Included in this issue: SFO announces Unaoil-related investigation of ABB; Four individuals found guilty of £160 million Bank fraud sentenced to a total of 44 years; National Cyber Security Centre opened and more...
Bribery and Corruption
SFO announces Unaoil-related investigation of ABB
The SFO has announced that it will be investigating the UK subsidiaries, officers, employees and agents of Swiss engineering company ABB Ltd for suspected corruption and bribery.
The SFO has stated that this investigation is linked to its ongoing probe into Monaco based energy company Unaoil.
The interrelationship between corruption, inequality and populism
Transparency International (TI) has mapped the relationship between corruption and inequality and found the two to be closely related.
According to TI, corruption leads to an unequal distribution of power, wealth and opportunity in society which in turn creates opportunities and incentives for corruption. Corruption and social inequality cause popular disenchantment and garner populist support for anti-establishment parties which often fail to address and increase the corruption they promise to target.
TI has suggested that mainstream government leaders use their political capital to break the cycle between corruption and social equality. TI advocated that measures can be taken to break this cycle, including preventing business leaders from being able to easily occupy high-ranking government positions and increasing the accountability of officials involved in corruption.
Transparency International (TI) report on anti-money laundering statistics
On 15 February 2017, TI published a report of its views on how countries, including the UK, publish anti-money laundering statistics.
TI found shortfalls in the anti-money laundering information publically available. It recommends that supervisors of the financial sector publish annually a standardised set of supervisory and enforcement statistics. TI recommends that such statistics include "the number of banks inspected, the number of regulatory breaches found, and the number and value of sanctions imposed."
Four individuals found guilty of £160 million Bank fraud sentenced to a total of 44 years
Last week four individuals were found guilty, at Southwark Crown Court, of conspiracy to commit fraud and make corrupt payments.
Stephen Dartnell and George Alexander of Total Asset Finance (TAF) along with Carl Cumiskey of H20 and Simon Mundy of KBC were found guilty of selling fake or inflated contracts for fibre-optic cables to Barclays Bank and KBC. The fraud, which operated from 2007 and 2010 is believed to have amounted to almost £160 million.
On 10 February 2017, the defendants were collectively sentenced to 44 years' imprisonment in relation to the fraud.
National Cyber Security Centre opened
On 14 February 2017, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) was opened.
The NCSC is part of the intelligence agency GCHQ responsible for reducing the cyber security risk to the UK.
US sanctions on Russia
It is reported that US Democrats and some Republicans are attempting to introduce measures to prevent President Trump from lifting US sanctions against Russia without approval from congress.
It is understood that the measures would give congress 120 days to stop any action to lift sanctions against Russia, which were imposed as a result of Russia's actions in the Ukraine and in respect of the 2016 presidential elections.
Health and Safety
Engineering firm fined after worker injured
F. Brazil Reinforcements Ltd, an engineering firm, has been fined after a worker suffered life changing injuries while carrying out repairs to a crane.
Mr Felix Trefas was asked by a colleague to climb more than six metres up a crane support to re-set the crane controls. Whilst doing so his leg was crushed by another crane. His injuries resulted in his leg being amputated below the knee.
The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and to two breaches of Regulation 4 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.
The company was fined £277,000 plus £5000 in relation to the Regulation 4 breaches and £11,904 in costs.