On 21st June, law firm Clifford Chance released its latest Anti-Bribery and Corruption Review. Among the highlights are that the theme of corporate criminal liability is a focus for governments with new initiatives in Australia, Germany and Poland. Germany has introduced a new law to implement a nationwide central competition register specifically covering corruption-related offences, while China has introduced stricter rules on commercial bribery. A draft Bill in Australia proposes further strengthening of the criminal offence of bribing foreign public officials, while both Russia and Spain have acted to tighten rules on bribery in public procurement. Italy has adopted new legislation to facilitate whistleblowing and, at the same time, the US and France have both introduced new incentives for companies to disclose corruption offences voluntarily and to co-operate with prosecutors during investigations, while Japan is proposing to implement a similar regime.
Ballard Spahr on 21st June published an article reporting on progress of this US legislation. It says that the new draft eliminates the beneficial ownership provision entirely; in its place, the Bill merely requires the Comptroller General “to submit a report evaluating the effectiveness of the collection of beneficial ownership information under the Customer Due Diligence regulation as well as the regulatory burden and costs imposed on financial institutions subject to it”.
Finance Magnates on 21st June reports that 50 such companies are now listed on the Financial Services and Markets Authority warning page under the headline: CRYPTOCURRENCY TRADING PLATFORMS: BEWARE OF FRAUD!
On 21st June, Notice to Exporters 2018/15 notified that the Export Control Joint Unit control list classification service will re-open for use on 25th June. The service has been suspended since June 2014 for operational reasons. However, assessments against goods within sanction lists will not be available and if you wish to export to a country with restrictive measures (sanctions) legislation in force, one would need to consider the legislation carefully, seeking independent legal advice as required. Available through the online SPIRE system, the service offers assessment of goods against the UK strategic export control list.
In its 19th June review of recent litigation developments in Jersey, Ogier provided an update on the above law. It says that following Moneyval’s inspection of Jersey’s AML regime in 2015 and its subsequent report issued in May 2016 there has been a focus in Jersey to implement law and policy that will lead to more prosecutions related to financial crime. One of the key recommendations in the MONEYVAL report was the introduction of a non-conviction based confiscation regime in Jersey to apply in parallel with the conviction-based system. The Draft Law introduces the concept of a “civil forfeiture investigation”. The law includes provisions for production orders; disclosure orders; account monitoring orders against banks; and customer information orders against banks.
The South China Morning Post on 21st June reported that leaked files show passports of at least 4 Japanese nationals were used for identification when the offshore companies were established. The companies involved operated Japanese-language dating websites and were registered in Anguilla and apparently used the names of Japanese people without their permission to dodge responsibility in case of trouble. 3 of the 4 Japanese said they had nothing to do with the offshore companies, but all had travelled to Thailand over recent years. The fourth person could not be contacted.
On 20th June, the EU published a news release about the provisional political agreement reached by the European Parliament and Council on the Commission’s proposal for an EU Regulation on the freezing and confiscation of assets across borders which was confirmed by Member States. The proposal was adopted as part of the EU Action Plan to strengthen the fight against terrorist financing and contributes to completing the Security Union. The new Regulation will set a deadline of 48 hours to recognise and execute freezing orders. It will widen the scope of current rules on cross-border recognition: criminals can be deprived of criminal assets, even when the assets belong to their relatives. Finally, in cases of cross-border execution of confiscation orders, the victim’s right to compensation will have priority over States’ claims. See the factsheet from 21st December 2016 for more details –