The week in news - September 21
Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission fined HSBC $2.5 million HKD last week, the SCMP reports. The fine stems from charges that the bank lacked adequate controls and compliance strategies, as well as internal controls that could have prevented such breaches from happening. The regulatory breaches in question date back to 2014, it has been reported. The fine, reports suggest, was decided after taking into consideration the bank’s cooperation with the regulator, as well as recent attempts to augment and fortify their compliance and monitoring systems and programs. These include a report from the bank in May of last year to the regulator that there had been an additional breach.
During Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit to the White House last Wednesday, President Obama announced intentions to lift the United States’ sanctions on Myanmar. It is hoped that this will bolster business and investment in the Southeast Asian nation. Obama cited Myanmar’s recent efforts to establish a democratic nation as the driving force behind the decision to remove the sanctions – some of which were lifted in May of this year, lifting restrictions on conducting business in the territory. The potential waiver of existing sanctions may open up new ventures and opportunities, including co-ownership of businesses by American firms and Burmese local governments.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released a report on September 15th detailing the anti-money laundering practices and policies in Canada, detailing the efforts to combat illicit economies whilst highlight potential loopholes and areas to strengthen in the future. While the strengths of Canada’s AML programs lie in their knowledge and cooperation with various authorities, there are existing ambiguities that need addressing, including the fact that legal counsel are not incorporated into the framework, and while FINTRAC receives a wealth of information to aid investigations, they are currently unable to request additional, supplementary information. The recommendations outlined by the report are to be adopted in Canada’s upcoming fourth mutual evaluations by the FATF.
Two Singaporeans have been charged in connection with the ‘Fat Leonard’ scandal that has plagued the United States Navy. Both Neil Peterson and Linda Raja were former employees of Glen Defence Marine Asia – the company owned by Leonard Glenn Francis, to whom the scandal’s name is attributed – and have been charged with conspiracy to defraud. The pair are said to have filed more than $5 million USD in false expenses, invoices and claims. 16 people have been charged so far in relation to the bribery allegations surrounding the ‘Fat Leonard’ scandal, the SCMP reports.
Google’s latest headache comes from the Indonesian archipelago. The Indonesian government announced it would launch a probe into whether Google owes the territory back taxes dating back to 2011. It is expected that the investigation will be launched at the end of this month. The source of the revenue stems from income tax and value added tax from advertising, the Wall Street Journal reports, while the Communications and Information Ministry estimates said generated revenue from 2015 to total more than $800 million. The Indonesian government are also considering launching a separate probe into Ford Motor Co.’s tax history.