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, the U.S. unveils FCPA charges against Foster Wheeler. Read the full story and more news below:
U.S. Unveils FCPA Charges Against Foster Wheeler:
The U.S. SEC announced FCPA charges against Amec Foster Wheeler Limited for an alleged bribery plot in Brazil. According to the joint investigation between the SEC, the U.K. Serious Fraud Office, as well as Brazilian authorities, the engineering company paid bribes to Brazilian public officials to obtain access to contracts with Brazilian state-owned gas company Petrobras. The charges accuse Foster Wheeler of giving more than USD 1.1M in bribes through intermediaries to obtain the contract. According to the SEC, the company has already set aside USD 10.1M to settle the charges.
Ex-Goldman Sachs Banker Settles FCPA Case:
Asante Berko, a former executive of Goldman Sachs' British branch, settled bribery charges with U.S. authorities on June 23rd. Berko was accused of giving USD 4.5M in bribes to Ghanian officials in exchange for a government contract provided to a Turkish energy firm. According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Berko attempted to deceive Goldman's compliance officer by hiding the bribes via an intermediary. The former executive will pay around USD 329,000 to resolve the claim.
World Bank Announces Three Debarments:
The World Bank announced the debarment of three companies in three separate actions in Brazil, Yemen, and Liberia. According to the World Bank, the Brazilian company Companhia Brasileira de Projetos e Empreendimentos (COBRAPE) engaged in fraudulent practices and will be sanctioned for eleven months, preventing it from entering contracts with the World Bank. Furthermore, the Yemeni company Al-Zubairi Group was debarred for six months for fraudulent practices in a project related to emergency electricity provision. Finally, the Liberia-based company Crosswords Ltd., was debarred for six years for fraud and obstruction in a project in Liberia.
SEC Gives USD 1M to Whistleblower:
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced a whistleblower award of USD 1M to a whistleblower that helped the agency conduct multiple successful enforcement actions. According to the SEC, the individual provided ongoing assistance and critical information to the enforcement action.
FATF Watchlists’ New Countries:
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an organization that sets global guidance on AML laws, updated its jurisdictions with deficiencies in their anti-money laundering frameworks. This time, it added Malta, the Philippines, Haiti, and South Sudan to its list of countries under monitorship. The four jurisdictions will remain under the monitorship of the FATF, which will pressure them to address the shortcomings in their regulatory systems. Some of the deficiencies include a lack of information on beneficial ownership and a higher number of illicit finance investigations in those countries.
Saudi-Arabia Detains 136 People in Anti-Corruption Operation:
In its latest anti-corruption operation, Saudi authorities detained 136 people whom they claim have been involved in some form of corruption, including abuse of power, forgery, or bribery. Saudi Arabia's Anti-Corruption Authority, Nazaha, issued a statement saying that many of the involved individuals were public officials and will all undergo due legal process. The mass arrests, which have occurred repeatedly throughout the past years, have raised concerns over a lack of due legal process amongst human rights organizations.