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, former French President Sarkozy is sentenced to jail for corruption. Read the full story and more news below:
Sarkozy Sentenced to Jail for Corruption:
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was convicted for corruption and influence-peddling on March 1st and sentenced to three years in jail, two of which were canceled. Sarkozy, who served as president from 2007 to 2012, was found to have orchestrated a corruption scheme between a senior magistrate and his lawyer to obtain information on an ongoing investigation on political donations. Sarkozy denied all allegations and dismissed them as ‘an insult to his intelligence’, and also announced he would appeal the sentence.
Deloitte to Pay USD 80M in 1MDB-Related Settlement:
Deloitte PLT settled an investigation into its role in the 1MDB scandal for USD 80M (Ringgit 342M) with Malaysian authorities. Authorities found that Deloitte, one of the bond sales auditors, failed to report irregularities in the fund gathering process. In 2013, Goldman Sachs helped raise USD 6.5BN through a series of bond sales to finance a government fund destined for public development purposes which public officials later embezzled. Goldman paid USD 3BN in fines in 2021 for their involvement in the case. Deloitte was the third auditor, together with EY and KPMG, to audit the bond sales. Deloitte did not comment on the settlement.
SEC Gives USD 5.5M to Four Whistleblowers:
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced two whistleblower awards: In the first award, issued on March 1st, the SEC granted USD 500,000 to two whistleblowers who provided information on an ongoing fraud scheme which resulted in successful enforcement action. In the second, the SEC awarded USD 5M to two joint whistleblowers, who prompted the agency to open a new investigation that led to successful enforcement action on misconduct occurring abroad.
Apple Facing U.K. Antitrust Probe:
The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority announced it had opened an antitrust investigation into Apple Inc.’s treatment of app developers. The probe is investigating whether the tech giant imposes anti-competitive conditions on app developers. The U.K. opened the investigation after app developers filed a complaint against Apple’s terms for product distribution. A central inquiry of the probe is how much control tech giants such as Apple should have over apps.
Germany Presents First Draft of Mandatory Due Diligence Law:
On March 3rd, 2021, the Federal Cabinet of Germany passed an official government draft for a law that would legally bind companies to conduct due diligence on their supply chains‘ environmental and labor issues. The proposed law, Lieferkettengesetz in German, is expected to be passed in Parliament before the summer and would require companies to investigate every step of their supply chain from raw materials to the finished product. The law is set to impose hefty fines of up to two percent of the annual revenue of non-compliant companies if it exceeds USD 484M.
U.S. Passess Sweeping Anti-Corruption Bill for Electoral Transparency:
The U.S.Senate approved, on March 3rd, the For The People Act, a new bill that aims to increase voter transparency, voter security and prevent corruption in the public sector. Besides many measures to increase voter rights and registration, the law denotes new anti-corruption measures for public officials including mandatory public disclosures on tax returns for presidential and vice-presidential candidates. The bill also imposes new transparency provisions on political donations and campaign financing and poses oversight on private sector payments to the public. It also proposes to reform conflicts of interest rules for the president and vice-president among many other measures.
GRECO Classifies Austria’s Compliance with Anti-Corruption Recommendations as ‘Globally Unsatisfactory’:
The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) released an interim compliance report on Austria analyzing corruption prevention in the public sector. The report concluded that Austria had only successfully implemented two out of seventeen recommendations issued by the EU in 2017. GRECO criticized the lack of progress and described it as ‘globally unsatisfactory’.