Senator Calls for White-collar Crime Inquiry
The Age reports that Nationals senator John Williams has called for a royal commission into white-collar crime on the basis that it is “systemic, it is growing, and innocent people are losing their livelihoods [to] crooks”. Reportedly, Mr Williams used parliamentary privilege to accuse a Sydney businessman of fraud, and also criticised the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) of not adequately performing their role as a corporate watchdog.
The Age: Senator uses privilege to accuse businessman of theft (22 September 2011)
(Source: The Age)
Offshore Banks Under Investigation
Bloomberg reports that eight offshore banks are under federal grand jury investigation for allegedly assisting tax evasion by United States citizens.
Bloomberg: Eight offshore banks under grand jury investigation over taxes, U.S. Says (21 September 2011)
Insider Trading Proceedings Commenced
The Vanguard reports that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed an insider trading lawsuit in relation to the the recent purchase of underwater oil services company Global Industries Limited (Global Industries) by energy engineering company, Technip SA (Technip). The SEC reportedly allege that unnamed defendants purchased over 685, 840 shares in Global Industries two days before Technip announced that it would buy the shares at a 55% premium. The defendants reportedly sold their shares at an US$1.73 million profit, using information which the SEC allege was obtained “as a result of breaches of fiduciary duty” by the companies.
The Vanguard: SEC alleges insider trading in Global Industries (21 September 2011)
(Source: The Vanguard)
Slow Justice for GFC Corporate Criminals
Reuters reports that the US Department of Justice has received criticism over its delay in prosecuting the possible fraud of major financial institutions responsible for the 2007-2009 global financial crisis (GFC), and that this delay is the likely result of the difficulty in proving criminal intent. Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer reportedly defended the government’s prosecution, describing it as “incredibly aggressive”. However, Mr Breuer reportedly confirmed that meeting the “high threshold” of proving criminal intent presented a challenge because “[t]he mere fact that there was either excessive greed – which there clearly was, or excessive risk taking, which there was probably as well – doesn’t mean that a particular matter was criminal”.
Reuters: U.S. sees challenges in some financial cases (21 September 2011)
Media Empire Investigated for Bribery
Bloomberg reports that the US Department of Justice has written to News Corporation requesting information as part of an investigation into whether alleged payments to police for information constituted a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). According to Bloomberg, an anonymous “person with knowledge of the matter” confirmed the investigation of the US business’ alleged “paying off” of foreign government representatives in order to gain commercial advantage, which is a crime under the FCPA.
The investigation reportedly accompanies an existing US probe into allegations that News Corporation hacked the phones of September 11 victims in the US, following revelations earlier this year that UK News Corporation staff hacked the voicemail account of murdered teenager Milly Dowler in 2002.
According to Bloomberg, the letter requests information from News Corporation, but does not legally oblige the company to respond.
Bloomberg: News Corp. Said to Get U.S. Letter Seeking Information For Bribery Probe (21 September 2011)
Related News Items:
The Guardian: US prosecutors write to News Corp as part of payment inquiry – reports (20 September 2011)
Reuters: US seeks information from News Corp as part of bribery probe – reports (20 September 2011)
(Source: Bloomberg; The Guardian; Reuters; justice.gov)