- Inter-American Development Bank Debars Odebrecht: It was announced this week that the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has debarred more than 20 subsidiaries of Odebrecht S.A. for bribery of public officials in connection with two projects financed by the IDB. The bank said that between 2007 and 2015, Odebrecht companies paid a total of USD 118 million in bribes to the projects by “utilizing a complex network of agents and offshore financial payment scheme.” The two projects involved are the Tocoma Hydroelectric Power Plant Program in Venezuela and the Highway Rehabilitation Program in Sāo Paulo, Brazil. The debarments qualify for cross-debarment with numerous other development banks. The construction giant has agreed to give USD 50 million to charities. According to the leniency deal, the massive graft scandal included projects across most Latin America, including Venezuela, Brazil and the construction of a highway in Colombia. Odebrecht is to pay the agreed amount by 2025 to NGOs and social projects aimed at improving life quality in member states of the IADB. READ MORE
- Woman pleads guilty to FCPA conspiracy in Africa adoption scam: A Texas woman pleaded guilty in federal court this week to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and to commit wire and visa fraud. The woman helped arrange adoptions for an Ohio-based agency by bribing court officials in Uganda and defrauding adoptive parents and the U.S. State Department. The woman, Robin Longoria, bribed court registrars and judges in Uganda to be “adoption-friendly” to her agency’s clients in the U.S. The bribes were paid through an agent and were disguised as “fees, and hid the bribes from the client”.
- Argentina detains businessman at the center of Mexican corruption scandal: Argentine authorities & Interpol detained Carlos Ahumada, a businessman who was a prominent figure in a 2004 Mexican corruption scandal involving the current president Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO). At the time of the scandal, AMLO was the mayor of Mexico City, and Ahumada was involved in a bribery scheme concerning payments to AMLO’s allies in the City Council of Mexico City. The Mexican Attorney General’s Office (FGR), who ordered the Argentine authorities of arresting Ahumada, are also suspecting the businessman of committing tax fraud of around USD 74 thousand. A process of extradition will begin immediately, said the FGR.
- GRECO urges Denmark to implement stronger anti-corruption policies for the government and police force: In an evaluation report published this week, the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) called upon Denmark to strengthen its framework to prevent corruption among people in top executive functions and the police. A particular area of focus is the rules surrounding how persons in top executive positions engage with lobbyists as well as where they will be employed following termination of their service in the public sector. The focus on trust in the Danish integrity system has led to few regulations to prevent corruption as few control measures are in place, according to the group. On a positive note, GRECO commended the strengthening of police procurement procedures in 2018. The Danish authorities are due to report back on measures taken to implement the recommendations by the end of December 2020, which will then be assessed by GRECO by 2021
- Guatemala’s UN-backed corruption body shutters doors: The UN-backed anti-corruption commission that was responsible for bringing down a Guatemalan president and a number of other high ranking officials during its 12 years of operations, will leave the country. President Jimmy Morales, who has been a strong critic of the organization said he would not renew the mandate of the United Nations-backed International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG). CICIG came to Guatemala in 2006 after the country’s 36-year-long armed conflict. During its time in the country, it was able to uncover a criminal network operating within tax and customs agency during the administration of Otto Perez Molina. While the organization was scheduled to exit this week, polls show high approval rates amongst the population (70%). Political analysts showcase grave concerns about potential future state persecution of CICIG related activists & leaders.