The week in news - November 16
France’s new anti-corruption bill, commonly referred to as Sapin II, was passed last Tuesday, November 8th. It is hoped that the laws will serve to bolster the nation’s reputation, catching up to far-reaching legislation by the US and UK. Sapin II creates an obligation on large-scale corporations to install comprehensive compliance programs, creates increased sanction capabilities, introduces greater protection for whistleblowers, and allows for deferred prosecution arrangements. The introduction of heavier penalties will also include a maximum prison sentence of 10 years for individuals. The laws will be enforced by a newly formed anti-corruption agency, led by Xaviere Simeoni.
Russia’s Economic Minister, Alexey Ulyukayev, has been detained. The highest-ranking official to have been placed under arrest since 1991, according to Fortune, Ulyukayev stands accused of accepting a $2 million bribe for producing a favourable report on Kremlin-controlled Rosneft, which successfully attained a fifty per cent share in Bashneft, a Russian oil company, in October of this year. If he is prosecuted, Ulyukayev could face up to 15 years imprisonment, and a ban from holding certain professional positions in the future. He was formally dismissed from his position as Economic Minister on Tuesday.
Volkswagen’s ‘Dieselgate’ continues to spill new problems. The latest in a string of problems questions whether the motorcar manufacturer intentionally destroyed documents and evidence that may have alluded to the emissions controlling software installed in 11 million of their vehicles. The United States’ Federal Trade Commission now seeks further testimonials to determine the accuracy of these allegations. Volkswagen has previously faced a whistleblower’s claims that they were wrongfully terminated for refusing to comply with instructions that would have led to the destruction of data. To date, the company has agreed to spend $16.5 billion in relation to the ongoing ‘Dieselgate’ scandal.
The largest financial attack to date occurred this February, when hackers stole from the Bangladeshi central bank’s account, held at the New York Federal Reserve. Having attempted to transfer $1 billion in funds, the hackers, who remain unidentified to this day, successfully pilfered $81 million. The money is thought to have been transferred to four separate accounts held at the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation, and to have been laundered through casinos in Manila, which are not subject to anti-money laundering laws. According to recent reports, more than $15 million has since been located and recovered. The money has been returned and the casino’s owner has given testimony, implicating two high-rolling Chinese citizens. Officials expect to reclaim a further $30 million.