Press review
5 July 2024

Press review – Week of 1 July 2024

This week, the press review covers the acquittal of 28 people implicated in the Panama Papers scandal, Turkey’s withdrawal and Monaco's inclusion in the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) grey list, the decision of the Autorité de contrôle prudentiel et de resolution (ACPR) against BRED for breaches of its anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing measures, and the appeal before the French Supreme Court (Cour de cassation) by the general prosecutor's office of the Paris Court of Appeal against the arrest warrant targeting Bashar Al-Assad.

#White collar crime:

Tax fraud: 28 people involved in Panama Papers scandal acquitted

The 28 people accused of tax evasion have been acquitted by a Panamanian court eight years after the Panama Papers affair, for lack of sufficient evidence. The court considered that the leaked documents were “doubtful” and “did not respect the traceability chain”, calling into question their authenticity and integrity. Gerard Ryle, Executive Director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), emphasized the lasting impact of the Panama Papers investigation. In his view, these investigations, by revealing hidden truths, have given the public the information it needs to “demand accountability and push for reforms”. > Read article


#Criminal tax law:

Prospects are improving as Turkey is removed from the FATF grey list

On 1 July 2024, Turkey was removed from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list, marking a significant turning point for its economy. The FATF grey list was created to monitor countries with weaknesses in terrorist financing and money laundering. If a country fails to remedy these weaknesses, it may be blacklisted, leading to international sanctions and increased surveillance. At a meeting between the FATF and the Turkish authorities, the latter demonstrated substantial progress in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. This withdrawal is seen as a positive signal for investors and consumers, offering an opportunity to revitalize the Turkish economy. > Read article

Money Laundering: Monaco “determined” to quickly withdraw from the FATF grey list

On 1 July 2024, Monaco was added to the FATF’s “enhanced surveillance” grey list, along with Venezuela, due to shortcomings in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. The Monegasque government committed to quickly withdraw from the list, with a reforms timetable over the next year and a half. The FATF recognized Monaco’s progress, but stressed the need to improve the fight against tax fraud, the seizure of criminal assets located abroad and the application of dissuasive sanctions. Monaco must also allocate more resources to its judges and strengthen the confiscation of criminal assets. In response, Monaco adopted nine new laws in 16 months to strengthen its legal framework and its financial security Authority (AMSF). > Read article


#Banking, financial and financial market enforcement:

BRED fined 2.5 million euros by the ACPR

On 27 June 2024, the sanctions Commission of the Autorité de contrôle prudentiel et de résolution (ACPR) reprimanded and imposed to BRED (BPCE group) a fine of 2.5 million euros. The ACPR, which supervises the banking and insurance operators and oversees the stability of the financial system, identified a number of shortcomings into the bank’s system to combat money laundering and terrorist financing (LCB-FT). These shortcomings specifically concern the system for monitoring transactions in order to identify and process atypical transactions. The bank is also accused of several shortcomings regarding the enhanced scrutiny and reporting of suspicious transactions. The bank stated that it had already carried out significant work to improve the effectiveness of its system. > Read article


#Litigation and International investigation: 

Chemical attacks in Syria: the French public prosecutor’s office challenges the arrest warrant for Bashar Al-Assad before the French Supreme Court (Cour de cassation)

On 28 June 2024, the general prosecutor’s office of the Paris court of appeal filed an appeal before the French Supreme Court (Cour de cassation) against the Paris court of appeal’s decision of 26 June 2016, which had validated the arrest warrant issued in November 2023 against Bashar Al-Assad. The court rejected the request for annulment of the arrest warrant made by the National Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor’s Office, which claimed the immunity from jurisdiction enjoyed by sitting heads of state. The civil parties expressed their incomprehension and disappointment following the appeal. The NGO civil parties consider this decision to be a political maneuver. The public prosecutor’s office stated that the objective was to resolve a legal issue, and not to dispute the merits of the case. > Read article

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