Credit Suisse Raid, Glaxo, China Rates: Compliance

Credit Suisse Group AG’s offices in Frankfurt were raided last month as part of an insider-trading probe, according to German prosecutors.

While Credit Suisse offices were among the places searched, neither the bank nor its board members are targets of the probe, Claudia Krauth, a spokeswoman for prosecutors in Stuttgart, Germany, said by phone yesterday. A Frankfurt-based spokeswoman for Zurich-based Credit Suisse declined to comment.

The case was prompted by German financial regulator Bafin, which asked prosecutors to investigate after analysts found indications improper trading may have taken place. Prosecutors raided 50 homes and offices in eight German states and Switzerland, Krauth said last month.

Stuttgart officials looked into some of the people in 2008. The case was dropped because the evidence didn’t support the allegations.

Credit Suisse is Switzerland’s biggest bank after UBS AG.

Japan Yet to Decide on Bitcoin Rules Amid Money-Laundering Risk

Japan’s government said it has yet to decide whether to regulate Bitcoin, while highlighting that banks must report any suspicions of money laundering stemming from trades of the digital currency.

The government is still collecting information on Bitcoin, it said today in a written response to questions asked by opposition lawmaker Tsutomu Okubo. Banks have a duty to notify authorities if they suspect that customers have been involved in crime or drug dealing, it said.

Last month’s bankruptcy of Mt. Gox Co., an online Bitcoin exchange based in Tokyo, brought the issue of regulating the virtual currency into focus in Japan. Bitcoin has attracted attention from authorities around the world concerned about money laundering.

Okubo’s questions centered on the responsibilities of Japanese banks used by Bitcoin exchanges to settle transactions with clients. While Bitcoin isn’t considered a currency in Japan, it could be subject to taxation like goods and services, the government said on March 7 in response to earlier questions from Okubo.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore said last week that it plans to regulate virtual-currency intermediaries including operators of Bitcoin exchanges to address potential money-laundering and terrorist-financing risks.

Compliance Action

Glaxo to Bring Doctors In-House as Educational Speakers

GlaxoSmithKline Plc plans to hire doctors to educate their peers about its drugs instead of paying external speakers, a further change to its marketing practices following a record fraud settlement in the U.S.

The drugmaker is also investing in improving its multichannel marketing strategy through media such as online streaming of educational content, Deirdre Connelly, head of Glaxo’s U.S. pharmaceuticals business, said in an interview. The changes come as London-based Glaxo introduces recently approved products including treatments for skin cancer and HIV.

In 2012, Glaxo agreed to pay $3 billion to settle allegations that it illegally promoted antidepressants and failed to report safety data on a diabetes drug. Hiring doctors and medical experts to speak as in-house representatives of Glaxo will provide more transparency, Connelly said.

The company said it plans to hire people with medical backgrounds and expertise in specific disease areas.

For more, click here.


Lew Says China Needs to Move Toward Flexible Exchange Rate

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew told Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang that the world’s second-largest economy needs to move toward a market-determined exchange rate.

In a phone conversation March 15, Lew praised China’s announcement that it would widen the yuan’s daily trading band, the Treasury Department said in an e-mailed statement March 16.

Fund Firms Say Too-Big-to-Fail Designation Would Hurt Investors

U.S. mutual fund companies are pushing back against claims that some firms may be too big to fail, saying that singling out a few large money managers and subjecting them to more regulation would hurt competition and ultimately investors.

Paul Schott Stevens, president of the Investment Company Institute, the fund industry’s trade group, made the remarks in the text of a speech scheduled to be delivered yesterday in Orlando, Florida.

ICI members including BlackRock Inc., Pacific Investment Management Co. and Fidelity Investments, have been lobbying regulators and lawmakers to avoid being labeled by U.S. and international regulatory bodies as systemically important financial institutions. The designation could lead to tighter capital, leverage and liquidity rules like those faced by banks.

The U.S. Financial Stability Oversight Council, which includes the heads of the Federal Reserve and the Securities and Exchange Commission, is studying whether BlackRock and Fidelity should receive the label. FSOC officials haven’t explained publicly how or when decisions about asset managers will be made.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.