This Week in Compliance

This Week in Compliance: Two Whistleblowers Awarded USD 50 Million by SEC

 

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  • Two whistleblowers awarded USD 50 million by SEC: The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced this week that it awarded two whistleblowers a combined USD 50 million in the same case. One whistleblower was awarded USD 37 million and the other USD 13 million. The SEC said that the whistleblower receiving the larger award had provided “smoking gun” evidence. Two other people also filed complaints in the case but were denied rewards because the information was not original in one case, and in the other case the claim was not filed in a “timely” manner. The SEC has paid out USD 376 million in awards to 61 individual whistleblowers since launching its program in 2012.

Business

  • Dutch authorities first to release GDPR fine policy: The Dutch Data Protection Authority (DDPA) has released its own General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) fining policy; it is the first European country to do so. The DDPA is installing a system with four categories that differ based on the size of the company and the maximum possible fine. EU member states are allowed under the GDPR to issue fines that amount to four percent of a company’s global revenue or EUR 20 million, whichever is higher. However, the DDPA is not explaining how it will classify violations, beyond laying out “relevant factors”. The issuance of the policy likely indicates that the DDPA is readying itself to start launching enforcement actions under the GDPR.
  • World Bank debars Vietnamese sewage company: The World Bank announced this week that it has debarred state-owned Vietnam Water and Environment Investment Corporation (VIWASEEN). It was found that VIWASEEN had contracted out work to affiliates without informing the bank after winning the contracts. The company will be ineligible to participate in any World Bank-financed projects for 12 months. VIWASEEN will be subject to an additional 18 months of “conditional non-debarment” during which it will only be able to participate in World Bank-financed projects provided it complies with its obligations under the settlement agreement.
  • ParkOhio Industries stops issuing disclosures on FCPA investigation: Manufacturing company ParkOhio said that it will stop issuing disclosures about a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigationinto possible FCPA violations on which the SEC has not commented in five years. A subpoena issued by the SEC asked for information about payments made to a foreign tax official in late 2007. The company said it will continue to cooperate with the SEC and DOJ, but will no longer provide updates unless circumstances change.

Government

  • Former Hong Kong official jailed for three years over FCPA offenses: Patrick Ho, Hong Kong’s former home secretary, received a three-year prison sentence on Monday for bribing African officials on behalf of a Chinese energy company. Ho was previously found guilty on seven counts in a trial in the Southern District of New York; the counts included one count of conspiring to violate the FCPA and four counts of violating the FCPA. The DOJ said that Ho and a co-conspirator offered USD 2 million in bribes to the president of Chad, as well as bribes to other officials.
  • Former Brazilian President Temer released from custody: judge in Brazil ordered the release of former president Michel Temer after he was held in preventative detention on corruption charges for five days. Prosecutors in Brazil have accused Temer of “leading a criminal organization” that received or was promised to receive in excess of USD 471 million in funds diverted from state-owned companies and public works.
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