Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

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Friday, 29 May 2020

US charges 33 in $2.5 billion North Korean money laundering indictment

The US Justice Department (DOJ) has charged 33 North Korean and Chinese citizens with using 250 front companies to process payments of at least $2.5 billion in violation of US sanctions.

The DOJ unsealed a 2018 indictment on 28 May that revealed North Korea’s alleged scheme to illegally access US financial markets by setting up covert branches of its state-owned trade bank in Thailand, Libya, Austria, Russia, Kuwait and China.

The indictment says that the US has frozen $63.5 million of funds in connection with the scheme. 

São Paulo investigates Carrefour Brazil in bribery probe

The city of São Paulo is investigating wholesaler Atacadão, a subsidiary of French supermarket chain Carrefour, over an alleged bribery scheme that could see the local unit fined up to 20% of its gross turnover, according to Reuters.

The administrative investigation reportedly stems from a criminal case in which Atacadão representatives allegedly paid São Paulo inspectors $280,000 to operate a headquarters and adjoining shop in the city without a licence. 

Carrefour Brazil reportedly said it is unaware of the probe but will cooperate with authorities.

HMRC accuses General Electric of fraud in tax dispute

The UK tax authority has accused General Electric (GE) of making fraudulent misrepresentations to improperly claim tax relief twice on a single loan, according to the Financial Times.

Lawyers for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) reportedly made the allegations at the High Court of England and Wales on 28 May as part of a long-running claim against the US company.

HMRC is reportedly attempting to recoup $1 billion in unpaid taxes from GE. 

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