The week in news - November 23
JP Morgan Chase & Co received a $264 million fine for charges relating to foreign bribery and their ‘sons and daughters’ hiring program in China. The program, which began nearly ten years ago, promoted the hiring of high-ranking Chinese officials’ children for jobs and internships at the bank. The fine is to be paid by JP Morgan and its Hong Kong subsidiary company to the SEC and Federal Reserve. Bribery allegations alleging that the sons and daughters programme encouraged business deals first surfaced in a New York Times exposé dating back to 2013. It is suggested that more than 200 interns and full time members of staff were employed over a seven-year period at the suggestion of various clients and government officials through the program.
The Office of the Whistleblower’s annual report was released on November 15th, highlighting a record sum of awards payments. As the 2016 fiscal year drew to a close, more than $57 million in whistleblower awards has been recorded – higher than the sum of all previous years. The whistleblower program, established by the SEC in 2011, has also seen a record-breaking number of reports, with 4,218 tips received this financial year, up more than 40% on the number of reports made in 2012, according to Bloomberg. Since its founding, the SEC’s whistleblower program has made more than $111.
Russia’s decision to deny access to professional networking site LinkedIn has sparked concern among US regulators. Communications regulator Roskomnadzor confirmed the government's decision to block LinkedIn on November 17th, issuing a 24-hour notice to its members. The decision came following a ruling by the Russian court that LinkedIn violated data privacy laws – which dictate that any data on Russian citizens must be held on servers in the territory. The move has been critiqued as promoting anti-competition practices and censorship, and has caused many to believe that action may be taken against larger American social networking sites Facebook and Twitter in the near future. LinkedIn, which has six million registered users in Russia, filed an appeal against the decision, which was rejected by the courts last month.
The third annual World Internet Conference drew to a close in Wuzhen, eastern China last week. From November 16th to 18th, the Cyberspace Administration of China and Zhejiang People’s Province Government hosted foreign and domestic government officials, technology entrepreneurs, and established industry representatives, including delegates from IBM, Facebook and Tesla. High on the agenda for Chinese officials and business representatives were discussions of terrorist threats and the dissemination of false news, particularly in light of the United States’ presidential elections earlier this month. President Xi Jinping called for greater respect of nations’ cyber sovereignty, while privacy advocates used the platform as a stage to call for reform and the removal of censorship policies, rather than a bulwarking of the ‘Great Firewall’. The conference was held following the passing of China’s new controversial cyber security law earlier this month.
India’s hotly contested bill-replacement scheme could see delays well into the new-year, according to economist Saumitra Chaudhuri. Chaudhuri, who served as former Prime Minister Manhmohan Singh’s advisor, has projected potential delays in the production of the new 500 and 2,000 rupee notes into May of next year. Chaudhuri estimates that a total of 23 billion notes have been decommissioned, which removed in excess of 15 trillion rupees from circulation. The Central Bank dismisses Chaudhuri’s calculations, stating the reprinting process began nearly two months ago, and will therefore be on track to replace the decommissioned notes by the end of the calendar year. The high denomination notes are depended upon in the domestic economy, and the chronic cash shortage in an economy where nearly 98% of transactions are cash-based could lead to further systemic issues down the line.