On 11th January, Ogier published an article, with links, about changes made to address the concerns of the EU Code of Conduct Group, with new legislation requiring certain entities to demonstrate economic substance in the jurisdictions.
An article from RUSI on 11th January argues that the UK government should use unexplained wealth orders to reduce harm, not reap headlines. It says that Transparency International UK claims to have identified £4.4 billion-worth of UK properties bought with suspicious wealth and has even offered a handy list of targets for the police to consider. The author argues that prioritising the deployment of scarce resources and funding against the unexplained wealth of organised crime groups (that cause real problems in communities such as through the supply of illegal drugs) not only makes political sense; it also makes strategic, tactical and economic sense. He says that voters on the whole are not directly affected by oligarchs and kleptocrats, whilst the threat posed and harm inflicted by organised crime is real. Taking property and other assets off organised crime groups has a real impact. However, he says one should not turn a blind eye to those corrupt PEP that take advantage of the financial and investment services that London has to offer. But, he says, the strategy promoted by the government should empower and support police forces across the country to do just that, in particular by building expertise in civil confiscation in wider UK policing beyond the NCA where the focus is confined to the high-end, multi-million targets.
On 11th January, Bird & Bird published a briefing saying that an amendment to the law in Malaysia introduces corporate liability for corruption, and also imposes personal liability on directors, controller and management – described as “a new dawn in Malaysia in the fight against corruption”. It is said to further than the UK Bribery Act, pinning responsibility squarely on directors, controllers and management for the commercial organisation’s corrupt acts, and beyond the law of Singapore in its reach and the size of penalties. Crucially, when the new provisions are brought formally into effect, once an offence is committed by a commercial organisation, a director, controller or person concerned with management is deemed to have committed that offence unless that person proves that the offence was committed without his consent or connivance and that he exercised due diligence to prevent the commission of the offence as he ought to have exercised, having regard to the nature of his function in that capacity and to the circumstances.
On 11th January, the Wall Street Journal reported that Polish authorities have detained and charged the local sales director of Huawei Technologies, a Chinese national, with conducting high-level espionage on behalf of China, amid widening global scrutiny by Washington and its allies of the technology giant.