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bribery

This week the International Standards Agency launches ISO37002. It's much needed, dealing as it does with whistleblowing and compliance.

But as with all the ISO's management standards, it comes with a barrier to entry that limits its use.

It's time for a different model.

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A former Department of Defence civilian official has pleaded guilty to two felony charges for taking tens of thousands of dollars in illegal cash payments from a private contractor to support the contractor’s effort to obtain USD6.4 million from the government in connection with construction projects on a Navy base in the African nation of Djibouti, the US Department of Justice said, announcing a plea of guilty.

One can understand the logic - the Malaysian government has a tendency to make its laws out of the public eye, then to announce an in-force date and then, when everyone moans they aren't ready, to postpone it. Getting a postponement works for e.g. so-called "e-hailing" drivers. The public likes them and so a few hashtags go a long way. But there is little public sympathy for companies and even less when there is a suggestion that the new law is designed to reduce corruption.

Some years ago, we asked a question : how come a new team with no track record can get sponsorship from major corporations when more established teams, with a track record, struggle?

Now, by a roundabout way, that question might be under investigation by anti-corruption authorities in several countries.

In Australia and elsewhere, the multitude of actions relating to bribery and corruption at Leighton Holdings (see here ) continues in both the criminal and civil courts.

A senior prison officer with a special remit to investigate malfeasance by inmates and fellow officers at a California jail has been charged with accepting bribes and smuggling contraband into the prison.

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The facts of the case are just odd. The recipient of a bribe has been jailed and ordered to pay a fine of five times the amount of the bribe. But it's what the bribe was for that beggars belief

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Just because a CFO has his hand on the cheque book doesn't mean he can write cheques for anything he likes.

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Malaysia is being ever so nice to US headquartered bank Goldman Sachs which, through its Singapore Office, it is now known from the evidence given by one of its former staff, Tim Leissner, to have assisted in the theft and laundering of part of the now infamous 1MDB fund.

The bank, which is now seeking to take on new staff in the relevant department in Singapore, has been asked to give back the estimated USD600 million in fees it took for its assistance. Iit's at least arguable that Malaysia doesn't have to ask nicely: it could just take the money. GS doesn't want to pay out in every direction: it's already accepted the probability of "significant fines" in the US as a result of an investigation there.

Here's a step-by-step guide to getting the money back without the bank's co-operation.

It would be nice if the US Department of Justice wrote its media releases in correct English. In this case, despite what the DoJ says, the defendant did not "attempt to extort a marijuana dispensary," he attempted to extort money from the owners of the dispensary. And you thought the only problems California's relaxed attitude to the retailing of MaryJane was how the operators would bank their money. No, the operators are exposed to bad guys wearing suits just as much as bad guys wearing bling and carrying weapons.

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In Malaysia, one of the successes of former Prime Minister Najib is something he won't get credit for - and something which is so ironic that it's almost hypocritical. But it's very, very welcome anyway.

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Our sister publication, World Money Laundering Report, has always adopted the view the Deferred Prosecution Agreements are legalised bribery to enable companies and their officers to evade prosecution for crimes committed.

Alun MIlford, General Counsel of the UK's Serious Fraud Office argues, in a speech to the Cambridge Symposium on Economic Crime, 2017, that the DFA is a useful tool, and that the UK version is materially different from the US version on which it is based.

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Of course, no one should evade tax. It is and always has been a tenet of tax law that declaring income and assets for tax is the responsibility of the taxpayer. But the OECD has long wanted to gain xray vision into bank accounts and with its "Automatic Exchange of Information" project, every bank account in the world will be subject to "automatic" inspection by "participating jurisdictions." Watch out for blacklists of jurisdictions that argue that there are local legal obstacles to free access to account information.

In the history of acronyms, we had KYC then KYE.. customer then employee.

There are several matters of grave concern to Banks regulated by the Federal Reserve Board, both domestic and foreign.

Long before his inauguration, US President-Elect Trump telegraphed a view of ethics and corruption that many consider contrarian. Is the Trump way of doing business to allow tacit approval of under-the-table deals or is it simplifying the legislative regime, putting corruption on the same footing as any other financial crime? There is justification for his abolition of the Rule requiring minerals companies to report large payments to foreign governments: it was under the wrong Act and it didn't go far enough. Perhaps inadvertently, Trump has just set the stage for the first true test of his character. Also, there is another shock that biased reporting has not made clear...

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