Patently pending- IP protection in MENA

Serious political unrest and armed conflict are valid excuses for inattention to intellectual property rights in parts of the Middle East and North Africa, but across the region the record is less than encouraging for businesses with brands and other intangible interests to defend. Paul Cochrane reports from Beirut.

Intellectual Property Fraud, Middle East

Asset lock-down – use and limits of freezing orders

An English freezing order may be sought with worldwide coverage of a fraudster’s assets but those are subject to definition. Jeremy Andrews, Sarah McMurray, Oliver Felton and Maria Scott of DLA Piper explore terms and application of the most potent form of ancillary relief.

Freezing & Restraint, Europe

UK proposes criminal offence for tax evasion on offshore holdings

The UK Government is contemplating a strict liability criminal offence of failing to declare taxable offshore income and gains.

Legislation, Tax & Excise, UK Government & Public Sector, Tax Fraud, Europe

UK loan guarantees under review by SFO

Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has refused to confirm reports that it is investigating banks over their use of government loan guarantee schemes set up to help UK small businesses through the credit crisis and into the recovery.

UK Government & Public Sector, Loan Fraud, Europe

Bits and pieces – on the IT forensics trail

As combat between the dishonest and those who would thwart them moves, increasingly, online, so the electronic arms race gathers pace with date privacy always ready to explode in the midst of an investigation. Phil Beckett of Proven Legal Technologies sets out a plan of campaign.

Investigation, Technology

Wake-up call on card fraud as losses hit record level

Consumers could face more real-time transaction checks when buying goods by card, leading analytics software firm FICO, USA, has suggested in a study of card fraud levels in 19 European countries.

Surveys & Research, Plastic Card & Payments, Europe

Ten tips from an anti-fraud titan

Founder of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners Joseph Wells gave his final speech at the recent annual conference, held in San Antonio.

Investigation, Psychology & Profiling

SFO pursues corruption charges against Alstom subsidiary

A judicial hearing is scheduled for 9 September in London after the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) charged the UK subsidiary of French engineering group Alstom with fraud and conspiracy to corrupt.

Criminal & Civil Proceedings, Bribery & Corruption, Europe

Global tax information exchange moves closer

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has issued the full version of new global guidance for governments swapping financial data to tackle tax evasion.

International agencies, Tax Fraud

Bribes and secret profits: the significance for bankers and trustees

On 16 July 2014 the Supreme Court delivered a much anticipated judgment on whether a principal has a proprietary claim to a bribe or secret commission paid to its agent. Charles Thomson and Andrew Keltie of Baker & McKenzie examine the facts, rationale and implications of the decision in FHR European Ventures LLP and Ors v. Cedar Capital Partners LLP.

Criminal & Civil Proceedings, Bribery & Corruption, Europe

Sweett Group assists SFO over bribery investigation

International property and infrastructure services group Sweett says it has been cooperating with the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) after the agency confirmed it is investigating bribery allegations involving the company’s past operations in the United Arab Emirates and elsewhere.

Law Enforcement, Bribery & Corruption

Individuals versus companies accepting DPAs: winner takes all?

Unlike the leniency policy available to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) – which encourages cooperation between an errant company and employee – the combination of Deferred Prosecution Agreements and agreements for cooperating defendants risks creating opposing interests, argues Neil Swift of Peters & Peters.

Criminal & Civil Proceedings, Bribery & Corruption, Europe

Restricted view – corporate intelligence in China

Chinese authorities are moving to limit public access to data on local companies and their ownership even as President Xi Jinping pursues his anti-corruption drive. Mark Godfrey in Beijing reports on the new, tougher operating environment for investigators.

Due Diligence, Investigation, Asia-Pacific

Transparency International guide aims to tackle small bribes

Transparency International (TI) has issued a free, detailed guide to countering small bribes after research by the anti-corruption organisation found one-in-four people globally paid a bribe in a recent 12-month period.

Case Studies / Red Flags, Prevention, Surveys & Research, Bribery & Corruption

Test positive – a nuanced advance in detection technology

Customers come first - unless fraud is suspected - writes Scott Zoldi of FICO, and the race is on to refine automatic checks on their spending to better pinpoint the truly dishonest.

Data Mining & Analysis, Detection, Prevention, Psychology & Profiling, Technology

23% of customers change banks after card fraud, says report

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), including Dubai and Abu Dhabi, heads the global league table for the percentage of consumers reporting that they have been victims of fraud involving credit, debit or prepaid cards.

Surveys & Research, Plastic Card & Payments

Swiss banks gain time to disclose US-taxable customer accounts

The US government has extended by a month the deadline for some programmes under which Swiss banks could signal their intent to strike agreements with the US Department of Justice (DoJ) to avoid prosecution over concealment of the taxable assets of US citizens.

Tax Fraud, Europe, North America