Corrupt Transactions in Multi-Jurisdictional Practice

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Long title: 
Multi-Jurisdictional Practice in Singapore and Corrupt Transactions: Ethical Challenges
Author(s): 
Pullé, Austin
Author(s)' contact information: 
Singapore Management University, Singapore
Conference title: 
International Legal Ethics Conference VI
Conference location: 
City University London
Country: 
Singapore
Year: 
2014

Foreign and local lawyers in Singapore must be alert to involvement in corrupt transactions in other Asian countries. Indices regularly rank Singapore as one of the least corrupt countries in the world but award failing grades to most Asian countries. Transactions with these countries is a fact of life. Every two weeks there is a case opened against a company somewhere in the world for international corruption in the Asia Pacific region. A lawyer would probably encounter a corrupt commercial transaction in the course of her work as a cross-border lawyer in Singapore. A lawyer engaged in such cross-border transactions exposes herself and her client to a range of professional and criminal sanctions. The Singapore Legal Profession Act requires a court to disbar any lawyer who engages in conduct considered "grossly improper". Singapore’s law broadly criminalize overseas bribery and its abetment. When representing American, British or Singaporean clients, the lawyers would have to consider the extensive sweep of these statutes with the Singapore and British statutes not excepting "grease payments" from liability. The UK statute imposes liability for the conduct of "associated persons". Moreover, the professional codes applicable to American and British lawyers contain provisions that require lawyers not to assist in illegal transactions. The presentation will cover some of the legal and ethical issues that confront a Singapore based lawyer advising on Asian cross-border transactions.

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