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 John Wood Group earmarking funds for potential bribery settlements. Keep reading for this breaking story and find more news below:
John Wood Group Earmarks USD 46 Million for Bribery Settlements:
The oil-field services company John Wood Group PLC has set aside USD 46 million to cover costs associated with potential bribery settlements with Scottish, U.S., and Brazilian authorities. The John Wood Group is under investigation for media reports published in 2016 that alleged that Unaoil, the oil-services firm, had made bribe payments on behalf of several of its customers in the industry. U.S. authorities opened an investigation into possible bribery and corruption in 2017 at a John Wood's U.S. owned firm, Amec Foster Wheeler PLC. In addition, John Wood's Scottish branch conducted internal investigations into its own dealings with Unaoil. The results of which have been submitted to Scottish authorities. Wood Group stated that settlement talks with authorities have progressed to a point where they are able to estimate potential costs.
Google Facing USD 7.9 Million Fine for Privacy Violations in Sweden:
Search giant Google is facing a USD 7.9 million fine in Sweden over its alleged failure to properly remove two search results ordered in 2017, which constitutes a violation of Europe’s data protection law, according to Sweden’s Data Protection Authority. The agency’s legal advisor said that Google failed to take down a search result in a timely fashion, and in the other case, it narrowly defined the web address that needed to be removed.
Intel Says Flawed EU Antitrust Decision Underpins USD 1.2 Billion Fine:
Intel said on Tuesday at a re-hearing of the case in the EU General Court, that the fine that the EU imposed on them more than ten years ago for antitrust violations was wrongfully issued. In 2009, Intel was accused of blocking competitor Advanced Micro Devices Inc. by paying rebates to computer manufacturers, Lenovo, Dell, NEC, and Hewlett-Packard Co, as a means of convincing them to buy most of their chip supply from Intel. Intel argues that the Commission's judgment was either flawed or that the efficient competitor test (AEC) they issued to test for anti-competitive practices gave the wrong results. The General Court is now to re-determine whether or not the exclusivity rebates truly harmed competition in a case that is expected to see a final judgment next year.
Facebook Could Be Fined Up to $529bn In Australia over Privacy Breaches:
Australia’s privacy regulator, the Australian Information Commissioner, accused Facebook in a lawsuit of breaching privacy laws by disclosing information from 311,127 users for the purposes of political profiling via a survey product called ‘This Is Your Digital Life’. Each infraction carries a theoretical maximum penalty of AUD 1.7 million, meaning the maximum possible fine would amount to AUD 529 billion if the maximum penalty were awarded for each infraction. A Facebook spokeswoman said that the company had “actively” engaged with the regulator for the past two years as part of the investigation.
Swedbank Identified and Notified U.S. Regulators of Potential Sanctions Violations:
Sweden’s Swedbank said this week that it has notified the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of potential sanctions violations in transactions worth USD 4.8 million. Law firm Clifford Chance has been conducting an investigation at the bank since February 2019, spanning clients, transactions, and activities from 2007 to 2019. The law firm examined all USD denomination transactions from the bank’s Baltic subsidiaries and found 586 transactions worth a total of USD 4.8 million which may constitute violations. Swedbank has been the subject of other regulatory investigations in the U.S. and Europe in relation to alleged lapses in anti-money-laundering compliance.
Malaysia’s Anti-Corruption Chief Who Investigated 1MDB Resigns:
After having been involved in the investigation of the 1MDB fraud, Malaysia's anti-corruption chief, Latheefa Koya, has resigned from her position. Koya, who headed the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission said there was no pressure on her to resign. In January, Latheefa disclosed audio clips at a conference that showcased evidence of high-level public sector officials covering up wrongdoing in the 1MDB scandal.
South Africa President Cleared of Corruption Charges:
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was cleared of corruption charges this Tuesday by The Pretoria High Court. Ramaphosa was accused by South Africa's public prosecutor of misleading Parliament regarding a donation he received from a local company for his 2018 Presidential campaign. The charges were cleared on the basis that the public prosecutor had no clear legal basis for their finding. Ramaphosa took over the presidency after former President Jacob Zuma was deposed over corruption charges.
Colombia’s Police Chief Charged With Corruption:
Colombia's National Police Director, General Oscar Atehortua has been accused of corruption by Colombia's Inspector General's Office. According to the allegations, Atehortua was involved in granting contracts for the construction of police-officer housing which were never actually built. If proven guilty, the case could lead him to resign from his office.