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, Amazon faces an antitrust probe in Canada. Read the full story and more news below:
Amazon Faces Antitrust Probe in Canada:
Amazon is facing a new antitrust probe in Canada. Canada’s Competition Bureau launched an investigation against Amazon.com Inc. Canadian authorities to determine whether Amazon is treating individual third-party sellers on its platform unfairly. Investigators are examining if any past or current policies are affecting third-party sellers’ willingness to lower prices on other retail channels. Prosecutors are also analyzing whether individual sellers can thrive with other logistics providers than Amazon. According to the antitrust watchdog, the case has not reached a conclusion and input from market participants is being welcomed to advance the investigation.
GM’s Efforts to Revive Fiat Chrysler Lawsuit Denied:
After General Motors’s (GM) civil racketeering lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was dismissed by a judge this summer, GM filed a new motion for its revival. On August 14, a federal judge in Detroit denied the request arguing that GM’s newly presented evidence was not solid enough to reopen the case. General Motors accused Fiat of bribing individuals in the United Auto Workers Union to negotiate labor costs unfairly and subsequently harm GM’s position in the market under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. While Fiat has described GM’s lawsuit as meritless, GM expressed their disappointment with the court’s decision and stated that they are already planning an appeal.
Purplebricks Fined After AML Breach:
Purplebricks Group Plc., the online real estate agency, was fined almost GBP 260,000 (USD 351,000) by the U.K tax authority. HM Revenue & Customs stated that Purplebricks failed to implement proper policies, controls, and procedures to counter money-laundering. According to the indictment, Purplebricks failed to conduct proper due diligence on customers in 2018, resulting in the largest fine ever given to a UK real estate agency. The real-estate provider stated that since the breaches took place in 2018, the firm has significantly improved its compliance procedures.
World Bank Announces Two Debarments:
The World Bank Group announced the debarment of two companies for reported corrupt practices. In the first debarment, Colombian-based construction conglomerate CASS Constructores S.A.S. was prevented from participating in any World Bank projects for 18 months. CASS was hired to work in an environmental recuperation project in Colombia, in which they misrepresented the roles within the consortium of the three companies that won the WB’s contract, which constituted fraud, according to the World Bank’s policies. In the second debarment, an individual consultant, Josephine Namaganda, who was working on agricultural technology projects in Uganda was barred from participating in any World Bank project for the next 15 months. Ms. Josephine Namaganda falsified her accounting qualifications, which constitutes a case of fraud under the principles set out in the World Bank Group Integrity Compliance Guidelines.
Son of Former Angolan President Convicted in USD 500 M Fraud Case:
The Supreme Court of Angola convicted the son of its former president for the embezzlement of USD 500 M from Angola’s central bank. José Filomeno dos Santos was found guilty of executing a fraud scheme in which he, with the approval of the former head of the central bank, transferred the funds to a London-based shell-company. While dos Santos was given a five-year prison sentence, the former head of the central bank was sentenced to eight years. The fraud scheme was uncovered in 2018 by British authorities, who repatriated the assets. The enforcement action marks the first conviction of a member of the dos Santos family, which has faced numerous fraud accusations. Most notably, José’s sister Isabel dos Santos, widely regarded as Africa’s richest woman, has had her assets frozen by Angolan authorities over a fraud investigation.
Council of Europe Urges Russia to Up Anti-Corruption Efforts:
The Council of Europe’s Anti-Corruption council (GRECO) published a report on Russia’s progress in its adoption of anti-corruption recommendations by the Council of Europe. According to GRECO, Russia has fully implemented nine out of 22 recommendations. The Council, however, highlights that progress is still needed in the area of executive influence as well as transparency in the legislative process with public consultations.