• Ex-Barclays traders face retrial over Euribor-rigging accusations
    19 July 2018
    Three former Barclays traders face a retrial next year on charges of conspiring to rig a key global benchmark interest rate.

    James Waddington, a lawyer representing the Serious Fraud Office, today told a London court that the agency would seek a fresh criminal trial against Colin Bermingham, Carlo Palombo and Sisse Bohart.

    “The decision of the Crown is that it is appropriate,” he said, adding that it was in the "public interest" to have a fresh trial. This is due to begin on Jan. 14 next year. The three were not present in court today.

    By Ben Lucas and Martin Coyle

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  • Benczkowski confirmed as criminal division leader as Trump's DOJ FCPA enforcement hits stride
    11 July 2018
    Brian Benczkowski, a controversial nominee, was confirmed 51-48 along party lines by the US Senate to be the Justice Department's assistant attorney general for the criminal division, as President Donald Trump's DOJ faces a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act caseload that has returned to typical levels after a slow start.

    As head of the criminal division, Benczkowski's duties will include overseeing FCPA prosecutions and resolutions. Democrats, citing his lack of prosecutorial experience, have questioned sharply his ability to supervise DOJ's cadre of more than 600 US trial attorneys in any litigation.

    Filling the criminal division's chief slot was slow for the Trump administration. Benczkowski was nominated on June 6, 2017, though Attorney General Jeff Sessions had asked him in April of that year if he was interested in the position.

    Benczkowski's nomination drew criticism from Democratic senators not only for lack of courtroom experience, but also because, as a Kirkland & Ellis lawyer, he represented Russian Alfa Bank on two matters. The first was the bank's internal investigation of unusual Internet traffic with a server at Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign. The second was a review for the Russian company of the Steele dossier, a report about some of Trump's relations with Russia, for information about Alfa Bank.

    By Robert Thomason

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  • Lloyds rate-rigging probe dropped as UK fraud agency lacks evidence
    04 July 2018
    UK fraud investigators have dropped a probe into Lloyds Banking Group for suspected rigging of a key benchmark interest rate between that began in 2012.

    The bank and 22 employees faced a criminal probe by the Serious Fraud Office into suspected manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor. But the SFO confirmed today that it doesn't have enough evidence to continue the case.

    "The SFO has written to certain individuals in the Libor investigation to inform them that they are no longer suspects. The banks concerned, and several witnesses, have been written to as well," an SFO spokeswoman said.

    By Martin Coyle and Ben Lucas

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  • Ex-ambassador charged in Rolls-Royce bribery scheme can't push to throw case out from abroad, prosecutors say
    03 July 2018
    A former Armenian ambassador accused of laundering bribe payments to aid a subsidiary of Rolls-Royce can't legally have a US court hear his request to dismiss the charges, prosecutors said.

    Azat Martirossian, an Armenian citizen who lives in Beijing and once served as his country's ambassador to China, is legally considered a fugitive and isn't entitled to have his legal arguments against the charges heard in the Ohio federal court handling the case, prosecutors said Monday in a filing.

    Martirossian was charged in May with laundering bribe money meant for at least one Kazakh official to secure business for Rolls-Royce Energy Systems, a US-based subsidiary of Rolls-Royce.

    By Richard Vanderford

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  • Petrobras hit with $615 million arbitral award to Vantage Drilling in case with FCPA connection
    03 July 2018
    Brazilian state-run oil company Petróleo Brasileiro, or Petrobras, said that it will appeal a $615 million arbitration award to Vantage Drilling over a terminated contract, claiming the contract was obtained through bribery. Meanwhile, Vantage is awaiting a resolution of a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act case involving Petrobras that is pending before the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

    The International Centre for Dispute Resolution handed Houston-based Vantage a 2-1 victory Monday, saying that Petrobras should compensate Vantage for the early termination of a drilling contract.

    However, the one ICDR panel dissenter said in his objection that Petrobras should not have to pay because the contract was obtained through corruption. Petrobras said in an SEC filing Tuesday that it would mount a legal challenge to the arbitral award.

    By Robert Thomason

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