Criminal Finances Bill receives royal assent

The Criminal Finances Bill 2016-17 received royal assent on Thursday 27 April. The Criminal Finances Act 2017 (the Act), which has not yet come into force in its entirety, will introduce two new corporate offences of "failure to prevent facilitation of tax evasion", introduce new powers for enforcement agencies, and amend the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and anti-terrorism legislation. The Act is intended to "tackle money laundering and corruption, recover the proceeds of crime and counter terrorist financing".

It is not yet known when they key provisions of the Act will come into force.

More details will be posted shortly.

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Filed under Corporate Crime, Sanctions and Money Laundering, UK

New UK financial sanctions enforcement powers come into force

On 1 April 2017, Part 8 of the Policing and Crime Act 2017 (the “Act”) came into force, introducing new powers for HM Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (“OFSI”) to enforce financial sanctions in the UK.

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Filed under Corporate Crime, Sanctions and Money Laundering, UK

SFC and HKMA continue to prioritise AML/CFT compliance with six new disciplinary actions in Hong Kong

Since early March 2017, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) in Hong Kong have collectively taken disciplinary actions against five regulated entities and an individual relating to breaches of anti-money laundering (AML) and counter financing of terrorism (CFT) regulatory requirements. The entities were fined amounts ranging from HK$2.6 million to HK$7 million, whereas the individual was banned from re-entering the industry for nine months.

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Filed under Asia, Hong Kong, Sanctions and Money Laundering

Supreme Court clarifies what is required for “identification” in respect of third party rights under s393 FSMA

In a judgment highly anticipated by firms and their senior managers as well as the regulators, the Supreme Court has overturned decisions of the Court of Appeal and Upper Tribunal, holding in FCA v Macris [2017] UKSC 19 that Achilles Macris was not identified in certain enforcement notices and therefore was not entitled to third party rights.

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FCA orders listed company to compensate investors following market abuse

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has ordered that Tesco plc and Tesco Stores Limited (together, Tesco) pay compensation to certain Tesco shareholders and bondholders following the FCA's finding that they committed market abuse in relation to a trading update published in August 2014. 

On 29 August 2014, Tesco plc published, via a regulatory information service, a trading update which contained a statement as to its expected trading profit for half-year period just ended (the August trading update).  In producing that update, Tesco plc relied on information provided to it by its wholly-owned subsidiary, Tesco Stores Limited, which was not correct.  On 22 September 2014, Tesco plc published a further trading update in which it announced that it had “identified an overstatement of its expected profit for the half year, principally due to the accelerated recognition of commercial income and delayed accrual of costs.”

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Filed under UK, UK Regulations

Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal quashes conviction of TVB manager in high profile bribery case

The Court of Final Appeal has handed down an important judgment regarding bribery charges against former TVB general manager and TV presenter, Stephen Chan and his assistant, Tseng Pei-kun. In a case spanning seven years, Chan and Tseng were twice acquitted at first instance but found guilty of bribery by the Court of Appeal in November 2015. Tseng was found by the Court of Appeal to have offered, and Chan to have accepted, an unlawful advantage under section 9 of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (POBO), which governs bribery between private sector actors in Hong Kong.

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Filed under Asia, Bribery and Corruption, Hong Kong

Bank win in mis-selling case confirmed by Hong Kong’s highest court

On 17 February 2017, the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal brought to a close the long-running case of DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited v Sit Pan Jit (FAMV 45/2016).

The dispute concerned a claim by DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited (DBS) against its former customer, Sit Pan Jit, for failing to meet margin calls in respect of certain investments, and a counterclaim by Mr Sit against DBS for mis-selling such investments based on misrepresentation, breach of duties in contract and/or tort (common law and statutory) and breach of fiduciary duties. 

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Filed under Asia, Hong Kong

Hong Kong court convicts and sentences former Chief Executive

Last Friday, the former chief executive of Hong Kong, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, was convicted by a criminal court on a charge of misconduct in public office. This is a first-of-its-kind conviction and again signals the willingness of Hong Kong's Department of Justice and the Independent Commission Against Corruption to investigate and prosecute even the most senior government officials. Mr Tsang was sentenced earlier today and received a custodial sentence of 20 months in prison.

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Filed under Asia, Bribery and Corruption, Corporate Crime, Hong Kong

Recent SFC actions highlight increased regulatory focus on directors in Hong Kong, including INEDs

The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) in Hong Kong has recently sought disqualification orders against listed company directors in a number of court actions commenced in the past few months.  The proceedings against the directors have been brought under section 214 of the Securities and Futures Ordinance.  If successful, the court has the power to disqualify the relevant directors from being directors or from being involved, directly or indirectly, in the management of any corporation for up to 15 years. The SFC is also seeking compensation orders from certain directors in some cases.

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Filed under Asia, Hong Kong

Hong Kong SFC urges intermediaries to review compliance with AML/CFT requirements following identification of deficiencies

On 26 January 2017, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) issued a circular (with Appendix 1, Appendix 2 and Appendix 3) highlighting its concerns regarding compliance by licensed corporations (LCs) and associated entities (AEs) with anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) requirements.  The circular sets out the deficiencies and inadequacies in intermediaries' AML/CFT policies, procedures and controls (AML/CFT systems) identified by the SFC in the course of its routine and thematic inspections conducted in 2016.  To assist intermediaries, the SFC has further set out some examples of good practices which LCs and AEs are encouraged to consider adopting.

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Filed under Asia, Hong Kong, Sanctions and Money Laundering