India, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand
Supreme Court rejects petition filed by former interior minister in money laundering case
The Supreme Court has rejected a request by former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deskmukh for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to provide reports relating to the corruption case filed against him.
In April, the CBI informed the court that its preliminary investigation had identified evidence of serious crimes having been committed.
The court further stated that Deskmukh’s motion should not be granted solely because of his previous role as a minister and that there must be something extraordinary warranting interference in a court investigation. [19 Nov 2021]
SEBI warns debenture trustees against trading unregulated products
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has announced that it has come to its attention that some registered debenture trustees are undertaking activities related to unregulated products, such as acting as a trustee for digital gold.
SEBI reiterated that undertaking business in relation to unregulated products is not in accordance with Section 12(1) of the SEBI Act 1992, read together with the SEBI (Debenture Trustees) Regulations 1993.
SEBI has advised the Debenture Trustees to disassociate themselves from non-regulated product activities. [3 Nov 2021]
Prosecutors seek death penalty in corruption trial
Indonesian prosecutors are seeking the first-ever death sentence for a defendant in a major corruption case. The accused is accused of having encouraged a military insurer to make bad investments for personal gain. He is also accused of money laundering by investing in other assets, inflicting a loss of 12.6 trillion rupees ($878 million).
According to article 2 of the anti-corruption law, the conviction for corruption can carry the death penalty if the crime is committed during a national emergency due to a natural disaster or an economic crisis, and/or if it this is a repeated crime.
Prosecutors argued that the accused was a repeat offender because he had already been convicted in another corruption case. [6 Dec 2021]
AMLC filed money laundering cases involving 1.3 billion pesos ($25 million)
Over an eight-month period in 2021, 85 criminal and civil cases involving approximately 1.31 billion pesos ($25.4 million) were filed by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).
AMLC Chairman and Governor of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Benjamin Diokno, announced that the Financial Intelligence Unit continues to intensify anti-money laundering initiatives despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
The AMLC has also signed memorandums of understanding with 51 jurisdictions and memorandums of understanding with 39 government and law enforcement agencies, and has joined with the Philippine National Police to foster cooperation and coordination in the fight against money laundering. [30 Dec 2021]
Singapore court finds bribery no defense against loan recovery claims
Singapore High Court Judge Philip Jeyaretnam overturned the Deputy Registrar’s decision and denied a metal trading company and its directors permission to defend an Indian’s bank loan recovery claim.
The judge held that the Indian bank was a victim of both the briber and the bribed individual, whose unlawful behavior could not be blamed on the bank. The doctrine of illegality had not been raised in this case because it is not a contract to pay a bribe and commit a crime. Rather, it is a contract obtained through a bribe and must be treated according to the principles of fairness.
He further pointed out that there was no Singaporean public policy requiring the court to refuse to perform a contract obtained through bribery. [25 Nov 2021]
South Korea pardons former president Park Geun-hye
Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye, ousted from office and sentenced to 22 years in prison for corruption and abuse of power, has been pardoned and released from prison, after spending around four years and eight months in prison.
When Park was in office, it was discovered that he and a close confidant received millions in bribes from some of South Korea’s wealthiest companies, including Samsung, in exchange for favorable government decisions. [24 Dec 2021]
Taiwan FSC fines three banks for stealing customers
Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) has fined three banks whose employees or sales agents embezzled customer funds totaling NT$20 million. The FSC fined CTBC Bank (中信銀行) NT$14 million, SinoPac Bank (永豐銀行) NT$4 million and Panhsin Bank (板信銀行) NT$2 million. NT dollars.
Banks have been criticized for their weak internal controls and failure to enforce anti-money laundering measures. [30 Dec 2021]
New Draft Amendments to Anti-Money Laundering Law Approved
Thailand’s cabinet has approved a new draft amendment to the Money Laundering Act to cover more offenses including child pornography, tax evasion and loan sharking.
The proposal, submitted by the Anti-Money Laundering Bureau, aims to strengthen Thailand’s anti-money laundering framework and ensure that it remains compliant with international standards, as set by the Financial Action Task Force. [30 Dec 2021]