Included in this issue: China accuses former vice environment minister of taking bribes; Hard Rock Las Vegas Reports Card Data Breach; French prosecutor seeks trial for UBS over client tax fraud and more...


Bribery and Corruption

China accuses former vice environment minister of taking bribes

Chinese state media has reported that Chinese prosecutors accused Zhang Lijun, a former deputy environment minister, of taking 2.4 million yuan ($361,500) in bribes as he stood trial for corruption in Beijing.

Prosecutors said Zhang provided help for project approvals and appointments and took bribes worth around 2.4 million yuan.

A verdict will be announced at a later date.

Reuters, 27 June 2016

Ericsson Meets With Investors to Address Corruption Concerns

It has been reported that Ericsson AB met with large shareholders to provide information about its anti-corruption program. It did not answer all of these shareholders questions about government probes into alleged bribery in several countries.

Disclosures and media reports over the last few weeks have raised questions about Ericsson’s practices in countries ranging from Greece to Romania and China.

Bloomberg, 22 June 2016

ExxonMobil under investigation over lucrative Nigerian oil deal

It is understood that ExxonMobil is being investigated by the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes commissions in respect of the lucrative oil rights it secured in 2009 where it has been said that it apparently secured the deal despite underbidding rival bids by $2.25bn.

The Guardian, 23 June 2016

Ex-Governor McDonnell Wins at U.S. Supreme Court on Corruption Conviction

The U.S. Supreme Court set aside former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s bribery conviction in a ruling that sets a new standard for corruption prosecutions of public officials.

A unanimous decision was made that the jury instructions made it too easy for prosecutors to win a conviction. The ruling left open the possibility that McDonnell could be retried.

The case relates to the cash and gifts McDonnell and his wife received from Jonnie Williams, a businessman who was trying to get a state university to conduct important clinical tests on a dietary supplement.

The ruling may affect other public corruption prosecutions, including the convictions of former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and the state’s former Senate majority leader Dean Skelos. Federal judges have let both men stay out of prison until the Supreme Court ruled in the McDonnell case.

Bloomberg, 27 June 2016

South African court refuses Zuma appeal request in arms case

A South African court has refused permission for President Jacob Zuma and prosecutors to appeal against a court ruling that he should face corruption charges over a 1999 arms deal worth billions of dollars. It ruled that there were "no merits" in the argument requesting an appeal.

In April, the court said a 2009 decision to drop the 783 charges against Mr Zuma was irrational, effectively forcing the prosecutors to bring the case.

Mr Zuma has always denied taking bribes over the arms deal.

BBC News, 24 June 2016

Chilean politician put under house arrest in wide corruption scandal

Pablo Longueira, who was a presidential candidate in Chile's 2013 election, is accused by prosecutors of receiving close to $1 million from specialty mining company SQM from 2009 to 2013, then hiding the donations through falsified receipts in contravention of Chilean law. He also is accused of accepting bribes while working on a 2010 law that regulates mining concessions.

A Chilean court ordered that he be placed under night time house arrest, while authorities investigate him for possible tax fraud and bribery.

Reuters, 23 June 2016

Cyber Crime

Hard Rock Las Vegas Reports Card Data Breach

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas said that customer payment-card data was accessed after malware was placed on the resort’s payment-card system, becoming the latest hotel to report such a breach.

The casino said the unauthorised intrusions were identified in May after it received reports of cards being used fraudulently.

US law-enforcement officials and payment card networks have been notified, and the company said it is working with cybersecurity firms to strengthen the security of its systems.

Wall Street Journal, 27 June 2016

Fraud

French prosecutor seeks trial for UBS over client tax fraud

Reuters has reported that a French financial prosecutor requested Swiss bank UBS go on trial for covering up clients' tax fraud as well as illegal prospecting.

It is understood that the publication's source said the prosecutor had also requested UBS France, the bank's French arm, go on trial for complicity.

French investigating magistrates now have a month to decide whether or not UBS should face judges.

Reuters, 27 June 2016

Barclays Libor - Rigging Jury Reaches Verdict on Three Defendants

In the trial of five former Barclays traders accused of manipulating Libor between 2005 and 2007, jurors have said that they've reached a decision on three of the five defendants. The jury are still deliberating on the final two defendants.

The judge told the jury last week that the verdicts didn’t have to be unanimous after being informed they had reached a verdict on one defendant but failed to unanimously agree on the others. A majority verdict allows the jurors to give a verdict approved by at least 10 members rather than the full 12.

Bloomberg, 28 June, 2016

Health and Safety

Two children in ‘serious’ condition following rollercoaster crash

The HSE has begun a joint investigation with police following a rollercoaster crash at M&D’s theme park, on the Motherwell side of Strathclyde Park, in North Lanarkshire on Sunday, which left nine people injured.

The crash happened after five gondolas on the Tsunami inverted rollercoaster detached from their rails at a bend and fell to the ground, police have said.

Two boys, who were among the injured, remain in a serious condition – the 12-year-old has chest, abdominal and leg injuries and the 11-year-old suffered serious arm and hand injuries, the BBC has reported.

BBC News, 27 June 2016

Brexit: health and safety industry reacts

IOSH on Brexit

Richard Jones, the head of policy and public affairs at IOSH has said, "as UK organisations will want to continue to trade with Europe, it will be in everyone’s interest to maintain the status quo" and that the UK health and safety system must remain, post-Brexit.

IEMA on Brexit

Martin Baxter, IEMA’s Chief Policy Advisor deems it to be essential that the government gives a commitment that, in negotiating the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU, an equivalent or enhanced level of environmental protection and climate policy will be implemented in the UK.

SHP Online, 24 June 2016

Amazon safety for same-day delivery

Amazon discussed its health and safety principles at the Safety in Amazon EU session at Safety and Health Expo last week. The company views itself to be unique in terms of the numbers of people that it has in its buildings. The company invested extensively in risk-reduction technology such as vehicle wheel locks, and was “passionate about housekeeping” with daily auditing and significant investment in training.

SHP Online, 27 June 2016

Tax

Oil Investor Zukerman Pleads Guilty in Tax Evasion Case

Oil-industry investor Morris Zukerman faces more than seven years in prison after pleading guilty to federal charges of evading more than $40 million in taxes.

Prosecutors accused the 72-year-old of aggressively seeking to evade taxes beginning in 2007, falsely claiming millions of dollars in deductions and providing false information for IRS audits. He admitted to failing to report $28 million in profits from the sale of an oil company and repeatedly lying to his accountants - in one instance creating backdated documents to support his claim.

He pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion and another count of impeding the Internal Revenue Service.

Bloomberg, 27 June 2016

Sanctions

OFAC fines HyperBranch for sanctions violations

OFAC has fined HyperBranch Medical Technology Inc., a US medical goods company, $107,691.30 for apparent violations of US sanctions on Iran.

HyperBranch is said to have exported thousands of units of medical goods to its distributor in the UAE, with knowledge or reason to know that the goods were ultimately destined for Iran.

OFAC, 23 June 2016

Key contacts

Nichola Peters

Nichola Peters

Partner, Head of Global Investigations/Inquiries
London

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