• International Lawyers Project

The ILP hosts an Anti-Corruption Sanctions Workshop for TI Asia Pacific Chapters

Background


Sanctions have recently come into the forefront of the media due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In the UK, the sanctions related to the Russian invasion have been made under the The Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. However, the UK Global Anti-Corruption Sanctions Regime (UK GACS regime), which was implemented in April 2021 to prevent and combat serious corruption worldwide, is much less well-known.


The UK Anti-Corruption Coalition (UKACC) and REDRESS released a report in April 2022 reviewing the UK GACS regimea year after it came into force. Along with a list of recommendations, the report cited a lack of designations as a key point which is undermining the effectiveness of the regime. A total of 27 individuals have been designated for serious corruption, and not a single designation is connected with the Asian Pacific region under the regime.


The nationalities of the corrupt actors designated under the UK GACS regime to-date are: Russian, Colombian, Equatorial Guinean, Honduran, Nicaraguan, Iraqi, Sudanese, Zimbabwean and Indian/South African (in the case of the Gupta brothers). The Gupta brothers and their associate Salim Essa were designated for serious corruption in South Africa, rather than India.


Further, none of the individuals designated for corruption under the Canadian Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act are from the Asian Pacific region. The US, on the other hand, has designated 7 individuals from the Asian Pacific region for corruption out of the total of 415 they have designated under the Global Magnitsky Act.


Below is a table detailing the cases:

Country

Name(s)

Description

Cambodia

Kim Family:

  • Kim Phara

  • Kim Sophary

  • King Chandy

Kun Kim (senior general in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF)

Kun Kim’s known ties and personal relationship with China allowed him to gain benefit from the development projects in Koh Kong province, where he used RCAF soldiers to intimidate, demolish, and clear-out land sought by the China-owned entity, United Development Group, Ltd. Three members of his family – King Chandy, Kim Sophary, and Kim Phara were likewise designated for acting on behalf of Kun Kim.

Cambodia

Try Pheap

Cambodian tycoon, Try Pheap, is alleged to have used his vast network to build a large scale illegal logging consortium that relies on the collusion of Cambodian officials. He was sanctioned for corruption, including the misappropriation of state funds, bribery, and the use of influence in the government for the extraction of natural resources.

Cambodia

Chau Phirun (Director-General of the Defence Ministry’s Material and Technical Services Department)


Vinh Tea (Commander of the Royal Cambodian Navy)

Chau Phirun and Tea Vinh were sanctioned for their involvement in corruption by colluding to benefit personally from the operations related to the construction and updating of the Ream Naval Base by inflating the cost of those facilities. They are also alleged to have conspired to split the money skimmed from the naval project.

China

Wan Kuok Koi (leader of the 14K Triad)

The 14K Triad is one of the largest Chinese organised crime organisations in the world. 14K engages in drug trafficking, illegal gambling, racketeering, human trafficking as well as “bribery corruption and graft.”As a member of the Chinese Communist Party, he has likewise attached his criminal operations to Beijing's Belt and Road initiative, a massive infrastructure project that aims to build trade and transport links from East Asia to Europe.


Training Anti-Corruption Activists on UK Sanctions Tools


In partnership with the Transparency International (TI), the world’s leading anti-corruption NGO, the ILP assisted in organising a virtual training workshop on the UK Global Anti-Corruption Sanctions Regime for 38 in-house anti-corruption lawyers from 10 Transparency International Asia-Pacific Chapters: Fiji, Vanuatu, Australia, Cambodia, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, Indonesia, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Paige Berges, the Litigation and Enforcement Counsel from Ropes & Gray, conducted the workshop.


The workshop aimed to address the lack of sanctions against corrupt actors in Asia by equipping local NGOs and anti-corruption lawyers with the knowledge to make strong sanctions submissions to the UK Foreign, Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO).


Corruption remains one of the key challenges across Asia. Compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and its significant health and economic consequences, it was reported that 20-40% of public service users in the region paid a bribe. The Sanctions Regime offers enforcement tools that will help the civil society in these countries to hold criminals to account and promote good governance in government.



Trainer and sanctions lawyer Paige Berges.



During the Workshop, Paige provided:


• An introduction and overview of the Sanctions Regime;


• An update on the recent changes in the UK Sanctions Regime, including the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022;


• A comprehensive guide on the factors determining designations based on serious corruption, as well as the measures imposed;


Examples of current anti-corruption sanctions designations and the reasons and justifications for such determination; and


Practical considerations in employing alternative methods to seek accountability by reporting sanctions violations to the OFSI.


Paige also led a dynamic Q&A session sharing practical advice on making submissions for international sanctions to the FCDO and navigating the consolidated financial sanctions list of the OFSI.



Resources


Please see a briefing note with FAQs on the UK Global Anti-Corruption Sanctions Regime.


For more information on the workshop, please find the recording of the webinar on our YouTube page and the powerpoint slides of the workshop below.

Paige Berges - UK GACS Regime Slides
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