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.
The DOJ updates its guidance on corporate compliance programs
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) released a new policy designed to proactively reduce misconduct by incentivizing compliance-driven compensation and bonus plans. As part of the new policy, the DOJ launched the three-year Compensation Incentives and Clawbacks Pilot Program. The program is made up of two main principles; the first imposes a requirement that businesses build compliance incentives into their compensation and bonus systems as part of every corporate resolution, while the second makes companies that seek to recover corporate compensation from wrongdoers eligible for fine reductions.
US congress voted to block ESG investing of pension funds
A recent Republican bill aims at preventing managers of pension funds from basing investment decisions on environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) factors. According to the Republican argument, investments on ESG factors entail that fund managers are "forcing their own views down the throats of every company and every investor.” Republicans have clarified that the resolution would prevent fund managers from primarily basing investment decisions on ESG factors, as the primary criterion should be the financial return on investment, however it would not prevent managers from considering ESG issues altogether. For now however, pension fund managers will continue to be able to base their decisions on ESG issues as the White House has already announced that President Biden is going to veto the measure.
The European Union adopts its 10th package of sanctions against Russia
As the Russo-Ukrainian war marks its first anniversary, the EU introduces a new package of sanctions against Russia that is set to turn up the pressure on its economy. The package includes further export bans valued at EUR 11B, which comes on top of EUR 32B of existing sanctions. The new package adds around 121 individuals and entities to the sanctions list. New export restrictions have been introduced on specific advanced technologies that can have a dual-use, contributing to Russia’s military capabilities and technological developments, this includes certain electronic components used in Russian weapons systems.
Ericsson pleads guilty and agrees to a 206M USD settlement
Swedish telecommunications firm Ericsson agreed to enter a guilty plea and pay 206M USD fine after the Department of Justice notified the company that it had violated the Data Processing Agreement by not adhering to its disclosure and cooperation provisions, specifically regarding Ericsson’s failure to disclose alleged bribery payments to ISIS to facilitate transportation of telecommunications equipment in Iraq.
FC Barcelona facing lawsuit over corruption case
Catalan football club Barcelona and its former president Josep Maria Bartomeu are facing accusations of payments to a former refereeing official. The club is alleged to have paid millions of euros to refereeing official José María Enríquez Negreira. FC Barcelona and those involved can face harsh consequences if found guilty such as imprisonment, disqualification, and a fine.
US Senators inquire about potentially illegal business practices by Binance and its partner
Members of the US Senate Elizabeth Warren (D), Chris Van Hollen (D) and Roger Marshall (R) have called on cryptocurrency giant Binance to provide transparency on the suspicion that it has hidden financial information from the public and its customers and that it moved assets to criminals, while purposefully evading regulators. Binance has responded to the issue by stating that “a lot of misinformation has been spread about our company” and that it will cooperate in helping the senators better understand the firm.
European Commission objects to Apple’s clarification regarding concerns in antitrust case
The European Commission has sent a statement of objections over Apple’s clarification over the accusation that the tech giant uses its dominant position to distort competition in the music streaming market through its App Store. Apple is accused of imposing its own in-app payment systems on developers of music streaming apps and restricting said developers' ability to inform iPhone and iPad users of alternative music subscription services. If, after Apple has exercised its right to defense, the European Commission still concludes that the company is guilty of said violations, the tech giant will be at risk of facing a prohibition of the conduct in question and it might face a fine of up to 10% of its annual global turnover.