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A Failure of Nerve: The SFO’s Settlement with Rolls Royce

So Rolls Royce has been fined £671 million under a global settlement for a bribery scheme that ranged from the 1980 right up until 2013 and spanned 13 countries. The Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with the UK’s SFO resulted in a fine of £497.2 million for payment of bribes concealed in well over $56 million of commission payments paid mainly via intermediaries in Nigeria, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, India, China and Russia. The DPA with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) resulted in a fine of $170 million for payment of $35 million in bribes through intermediaries in Angola, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Iraq, Thailand, and Brazil. The Brazilian prosecutors’ office has also reached a leniency agreement with Rolls Royce under which the company will pay $25 million for bribery in the Petrobras scandal.

The DPAs were rushed through so that the US agreement could be finalised before the Trump administration takes office – Trump has described the US’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act as a ‘horrible law’ and said he will repeal it.

In his judgement, Sir Brian Leveson remarked that his first reaction was that if Rolls Royce’s “egregious criminality over decades” was not to be prosecuted “it was difficult to see when any company would be prosecuted.” However, he ultimately decided that because of Rolls Royce’s extensive cooperation during the investigation and because Rolls-Royce now has an entirely new Board and executive team, and has made considerable changes to its policies, the DPA was in the interests of justice.

The UK’s third DPA with one of the UK’s most politically and strategically important companies raises some serious questions about the DPA regime and the willingness and ability of the prosecuting authorities to prosecute what was clearly an egregious, sustained, and global pattern of wrongdoing ingrained in the very culture of the company and involving senior former executives.

In particular, the DPA raises the following key issues:

  • The UK’s DPA regime has been significantly weakened by the Rolls Royce precedent:

Previously the SFO has emphasised that companies should self-report information about wrongdoing that the SFO could not otherwise have known about. Both the previous two DPAs were based on this type of self-report. This did not happen with Rolls Royce: two whistleblowers posted allegations online and the SFO approached Rolls to ask them about the allegations. The SFO argued in this case that because Rolls Royce’s cooperation was so extensive and resulted in Rolls providing the SFO with further information of wrongdoing which the SFO was not aware of, it should be treated as having self-reported. The Rolls Royce DPA, therefore, sets a precedent that a company can fail to disclose – in fact deliberately decide not to disclose information about wrongdoing (the judgement says that Rolls Royce knew about conduct since 2010 and decided not to notify authorities), but if it then cooperates with the SFO it will still be eligible for a DPA. Companies will heave a sigh of relief that they can now safely take the risk of not disclosing wrongdoing to the SFO, but still receive all the advantages of a DPA if they do get caught as long as they then play ball. This DPA therefore potentially undermines incentives for companies to self-report – a key plank of why DPAs were introduced.

  •  The terms of the UK DPA which include a 50% discount in fine, a five year payment plan and a lack of transparency about how the full benefit received by Rolls from the contracts was calculated, are overly generous and unmerited:

Despite the fact that Rolls Royce did not self-disclose, Sir Brian Leveson still decided that it was eligible for a 50% reduction in fines under the DPA. The Department of Justice was not so generous. It gave Rolls a 25% discount in acknowledgement that it had not self-disclosed the wrongdoing. Leveson’s decision to start allowing 50% reductions in fine under DPAs is a deliberate shift away from the 30% reduction stipulated by the Crime and Courts Act 2013, and raises questions about who Leveson is accountable to when changing DPA policy on such a fundamental basis.

It is worth noting that while the US DOJ has demanded the fine upfront, the SFO has given Rolls Royce 5 years to pay the fine in instalments. This overly generous treatment raises serious questions about how much of a deterrent the DPA provides and whether fines of this type are likely to become regarded by companies as a potential cost of doing business.

  • The SFO has given an inappropriate assurance to Rolls Royce about not investigating and prosecuting additional criminality should it emerge alongside the DPA:

The SFO has assured Rolls-Royce (para 134) that “it would not consider it to be in the interests of justice to investigate or prosecute it for additional conduct” that pre-dates the DPA but which might arise from the SFO’s ongoing investigations into Airbus and Unaoil. But if those investigations, which the judgement reveals are currently “insufficiently advanced” to provide evidence on potential wrongdoing by Rolls Royce, reveals criminality by the company, it would be wholly inappropriate for the SFO not to penalise the company for that criminality. Additionally, it would raise questions as to why Rolls Royce had either not uncovered such criminality itself in the course of its internal investigations, or if it had, why it had not disclosed it to the SFO. That is to say, the very basis of Rolls Royce’s DPA might be called into question by information that arises from these other SFO investigations. The assurance has worrying overtones of the immunity clause that the SFO gave to BAE Systems in its 2010 settlement, which was roundly criticised by the Judge who oversaw that settlement and by the OECD.

It is notable that the DOJ’s DPA specifically requires the company to continue to cooperate with it “in any and all matters relating to the conduct [subject to the DPA] … and other conduct” under investigation by the DOJ until the term of the DPA ends, and to inform it of any further evidence or allegations of bribery. The SFO’s DPA only commits the company to cooperate if the SFO launches a prosecution.

  • The ‘adverse consequences’ that Rolls Royce might suffer if it were prosecuted, in particular being debarred from public contracts, were vastly overplayed and their consideration as a public interest factor against prosecution undermines government commitments to ensure corrupt bidders are excluded from public contracts:

At the UK Anti-Corruption Summit in May 2016, the UK committed, along with other countries at the Summit, to exclude corrupt bidders from public contracts. However, one of the key public interest arguments given for not prosecuting Rolls Royce was that it would face exclusion from public procurement. As the judgement itself acknowledges, only 15% of Rolls Royce’s contracts would have been affected by mandatory exclusion from public contracting – a fact that suggests that claims made by the SFO and accepted by Sir Brian that a prosecution might lead to Rolls Royce’s demise were vastly over-stated. Given that EU exclusion regimes now specifically allow for companies to argue that they have effectively reformed or ‘self-cleaned’ in such a way as to avoid mandatory debarment, the likelihood of Rolls Royce being excluded at all was in any event very low.

  • The impact of Rolls Royce’s corruption on the countries in which it paid bribes was given no weight in the proceedings:

While the innocent employees and shareholders who could potentially be affected if Rolls Royce were prosecuted were given specific mention, no reference was made to the victims of the corruption that Rolls Royce committed. None of the prosecuting authorities from the countries where bribes were paid appear to have been given a right to make representations to the court. And no real assessment of the potential harm caused by Rolls Royce’s corruption appears to have been made by the SFO. Such corruption undermines democracy, the rule of law and socio-economic development, disadvantaging citizens in victim countries.

  • Finally, the DPA raises questions about accountability for judicial scrutiny of DPAs itself and lack of third party representation:

Only one senior UK judge currently hears DPAs: Sir Brian Leveson. Given that DPAs cannot be judicially reviewed or challenged, it is questionable whether the process should be left in the hands of only one judge who gets to set case law on DPAs. There is no route for third parties to make representations to the court who might have evidence or reasons for questioning why a DPA might not be in the public interest. Sir Brian therefore only ever hears arguments from two parties, the SFO and the company, who are in agreement about the DPA being a good thing. The danger is that Sir Brian Leveson is not only reformulating DPA policy on the job with no oversight, but may get so familiar with the arguments in favour of DPAs, that his critical oversight is dimmed. 

What the SFO needs to do now

If the SFO’s DPA with Rolls Royce represents a failure of nerve, there are a few key things the SFO must do now to show that it is serious about ensuring that the vast wrongdoing exposed in its investigation of Rolls Royce does not go completely unpunished:

 

  1. Individual prosecutions against the executives involved will be a key test of the SFO’s commitment to dealing with the alleged corruption effectively:

    The SFO has said that it is pursuing investigations against individuals. Bringing those individuals, particularly senior level executives, who were responsible for the wrongdoing alleged in both the SFO and DOJ DPAs is essential.

  1. The SFO must bring prosecutions against the intermediaries involved where possible:

    In particular, it should continue its investigation into Unaoil vigorously (the danger is that it could lose appetite for such an investigation now the Rolls Royce allegations have been resolved), the Choudhries who acted as an intermediary for Rolls Royce in India, and the UK based intermediary cited in relation to corruption allegations in Kazakhstan in the DOJ’s DPA.

  1. The SFO must look at whether there are assets belonging to corrupt officials linked to the bribes paid by Rolls Royce and to intermediaries based in the UK and whether there are grounds for confiscating them:

    At least one of the intermediaries involved in the alleged wrongdoing is known to have property in the UK, and it is possible that some of the officials involved, who are known to the SFO from its investigation, may also.

 

Failure to continue to act with determination on these matters will undermine the UK’s stated commitment to fighting corruption by British companies and will strongly suggest that the introduction of the DPA regime still results in too-cosy settlements that effectively allow big and powerful companies off the hook.

Corruption Watch UK Is Looking for a Senior Legal Researcher With Investigative Skills

Corruption Watch UK is looking to hire a Senior Legal Research with Investigative Skills. Please see the posting below.

Corruption Watch is an anticorruption organisation that focuses on ending corporate impunity for grand corruption. Through detailed investigations and policy work, we expose corruption, primarily but not exclusively in the defence sector, and advocate for change. We have developed a programme of work that involves monitoring corruption trials in the UK courts and the use of new enforcement tools such as Deferred Prosecution Agreements to look at how UK anti-corruption laws apply in practice, whether they meet the requirements of justice and deterrence and where the gaps in enforcement are.

Corruption Watch is looking to recruit a full-time legal researcher with investigative skills. The job of the researcher is to monitor corruption trials, providing detailed case notes and summaries, and help develop an open justice agenda for court documents relating to these trials. The researcher will also do research for policy work on legal issues relating to grand corruption, undertake investigative work into corruption cases, and produce reports.

Applicants who have substantial litigation or other court based experience (including legal journalism) should apply. Applicants must have proven writing and note taking skills, a proven ability to summarise arguments and evidence presented in court, and a strong interest in public interest litigation and laws governing economic crime. Applicants will ideally have a background in legal work that has a corruption or financial crime angle, and have proven investigative skills.

The post is for an initial one year contract with potential for further extension subject to funding. The gross salary is £32,000.Flexible work hours and work location are available.

Submissions should be made in the form of a CV plus a covering letter explaining why applicants think they would be suitable for the job. These should be sent to: spjhawley@gmail.com

Deadline for applications is Friday October 21st.

 

Cash For Cash Notes: Former Business Manager at Securency International PTY Ltd. Convicted of Corruption

Against the backdrop of the UK’s Anti-Corruption Summit in mid -May 2016, a jury at the Southwark Crown Court retired to consider six counts of corruption brought against Peter Chapman, the former business manager for Africa for Securency International PTY Ltd., after a six-week long trial. The allegations brought by the UK Serious Fraud Office against Chapman were that he bribed a foreign official for the purpose of securing orders for the supply of polymer substrate by his company, Securency to the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting PLC. Polymer substrate is used in the printing of bank notes and Securency was said to be monopoly supplier of this substrate in Nigeria. Peter Chapman had spent 162 days in custody in Brazil before being extradited to the UK.

 

Securency was a joint venture, set up in 1996 between the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) and Innovia Films, a British international manufacturer and supplier of speciality packaging.[1] In late 2010, both organizations, who each had a 50% stake in Securency, announced their intention to sell the business following allegations that staff had bribed foreign officials to secure contracts. But a lack of suitable offers led Innovia Films to change its mind on the sale, and it paid AUD $65m (£43.4m) for RBA’s shares.[2] Innovia Films, based in Cumbria had a net worth of £158.4 million in 2014.[3] It produces high-tech film products for industrial applications and banknotes, and in 2014 it won a contract to provide polymer for the Bank of England’s new £5 and £10 banknotes.[4]

 

The Serious Fraud Office and the Australian Federal Police have been investigating the activities of Securency employees and its bribery since May 2009  in a burgeoning bribery investigation involving allegations, arrests and raids across three continents.[5] Business executives in Securency were previously alleged to have conspired to win lucrative contracts to print plastic notes in several south-east Asian countries by paying bribes to high-ranking politicians and officials between 1999 and 2005 including Vietnam, Malaysia and India.
The trial was an important one particularly because of the astonishing secrecy surrounding bribery allegations involving the company. In July 2014, an extraordinary gagging order was issued by an Australian court to block the reporting of the bribery  allegations surrounding Securency  and  several international political leaders.[6] The judge who issued the ruling, Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth, said the order was necessary “to prevent damage to Australia’s international relations”.[7] The gagging order prohibited reporting about any person involved in the case who “received or attempted to receive a bribe or improper payment” [8] The order was a “super injunction” – even publishing its existence was itself suppressed, however it was published by Wikileaks in what Justice Hollingworth, called a “a clear and deliberate breach of law”.[9] The last known blanket suppression order of this nature had been granted in 1995 and concerned the joint U.S.-Australian intelligence spying operation against the Chinese Embassy in Canberra .[10]

 

The Charges

 

The jury convicted the former Securency official, Peter Chapman on four counts of corruption for giving the foreign official bribes worth £103,000. The corruption occurred between January- March 2009. He was acquitted on two counts of alleged bribery to the same official on earlier occasions. This is good news for the UK Serious Fraud Office which has successfully prosecuted a key individual in a global bribery case. Last year, three employees of Swift Technical Solutions Ltd were found not guilty at Southwark Crown Court of corruption offences in relation to the tax affairs of a Nigerian subsidiary.[11]

 

Peter Chapman was sentenced to a 30-month custodial sentence, half of which has already been served in Brazil and then Wandsworth Prison in the UK. For the remaining half he was immediately released on license, which generally means he is released under conditions such as he must be of good behavior, not commit any offence, be in touch with the supervising officer in accordance with the instructions of this officer and reside permanently at an address approved by the supervising officer.

 

He will return to a confiscation hearing on 19th January 2017.[12] In sentencing Peter Chapman, Judge Michael Grieve said a significant factor in mitigating Chapman’s sentence was the role of Securency management. Chapman was seen to have been under considerable pressure by the management to move towards “polymeriz[ing] the world” and accordingly, the UK Judge said Chapman acted with his manager’s “connivance” or at least “encouragement”.  The management based in Australia named during the trial included Hugh Brown, then Director of Sales, Miles Curtis, then Managing Director of Securency and David John Ellery, then Director of Financial Operations who was also the main prosecution witness against Peter Chapman.

 

More information on Securency and the trial monitoring notes can be accessed here

[1] Innovia Security official website at https://www.innoviasecurity.com/history/ accessed on 26th May 2016.

[2] 14th January 2013, Print Week, “Innovia to buy out Securency partner” at http://www.printweek.com/print-week/news/1136015/innovia-securency-partner

[3] See https://companycheck.co.uk/company/00271998/INNOVIA-FILMS-LIMITED/group-structure accessed on 23rd May 2016

[4] Bank of England official website at http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Pages/news/2014/050.aspx

[5] January 10, 2011, Sydney Morning Herald, Business Day, “RBA firm rehired suspect agents via tax haven company” at  http://www.smh.com.au/business/rba-firm-rehired-suspect-agents-via-tax-haven-company-20110109-19juo.html accessed on 4/01/2016; July 30th, 2014, Guardian at “ Australian court’s gagging order condemned as ‘abuse of legal process’”

[6]July 30th, 2014, Guardian “Australian court’s gagging order condemned as ‘abuse of legal process’” at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/30/australian-court-gagging-order-abuse-legal-process

[7] July 30th, 2014, Guardian “Australian court’s gagging order condemned as ‘abuse of legal process’” at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/30/australian-court-gagging-order-abuse-legal-process

[8] July 30th 2014, FCPA, “Australia clamps embarrassing gag order on global bank note bribery case” at http://www.fcpablog.com/blog/2014/7/30/australia-clamps-embarrassing-gag-order-on-global-banknote-b.html#sthash.63KWvTiL.dpuf

[9] 15th July 2014, blog Crikey, “Finally court lifts absurd Securency injunction” at http://www.crikey.com.au/2015/07/15/finally-court-lifts-absurd-securency-injunction accessed on http://www.crikey.com.au/2015/07/15/finally-court-lifts-absurd-securency-injunction/

[10] 29th July 2014, WikiLeaks release at  https://wikileaks.org/aus-suppression-order/press.html

[11] SFO official public website at https://www.sfo.gov.uk/2015/06/02/defendants-acquitted-in-nigerian-corruption/

[12] January 10, 2011, Sydney Morning Herald, Business Day, “RBA firm rehired suspect agents via tax haven company” at  http://www.smh.com.au/business/rba-firm-rehired-suspect-agents-via-tax-haven-company-20110109-19juo.html accessed on 4/01/2016; July 30th, 2014, Guardian, “Australian court’s gagging order condemned as ‘abuse of legal process’” at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/30/australian-court-gagging-order-abuse-legal-process

Official Trailer for the Shadow World Released

Ahead of its premiere at the Tribeca film festival on the 16th of April 2016, the official trailer for Shadow World is now available to view on the Shadow World website: http://shadowworldfilm.com/

The site also provides additional details as to screening dates for the film, and further information about the films content.

Premiere of The Shadow World Confirmed: Tribeca Film Festival (New York) and San Francisco Film Festival

Shadow World, a film by director Johan Grimonprez and based on Andrew Feinstein’s book of the same name, is to make its global premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2016. Andrew Feinstein, executive director of Corruption Watch UK, worked closely with Grimonprez over the past three years to bring the film to fruition.

Screening dates at Tribe for the Shadow World: 16 April 2016 (Premiere), 17 April 2016, 21 April 2016 and 23 April 2016.

Shadow World is also due to screen at the San Francisco Film Festival shortly thereafter.

Screening dates for San Francisco: 24, 26 and 27 April 2016.

 

 

 

The UK’s First Deferred Prosecution Agreement: Good News for the SFO But Worrying News for Tanzania and the Fight Against Corruption

The UK’s first Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA), approved by a senior judge on 30th November and
involving Standard Bank’s alleged failure to prevent its Tanzanian subsidiary and its executives from
paying bribes, has changed the UK’s legal landscape for fighting bribery and economic crime.

Corruption Watch UK has conducted an analysis of the DPA and has flagged concerns regarding its conception, execution and potential impact.

A full report of this analysis is available here

A brief summary of this analysis is available here

Corruption Watch UK Urges Financial Conduct Authority to Investigate Employees Named in Standard Bank DPA

Corruption Watch UK has written to Mark Steward, the Director of Enforcement at the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), urging the FCA to open an investigation into individuals currently or previously employed at Standard Bank PLC relating to activities described by the company’s Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA). Standard Bank PLC entered into a DPA with the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), which was approved by a senior judge on the 30th of November 2015. This is the first time the UK has made use of DPAs to resolve a corruption case after the publication of the DPA Code of Practice in 2014.

The letter can be viewed here

The UK Government’s Bribery Act Wobbles Received Slap Down From Business

In July 2015, the UK Government engaged in a secret and one-sided consultation with business on the Guidance on the UK’s Bribery Act, asking what changes business would like to see to it. Corruption Watch UK has now received, through a Freedom of Information Act request, the email chain that led to the consultation, along with the responses of business. The responses show that business was almost unanimous in saying that the Bribery Act was not an issue; some pointed out the harm that could be done to the UK’s reputation by easing up on the Act.

A full briefing, by Corruption Watch’s Sue Hawley, can be viewed here

The UK Government’s Startling About-Turn on Corporate Liability

The UK’s Independent reports today on recent news that the UK government has reneged on its plans to introduce more effective corporate liability laws that would allow for the effective prosecution of UK corporates for economic crimes such as corruption and money laundering. Answering a question in Parliament, the Justice Minister, Andrew Selous, stated that there was no imminent plan to introduce tougher laws as ‘there was little evidence of corporate crime going unpunished.’

Corruption Watch UK’s Sue Hawley, interviewed by the Independent, commented that “this decision is shockingly short-sighted. The Government has missed a major opportunity to get its house in order on holding corporations to account.

“Companies in the UK are rarely brought to justice and are often effectively above the law because of the UK’s outdated corporate liability laws. It appears that the government is allowing its pro-business deregulation agenda to derails its anti-corruption commitments.”

A new report by Corruption Watch UK, published earlier this week, shows that, in the absence of serious reform, UK anti-corruption laws are seriously flawed. The current legal regime makes it incredibly difficult to bring effective charges against large companies; indeed, the larger the company is, the less likely that it can be charged under the existing regulatory regime.

The news of the government’s U-turn is particularly disappointing given David Cameron’s recent anti-corruption message delivered during a recent trade trip to South East Asia.

 

 

Off the Hook: Corporate Impunity and Law Reform in the UK

Today, Corruption Watch UK launches a new report on Corporate Liability, the options for its reform and the necessity of doing so. The report can be viewed in full here.

Corporate liability reform in the UK is long overdue. The inadequacy of the UK’s corporate liability laws has been recognised by the government, the Law Commission and by international bodies such as the OECD. The UK’s current laws are based on an outdated model that is not fit for the purpose of holding 21st century globalised companies accountable under the law. These laws:

– seriously disadvantage smaller companies who are far easier to prosecute than larger companies;

– create perverse incentives for large companies to insulate their boards from knowledge of wrongdoing, thus weakening accountability within corporations;

– provide little real deterrent against corporate wrongdoing.

As a result, the UK lags far behind other commercial centres, such as the US, in prosecuting corporate economic crime.

In 2012, the government recognised in introducing Deferred Prosecution Agreements that “options for dealing with offending by commercial organisations are currently limited and the number of outcomes each year, through both criminal and civil proceedings, is relatively low.” The Law Commission has called UK corporate liability laws “inappropriate and ineffective.” Most recently the government recognised in its July 2015 consultation on introducing a new corporate offence of failure to prevent tax evasion that “under the existing law it can be extremely difficult to hold .. corporations to account for the criminal actions of their agents.” Introducing a new offence of failure to prevent economic crime was a key manifesto commitment of the Conservative Party in the May 2015 elections.

The decision on 28th September 2015 to drop further corporate liability law reform on the basis that “there is little evidence of corporate economic wrongdoing going unpunished” is therefore incomprehensible, misguided and a serious failure of political will. Corporate liability law reform, which has been muted for over a decade, must not shelved once again.

Corruption Watch UK’s new report looks at the background to and arguments for corporate liability reform and the options for reform. It concludes that an extension of the offence of failure to prevent under Section 7 to economic crime, and possibly more broadly to serious crime, would be a significant step in the right direction of improving UK corporate liability laws. A failure to prevent model of corporate liability would also help ensure that the UK is able to comply with EU Directives which require liability for corporations where there has been “lack of supervision or control”. It is questionable whether the UK is currently compliant with several EU Directives which require liability for corporations without such changes to its corporate liability regime. However, extending Section 7 should be done in tandem with a broader and comprehensive review of the UK’s corporate liability laws to ensure coherence and consistency in how corporations are held to account.

UK’s Deferred Prosecution Agreements Come One Step Closer

On 20th May this year, Ben Morgan, the Serious Fraud Office’s Joint Head of Bribery and Corruption, told the Global Anti-Corruption and Compliance in Mining Conference 2015 that the SFO had sent out its first letters of invitation to companies to enter into Deferred Prosecution Agreements. Shortly afterwards there was speculation that Tesco, under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) for accounting irregularities since October 2014, was one of the companies that might be involved in negotiations for such an agreement.

Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs) became available for use in February 2014. DPAs are potentially a significant improvement on the secret settlements and civil recovery orders for corruption that the SFO entered into under Richard Alderman, which amounted to little more than a light slap on the wrist and which were heavily criticised by the OECD. For a start DPAs require judicial oversight and under present SFO Director, David Green, the SFO has made clear that prosecution will remain the norm and that there are very strict criteria around how a company has self-reported and cooperated with the SFO before it will be offered a DPA. However, DPAs are controversial and the question remains as to whether justice will be done and seen to be done where they are used.

US jitters

The UK is embarking on the Deferred Prosecution Agreement process just as this instrument is becoming increasingly contentious in the US. In the US, DPAs have been used to deal with the almost all foreign bribery cases and other corporate financial wrongdoing over the past decade. US judges, who in the past have played a mainly rubber stamping role, are starting to flex their muscles. In 2013, Judge Rakoff described the use of DPAs by the US Department of Justice as ”technically and morally suspect”.

A key case is currently before an appeals panel in the US as to whether and on what grounds a judge may throw out a DPA. The case revolves around a judgement in February 2015 by Judge Leon who rejected a DPA between the Department of Justice and Dutch aerospace company Fokker, accused of making illegal shipments to countries under sanctions such as Iran and Myanmar. Judge Leon described the DPA as too lenient and “grossly disproportionate” to the gravity of the company’s conduct. That case will determine the role that judges can and should play in approving DPAs in the US.

DPAs have also been controversial in the US because individuals from the companies involved have rarely gone on to be prosecuted. On 16th September this year, the US Department of Justice issued a new memo, the Yates memo, that states that companies wishing to resolve criminal charges against them must provide all relevant facts relating to the individuals involved in the wrongdoing.

Further controversy over lack of information and transparency in the settlement process in the US led the US Senate to pass the bipartisan Truth in Settlements Act on September 22nd this year.  The aim of the act is to increase transparency in settlements reached with corporations by US enforcement agencies, particularly with regard to the terms of the settlement and the amount of fine a company would have to pay. The fine a company pays in the US is often significantly less than the headline figure because settlement fines are tax deductible.

NGO concerns

As the UK gets read to enter into its first DPAs – a radical departure for the UK justice system – UK NGOs Corruption Watch, Global Witness and Transparency International raised concerns about their use in a letter sent to David Green, Director of the SFO, in June 2015. The three anti-corruption NGOs urged the SFO to abide by key principles in applying DPAs. These include:

– that prosecution should be the norm;

– there must be no immunity clauses either for individuals or undisclosed acts;

– a full admission of wrongdoing must be made by the company;

– open justice principles must be followed with regard to court hearings;

– there must be full transparency including full details of the wrongdoing and of the public interest arguments in favour of a DPA;

– victim and community impact statements should be presented at DPA hearings;

– affected states must be informed of the DPA process and invited to participate;

– and, finally, sanctions must have significant detterent value.

In his reply to the NGOs, David Green said that the issues raised would be taken into account when considering the overall public interest.

It remains to be seen how DPAs will work out in practice as there are several weaknesses in the DPA Code of Practice. One of these is that companies are not required to admit wrongdoing in order to get a DPA. Another is that a DPA can be offered where a conviction “is likely to have disproportionate consequences” on the company and where a conviction would have “collateral effects on the public”. Article 5 of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention requires signatories to ensure that investigation and prosecution of bribery is not influenced by ‘national economic interest’ or the identity of the natural or legal person involved. The concern is that the Code effectively allows prosecutors to take such things into account.

DPAs in the press

In July 2015, the Independent ran a front page article entitled “Justice for sale: Big companies could soon escape prosecution for corporate corruption by paying their way out” reporting again on NGO concerns that companies should not be allowed to a ‘get out of jail’ free card and that big companies may bully the SFO into DPAs. David Green has publically said these concerns are ‘misplaced and premature.

Over the summer, there was feverish ongoing speculation in the press as to who would be eligible for the first DPAs. On July 21st Sky News reported that Barclay Bank had received an offer for a DPA in relation to payments made to Qatari investors in 2008. The FCA found that Barclays had failed to reveal £322 million paid in two advisory services agreements. Barclays denied that they had been offered a DPA.

On the 23rd July the FT reported that 2 companies had started talks with the SFO with a view to entering into a DPA. One of companies according to the FT was a SME (Small and Medium Sized Enterprise), Sarclad – a Rotherham based company that provides technology products to the metal industry. The FT reported that Sarclad and one other company were well advanced in their negotiations for a DPA and that two other companies had been invited to enter into discussions for a DPA. David Green was reported as saying that he hopes that the agency will conclude 2 DPAs by the end of the year. According to the Guardian, he has also said that he hopes to conclude the Tesco investigation by the end of this year adding to speculation that Tesco is in the frame.

Public furore… private justice

An interesting point about this speculation, as the briberyact.com website pointed out is that DPA negotiations are, under the DPA Code of Practice, meant to be confidential. The question is, who is talking to the press? Is it people associated with the SFO who want to prove that the SFO is implementing a key government policy at a time when its future is still under threat? Or is it people associated with the company wanting to assure people that an end is in sight where the wrongdoing is concerned (announcement of DPAs in the US classically lead to a rise in share prices)? Or is it idle legal gossip?

This cuts to the heart of an issue that Corruption Watch has been raising with the Serious Fraud Office for some time now about how transparent DPAs are actually going to be. Under the DPA Code of Practice, hearings at which DPAs will receive final approval will for the most part be heard in private to avoid “uncertainties and destabilisation” and a DPA will only become public knowledge once it has been approved. Theoretically a DPA would remain totally secret until it is a done deal. Corruption Watch has repeatedly raised its concerns with the SFO over the past year as to whether this meets open justice principles. In effect, it allows a company that is being given the privilege of escaping criminal liability for wrongdoing, the double privilege of private justice to boot.

Corruption Watch has asked the SFO to explain whether they will list applications they make for the approval hearings to be held in private and inform the media they have done so, so that the media (and we would argue public interest organisations) can make representations as to why such hearings should be held in public. It is hard to see how DPAs can be fully transparent, if all the legal arguments and evidence as to why a DPA should be approved are heard in private. As Lord Justice Toulson said in a key open justice ruling in 2012, “transparency of the legal process” is critical to the rule of law. DPAs can be no exception. Four months on we are still awaiting the SFO’s answer.

The Companies in the Frame

Sarclad

Sarclad, which has regional offices in the US, China and India, says in its company overview that it supplies to 46 countries around the world and has an extensive network of local agents. Over the past few years, Sarclad has won orders in Saudi Arabia, Brazil, India, Turkey and China. It has a turnover of around £15 million and employs 64 people. It first reported in its 2012 accounts, signed off in September 2013, that the company was “involved in discussions with governmental authorities following report of possible irregularities in relation to the conduct of its business in a number of jurisdictions”. While involved in these discussions, which began after a new director started at the company, Sarclad has managed to almost double its turnover according to its 2013 accounts, “through winning orders in challenging environments, with a number of sales being to emerging markets overseas”. Sarclad appears to be in the frame for a DPA for offences under the Bribery Act.

Tesco

Tesco has been under investigation since October 2014 by the SFO for accounting irregularities. At the end of August 2014, Tesco is alleged to have misstated profits by £263 million, by booking payments from suppliers early. This was apparently reported to the new chief executive, Dave Lewis, who started in August 2014, who immediately called in forensic accountants from Deloitte and suspended 8 senior executives. Lewis reported the misstatement to the City in September. Tesco tried and failed to withhold payouts of £2 million to its former chief executive and finance director and has said it may try to claw them back at a later date. Both the former chief executive and finance director were reported in August 2015 to have been called in for interviews at the SFO.

On the face, of it, the fact that Tesco self-declared the wrongdoing, has removed those responsible, and would appear to be helping the SFO with a case against individuals, would make them a contender for a DPA. Tesco is also under investigation by the Financial Reporting Council and faces further facing legal action from shareholders both in the UK and the US.

Barclays

Barclays is under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office for two advisory services agreements it made with Qatar Holding LLC in June and October 2008. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) opened an investigation in July 2012 into whether these agreements were connected with Barclays’ capital raisings in June and November 2008. Barclays paid fees of £322 million which were not disclosed under the agreements. The FCA issued warning notices against Barclays in September 2013. The FCA Warning Notices state that the fees paid were not for advisory services but rather were payments for the Qatari participation in raising capital for Barclays. The Warning Notice conclude that Barclays was in breach of disclosure obligations but also in breach of Listing Principle 3 (the requirement to act with integrity towards shareholders), and that it had acted recklessly. The FCA were due to fine Barclays £50 million but the FCA proceedings have been stayed because of the SFO investigation which started in August 2012. Barclays was set to contest the FCA’s ruling.

Barclays reported in October 2012 that the DOJ and SEC are also investigating whether Barclays’ relationships with third parties to win business for Barclays are compliant with the US FCPA and under this are also investigating the Qatari agreements. Barclays relationship with a third party is also under investigation by another undisclosed regulator.

The SFO, DOJ and SEC are said to be investigating whether the fees paid under the advisory services agreements amounted to an attempt to ‘induce’ the Qataris to invest £4.6 billion in the bank. Barclays was able, as a result of its capital raising, to avoid being part re-nationalised by the UK government, as RBS and Lloyds were.

If Barclays has been offered to enter into talks for a DPA, this would be a very contentious choice by the SFO. The fact that Barclays did not self-report to the SFO and was due to contest the FCA ruling raises questions as to how cooperative it has really been. And the fact that it is under investigation for further corruption offences in the US would militate against it being given a DPA. Under the DPA Code of Practice a main public interest factor in favour of prosecution rather than an agreement would be a history of similar conduct. The Codes states that “failure to prosecute in circumstances where there have been repeated or serious breaches of the law may not be a proportionate response and may not provide adequate deterrent effects.”

It is possible that a DPA has been offered to Barclays as part of a global settlement involving a DPA with the US DOJ with regard to FCPA violations. However, if the UK were to give Barclays a DPA when it is either still under investigation by the DOJ for corruption and bribery allegations, or where the SFO only enters into an agreement with Barclays with regard to Qatar while the DOJ enters into an agreement with regard to broader corruption offences committed, the SFO will look extremely weak.

UK government’s commitment to leading fight against corruption called in question by review of the Bribery Act

It emerged at the end of July that the UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has been informally consulting business groups as to whether the Bribery Act poses a ‘problem’ for them. This was just a few days after Prime Minister David Cameron gave a major speech in Singapore saying that tackling corruption was the “economically right” thing to do and that acting to stop bribery “shouldn’t have to damage business, jobs and growth”.

There has been some suggestion that there has been heavy lobbying by business groups to get the Guidance to the Bribery Act reviewed. Business groups appear to want an exemption for facilitation payments and potentially thresholds for corporate hospitality below which they will not be prosecuted. Neil Carberry of the CBI was quoted in the Independent as saying: “we are pleased the government has decided to review the impact of the Act, which we have long been calling for. It should focus on how to tackle corruption while protecting the UK’s competitiveness.”

The Prime Minister, in a response to Parliamentary Question, confirmed that the Cabinet Office, as part of its Enforcement review has been looking at “the impact of bribery and corruption enforcement on business.”

The government appears to be undertaking this review despite the fact that there has so far been only one conviction under the Bribery Act since it entered into force in 2011, and none for either foreign bribery or under the Section 7 failure to prevent bribery offence.  Govenrment research published in mid July showed that 90% of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises surveyed said they had no problems with the Bribery Act and 89% said it had had no impact on their ability to export.

The BOND Anti-Corruption Group, of which Corruption Watch is a member, have flagged their concerns about plans to review the Guidance to the Cabinet Office Enforcement Review team in a submission here. The submission notes that the Guidance was already weakened following lobbying by business groups and that any attempts to weaken the Guidance still further would seriously damage the UK’s credibility. Indeed the UK is committed at the OECD’s Working Group on Bribery to strengthening the Guidance in key areas if it opens it up for review. The current Guidance has significant loopholes with regard to what is acceptable hospitality, to what extent companies are liable for subsidiaries and joint venture partners and whether companies listed on the London Stock Exchange are covered.

Sue Hawley of Corruption Watch Interviewed in the Independent on Deferred Prosecution Agreements

The UK’s Independent newspaper has recently covered the news that Deferred Prosecution Agreements have been offered to at least two different companies, arguing that their use could be construed as ‘justice for sale.’ Sue Hawley of Corruption Watch was interviewed and quoted by the Independent on the matter. The full article can be viewed here

Financial Times Reports on Corruption Watch, Global Witness and Transparency International Letter to the SFO

The Financial Times has reported on the joint letter sent by Corruption Watch UK, Global Witness and Transparency International to the Serious Fraud Office. The letter, addressed to SFO director David Green, raises concerns regarding the implementation of Deferred Prosecution Agreements in the UK.

The article can be viewed here

The letter can be viewed here

Corruption Watch, Global Witness and Transparency International Raise Issues With Deferred Prosecution Agreements

On the 19th of June 2015, Corruption Watch UK, Global Witness and Transparency International, sent an advisory letter to David Green, the Director of the Serious Fraud Office.

The letter notes that the first round of Deferred Prosecution invitations have been issued, and that this suggests the strong need to ensure that they are implemented in a manner that ensures that justice is both done and perceived to be done, only implemented when their is a strong public interest case to do so, does not lead to immunity for individuals for wrongdoing, and ensures that victims are properly represented and compensated.

The letter is available to view here

 

Clarification: Individuals Purporting to Represent Corruption Watch Regarding James Ibori

Corruption Watch UK and Corruption Watch South Africa have been alerted to an individual directing correspondence under the name of Corruption Watch to the Secretary of State for International Development, MP Justine Greening, regarding investigations into James Ibori . Corruption Watch UK and Corruption Watch South Africa have written to Justine Greening clarifying that neither organisation has authorised such correspondence, nor have any affiliation with the individual directing the correspondence.

The letter can be viewed here

Richard Alderman Resigns from OECD Working Group Following Letter from Corruption Watch UK and Partners

The UK’s Financial Times has confirmed that Richard Alderman has resigned from an OECD advisory group on corruption and bribery. His resignation follows a letter to Angel Gurria of the OECD expressing disappointment with Alderman’s original appointment. The letter was signed by Corruption Watch UK, Global Witness, Campaign Against the Arms Trade, Corner House, Corruption Watch South Africa, R2k.

The full FT article can be viewed here

Corruption Watch and Partners Urge the OECD To Reconsider Appointment to High Level Advisory Group on Corruption

On the 28th of April 2015, Corruption Watch UK sent a letter to Angel Gurria, the Secretary General of the OECD, which has been cosigned by Global Witness, Campaign Against the Arms Trade, Corner House, R2K (South Africa) and Corruption Watch (South Africa). Corruption Watch UK expressed disappointment with the appointment of Richard Alderman, the former director of the Serious Fraud Office, to a high level advisory group on corruption, and urged the OECD to appoint experts who could review the effectiveness of using settlements with regards to bribery and corruption.

The letter is available to view here

Andrew Feinstein Discusses Gun Baby Gun at the Frontline Club

There are 12 billion bullets produced every year – almost two bullets for every person on the planet. Guns kill as many as 500,000 people every year. Tearing lives apart, they impact not only the dead, the wounded, the suicidal and the mourning, but have far-reaching effects on society and communities.

In a hard-hitting exploration, award-winning investigative journalist Iain Overton journeyed to over 25 countries, from South Africa to Iceland, Honduras to Cambodia, to try and understand the true impact of gun crime.

From porn starlets who appear as snipers in XXX films, Zionist anti-terror gun trainers, El Salvadoran gangland killers and South African doctors soaked in the blood of gunshot victims, Overton tells the harrowing and sobering stories of lives directly affected by guns.

Iain Overton will be joining us in conversation with writer and author of The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade, Andrew Feinstein, to discuss what he has learnt about the impact of gun crime, the relationships we have with guns and the place they occupy in every day life.

Iain Overton is Director of Investigations at the London-based charity Action on Armed Violence and an investigative journalist who has worked in over eighty countries around the world. Reporting from the killing zones of Colombia, Iraq and Somalia, he has made films for the BBC, ITN and Al Jazeera, as well as working with The Guardian, The Independent and The Sunday Times. He was founding editor of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and is author of Gun Baby Gun.

Event Details

Visit the following link to book: http://www.frontlineclub.com/gun-baby-gun-a-bloody-journey-into-the-world-of-the-gun/

Wednesday 22 April 2015

19:00 – 21:00

Frontline Club

13 Norfolk Place

London

W2 1QJ

Andrew Feinstein interviewed in Wall Street Journal on Rheinmetall’s expansion into South Africa

Corruption Watch UK director Andrew Feinstein was recently interviewed by the Wall Street Journal regarding the new joint venture between Germany’s Rheinmetall and South Africa’s Denel.

The full story can be viewed here

Corruption Watch UK releases its first trial monitoring briefing on the SFO’s prosecution of Smith and Ouzman

As part of Corruption Watch UK’s newly launched project on Corporate Accountability for Grand Corruption and the Rule of Law in the UK, Corruption Watch UK is proud to announce our first trial monitoring briefing. The briefing discusses the successful prosecution of the UK-based printer Smith and Ouzman and its implications for corruption enforcement in the UK.

The full briefing can be viewed here

Andrew Feinstein, Paul Holden and Hennie Van Vuuren Withdraw from the Seriti Commission

On the 28th of August 2014, Andrew Feinstein, Paul Holden and Hennie Van Vuuren announced that they were withdrawing from the Seriti Commission of Enquiry into the Arms Deal, citing four fatal concerns with the process.

The full statement can be viewed here

Simultaneously, and in answer to the claim that there is no evidence of wrong-doing in the Arms Deal, Right2Know has launched an Arms Deal info portal, which includes downloadable copies of the considerable evidence that has emerged thus far. View it all at www.armsdealfacts.com

 

Andrew Feinstein and Paul Holden Featured in Documentary on German Submarine Corruption

Andrew Feinstein and Paul Holden feature prominently in a  new documentary on allegations of corruption leveled against the German Submarine Industry (ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems in particular). The 43 minute television documentary, directed by Antonio Cascais and Marcel Kolvenbach, was broadcast on Germany’s WDR on Monday the 28th of April.

The documentary can be watched here

PRESS STATEMENT on the decision to not cross-examine Alec Erwin and continued frustation at the opacity of the Seriti Commission of Inquiry

KEY ARMS DEAL DOCUMENTS REMAIN HIDDEN FROM PUBLIC VIEW

Lawyers for Human Rights, on the instructions of Andrew Feinstein, Paul Holden and Hennie van Vuuren, on Tuesday was left with no option but to decline the opportunity to cross-examine former trade and industry minister Alec Erwin at the Arms Deal Commission due to lack of access to vital documents central to the witness’s testimony.

Judge Willie Seriti excused Erwin, saying: “Thank you Mr Erwin, no-one wants to cross-examine you.”

This does not accurately depict LHR’s position in wishing to cross-examine Erwin.

“LHR is frustrated by this oversimplification and misrepresentation,” said LHR’s David Cote, “Our client’s most definitely do wish to cross-examine Mr. Erwin and have made this abundantly clear but in order to do so, we require access to crucial documents, including the very contracts that the Arms Deal is based on.”

Our refusal forms part of increasing frustrations around a lack of access to crucial documents related to the Seriti Commission of Inquiry into the multibillion rand Arms Deal.

LHR asked for an adjournment on Monday to prepare to cross-examine Erwin, having only received his witness statement the same day, for the 1999 Affordability Report to be declassified so that it could be used in cross-examination, and crucially, for sight of the umbrella agreements and the annexure of the National Industrial Participation projects – the very agreements that form the crux of the Arms Deal.

On Tuesday, the Commission advised that Cabinet would declassify the Affordability Report. The report was an examination of the economic impact of the Arms Deal presented to the Cabinet sub-committee overseeing the Arms Deal in August 1999. The report indicates that the Arms Deal’s impact on the South African economy would be broadly negative in the best-case scenario and devastating in the worst-case scenario.

While the Affordability Report has been declassified, efforts to have the contracts declassified have not been successful.  As Erwin referred to the variations of the terms and conditions of those contracts, it is vital to have sight of those terms and conditions before any questions in cross-examination can be put to the witness.

As a result, we declined to cross-examine Erwin as doing so without access to the relevant documents would have been impossible.

The criticism of LHR and its clients not to cross-examine Erwin piecemeal is disingenuous, not least due to established norms of procedural fairness, but due in addition to the fact that these contracts ought long since to have been available in the public interest.

Possession of classified documents
Former ANC MP Andrew Feinstein commented: “How can the truth be revealed if key information remains hidden from the public? If the Commission is to be successful in its mandate, these documents need to be brought to light and role-players made to answer to them,”On Monday, Judge Seriti and advocates for Erwin indicated their displeasure that we were in possession of the previously classified Affordability Report.

We find this approach both disturbing and wrong. The Commission’s job is to investigate all available facts regarding the Arms Deal. It should welcome the submission of information that helps it fulfill its mandate justly and efficiently. Furthermore the document has been reported on extensively in the media and has formed the subject of published material over a number of years.

The focus of the Commission should not be on how researchers and activists accessed a document but on the exceptionally important content of that document. This is especially true of a document that manifestly poses no threat to national security, contains information that is clearly in the public interest and whose classification serves only to protect the powerful from the consequences of their own actions.

The continued failure to free such information severely limits the public’s ability to hold our leaders in government and the corporations they do business with to account.

Statement issued by Andrew Feinstein, Paul Holden and Hennie van Vuuren via Lawyers for Human Rights, February 18 2014

The Star, TimesLive and City Press Report on Andrew Feinstein and Paul Holden’s frustration with the Seriti Commission of Inquiry

Three major news outlets in South Africa have reported on the decision of Andrew Feinstein, Paul Holden (both of Corruption Watch UK) and Hennie Van Vuuren to decline to cross-examine former Minister of Trade and Industry Alec Erwin. Feinstein, Holden and Van Vuuren instructed their advocates, Lawyers for Human Rights, to request the right to recall Erwin after the receipt of key documents from the Commission. Both Holden and Feinstein remain deeply frustrated at the veil of secrecy cast over key documents in what is meant to be a full and unfettered public Commission of Inquiry.

The stories can be viewed here:

The Star: http://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/gauteng/cross-examination-of-erwin-lost-in-battle-1.1649358#.UwTCQMGKV8E

City Press: http://www.citypress.co.za/news/secret-documents-haunt-arms-deal-commission/

TimesLive: http://www.timeslive.co.za/thetimes/2014/02/19/arms-deal-inquiry-hits-a-wall

City Press reports on the massive failings of the offset programs linked to the SA Arms Deal with commentary from Andrew Feinstein and Paul Holden

South Africa’s City Press reports on the findings of an internal audit document produced by the South African Department of Trade & Industry. The internal audit points to numerous problems with the offset programs linked to the South African Arms Deal. Corruption Watch UK has consistently raised concerns about the viability and economic value of offset programs and their susceptibility to corruption.

The full article can be viewed here

MEDIA STATEMENT: The Corrupt Angola-Russia Debt Deal

MAOS LIVRES (Angola) & CORRUPTION WATCH UK

 

 

Associacao Maos Livres, an Angolan human rights NGO, and Corruption Watch UK, a London-based anti-corruption organisation, are deeply disappointed that Swiss Federal prosecutors have decided not to reopen investigations into a corrupt Russian-Angolan debt deal in which senior politicians, officials and middlemen made hundreds of millions of dollars at the expense of the taxpayers of the two countries.

 

This decision, and the reasons given for it, calls into question the commitment of Swiss officials to meaningfully address financial malfeasance perpetrated by politically prominent people and dubious businesspeople, facilitated by Swiss financial institutions.

 

Our report (which can be read at http://www.cw-uk.org/angola-russia-report/) contains crucial new information that was not available to prosecutors in Geneva who have previously examined this matter. This includes considerably more detail on beneficiaries of the money diverted from the debt transaction (who included President Dos Santos and a number of his close colleagues), important additional information relating to the testimony of an expert witness and an entire additional dimension to the transaction which resulted in the intermediaries engaging in legal battles against each other.

 

In addition, we were disturbed by the attitude of Swiss officials during the brief detention in Switzerland of one of the key intermediaries in the deal. When Arcadi Gaydamak, a Russian-Israeli previously convicted in the Angolagate scandal, was detained by Swiss authorities, a Geneva-based lawyer requested of the Federal prosecutor that Mr. Gaydamak be interviewed in relation to the Angola-Russia debt deal. The request was denied and Mr. Gaydamak was released a few days later. This was also despite the fact that Mr Gaydamak is wanted by French authorities for failing to serve the jail sentence handed down in the Angolagate scandal. (See http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/now-you-see-him-now-you-dont-switzerlands-troubling-gaydamak-affair)

 

We call on the Swiss authorities to reconsider their decision in the corrupt Angola-Russia debt deal matter and to significantly enhance their efforts to curb the facilitation of financial malfeasance by Swiss institutions.

 

We will look to all other legal avenues to pursue justice in this matter that resulted in Angolan and Russian taxpayers losing in excess of $1billion while senior politicians, officials and various intermediaries personally benefitted to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.

 

For comment or information please contact:

Andrew Feinstein andrewfeinstein@me.com; +447809728164

Switzerland’s Public Prosecutor Confirms Receipt of Denonciation Penale

Attorneys Waeber, Membrez, Bruchez, Mauge received confirmation from the Swiss Public Prosecutor that it had received the ‘denonciation penale’ filed by interested Angolan citizens to request a renewed criminal investigation into the Angola-Russia Debt Deal. Corruption Watch eagerly awaits further feedback from the Public Prosecutor and again reiterates its firm belief that the Deal should be fully investigated anew by the competent authorities in Switzerland and Angola.

The confirmation letter can be viewed here

Formal Denonciation Penale Filed in Angola

Four concerned Angolan citizens who have filed a ‘denonciation penale’ with Swiss authorities requesting an investigation into the corrupt Angola-Russia Debt Deal have filed a parallel ‘denonciation’ with Angolan authorities. The Angolan citizens, represented by Advocate David Mendes & Associates, are requesting a criminal investigation into the deal in Angola.

 

Due to concerns about previous applications of the law, the Angolan filing does not request an investigation into Angolan president Jose Eduardo Dos Santos. Previous criminal investigations into Dos Santos have stalled due to statutes barring the charging of a sitting president in Angola. As such, the ‘denonciators’ have opted to refrain from calling for an investigation into Dos Santos in Angola, opting instead to focus on the raft of other conspirators. They remain firmly committed to the request filed in Switzerland that Jose Eduardo Dos Santos should be fully investigated by Swiss legal authorities.

 

The full denonciation penale filed in Angola is available here

Denunciation Ceremony

Corruption Watch and our partners remain convinced that criminal investigations should continue into the individuals who profited unduly from the Angola-Russia Debt Deal.

To this effect, four concerned Angolan citizens have, in April 2013, filed a legal ‘denonciation penale’ with Swiss authorities requesting a criminal investigation into the matter.

At the same time, the same four Angolan citizens, represented by Advocate David Mendes, have filed a request for a criminal investigation in Angola. Due to concerns about applicable law, the Angolan filing does not specify Jose Eduardo Dos Santos as an investigation target, as previous attempts to investigate Dos Santos have fallen foul of statutes (and their interpretation) barring criminal proceedings against a sitting president in Angola.

The full ‘denonciation penale’ is available to view in English and Portuguese below.

View the Swiss Filing (English)
View the Swiss Filing (Portuguese)
View the Angolan Filing (Portuguese)