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Weekly News Roundup: Wildfire Settlement, Cross-border Litigation, Deutsche Bank Investigation

Potential game changer for cross-border litigation finalized in The Hague

On June 18, more than 400 delegates assembled in The Hague to finalize a long-anticipated global, multilateral treaty governing the free circulation of judgments on civil and commercial matters across borders. This agreement is a fundamental tool for promoting international access to justice.

The 2019 HCCH Judgments Convention represents a long-awaited step forward in the international pursuit of cross-border justice. As a global framework according to which judgments can circulate from one state to another, the treaty provides a legal regime that produces certain and predictable outcomes, reduces litigation costs, shortens timeframes, and lowers risks.

PG&E settles for US$1 Billion for wildfire damage

California’s Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) agreed to pay US$1 billion in compensation to more than a dozen cities, counties, and agencies for losses resulting from catastrophic wildfires sparked by the company’s equipment. The company filed for Chapter 11 protection in January, and this agreement marks the first major settlement with local governments since January.

The utility giant might also face more than US$30 billion in potential liability costs from fires in 2017 and 2018. The town of Paradise, which was destroyed in the 2018 Camp Fire, the state’s deadliest wildfire ever, will receive the most of any entity within the group ⁠— US$270 million.

United Kingdom bans ads showing harmful gender stereotypes

The United Kingdom’s Advertising Standards Authority is now prohibiting dangerous gender stereotypes in UK commercials, social media campaigns, or online ads. The new measures restrict ads that reinforce roles that are deemed more masculine or feminine, as well as derogatory messages surrounding body image.

Banned ads include television spots of men who can’t change diapers or women who can’t park cars. Ads that link physique and body image to romantic success or ads belittling men for doing stereotypical “female” tasks “contribute to inequality in society, with costs for all of us,” said Guy Parker, chief executive of the Advertising Standards Authority.

Money laundering lapses may lead to criminal investigation for Deutsche Bank

Federal authorities are examining whether Deutsche Bank complied with laws intended to prevent money laundering and other crimes. The development marks the latest case of potential misconduct at one of the world’s largest and most troubled banks. The investigation includes a review of the bank’s handling of suspicious activity reports that its employees prepared about possibly problematic transactions.

This is just one element of several separate but overlapping government examinations into how illegal funds make their way through the US financial system. Deutsche Bank said it is cooperating with government investigations, and the company has taken steps to improve its anti-money laundering systems.

Canadian corporations may have eluded CA$25 billion in taxes last year

Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) Yves Giroux said that Canadian companies transferred more than CA$1.6 trillion to low-tax countries (known as offshore financial centers). Giroux calculated that 10 percent of that amount was transferred to avoid taxes, causing Ottawa to potentially lose CA$25 billion in federal revenue.

The analysis is part of the means of measuring the “tax gap,” which is the difference between the amount of tax collected if all individuals and companies paid what they were supposed to, and the amount actually collected by the federal government.

About the Author

Scott Sharon is a freelance writer who has contributed to Conducive Chronicle and World Policy Journal.

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