Welcome to the January edition of Mishcon's Culture vs Corruption Diary. Its aim is to provide businesses and their advisors with a snapshot of what has been happening in the world of corruption in the last month.
Oxford Crown Court has jailed a Belgian con artist, Oliver Trusgnach, after he was convicted of stealing over £115,000 to support his lifestyle. He pretended to be a German aristocrat, Prince Oliver von Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and forged invoices and signatures at the antiques shop in Witney where he was employed.
Daily Telegraph, 14 January 2015
Ian Timlin, a leading tax lawyer formerly employed by Speechly Bircham, has been arrested over his involvement with notorious private investigations agency RISC on charges of conspiracy to corrupt a police officer, money-laundering, and perverting the course of justice. This is part of a wider investigation into James Ibori, the now jailed ex-governor of Delta State in Nigeria, who admitted stealing £50m. It is alleged that Timlin, who had been hired to advise Mr Ibori, employed RISC who then paid serving detectives bribes for intelligence to aid Mr Ibori.
The Independent, January 9 2015
A study by Transparency International has revealed that 19 out of 20 of the world's most corrupt countries receive aid from Britain. £107.3m was given in aid to Somalia, which is considered the world's most corrupt country, and independent reports claim that terror group Al-Shabaab is forcing charities to pay money for protection; £1.3m was given to North Korea, where it has apparently been partly spent on training 46 spin doctors.
Daily Mail, 1 January 2015
A Malaysian businessman, Leonard Francis aka "Fat Leonard", has admitted bribing dozens of US Naval officers with designer handbags, watches, champagne, Kobe beef and prostitutes to assist him with making fraudulent claims to the Navy. Francis was given classified information relating to the movements of US ships, and one US officer used his influence to ensure an aircraft carrier docked at a port run by Francis. The US Justice Department is continuing an investigation in naval corruption.
Daily Telegraph, 17 January 2015
The Deputy Inspector General of Kashmir and Jammu, Shakeel Ahmed Beig, is facing calling for an investigation into possible abuse of his position following images posted by his son, Tony Beig, on Instagram. The most commented-on photo was of Beig having his shoelaces tied by an assistant, which was posted with the caption "Real king – my Dad! Last time he put his shoes on himself was almost 15 years ago #BossLife #King". Other photos included armed police clearing traffic to make way for Beig's car, and an armed guard acting as a caddie during a game of golf.
The Times, 30th October 2014
An arrest warrant for the former Ukranian president, Viktor Yanukovych, has been issued by Interpol, on charges of financial wrongdoing and embezzlement.
The Telegraph, 12 January 2015
Executives from Norwegian fertiliser corporation Yara International are on trial for overlooking huge payments made to Libyans, including the son of Gaddafi's oil minister. The defendants claim that many of the payments were simply hidden to avoid accusations of bribery. The trial has been briefly halted while the judge investigates whether one defendant had been formally charged with offences at the time of his questioning in 2012.
The Independent, 7 January 2015
An Egyptian high court has overturned the last outstanding conviction against former president Hosni Mubarak, who was jailed in May 2014 for defrauding the state of millions of dollars for his own personal use. The Court of Cassation has ordered a retrial in the corruption charges again Mubarak and his two sons. The decision has been seen by many in Egypt as a counter revolutionary move.
Financial Times, 13 January 2015