law

William Pinckney, chief executive of Amway India, the country’s biggest direct selling consumer goods business by sales, was arrested at company headquarters in Gurgaon near Delhi on Monday evening. The arrest, related to a complaint filed back in December, took him and the company by surprise.

Now Amway India has issued a statement on the episode, calling it an “interesting and curious sequence of events” and highlighting the difficulties of doing business in the country. 

India ElectionsSelfies can be brilliant or embarrassing – only rarely are they unlawful.

When Narendra Modi, the favourite to lead India’s next government, cast his own vote this week he took a photograph of himself, his inked nail and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) lotus symbol inside the polling station and tweeted it. Once outside, he made a speech to the waiting crowds. Those seemingly insignificant acts have landed the would-be prime minister – and the press – in a blaze of controversy. 

By Kim Lane Scheppele of Princeton University

Hungary was once the precocious child of post-communist transition, garnering praise for its political and legal institutions. But ever since the Fidesz government of prime minister Viktor Orban came to power in 2010 with a two-thirds parliamentary majority, Hungary has been on a legislative rampage, unsettling the legal order and causing “regulatory uncertainty” through “abundant and unstable new regulation,” as the OECD delicately put it. 

Bolivia, often labelled as one of South America’s poorest countries, might pull a surprise in 2o13: the IMF expects this landlocked Andean country to grow by 6.7 per cent – its highest rate in ten years.

Despite the fierce anti-capitalist rhetoric and nationalisation policy of President Evo Morales (pictured), Bolivia’s gross domestic product has tripled to $27bn since he took office in January 2006, and economic growth has been chalking up an impressive 5 per cent average. As a consequence, the financial sector has also grown substantially. Any worries? 

The Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka, a country that still represses civil liberties, has prompted attacks on the attendees and the body itself.

To Roger Boyes in the Times, the association of 53 states – including many frontier markets – is a “country club for corrupt leaders“. The Economist has urged the group to push more for free trade and freedom – or die.

Which raises the question: how badly does the Commonwealth fare when it comes to human rights and civil liberties? Do the Commonwealth nations of Africa score much better than those outside the club? 

By Roman Khodykin of Berwin Leighton Paisner

Last week, following the announcement of president Vladimir Putin’s decision to liquidate the Supreme Arbitration Court and subordinate all commercial courts to another branch of the judiciary, about one in eight Supreme Arbitration Court judges and a number from other commercial courts immediately tendered their resignations in protest. Are they right to be so concerned about the impact of the reforms? 

A fast track Delhi court is expected to hand down sentences on Friday to four men convicted of December’s gang rape of a trainee physiotherapist. [update: the men have been sentenced to hang]

It is a chance for the court to redeem itself after a teenager who was the most brutal of the attackers was sentenced last month to just three years in juvenile detention, a decision that sparked public outrage. 

From Oleksandr Klymenko, Minister of Revenues and Duties of Ukraine

In response to the article Ukraine: will new tax law hit the oligarchs? published in the FT on July 10, 2013, I would like to clarify a few points about Ukraine’s new transfer pricing control legislation.

Amendments to the Law on Transfer Pricing adopted by the Parliament do not distort the original intent of the initiative; the “place of profit” for transnational corporations who have production facilities in Ukraine should correspond to the location of these facilities and product manufacture. 

By Marius Toime of Berwin Leighton Paisner

After months of anticipation, Rio Tinto was given the green light last week to begin exporting its first copper shipments from the giant Oyu Tolgoi mine. This colossal project is predicted to boost Mongolia’s GDP by a third in the coming years, giving it one of the highest per capita GDPs in the world.

Mongolia’s mining sector presents a tantalising set of opportunities, yet one that leaves a complex web of issues in its wake. 

Filial piety has been a central pillar of the Chinese moral code for centuries. But Chinese lawmakers and judges seem to believe ethic principles alone are not quite enough to ensure the country’s elderly are properly taken care of.

This week, a court in eastern China ruled that a woman surnamed Zhu had the duty not only to give financial support to her 77-year-old mother (pictured) but also to visit her at least once every two months. 

The US subsidiary of Ranbaxy Laboratories, India’s biggest pharmaceuticals group, has pleaded guilty to felony charges related to drug safety and will pay $500m in what the US Department of Justice called the largest such settlement to date with a generic drug manufacturer.

It lifts a cloud hanging over Ranbaxy for the past eight years. But it is still not clear when the company will be able to resume exports to the US from its two factories at the centre of the scandal, which have been at a virtual standstill since 2008. 

Thursday’s Kiobel v Royal Dutch Shell ruling by the US Supreme Court provides much-needed clarification about the scope of an obscure US law utilised by a growing number of claimants from emerging economies.

The Kiobel case alleged that Shell was complicit in human rights abuses committed in Nigeria in the late 1990s, when activists protesting against the oil industry were hanged by the government. The case was unusual in seeking redress in US courts for a case involving a non-US company and non-US claimants for a crime committed in a non-US jurisdiction. How is this possible? 

Chinese sportswear company Qiaodan has long been seen as a copycat for its use of a name and imagery connected to basketball legend Michael Jordan. But in the domain of trademark law, it is nothing if not original in an increasingly bitter fight with Jordan. 

By David Mitchell of BDO

Africa is experiencing rapid economic growth and infrastructure development. In addition to the huge investment programmes, there is a strong pipeline of M&A activity and an increasingly sophisticated and growing financial and professional services industry.

With a strong demand for more British and international lawyers to go and work in Africa to help facilitate this, the opportunity for lawyers and accountants at any stage in their careers, whether newly qualified or senior partners, has never been better. 

By curious coincidence, Russia is prosecuting a dead man on the 60th anniversary of Stalin’s death. Just days after the commemoration of the Soviet leader, the trial is due to start on of Sergei Magnitsky, the lawyer who died in a Moscow jail after accusing officials of fraud.

It perverts the law in a way which even the ruthless Georgian did not attempt. But Stalin would have appreciated the idea: like his show trials, it is a demonstration of power, not of justice. Many foreign investors will say this has nothing to do with them. They are wrong. It has.