Rapid and extensive developments in the Asia Pacific
region's anti-corruption landscape, as well as increased
enforcement by key jurisdictions, are creating a complex and
growing challenge for multinational companies, according to a new
guide from global legal practice Norton Rose Fulbright.
It examines issues related to anti-corruption, anti-money
laundering, whistleblowing, extortion, data privacy, disclosure,
and legal privilege in 19 jurisdictions across Asia-Pacific
including Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia,
China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Malaysia,
Myanmar, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea,
Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
Wilson Ang, partner, Norton Rose Fulbright commented:
"The global anti-corruption movement continues to gain
momentum and key jurisdictions in Asia-Pacific are joining the
campaign against corrupt practices. It is of crucial importance for
multinational companies to have a strong grasp of the fundamental
features of the local laws in each jurisdiction in which they
operate, as well as the extraterritorial application of enforcement
regimes around the world."
"Failure to do so can result in severe consequences ranging
from criminal convictions entailing massive fines and prison
sentences for senior executives, to civil suits and irreparable
damage to a company's reputation leading to loss of investor
confidence and share value."
Key anti-corruption issues in Asia-Pacific include:
The rise of China as an enforcement
China has seen a very public and sustained crackdown by President
Xi on "tigers and flies"; as well as the targeting of
foreign companies in China for corruption and antitrust violations,
in sectors ranging from pharmaceutical and healthcare, to
automobile manufacturers and technology companies.
China continues to be named in many cases as the location where
corrupt practices are being investigated by US and UK enforcement
Key Asian financial centres take strict measures on
Singapore has implemented increasingly stringent controls targeted
at money laundering/terrorist-financing activities, including
adding tax evasion as a predicate offence, enhancing client due
diligence procedures and focusing on sectors such as corporate
services providers and crypto-currency.
Hong Kong, in light of its proximity to China, and being the
regional headquarters for many multinational corporations, is
exposed to the risks of inflows of tainted proceeds of crime and
has taken strict measures to implement anti- money
New Governments in India and Indonesia take
In a backlash against corruption scandals of the past decade in
India, Narendra Modi was elected Prime Minister in a landslide
victory by the BJP. The Modi administration has pledged to improve
the investment climate and reduce bureaucracy, in part through
The new Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, was elected in July
2014 amidst protectionist sentiments and resource nationalism, and
has vowed to be tough on errant companies.
Opening of Myanmar draws in investors
Foreign investment in Myanmar jumped from US$300 million in 2009
to US$3.5 billion in 2014 after the suspension of economic
The country has been characterized as facing major challenges of
endemic corruption and lack of transparency as it transitions to
civilian rule in 2015.
Thailand targeting corruption after military
The Thai military overturned the Yingluck Government in May 2014,
assuming control of national administration to solve the political
unrest which stemmed from various corruption scandals.
Reviews of mega-infrastructure projects and investigations into
government officials implicated in the rice pledge scheme and
financial transactions with suspected links to corruption, drug
trafficking and money laundering have commenced.
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