The prosecution of commercial bribery has once again become a key issue following the amendment of the Anti-unfair Competition Act. With the restructuring of the act's anti-bribery provision – which dovetailed with the national anti-corruption movement – the government appears to be cracking down on unlawful commercial activities by both domestic and foreign companies. To guide companies in this regard, this article provides an intuitive roadmap to the Chinese anti-bribery regulatory scheme.
Throughout August 2019 the Nigerian media heavily reported on the US government's actions against Nigerian nationals who have been accused of committing various acts of fraud. Of particular note is the arrest of a successful Nigerian entrepreneur and the US Department of Justice's recent federal grand jury indictment against 77 named and three unnamed individuals reported to be Nigerians.
During Federal Attorney General Abubakar Malami's recent confirmation appearance before the Senate he was asked why the administration had failed to comply with court orders and responded that they were not in the public interest. Although heavily criticised, Malami's statements are unsurprising, given how he used Executive Order 6 in his first term to indiscriminately prevent persons not accused of wrongdoing from accessing bank accounts without recourse to the courts.
Since Japan's first plea bargaining system was introduced in June 2018, prosecutors have used plea bargains in two cases, the second of which led to the dramatic arrest of Carlos Ghosn, former CEO and chair of Renault-Nissan, on the tarmac of Haneda Airport in November 2018. The one-year anniversary of the new system therefore seems like an appropriate time to take stock of the first cases and examine the implications for the future.
The government and the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority are well aware that it is imperative that the Cayman Islands is not only perceived to, but does in fact, play a central role in the global fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. At the same time, there is a deep understanding of the need to remain competitive and commercial. This article addresses a number of key questions concerning the 2018 amendments to Cayman's anti-money laundering regime.
A court has expressed concern with the government's "routine outsourcing" of investigations to the targets of those investigations seeking cooperation credit. The court noted the corporate target's "uniquely coercive position" over its employees, who may also be potential targets of the investigation. The decision may profoundly affect the structure and scope of cooperation agreements between the government and the corporate targets of criminal investigations.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently confirmed the importance of implementing a robust compliance programme that is not only well designed, but also adaptable and able to function effectively. The DOJ's latest guidance makes clear that companies have a strong incentive to maintain an effective compliance programme. Most importantly, these programmes must be fully implemented, account for the structure and scope of a company's business and actually operate effectively.
Over the past decade, a number of significant regulatory and compliance issues have affected large multinationals based in Japan. As such, the Consumer Affairs Agency recently created a certification regime for corporate whistleblowing systems, which is designed to incentivise businesses to voluntarily enhance their own whistleblowing systems and thereby gain the trust of various stakeholders, including shareholders, counterparties and consumers.
After years of inaction and many questions as to why the Nigerian authorities have done nothing to pursue Nigerian wrongdoers in a 21-year corruption case involving oil giant Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited and Italian company ENI SpA, it appears that the Nigerian authorities have finally decided to pursue criminal proceedings against Nigerian parties. In April 2019 the Abuja High Court issued orders for the arrest of former Petroleum Minister Dan Etete Etete and Attorney General Mohammed Bello Adoke.
The Federal Supreme Court recently ruled that a Swiss-based asset management company's disclosure of client information to US authorities with a view to facilitating the conclusion of a non-prosecution agreement violated Article 271 of the Criminal Code. The decision reiterates that the court does not look favourably on persons who take matters into their own hands and bypass the competent Swiss authorities in furtherance of foreign state interests.
Criminal activities such as illegal payment and settlement business and FX trading have become increasingly rampant in recent years. Although these activities have been classified as business crimes in various laws and regulations, the applicable penalties have been unclear. However, new interpretations of the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate set out the applicable convictions and penalties for illegal business operations involving FX trading and payment and settlement business.
Brazil has seen extensive legal changes and enforcement efforts against corruption over the past few years. As a result, local and multinational companies active in the region have increased their anti-corruption compliance efforts, particularly by introducing more frequent and comprehensive anti-corruption risk assessments and touchpoints with government entities and officials, as well as strengthening their anti-corruption compliance programmes.
Throughout 2018 the Department of Justice (DOJ) continued to ring the clarion call for cooperation and sought to provide some certainty, consistency and coordination regarding the incentives offered to companies that provide voluntary disclosures. In particular, the DOJ centralised its guidance memoranda into what is now known as the Justice Manual. The DOJ's goals were to identify redundancies, clarify ambiguities, eliminate surplus language and update the manual to reflect current law and practice.
Despite the steps taken by Brazil to fight corruption in recent years, it remains one of the main challenges for the country. Mindful of this, the new government – which came into power in 2018 on the back of its vow to fight corruption – has promised a series of measures to tackle the issue. The measures include toughening prison sentences for corruption-related crimes, separating investigations involving high-level officials and making illegal campaign donations a criminal offence.
The new year started with a new government taking office. Naturally, this has led many to speculate what the government's priorities and policies will be. In particular, enforcement policies are receiving more attention than during previous inaugurations, largely due to the widespread corruption scandal following Operation Car Wash and the appointment of Sergio Moro (former lead judge overseeing Operation Car Wash) as the minister of justice.
Government attorneys now have additional discretion in False Claims Act civil cases to award cooperation credit to a corporation that meaningfully assists the investigation without necessarily identifying every individual person outside of senior management involved in the alleged misconduct. The new policy reflects the reality of modern corporate investigations and encourages realistic cooperation efforts without compromising the Department of Justice's policy of holding individuals accountable.
A number of anti-corruption developments took place in Indonesia in 2018. For example, the Government Regulation on Public Participation in the Prevention and Suppression of Corruption was issued in order to incentivise more whistleblowers to come forward and encourage public participation in the fight against corruption. Further, the Corruption Eradication Commission brought its first-ever prosecution against a corporation.
Historically, only individuals could commit crimes in Mexico. However, following recent amendments to the Criminal Code and the enactment of the new National Code of Criminal Procedures, companies may now be held criminally liable. As such, the implementation of an integrity policy is crucial for companies. Where a company does not have such a policy and an employee commits a company-related crime, the company may be subject to both criminal and administrative liability.
The inadequacy of whistleblower protection in Switzerland has been widely criticised for years. Despite the legislation on public sector whistleblowing which was introduced in 2011, there is no concise legal framework specifically addressing respective issues in the private sector. To fill the gap, the Federal Counsel recently proposed a leaner and more understandable piece of legislation, which will be introduced into the section governing employment contracts in the Code of Obligations.
The Superior Court of Justice recently appraised a noticeable theme regarding personal data protection from a criminal law perspective: the validity of police evidence obtained from smartphones without a specific judicial order to do so. The precedent has had a strong effect on investigations of varying scope and importance. Two recent examples occurred in the wake of high-profile anti-corruption and anti-money laundering investigations.