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BlogThis Week in Compliance

Ex-Theranos exec sentenced to 13 years in prison

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, ex-Theranos exec Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani was sentenced to 13 years in prison. Read the full story and more news below:

Top story

Ex-Theranos exec sentenced to 13 years in prison

Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, the former operation chief of Theranos, was sentenced to 13 years in prison for his role in the medical device company that was shuttered after their blood testing hardware was exposed as a fraud, losing investors millions in the process. Balwani, who worked directly with Elizabeth Holmes at Theranos and spent some time in a romantic relationship together, was convicted of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud for his role in the company which lied about the efficacy of its blood-testing hardware and software, which promised to diagnose hundreds of diseases with just a drop of blood.

Government

WNBA star Brittney Griner returned to US custody in prisoner swap

Brittney Griner, the WNBA star who was sentenced to more than 10 years in a Russian prison labor camp, has been returned to the US in a prisoner swap coordinated by the Biden administration. The deal included returning Griner to the USA in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison after being arrested in Russia nearly a year ago with a small amount of marijuana in her luggage. Griner is a two-time Olympic gold medalist in basketball and spent a portion of the year getting paid to play in Russia. Viktor Bout, the prisoner who was exchanged for Griner after months of negotiation, was arrested in 2012 and sentenced to more than 25 years in prison, accused of supplying weapons to Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman arrested in London on money laundering charges

Mikhail Fridman, a Russian oligarch who was a top financier and shareholder for Alfa Bank, was arrested in London this week for his involvement in money laundering, fraud, and conspiracy schemes. Fridman is known as one of the top financiers of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle and used his influence and position as a top executive of the bank to evade sanctions and provide funding. Fridman has a net worth of approximately 11.4B USD and was sanctioned, along with 26 others, due to sanctions placed on Russia for their ongoing attack on Ukraine.

Business

ABB settles 327M USD bribery charge

Swiss industrial giant ABB agreed to pay a fine of 327M USD to settle its involvement in a South African corruption scheme. ABB executives are accused of paying bribes to high ranking employees of Eskom, an energy giant in South Africa, in a bid to further along its deal to build a coal-fired power plant in the region. In addition to the fine, the company will be required to report on efforts to improve its compliance for 3 years, though it will not be assigned a court-appointed independent monitor.

Airbus settles Kazakhstan, Libya bribery probe, fined 16M USD

Airbus has agreed to pay 16M USD to French financial regulators for their role in a bribery scheme that they utilized in helping to secure new markets for their flight offerings. Airbus allegedly bribed officials in Kazakhstan and Libya to secure new markets for flights, as well as selling jets to Libya using middlemen with ties to Moammar Al Qaddafi . The fine is an extension of a record 3.6B USD fine the company paid for similar charges in 2020.