By Adam Turteltaub
For a long time corporate internal investigations in Asia tended to be anti-corruption related, reports Robert Hunt, a partner in the Hong Kong office of the law firm Herbert Smith Freehills. These days, though, while bribery is still an area of great concern, other issues have started to gain more of the spotlight. Of particulate note, he relates in this podcast, are sales and revenue fraud, money laundering, and sanctions.
But whatever the risk area, there are multiple factors that compliance professionals need to consider when conducting investigations in Asia. Data privacy is a growing concern, as many Asian countries either enact new or strengthen existing privacy laws in the wake of GDPR. Adding to the complexity, the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon has made it harder to access employee communications. No longer are all electronic communications backed up on the server, with workers increasingly using WeChat and WhatsApp to communicate.
It’s not just employee communications that may be an issue. Internal communications with the legal team are a risk area of their own. Privilege laws vary greatly when conducting an investigation, something to be considered when generating or collecting documents.
And, when interviewing suspects and witnesses, it’s essential to remain aware of and sensitive to the language and cultural issues. Even an executive who speaks English regularly may prefer using the local language when in a high-stress interview.
In sum, before you leap into an investigation it’s essential to look and to listen to this Compliance Perspectives Podcast.