Top 10 international anti-corruption developments in March 2021 – Criminal law
In order to provide the big picture for in-house lawyers and busy compliance professionals, we have summarized below some of the most important international anti-corruption developments from the past month, with links to primary resources. This month we ask: Which company solved a foreign bribery case in Scotland? What was the outcome of a three-year foreign bribery trial in Italy? Why is the former Brazilian president free to run again, despite multiple corruption convictions? The answers to these questions and more can be found here in our top 10 list of March 2021.
1. Scottish oil and gas company resolves corruption allegations in Kazakhstan in Scotland. On March 16, 2021, the Crown Office and the Procurator Fiscal Service of Scotland ad that WGPSN, a subsidiary of John Wood Group PLC, had agreed to pay £ 6.46million to the Service’s Civilian Collection Unit over allegations that one of its subsidiaries, PSNA Limited, had made payments to Unaoil to secure contracts in Kazakhstan in 2008 and 2010 The payment of £ 6.46 million represents dividends and retained earnings from these two contracts. According to the press release, the contracts were secured before Wood acquired the PSN business, and the potential misconduct came to light in March 2016 when the media reported widespread corruption on Unaoil’s part. (To learn more about the Unaoil survey, see our Top 10 for November 2017, May 2018, June 2018, December 2018, July 2019, March 2020, May 2020, July 2020, August 2020 and February 2021. See also below- below.)
2. UK Serious Fraud Office terminates foreign bribery investigation at US-based engineering firm. On March 18, 2021, the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) ad that he had closed his four-year bribery and corruption investigation against the UK subsidiaries of KBR, a US-based engineering firm. In August 2020, the OFS informed KBR that it was no longer investigating allegations of corruption involving Unaoil, but that certain avenues of investigation remained open. And in February 2021, the UK Supreme Court ruled in
KBR vs. SFO that the OFS cannot use its statutory power under section 2 (3) of the Criminal Justice Act 1987 to compel a non-UK company which has no registered office or operates in the UK to produce documents from abroad. This decision may have contributed to the OFS conclusion that “the evidence in this case did not meet the standard of proof as defined in the Crown Attorneys Code”.
3. UK to launch anti-corruption sanctions regime in 2021. On March 16, 2021, the British Prime Minister released a report titled “Global Britain in the Age of Competition: The Integrated Review of Security, Defense, Development and Foreign Policy. “Among other things, the Review states that” In 2021, the UK will launch a second global anti-corruption sanctions regime, giving us the power to prevent those involved in corruption from entering the UK freely or to channel money through our financial system. “This will complement existing anti-corruption tools, including law enforcement powers, and allow us to work with allies that have similar regimes, such as the United States and Canada.” The United Kingdom has been criticized, including in the UK, for authorizing the product. foreign bribery and bribery to proliferate across the country (see, for example, the discussion of a UK parliamentary report on the proceeds of Russian bribery in our Top 10 of May 2018). The UK launched its first stand-alone “Magnitsky” -type sanctions in July 2020, giving the UK the option to impose targeted asset freezes and travel bans on those involved in serious violations or abuses. human rights.
4. The former CFO of the New York-based Hedge Fund was ordered to pay a civil penalty. On March 16, 2021, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) orderedthat Joel Frank, former Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Och-Ziff Capital Management, pays a civil fine in the amount of $ 35,000 for failing to fulfill his responsibilities regarding Osh’s internal accounting controls -Ziff and his books and records. The SEC announced in September 2016 that Frank had resolved the allegations, but that his sanction would be imposed at a later date. According to the order of March 2021, between 2007 and 2011, Och-Ziff paid bribes through intermediaries and partners to senior government officials in Africa in order to gain or keep business. The Order alleges that Frank authorized and approved every payment that was incorrectly recorded in the books and records of the hedge fund and failed to ensure that the required information regarding the transactions was documented, that the appropriate information about business partners have been obtained and that ongoing due diligence and checks have been carried out correctly.
5. Ecuadorian nationals accused in the framework of a corruption program involving the pension fund of the Ecuadorian public police. On March 2, 2021, the DOJ ad that John Luzuriaga Aguinaga and Jorge Cherrez Miño had each been charged in the Southern District of Florida with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering for their roles in an alleged corruption and money laundering scheme. money involving the Ecuadorian Public Police Pension Fund (ISSPOL). Cherrez, an investment adviser, reportedly paid more than $ 2.6 million in bribes to officials of the public pension fund, including nearly $ 1.4 million to the fund’s risk manager and a member of its investment committee, in order to obtain and maintain ISSPOL’s investment activities. According to the complaint, the payments were received into an account in the United States and bribes were made through companies and bank accounts based in Florida.
6. A former Ecuadorian civil servant and business manager is sentenced to prison terms for corruption in a state-owned surety company. On March 23, 2021, DOJ ad that Juan Ribas Domenech, an Ecuadorian and Italian national who was president of Seguros Sucre, Ecuador’s public surety company, and advisor to the then President of Ecuador, had been sentenced to 51 months in prison at the following his guilty plea in September 2020 in the Southern District of Florida to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Ribas has reportedly accepted more than $ 5 million in bribes in exchange for using his official position to help three UK reinsurance companies secure and maintain reinsurance contracts with Seguros Sucre. The bribes were allegedly paid through various intermediaries and partially laundered via the United States. On March 26, 2021, José Vicente Gómez Avilés was sentenced to 46 months in prison following his guilty plea in June 2020 on a related conspiracy charge. Gómez allegedly helped bribe Domenech to secure a contract for the Colombian branch of one of the British reinsurance companies.
7. Former Venezuelan civil servant pleads guilty to international corruption and money laundering program. On March 23, 2021, DOJ ad that Jose Luis De Jongh Atencio, a former official of Citgo Petroleum Corporation, a subsidiary of Houston-based Petróleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), pleaded guilty in the Southern District of Texas to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering silver. De Jongh, a dual US-Venezuelan citizen, allegedly accepted more than $ 7 million in bribes and gifts, including Super Bowl, World Series and U2 concert tickets, in return for helping bribe payers to enter into contracts with Citgo and provide other business. benefits. DeJongh is said to have directed the bribe payments to the bank accounts of Panamanian and Swiss shell companies. The charges against De Jongh were unsealed in August 2020. Sentencing is scheduled for August 19, 2021.
8. The former purchasing manager of the PDVSA joint venture is sentenced to prison for bribes. On March 23, 2021, Lennys Rangel, former head of purchasing at Petrocedeño, a joint venture between PDVSA, the Venezuelan state-owned oil company, and two European oil companies, was sentenced to 23 months in prison following his guilty plea in August. 2020. the Southern District of Florida on one count of Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering.1 Rangel is said to have received bribes from various contractors in exchange for their allocation of Petrocedeño.
9. Oil companies acquired in Italy under an agreement with Nigeria. On March 17, 2021, an Italian court acquitted Royal Dutch Shell and Eni for corruption after a three-year trial. Eleven other defendants, including the current CEO of Eni, his predecessor, and a former Nigerian oil minister were also acquitted. In December 2017, Shell and Eni initially responded to accusations by Italian prosecutors, who alleged that around half of a $ 1.3 billion deal to secure the rights to an oil field that owns nearly ‘A quarter of Nigeria’s oil reserves had been converted to cash and used to pay bribes and several hundred million more dollars were used to bribe a former oil minister. The court has 90 days to render its reasoning in the case, after which prosecutors can appeal.
10. Update on Brazil.
- Brazil’s national oil company recovers $ 920 million. March 2, 2021, Petrobras ad that he had recovered 5.3 billion reals ($ 920 million) to date in a series of reimbursements linked to the Lava Jato investigation. The sum, announced in March, includes an additional 360 million reals ($ 65 million) that Petrobras recently received under a February 2021 leniency agreement with South Korean shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries. This is just the first installment of a total of 705.9 million reals ($ 122.8 million) that Petrobras will receive from Samsung Heavy Industries under the deal.
- Former President’s charges related to Operation Car Wash quashed. On March 9, 2021, a judge of the Supreme Court of Brazil canceledcorruption convictions against Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, the former president of Brazil. The judge agreed with Lula’s lawyers that jurisdiction was inappropriate in this case, as he was tried and sentenced in Curitiba, Paraná state, for crimes allegedly taking place in Brasilia, where Lula lived when ‘he was president of Brazil. The prosecution can appeal the decision, or Lula can be retried in Brasilia for corruption. In the meantime, however, Lula is once again free to run for political office. (See our April 2016, August 2016, September 2016, October 2016, December 2016, June 2017, July 2017, September 2017, January 2018 and September 2020 Top 10 for previous discussions on the charges against Lula.)
1. United States v. Rangel, N ° 19-cr-20726, ECF n ° 42 (SD Fla. March 24, 2021).
Due to the generality of this update, the information provided in this document may not be applicable in all situations and should not be implemented without specific legal advice based on particular situations.
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