The week in news - October 19
Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has announced a cyber security review of the Internet and mobile trading systems used by brokerage firms in the city. The decision follows 16 separate incidents of unauthorised trades within the last year, which, it is estimated, totals more than $100 million. The review system will launch with a series of questionnaires for brokerage firms, followed by on-site inspections, and finally, a benchmarking system, where brokerages are compared not only to local counterparts, but also overseas. It is hoped that this review will help to analyze the proneness of particular firms to cyber attacks, and the resistance of their systems in place, should such breaches occur.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s Working Group on Bribery has released a statement on Russia’s current status, calling for urgent legislative reform. Russia has been repeatedly urged to strengthen domestic legislation and to further comply with the norms of the Bribery Convention (of which it is a ratifying nation), however, these calls have yet to be met, the OECD announced last week. The organization has called for further criminalization of bribery-related offenses, increased corporate governance and responsibility, and an enhanced legislative framework in order to meet the standards set by the working group and its 41-strong membership. Both Ireland and Russia are subjected to additional reporting to the Working Group, as previous recommendations to both countries are yet to be adopted.
The United Kingdom has submitted the Criminal Finances Bill to Parliament, beginning the lengthy drafting and debates process that must be completed before the Bill can be enacted into law. The bill has been designed as an amendment to the Proceeds of Crime Act, which entered into force in 2002. Key areas of focus for the new legislation include anti-money laundering, terrorist financing, and corruption. The Bill’s first draft includes a heightened focus on seizure and forfeiture powers, greater information sharing procedures between the various regulatory bodies, increased criminal penalties for companies that do not prevent tax evasion, and a bulwarking of the scheme for suspicious activity reports.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has reportedly had his access to the Internet restricted at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since Sunday evening, with many drawing a link between the action and the release of further documents by the WikiLeaks organization relating to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and a series of speeches delivered to Goldman Sachs. Assange, who has resided in the Ecuadorian Embassy since 2012, is still wanted for questioning in Sweden relating to a sexual assault investigation. Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, a longstanding proponent of Assange and the WikiLeaks organization, has publicly backed Clinton ahead of the upcoming presidential elections next month. Reports suggest that Assange’s recent Internet prohibition may be the result of an attempt to ease tensions between the governments of the United States and Ecuador.