UK: Mishcon Fraud Watch (December 2006)

Last Updated: 18 December 2006
Article by Gary Miller

Welcome

Welcome to the December edition of Mishcon Fraud Watch, prepared by the Corporate Investigations & Asset Recovery Group at Mishcon de Reya. Its aim is to provide businesses and their advisors with a snapshot of what has been happening in the world of fraud in the last month.

We make no judgement whatsoever as to the morality, legality or appropriateness of the conduct which forms the subject matter of this bulletin. We simply aim to bring these matters to the attention of those involved in the prevention, detection and investigation of fraud.

UNITED KINGDOM

Assets Recovery Agency

The Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) has been granted Property Freezing Orders over assets worth £1,579,127 belonging to Francis and Judy Murphy and Julian Dowe in Manchester. The Agency alleges the properties were bought with funds from money laundering, fuel smuggling and mortgage fraud.
Assets Recovery Agency press release, 21 November 2006

Banking and Finance

Carl Cushine, the former chief executive of collapsed trade finance firm Versailles, has repaid more than £10m in compensation to his victims. This represents one of the biggest criminal compensation payments in history.
The Daily Telegraph, 21 November 2006

Legislation

A provisional date of 29 November has been set for the second reading in the House of Commons of the Fraud (Trials without a Jury) Bill. The Bill proposes amendments to Section 43 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, to allow the prosecution to apply for a fraud trial to proceed without a jury.

NORTH AMERICA

The US government has outlined their case against hoteliers Beatrice and Stanley Tollman for the first time at a Magistrates Court in London. The couple are fighting extradition to the US on charges of tax and bank fraud.
The Times, 15 November 2006

Regulation

According to Arlen Specter, out-going chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the US Justice Department is planning to amend policies outlined in the 'Thompson memorandum' in order to avoid the introduction of legislation aimed at preventing prosecutors from forcing companies to waive legal rights in plea negotiations in corporate fraud investigations.
Financial Times, 18 November 2006

Retail

Mark Kaiser, the former US marketing chief of Dutch company Royal Ahold, has been found guilty on charges of conspiracy, securities fraud and making false filings.
The Daily Telegraph, 9 November 2006

Technology

Stephen Richards, the former head of sales at software company Computer Associates, has been sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of conspiracy, securities fraud, perjury and obstruction of justice in connected with a £1.16bn fraud at the company.
The Daily Telegraph, 15 November 2006

EUROPEAN UNION

Regulation

France has asked for more time to study proposals made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the European Commission for a new British VAT regime, aimed at tackling fraud. The UK requires the agreement of all twenty five member states before it can implement the changes.
Financial Times, 9 November 2006

Statistics

EU Customs seized more than 75 million counterfeit and pirated goods in 2005, according to recent statistics.
'Statistics Recorded at the External Borders of the EU' published by the European Commission, 10 November 2006

WESTERN EUROPE

Defence

French judicial authorities have launched a criminal investigation into possible insider dealing and dissemination of false information at EADS, the Franco-German aerospace group.
Financial Times, 24 November 2006

Manufacturing

Police in Germany have raided more than 30 offices belonging to Siemens, the engineering and electronics group in connection with an ongoing investigation into alleged embezzlement.
The Daily Telegraph, 16 November 2006

Media

Silvio Berlusconi and David Mills have gone on trial in Italy on charges of alleged fraud. The charges relate to the purchase of television rights for US films in the 1990s by Mediaset, Mr Berlusconi's business empire.
Financial Times, 23 November 2006

SOUTH AMERICA

Energy

Five people have been arrested in Brazil in connection with fraudulent sales of shares. The cost of the alleged transactions, which mainly involved shares in Petrobras the government-controlled oil group, has been valued at $56m. Those arrested include a manager at Banco do Brasil, a computer hacker, notaries and lawyers.
Financial Times, 10 November 2006

MISHCON DE REYA

Mishcon's Fraud Watch is published by the Corporate Investigations & Asset Recovery Group of Mishcon de Reya Solicitors. Widely recognised as the leader in the field of fraud investigations, the Group has pioneered the use of financial fraud techniques in numerous fields, including the rapidly growing areas of theft of confidential information and counterfeiting. The Group founded and runs both the Asset Protection & Recovery Network, made up of international legal fraud specialists, and the Financial Fraud Group, for risk and compliance officers.

This article is only intended as a general statement and no action should be taken in reliance on it without specific legal advice.

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