A blog post on 25th March from The FCPA Blog claimed that the ADB had debarred several former Alstom companies now owned by GE Power for up to 76 months because of fraud and bribery committed on 2 projects in Egypt that were financed by ADB. ADB said the offences occurred in 2006 and 2011, but GE Power acquired the former Alstom companies in 2015. The companies affected are Alstom Egypt for Power Projects S.A.E. (based in Cairo), and German companies GE Power Systems GmbH and GE Power GmbH (formerly Alstom Power GmbH). It also said that GE Power promised to collaborate with the African Development Bank’s Office of Integrity and Anti-Corruption “in the fight against corruption in the power generation and transmission sector”.
An article in the Contemporary Security Policy journal published on 25th March poses the question: how can a multilateral, norms-based international regime like UN SCR 540 contend with extraterritorial enforcement based on national interests? The article argues that increased US extraterritorial counter-proliferation policies are a consequence of the inconsistent implementation of UN SCR 1540, adaptive and resilient proliferation networks, and a history of expanding legal interpretations of jurisdiction. It finds that while US extra-territorial enforcement can effectively disrupt networks hiding in overseas jurisdictions, doing so creates disincentives for states to implement UN SCR 1540 obligations and undermines broader non-proliferation objectives.
Global Compliance News reported on 26th March that the House of Representatives has passed the Treasury Laws Amendment Bill 2018. Although the Bill is yet to receive royal assent, the new whistleblowing legislation will most likely commence operation on 1st July. The Bill, which was amended in its passage through the Senate in December last year, will consolidate and expand the existing private sector whistleblowing regime. The Bill includes an expansion of the types of persons that qualify for whistleblowing protections – these protections also extend to whistleblowers who disclose misconduct relating to an entity’s tax affairs; and the requirement for public and certain larger private companies to have in place compliant whistleblowing policies.
Silicon Canals in the Netherlands on 22nd March reported that Uber is planning to expand its lesser-known service called Uber Freight in Europe in April. This new business from Uber aims to helps truck drivers connect with shipping companies, and comes a couple of years after it entered the US market in an attempt to revitalise the trucking industry and bring new opportunities to both carriers and shippers across the country. The article focuses on 9 other European start-ups hoping to give Uber competition.
On 25th March, White & Case published an article saying that Canada legalised recreational cannabis in October 2018 and it may be that other countries follow suit. UK and US investors, and those who facilitate investments in legal recreational cannabis businesses overseas, need to be aware of money laundering risks that arise and what they can do to protect themselves. It points out that, in the UK, cannabis is a controlled drug and it remains unlawful to possess, produce, grow and sell cannabis for recreational purposes. While it may be legal in Canada, funds generated due to investment in the recreational cannabis sector may be classified as proceeds of crime in the UK. In the US, funds derived strictly from Canada’s legal cannabis sector may not necessarily represent proceeds of crime, but there are sufficient risks for a US investor to be wary – and it says the situation in the US is far from straightforward. The article suggests that, if UK investors, or others, are concerned that they may commit a substantive money laundering offence relating to investing in overseas cannabis production or distribution, they can make a SAR seeking consent to proceed from the NCA. If consent is granted, then the investor will have a defence to a substantive money laundering offence in relation to the relevant transaction.
Swiss law firm Meyerlustenberger Lachenal published an article on 24th March about the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act (CLOUD Act), enacted in the US last year. It allows the US government to access – under certain circumstances – data stored worldwide. It considers the possible effects of the Act for Swiss companies – saying that they must be aware of the risks associated with choosing a cloud provider that is potentially subject to the CLOUD Act. The articles says that CLOUD Act allows US government authorities to avoid international mutual legal assistance rules and tools, and it also establishes a framework for bilateral agreements on cross-border data requests.