Read on for the latest news and updates in bribery and corruption; money laundering; health and safety and more...
Bribery and Corruption
SFO secures convictions against two oil executives for corrupt payments to secure contracts in Iraq
Two former oil executives, Ziad Akle and Stephen Whiteley, have been convicted of conspiracy to give corrupt payments to Iraq public officials to secure oil contracts for Unaoil and its clients, as Iraq sought to rebuild its oil industry following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Co-conspirator Basil Al Jarah had previously admitted to conspiracy to give corrupt payments in 2019. The Serious Fraud Office's investigation into Unaoil has been ongoing since 2016, and has involved the support of authorities across the UK, Australia, France, Monaco, the Netherlands and the US.
Sentencing of the individuals is due to take place on 22 and 23 July 2020.
SFO, 13 July 2020
MEPs welcome the EU Commission's Action Plan to address money laundering
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have passed a resolution welcoming the EU Commission's Action Plan for a comprehensive Union policy on preventing money laundering and terrorist financing.
MEP's have called for the Union to advance the Action Plan as soon as possible, and have highlighted a number of steps they consider are needed to achieve an efficient EU framework. These include taking a zero-tolerance approach to member states who delay in transposing EU anti-money laundering rules into national law, setting up interconnected beneficial ownership registers, widening the scope of supervised entities and harmonising dissuasive sanctions at EU level.
European Parliament, 10 July 2020
NCA recovers assets of more than £1m following a civil recovery investigation
The National Crime Agency (NCA) has recovered assets worth more than £1m following a civil recovery investigation into convicted Nigerian fraudster Ayodele Oluseye Odewale and his British partner Sara Yadav. Odewale had been convicted of numerous dishonesty offences in the past, including fraudulently applying for credit cards in the names of individuals, which he used to withdraw cash. They both enjoyed an extravagant lifestyle though their combined income did not exceed £49,000. The NCA recovered £797,431 from their bank accounts, three watches worth £199,000 and a private car registration plate worth £15,000.
NCA, 14 July 2020
SFO receives approval in principle for DPA with G4S Care and Justice Services (UK) Ltd
The SFO has received approval in principle to enter into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with G4S Care and Justice Services (UK) Ltd (G4S C&J).
The DPA concerns G4S C&J's provision of electronic monitoring services. Under the DPA, G4S C&J will accept responsibility for three offences of fraud in connection with its financial reporting to the UK Ministry of Justice concerning those services. If approved, G4S C&J will pay a financial penalty of £38.5m and the SFO's costs of £5.9m. The SFO will apply for final approval of the DPA before Mr Justice William Davis on Friday 17 July.
SFO, 10 July 2020
US Executive Order authorises new Hong Kong Autonomy Act
President Trump has issued an Executive Order giving effect to a US sanctions programme in response to the new Hong Kong national security law. The Executive Order authorises sanctions to be imposed under the Hong Kong Autonomy Act on entities or individuals involved in implementing the national security law, including for instance by arresting or detaining individuals, undermining democratic processes or limited freedom of expression.
The Executive Order also suspends Hong Kong's special economic status, with the White House stating that Hong Kong is no longer sufficiently autonomous from China.
White House, 14 July 2020
OFAC settles with Amazon for alleged sanctions violations
The US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has reached a settlement with Amazon.com, Inc. in relation to alleged violations of multiple OFAC sanctions programmes. The settlement is focused on deficiencies in Amazon's sanctions screening processes, resulting in Amazon providing goods and services to persons located in Crimea, Iran, Syria and other sanctioned countries.
Under the terms of the settlement, Amazon has agreed to pay $134,523 to settle its potential civil liability, with the amount reflecting the fact that the violations were non-egregious and voluntarily self-disclosed, and that Amazon took significant remedial measures upon discovering the issue.
US Treasury, 8 July 2020
Huawei banned from UK 5G infrastructure due to US sanctions concerns
The UK has decided to reverse its previous policy decision in relation to Huawei's involvement in the development of the country's 5G network infrastructure. This follows a review by the National Cyber Security Centre focused on the impact of new US export restrictions imposed on Huawei. The review concluded that those new US measures mean that Huawei is very unlikely to be able to use US technology and software in the design and manufacture of its products, and this could create significant risks for UK operators in accessing technology and managnig security risks in the future networks.
As a result of the changes, UK operators are banned from buying new Huawei 5G equipment after 31 December 2020 and all Huawei 5G equipment and technology must be removed from UK networks by the end of 2027.
Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, 14 July 2020
Health and Safety
Face coverings required in shops from 24 July
Addleshaw Goddard has produced a note summarising new rules which provide that wearing a face covering in shops and supermarkets in England will be mandatory from 24 July. The rules will be enforceable by the police, with those who do not comply facing fines of up to £100. It is already compulsory to wear a face covering on public transport in England.
Addleshaw Goddard, 14 July 2020
Overview of recent changes to lockdown measures
Following the Covid-19 alert level being changed from level four to level three (meaning transmission of the virus is no longer judged to be “high or exponentially rising”) on 19 June, the Government has issued guidance on the easing of lockdown measures for England only.
Addleshaw Goddard has produced an overview which summarises the current measures that are in place, including in relation to public gatherings, public spaces and activities, and the businesses which must remain closed.
Addleshaw Goddard, 14 July 2020
Firm fined £310,000 after two workers had their fingers amputated
A meat processing firm, Browns Manufacturing Limited, has been fined after two workers had their fingers amputated in separate incidents in 2016 and 2019 while working on a sausage processing line. In both cases, the workers were not given sufficient training and safety measures were not in place. The company pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the dangerous parts of the machinery were inaccessible and not providing training for their staff. The company was fined £120,000 for the 2016 incident and £190,000 for the 2019 incident.
SHP, 13 July 2020