This is a summary of important international articles on anti-corruptions and anti-bribery in the news from this past July. The article titles are linked to primary sources and are collected from varying sources.
French Anti-Corruption Agency (AFA) Operating under Sapin II – held its first hearing, nearly 18 months after holding its 1st inspection on 6 initially inaugurated companies.
Under the law, companies with over 500 employees and gross € 100 million or more in revenues annually must implement a compliance program. Companies had until June 1, 2017 to create a program that establishes:
- A code of conduct that is part of the company’s internal regulations,
- An internal reporting mechanism,
- A corruption risk assessment mechanism,
- Procedures for conducting due diligence on clients, suppliers, and third parties,
- Appropriate accounting controls,
- Training sessions for executives or employees in high risk positions,
- Disciplinary procedures for employees, and
- A procedure for assessing/measuring the effectiveness of the program.
The Agency argued that the company had failed to implement 5 of the 8 pillars. The AFA honed in on the missing Corruption Risk Assessment Mechanism. Stating, “risk mapping constitutes the cornerstone and foundation of a company’s anti-corruption compliance program. If a company’s risk mapping was inadequate, it should automatically find that the rest of the company’s compliance program per se ineffective.”
Mexico expanded its prosecutorial tools to fight corruption and recover illicitly acquired assets by amending its statute to include corruption as one of the triggers of asset forfeiture. This applies both to corporate entities and private persons. Mexico along with the United States, Colombia, and Italy, have incorporated asset forfeiture as a tool to combat corruption?
This reform provides two separate legal courses of actions for asset forfeiture: a civil or a criminal action. The forfeiture law has no statute of limitations and can be applied retroactively from the day the acts are carried out. All that is left for this to take effect is the final vote from Congress, taking place in the next few days.
The New York Times:
Alejandro Toledo, Former Peruvian President was arrested in the US by the US Marshalls for his involvement in one of the biggest corruption scandals in Latin America. Odebrecht, A Brazilian construction company, in collaboration with Lava Jato admitted to paying $800 million in bribes in 2016 to 11 countries beyond Brazil, of which Mr. Toledo received $20 million. The company paid this to secure large infrastructure contracts to build roads, dams, bridges, and to emerge as the main construction company in the region. The Supreme Court of Brazil kept the information confidential and was resistant to share the information with the task force charged with investigating this incident.
Mr. Toledo was arrested because of an extradition request from Peru; however, the extradition, itself, has not been approved yet.
Deutsche Bank paid $197 million to settle a civil bribery case brought by XXX. The deal ended a court battle that featured testimony from a middleman who confessed to bribery. XXX alleged that the derivative transactions with Deutsche Bank were flawed because the bank paid fees to a middleman when it entered into trades with the housing group, Vestia, a housing provider effected by this, is satisfied with the settlement amount. The bank is also being investigated by the DOJ for an investment fund scandal among other accusations.
China’s new cybersecurity proposal could complicate trade talks wit he US. The new rules and standards aim to prevent or slow down the release of certain data from China. If the proposals go through, American companies like IBM and Cisco Systems, financial service providers, and the automotive industry will face challenges. The proposals are too vague and give officials too much leeway on enforcement. It is believed that these proposals are a means for China to punish American Businesses. This is signaling less willingness of China to bow to the U.S. Demands in the hopes of a trade agreement.
Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (“BBVA”), is under formal investigation related to an alleged spying case. BBVA will be probed on charges of bribery, disclosure secrets and corruption related to the company’s alleged dealings with former police chief Jose Manuel Villarejo. BBVA’s Executive Chairman, Carlos Torres reiterated the company’s firm commitment to clarifying the facts and complying with the law. The investigation centers on Villarejo, who was reportedly hired by the bank to spy on executives of a possible buyer and government officials. It will take months for the investigation led by PwC to be completed.