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.
House Republicans issue subpoenas to Federal Trade Commission over Twitter privacy investigation
A Judiciary Committee in the House of Representatives led by the Republican Party has issued a subpoena to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) relating to its ongoing investigation into Twitter. The Committee chair has justified the subpoena as the FTC has failed to comply with multiple requests for all the communications and documents related to the probe and he argued that the FTC made “inappropriate and burdensome” demands of Twitter. The FTC in turn argued that it had made multiple offers to brief the Committee chair on the Twitter investigation, deeming the subpoena unnecessary.
Chief of Slovakian National Bank found guilty of corruption
Petr Kažimír, the governor of the National Bank of Slovakia, has been found guilty of bribery and has been fined EUR 100,000, noncompliance will put him at risk of a two-year prison sentence. The case is based on the allegation that, back when he was Minister of Finance, he functioned as an intermediary in paying EUR 48.000 to the former tax office head. The case is however not finished, an indictment against Kažimír might follow, which can result in a prison sentence of between 2 and 5 years. Kažimír himself has continued to deny the charges, “The accusation that I allegedly bribed a senior official of the financial administration is an absolute lie,” he said. It remains unclear whether he will resign from his position as governor of the National Bank of Slovakia.
E-cigarette manufacturer Juul has to pay USD 462 million in an underage vaping settlement
Juul Labs Inc., a manufacturer of electronic cigarettes has agreed to pay a settlement of 462M USD, resolving most charges against the corporation. The deal was struck between Juul and the states of New York, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Colorado and New Mexico, and Washington D.C. According to New York attorney Letitia James “Juul lit a nationwide public-health crisis by putting addictive products in the hands of minors and convincing them that it’s harmless,”. Juul denied any wrongdoing but stated that with the settlement it neared a total resolution of all its legal challenges, helping to secure certainty for its future, however, the firm has been on the brink of bankruptcy since last year.
Microsoft fined more than USD 3 million over violations of Russian sanctions
Microsoft agreed to pay more than 3M USD in fines after allegedly violating sanctions against Russia as its software and services ended up at blacklisted companies in Crimea. The Treasury and Commerce Department announced they had reached a settlement with Microsoft over the violations. The alleged violations took place before the full-scale invasion of Russia into Ukraine in the period between 2012 and 2019 and also included blacklisted entities in Iran, Syria, and Cuba, it is furthermore alleged that Microsoft violated regulations that forbid sensitive technologies from reaching adversaries of the United States. Microsoft has stated that it takes compliance to export control and sanctions very seriously and that individual employees actively circumvented the company’s screening controls.