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, a federal judge approved a historic antitrust settlement against health insurer Blue Cross. Read the full story and more news below:
Judge Approves Historic USD 2.67B Blue Cross Antitrust Settlement
A federal judge signed off on a historic antitrust settlement against health insurance company Blue Cross that will cost the insurer nearly USD 2.7B. The settlement stems from a suit brought up by plaintiffs in 2012 that alleged the company split up the geographic areas of their subsidiary insurers around the country in an effort to reduce competition and raise prices. A federal judge in Alabama approved the settlement amount this week, as well as a stipulation that forces Blue Cross to provide employers at least two plans for their businesses and employees.
Chinese Cable Manufacturer Accused of Export Controls Violations
Chinese telecom company, Far East Cable Co, the country’s largest manufacturer of wire, cabling, and other telecom products, is accused by the U.S. of violating export controls by helping to provide restricted technology to Iran. The company is accused of working with telecom distributer ZTE Corp. to obscure contracts signed with companies in Iran who required technology that originated in, or was distributed through, the U.S. The U.S. has strict export sanctions for Iran. ZTE Corp. faced a series of settlements earlier this year for export violations. Far East Cable Co. has not yet responded to the Justice Departments notice of violation and charges remain pending.
BitMex Exec Pleads Guilty to Charges Brought on by U.S.
An executive for cryptocurrency firm BitMex has plead guilty to charges that the company failed to implement a sufficient anti-money-laundering process. Gregory Dwyer is the fourth executive from the company who has been charged with financial crimes in recent months. BitMEX rose from being a startup in the crypto space to being one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world.
SEC Awards More than USD 16M to Whistleblowers
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission has awarded more than USD 16M to two whistleblowers. Each whistleblower provided information that led to an enforcement action by the SEC. An award of USD 13M went to one whistleblower who provided critical information and witnesses, while the remainder went to the second supporting whistleblower. The SEC has awarded more than $1.3 billion to 281 individuals since issuing its first award in 2012.
Microsoft Tells Employees to Rein in Corporate Expense Spending
In a move thought to prepare the company for a possible financial downturn, Microsoft is telling employees to limit their corporate spend on travel and other non-essential needs. Microsoft managers have mentioned the need to "think twice" about spending company money on non-essentials, and Amy Hood, Chief Financial Officer at Microsoft, reiterated the point on a company fourth-quarter fiscal earnings call. Limited non-essential spend at tech companies follows several months of hiring freezes and other measures put in place to help mitigate possible negative outcomes from any pending financial or economic downturn.