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Whistleblower loses immunity bid

By Charlotte Hill

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.

Whistleblower loses immunity bid

Richard Boyle, former public servant who worked as a debt collection officer at the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) lost a bid to be declared immune from prosecution as a whistleblower. Accused of 24 offenses, Mr Boyle reportedly made recordings and disclosed confidential information in an attempt to collect evidence about unethical debt-recovery practices at the ATO and disclosed protected information. Review confirmed that My Boyle’s findings about the ATO’s debt-recovery practices involving small businesses were valid and that the ATO only conducted a “superficial” investigation into the report made by Mr Boyle. Mr Boyle could face a lifetime sentence.

Influential consultant for Amazon sellers faces bribery charge

Ephraim “Ed” Rosenberg, an influential consultant for Amazon sellers and head of a consultancy business that advises entrepreneurs on how to grow their sales on Amazon's marketplace, admitted to bribery and said that he would plead guilty in court to a criminal charge. According to the 2020 indictment from which Mr Rosenberg’s criminal charges stem, six people were charged with conspiring to provide sellers with an uncompetitive advantage. One Amazon employee was handed a 10-month prison sentence, while four out of the six defendants have pleaded guilty. Reportedly, Mr Rosenberg had bribed employees at Amazon in return for information that would serve his clients, boost their sales performance and reinstate their accounts.

Ted Cruz puts forth an act to investigate corruption case in Argentina

Ted Cruz, US senator, introduced the Corruption in Argentina Stymied by Enforcing Sanctions (CASES) Act of 2023 in an attempt to hold Argentinian officials accountable of corruption scheme led by the country’s vice president, Fernández de Kirchner. In late 2022, Argentina’s federal court convicted Fernández de Kirchner for her involvement in managing a complex bribery and kickback scheme that defrauded taxpayers from billions of pesos. Ted Cruz’s proposed bill calls for the investigation of Fernández de Kirchner and four other officials, notably her son, Máximo Kirchner, Vice Minister of Justice Juan Martín Mena, Senator Oscar Isidro Jose Parrilli, and Lead Prosecutor of the Argentine Treasury Carlos Alberto Zannini. The bill could mandate the imposing sanctions if the corruption sanctions criteria are met.

Founder of FTX cryptocurrency faces a new indictment

Founder of the now bankrupt FTX cryptocurrency, Sam Bankman-Fried, was accused by US prosecutors of bribing Chinese officials 40M USD in return for unfreezing his hedge fund’s accounts. This new development brings the total count of indictments over the collapse of FTX to 13. Previous accusations include stealing customer funds that amount to billions of dollars to cover losses at his Alameda hedge fund. Mr Bankman-Fried intends to plead not guilty.

PCS Limited debarred by the World Bank

PCS Limited, a Vanuatu-based power and communication company and its affiliates have been debarred by the World Bank are ineligible to participate in any projects and operations subsidized by the World Bank Group for a duration of 15 months. The debarment comes as part of a settlement agreement in which PCS Limited admitted guilt in relation to sanctionable practices and agreed to live up to set compliance criteria before the end of the debarment.

Positive GRECO assessment of Armenia

According to The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), the latest evaluation of corruption prevention among judges, members of parliament and prosecutors, Armenia is no longer listed as having a “globally unsatisfactory” compliance level as the country implemented two recommendations that came out of the 2022 anti-corruption and judiciary reform and during additional discussions at the GRECO 93rd plenary session.

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