Compliance Insider

Issue 15 > Compliance Alerts

Markets respond to Petrobras disclosure

Brazilian oil company Petrobras has said that the ongoing graft scandal has cost it US$2.1 billion following five months of internal debate during which it has been excluded from the bond markets. Following the disclosure, Petrobras has been allowed to re-enter the financial markets and, despite a US$7.1 billion net loss last year, the company’s shares have risen. Sao Paulo-based Tendencias Consuloria political analyst Rafael Cortez said that the positive reaction was because “however the market interprets the number, actually arriving at a number creates more credibility”.

Issue 15 > Compliance Alerts

United States dermatology company settles False Claims Act violations

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced that Family Dermatology P.C. has agreed to settle allegations that it engaged in improper financial relationships with a number of its physicians. The company, which owns and operates a dermatopathology laboratory in Georgia and a number of dermatology practices on the east coast of the United States, will pay approximately US$3.2 million plus interest.

Issue 15 > Compliance Alerts

United States companies falling short on conflict minerals checks

Global Witness and Amnesty International have compiled a joint report that has concluded that nearly 80 percent of United States companies are failing to adequately check and disclose whether their supply chain uses conflict minerals. The Digging for Transparency report analysed 100 conflict minerals reports that had been filed by companies such as Apple, Boeing and Tiffany & Co under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act (Section 1502), known as the conflict minerals law.

Issue 15 > Compliance Alerts

Lockheed Martin requests disclosure requirement change

Lockheed Martin Corp has made a request to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to change the requirement for the company to notify the SEC of its compliance policy changes. The Bethesda-based defence company is obliged to tell the SEC about every change to its compliance programme as a result of a 1976 settlement, but has argued that the paper work system is now out of date. In the 1970s, Lockheed Martin – then known as Lockheed Aircraft Corp – allegedly made illicit payments to foreign officials.

Issue 15 > Compliance Alerts

Yet another Navy officer guilty plea

A lieutenant commander in the United States Navy has pleaded guilty to accepting cash, hotel expenses and prostitutes in exchange for providing classified information to a defence contracting firm. San Diego-based Todd Dale Malaki admitted that he began a corrupt relationship with Leonard Glenn Francis, the former president and chief executive officer of Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), in 2006.

Issue 15 > Compliance Alerts

Google charged for antitrust violations

Google has been charged with violating European antitrust law for the way in which it promotes its own online shopping in search results. Margrethe Vestager, the European Commissioner responsible for enforcing antitrust laws, announced the ‘statement of objections’. She stressed that she would like to hear what Google has to say following the charges, “because the statement of objections, it’s not the end”. Google has 10 weeks to respond to the charges.

Issue 15 > Compliance Alerts

Google memo reveals antitrust expectations

The European Commission (EC) is expected to file charges against Google for abusing its dominant market position, according to an internal company memo that has been leaked to the media. If Google is charged, then the antitrust case will represent the largest in Europe since regulators successfully challenged Microsoft in 2004. According to two people close to the matter, an announcement is expected to be made this week when Europe’s competition chief Margrethe Vestager addresses Brussels.

Issue 15 > Compliance Alerts

Ukrainian top official arrested for bribery

The head of Ukraine’s State Agency for Land Resources (Ukrspetszem) allegedly was in the process of taking US$200,000 worth of bribes in exchange for allocating the use of land, announced the country’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov. The head of Ukrspetszem was detained with an accomplice. When she was arrested, she was in possession of US$86,000 of bribe money.

Issue 15 > Compliance Alerts

News broadcaster TV5 hacked by group allegedly associated with ISIS

French broadcaster TV5 Monde came back on air on Thursday after being subjected to a major hack by a group claiming to be associated with ISIS. The French government has called for the nation’s media outlets to remain vigilant. The network lost control of its social media accounts and website but returned to normal broadcasting around 6pm on Thursday evening. TV5 posted a video on its Facebook page in which the network’s director Yves Bigot said the cyberattack was “extremely powerful”.

Issue 15 > Compliance Alerts

Italian police report highlights rampant corruption

Italy’s financial police has released a report that highlights the wide spread corruption across the Mediterranean country. Last year, €1.5 billion (US$1.62 billion) of the €4.6 billion (US$5 billion) spent on public contracts was the result of fraud and a further €2.6 billion (US$2.8 billion) was wasted. The annual report for 2014 was released on Wednesday and said that the financial police had made reports against 3,700 people for crimes against public administration.

Issue 15 > Compliance Alerts

Baosteel executive investigated for corruption

China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection has announced that a top executive for the Baosteel Group is under investigation for “serious disciplinary violations”, a term which is usually synonymous with corruption in China. The watchdog named Baosteel vice president Cui Jian as the official under investigation, but did not provide any further details about the alleged misconduct. A spokesman for the second largest steelmaker in China and the fourth largest in the world said that the company was aware of the investigation, and that it was monitoring the probe for developments. However, he offered no further comments.

Issue 15 > Compliance Alerts

Bosch pleads guilty to price fixing

Automotive parts supplier Robert Bosch has pleaded guilty and agreed to pay a fine of US$57.8 million for its role in a price fixing scheme. The world’s largest independent parts supplier to the automotive industry admitted it helped fix prices and rig bids for spark plugs, oxygen sensors and starter motors to be sold to manufacturers around the world. The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has said that Bosch allocated the supply of the spark plugs and oxygen censors from 2000 to 2011. It also rigged bids and fixed, stabilized and maintained prices before selling the two products to major manufacturers such as DaimlerChrysler AG, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Company.

Issue 15 > Compliance Alerts

Twitch warns of data breach

Live streaming company Twitch has warned users that their privacy may have been breached, and names and email addresses may have been compromised. The company posted a blog this week announcing the potential ‘unauthorized access’, but failed to say how many accounts could have been impacted. Although the breach has not yet been confirmed, Twitch is expiring passwords. This means users will be required to change their passwords when they next try and login to their accounts, and they are also being encouraged to change information used on other accounts with similar passwords. Twitch has disconnected users’ accounts from Twitter and Youtube.

Issue 15 > Compliance Alerts

Israel’s former Prime Minister convicted of corruption

The former Prime Minister of Israel has been convicted of accepting bribes from a United States businessman. Ehud Olmert has already been sentenced to six years in jail in May when he was found guilty of accepting bribes linked to a real estate deal in Jerusalem during his time as the city’s Mayor. Olmert, who held the position of Prime Minister between 2006 and 2009, is appealing against May’s verdict and his lawyer said they are considering appealing against the more recent decision as well.

Issue 15 > Compliance Alerts

Tinder prank exposes security lapse

A prankster exposed a lapse in security on the dating app Tinder by creating fake accounts to match with men. Instead of sending messages to women as intended, men were sending messages to fake accounts and then having their messages sent to other straight men’s accounts, so effectively they were flirting with each other while the prankster acted as a middle man. The person responsible has identified himself as a man called Patrick and cited his motivation as an attempt to highlight the unsavoury messages men send to women on Tinder.

Issue 15 > Spotlights

The ever-increasing profile of the compliance officer

A recent lawsuit in the United States finance sector has raised the prospect of individual compliance officers being held responsible for the failings of a compliance programme. Compliance Insider® considers the measures officers can take to minimise personal liability, as well as the implications for companies.

Issue 14 > Compliance Alerts

No business as usual for Nepal FA during FIFA investigation

The president of the Nepal Football Association (ANFA) has voluntarily agreed to stand down from his position for an additional 90 days while FIFA continues to investigate corruption allegations. Ganesh Thapa had already been absent from his post for 120 days as the football world governing body conducted the probe. The additional period will mean that he now misses next month’s Asian Football Confederation congress in Bahrain, during which a full-time regional replacement will be voted on and sought.

Issue 14 > Compliance Alerts

European Commission likely to file antitrust charges against Google

The European Commission (EC) is expected to imminently file formal charges against Google for antitrust violations. The news follows this week’s revelations in a leaked report from the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that FTC staffers wanted to sue Google for abusing its monopoly power after the Commission’s own probe into the search engine company in 2012. They alleged that Google threatened to remove websites from its search if companies such as Amazon and Yelp refused to let it use their content. Google ultimately made some changes and the FTC voted unanimously against bringing charges.