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, Jacob Zuma hands himself to the police after an ongoing corruption investigation found him guilty. Read the full story and more news below:
Jacob Zuma Hands Himself to the Police:
South Africa's former President Jacob Zuma turned himself to the police after a court-ordered him to do so on July 7th. Zuma, who was found guilty of corruption, will be serving a sentence of 15 months. Earlier this year, the former president, who is now South Africa’s first jailed president, failed to appear at a court hearing on his case. Jacob Zuma was forced to step down in 2018 after accusations of him taking bribes from French arms company Thales surfaced. Zuma is also accused of having corrupt ties with the Gupta family, which is known to have been involved in systemic corruption around the world.
Robinhood to Pay USD 10M for AML Violations:
Crypto trading platform Robinhood Markets Inc. will reportedly settle AML and cybersecurity charges with New York regulators for at least USD 10M. According to disclosures made in its latest SEC filing, Robinhood was warned of weaknesses in its client and cybersecurity risk assessment procedures and incident response procedures required by New York law. The trading platform could end up paying up to USD 15M in the settlement.
EU AML Authority Progresses:
News outlets reported on the EU's progress in establishing a new AML authority this week. Reportedly, the plans will be published by the EU on July 20th and will explain the function of the new authority. According to the reports, this new independent authority will have the ability to impose fines and will have direct supervision power over companies across the EU. It is assumed that the agency will become functional in around 2026.
CFTC Whistleblower Program Secures Continuity:
U.S. President Joe Biden signed a bill to temporarily set up an account to pay the whistleblower program of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The CFTC was facing a funding crisis over a whistleblower award that exceeded its budget which risked the continuity of the program. The payout in question was 100M and ought to be given to a former Deutsche Bank Executive. The agency is normally funded by the money collected in enforcement penalties and can only be replenished when it falls below USD 100M. With the new law, a new account in the Treasury will be able to pay awards if the balance of the whistleblowing fund is insufficient, thereby securing the continuity of the program.
Bolsonaro Faces Fresh Corruption Charges:
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro faces new corruption charges, which, together with his government's COVID-19 response, have caused mass protests in COVID-stricken Brazil. According to the allegations, Bolsonaro orchestrated an embezzlement scheme known as rachadinha during his time in Congress from 1991 to 2018. In the scheme, he hired employees with ties to him and received a cut of their salaries. His son was charged with similar breaches earlier this year. Furthermore, the Supreme Court opened an investigation into conflicts of interest accusations in Bolsonaro's COVID-19 vaccine procurement process earlier this month.
Austria’s Former Vice-Chancellor Faces Corruption Trial:
Austria's former Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache faces corruption charges over the 'Ibizagate' scandal, which led to the end of the conservative rule in 2019. The scandal surfaced after a video in which Strache claimed to be a wealthy Russian and hinted to make illegal donations to a far-right party became public. After he denied the wrongdoing, an investigation into the affair was initiated by Austrian authorities, which allege that the former Vice-Chancellor offered to amend a law to help a party donor secure funding for a hospital. If convicted, he could face up to 5 years in prison.
U.S. Releases List of Corrupt Actors in Central America:
The United States Department of State released a list of 353 individuals accused of engaging in corruption or undermining democracy in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. The document, which lists several government officials, prevents individuals from being eligible for visas in the United States.