- 59,000+ breaches reported to GDPR regulators: A new report released by law firm DLA Piper found that over 59,000 breaches have been reported since the GDPR entered into force in May 2018. The breach reports range from minor infractions to major attacks involving the breach of millions of records, such as the British Airways and Marriott breaches reported last year. The Netherlands received the most reports in the EU; a total of about 15,400. Germany (12,600) and the UK (10,600) came second and third respectively in terms of the number of breach reports. A total of 91 fines have been levied so far, although many were so small they were not reported on widely in the press. The most significant fine was the EUR 50 million fine for Google last month. Of the 91 fines, 60 were levied in Germany. DLA Piper anticipates that regulators will significantly step up the number and the size of fines issued in 2019.
- General Electric fined EUR 50 million in France for failing to create promised jobs: France said this week it will fine industrial giant General Electric EUR 50 million for creating less than three percent of the jobs it promised as part of the conditions for its takeover of Alstom’s energy business. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said that the company had created a net of 25 jobs over the past three years, far short of the 1,000 it had promised. The fine represents EUR 50,000 for every job it failed to create. The money raised by the fine will be put into a state-operated fund designed to foster industry. GE said that it did its utmost to create jobs in a “particularly difficult market environment”.
- Former SNC-Lavalin CEO pleads guilty to corruption charge: Pierre Duhaime, the former CEO of Canadian engineering and construction firm SNC-Lavalin, pleaded guilty last Friday to helping a public servant commit breach of trust. Fourteen other charges he faced were dropped. Duhaime was fired from his post as CEO in 2012. He was sentenced to 20 months of house arrest and 240 hours of community service. SNC-Lavalin has been facing scrutiny over bribery allegations for a number of years in relation to multiple projects, both in Canada and in countries including Libya, Bangladesh, and Cambodia. In December the firm said that “ongoing legal challenges” caused the firm to shrink from 20,000 employees in 2013 to 8,500 today.
- Royal Bank of Canada ordered to pay of GBP 1.2 million to fired whistleblower: Royal Bank of Canada was ordered this week to pay GBP 1.2 million to a whistleblower, John Banerjee, who lost his job after blowing the whistle on compliance shortcomings at the bank’s London operations. Banerjee was awarded the damages to cover lost earnings, after being dismissed in 2016 for raising concerns about a box-ticking compliance culture at the bank. RBS remains under investigation by the UK Financial Conduct Authority over its working practices in London. The bank is also facing four lawsuits in Toronto from former employees alleging a culture of bullying and “rampant harassment” in the compliance department.
- Goldman Sachs targeting executive pay in 1MDB scandal: Investment bank Goldman Sachs said in a filing this week that equity-based pay award may be subject to clawbacks depending on the outcome of the 1MDB investigations. Chairman and CEO David Solomon was paid USD 23 million in 2018 and former Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein received USD 20.5 million in the same year. The transfer of power from Blankfein to Solomon has been clouded by the scandal. Goldman Sachs earned USD 600 million in fees for issuing bond sales for the scandal-plagued Malaysian investment fund.
- Former Brazilian president Lula sentenced to 13 additional year of imprisonment: Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was convicted this week of corruption charges and jailed for 13 years in addition to the 12-year sentence he is currently serving in a different corruption case. The jail terms are to be served consecutively. Lula was found guilty by a court in the city of Curitiba of accepting renovation work on a farmhouse from two construction companies in exchanging for ensuring the companies won contracts with Petrobras. The two sentences stem from the Operation Car Wash investigation that has exposed deeply rooted corruption among the Brazilian elite.