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, JPMorgan investigates employees and customers for possible COVID-19 fraud. Read the full story and more news below:
JPMorgan Investigating Employees and Customers for Possible COVID-19 Fraud:
JPMorgan Chase & Co. has reported evidence from its employees and customers misusing the U.S. government’s stimulus checks for potentially fraudulent purposes. The bank is in collaboration with U.S. authorities and issued a memo urging employees to speak up if they witness improper conduct through the bank’s whistleblowing hotline. The bank has also fired several of its employees for their involvement in the case. The stimulus checks in question for part of the government’s Paycheck Protection Program loans, of which JPMorgan funded more than USD 32 billion. During the past months, U.S. authorities have unsealed several criminal charges for individuals misusing the PPP funds. The general counsel for the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners stated that the injection of the PPP loans into the economy has highly increased the risk of fraud and embezzlement.
Pactiv Evergreen Unveils Potential FCPA Violations Amid IPO Filing:
U.S-based packaging company Pactiv Evergreen Inc., which is preparing to go public, announced it identified potential FCPA breaches in its Chinese operations. According to the findings, Evergreen’s Shanghai unit occasionally provided Chinese public officials with gift cards. While the company affirmed the gift cards were of ‘relatively minor value.’ The filing also revealed that Shanghai might have violated the FCPA by hiring consultants to deal with the Chinese government to avoid adverse regulatory action. Pactiv filed the findings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Justice Department in August and stated they are collaborating with both agencies on their investigations.
U.K. SFO Files Fraud Charges Against Former G4S Execs:
The U.K. Serious Fraud Office (SFO) charged three former executives of one of G4S PLC subsidiaries for fraud. According to the SFO, the former executives of the security services company misrepresented the company’s costs to the SFO from 2009 to 2012. The individuals are expected to appear on their second court hearing in October 2020. The draft indictment comes after G4S entered a deferred prosecution agreement with the SFO over other fraud allegations.
U.S. Sanctions Two Former Lebanese Ministers Over Corruption:
U.S. authorities blacklisted two of Lebanon’s former government ministers for ‘systemic corruption’ and for alleging they aided political and military group Hezbollah. Yusuf Finyanus, former transportation minister, and Ali Hassan Khalil, former finance minister, were accused of ensuring public contracts went to Hezbollah-owned firms as well as ‘moving money from government ministries to Hezbollah-associated institutions.’
Whistleblower Reports on Data Breaches in the U.K. Reach Record High:
Law firm RPC released a report saying that whistleblower reports concerning data breaches to the U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) increased by 34% during the last year. The increase in reports, which brings the number of reports to an all-time high, corresponds with the implementation of the EU’s data protection law, GDPR, which came into force in May 2018. The law firm reported that the ICO escalated 68 out of the 427 whistleblower concerns received from April 2019 to March 2020.