Read on for the latest news and updates in bribery and corruption, fraud, sanctions, cyber crime, FCA enforcement, health and safety, environment.
Bribery and Corruption
Serious Fraud Office publishes guidance on the presence of an interviewee's legal adviser during a Section 2 interview
The SFO has published operational advice on the presence of an interviewee's legal adviser at an interview conducted under Section 2 of the Criminal Justice Act 1987. Under the guidance, a practising solicitor, barrister or chartered legal executive can be permitted to attend the interview if the case controller believes they can provide assistance to the interviewee through legal advice or aid the purpose of the interview itself.
Any lawyer attending must do so on the understanding that "ground rules" apply to ensure there is no obstruction of the interview process. In any such cases, the case controller has powers to exclude a lawyer from the interview. The attending lawyer can also invite another lawyer to attend for the purpose of taking minutes of the interview.
Europol steps up ability to target international airline fraudsters via external fraud intelligence platform
Europol's European Cybercrime Centre has entered into an agreement with Perseuss, a global fraud intelligence sharing platform. Perseuss provides a global database of fraud prevention data. It participates in the annual "Global Airline Action Day", which is aimed at targeting fraudsters within the airline industry. Perseuss detects fraud patterns and provides relevant data to facilitate Europol investigations.
Former Barclays US Head of Forex Trading acquitted over alleged £6bn front-running scheme
A San Francisco federal judge has dismissed charges brought by the US Department of Justice against former Barclays executive Robert Bogucki. The DOJ had alleged that Barclays received material non-public information from Hewlett-Packard regarding an upcoming $8 billion transaction of FX options linked to HP's purchase of UK software company Autonomy Corporation PLC. The DOJ argued that Bogucki used this information to push down the options' price, generating a profit for Barclays at HP's expense.
EU adds newly appointed Syrian government ministers to sanctions list
Following new cabinet appointments in the Syrian government, the EU Council has added seven recently appointed ministers to its list of Syrian sanctions targets, including the Minister of Interior and the Minister of Industry. This brings the total number of persons designated under the EU's sanctions programme on Syria to 277 individuals and 72 entities.
US extends list of Venezuelan sanctions targets
The US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has designated six Venezuelan security officials who are alleged to control groups thought to be blocking humanitarian aid from reaching the wider population. The international community continues to apply pressure on President Nicolás Maduro as the political crisis in the country continues.
Government report finds that many FTSE 350 Companies are unaware of commercial impact of cyber attacks
A new UK government report has concluded that less than a fifth of FTSE 350 boards were able to demonstrate a full understanding of the disruptive and financial repercussions of a potential cyber-attack. The "FTSE 350 Cyber Governance Health Check 2018" found that although 95% of those who participated had implemented a cyber-security incident response plan, only 57% of participants regularly tested their controls. The report did note that 72% of FTSE 350 companies now acknowledge the risk of a cyber-attack is high, a significant increase from 54% in 2017.
FCA takes action against former director of investment scheme held in contempt of court
The FCA is seeking to enforce a judgment against an individual after he was found in contempt of court by the High Court. Robert McKendrick was the main director and sole shareholder in an unauthorised collective investment scheme called African Land, which offered investments in rice farm harvests in Sierra Leone. In July 2013, the FCA took action in relation to African Land and three other schemes unlawfully promoted and operated by investment firm Capital Alternatives Limited, on the basis that they were not authorised by the FCA. The Court found that Mr McKendrick misled investors and then, in contempt of court, failed to comply with court orders requiring him to account for the losses.
The FCA had obtained freezing orders against Mr McKendrick. However, in breach of these orders, Mr McKendrick diverted rental income from a property portfolio to his wife and failed to disclose this income in accordance with the orders. The FCA is now seeking to enforce its judgment obtained against Mr McKendrick and others. Last week the Court sentenced Mr McKendrick to prison for being in contempt of court in breach of the freezing orders.
Health and Safety
Chemical exposure leads to prosecution and fine
Fine Organics Ltd have been fined £224,000 following an incident in which employees were exposed to chemicals harmful to health. The workers were regularly exposed to chemicals from October 2013 and December 2016 which caused sensitisation of the skin and rashes. Some were unable to continue working. Fine Organics Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £224,000 plus costs of £17,098.
Renault Retail Group UK fined following serious safety breaches
Renault has been fined following repeated failures to ensure its vehicle lifting equipment was maintained and in good working order at its sites in Coulsdon and West London. The company was prosecuted for breaching Regulation 5(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) and Regulation 10(3)(a) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) 1998 and was fined £200,000 plus costs of £17,217.84.
Vehicle seized and waste carrier ordered to pay almost £5,000
An individual from Nottingham has been ordered to pay nearly £5,000 after being found guilty of transporting controlled waste without a waste carrier licence. Mr Ruszo was fined £1,760, ordered to pay Environment Agency costs of £2,995 and a victim surcharge of £170. The vehicle was seized by police: it found to be unroadworthy and had been carrying various items of scrap metal at the time.