Authorities in Switzerland announced on May 24, 2016, that they initiated criminal proceedings against private bank BSI due to allegations of money laundering. The Swiss attorney general’s office stated that it suspected “deficiencies in the internal organization of the BSI S.A. bank” and that these organizational deficiencies resulted in the bank’s inability to prevent certain criminal offenses under investigation relating to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a Malaysia state investment fund. BSI was ordered by Swiss authorities to hand over 95 million Swiss francs (approximately U.S. $96 million) in profits. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (“MAS”) also ordered BSI Bank to shut down its Singapore operations, the first time in 32 years that it has withdrawn a license from a merchant bank, and also imposed $13.3 million in financial penalties. The MAS also referred six senior BSI managers to prosecutors for further criminal investigation.

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In February 2015, Australia commenced its second foreign bribery prosecution in relation to the bribery of a foreign public official, almost four years after the commencement of Australia’s first foreign-bribery prosecution against Securency and Note Printing Australia Pty Ltd. The implicated individuals have extensive terrorist connections, which further calls into question issues such as dealing in the proceeds of crimes and money laundering, which are often intertwined with bribery and corruption charges. Notably, this prosecution coincides with the Australian Government’s introduction of several key changes to Australia’s foreign bribery laws in March 2015. This was followed closely by the OECD report on Australia’s compliance record in April 2015. Despite taking into account some of the proposed legislative amendments, the OECD report noted remaining concern over Australia’s lack of action regarding compliance enforcement.
Continue Reading Australia vs. Foreign Bribery – Teething Pains