Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

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Monday, 29 June 2020

Costa Rica asks Spain and Brazil for assistance in bribery probe

Costa Rica’s Deputy Prosecutor's Office for Probity, Transparency and Anti-Corruption (Fapta) has issued mutual legal assistance requests to Spain and Brazil as it investigates two construction companies for bribery, according to reports.

Fapta wishes to gather evidence against Spanish company Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas (FCC) and Brazil’s OAS over allegations they paid bribes to win public works contracts in Costa Rica. Fapta’s investigation into the firms is still in its preliminary stage.

In October, Spain’s National Court charged FCC with corruption linked to €82 million it paid in a series of construction projects in Central America between 2009 and 2014. The company was part of a consortium headed by Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.

Swiss prosecutors investigate Michel Platini in Fifa probe

Switzerland’s Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is investigating the former president of the Union of European Football Associations, Michel Platini, over corruption allegations, according to the Associated Press.

The OAG is reportedly probing Platini over a £1.3 million payment that then-Fifa president Sepp Blatter made to Platini in 2011.

Switzerland’s highest court upheld a four-year ban from working in football against Platini in 2017 over the payment. Platini and Blatter say the payment was a legitimate expense to cover work Platini had done for Fifa in previous years.

Attorney General Michael Lauber is currently facing impeachment proceedings over allegations of gross dereliction of duty linked to his handling of the Fifa bribery scandal. He denies wrongdoing.

Zimbabwe’s CBZ Holdings under OFAC investigation

The parent company of Zimbabwean financial institution CBZ Bank said in a market announcement on 26 June that it is cooperating with an investigation by the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

The company, CBZ Holdings, said that OFAC’s investigation focuses on historical transactions with a sanctioned individual or entity.

CBZ Holdings said it cannot predict when it will resolve the matter or if it will face a fine over the conduct. 

CBZ Holdings first disclosed the matter in a market filing on 31 December 2017.

UK NCA faces £1.5 million costs bill after failed wealth order

The two Kazakh nationals whose companies were the targets of three UK National Crime Agency (NCA) unexplained wealth orders (UWO) have applied to recover £1.5 million in legal costs from the agency after successfully dismissing the order, their spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

The High Court of England and Wales ordered the NCA to pay the legal costs of Nurali Aliyev and Dariga Nazarbayeva on 8 April after ruling that the agency had failed to show “reasonable grounds” to suspect that five London properties were purchased with illicit funds.

On 19 June, the Court of Appeal of England and Wales denied the NCA’s application to appeal against the decision.

The NCA has not commented on the matter.

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