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White Collar Crime

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On 27 October 2022, the Investigating Authority of the Federal Economic Commission (COFECE) published a notice initiating an investigation into the marketing of services related to credit card transactions in the form of deferred payments with interest-free months due to alleged absolute monopolistic practices (or cartel practices), in particular, price fixing and the exchange of commercially sensitive information.

On 25 May 2018, the Council of the European Union adopted a directive on the mandatory disclosure and exchange of cross-border tax arrangements. This is the sixth update of the Directive on Administrative Cooperation, therefore referred to as ‘DAC6’ and the disclosure regime is now live.
Under the new rules, intermediaries such as lawyers, tax advisors, and accountants that design, promote or implement certain ‘arrangements’, or that provide advice in relation to such arrangements, are required to report them to tax authorities.

Directors of Australian companies face significant personal monetary – and potential criminal and adverse professional – consequences if they allow the company to trade whilst insolvent.
Australian insolvent trading laws are harsher, and more frequently utilized to prosecute directors personally, than in many other jurisdictions including in the US and the UK.

Regulators and courts in common law jurisdictions around the world are being given significant and increasing powers to impose financial penalties without traditional criminal law safeguards. Competition law has been particularly susceptible to arguments that traditional safeguards should be discarded to aid regulators in securing convictions. In the first competition case to go to trial in Hong Kong, the Competition Tribunal held in 2019 that in competition proceedings seeking financial penalties, the authority had the burden to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. This article considers the approach taken in other common law jurisdictions and scope to argue for increased safeguards and human rights protections for clients facing financial penalties.

As part of the multi-pronged effort by the Infocomm Media Development Authority and other stakeholders to combat scams and safeguard SMS messaging as a communications channel, the IMDA will implement two measures following a public consultation: (i) mandatory registration with the Singapore SMS Sender ID Registry: Registration with the SSIR will be mandatory for all organizations that use SMS Sender IDs, and (ii) telecommunications operators to implement SMS anti-scam filtering solutions: Anti-scam filtering solutions will be implemented by telecommunications operators within their mobile networks to automatically filter potential scam messages before they reach consumers.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore has issued a consultation paper proposing additional regulatory safeguards, particularly around retail customer access, business conduct measures and technology risk management for cryptocurrency players. The MAS seeks to extend its regulatory focus beyond money laundering and terrorism financing risks, to holistically strengthen the regulatory framework, limit consumer harm and better address fraud protection in light of recent incidents, while acknowledging the need not to hamper digital innovation. The MAS proposes that these new requirements, once issued in the form of guidelines, will apply not only to licensed digital payment token service providers licensed under the Payment Services Act 2019, but also to those currently operating under a transitional exemption from licensing while their license applications are being reviewed.

The forthcoming visit to Luxembourg of the Financial Action Task Force, the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog, is certainly not unrelated to the recent adoption of the law creating a new procedure of out-of-court dissolution without liquidation for certain commercial companies. That law is the first part of the more ambitious reform aiming at preserving businesses and modernizing bankruptcy law, currently pending before the Luxembourg Parliament. Its objective is to remove, in a quick and cost-efficient way, dormant and empty shell companies without economic reality and in breach of applicable laws to prevent them from being used for criminal purposes.

Indonesia’s Consumer Protection Law generally takes a light-handed approach to protection of consumer interests. It generally seeks to lay out the principles for protecting consumers’ interests, leaving detailed regulations to the regulators and to industry self-governance. However, it does list specific types of clauses that are prohibited. Anyone who includes prohibited clauses in an agreement would be subject to the threat of criminal penalty of up to five years imprisonment or a fine of up to IDR 2 billion (around USD 130,000). Given these risks, it is crucial for any consumer-facing business to understand what types of clauses are actually prohibited and how it can ensure that it is compliant with these prohibitions.