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Nicole Creola Kelly Named New SEC Whistleblower Program Chief

By Brad Fulton

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, the Justice Department has named its new SEC Whistleblower Program Chief. Read the full story and more news below:

Top Story

The United States Securities and Commission has named Nicole Creola Kelly as its new whistleblower program chief. Kelly, who has more than 20 years experience with the SEC, has previously served as senior special counsel, as well as other roles in the whistleblower office. Kelly also worked in the complex financial instruments unit of the enforcement division. Kelly’s new role replaces Emily Pasquinelli, who has served as the whistleblower program chief since 2017.


Chilean President ​​Piñera Facing Impeachment Over Mining Conflicts of Interest

Chilean President Sebastián Piñera is facing impeachment over conflicts of interest revelations uncovered in the Pandora Papers leak last month. Piñera allegedly sold shares of a mining company that contained a hidden contingency against preventing any future mining projects, or enacting laws that would prevent mining projects. The total cost of the shares sold equaled about USD 138M, paid in three installments. Prior to this deal, Piñera had a history of enacting environmental regulations, having shut down a proposed thermoelectric plant in a nature reserve.

Corruption in Mozambique Illicit Gemstone Trade “Pervasive”, Experts Say

A new report by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime has found that the illicit gemstone trade in Mozambique, and involving other countries across the globe, features widespread corruption, siphoning millions of dollars from the country’s economy. East Africa is rife with gemstone deposits, making it vulnerable to parts of the gemstone trading industry that makes the rich richer, but exploits laborers and fails to lift workers at the bottom out of poverty.


Politician Calls for Investigation into Twitch Money Laundering Scheme

A money laundering scheme uncovered with the release of financial records pertaining to users of the streaming platform Twitch has caused Turkish politician Gürsel Tekin to call for an investigation into the platform. The money laundering scheme was found when researchers found large sums of “Bits”, the digital currency used on the platform, were raised by users with relatively small follower counts. This discrepancy was caused because money launderers were purchasing Bits using illicit funds and stolen credit cards and then refunding cash into various bank accounts.

Facebook Knew About Human Trafficking Problem ‘For Years’, Issues Still Remain

Internal documents released to the U.S. Securities and Exchange commission show that Facebook has known for years about human traffickers using its platforms to sell women into human slavery and domestic servitude. The documents show that women were trafficked and had their passports and identifying information stolen, preventing escape. Facebook asserts that they have consistently combated the problem, but as of last week, CNN was able to use terms defined in the leaked documents to find active human trafficking accounts on both Facebook and Instagram.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Awards Hyundai Whistleblower USD 24M

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given its first-ever whistleblower award in light of a report that said it moved too slowly in responding to incidents of its Kia and Hyundai cars catching fire. The eventual recall affected more than one million vehicles. The USD 24M award was the maximum percentage of damages paid by the Korean auto manufacturer. Hyundai was accused of having "inaccurately reported crucial information to NHTSA about serious defects in the engines," after complaints of engines catching fire and freezing up in several models of its vehicles. The penalty and awarded were handed down after a 3-year investigation into the company.

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