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, Cisco discloses a potential embezzlement scheme in its Chinese branch. Read the full story and more news below:
Cisco Discloses Possible Embezzlement in China:
Networking-equipment firm Cisco announced in a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) an internal corruption investigation into its Chinese operations. The firm is investigating whether employees in China bribed Chinese state-officials for self-enrichment purposes. The company reported suspicions that its employees wired the bribes through various third-parties. After the filing, a Cisco spokesman said that the company takes corruption allegations seriously but declined to comment further on the investigation.
DNB Says Authorities Have Ended Probe Into Money-Laundering Allegations:
Norweigan bank DNB announced that an investigation into its involvement in Iceland’s fish rot corruption scandal had ended. Norway’s National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime (Okokrim), began investigating the bank in 2019 after corruption allegations surfaced in the WikiLeaks data leak. The bank was being investigated for funneling USD 70M of corrupt proceeds from the Fishrot scandal, in which Icelandic fishing group Samherji hf was found to have paid millions of dollars in bribes to Namibian officials for fishing quotas in the country’s waters. Norweigan authorities declared that there was not sufficient evidence to pursue a criminal prosecution. Fishing company Samherji stated that the allegations of transactions with DNB were unfounded.
Malaysia’s Ex-PM’s Wife to be Tried for Corruption:
A Malaysian court ordered Rosmah Mansor, former PM Najib Razak’s wife, to enter a defense trial for corruption charges. The former first lady is accused of receiving and soliciting bribes of over USD 48M to help a company secure a solar power project and of arranging a corrupt political donation to Najib. The couple faced dozens of graft charges after Razak lost the election in 2018. If found guilty, she could face up to 20 years in prison.
Mexican Executive to Pay USD 219M to Avoid Graft Trial:
To avoid a corruption trial, Mexican steel magnate Alsonso Elizondo agreed to pay USD 219M in damages to Mexican state oil company PEMEX. Elizondo, who was extradited from Spain to Mexico on corruption charges, is accused of bribing Emilio Lozoya, former CEO of Pemex, in exchange for selling an overpriced fertilizer plant to Pemex. Lozoya is also facing corruption charges for accepting bribes from Brazilian construction conglomerate Odebrecht. It is reported that Elizondo will remain in custody until the damages agreement to PEMEX are approved by the prosecutor’s office.
BNP Paribas to Face Human Rights Claims Over Sudan Work:
BNP Paribas is facing a class-action lawsuit accusing the bank of facilitating human rights abuses in Sudan. The lawsuit alleges that the bank’s decision to continue to operate in Sudan after the widespread publication of the regime’s human rights abuses during a civil war from the 1990s to the 2000s contributed to keeping the regime in place. BNP pleaded guilty in 2014 to violating U.S. sanctions on Sudan, Iran, and Cuba. A BNP spokesperson declined to comment.
Austrian Police Searches Finance Minister’s Home in Bribery Probe:
Austria’s anti-corruption police raided the house of Gernot Blümel, Austria’s Federal Minister of Finance, over corruption allegations. The finance minister is being investigated over allegations of having received ‘donations’ from Austria’s gambling giant Novomatic in return for political support in a legal case threatening the company. The investigation also involves several other Austrian high-ranking officials. Both Blümel and Novomatic denied all allegations.
Jacob Zuma Faces Jail After Failing to Appear at Anti-Corruption Inquiry:
Former South African President Jacob Zuma failed to appear before a court ruling on a corruption investigation on February 15th. Zuma, who also walked out of all earlier hearings, faces trial over an investigation into systematic graft during his nine years in power. South Africa’s deputy chief of justice, Raymond Zondo, stated that the court would seek a jail sentence and that Zuma’s refusal to appear before the court sets an example of lawlessness and impunity in the country.