The week in news - November 2
South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission is to file a report with the nation’s prosecution, implicating Hyundai’s Chairwoman, Hyung Jeong-eun in an anti-trust related probe. According to recent media reports, Hyundai is accused of filing false reports and of deliberately omitting some of its affiliates (a governmental requirement should a company’s assets exceed 10 trillion won) in declarations to the watchdog. Six affiliates, which represent familial ties, were not disclosed. Hyundai’s standing as an international corporation continues to shrink, having recently liquidated two of their subsidiary companies, Hyundai Securities and Hyundai Merchant Marine, in order to absorb the corporation’s debt.
China’s new controversial cyber-security law etches closer to enactment, with the third, and likely final drafting, scheduled to take place on November 7. The proposed legislation has been met with strong opposition from international businesses, including the drafting of a petition letter citing concerns of security and heightened censorship. In its second reading, the proposed new law was said to require some technology and data firms to provide the government with access to encryption keys, which could pose further problems with regard to intellectual property and privacy-related violations.
Controversy continues to plague the impending elections in the United States, with less than a week to go. The latest news involves Director James Comey of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the unprecedented announcement of his intentions regarding the Clinton investigation in a letter sent to Congress dated October 28th, in spite of a longstanding tradition of both the FBI and the Justice Department to not publicly disclose any intentions related to ongoing investigations. It has been made clear that Comey acted of his own accord and not in the interests of either organization. Comey has been further criticized for refusing to disclose whether an investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties with Russia (and any relevance this may have for the DNC hacks) is currently under way, leading to accusations of political favoritism.
Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has announced an investigation into Swiss bank UBS, calling for urgent listings reform. The probe has been launched in relation to the bank’s role in sponsoring listings in the city. Penalties for UBS could range from a monetary fine to a ban on arranging IPO’s in Hong Kong. While more stringent IPO rules were enacted three years ago, many are urging for further crucial reforms. A consultation has been underway since June, and is likely to conclude on November 18th.
As the Serious Fraud Office’s investigation into Rolls-Royce enters its fifth year, new information brought to light by the Unaoil bribery scandal has further implicated the British firm, as Unaoil have acted as agents for the motoring corporation. Thought to be using agents to pay bribes in relation to their international dealings, Rolls-Royce has acknowledged the use of agents in conducting business (which in itself, poses no legal dilemmas), though they have yet to comment on bribery allegations, which first surfaced in 2012. Valued at £13 billion, the British government retains a controlling interest in Rolls-Royce, which heightens the importance of a credible investigation by the SFC.