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 SEC has opened up a probe into Ericsson for their involvement in a bribery scandal in Iraq. Read the full story and more news below:
Ericcson Probed by SEC Amid Iraq Corruption Scandal
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has opened up new probes into the Ericcson telecommunications company over a corruption scandal in Iraq that goes back nearly a decade. The company is accused of essentially paying bribes to the international terrorist organization ISIS in exchange for access to transport routes. The DOJ alleges that the company failed to disclose the nature of its operations in Iraq intentionally.
North Ireland Money Laundering Loopholes Need to Stop, Say MPs
Members of Parliament in North Ireland are speaking out against the fraudulent use of North Ireland Limited Partnerships (NILPs) and their use in money laundering in the country. A BBC investigation found that NILPs can be opened up as secret companies from anywhere in the world and can be used to disguise ill-gotten money. While NILPs can be legitimately used, there are many hallmarks of their illegal use evidenced, such as hundreds of NILPs being traced to one single office address in Belfast.
More than USD 700M Stolen from Iraq, Says Anti-Corruption Commission
More than 40 individuals were implicated in a scandal affecting state-run banks in Iraq that lead to the misappropriation of more than USD 700M in funds. In a statement, the Commission for Integrity said that the funds were misappropriated due to a combination of “forgery, embezzlement, manipulation, money laundering (and) abuse of position”. Iraq ranks 157 out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index.
Top Deutsche Bank Exec Resigns Over ESG Fraud Allegations
Asoka Wöhrmann, a senior asset management executive at Deutsche Bank, has resigned less than a year into his contract over allegations of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) fraud. Wöhrmann, who advised clients on certain investments based on how “green” they are, as well as their sustainability, is accused of “greenwashing”, by fraudulently advertising certain securities as sustainable when they were not and deceiving investors.
Steel Manufacturer Tenaris to Pay USD 78M Fine
Luxembourg-based steel manufacturer and global supplier of steel pipe products has been issued a more than USD 78M fine by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) due to a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violation. The violation is in connection with a bribery scheme it was implicated in with its business unit in Brazil. According to the SEC, Tenaris paid bribes to obtain business from Petrobras. Between 2008 and 2013, Tenaris is accused of paying more than USD 10M in bribes.
Axon Taser Drone Production Halted Amid Ethics Board Resignations
Axon, the company that developed the taser device used by police and law enforcement officials, has halted plans to develop a drone-powered taser device after 9 members of the company's ethics board resigned. Axon made the idea for the taser-equipped drone public after the mass shooting of an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and the failure of the police to act. The 9 resignations from the ethics board represented a clear majority of dissent for the device. Board members previously raised ethical concerns about the device’s potential use in over-policed Black and POC communities.