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Ironically, the new-found press freedoms (which have not been backed by changes in legislation) have demonstrated a problem. The media, which has long had oppressive control foisted on it has learned self-censorship drawn far inside boundaries in countries with greater press freedom. Now the problem is this: domestically trained journos don't know where boundaries should be. So when an application was granted for restrictions on reporting matters subject to charges against former PM Najib Razak, there's mistaken outrage.

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There is a wonderful, and completely fictitious, meme going around Malaysia - Najib asks Anwar if he has any advice for being in jail. Anwar answers "don't drop the soap." Aside from being hilarious, in a country where political comment has for some years ended up with people being arrested, there is the irony that Najib is attempting to run the defence that charges against him are politically motivated - exactly the failed defence that put Anwar in jail. Unlike Anwar, Najib is being vocal in denying any wrongdoing which is also ironic because almost no one in the country wanted Anwar charged, much less convicted.

The news that judges, in London, have been charged with fraud is just part of a much larger problem. Alongside them are solicitors. The Metropolitan Police have been investigating what they describe as a "complex fraud team investigation." The case started after a court clerk reported suspicions of suspicious claims for state-funded payments under the Legal Aid Scheme. However, legal aid fraud has been a long-running problem in the legal system in England and Wales with criminal and immigration practitioners being most commonly reported.

Legal professional privilege used to be simple: if a document or thing came to the attention of a lawyer in the course of, or in during preparation for, litigation it was privileged. That was it. Simple, clear and everyone knew where they stood. Then some twit decided to invent "legal advice privilege" which tends to the view that anything said between a lawyer and his client is privileged. Then no one knew where they stood because, in England and Wales and therefore in other jurisdictions following that, behind all of this lay two fundamental principles: a solicitor is an officer of the Court and must not mislead the Court and legal professional privilege breaks when a client attempts to involve the solicitor in the commission of a crime. Advocates of legal advice privilege were not supportive of that.

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When Australia took action against an internet scammer for sending out notices relating to domains (see here) the effect on those committing similar frauds was... zero.

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Editorial Staff

After Carlill v The Carbolic Smoke Ball Company (in 1892), possibly the most famous court case in the world is Roe -v- Wade (1973) which has been a constant battleground in the US, the Senate and the Courts for decades. The latest Supreme Court case does not directly affect that case but might have even greater consequences because while everyone is focussing on the abortion element of National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra, the case was actually about something very different and that's how the US Supreme Court decided it.

One can say many things about the EU but here are two: one it really, really does not understand the internet and how companies operate within it and two it really, really likes simplistic and brutal solutions to complex problems. Perhaps the two things are the same. Article 11 of the Copyright Directive, which a European Committee (the usual handful of grey men in grey suits that were so much a reason for Brexit) has just passed is a perfect example of both. The grey men in grey suits are different depending on the topic. The result is the same: they set law which is rarely subjected to effective review later in the legislative process. But protestors have missed the bus: it left in a 2001 Directive that hardly anyone pays attention to.

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Case Summary: 

A group of fraudsters set up a fake law firm to defraud insurance companies in so-called "cash-for-crash" claims. One of the insurance companies they victimised has obtained an order for exemplary damages in a civil court in a fascinating cross-over between civil and criminal jurisdictions.

Type of conduct: 
Insurance fraud

E-mail inboxes have long been plagued with dubious offers to renew domain names or to buy similar names to prevent cybersquatters taking control of them or even for entries into some kind of directory. It's a nuisance but, so far, the perpetrators of the actions have avoided prosecution by a range of sneaky tactics. Australia's Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has obtained orders (not convictions) against two companies and a disqualification order against their principle officer.

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Who remembers the dark web, that place where, if you could work out how to access it, you could buy false identification, illicit drugs (or licit drugs on an illicit basis) and even rent a hit man? Welcome, charlselwatson@gmail.com, not only don't you use the dark web, you even promote your services via a public bulletin board.

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.

In the wider world of financial services, there's a tendency to forget that there are regulators for other areas of commerce, too. In the UK, in accounting, the last stop for action relating to accounting and audit misconduct is the Financial Reporting Council. It's one of those bodies that replaces gravitas with slogans on its website (which is "flashy" but doesn't work properly) but when it gets its teeth into a case, it acts as a proper regulator. It levies only small fines but it's paying more and more attention to the big boys.

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Sending server: webmail.123-reg.co.uk
Request for External Wire transfer

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If there's one thing more certain in Formula One than that there will be in-fighting between the teams, it's that every few years some kind of financial scandal will engulf at least some aspect of the sport. And if there's an allegation of cheating, there's always an Italian aspect to it. Put the two things together and you get the worst-kept secret in the sport, but one that could not be openly told because of the way the investigation is conducted: the Italian authorities have been investigating financial affairs connected to the Italian Grand Prix at Monza for more than five years.

The debate over the use of a measles, mumps and rubella vaccine continues around the world with (generally discredited) opinions held by some that the vaccine may lead to autism, amongst other things, and simply because of cultural of financial issues. However, the risk of the spread of disease is now being demonstrated, with outbreaks of measles, in particular, originating where failure or refusal to vaccinate is common.

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