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 former manager of Petrofac pleads guilty to bribery. Read the full story and more news below:
Petrofac Executive Pleads Guilty to Bribery:
A former Petrofac Ltd. pleaded guilty to bribery as part of an investigation into corrupt payments between the petrol giant and local authorities of the United Arab Emirates from 2012 to 2018. The former executive admitted to conspiring to pay USD 3.3BN in bribes for contracts in the energy field. No charges have been brought against the company or any of its current employees, and Petrofac has stated it would continue to collaborate with the SFO in its investigation.
Prosecutors Credit Boeing's Compliance Program in Settlement:
Boeing Co. settled charges in the 737 MAX case for USD 2.5 BN last week. Legal analysts highlighted that the settlement pointed to an increased focus by regulators on the effectiveness of firms’ governance structures in securing the independence of the compliance department. It is reported that after the investigation by U.S. authorities began, Boeing carried out a series of compliance program reforms, including the creation of a centralized product safety oversight team that would report to engineers instead of commercial units. Boeing committed to continuously improving its compliance program in its settlement with the U.S.
Ex-Bloomberg Executive Sentenced for Corruption:
U.S. authorities sentenced former Bloomberg executive Anthony Guzzone to three years in prison and a USD 600,00 restitution payment for tax evasion and the receipt of USD 1.4M in bribes from building subcontractors in exchange for contracts with Bloomberg. Guzzone failed to report the illicit income into his tax statements from 2010 to 2017. Guzzone and his co-conspirator, who was also sentenced to two years in jail, also received bribes in the form of sports tickets, free construction work at their homes, and flight tickets.
U.K. SFO Drops British American Tobacco Bribery Probe:
The U.K. Serious Fraud Office (SFO) dropped a 2017 bribery investigation into British American Tobacco (BAT), declining to bring charges against the tobacco giant. U.K. authorities concluded that the evidence submitted by a whistleblower was not enough to prosecute BAT, which had been accused of bribing public officials in Africa. . In 2015, a long-time BAT employee submitted evidence to the authorities on bribes the company was using in its Africa branch to undermine anti-smoking legislation.
U.K. Announces New Supply Chain Due Diligence Measures for Companies Operating in China:
On January 12th, U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced in parliament a set of new measures requiring companies trading in the U.K. to move their supply chains out of Xinjiang amid growing allegations of human rights abuses against Uygur Muslims in the region. Citing evidence of forced labor, Raab stated that U.K. companies operating in the area would be barred from entering public procurement contracts and could be subjected to fines if found to be in non-compliance with the U.K. Modern Slavery Act. Additionally, the government published guidance to U.K. businesses on the Xinjiang region's risks and stated that companies would have to conduct better due diligence and stricter export control when involved in the region. In a coordinated action, Canada announced similar measures to address human rights violations in Xinjiang.
The British Virgin Islands to be Investigated for Corruption:
U.K. authorities have announced their support of an independent probe into a well-known tax haven jurisdiction the British Virgin Islands (BVI) over allegations of corruption in its government. The independent probe, led by the British Virgin Islands' local governor, centers around the alleged fraudulent allocation of public contracts and COVID-19 support, and undue political influence in the political process. Once the investigation is complete, the U.K. and a BVI commission will issue recommendations to promote good governance in the country. In 2009, after the U.K. appointed governor made similar claims in the Turks and Caicos Islands, the islands lost their right to self-government.
Romania Opens Graft Probe Against Former PM:
Romania's president Klaus Iohannis approved an investigation into former Prime Minister Călin-Constantin-Anton Popescu-Tăriceanu over bribery allegations, as mandated in Romanian law when investigating former members of the cabinet. The former PM, who served from 2004 to 2008, is accused of receiving bribes from an Austrian company in exchange for favorable legislation. Romania's parliament lifted the former PM's constitutional immunity in 2018 after they began gathering information on the case.