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Australia

The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) has issued a notice opposing a "merger" proposal involving TPG Telecom Limited (TPG) and Vodafone Hutchison Australia Pty Ltd (Vodafone). The reasons include that TPG has been "disruptive" in a complacent market and is "the best prospect Australia has for a new mobile network operator to enter the market." But it's a far more complex picture than that.

CoNet Section: 

Australian financial services giant AMP and its solicitors Clayton Utz have "surrendered" in their objections to producing notes of meetings which they claimed were subject to legal professional privilege. ASIC's position is simple: it has wide ranging powers to compel the release of documents and it will accept only a narrow and strict definition of legal professional privilege.

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Australia has long been in conflict with foreign discounters marketing, amongst other things, by internet. It all started with a fight over the price of books.

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If enough people get to see it, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's press conference in Bourke Street, Melbourne this morning will go down as one of those jaw-dropping moments in politics. It was a no-holds barred, balls-out, unequivocal challenge to "communities" in Melbourne to identify and report indicators of extremism for the sake of Australia and, importantly, for their own sake. A straight-talking poli? Strewth.

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Last year it was FinTech. 2018 was scheduled to be the year of RegTech but the crazy inflation in the value of crypto-currencies at the end of 2017 hijacked that and this year became the year where no sentence was complete without the word "blockchain" somewhere in it, or so it seemed. But the love affair is already turning sour as reality sets in and the buzzword junkies are at last being shown for what they are: opportunists who will be onto the next big thing as soon as someone tells them what it is.

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The iconic fashion boots UGG are famously Australian.

Or so consumers were falsely told by Ozwear Connection, a wholesaler of footwear and accessories in Australia.

And then there's the question of exactly what is an "ugg" boot.

The attacks on a mother over parenting, culture and her love for her child demonstrate that political correctness is bullying, unthinking, brash and racist. And the racists chose the most accepting venue of all - Australian Masterchef - to demonstrate the worst side of so called progressivism and liberalism.

There's bound to be some head-scratching going on after the announcement of a cartel case relating to blood and body tissue. Before the "yuk" factor makes you turn the page, we should explain: it's all about stem cell preservation.

CoNet Section: 

The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) has this morning issued a warning about kidnap and ransom threats made against, in particular, Chinese residents in Australia with more than 1,700 cases reported so far in 2018.

For the past week, all the news in Australia has been about the huge give-aways planned for today's budget. Every single news broadcast since Thursday has had the story up front and pushed a message that for the first time in years, there is money in the kitty and the government intends to spend it. But the big stories are about tax reform and measures against tax evasion including banning large cash transactions. That's the headline. It's not quite the reality and, as always, a budget speech is a declaration of intent not fully reasoned legislation. Even so - it's a significant move. (edited)

Case Summary: 

Two men have been sentenced to long jail terms in Australia for tax evasion and money laundering. They conspired to create an elaborate network of companies and false identities and ran a wide range of document frauds to book false losses in business activities, producing some AUD60 million in defrauded taxes. They spent the money on palatial homes, cars and boats and other luxury items and lifestyle expenditure.

Type of conduct: 
Tax fraud / evasion

Case Summary: 

Phillip Eric de Figueiredo was a principal in the firm of Strachans based in Jersey and Switzerland. Along with Philip Egglishaw, de Figueiredo arranged for clients in Australia to dishonestly reduce the tax payable to the ATO by way of a number of arrangements. De Figueiredo was extradited from Jersey and eventually pleaded guilty to 2 conspiracies involving Australian clients.

Type of conduct: 
Tax fraud / evasion

When one looks at investigations into money laundering in Australia, there is a factor that crops up over and over and over again. The money came from, or has a connection to, Malaysia. And it's not the connection the rest of the world expects.

Continuing our analysis of how Australia's Proceeds of Crime Act provides a mechanism for successful money laundering.

See Part I here

Late-stage money laundering is after the proceeds of criminal conduct have already been through a series of transactions to hide, move and even invest them. As the proceeds move further away from the original source, their origin is obscured but they are still not safe. Late-stage laundering usually involves using financial institutions or jurisdictions that are known to have good systems in place and therefore the next move is with the benefit of their reputation. Australia, on the other hand, provides - enshrined in its law - a safe haven that provides positive encouragement to launderers to place late-stage laundering there.

Part II here

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