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Credit Suisse Settles USD 234M French Tax Fraud Case

By Brad Fulton

Welcome to This Week In Compliance: GAN’s weekly news roundup, where we curate the latest stories on compliance and anti-corruption to keep you informed. This week, Swiss bank Credit Suisse has agreed to a USD 234M settlement for its part in a French tax fraud scheme. Read the full story and more news below:

Top Story

Credit Suisse Settles USD 234M French Tax Fraud Case

Credit Suisse has agreed to settle an ongoing French tax fraud case by paying a USD 234M fine. The criminal probe, launched in 2016 by the French National Financial Prosecutor's Office, accused the Swiss bank of facilitating tax fraud and money laundering. The prosecutors said that the bank allowed wealthy French clients to open undeclared bank accounts to hide funds for tax evasion and money laundering purposes. Under the settlement, Credit Suisse will not have to admit guilt, but will pay fines and damages.

Government

Executive Bonus ‘Clawback Rules’ Adopted by SEC

The SEC has formally adopted ‘clawback rules’ for executive bonuses in companies that make changes to their financial statements due to compliance lapses. The ruling, which was initially drafted on the heels of the 2008 financial crisis, was revisited last year by SEC Chief Gary Gensler and intends to cut down on corporate malfeasance. Gensler says the rules are intended to strengthen transparency, increase the quality of corporate financial reporting, and boost investor confidence.

Myanmar Added to Money Laundering Blacklist

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has placed Myanmar on its blacklist due to its participation in money laundering and potential financing of terrorism. According to the FATF, the nation reportedly failed to implement controls and action plans to prevent money laundering that were put forth in 2020. Among the concerns of the FATF of Myanmar’s failure to implement anti-money laundering controls, were the unregulated nature of the country’s casino and gaming industries, which are allegedly run by Chinese nationals who use the proceeds to fund human trafficking and crypto fraud.

Panama Ex-President Stands Trial in Money Laundering Scheme

Ricardo Martinelli, the former president of Panama, is set to stand trial for his implication in a money laundering scheme relating to the purchase of a Panamanian media conglomerate. Martinelli is accused of diverting public funds intended for the purchase of media group Grupo Editorial Epasa and laundering the funds through a series of Swiss and Chinese bank accounts. These charges and trial are the second time Martinelli has been faced with a fraud and corruption case, having also been implicated in a bribery case involving Panamanian construction company Odebrecht in 2019.

Business

PGA, Augusta National Golf Club Implicated in DOJ Antitrust Investigation

The Department of Justice has opened an antitrust case against the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA), the Augusta National Golf Club, and the U.S. Golf Association. According to a recent Wall Street Journal investigation, it is suspected that the investigation is related to an earlier investigation into the PGA in July of this year, which the DOJ said may have broken antitrust law in its fight against the LIV Golf circuit, funded by Saudi Arabia.

Canadian Cannabis Company Charged with Compliance Fraud

Cronos Group, a publicly traded cannabis company based in Canada has been charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission with accounting fraud, stemming from its improper reporting and financial control measures. According to the SEC, the company submitted financial statements with multiple accounting errors and reporting malfeasance. Because the company self-reported the errors and proactively worked to rectify the situation with both the U.S. and Canadian governments, the SEC determined that the company would not have to pay a fine.