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BlogThis Week in Compliance

Uber Leak Shows Company Defied Laws with Politicians’ Help

By Brad Fulton

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 trove of leaked Uber documents show that the company colluded with foreign officials to quickly expand its business. Read the full story and more news below:

Top Story

Uber Leak Shows Company Defied Laws with Politicians’ Help

A massive leak of documents, e-mails, and other text communications contain evidence of the company deliberately defying international laws in the expansion of its ridesharing service with the help of politicians and other lawmakers. The massive leak, released this week, contains more than 124,000 communications records, including some between Uber executives and politicians. The conversations reveal how Uber worked with willing politicians to disrupt ridesharing and taxicab regulations in order to expand its own business. French president Emmanuel Macron has been implicated in the leak, with conversations showing he was assisting Uber while mass protests and riots by cab drivers swept French cities. The files also showed that former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick implemented a “kill switch” into Uber’s internal servers which, when activated, would prevent law enforcement from accessing files including the emails and other communications found in the leak. The switch had reportedly been engaged at least 9 times.

Business

Asset Managers Charged in USD 1.2B Money-Laundering Scheme

Two asset managers were charged this week in a USD 1.2B money-laundering scheme that involved the Venezuelan state-owned energy company Petróleos de Venezuela SA. The men were accused of creating a network of bacnk accounts and financial mechanisms that allowed them to launder money and bribes passed between PdVSA and Venezuelan politicians. Ralph Steinmann, a Swiss national and Luis Fernando Vuteff, from Argentina, were indicted this week by the U.S. Department of Justice. Vuteff is awaiting extradition from Switzerland, while Steinmann remains at large. The indictments are part of a larger investigation of corruption into the energy giant.

Former Herbalife Exec Ordered to pay USD 500,000 Fine

The former head of Herbalife China, the Chinese subsidiary of Herballife, a multi-level marketing dietary supplements company, has been ordered to pay a USD 500,000 fine for his involvement in a bribery scandal. Yanliang Li, also known as Jerry Li, allegedly failed to respond to an SEC inquiry that indicted him for bribing Chinese officials in the expansion of the Herbalife company in the country, which is a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Mr. Li has not been arrested or paid the fine and is still at large. In 2020, Herbalife paid USD 123M in fines under various FCPA actions.

Government

Brazil Shuts Down Illegal Gold Mining and Money Laundering Operation

Brazillian federal police launched a campaign to shut down an illegal gold mining operation that laundered its proceeds through cryptocurrency. The operation, known as ‘Greed’, tracked down a gang that took illegal funds from the extractd gold and used a series of shell corporations and cryptocurrency to hide the origins of the money, which was then used to inject funding into several health start up companies in the country. Federal officials also emphasized the environmental toll that illegal mining has had on the region, including irreversible damage made to extraction sites.

Military Contractor Found Guilty of Contract Fixing in Texas and Michigan

A military contractor in Texas has pleaded guilty to rigging bids and collusion for public military contracts in Texas and Michigan. John Leveritt was accused of conspiring with others to increase the bid price for military contracts and paying bribes to government workers. In order to try and secure government contracts, Leveritt is said to have paid bribes including tickets to the 2011 World Series, vacations to Las Vegas, and other gifts to government officials. Leveritt faces a maximum penalty of USD 1M and 10 years in prison.