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Friday, 10 July 2020

Australia suspends extradition treaty with Hong Kong

The Australian government announced on 9 July that it is suspending its extradition treaty with Hong Kong as a result of China’s new national security law.

“The Australian Government remains deeply concerned about China’s imposition of a broad national security law on Hong Kong,” the statement reads.  

China’s foreign ministry reportedly said Australia should stop interfering in Chinese affairs, and that it reserved the right to take retaliatory action.

The Chinese government imposed a controversial new law on 2 July that gives its authorities sweeping new powers over the semi-autonomous region.

Several media companies have said they will stop complying with data requests from Hong Kong law enforcement agencies while they review the consequences of the new legislation.

Berman: SEC chairman's desire to return to New York prompted attempted firing

US Attorney General William Barr attempted to oust Manhattan federal prosecutor Geoffrey Berman to ensure the head of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) could return to New York, according to Berman’s prepared remarks to a House Judiciary Committee. 

Berman, who testified to the committee behind closed doors on 10 July, said in his prepared statement that Barr’s attempt to remove him from his post was “was solely prompted by [SEC chairman] Jay Clayton’s desire to move back to New York”.   

Berman also said that Clayton is not qualified for the role because he has no criminal prosecution experience. 

Berman announced that he was stepping down on 20 June following a brief public stand-off with Barr.

Irish police search Wirecard offices in Dublin

The Garda’s National Economic Crime Bureau searched the Dublin headquarters of collapsed German payments company Wirecard on 9 July, according to the Irish Times.

A police spokesperson reportedly said the searches were conducted in response to a mutual legal assistance treaty request from German authorities who want to obtain evidence in their ongoing fraud investigation.

The German payments company collapsed in June, shortly after the company admitted that €1.9 billion in its accounts probably didn’t exist.

Munich prosecutors are investigating the circumstances of the company’s collapse and arrested Wirecard’s former CEO Markus Braun in June over false accounting and market manipulation. Braun has not publicly commented on the charges but has consistently denied wrongdoing.

 

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