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, Deutsche Bank settles corruption allegations with U.S. authorities. Read the full story and more news below:
Deutsche Bank to Pay USD 130M in Corruption Settlement:
Deutsche Bank settled FCPA charges and commodities fraud charges with U.S. federal prosecutors for USD 130M. In the three-year deferred prosecution agreement, the bank is accused of knowingly paying more than USD 3M in bribes to third-party intermediaries to obtain lucrative business. The bank's executives kept false book-keeping records on the bribes, conspiring to violate the FCPA. In the commodities fraud case, Deutsche Bank is accused of issuing false information to mislead market participants in the precious metals market resulting in fraud charges.
U.K. Issues Record-Breaking AML Fine:
The U.K. Revenue and Customs department imposed a record-breaking fine in AML enforcement of GBP 23.8M (USD 31.27M) on money transferring company MT Global. According to U.K. authorities, MT Global breached money laundering regulations from 2017 to 2019 by failing to conduct appropriate due diligence and failing to keep appropriate policies and controls in place to prevent money laundering.
Billionaire Beny Steinmetz Faces Bribery Trial:
Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz is facing a trial in Switzerland for allegedly bribing the wife of Guinea's former president to gain a mining concession. Steinmetz, who owns mining company BSG Resources, and two of his associates are thought to have paid USD 10M to get the iron ore concession in Guinea and to have concealed bribes by forging documents. While the executive's legal team has denied all allegations, If proven guilty, Steinmetz could face up to 10 years in prison.
SEC Gives USD 1.1M in Multiple Whistleblower Awards:
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced the granting of over USD 1.1M to five whistleblowers that provided high-quality information helping the agency secure a successful enforcement action. In the first order, a USD 500,000 award was given to three whistleblowers who helped prosecutors open an investigation and get assistance and additional information. In the second order, a USD 600,000 award was given to a whistleblower who identified witnesses, met with staff in person, and provided documents supporting an investigation. The third whistleblower award of USD 100,000 was given to a whistleblower whose 'independent analysis' of publicly available information on a case led to successful enforcement action.
Denmark Charges Two For Tax Fraud:
Danish authorities charged two British financiers for orchestrating a USD 1.6BN tax fraud scheme using the Danish financial system. The charged individuals were found to have set up over 70 companies in tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands to submit unjustified applications for tax breaks on behalf of numerous investors and companies. If charged, the individuals could face up to eight years in prison.
Estonia's PM Resigns Amid Corruption Scandal:
Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas announced his official departure from his position amid a corruption investigation by Estonia's Public Prosecutor's Office. The public investigation revealed that five individuals of Ratas' political party were part of a corrupt scheme in which they received political donations in exchange for construction permissions. While Ratas stated that the charges do not mean that anybody is guilty, he stated that resignation would 'allow shedding light on all the circumstances and come to terms with clarity.' Two of the accused individuals have been identified as public figures.
Equatorial Guinea Oil Minister Accused of Large-Scale Graft:
Journalists from the Organization of (OCCRP) unveiled a new web of corruption in Equatorial New Guinea. The investigation revealed that Gabriel Mbega Obiang Lima, the country's Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons and son of president Teodor Obiang, extorted millions of euros in bribes from a businessman in a construction project.
Former Italian MP Sentenced to 4 Years for Bribery:
Luca Giuseppe Volontè, a former member of Italy's Union of the Centre political party and member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, was sentenced to four years in prison on corruption charges. Volontè was found to have received EUR 500,000 in bribes (USD 608,000) from Azerbaijani politicians in exchange for a vote rejecting a report that identified political prisoners in Azerbaijan. The investigation started after the Danske Bank Estonia scandal revealed a suspicious transaction between an Italian bank and Volonte through British companies operating through Danske Bank.