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 a former Venezuelan official’s guilty plea in the PdVSA corruption case. Read the full story and more news below:
Former Venezuelan Official Pleads Guilty in PdVSA Corruption Case:
Lennys Rangel, the former head of procurement at one of the subsidiaries of Venezuela’s state-owned energy company Petroleos de Venezuela (PdVSA), pleaded guilty for her role in a bribery scheme relating to Citgo, the Texas-based oil refinery. A former manager at Citgo was charged with money laundering in the same case. Rangel, who served as head of procurement in Petrocedeno SA, a joint venture between PdVSA and two European oil companies, was also charged with laundering bribe money in the U.S. According to U.S. prosecutors, Rangel received the bribes in exchange for contracts with Petrocedeno. In early August, three other officials were charged with money laundering by the DOJ in the PdVSA corruption case.
Belgium Launches AML Probe into Credit Suisse:
Belgian authorities opened a criminal investigation into money laundering concerns against Credit Suisse. The probe began after a series of leaked documents revealed that the Swiss bank allowed 2,600 Belgian clients who are under suspicion of tax evasion, to hold money in the bank. The documents also revealed that some of the assets in question came from shell companies in tax havens. Credit Suisse has stated that they have a zero-tolerance policy towards conducting business with individuals that have not fully declared their assets and paid their taxes.
Former UAW President Charged With Embezzlement:
Former President of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union, Denniss Williams, was charged with embezzlement and conspiracy for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in union funds. Williams allegedly conspired with Gary Jones and others to embezzle funds between 2010 and 2019. Jones, who later held the position of President, was charged in the same investigation for similar offenses in June. Williams could face a fine of a maximum of USD 250,000 and a maximum prison sentence of five years.
U.S. Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Danske Bank Over Money Laundering Scandal:
After shareholders filed a class-action lawsuit against Danske Bank in January 2019, a U.S. District Judge in Manhattan dismissed the case. The judge stated that the shareholders and the plaintiffs failed to prove that Danske Bank consciously disregarded their AML obligations. The plaintiffs, led by four pension funds in the U.S., were seeking damages for investors who lost money on Danske Bank’s U.S-held depositary shares from 2014 to 2019. Charges against the bank and Danske Bank’s former CEO, Thomas Borgen, as well as three other executives, were also dropped.
Danish Military Intelligence Head Suspended After Whistleblower Report:
Lars Findsen, the former head of the Danish military intelligence unit, was suspended along with two others for spying on Danish citizens over the past six years, a whistleblower report revealed in 2019. After the report was received, authorities launched an investigation into the Defence Intelligence Service, which is accused of hiding offenses and failing to inform the Military’s supervisory agency of potential breaches. Findsen is thought to have played an active role in the agency’s circumvention of the supervisory watchdog.
Trump’s Former Chief Advisor Charged With Fraud:
Steve Bannon, President Trump’s former chief campaign advisor, was charged and arrested for defrauding donors to raise money for a private fund intended for the construction of a wall along the Mexican border. Bannon allegedly worked with a venture capitalist to raise around USD 25 M by promising that the funds would be used to build new sections of the wall, of which Bannon used USD 1 million for personal expenses. With this indictment, Bannon becomes the seventh associate of Trump to be charged with federal crimes.