Hagens Berman Blog

Whistleblower News: Malaysian Fund, Bribery, PG&E

by HB Whistleblower Legal Team


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Leonardo DiCaprio testifies before D.C. grand jury as part of U.S. probe into Malaysian corruption

Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio made a secret appearance before a D.C. grand jury in recent months to testify as part of the Justice Department’s expansive investigation into a multibillion-dollar fraud surrounding a Malaysian government investment fund, according to people familiar with the case.

Prosecutors consider DiCaprio a witness who can provide useful insights about a swashbuckling Malaysian financier alleged to have pilfered and laundered billions of dollars from the investment fund and then financed a lobbying campaign to end the investigation, the people said. DiCaprio is not a target of the probe, they emphasized. read more »

Top suspect in Vitol, Glencore Brazil bribery case arrested in U.S.

A Brazilian man facing allegations of bribing officials at state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro on behalf of Vitol Group, Glencore and other major oil trading firms has been arrested in the United States, authorities said Tuesday.

Luiz Eduardo Loureiro Andrade was detained in the United States on Dec. 20, an arrest that was disclosed in a Brazilian court document seen by Reuters. He was arrested with the help of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Besides handling deportation cases, ICE investigates transnational crime. read more »

Deutsche Bank Prosecutors Said to Obtain Client List in Raid

List is said to include name of 900 individuals and entities

Clients on list are said to be mostly located outside Germany

Frankfurt prosecutors obtained a list of more than 900 clients from Deutsche Bank AG in a case tied to the Panama Papers, a key piece of evidence in an investigation that spurred a raid at the German lender’s headquarters in November.

The list contains the names of individuals and entities mostly located outside Germany, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information. The raid by law enforcement officials focused on the role of a former Deutsche Bank wealth management entity in the British Virgin Islands. read more »

California’s biggest utility is in deep trouble

PG&E’s role in starting wildfires could mean a break-up or even bankruptcy

California’s largest utility, is accustomed to disaster. In 2001 it declared bankruptcy after California mismanaged the deregulation of the state’s electricity market. In 2010 one of its gas pipelines exploded. Its travails are even the stuff of Hollywood. “Erin Brockovich”, starring Julia Roberts, told the story of how the company let toxic wastewater run into groundwater supplies and had to settle a class-action lawsuit in 1996 for hundreds of millions of dollars. Nevertheless, PG&E’S current turmoil marks the start of something new.

On January 7th the firm’s share price plunged by more than 20% on reports that it might declare bankruptcy. PG&E faces billions of dollars of liabilities over its possible role in starting the wildfires that have ravaged California with increasing frequency. Damages, legal fees and other costs from fires over the past two years may reach up to $29bn, estimates Goldman. That sum, which far exceeds the company’s $17bn in operating revenue in 2017, would be hard enough for PG&E to bear if it were an aberration. In fact, wildfire costs look set to become the norm. read more »

Investor Who Made Laundering Claims Says He’s Got More on Danske

Danske is already the subject of multiple criminal investigations, including by the U.S. Department of Justice, and faces fines potentially in the billions of dollars. A probe commissioned by Danske and published in September found that a large part of around $230 billion that flowed through a non-resident unit in Estonia was probably laundered. read more »