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, Brazil president Bolsonaro’s son has corruption complaint suspended. Read the full story and more news below:
Court Suspends Corruption Complaint Against Brazil President’s Son
A member of the Superior Court of Justice (STJ) suspended the processing of corruption allegations against the Brazilian president’s eldest son, Flavio Bolsonaro and former military police officer, Fabricio Queiroz who are suspected of orchestrating in an illegal salary garnishment scheme through which the part of the paychecks of Flavio Bolsonaro’s staff was withheld. Fabricio Queiroz’s defense counsel requested the complaint filed in the case be suspended on the grounds that it included data disclosing confidential banking and tax information of Flavio Bolsonaro and more than 100 suspect persons and companies. Both the counsel and judge on the case are reportedly close friends of the president.
Navalny Urges Global Leaders to Combat Russian Corruption
On the one year anniversary of the poison attack that nearly killed him, Alexei Navalney calls on global leaders to renew their focus on the fight against corruption and more scrutiny on tycoons close to President Vladimir Putin. In his article, the imprisoned Russian opposition leader argued that corruption and graft are the root cause of policy failures in countries including Iraq and Afghanistan and the West’s failure to adequately address these causes contribute to Taliban’s resurgence in the region.
Judge Declares Mistrial in Avenatti Embezzlement Case
The embezzlement trial of attorney Michael Avenatti – famous for representing pornographic actress Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against ex-President Donald Trump – was declared a mistrial by US District Judge James V. Selna in California last Tuesday. Reportedly, federal prosecutors accused Avenatti of embezzling nearly USD 10 million in settlement money from his clients, yet prosecutors failed to turn over relevant financial evidence to Avenatti leading to the mistrial. A tentative new trial has been scheduled for mid-October. Avenatti denied the embezzlement scheme claiming that his law firm was entitled to recoup expenses if settlements were reached. He still faces a two and a half year prison sentence in a USD 25 million extortion case against Nike in the state of New York.
Iraqi Lawmakers Call for Probe Into GE, Siemens Electricity Contracts
Iraqi parliamentary members are calling for an investigation into power-generation contracts with General Electric and other competitors, saying they overcharged the Baghdad government. The lawmakers have called for probes into Siemens Energy and local competitors. GE has entered into more than USD 6B of electricity contracts in Iraq in recent years, Siemens Energy has contracts with the government of nearly USD 1.2B.
The request for the inquiry comes from backers of the Iraqi government, on the heels of extended power cuts during record heat waves across the Middle East. The inquiry seeks to address the source and terms of the energy contracts and claims that a lack of competition allowed GE, Siemens Energy and other competitors to inflate contract rates.
Business Groups Legally Challenge Healthcare Price Transparency Rule
Business groups in the U.S. are suing to block federal rule requiring insurers and employers to disclose the price they pay for health services and medication. This is the latest legal challenge in ongoing efforts to push for more transparency in healthcare.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association filed lawsuits against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services along with other federal agencies in federal courts last week in Tyler, Texas, and the District of Columbia. They claim certain provisions of the rule go beyond federal authority and could raise healthcare costs.
The Biden administration has backed pricing transparency in healthcare as a way to boost competition in the industry. The majority of healthcare pricing is set through confidential deals that keep rates a secret, leaving consumers unaware of the actual cost of healthcare.
Australian Tech Mogul Extradited to US Over USD 100M ‘Texting Scam’
A multi-millionaire tech mogul from Perth, Australia will be extradited to the U.S. over fraud charges related to a USD 130M ‘texting scam’ – one of the biggest scams in the telecom industry in U.S. history. Eugeni “Zhenya” Tsvetnenko has spent nearly three years in a West Australian trying to fend off extradition to the U.S. over the scam. Tsvetnenko surrendered Tuesday to U.S. authorities and will now face punishment for his crimes in U.S. courts. Tsvetnenko is accused of tricking users with an auto-subscribing SMS scheme that charged users per message, scamming unsuspecting users of more than USD 130M over several years.