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 SEC will reportedly require companies to admit wrongdoing when convicted of financial crimes. Read the full story and more news below:
SEC Seeks to Eliminate “No Admit, No Deny” Method of Case Settlement
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is seeking to return to an Obama-era policy that required companies to admit wrongdoing when convicted of financial crimes. According to SEC Chair Gary Gensler, this policy would set a tougher tone for its enforcement program and boost public trust in the SEC as a regulatory force. Under current policy, companies can often quietly pay settlements for crimes without publicly announcing guilt.
UK Arrests 10 in Fraudulent Passport Scheme
British authorities arrested 24 people for their involvement in the trade and obtaining of fraudulent passports for organized crime groups. Authorities say that a series of raids earlier this week called ‘Operation Strey’ resulted in dismantling the group who enabled fugitives and criminals to cross borders by supplying fraudulent identification. The group obtained genuine passports by using false information combined with their client’s photo, making the passport undetectable by current counterfeit methods.
Two Arrested in Ukraine in Ransomware Attacks
Two ransomware operators accused of infiltrating several large organizations’ systems and demanding USD 81M in ransom have been arrested in Ukraine. The suspects are accused of hacking into computer systems, stealing confidential data and threatening to share that data or release it to the public if the ransoms were not paid. One of the two suspected hackers is accused of cyber attacks on nearly 100 companies across Europe and the U.S., causing more than USD 150M in damages.
Brazilian Petroleum Company Concludes Justice Department Settlement
Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, Petróleo Brasileiro SA, has said that they have finished overhauling their compliance program, a necessary step under the terms of a U.S. Justice Department settlement stemming from bribery allegations. In 2018, the company agreed to pay more than USD 852M in settlements relating to a bribery scandal that broke in 2014 dubbed “Operation Car Wash”. By paying the fine and completing the overhaul of their compliance program, Petróleo Brasileiro SA has concluded their nonprosecution settlement agreement. The company amended its compliance efforts by adding new due diligence processes, a whistleblower hotline, and strengthened its integrity training programs.
Money Laundering Most Prevalent in Real Estate
A report from Global Financial Integrity said that more than USD 2.3B has been laundered through U.S. real estate over the last 5 years, making it the industry money laundering pervades the most. Recently, the Biden administration has urged the Treasury Department to roll back regulatory exemptions for real estate agents, who currently are not required to disclose suspicious activity. The U.S. is the only country without anti-money laundering requirements for real estate professionals.