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News >> Anti-Bribery & Anti-Corruption

Italian police have arrested Finmeccanica chief executive and chairperson Giuseppe Orsi on allegations that he bribed intermediaries in the €560 million (approximately US$749 million) sale of 12 helicopters from the Italian state-controlled defence technologies conglomerate to the Indian Government. Reportedly, Indian Defence Minister A. K. Antony has ordered India's federal police to conduct an inquiry into the deal, which allegedly involved kickbacks worth Rs40 million paid to Indian officials.

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (Wal-Mart) has named Karen Roberts as its new general counsel. Roberts will assume her new role beginning on February 1. The previous general counsel, Jeff Gearhart will continue to lead the legal department as executive vice president and corporate secretary and focus his efforts on global compliance efforts as Wal-Mart continues to deal with bribery allegations in Mexico. Wal-Mart has been under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and The Securities and Exchange Commission regarding allegations that the company bribed Mexican officials in order to more quickly open stores in the country.

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The United States (US) Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced that insurance and asset management company Allianz SE (Allianz) has agreed to pay US$12.3 million to settle SEC charges that it breached the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in the period 2001 to 2008. A SEC investigation found that 295 government insurance contracts were obtained or retained by improper payments of US$650,626 by Allianz's subsidiary in Indonesia to employees of state-owned groups.

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Rolls-Royce said that it has been in talks with Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) over potential corruption involving its intermediaries overseas. Allegedly, the SFO asked the company to investigate allegations of corruption in China and Indonesia earlier in the year. Rolls-Royce then hired an outside body to conduct an investigation, the results of which identified matters of concern. The company then reported its concerns to the SFO. Aerospace and defense companies like Rolls-Royce often use intermediaries to conduct business in areas where they do not have large scale operations and the industry has faced allegations of corruption before.

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According to a recent study released by Kroll Advisory Solutions, only 47% of Asia Pacific companies surveyed had conducted an assessment of the risks stemming from enforcement of the U.K. Bribery Act and the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Of those who did not conduct assessments, 51.3% either do not know how strong their compliance programs are or believe their compliance programs are not strong enough. Asian companies have been the target of U.S. enforcement action in the past.

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The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) agreed to end the deferred prosecution agreement of Pride International (Pride), an oil services company, one year early due to its strong anti-bribery compliance program. This is believed to be the first time the DOJ has ended a deferred-prosecution agreement related to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) early. Pride faced FCPA charges for paying US$2 million in bribes to foreign officials in several countries including Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Nigeria and Kazakhstan, in the early 2000’s. The case was part of a larger investigation into Panalpina, a Swiss logistics company.

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The Republic of Korea Fair Trade Commission (FTC) has announced that it will prosecute Samil Pharmaceutical Co Ltd (Samil) for providing 302 South Korean hospitals and clinics with a total KRW2,100,830,009 (approximately US$1.94 million) in return for prescribing various Samil products to patients. The FTC stated that it will also issue Samil a corrective order and a penalty of KRW176 million (US$162,500), and noted that Samil had a system of "rebates" ranging mostly from 10-30% of the value of orders placed by medical service providers, with higher sums being paid for larger orders.

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The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission released the most comprehensive guidance on the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) to date this week. The guidance is intended to lessen confusion surrounding the law. The guidance restates many positions the government has taken on the law in the past and avoids making policy proclamations the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other critics of the law had been seeking.

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Oil company Total SA (Total) reported in its regulatory filing this week that it had set aside €308 million to settle the long-running investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) into bribery allegations involving Total’s operations in Iran. The company also referred to proposed settlement agreements proposed by the U.S. authorities “that could be accepted by Total.” The U.S. authorities have been investigating Total’s attempts to obtain contracts to develop parts for Iran’s South Pars gas field since the early 2000’s.

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Earlier this week, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (Wal-Mart) hired Daniel Trujillo as the head of its international legal compliance program. Trujillo’s title will be senior vice president and chief compliance officer – Wal-Mart International. This is a new position at Wal-Mart as its international compliance program was previously organized at a regional level. The company is now centralizing the compliance function for its international offices in the wake of the announcement of a federal investigation into bribery at the company’s Mexico unit. Wal-Mart disclosed in September that the company had spent $51 million on an internal investigation related to the allegations. The U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission are also investigating the company. Trujillo is currently the deputy general counsel and director of compliance at oil field services company Schlumberger Ltd., which had previously disclosed that U.S. federal prosecutors are investigating it for possible violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Trujillo has advocated for the use of technology and risk-based data metrics in compliance. A lawyer briefed on the matter said that Trujillo has been given a “blank slate” at Wal-Mart to build the new compliance office.

Wall Street Journal: Wal-Mart Hires International Compliance Chief Amid Bribery Probe (16 October 2012)
(Source: Wall Street Journal)

 

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