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Ex-CEO for Swedbank on Trial for Money Laundering Cover-Up

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, the former CEO of Swedbank is on trial for a money laundering cover-up. Read the full story and more news below:

Top Story

Ex-CEO for Swedbank on Trial for Money Laundering Cover-Up

The criminal trial against Birgitte Bonnesen, the former CEO of Swedbank, began this week in Stockholm, where Bonnesen is accused of covering up widespread money laundering in the bank’s Baltic branches. According to authorities, the former CEO was aware that the money laundering was taking place, but hid the problem until leaked evidence made the issue public, causing the bank’s stock price to plunge. Bonneson’s hiding of this evidence from the public and shareholders allowed prosecutors to open a criminal fraud trial against her, in which she could face prison time and financial penalties.

Government

Justice Department Encourages Companies to Self-Police Corporate Crimes

On the heels of new data suggesting lagging criminal prosecutions for corporate crimes in 2021, Justice Department officials are doubling down on encouraging companies to self-report misconduct in their organizations. The DOJ reiterated the benefits to self reporting corporate misconduct, such as reduced fines and the ability to move forward without a guilty plea in court. Self-reporting could also allow faster investigations for companies that comply with the DOJ.

China Arrests Nearly 100 in USD 5.6B Crypto Fraud Ring

Nearly 100 suspects were arrested by Chinese authorities this week for their involvement in a crypto fraud ring that laundered USD 5.6B in illegal funds. The group is suspected of using illicitly obtained funds, mainly procured via telecom scams, to purchase cryptocurrencies which were then exchanged for USD and sent to shell accounts in countries with little financial oversight. So far, only about USD 1M in illicit money has been recovered.

Business

Hong Kong Wine Competition Violated Russia Sanctions

The Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Competition, an annual wine competition based in the U.K., is accused of violating federal U.K. sanctions against Russia for allowing a Crimean-based winery to enter as a competitor in the competition. U.K. authorities have fined the company that hosts the event GBP 30,000 and reiterated that federal sanctions during Russia’s ongoing attack on Ukraine and other territories such as Crimea, are to be abided by all industries, not just those in the financial sector.

Kim Kardashian Fined USD 1M For Illegal Cryptocurrency Promotion

Kim Kardashian is facing charges and a USD 1M fine from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for her promotion of cryptocurrency. Kardashian is alleged to have been paid to promote a specific crypto security to her more than 330 million Instagram followers, but did not properly disclose that the post was an advertisement. She must also repay the USD 250,000 she was paid for the post promoting an Ethereum crypto coin. Kardashian is one of many celebrities and media figures that are involved in promoting crypto securities and platforms, but she is specifically singled out for not disclosing the paid promotional nature of her endorsements.