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, Transparency International releases an updated version of the Corruption Perceptions Index ranking (CPI). Read the update and more news below:
Transparency International Releases Corruption Perceptions Index:
Transparency International (TI) released the latest version of its Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption. Among other things, the new findings showcase that most countries around the world made little to no progress combating corruption in a decade. The report also highlights that corruption was undermining COVID-19 government responses globally. The most significant improvements in CPI scoring were recorded in Ecuador, Greece, South Korea, and Myanmar. In a separate analytical report titled 'Trouble at the Top,' TI highlights that even though the ranking's top performers display high levels of perceived public sector integrity, the score does not take into consideration other indications of corruption such as unaccountable financial services and foreign bribery committed by top performers.
Swiss Court Sentences Beny Steinmetz to Prison Over Bribery:
A Swiss court sentenced Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz to five years in prison and fined him USD 56M over bribery in Guinea. The mining magnate allegedly paid more than USD 10M in bribes to public officials, including the Guinean president and his former wife, to obtain mining contracts in the West-African country. The bribes, which were paid via two affiliates from mining firm BSG Resources, were concealed through a series of shell-companies and forged documents, and a portion of it channeled through Swiss accounts. Steinmetz denied all allegations and stated that the judgment, which marks the end of a decade-long legal saga, 'goes completely against the course of international justice.'
Fiat Chrysler Settles Corruption Charges:
Fiat Chrysler's U.S. division, FCA US, settled corruption charges with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) after a long-running investigation. FCA US agreed to pay USD 30M for violating U.S. labor law by funneling USD 3.5M in corrupt payments to United Auto Workers union (UAW) officers and employees. According to prosecutors, the payments that were made to gain better control of wage bargaining negotiations led FCA to have a steady influence with the union. As part of the settlement, Fiat Chrysler, which merged with the newly formed car company Stellantis NV in January 2021, also agreed to establish an independent compliance monitor for three years.
Goldman Sachs CEO Gets USD 10M Pay Cut Over 1MDB:
Goldman Sachs' board announced a 36% cut amounting to USD 10M to its CEO David Solomon’s pay. The decision came after the bank pleaded guilty to corruption charges in Malaysia's 1MDB bribery scandal and agreed to pay USD 2.9 BN to U.S. authorities in October 2020. It is reported that this pay cut, as well as pay cuts to Goldman's chief operating officer and the chief financial officer, will be used to pay the settlement fines. The company stated that none of the executives subject to the pay cuts were involved in the scandal.
Samsung Heir Will Not Appeal Bribery Judgement:
After Samsung's heir, Lee Jae Yong, was sentenced to two years in prison over corruption charges, Yong announced he would forgo the sentence's appeal. In a retrial that took place on January 18th, the heir was charged with bribing South Korea's former President Park Geun-hye. Lee, who ran Samsung since 2014, was also found guilty of embezzling over USD 8.6M and concealing the money through corrupt means. Samsung's new compliance committee, set up in early 2020, is yet to become effective in the company.
Swiss Bank Execs Suspected in Money-Laundering Probe:
Swiss financial watchdog FINMA announced charges into high-ranking employees of Julius Baer bank, who are suspected of violating AML laws related to money emanating from Venezuelan state oil funds. While FINMA announced enforcement actions against one executive for 'serious violations' of AML laws, it is reported one of the employees avoided such action by agreeing not to undertake managerial positions in his future career at the bank. The remaining two employees received written reprimands. In 2020, FINMA accused Julius Baer of severe AML failings related to a FIFA corruption case.
Saudi-Arabia Arrests 32 in Corruption Case
Saudi authorities arrested 32 individuals in a corruption investigation into the illicit transfer of USD 3.1 BN out of the country. According to Saudi Arabia's Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority, Saudi Arabia's Central Bank employees received bribes in exchange for depositing large amounts of cash from unknown sources and transferring them offshore.