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Week Ending 29 October 2020

23 October 2020: The Treasury Committee launched an inquiry to review what progress has been made in combatting economic crime since its last inquiry, carried out under the previous parliament. The inquiry will focus on anti-money laundering systems and the sanctions regime, and on consumers, including trends which have resulted from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and authorised push payment fraud. Stakeholders may submit evidence until 27 November 2020.

28 October 2020: The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced that criminal proceedings against Stephen Allen in relation to conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by disguising Renwick Haddow’s (Allen’s conspirator) interest in a property and, as such, its availability as an asset for satisfying an order that might be made in proceedings brought by the FCA against Haddow, have commenced. The case was sent to Southwark Crown Court for a plea and trial preparation hearing due to take place on 25 November 2020.

23 October 2020: The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced that Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and its subsidiary, Goldman Sachs (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. (GS Malaysia) have pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act 1977 (FCPA 1977). The guilty plea is in connection with a scheme involving over US$1m in bribery payments to Malaysian and Abu Dhabi officials in order to ‘obtain lucrative business’ relating to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) which earned the bank approximately US$606m in fees and revenue. Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay a criminal penalty of over US$2.9bn as part of its resolution with the US, UK, Singapore and elsewhere.

26 October 2020: The G20 members have called for the ‘effective implementation’ of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards during the first G20 Anti-Corruption Ministerial. The FATF recommendations have been elaborated to help address financial crime. The FATF President, Dr Marcus Pleyer, highlighted that efforts to stop money laundering must be maintained during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis as ‘money is flowing out of economies at precisely the time health services need it most’. In order to tackle corruption and lead the way, FATF has elaborated three actions that should be undertaken by G20 members: investing in law enforcement, making available beneficial ownership information, and increasing oversight of the non-financial sectors.

26 October 2020: The President of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Dr Marcus Pleyer, has issued a statement regarding the significance of allocating sufficient resources to anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CTF) schemes during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Pleyer documents how criminals have continued to exploit the coronavirus pandemic through various means, including counterfeiting medical goods, investment fraud, cyber-crime scams and the exploitation of many governments’ economic stimulus measures. Meanwhile AML and CTF crimes have been on the rise, Pleyer notes that many government and private sectors have further struggled to ‘implement measures to detect, prevent and investigate’ the criminal activity, with over half of responses to a recent survey pointing to the negative impact that coronavirus has had on preventative measures.

26 October 2020:The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has published the outcomes of its 21–23 October 2020 plenary meeting. The meeting covered the FATF’s strategic initiatives, country-specific processes and other strategic initiatives — namely strengthening measures to prevent the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and planning the next joint experts’ meeting, which will be held virtually between 23–25 November 2020. The plenary meeting also resulted in the publication of a new list of jurisdictions under increased monitoring and updated FATF recommendations on combating money laundering (ML) and terrorist financing (TF)

26 October 2020: The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) published a chapter from its handbook that provides ‘comprehensive guidance’ on how the SFO approaches Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPA). A DPA is an agreement between a company and a prosecutor at the SFO or the Crown Prosecution Service that has been approved by a court. It provides an alternative to prosecutor of the company in question when it is seen as in the best public interest.

Tyler Woollard is the founder of The Conduct Mind, a compliance consultancy firm. Online shop

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