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 we cover GDPR fines across the European Union. Keep reading for this breaking story and find more news below:
European Regulators Imposed EUR 114 million in GDPR Fines Since Entry Into Force
Law firm DLA Piper reported this week that over 160,000 data breaches have been reported across the European Union’s 28 Member States and Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) entered into force on May 25th, 2018. The highest total in fines was levied by France (EUR 51 million), followed by Germany (EUR 24.5 million) and Austria (EUR 18 million). In terms of data breaches reported to regulators, the Netherlands leads with 40,647 breaches, followed by Germany (37,636) and the U.K. (22,181). The total amount of the fines published so far does not include the two fines the U.K.’s ICO has said it intends to impose on British Airways and Marriott International for their respective data breaches, as these have not yet been finalized. Legal experts report that compared to the potential maximum fines that can be imposed under the GDPR, the amount of imposed fines is still relatively low indicating the possibility of seeing higher fines in the following years.
SFO Releases New Corporate Compliance Program Evaluation Guidance
The U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office publicized its internal guidance used by staff to evaluate corporate compliance programs late last week. The guidance instructs prosecutors to consider the compliance program at the time of the offense, the current state, and in some cases the future state if it is relevant when considering whether to strike a deferred prosecution agreement. The document also makes reference to the six principles mentioned in guidance published in 2010 by the Ministry of Justice.
Shareholder Lawsuits Pile Up Against Danske Bank Amid Money Laundering Scandal
After Danske Bank’s money laundering scandal surfaced in 2018, the bank has been subjected to a growing number of shareholder lawsuits accusing the bank of covering up its involvement in the scheme. Danske is being accused of deceiving investors by inflating its share price by failing to inform the market of their operations in the Baltics and the associated risks that came with it. At the moment the bank is facing six lawsuits from investors in different locations claiming more than a billion dollars to recover their losses. While Danske is already being investigated by Danish and American authorities, among other and the shareholder lawsuits are yet to be settled, these lawsuits could be a prelude for other shareholder actions against other banks that have been involved in the Baltic money laundering scheme.
Canadian Judge Approves USD 149 Million Fine Volkswagen For Diesel Emission Scandal
After Volkswagen admitted to using illegal software to cheat U.S. pollution tests back in 2015, the company is now facing an enforcement action in Canada after the company was found to have imported 128,000 vehicles violating Canadian emissions standards. The company was charged with 60 breaches of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act after having admitted guilt to dozens of counts of diesel emissions violations in the country. While this single fine has been described as the largest environmental penalty in Canadian history, it is a drop in the bucket for Volkswagen, which had previously agreed to spend USD 1.8 billion compensating owners of polluting cars in Canada and had also agreed to pay USD 13.3 million to resolve an investigation by Canada’s Competition Bureau.
Former Interpol Chief Meng Hongwei Sentenced to 13 Years in Jail in China
A Chinese court sentenced Meng Hongwei, former Interpol chief, to 13 and half years of imprisonment on bribery charges and slapped him with a fine of roughly USD 290,000. Meng vanished on a trip back to China in September 2018. It was later confirmed that he had been detained as part of an anti-corruption drive. The former Interpol chief admitted to taking in excess of USD 2 million in bribes.
Canadian Prosecutors Say Fraud Central to Huawei CFO Extradition Case
Canadian prosecutors argued in court this week that Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou’s alleged bank fraud is at the heart of the extradition case, rather than U.S. allegations that she violated U.S. sanctions against Iran.