Paris Olympics headquarters searched as part of corruption investigations
The headquarters of the Paris 2024 Olympics organising committee and those of its infrastructure partner were searched by police on Tuesday as part of investigations into alleged embezzlement of public funds and favoritism. The national financial prosecutor's office (PNF) said the Paris 2024 headquarters were raided amid a preceding investigation launched in 2017 into contracts made by the Summer Games' organizing committee. The headquarters of SOLIDEO, the public body responsible for delivering Olympic and Paralympic infrastructure, were also being searched amid a preliminary investigation which began in 2022, following an audit by the French Anti-Corruption Agency.
U.S. Justice antitrust chief details renewed bank merger scrutiny
The U.S. Justice Department antitrust division plans to expand the scope of its bank merger review process, the department's chief said on Tuesday, in a sign the agency may get tougher when scrutinizing such deals. Jonathan Kanter, the DOJ's assistant attorney general for antitrust, said the agency's guidelines, which were last updated in 1995, may be overly narrow given the technology-driven reach of financial services now. The comments are likely to disappoint the industry, which had been hoping Democratic President Joe Biden's administration would be more open to allowing deals after a spate of bank failures since March.
Los Angeles councilman faces corruption charges
Curren Price, 72, a Los Angeles City Council member was charged on Tuesday with embezzlement, perjury and conflict of interest, and is the latest in a series of elected city leaders to have been accused of corruption. Prosecutors said that Price, a former state legislator who has represented South Los Angeles on the City Council for a decade, voted on projects that profited developers who paid his wife’s consulting business a total of more than $150,000 between 2019 and 2021. Furthermore, Mr. Price was accused of wrongly receiving almost $34,000 in medical coverage for his current wife while he was still legally married to another woman, resulting in five embezzlement charges. Los Angeles city officials have faced several scandals in recent years, diverting from efforts to tackle homelessness and growing economic inequality.
Guatemalan investigative journalist sentenced to prison
One of Guatemala’s most high-profile journalists, José Rubén Zamora, has been sentenced up to six years in prison for money laundering and fined USD 40,000. According to human rights and free speech activists, the trial is a symptom of deteriorating rule of law, prosecutors however deny the allegations and claim that his prosecution is related to his business dealings. Reportedly, the country’s leading newspaper elPeriódico, which was founded by Mr Zamora regularly investigated corruption amongst government officials including the president and attorney general. Mr Zamora denies any wrongdoing and considered the sentence as a way to silence criticism of the government.
Palm oil giants face corruption charges as Indonesia probe widens
Indonesian prosecutors have charged three major palm oil companies in connection with a cooking oil shortage that rocked the world’s top producer of palm oil. The Attorney General’s Office announced on June 15 that it had charged the companies, the Permata Hijau Group, Wilmar Nabati Indonesia, and Musim Mas, with corruption. Indonesia, which accounts for about 60% of the global palm oil supply, imposed tight export measures last year, including a three-week ban on shipments, to try to secure domestic supply to regulate soaring local cooking oil prices.
Judge orders Starbucks to pay USD 25M in racial discrimination case
A former Starbucks regional manager was awarded more than USD 25M after a federal jury found that the employee was fired because of racial discrimination. Shannon Phillips, a white former Starbucks employee who was managing several Starbucks coffee shops in the Philadelphia location when two black men were arrested back in 2018 at one of the cafes. Following the incident protests ensued and Starbucks closed all of its stores to conduct anti-bias training for all employees. Phillips was fired while the manager of the cafe where the incident took place, who was black, kept his job. According to Phillips' lawyer, the company used Philips as a scapegoat to demonstrate action.