New podcast on conducting internal investigations in Asia

Robert Hunt, a partner in the firm’s corporate crime and investigations practice, has recorded a podcast for the Corporate Compliance and Ethics Blog on trends in internal investigations in Asia.

Whilst investigations used to be largely corruption-related, Rob is seeing an increasing number of investigations into sales and revenue fraud, money laundering and sanctions. Robert discusses these as well as the rise of data privacy and privilege issues and the role played by language and culture in investigations.

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Parliamentary Reports Back Improvements to the Supervision and Prosecution of Economic Crime

In this article we summarise some of the key points arising from two important reports regarding economic crime in the UK which have been published in recent weeks.

On 8 March 2019, the House of Commons’ Treasury Committee published its “Economic Crime – Anti-money laundering supervision and sanctions implementation” report (the “Treasury Committee Report”), which suggests improvements to be made in order to tackle economic crime and develop anti-money laundering (“AML”) supervision.

On 14 March 2019, the House of Lords’ Select Committee on the Bribery Act 2010 (“UKBA”) published a report titled “The Bribery Act 2010: post-legislative scrutiny” (the “UKBA Report”) which considered whether the Act is achieving its intended purposes.

We outline some of the key conclusions and recommendations of the reports, including in relation to:

  • Proposed Legislative Reform – including potential changes to corporate criminal liability and the Bribery Act Guidance in relation to the “adequate procedures” defence and corporate hospitality;
  • Deferred Prosecution Agreements (“DPAs”) – suggested improvements including in relation to the court’s discretion, discounts, the prosecution of individuals and their application to smaller companies;
  • AML Supervision – the risks of the current approach to AML supervision by multiple bodies and suggested improvements;
  • Financials Sanctions – the effectiveness of sanctions for economic crime, including the possibility of introducing a discretion to block UK listings on the grounds of national security and the influence of e.g. Russian money in the UK;
  • Derisking – recommend strategic action to combat derisking;
  • Suspicious Activity Reports (“SARs”) – consideration of the SARs reform programme and suggested improvements;
  • Information Flows – potential information flows at bank level and the National Economic Crime Centre’s (the “NECC”) role as a co-ordinator of law enforcement, regulators and the private sector; and
  • Resources and Delays – the impact of delays and a lack of resources on combatting economic crime.

Please click here to read our full briefing.

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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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The importance of supply chain due diligence and the risks of modern slavery – OFAC settles North Korean sanctions case with fine

Authors: Kyle Wombolt, Jeremy Birch, Antony Crockett and Emily Purvis.

A recent enforcement action by the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) against US company e.l.f Cosmetics Inc (ELF) highlights the importance of supply chain due diligence in conducting cross border business. The action against ELF reflects a global trend of increased regulatory focus on supply chains in relation to a range of business conduct issues, including corruption, modern slavery, and other human rights violations. To mitigate sanction violation risk, companies should verify the country of origin of goods and services in their supply chains.

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HERBERT SMITH FREEHILLS’ 2019 GUIDE TO CORPORATE INVESTIGATIONS IN CHINA

Authors: Kyle Wombolt and Anita Phillips

Kyle Wombolt, global head of corporate crime and investigations, and Anita Phillips, professional support consultant, have updated their guide to corporate investigations in China. This forms part of GIR’s acclaimed text, The Practitioner’s Guide to Global Investigations 2019, third edition. It is regarded as the only text covering the nuts and bolts of multi-jurisdictional corporate investigations.

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OFAC Imposes Blocking Sanctions on PdVSA

Authors: Susannah Cogman, Partner, London; Daniel Hudson, Partner, London; Jonathan Cross, Counsel, New York; Geng Li, Associate, New York; and Christopher Milazzo, Associate, New York.

On January 28, 2019, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) announced the designation of Venezuelan state-owned oil producer Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) as a Specially Designated National (“SDN”), which follows the White House’s earlier announcement recognizing Venezuelan National Assembly President Juan Guaidó as the Interim President of Venezuela. The sanctions are significant because PdVSA has a monopoly in the Venezuelan oil sector and contributes significantly to Venezuela’s foreign trade income. Concurrent with the designation announcement, OFAC also issued a number of general licenses that authorize a range of activities involving PdVSA and its subsidiaries.

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Corporate Crime update – December 2018

Welcome to the December 2018 edition of our corporate crime update – our round up of developments in relation to corruption, money laundering, fraud, sanctions and related matters.

This month, we would like to wish all of our regular readers a very happy, and hopefully corporate crime free, festive season! 

For the full update on each jurisdiction, please click on the name of the jurisdiction below. Continue reading

US Appellate Court Rejects DOJ’s Expansive Use of Conspiracy for FCPA Jurisdiction

On August 24, 2018, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the government’s broad interpretation of the jurisdictional reach of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) and held the government could not use aiding and abetting and conspiracy theories to prosecute an individual who was not otherwise covered by the FCPA. Specifically, the Court held that the FCPA does not apply to foreign nationals without ties to US entities for foreign bribery crimes.  In this briefing, our New York team discusses the decision and its implications.

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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

Corporate Crime update – May 2018

Welcome to the May 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.

We are proud to announce that the Corporate Crime and Investigations practice at Herbert Smith Freehills has been awarded Investigation Firm of the Year at the Who’s Who Legal Awards 2018. Continue reading