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 EU signed off on new sanctions against Russia. Read the full story and more news below:
EU Agrees to Eighth Sanctions Package Against Russia
The European Union has agreed to its eighth round of sanctions against Russia due to its ongoing attack on Ukraine. The sanctions are intended to weaktn Russia’s military, put increased pressure on its economy, and reinforce consequences for continuing to escalate violence and conflict in Ukraine. The latest package widens the scope of import and export sanctions, reportedly worth about EUR 7B in potential cost. The package also places a price cap on Russian oil, which is meant to minimize revenue to Russia, while mitigating the already increasing cost of energy in many EU countries and the UK. Additionally, a ninth package of sanctions is reportedly said to be on the horizon.
Pakistani Flood Relief Efforts Rife with Corruption, Reports Say
The United States State Department is investigating alleged corruption in the effort to help Pakistan after ongoing, devestating floods that have so far killed more than 1,700 people and displaced more than 30 million. Local reports state that of the relief efforts meant to help the country, which have so far raised more than USD 160M, only a fraction of that money has actually been put to good use. So far, only about USD 38M has been used to directly assist in the relief effort, with the rest unaccounted for. The U.S. and so far donated approximately USD 60M in assistance.
Foreign Bribery Enforcement at All-Time Low, New Report Says
A new report by Transparency International found that enforcement for foreign bribery violations are at an all-time low. The report, Exporting Corruption 2022, found that there was an “alarming” decrease in the number of enforcement actions taken globally for bribery. Transparency International cites weak anti-bribery laws in many countries as the impetus for the lack of enforcement actions, rather than an actual decrease in bribery. However, the United States, Switzerland, Israel and the United Kingdom are considered ‘active enforcers’ and are cited as having robust anti-bribery measures.
Bittrex Ordered to Pay USD 29M Over Sanctions Violations
Seattle-based cryptocurrency exchange platform Bittrex has been ordered to pay USD 29M over allegations that it violated sanctions and failed to prevent money laundering. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) accused Bittrex of failing to prevent its customers from conducting transactions in Crimea, Cuba, and Iran. The transactions occurred between 2014 and 2018. Bittrex collected location data on its users who made transactions using the platform, but did not flag any transactions that were knowingly conducted in sanctioned regions. The United States Treasury Department stressed the importance of cryptocurrency platforms to maintain offices of compliance and stringent anti-money laundering measures to prevent such violations.