Corporate Crime Update – Winter 2019

Welcome to the Winter 2019 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. Below we provide a brief overview of what is covered in each update.

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Whistleblower reform in Australia – new legislation enacted

Whistleblower reform is underway in Australia after the Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whistleblower Protections) Bill 2017 (Bill) was passed on 19 February 2019.

The new law is likely to commence on 1 July 2019, assuming Royal Assent is given by 1 April 2019.  If this occurs, the obligation for public companies to have a compliant whistleblower policy will apply from 1 January 2020 (potentially later for large proprietary companies).

In this briefing, our Australian team explain a number of the key changes that the new law will introduce and the considerations that organisations should be thinking about in terms of implementing these changes in their businesses, or considering if existing global processes are compliant.  There have been a number of changes to the new law since the initial Bill was first read in December 2017 so, even if organisations have previously considered the new law in one of its former iterations, the final version now needs to be assessed.

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SFC publishes findings and guidance on protection of client assets following reviews of brokers’ internal controls and supervision of account executives

Last month, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) published a circular, a report and a self-assessment checklist to provide guidance on the standards expected of licensed corporations (LCs) regarding internal controls for the protection of client assets and supervision of account executives (AEs). For our full briefing, please click here.

China’s new law on judicial assistance in criminal matters will impact investigations

The People’s Republic of China recently enacted a new law that will impact foreign authorities, corporations and individuals involved in overseas criminal enforcement actions. The Law on International Judicial Assistance in Criminal Matters allows Chinese authorities to block requests for documents, testimony and assets requested in international criminal investigations. Continue reading

Corporate Crime autumn update 2018

Welcome to the autumn 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 where we provide a brief overview of what is covered. Continue reading

FATCA Update: First-ever conviction signals increased enforcement risk

The former CEO of Saint Vincent-based Loyal Bank pleaded guilty and was convicted on 11 September of conspiring to defraud the US by failing to comply with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). This is the first conviction obtained by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) since FATCA came into effect in 2014 and was the result of a sting operation. The FBI worked with the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the City of London Police, the UK Financial Conduct Authority and the Hungarian National Bureau of Investigation. The offender’s sentencing date is yet to be scheduled and he is facing a maximum of five years in prison.

This conviction, on the heels of a US governmental report critical of the IRS’s limited use of FATCA, could mark a more active enforcement environment going forward. Under FATCA, certain foreign financial institutions (FFI) must report US citizens’ account information to the IRS and the US has intergovernmental agreements with Hong Kong and other Asian jurisdictions to facilitate this. The DOJ has indicated that financial institutions in Hong Kong and Singapore are on the US authorities’ priority list in terms of FATCA enforcement. As such, both US citizens and financial institutions in the region should remain cognisant of FATCA’s requirements and ensure compliance. For our full briefing on the conviction, please click here.

 

Kyle Wombolt
Kyle Wombolt
Head of Global Corporate Crime & Investigations Practice, Hong Kong
+852 2101 4005
Robert Hunt
Robert Hunt
Partner, Hong Kong
+852 2101 4128
Pamela Kiesselbach
Pamela Kiesselbach
Senior Registered Foreign Lawyer (England and Wales), Hong Kong
+852 2101 4032

Jeremy Birch
Jeremy Birch
Senior Associate, Hong Kong
+852 2101 4195

HONG KONG’S ANTI-GRAFT COMMISSIONER WARNS OF CORRUPTION ON BELT AND ROAD

The head of Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has warned local investors to beware of rampant corruption in some Belt and Road countries.

ICAC commissioner Simon Peh Yun-Lu pledged the support of the agency, one of the world’s most respected and effective anti-corruption agencies, in helping investors and Belt and Road countries themselves with graft training.

Concern at corruption is far from new; President Xi Jinping highlighted the need for international counter-corruption cooperation at China’s Belt and Road Forum in May 2017. Continue reading

PASSAGE OF NEW SANCTIONS LEGISLATION AND PUBLICATION OF UPDATED GUIDANCE

On 24 May 2018, it was announced that the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act (the “Act”) had received Royal Assent. The Act is the first piece of UK primary legislation governing the post-Brexit legal position and will create a post-Brexit framework for the imposition and enforcement of sanctions and the replication of the pre-Brexit anti-money laundering (“AML”) compliance regime. Continue reading