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 the charges of two former Fox Sports executives in a bribery case involving FIFA. Keep reading for this breaking story and find more news below.
U.S. Prosecutors Charge Former Fox Sports Executives in FIFA Bribery Case:
Two former Fox Sports executives have been indicted for bribery in a scheme involving bribe payments to FIFA officials in South America. Carlos Martinez and Hernan Lopez, who were both responsible for Fox Sports' South American business development, allegedly helped bribe officials with millions of dollars for broadcasting contracts with FIFA's South America confederation, Conmebol. Martinez and Lopez's legal representatives have denied all allegations. The latest indictment also accuses several other high ranking FIFA officials of receiving bribes in exchange for support of Russia and Qatar as destinations for the 2018 and 2022 world cups. Both Qatari and Russian officials have strongly dismissed all corruption claims.
SEC Issues Whistleblower Award Worth USD 2 Million:
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued an award worth approximately USD 2 million to a whistleblower who gave pivotal information that contributed significantly to an ongoing investigation. The whistleblower was described by the SEC to have acted extraordinarily despite facing retaliation threats from the offenders. Since the whistleblower program was launched in 2012, the SEC has awarded over USD 389 million to 78 individuals.
Global Bank HSBC Owns Up To Potential AML Law Breaches:
Global banking giant HSBC flagged potential anti-money laundering law breaches to the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUTRAC). While the specific number of breaches was not revealed in the disclosure, HSBC stated it has launched an anti-money laundering program to strengthen its AML compliance and is still in the process of identifying all individual suspicious transactions.
Europol and Singapore Police Arrest Suspect Behind EUR 6 Million Coronavirus Fraud Scheme:
Europol and The Singapore Police have arrested a man for his suspected involvement in a money-laundering scheme related to a COVID-19 scam. It is alleged that the man used the identity of a legitimate French company to create a fake email address and advertise the fast delivery of hand sanitizers and surgical masks. The French police reported to Europol that the French company had been subjected to fraud by an individual that has transferred EUR 6.64 million to an account in Singapore. While none of the final goods were delivered, the Singaporean police were able to block part of the payment and arrest the involved individual.
Google Faces Legal Action For Potential COPPA Violations:
Google has recently been sued by two entities for alleged violation of state and federal child privacy regulations amid the growing number of online elementary school classes. Under the California court action, Google was accused of breaching Illinois’ Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, California’s Unfair Competition Law, and the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The tech giant was accused of collecting, storing and using children's biometric data without the required consent of their parents or guardian through Google's G Suite for Education product.
SFO Releases Corporate Compliance Program Assessment Guidelines:
The U.K. Serious Fraud Office (SFO) released new guidance on its evaluation guidelines of corporate compliance programs in a new update of the SFO's Operational Handbook. Besides reiterating the ''Six Principles'' set out in the UK Bribery Act of 2010, the new guidance states that prosecutors will focus on the state of the compliance program at the time of the offense, the current state of the program and on how the compliance program should develop in the future. According to Law Firm Baker Mckenzie, this indicates that SFO investigations will most likely begin to evaluate a company's compliance program early in the investigation process and companies should focus on being able to evidence it from the start. The state of the compliance program might impact the likelihood of a DPA.
Ecuador's Former President Convicted on Corruption Charges:
Rafel Correa, Ecuador's former President, has been sentenced to eight years in jail and a 25-year ban from politics over corruption charges. Ecuador's former leader was charged for accepting more than USD 8 million in bribes alongside 20 other individuals for public contracts from 2012 to 2018. Correa was accused of creating a 'multilayered criminal structure' that delegated the corrupt acts to others without posing direct threats to high-ranking officials. While Rafel's lawyers have presented formal defense against the charges, the ex-president has resorted to social media to offer his commentary on the development of the trial where he has described the trial as politically motivated.
U.S. President Rejects Oversight of COVID-19 Relief Bill:
U.S. President Donald Trump signed a Coronavirus relief package worth USD 2.2 trillion to stimulate the economy last week. The president has also asserted he will not authorize an independent inspector general to conduct an oversight function on his administration of the funds. The relief package, which allocated USD 500 billion for the private sector, has raised concerns amongst critics over its potential lack of transparency and perceived risks of political patronage.