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Leighton Holdings corruption cases hang around like a bad smell

Publication: 
Bryan Edwards
chiefofficersnet

In Australia and elsewhere, the multitude of actions relating to bribery and corruption at Leighton Holdings (see here ) continues in both the criminal and civil courts.

And that's not all: In 2014, Raman Srikanth, the CEO of Indian subsidiary Thiess Minecs, was arrested although reports at the time seemed to indicate that this was related to a civil case which was in the process of a protracted arbitration in Singapore. Interestingly, the FT reported at that time "In March, Leighton’s chief executive and chief financial officer were ousted as ACS used its controlling stake in German construction company Hochtief to secure its influence over the Australian building conglomerate. On Friday, Hochtief increased its 58 per cent stake in Leighton to 69 per cent following the closure of its AUD22.50 a share offer." It is that relationship between ACS and Hochtief that is at the heart of the comments by GMT Research. What no one has made much of is that the Indian company, formed in 2010, was 90% owned by Leighton - and 10% by a company which the FT mentioned, in passing: "Minecs Finvest is an Indian company controlled by Vinod Bagrodia, the brother of former minister of state for coal in India, Santosh Bagrodia. In 2015, India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), started proceedings against Santosh Bagrodia and the court accepted that there was prima facie evidence that he was involved in certain corrupt practices. Earlier this month, that case, which did not relate to any Leighton unit was discharged insofar as it related to the former minister. His counsel successfully argued that as a political appointee he could not be expected to understand the technical nature of deals in the industry, according to Live Law. However, there had been reports of an investigation into the Thiess Minecs' having been granted an enormous contract by the state shortly after Santosh Bagrodia left office. Reports on that seem to have dried up and this newspaper has not been able to discover how, if at all, it was resolved.

One thing is clear: while ACS might have thought, in 2015, that changing the name might protect the innocent, it's not working. Whether it's Leighton Holdings or CIMIC, the company's reputation remains worn thin and continuing actions across the world militate against repair, even though it has entirely new management, has many successful contracts completed and many good contracts in hand and a cash pile of somewhere in the region of AUD14,000 million.

There's just one thing: if there are no prosecutions, how is counter-money laundering / asset forfeiture law supposed to work?

Sources:
https://www.mauriceblackburn.c...
https://www.mauriceblackburn.c...
https://www.asx.com.au/asxpdf/...
https://www.smh.com.au/nationa...
https://asic.gov.au/about-asic...
https://www.judcom.nsw.gov.au/...
https://www.sfo.gov.uk/2017/11...
https://www.sfo.gov.uk/2018/05...
https://www.sfo.gov.uk/2018/12...
https://www.sfo.gov.uk/2019/07...
https://www.asx.com.au/asxpdf/...
https://quoteapi.com/resources...
http://www.globalconstructionr...
https://www.gmtresearch.com/re...
https://www.fool.com.au/2019/0...
https://www.ft.com/content/384...
https://www.smh.com.au/nationa...
https://economictimes.indiatim...
https://www.livelaw.in/news-up...

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