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 U.S. investigation into Honeywell for FCPA breaches. Read the full story and more news below:
Honeywell’s Brazilian Oil Unit Subject to FCPA Investigation:
A regulatory filing by Honeywell this week revealed that U.S. and Brazilian authorities are investigating whether Honeywell International Inc’s use of third parties in Brazil violated the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The probe centers on the involvement of third parties in work carried out for Petrobras by Honeywell’s UOPS oil and gas technology unit. Honeywell said it is cooperating with the investigations, including by handing over documents and interviewing current and former management. The company said it does not expect the probe to materially impact its results. In addition, Honeywell said in its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that the DOJ and SEC are also investigating its move to hire Unaoil in Algeria. Monaco-based Unaoil has been embroiled in an international investigation into allegations of funneling kickbacks to foreign officials. READ MORE
Odebrecht unit signs first post-Car Wash contract with Petrobras
Ocyan, formerly known as Odebrecht Oleo e Gas, recently signed a two-year contract for a drilling rig in Brazil. The contract was awarded after Odebrecht’s involvement in a massive corruption probe by Brazil’s Operation Car Wash, which resulted in the company being banned from signing contracts with Petrobras until mid-2018. It is reported that after improvements in Odebrecht’s compliance program, Petrobras decided to conditionally allow some business dealings with the conglomerate. Ocyan, which changed names in early 2018 is less than half of the size of its original branch but is currently looking into establishing new business in other countries and participating in new tenders. Petrobras has declined to comment on the newly won business. It was also revealed this week that Petrobras received roughly USD 112 million as the results of leniency deals and recovered assets from parties involved in the country’s Operation Car Wash investigation. The firm has in total managed to recover in excess of USD 1 billion since the scandal broke.
3M discloses internal probe into China-linked marketing
Post-It maker 3M is conducting an internal investigation for potential violations of the FCPA and other anti-corruption laws related to its business activities in China. In its investigation, the company found concerns about record-keeping arising from marketing efforts by business affiliates based in China. The DOJ and the SEC received information from the company and are cooperating with 3M to move forward in the investigation. The disclosure comes a day after the company posted a quarterly profit that beat estimates.
Spain’s second-largest bank BBVA facing corruption charges
Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) was charged with “corruption and breach of confidence” by Spain’s National Court this week. BBVA is the country’s second-largest bank and has a strong presence in Latin America and the south-eastern part of the United States. Prosecutors allege that the bank contracted disgraced former police officer Jose Manuel Villarejo to illegally wiretap the phones of a number of journalists, politicians, and businesspeople in 2004. Villarejo is suspected of having engaged in blackmail, threatening, and wiretapping on behalf of companies and wealthy individuals for decades through his firm called Cenyt. Reports in the Spanish media allege that BBVA had hired Cenyt to investigate officials belonging to construction company Sacyr, which attempted to take over the bank, unsuccessfully, in 2004. BBVA has admitted to using the services of Cenyt, but the bank has denied any wrongdoing and said an internal investigation is underway.
Feds probe new US Navy corruption case in Asia
The DOJ has filed corruption charges against Sung-YoI Kim, head of DK Marine Service, a Korea-based port service provider for the US Marine Corps. DK Marine Service was contracted by both the Military Sealift Command and different US Navy Assets to perform extensive husbanding work including things such as to arrange tugs, freshwater and sewer service, and various other essential services ships require when in port. The head of DK Marine is being charged with one count of bribery and one count of conspiracy for allegedly giving inappropriate gifts to US Navy Officials in exchange for details about scheduled port visits; among the gifts and promised things of value offered there were travel expenses and job offers. While Kim’s case remains to be processed; James Driver, the former US naval officer who is also involved in the indictment, has already pled guilty to receiving the gifts.
Bulgaria’s anti-corruption chief resigns over apartment scandal
The head of Bulgaria’s anti-corruption commission has stepped down, following the resignation of multiple senior party politicians in Bulgaria after a scandal involving the purchasing of luxury properties at favorable prices. Plamen Georgiev, the now ex-head of Bulgaria’s anti-corruption commission, who was being investigated in the scandal, stated that he had not committed any offenses and that his decision to resign was made ‘a long time ago’. Reportedly, Georgiev is under investigation for failing to include the 186 square meter terrace in the building where he lives into his declaration of assets. After a 120-3 vote in the Bulgarian parliament, Georgiev’s decision to resign was accepted. Earlier this year, the deputy of Bulgaria’s ruling party GERB resigned over similar allegations. Among other politicians being investigated in the scandal are the justice minister and two other deputy ministers who are being called to resign for the purchasing of spacious apartments at below-market prices.