Financial Regulatory Forum

Canada’s Anti-Bribery Cops Reel One In

By John Mackie

TORONTO, July 22 (Business Law Currents) – Though Canada has had foreign bribery legislation in effect for over a decade, prosecutions have proven very few and very far between. So it remains to be seen whether the recent guilty plea by Calgary’s Niko Resources under Canada’s Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act marks a scaling-up of Canadian efforts on this front, or just another blip on the radar screen.

Canada’s Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (CFPOA) entered into force on February 14, 1999. The Act contemplates prosecutions in respect of three offences: bribing a foreign public official, laundering property and proceeds, and possession of property and proceeds. In addition, the CFPOA enables prosecutions for conspiracy, aiding and abetting, counselling, and the like.

One aspect of the CFPOA that has attracted criticism from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and Transparency International is that there must be a “real and substantial link” between the offence and Canada. While a bill has been introduced to eliminate this requirement, it has not passed into law, and arguably remains a significant barrier to investigations.

According to the last report of the Minister of Foreign Affairs to Parliament on the enforcement of the CFPOA, prior to this year there had only been one conviction under the act. In 2005, Red Deer-based Hydro-Kleen Group Inc. pleaded guilty to two counts of bribing a U.S. immigration officer at the Calgary International Airport.

In addition, in 2010, charges under the CFPOA were laid by the RCMP against an employee of Cryptometrics, a facial and fingerprint recognition software company based in Ottawa. The allegations were that payments had been made to an Indian government official to facilitate the execution of a multi-million dollar supply contract. That matter apparently remains before the Canadian courts.

INTERVIEW-Corruption high in Dubai state firms -police chief

By Rania Oteify

DUBAI, Dec 31 (Reuters) – Corruption at Dubai’s state-linked companies is unusually high, the Gulf Arab emirate’s police chief said on Thursday, but tough new penalties introduced this week could help curb fraud.

Dubai, which shocked global markets in November with a request to delay $26 billion in debts linked to flagship firm Dubai World, has ramped up an anti-corruption drive in recent weeks.

The emirate has seen a series of high-profile fraud cases since 2008 involving top executives at government-related firms like property developers Nakheel and Dubai Properties, as well as Dubai Islamic Bank.

Dubai takes new steps to clamp down on corruption

DUBAI, Dec 29 (Reuters) – Dubai’s ruler announced a new law to combat corruption, with the power to impose prison terms of up to 20 years on offenders as the emirate tightens financial rules in the wake of a debt crisis.

The law “comes in line with Dubai’s ongoing efforts to eradicate all forms of fraud,” according to a statement from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s office on Tuesday.

It is the latest in several measures taken by the government in the wake of a debt bombshell on Nov. 25 when the Gulf Arab business hub said it wanted to delay repayment of $26 billion owed by its flagship company, Dubai World.