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 we cover former Alstom and Marubeni executives facing bribery charges over misconduct in Indonesia. Keep reading for this breaking story and find more news below:
Charges Unsealed Against Executives Who Allegedly Paid Bribes in Indonesia:
U.S. prosecutors unsealed charges this week against two former executives with French transportation firm Alstom and a former executive at Marubeni Corp, a Japanese trading firm. Prosecutors allege they bribed high-ranking officials in Indonesia for help with securing a USD 118 million contract. The three individuals were charged with conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The misconduct took place between 2002 and 2009. Alstom paid USD 772 million to resolve FCPA violations in 2014 and Marubeni paid USD 88 million.
Airline Group’s Offices Raided by Colombian Prosecutors:
In the fallout of the Airbus' bribery scandal, the offices of Avianca Holdings in Bogota, Colombia were raided as a part of Colombia's national prosecutor's transnational bribery investigation. In Airbus' settlement with the French authorities, an Avianca executive was accused of accepting bribes in exchange for contracts. Avianca has stated it is fully cooperating with the investigation and it will take on an external law firm to conduct an investigation into its relationship with Airbus.
Austria Expands Eurofighter Corruption Investigation:
Austrian prosecutors said this week that they have widened a fraud investigation in connection with the USD 2 billion purchase of Eurofighter jets after they were tipped off by a whistleblower. The investigation into Airbus and the Eurofighter consortium has been ongoing since February 2017 when Austria’s defence ministry said it believed the state was misled about price, deliverability, and equipment in the 2003 deal. Austrian Defence Minister Klaudia Tanner threatened complete withdrawal from the contract last week in reaction to new revelations in Airbus’ USD 4 billion settlement that Airbus or its vendors had paid, offered, or agreed to pay political contributions, fees, or commissions totaling around USD 59.5 million to 14 individuals, consultants or organizations in connection with Austria's purchase. Airbus is denying that these payments were bribes prohibited by the FCPA.
Former PdVSA Manager Sentenced over Bribery Scheme:
Alfonzo Eliezer Gravina Munoz, a former procurement manager for Petroleos de Venezuela SA was sentenced to 70 months of imprisonment for allegedly taking bribes that were designed to help U.S.-based companies secure contracts with the state-owned oil firm. Gravina was also found guilty of obstructing U.S. prosecutors’ investigation. The former procurement manager allegedly received roughly USD 590,000 in bribes between 2007 and 2015 according to the DOJ.
Campaigners Question Airbus Fine Calculation:
Global corruption watchdogs Transparency International and Spotlight on Corruption issued a statement on Tuesday questioning whether the fine recently paid by Airbus for corruption charges was under-calculated by prosecutors. The statement urged the UK, French, and U.S. authorities to reconsider the penalty arguing that the penalty should reflect the full extent of Airbus’ wrongdoing and the profit the company gained from the corrupt contracts. The UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) stated the sentence had been given under the applicable guidelines in consultation with overseas partners and the SFO also stated they will issue a formal response in due course.
Monaco insufficient anti-corruption progress says GRECO expert report:
A recent report issued by the Council of Europe's anti-corruption body GRECO in Monaco, notes the poor implementation of GRECO's recommendations to counter corruption in the country. Despite the fact that no reforms have been implemented by parliament as of the date of the report, the report notes that Monacan authorities have expressed their intention of issuing a new code of conduct for parliamentarians to limit misconduct and issue new sanctions. Monaco is to submit a report on the state of its implementation by the end of 2020.
Netanyahu's trial to begin on 17 March, says Israeli court:
The Israeli judiciary has announced Israeli Prime Minister (PM) Netanyahu is expected to attend a court hearing on March 17th. Former Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, stands accused of accepting luxury gifts from associates and for trading favors with Israeli media. If convicted, Netanyahu could face up to 10 years in prison. The hearing is scheduled two weeks after the country's national election where Netanyahu will be running to stay in power.
Federal appeals court upholds 5.6B USD Visa and Mastercard settlement
The DOJ updates its guidance on corporate compliance programs
Founder and former FTX CEO arrested, indicted on eight fraud charges