit committee had found “no evidence of financial impropriety or executive misconduct” following an internal investigation into whistleblower complaints. 

The allegations, raised by whistleblowers claiming to be current Infosys employees, concern evidence that senior executives engaged in dubious accounting practices to bolster the company’s financial statements.

The IT consulting firm said it conducted 128 interviews with 77 employees and reviewed hundreds of thousands of documents in its investigation.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is investigating the company over the matter.

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