18 Aug 2017
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Czechs move to strip election favourite Babis of immunity

Czech lawmakers launched a process to strip billionaire Andrej Babis of his parliamentary immunity over fraud allegations, the biggest challenge to his ambition to lead the country’s next government after October elections.

Babis, whose euro-skeptic ANO movement holds a strong lead in opinion polls, is facing a police investigation over the alleged misuse of European Union aid funds.

18 Aug 2017
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US sanctions: Pakistan slams labelling Hizbul Mujahideen as ‘terrorists’

Pakistan has criticized the United States for designating Hizbul Mujahideen, the largest militant group fighting Indian rule in the disputed Kashmir region, as a “foreign terrorist” organization.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria told reporters Thursday that Islamabad is “disappointed” at the U.S. decision. He said that Kashmir is an internationally recognized territorial dispute between Pakistan and India, and there have been UN Security Council resolutions pending implementation for decades.

18 Aug 2017
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Australian regulator clears other major banks of money laundering

Australia’s money-laundering regulator has found no breaches similar to those of the country’s biggest mortgage lender, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, at other major banks, after a check of their systems, a top official said on Friday.

Financial intelligence agency AUSTRAC this month launched a civil lawsuit against CBA – Australia’s biggest bank by market value – for ‘serious and systemic’ breaches of money laundering rules.

18 Aug 2017
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India court declares disobeying money laundering summons a crime

Disobeying summons issued by an investigating agency under the money laundering law amounts to a criminal offence, the Supreme Court said on Thursday.

The apex court’s order came as it set aside a Karnataka High Court order which had held that disobedience of summons for appearance did not amount to contravention of the provisions of the 1963 Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA).

17 Aug 2017
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US charges seven with insider trading off stolen data

The Securities and Exchange Commission charged seven individuals on Wednesday with insider trading in what the regulator said was a wide-ranging scheme that generated more than $5 million in profits by trading on confidential information about dozens of impending mergers and acquisitions allegedly stolen from the investment-bank employer of one of the accused.

The traders allegedly attempted to evade detection by using shell companies, code words and an encrypted, self-destructing messaging application. However, the SEC Market Abuse Unit’s Analysis and Detection Center used data-analysis tools to detect suspicious patterns such as the improbably successful trading across different securities over time.

17 Aug 2017
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People in Jersey warned after £450k cyber fraud attempt

People in Jersey are being urged to be extra vigilant following a series of targeted attempts to defraud Jersey companies and their clients.

The Jersey Financial Services Commission are warning local businesses and members of the public to be careful after at least three cases surfaced, where locally registered business have been the subject of an attempted ‘impersonation attack.’

17 Aug 2017
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Cambodia arrests nearly 400 Chinese, Taiwanese over telecom fraud

Authorities in Cambodia have arrested nearly 400 Chinese and Taiwanese nationals this month on suspicion of operating a telecoms scam to defraud victims in China, police said.

China has been battling telecoms fraud that has cost billions of dollars in financial losses, say authorities in Beijing who accuse Taiwan of harbouring criminal gangs behind many of the scams.

17 Aug 2017
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Nigerians pay up equivalent of about $4.6bn in bribes

An estimated N400 billion, or the equivalent of $4.6 billion in purchasing power parity (PPP), representing 39% of the combined federal and state education budgets in 2016, is paid out as bribes to public officials in Nigeria annually, a new report released by the National Bureau of Statistics, in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, has revealed.

The National Corruption Report, which covered the period between June 2015 and May 2016 also showed that almost a third of Nigerian adults (32.3%) who had contact with public officials between June 2015 and May 2016 had to pay, or were requested to pay a bribe to such public officials.

17 Aug 2017
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Australia proposes stronger money laundering rules, includes bitcoin

Australia announced a bill on Thursday to strengthen its money laundering laws, including bringing bitcoin providers under the remit of AUSTRAC, the government’s financial intelligence unit.

This would be the first stage of reforms to strengthen the country’s Anti-Money Laundering And Counter Terrorism Financing Act, Minister of Justice Michael Keenan said in a press release.

16 Aug 2017
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SEC fines KPMG $6.2m over Miller Energy audit failures

Global auditing giant KPMG agreed to pay $6.2 million in penalties to settle Securities and Exchange Commission charges that it failed to properly audit Miller Energy, an oil driller that emerged from bankruptcy proceedings last year.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said KMPG and a partner, John Riordan, engaged in improper professional.

16 Aug 2017
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‘Terrorism’ sanctions hit food prices, real estate in Qatar

Sanctions imposed by other Arab states are continuing to push up food prices in Qatar while hurting the real estate market, but not to the point of damaging the economy severely, according to inflation figures released by the government.

The annual inflation rate fell back in July, after spiking in June, following a move by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt to cut diplomatic and transport ties with it on June 5, accusing it of supporting terrorism, which Doha denies.

16 Aug 2017
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PwC hit with misconduct fine over RSM Tenon audit

PwC has been handed a record £5.1 million fine for “extensive” misconduct after admitting a litany of failures in its audit of accountancy firm RSM Tenon.

The UK’s Financial Reporting Council said PwC must pay £500,000 in costs and slapped partner Nicholas Boden with a £114,750 fine for his role in the 2011 audit. The initial £6m fine was reduced to £5.1m after a settlement discount, the FRC said.

16 Aug 2017
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Russian ex-minister claims Rosneft chief framed him over bribery

Former Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev told his bribery trial on Wednesday that he had been framed by a close lieutenant of President Vladimir Putin into accepting a payment of US$2 million.

The accusation against Igor Sechin, head of Russia’s biggest oil company, thrust into the open simmering tensions between rival Kremlin clans – a spectacle rarely seen in public in the 17 years since Putin first became president.

16 Aug 2017
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Unwinding banking regulation is ‘dangerous’ plan, says Fed’s Fischer

Leading Federal Reserve policymaker Stanley Fischer has hit out at plans to unwind banking regulation, brandishing it a “terrible mistake.”

In an interview with the Financial Times, Fischer said that efforts by the US administration to strip back the rules put in place 10 years ago would lead large institutions to return to the status quo that led to the financial crisis.

16 Aug 2017
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Indian mining giant Adani faces financial fraud claims

A global mining giant seeking public funds to develop one of the world’s largest coal mines in Australia has been accused of fraudulently siphoning hundreds of millions of dollars of borrowed money into overseas tax havens.

Indian conglomerate the Adani Group is expecting a legal decision in the “near future” in connection with allegations it inflated invoices for an electricity project in India to shift huge sums of money into offshore bank accounts.

16 Aug 2017
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Swiss firm settles charges it helped Americans evade taxes

A Swiss asset management firm agreed to pay $5 million to settle charges it helped American clients evade US taxes by opening undeclared foreign bank accounts for a decade, the US Department of Justice said on Tuesday.

Prosecutors said they entered a non-prosecution agreement with Prime Partners SA rather than pursue criminal charges because of the Geneva-based firm’s “extraordinary cooperation.”

16 Aug 2017
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Accused to plead guilty over eBay terror funding plot

An American man accused of using fake eBay transactions to receive Islamic State funds for a possible terrorist attack in the U.S. has agreed to plead guilty, according to a court filing.

Mohamed Elshinawy, who was living in Maryland when he was arrested in late 2015 on terror-related charges, faces four criminal counts; a lawyer for Mr. Elshinawy and a federal prosecutor declined to comment.

15 Aug 2017
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Basra governor ‘travels to Iran’ after corruption investigation launched

The governor of the oil city of Basra has stepped down and gone to Iran after Iraq’s anti-corruption body began investigating graft allegations against him, people close to him and officials said on Tuesday.

Iraq’s Integrity Commission on Monday evening issued a statement asking the foreign ministry in Baghdad to ask Iran to repatriate Mr. Nasrawi.

15 Aug 2017
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World’s biggest banks face £264bn bill for poor conduct

Fines, legal bills and the cost of compensating mistreated customers reached £264bn for 20 of the world’s biggest banks over the five years to 2016, according to new research that raises doubts about efforts by the major financial services players to restore trust in the sector.

This figure is higher than in the previous five-year period – when the costs amounted to £252bn – and is up 32% on the period 2008-12, the first time the data was collated by the CCP Research Foundation, one of the few bodies that analyses the “conduct costs” of banks.

15 Aug 2017
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Malta update: new deadline for EU anti-money laundering directive

Malta’s finance ministry has committed itself to passing the fourth EU anti-money laundering directive through parliament after the summer recess.

The EU Commission some weeks ago penned a letter to the government asking why it failed to transpose the fourth anti-money laundering directive – aimed at making it harder for terrorist organisations and criminal gangs to hide their money – into law by the 26 June deadline.

15 Aug 2017
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Australia bank lobby head says CBA scandal hurts entire industry

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia money laundering scandal has damaged the public’s perception of the whole banking sector, according to the head of the industry’s lobby group.

“The issue that Australian banks are suffering with is community trust and public reputation,” Australian Bankers’ Association chief executive officer Anna Bligh said in an interview on Monday. “The events of the past week, 10 days, have not only been very serious and damaging for the reputation of the Commonwealth Bank but for the banking industry in Australia as a whole,” she said.

15 Aug 2017
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South African prosecutors deny snubbing emails in graft probe

South Africa’s public prosecution service, which is investigating alleged corruption in the awarding of government contracts, has denied reports that it will not accept leaked emails as evidence against President Jacob Zuma’s allies.

The allegations of influence-peddling in the so-called “State Capture” affair are deepening a divide in the ruling ANC party as factions jostle for control before a conference in December where Zuma’s successor as party leader will be chosen.

15 Aug 2017
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Modi says more Indians paying tax after cash ban, GST regime

The number of new taxpayers in India more than doubled in the past five months and about 3 trillion rupees ($47 billion) came back to the banks after the government’s cash ban brought more people into the fold of the formal economy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

“Black money which was hidden was forced to come to the mainstream,” Modi said in his independence day address at the Red Fort in New Delhi. “This is not government research, this is from external experts.”

15 Aug 2017
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Rouhani threatens to quit nuclear deal if fresh sanctions imposed

Iran’s newly re-elected President Hassan Rouhani has threatened to quit the 2015 nuclear deal “within hours” if the United States continues to impose new sanctions on the country.

Rouhani issued the warning in a televised speech to Iran’s parliament Tuesday, kicking off a vote-of-confidence session for nominated ministers of his second-term cabinet.

14 Aug 2017
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Malta ‘mum’ on implementation of EU anti-money laundering rules

Malta’s Minister of Finance failed to answer The Malta Independent’s questions on why it has not transposed the latest EU anti money laundering directive into law.

The EU Commission some weeks ago penned a letter to the government asking why it failed to transpose the fourth anti-money laundering directive – aimed at making it harder for terrorist organisations and criminal gangs to hide their money – into law by the 26 June deadline. The EU sent a letter to a total of 14 member states for missing the deadline, while a further three member states have been asked to explain why the measures were only partially transposed.

14 Aug 2017
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Ex-Pemex CEO Lozoya denies receiving $10m Odebrecht bribe

Former Petroleos Mexicanos Chief Executive Officer Emilio Lozoya denied media reports that he received $10 million in an alleged bribery scheme involving Brazilian construction company Odebrecht SA in Mexico.

“I have never participated in acts of corruption. These publications have lied repeatedly on this and other issues, and have never proven their allegations,” Lozoya said in an emailed response to questions. “I categorically deny the charges and the information that refers to alleged acts of request and/or acceptance of bribes directly or indirectly on my part from Odebrecht or its officials.”

14 Aug 2017
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Bank data leaks: Germany seeks arrest of Swiss secret agents

German prosecutors have opened proceedings against three members of the Swiss secret services for allegedly spying on their neighbour, according to media reports. The move could further sour relations between the two countries, which have been damaged by an ongoing stolen bank data scandal.

The row first erupted earlier this year when Germany arrested a Swiss national, known as Daniel M, who had allegedly been planted within the German intelligence services as a mole. Daniel M’s task was reportedly to find out the source of leaked Swiss banking data that had been sold to the German authorities.

14 Aug 2017
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Iran eyes more funds for missiles, guards after US sanctions

Iran’s parliament has given initial approval to a bill to boost spending on Tehran’s missile program and the elite Revolutionary Guards in retaliation for new sanctions imposed by the United States.

Lawmakers overwhelmingly approved the outlines of the bill to “counter America’s terrorist and adventurist actions” as some chanted “Death to America”, the state broadcaster IRIB reported.

14 Aug 2017
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Neymar offers to pay £1.9m fine to settle Brazil tax dispute following £200m PSG switch

Neymar has offered to pay a fine worth £1.9m in order to settle a long-running tax evasion dispute in his native Brazil.

The Brazilian, who became the world’s most expensive footballer after Paris Saint-Germain paid Barcelona £200m for his signature last week, wants to put the two-year legal battle behind him as he prepares for a new life in France. Brazilian authorities accused Neymar of unpaid taxes between 2011 and 2014.

14 Aug 2017
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Australia’s Biggest Bank Says CEO Will Retire Amid Money-Laundering Scandal

Commonwealth Bank of Australia will embark on a global search for a new chief executive officer after saying Ian Narev will step down within 10 months, as the nation’s largest lender seeks to mitigate the fallout from a money-laundering scandal.

The announcement of Narev’s pending departure comes less than a week after the bank said the 50-year-old “retains the full confidence of the board” in the wake of a legal suit alleging it breached money-laundering rules more than 50,000 times.