Loan company fined over fake law firms; Norton Rose Fulbright appoints new compliance chief

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Fake law firms used to collect defaulted credit repayments... new compliance chief at Norton Rose Fulbright... Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton boosts Asian team... and antitrust fines are soaring says A&O report...

Loan company used fake law firms
A UK payday loans company that used fake law firms to demand repayments has been forced to compensate customers. The Financial Conduct Authority said that the company had committed serious misconduct by asserting pressure on clients who were already in the difficult position of arrears. The lender, Wonga, sent letters to customers, apparently from law firms “Chainey, D'Amato & Shannon" and "Barker and Lowe Legal Recoveries” – firms that did not exist. The tactic was used to make customers believe their debt had been escalated to legal action, and in some cases fees for sending the letters were added to overdue accounts. Wonga said that the practice ended four years ago and will now pay customers a total of £2.6 million in compensation. Read the full story.
Norton Rose Fulbright has new global compliance chief
Lauren Leeker has been appointed global head of compliance at Norton Rose Fulbright. Ms. Leeker, a legacy Fulbright partner, has been heading up the US compliance division; a role that will be taken on by David Corben. Jonathan Ody, who has stepped down as global compliance chief after nine years will continue to head up compliance for Europe, Middle East and Asia. The appointments follow on from other recent management changes at the firm. Read the full story.
New appointment to help US firms entering Asia
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP has appointed Gentry Sayad as partner and co-chair of its Asian practice. Gentry will be based in Shanghai, where he has been working at Fredrikson & Byron LLP. His specialist knowledge of mergers and acquisitions in the region will be of particular use for US companies entering Asian markets. Read the full story.
Antitrust fines set to soar
A report by Allen & Overy says that global fines for antitrust law violations are set to increase to record levels this year. The US alone has tripled the level of fines it imposed in the first half of last year; the 2014 total stands at more than $700 million; but this is less than half that levied by the European Commission. There have also already been greater penalties imposed in Australia, Japan, Brazil and South Korea. Antitrust violations such as interest rate manipulation and price fixing are being increasingly tightened and enforced. Read the full story.
Hong Kong lawyers march for judicial independence

It’s rare for lawyers to march in protest, especially in the streets of Hong Kong, but on Thursday many legal professionals will be showing their support for the independent judiciary in the region. Concerns were raised by a white paper from central government that classified judges as administrators with a ‘basic political requirement’ to love the country. Lawyers in Hong Kong firmly believe that independence of the judiciary is key to China’s policy of one country, two systems. Read the full story.
London law giants head to head for investigation
A media briefing which caused billions of dollars to be wiped off the value of some of the world’s major insurance companies will pitch two UK law powerhouses head to head. The chief executive and other senior managers of the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority are to be represented by Kingsley Napley, while the investigation is being led by a partner at Clifford Chance. The case involves a media briefing in March which sparked panic from investors and anger from the Treasury. The investigation will be carefully scrutinised by both business and political stakeholders. Read the full story.

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