In 2011 the Department of Justice (DOJ) warned companies that challenging the definition of 'foreign official' was not a wise move in a case, likewise arguing over percentage ownership or control of a company is equally ill advised. The term foreign official is defined loosely in the Foreign Corruption Practice Act (FCPA) as any officer or employee of a foreign government, department, agency or instrumentality thereof. It is acknowledged that creating a clear definition would be impracticable.
General Motors has been hit with a lawsuit that has been brought on behalf of 658 people allegedly injured or killed in cars with faulty ignition switches. Dozens of cases against the company have been consolidated in the suit, which has been filed in a Manhattan federal court.
Italy’s largest company by market value, oil company Eni SpA, is facing increasing pressure from investors to diversify its business away from Africa due to geopolitical turmoil and resulting operational disruptions. New CEO Claudio Descalzi is expected to outline his vision to investors later this week when he announces a huge increase in second quarter profits. This follows last year’s losses that resulted from a scandal involving a services affiliate.
An investigation has been launched by China into one of its most senior figures, removing previously perceived immunity shielding its top officials. President Xi Jingping has started an investigation into former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Zhou was one of the nation's top nine leaders until his retirement in 2012. Zinhua news agency said that he will be investigated for serious disciplinary violations but was not specific.
The English Football Association have said that FIFA should publish the report on Qatar's 2022 world cup bid, although it downplayed comment on Russia's 2018 bid due to mounting political tension with Russia over Ukraine.
The GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) scandal continues to grow as new allegations emerge accusing it of paying bribes in Syria. Another email has been sent by a whistleblower informing GSK and the authorities. The allegations concern the company's consumer business, including its popular painkiller Panadol. The regulations involving non-prescription drugs are less strict than those around prescribed drugs, but the email said GSK gave bribes in the form of cash, speakers' fees, trips and free samples to win tender and obtain an improper business advantage.
An Italian judge has issued arrest warrants for a British consulate and an Indian lawyer. Both are accused of helping Finmeccanica unit Agusta Westland give bribes to Indian officials in exchange for high profile helicopter contracts. Both the consulate and the lawyer have been declared fugitives by the Judge.
A former procurement officer for The Boeing Company pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges as he admitted his role in a bribery and kickback scheme for military aircraft parts that were sold to Boeing.
A number of recognisable brands have been embroiled in a food scandal in China as unhygienic standards were found in a third party chicken supplier.
United States' Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is investigating four dozen hedge funds, asset managers and other investment companies to determine whether or not they partook in insider trading. Suspicious trends emerged as companies bought health-insurance stocks in April 2013 ahead of a government announcement that benefited the insurance firms.
Ernst and Young will pay US$4 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to settle charges that it lobbied congressional staff and violated auditor independence rules on behalf of its audit clients. On Monday the SEC said Ernst and Young is settling the case without admitting or denying the charges.
The United Kingdom's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has launched a formal investigation into Sweett Group amidst allegations that a former Dubai-based employee asked a firm of architects to bribe officials to secure a US$100 million contract.
Wal-Mart's lawyers have presented a case before the Delaware Supreme Court arguing for the retailer's right to retain internal documents and records involved in the ongoing Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) investigation.
A culture of ethics is not a plan in a three-ring binder or an online training course. It is not a code of conduct or a hotline poster in the break room. And it is not what the CEO thinks the culture should be. A culture of ethics is when the members of a company view the seriousness and significance of acting ethically. While this statement is very general, many aspects contribute to a culture of ethics such as how managers act, what people do when they witness misconduct and what they do when they need help. Defining, shaping and evaluating a culture of ethics can be a difficult and foreboding process, but it is an important one.
When finding staff for a global compliance function there is an obvious challenge in getting the headcount to cover the whole world. Because of this, it is not uncommon to draft people into the compliance teams that work in other areas of the business – typically HR, finance, channel distribution or operations. As part of their role, and to meet regulatory requirements, these people might oversee the compliance function in the country in which they operate and dotted-line report to the chief compliance officer. Often these people become little more than a local person to run interference and deliver the compliance training in their respective country.
More and more companies are hitting the headlines for compliance failures, and many of these failures involve third parties engaging in corrupt business practices on behalf of the companies. While many companies have adopted a due diligence programme to collect information to ensure their business partners meet integrity standards, few have started actively monitoring their third parties. An important due diligence tool for compliance officers to prevent compliance failures is on-going due diligence. Constant monitoring will help ensure that business partners act with integrity at all times and will allow for a timely response as and when integrity issues arise.
India is an emerging country with a plethora of business opportunities for foreign companies and investors. It is in the blueprint of many United States–based multinational corporations that are seeking to invest and set up their businesses in foreign markets. But these opportunities come with various risks and challenges, which present a barrier to carrying out thorough due diligence on Indian companies.
The UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has arrested and questioned six individuals as part of an on-going investigation into a subsidiary of Airbus. Two current and two former employees of GPT Special Project Management, the Airbus subsidiary that specialises in communications equipment for the Saudi National Guard, have been questioned along with two UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) officials.
China's securities regulator has uncovered evidence of criminal activity by five fund managers at Shanghai-based HFT Investment Management, which is part-owned by BNP Paribas, and has turned the cases over to the police.
Japan’s decision to lift some sanctions on North Korea in return for Pyongyang investigating the fate of Japanese citizens it abducted decades ago is largely symbolic and mostly irrelevant for compliance professionals. Although the announcement does suggest a thawing in relations between the two nations, Japan will continue to observe United Nations sanctions aimed at pressuring North Korea to drop its nuclear programme.
BNP Paribas SA has agreed to pay nearly US$9 billion and plead guilty to violating United States sanctions against Sudan, Iran and Cuba. As part of the settlement, France’s largest bank has also been banned for one year from conducting certain United States dollar transactions.
The New Zealand Government has tabled amendments to the country’s anti-corruption legislation in an effort to crack down on organised crime and bribery. If passed into law, the Organised Crime and Anti-corruption Legislation Bill will give law enforcement agencies more power to deal with corruption and will enable New Zealand to ratify the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.
Namibia has hastily amended its law dealing with money laundering and terrorism after it emerged that its government was facing imminent sanctions from the international community.
FedEx is facing a US$235 million lawsuit, filed by New York State Attorney Eric Schneiderman, which alleges that the company smuggled 80 million untaxed cigarettes into the United States between 2006 and 2012.
The head of Europe’s pharmaceutical industry group has called for reforms to the health system in order to remove incentives for corruption. Richard Bergstroem, director general of Brussels-based European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, said that such reforms were needed in addition to company initiatives that ensure proper practices.