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, a trove of leaked documents dubbed the ‘Pandora Papers’ link world leaders and celebrities to hidden wealth. Read the full story and more news below:
Pandora Papers Link World Leaders to Hidden Wealth
Global leaders, including the King of Jordan and Czech Prime Minister, have denied wrongdoing after allegedly being implicated in various financial scandals in leaked documents dubbed the ‘Pandora Papers’. The documents allege that world leaders, celebrities, and others were using offshore business entities and bank accounts to hide wealth and dodge taxes. The leaked documents were obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) just five years after the release of a previous trove of documents known as the ‘Panama Papers’.
Justice Department Increases Efforts to Combat White-Collar Crime
The Justice Department has affirmed its commitment to finding and prosecuting white-collar criminals that could harm U.S. national security. In a speech Tuesday, John Carlin, a senior member of the deputy attorney general’s office, said that while the Department’s efforts to weed out white-collar crime had fluctuated in recent years, it will “redouble” its enforcement of such crimes under the Biden administration.
Sarkozy Sentenced in Illegal Campaign Financing Case
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has been sentenced to one year served under house arrest for his participation in illegal campaign financing stemming from the 2012 presidential election in France. Sarkozy was convicted of spending nearly double the allowable amount on his failed presidential re-election bid. Sarkozy is expected to appeal the sentencing.
Germany Passes New “Two-Click Cancellation” Decree
Beginning July 1, 2022, Germany will soon require specific cancellation/termination protocols for companies offering subscription-based services. The rule is part of the new Fair Consumer Contracts Act, which falls under the EU-wide Directives on Contracts for Digital Services and Content. The rule states that German companies offering any type of subscription will be required to provide cancellation of services with a maximum of “two clicks” to achieve, for instance, one click to navigate to a cancellation form and one further click to submit the form.
British Bank NatWest Guilty of Money Laundering Failings
British Bank NatWest failed to prevent money laundering through their bank to the tune of USD 544M. The guilty plea from charges related to the money laundering that occurred using the bank makes it the first bank in Britain to admit to this type of criminal offense. NatWest will pay a fine of up to GBP 340M under British sentencing guidelines. NatWest pleaded guilty to the charges of insufficiently monitoring customer accounts and allowing large amounts of money laundering to slip by unnoticed. The bank will be formally fined later this year.
Facebook Whistleblower Says Company Disregarded Public Safety for Profit
Facebook data scientist Frances Haugen came forward as the previously anonymous whistleblower who alerted federal authorities about Facebook’s disregard for internal research which showed that the platform magnified hate, misinformation and posed a threat to public safety. Haugen cited instances where Facebook put its profit motive over evidence that the platform spread misinformation, in particular misinformation that contributed to the Jan. 6 insurrection of the U.S. Capitol.