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In this issue:
AML and financial crime prevention
Vicarious liability of employers
LexTalk®In-house: a Lexis®PSL community
UK’s EU data adequacy decision uncertain as talks bog down
MLex: The future of data flows between the EU and the UK remains uncertain as the negotiations over a data adequacy decision for the UK have ‘have gone a bit more slowly than we thought’, the UK’s chief negotiator David Frost said on 7 October 2020.
See News Analysis: UK’s EU data adequacy decision uncertain as talks bog down.
Director of SFO considers future challenges in economic crime
Director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), Lisa Osofsky, has delivered a speech at the Royal United Services Institute in which she considered the future challenges in economic crime. She stated that one of the main challenges is that economic and financial crime encompasses a broad spectrum of harms and threats, but points towards Otello, the national law enforcement campaign, the government’s Economic Crime Plan, and collaboration between governmental departments and their partners, as examples of how the differences in economic crime have been recognised and targeted. Osofsky also advocated for creating a failure to prevent offence and allowing the SFO to use section 2 powers (under the Criminal Justice Act 1987 (CJA 1987)) before opening a formal investigation into fraud and domestic bribery cases. In addition, she suggested that a tipping off offence in relation to CJA 1987, s 2 notices should be created to improve the way in which economic and financial crime is fought.
See: LNB News 09/10/2020 23.
Former Unaoil executive imprisoned for bribing Iraqi officials for contracts
The SFO has announced that former Unaoil executive, Basil Al Jarah, has been sentenced to three years and four months in prison for paying more than $17m in bribes to secure approximately $1.7bn worth of contracts in Iraq. According to the SFO, Al Jarah conspired with others to bribe Iraqi public officials at the South Oil Company and Iraqi Ministry of Oil in order to secure contracts to construct oil pipelines, offshore mooring buoys in the Persian Gulf, as well as other infrastructure projects. Al Jarah pleaded guilty to five offences of conspiracy to give corrupt payments in July 2019. His co-conspirators, Stephen Whiteley and Ziad Akle, were found guilty of one and two counts respectively of conspiracy to give corrupt payments in July 2020.
See: LNB News 09/10/2020 30.
Law Society strongly opposes economic crime levy on AML regulated businesses
The Law Society has published its response to the government consultation on the introduction of an economic crime levy on anti-money laundering (AML) regulated businesses, including law firms. The Law Society strongly opposes the imposition of the levy and warns that a levy based on revenue could be harmful to the legal profession.
See: LNB News 14/10/2020 70.
OFSI’s annual review shows increase in reporting of breaches
The Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) has published its annual review for 2019–2020. The report outlines the OFSI’s work on UN and EU financial sanctions regimes, UK counter-terrorism asset freezes, frozen funds review, compliance and enforcement, licensing, outreach and communications. The review shows that from 2019–2020 the OFSI received 140 reports of potential financial sanctions breaches, an increase from 99 reports in 2018.
See: LNB News 09/10/2020 65.
Report finds significant decrease in active enforcement against foreign bribery
Transparency International has published a report rating the performance of 47 global exporters in tackling foreign bribery by companies operating abroad. The 47 countries analysed include 43 countries that are signatories to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Anti-Bribery Convention, China, Hong Kong SAR, India and Singapore. Four of the 47 countries analysed, including the UK, were found to actively enforce against foreign bribery and only eight countries were found to moderately enforce against companies that pay bribes abroad. The report found that active enforcement against foreign bribery has decreased by more than one-third since 2018.
See: LNB News 13/10/2020 52.
Reports of breaches of UK sanctions reach almost £1bn
Law360, London: The Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) has announced reports of breaches surged to £982m in the 12 months ending March 2020 from £262.33m reported in 2019.
See News Analysis: Reports of breaches of UK sanctions reach almost £1bn.
The role of Companies House in the fight against economic crime
The information on the Companies House register is searched more than five billion times per year. The value of the register to businesses is huge and it is clear that, given its prominence, the information available needs to be as accurate and transparent as possible. Unfortunately, however, there are problems with the current model that allow criminals to abuse the system. Without the current reforms, the register does little to fight economic crime as there is no formal verification process. The new reforms proposed by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy amount to the biggest overhaul to the system since its introduction in 1844. Angharad Hughes, barrister at 3 Temple Chambers, discusses the effects of the reforms and their impact on business owners and those fighting economic crime.
See News Analysis: The role of Companies House in the fight against economic crime.
Accelerated digitisation and cybercrime in a post-COVID-19 world
Syed Rahman, legal director at Rahman Ravelli, discusses the increase in cybercrime during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
See News Analysis: Accelerated digitisation and cybercrime in a post-COVID-19 world.
FCA Guidance Following Judgment in the Business Interruption Insurance Test Case
The much-awaited decision in the UK FCA’s High Court test case in relation to non-damage business interruption (BI) insurance policies and their response to the coronavirus pandemic was published on 15 September 2020.
See: LNB News 14/10/2020 64.
Vicarious Liability of Employers—Supreme Court Provides Welcome News
The judgments in both Barclays Bank v various claimants and WM Morrison Supermarkets plc v various claimants provide welcome clarity at each stage of the vicarious liability test, and firmly re-establish the boundaries in two employer-friendly respects.
See: LNB News 14/10/2020 78.
The EU Whistleblower Protection Directive—Part 1—Scope and Reporting
On 25 September 2019, the European Parliament published its new directive on the ‘protection of persons who report breaches of Union law’—now referred to as the ‘Whistleblower Protection Directive’.
See: LNB News 14/10/2020 55.
For the latest updates on interesting and important cases, legislation, consultations and other developments in the world of Risk and Compliance see our: Risk & Compliance forecast as at 22 September 2020
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