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, the Justice Department is accusing Deutsche Bank of violating a criminal settlement. Read the full story and more news below:
Deutsche Bank Violated Criminal Settlement, Justice Department Says
Deutsche Bank is accused of overstating its use of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria in managing its assets. The U.S. Department of Justice informed the German lender this week that they were made aware of the claims after learning about it in an August Wall Street Journal article. The bank, as warranted by a previous criminal settlement, is required to disclose all compliance obligations to the Justice Department. If found guilty, the bank could have its prior settlement rescinded and be charged with new, harsher penalties.
Head of Financial Action Task Force Calls for Closer Attention to Environmental Crimes
In an effort to help further mitigate climate change, Marcus Pleyer, the head of the Financial Action Task Force, an anti-money laundering organization based in Paris, said this week that governments need to pay closer attention to money laundering linked to environmental crimes. The FATF said that illegal environmental crimes such as illegal logging and wildlife trafficking, generate more than USD 280B. These crimes often have negative effects on climate change and biodiversity.
More Than 1,800 Arrested in International Anti-Money Laundering Sting
More than 1,800 people were arrested in an anti-money laundering sting operation involving police and government officials from 26 countries. The operation targeted and identified “money mules” who were individuals that would transfer illegally acquired currency for a small cut. According to Europol, the operation prevented losses worth more than USD 76M. Those targeted were involved in primarily online scams such as e-commerce fraud and phishing scams.
Amazon Fined Record USD 1.3B in Antitrust Case
Amazon was fined nearly USD 1.3B for antitrust violations stemming from an investigation by an Italian antitrust watchdog. The organization said that Amazon abused its market power and stifled competition to gain dominance over other businesses. The watchdog organization said that Amazon prevented sellers from using the “Prime” label on items, which helps boost visibility over items not labeled “Prime”, unless they participated in the “Fulfilled by Amazon” program, in which Amazon warehouses and fulfills sellers items in return for a fee. Amazon will likely appeal the ruling and fine, saying “Amazon said FBA “is a completely optional service” and that the majority of third-party sellers on Amazon do not use it.
SEC Awards Nearly USD 5M to Whistleblower
The Securities and Exchange Commission this week announced an award of nearly USD 5M to reward a whistleblower for providing critical information that led to the success of covered action enforcement. The whistleblower tip assisted the SEC in quickly and efficiently bringing about enforcement action that returned millions of dollars to harmed investors. The SEC has awarded approximately $1.2 billion to 236 individuals since issuing its first award in 2012.