Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

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Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Alleged Ghosn accomplice pleads not guilty in Japan

Former Nissan executive Greg Kelly has reportedly denied allegations that he understated remuneration paid to ex-company chairman Carlos Ghosn, in the first hearing of the headline-grabbing trial in Tokyo on 15 September.

Japanese prosecutors allege that Ghosn, Kelly and Nissan made false statements in annual securities reports. Nissan pleaded guilty at the hearing through a company representative.

Ghosn wasn’t present. He fled Japan to Lebanon in December. Japanese authorities have charged him with embezzling up to €11 million, aggravated breach of trust and misstating his income.

Ghosn has consistently denied wrongdoing.

US judge in spoofing trial unconcerned by allegedly unnecessary MLAT requests

A Chicago federal judge has rejected allegations that the US Justice Department committed misconduct by allegedly sending unnecessary mutual legal assistance (MLAT) requests to the UK, ahead of a high-profile spoofing trial against former Deutsche Bank traders James Vorley and Cedric Chanu that started in Chicago on 14 September.

News of the allegedly suspect requests broke in February, when a former Washington, DC, federal prosecutor alleged that prosecutors in two separate fraud cases he had worked on asked for evidence held in the UK solely to win more time to file charges.

The allegations have alarmed lawyers who had formerly worked at the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which handled at least one of the MLAT requests. 

US District Court Judge John Tharp ruled on 12 September that while sending unnecessary MLAT requests may not be “good policy” for the DOJ it does not constitute a breach of the US tolling statute – which allows the court to extend the statute of limitations for cases requiring evidence from abroad.

Fifa mulls funding anti-corruption in sport agency

Gianni Infantino, president of the world football governing body Fifa, has said that the organisaton would contribute to the creation of a global agency dedicated to fighting corruption in sport, according to reports.

Infantino reportedly said that such an agency might “help make sport safe in the decades to come”. He made the comments on 14 September while signing an anti-corruption cooperation agreement between Fifa and the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime.

Infantino signed the agreement on the same day that a Swiss trial began against Nasser al-Khelaifi, the chairman of beIN Media Group, and former Fifa secretary general Jérôme Valcke, over alleged corruption tied to football media rights.

Infantino himself is under investigation for alleged secret meetings he had with Switzerland’s former attorney general, Michael Lauber. Both deny wrongdoing.

Belgium investigates fashion company for money laundering

A Belgian probe into alleged market manipulation and forgery at bankrupt fashion company FNG has been expanded to include suspicions of money laundering, De Tijd reports.

An Antwerp-based investigative judge is looking into FNG’s purchase of cheap clothing in Asia and related suspicious transactions in Switzerland and Hong Kong. 

One of the biggest questions is how FNG lost €94 million as part of the purchases, which later contributed to the collapse of three other fashion brands, according to De Tijd.

The judge has also searched the Brussels office of NautaDutilh, a law firm acting for FNG. M&A partner Elke Janssens is being treated as a suspect, as are FNGs founders: Dieter Penninckx, Anja Maes and Manu Bracke. NautaDutilh declined to comment to De Tijd.

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