Our data cannot show — and perhaps no data could — whether there’s more wrongdoing at large corporations today than in the past. However, we doubt that’s the case, based on our own experience working with hundreds of companies over many years. In fact, our data shows that companies are continuing to improve both their processes for choosing and replacing CEOs and their leadership governance practices — especially in developed countries.
On June 5th, 2017, in a case with implications for complex fraud and corruption investigations, the US Supreme Court ruled to limit the Security and Exchange Commission’s power to recover ill-gotten gains. The case (Kokesh v. SEC) hinged on whether SEC disgorgements should be considered a “fine, penalty, or forfeiture,” or whether they are instead a remedial tool. In a unanimous decision, the Justices ruled that SEC disgorgement “bears all the hallmarks of a penalty,” and is therefore subject to a five-year statute of limitations as laid out in 28 USC § 2462. In the short term, the ruling reduces the disgorgement payment for Charles R. Kokesh (an investment advisor who spent more than a decade misappropriating client funds) from $35 million to around $5 million. In the long term, it will likely change the way the SEC structures enforcement actions.
International business environments are always in a state of flux, and it’s not always easy to figure out the implications for your business. Whether it’s a corruption scandal in Brazil, currency changes in India, or renewed sanctions on Russia, local issues can often have an unexpected impact on your international operations. Whether you’re just considering entering a new market, or you’re trying to come to grips with a new political paradigm, Smith Brandon International can help you assess the environment and position your company to succeed.
A year on from the disclosure of the Panama Papers, revelations continue to trickle to the surface. In April the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists added two world leaders to their Power Players list: Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull and former Mongolian Prime Minister Sükhbaataryn Batbold were both revealed to have interests in separate offshore companies connected to mining operations in central Asian.
Meanwhile, a Joint Investigation Team in Pakistan formally began investigations related to the naming of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his sons (Hussain and Hassan Nawaz) in the leaked Panamanian documents.
And in Ukraine, authorities arrested Italian fugitive Giuseppe Donaldo Nicosia. Nicosia stands accused of a $48 million tax fraud. The Panama Papers helped reveal the chain of shell companies he’d used to perpetrate his fraud and hide his money.
Sadly, a lack of transparency in offshore business operations is hardly a surprise. But these recent revelations serve as a reminder that hidden ownerships can have big implications. At Smith Brandon International we have over 20 years of experience conduction international Due Diligence, to help you ensure that your new partners are who they say they are.