THE US Supreme Court has somewhat clarified the law on bribery and quashed the bribery conviction of a former Virginia Governor. I wrote about Bob McDonnell here, as anticipated the court drew a narrow line between distasteful acts to gain access to public officials (which might be unethical but were not criminal) and improper benefits given to influence public officials in their official capacity (which were criminal).
I call it a narrow line because other countries quite happily criminalise giving or accepting benefits in return for access. For example s.11 of the Indian Prevention of Corruption Act prohibits a public servant from taking a ‘thing of value’ from someone who:-
“…he knows to have been, or to be, or to be likely to be concerned in any proceeding or business transacted or about to be transacted by such public servant, or having any connection with the official functions of himself or of any public servant to whom he is subordinate, or from any person whom he knows to be interested in or related to the person so concerned”
Thus under this Indian statute it does not matter that the purpose of the valuable item or the intent of the giver is not to directly influence the official conduct of the public officer. The law is trying to prevent both the perception of a corrupt connection and the future potential for a corrupt connection between giver and receiver.
So although the US Supreme Court wanted to limit the potential for abusive prosecutions through having an over-broad definition of bribery, it should not be taken as cast in stone that ‘cash for access’ schemes can never be criminalized even if the current US federal law may not- in the Supreme Court’s view- cover such conduct.
THE Pinoy ‘Judge Dredd’ (or ‘Duterte Harry’ or ‘The Punisher’ depending on your preference of nicknames) Rodrigo Duterte has been sworn in as president of the Philippines. Soon afterwards, he pleaded with the Filipino people to murder drug addicts. As the Brexiteers are discovering, and Filipinos are about to discover, sometimes you get what you vote for, and then which you hadn’t.
I hope- in between murdering helpless drug addicts- he will take the time to strengthen the Philippines’ AML infrastructure which was found badly wanting (especially with respect to casinos and stopping suspicious banking transactions) during the Bangladesh Bank heist.
THE number of women that UK police arrested for terrorism increased markedly over the past year.
WILL a leaked video of animal abuse galvanise the Tanzanian government to do more about illegal game hunting?
A SENIOR UK judge believes that companies should receive as much as 1/3 off their sentences where the prosecutor and defendant company reach a Deferred Prosecution Agreement.
ARE AML costs leading banks to stay away from Financial Technology (Fintech) providers?
SINGAPORE has been growing more aggressive in AML investigations in the financial sector. This includes a more public investigatory process- (as a visible warning to other would-be violators) and two new departments for AML investigation and enforcement.
THIS EUROPOL publication looks at criminal asset recovery in the EU and asks whether crime still pays.