Unexplained Wealth Orders: How might this new investigative tool affect you?

From 31 January 2018, UK authorities can use new and expansive investigative powers to require both individuals and corporate bodies to provide information as to how they acquired property. Known as Unexplained Wealth Orders (“UWOs”), these new obligations to disclose information can apply to property anywhere in the world and can be served on persons outside the UK. This briefing considers the legal framework behind UWOs, their interaction with other criminal and civil regimes, and the practical implications of UWOs on individuals, institutions and trustees. Continue reading

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Filed under Bribery and Corruption, Corporate Crime, Investigations, Sanctions and Money Laundering, Sector Updates by Herbert Smith Freehills

Open Banking catching the eye of global regulators: Developments in Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia

The banking industry has undergone rapid change in recent years with the rise of virtual currency, fintech and digital innovation challenging the status quo. One of the key developments emerging in the last couple of years is the concept of Open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for use in the banking industry, or Open Banking. Continue reading

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Filed under Banking, Hong Kong, Singapore

HONG KONG ENHANCES ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING AND COUNTER-TERRORIST FINANCING REQUIREMENTS FOR NON-FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS

From 1 March 2018, a number of Hong Kong businesses and professions will be subject to enhanced customer due diligence and record-keeping obligations in light of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (Financial Institutions) (Amendment) Ordinance. The amendment introduces changes to the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Ordinance (Cap. 615) (AMLO). Continue reading

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Filed under Announcements, Bribery and Corruption, Hong Kong, Sanctions and Money Laundering

High Court decision supports orthodox view of litigation privilege in an investigations context

The High Court has found that documents prepared by a defendant in the course of an investigation into allegations by HMRC were protected by litigation privilege: Bilta (UK) Ltd (in liquidation) & ors v Royal Bank of Scotland Plc & anor [2017] EWHC 3535 (Ch).  The decision arguably departs from the reasoning in the controversial decision in SFO v ENRC [2017] EWHC 1017 (considered here), where the court took a very strict approach to the question of whether documents prepared in the course of an investigation were for the dominant purpose of litigation.     Continue reading

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Filed under Commercial Litigation, Corporate Crime, Investigations, UK

Corporate Crime update – January 2018

Welcome to the January 2018 edition of our corporate crime update – our round up of developments in relation to corruption, money laundering, fraud, sanctions and related matters. Our update now covers a number of jurisdictions. For the full update on each jurisdiction, please click on the name of the jurisdiction below.  Continue reading

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Filed under Bribery and Corruption, Client Money, Corporate Crime, Herbert Smith Freehills, Investigations, Sector Updates by Herbert Smith Freehills

HONG KONG: NEW LICENSING REGIME FOR TRUST AND COMPANY SERVICE PROVIDERS TO COME INTO FORCE ON 1 MARCH 2018

The Companies Registry announced on 25 January 2018 that a new licensing regime for trust and company service providers (TCSPs) will come into force on 1 March 2018 under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Ordinance (Cap. 615) (AMLO).

A new regime requiring companies to keep and maintain Significant Controllers Registers will also come into force on 1 March 2018, following the passing of the Companies (Amendment) Bill 2017 on 24 January 2018. Continue reading

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Filed under Bribery and Corruption, Hong Kong, Non-UK regulation, Sanctions and Money Laundering, Sector Updates by Herbert Smith Freehills

GROUP-WIDE AML/CTF COMPLIANCE: NEW OBLIGATIONS FOR FIRMS WITH OVERSEAS BRANCHES AND SUBSIDIARIES?

In December 2017, the European Supervisory Authorities published a Report on draft Joint Regulatory Technical Standards (“RTS“) on the measures that credit and financial institutions should take to manage money laundering risk in their non-EU overseas branches and subsidiaries. The RTS focusses on the measures that EU firms must adopt when local law prevents their branches and subsidiaries sharing information with them for anti-money laundering purposes. To date, the draft RTS has received little attention, but it is potentially of significant importance to firms with branches and subsidiaries in non-EU jurisdictions with strict banking secrecy or data privacy requirements, as it may require them to adopt new monitoring strategies and arrangements. In this briefing we summarise the background to and requirements of the draft RTS. Continue reading

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Filed under Bribery and Corruption, EU, European Regulation, Sanctions and Money Laundering, Sector Updates by Herbert Smith Freehills

Singapore’s first cryptocurrency dispute to go to trial

There has been a significant increase in interest in, and the use of, cryptocurrencies in recent times. Cryptocurrencies are essentially de-centralised virtual currencies, which are not linked to any particular country, nor regulated by any central bank or monetary authority.

In late December 2017, the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC) decided that the nation’s first dispute involving cryptocurrency merits a full trial. While this case does not involve questions of the legality of cryptocurrency itself, it involves issues relating to the manner in which such cryptocurrencies are traded.   Continue reading

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Filed under Announcements, Asia, Singapore

SINGAPORE ENTITY TO PAY SIGNIFICANT PENALTY FOR BRIBERY ABROAD

Just before Christmas Keppel Offshore & Marine Ltd, a Singapore incorporated company, entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with the United States Department of Justice. The DPA provides for payment of penalties of over US$400 million. The penalties are to be divided between the United States Treasury and the governments of Brazil and Singapore. Continue reading

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Filed under Asia, Bribery and Corruption, Sanctions and Money Laundering

LOCAL REGULATORS WASTE NO TIME DEPLOYING CHINA’S ANTI-UNFAIR COMPETITION LAW

China’s amended Anti-Unfair Corruption Law (AUCL) has been in force only a matter of weeks, yet the body charged with investigating potential AUCL violations, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), has already announced two investigations. China’s Nanjing and Hefei AICs are the municipal arms of SAIC reported to be investigating separate alleged breaches of the “acts of confusion” offences under Article 6. The investigations involve alleged theft of characters / writing style and misuse of brand names and product design, respectively. The investigations appear to capitalise in part on the looser criterion for confusion under the new law (sufficiency to mislead). Continue reading

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Filed under Announcements, Bribery and Corruption, China, Hong Kong, Sector Updates by Herbert Smith Freehills