Anti-money laundering and anti-bribery systems and controls at asset management firms: FCA thematic review

In October 2013, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published the much-anticipated report of its thematic review into anti-money laundering (AML) and anti-bribery and corruption (ABC) systems and controls at asset management and platform firms.  The report follows the FSA/FCA’s previous thematic reviews of ABC controls in commercial insurance broking (2010), ABC controls in investment banks (2012), and AML and sanctions controls in trade finance (2013).  As with other thematic work, whilst the review is of a particular sector, the FCA expressly expects other regulated firms to consider the findings and examples of good and poor practice. Continue reading

SFO brings first Bribery Act charges

The Serious Fraud Office (“SFO“) had its first day in court in a Bribery Act prosecution on 24 September 2013, with three of four defendants connected with a £23m fraud at Sustainable AgroEnergy plc (“AgroEnergy“) facing charges of making and accepting a financial advantage contrary to sections 1(1) and 2(1) of the Bribery Act 2010. Continue reading

Recent Sanctions Developments: EU relaxes certain Syrian sanctions and amends measures relating to North Korea, Iran and Tunisia; US relaxes Myanmar sanctions

The EU has recently published a new Regulation (Regulation 697/2013 of 22 July 2013 (“Regulation 697/2013”)) which amends Regulation 36/2012, the key piece of legislation setting out the EU’s sanctions against Syria.  In this briefing we analyse the new provisions and provide an update on other recent changes to EU and US sanctions. Continue reading

New EU Directive: Reporting by Extractive Companies on Government Payments

The European Parliament and Council of Ministers have agreed the final form of the new EU rules for the disclosure, on a project by project basis, of payments to governments by companies operating in the extractive  industries. The EU’s agreement is part of a suite of transparency initiatives which are designed to promote good governance and improved national development outcomes for developing countries.

All large companies “active” in the oil, gas and minerals industries or the logging of primary forests will be affected and the rules will apply to both EU-incorporated companies and non-EU companies that have a listing in the EU.

We have summarised in a briefing the key aspects of the new requirements, when they will come into force and how they compare with the similar requirements being introduced in the United States under the Dodd-Frank Act.

Please email Fiona Rafla if you would like a copy of this briefing.

EU takes steps towards easing Zimbabwe sanctions

Susannah Cogman and Jeremy Sher comment on the EU’s recent easing of the Zimbabwe sanctions regime.

On 19 February 2013, the European Union (“EU“) took a small step towards easing its sanctions regime in relation to Zimbabwe.  Twenty one individuals and one entity were removed from the EU’s list of designated persons, and the travel ban imposed on six members of the Government was suspended.  These twenty one designated persons had been subject to the EU’s asset freezing regime under Council Regulation (EC) No 314/2004.  These amendments have effect from 21 February 2013.

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Government gives green light to Deferred Prosecution Agreements

In our earlier briefing we reported on the Government’s consultation to introduce Deferred Prosecution Agreements (“DPAs”) – a new mechanism for addressing criminal conduct by commercial organisations. On 23 October, the Ministry of Justice published its Response to that Consultation and confirmed that it intends to introduce DPAs by way of an amendment to the Crime and Courts Bill currently before the House of Lords. In this briefing we consider the key aspects of the Government’s consultation response (the “Response”) and the current DPA proposals.

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Deferred Prosecution Agreements consultation – one week to go!

On 17 May 2012 the Ministry of Justice published a consultation paper ‘Consultation on a new enforcement tool to deal with economic crime committed by commercial organisations: Deferred prosecution agreements‘.  The paper proposes – as an alternative to the current options of criminal prosecution or a civil recovery order – a variant of the US model of Deferred Prosecution Agreements (“DPAs”) to address offending by corporate entities. The consultation (https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/deferred-prosecution-agreements) is open until 9 August 2012.  At recent meetings, the Solicitor General has urged stakeholders to respond to the consultation, so that the Government has a wide range of inputs on this important subject.  This briefing summarises the key elements of the proposal and highlights some of the potentially troubling aspects for companies which may be addressed in consultation responses. Continue reading