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, a whistleblower gets USD 28M in a 2018 Panasonic case. Read the full story and more news below:
Whistleblower Gets USD 28M in Panasonic Case:
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced a USD 28M whistleblower award to an individual that helped uncover a bribery scheme at Panasonic Corp.’s U.S. subsidiary. The whistleblower, who was not a Panasonic employee, notified the SEC of the misconduct prompting an investigation which eventually resulted in Panasonic paying USD 143M in 2018. According to the Wallstreet Journal, the whistleblower remains anonymous, yet his legal representatives confirmed that the recent SEC award is connected to a 2018 bribery settlement between Panasonic and U.S. authorities.
U.K. Launches Fraud Probe Into Greensill-Linked Steel Firm GFG:
The U.K. Serious Fraud Office (SFO) announced it is opening an investigation into the Gupta Family Group Alliance (GFG) and related financing entity Greensill Capital UK Ltd over suspicions of money laundering and fraud. Greensill, which is bankrupt, is already under investigation in the U.K. and Germany.
Swiss Life Settles Charges With U.S. Justice Department:
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it entered a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with Switzerland’s largest insurance company Swiss Life Holding AG. The DOJ charged the U.S-based headquarters as well as three subsidiaries in Liechtenstein, Singapore, and Luxembourg for concealment of income. According to the DOJ, Swiss Life conspired with U.S. taxpayers to conceal several insurance policies as well as the income generated in these accounts in banks around the world. Swiss Life agreed to pay USD 77M and to enhance remedial measures.
Whistleblowers Receive USD 31M in Two Enforcement Actions:
The U.S. SEC announced whistleblower awards to four individuals amounting to USD 31M. In the first order, the SEC said it would give almost USD 27M to two informants who assisted in an ongoing investigation, eventually leading to the return of millions to harmed investors. In the second order, the SEC gave USD 3.57M to one whistleblower, and USD 750,000 to another for assisting the SEC in another ongoing investigation that led to successful enforcement action.
Austrian Chancellor Under Investigation for Corruption:
Sebastian Kurz, Austria’s Chancellor, announced he is expected to be charged by Austria’s anti-corruption authority. Kurz is accused of giving false testimony to a parliamentary commission investigating a corruption scandal known as the ‘Ibiza affair’. The Ibiza case refers to a video that was made public in which high-level politicians discussed government contracts in exchange for positive news coverage. If Kurz is convicted, he could face up to three years in prison.
Jacob Zuma Corruption Trial Adjourned Shortly After Opening:
A trial against former South African President Jacob Zuma was opened in South Africa but adjourned for nine days. Zuma, who served as president from 2009 to 2018 is facing corruption charges related to an arms deal with a French military company. The trial was adjourned after Zuma’s defense team raised concerns about the lead prosecutor questioning his impartiality and potentially seeking his recusal, The trial is expected to occur from May until June.