Business Ethics and Corporate Culture

SFO Releases Serious Economic Crime Guide

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) have released Serious Economic Crime: A boardroom guide to prevention and compliance (September 2011), which aims to “give board-level readers in the UK and international businesses informed commentary on the impact of anti-fraud and anti-corruption legislation”.
(Source: SFO)

Research Reveals ASX Bribery Risks

Super Review reports that research commissioned by the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors has found that 126 of the Australian Securities Exchange’s (ASX) top 200 companies are exposed to bribery and corruption risks in their overseas operations, with 40% of these organisations having “no public policy in place that prohibits bribery or ‘facilitation’ payments”. The research report, produced by Corporate Analysis Enhance Responsibility reportedly stated that “[b]ased on current research, it appears that the likelihood of an ASX200 company with international operations, no stated anti bribery policy, and/or inadequate anti-bribery management controls becoming embroiled in another high profile scandal are significant”.
Super Review: Australian companies exposed to offshore corruption (27 October 2011)
(Source: Super Review) 

Singapore to Boost AML/CFT Enforcement
Asia Pacific

Bloomberg reports that Singapore is considering the introduction of a tougher penalty regime and an increase in money laundering and terrorist financing enforcement. MAS managing director Ravi Menon reportedly said that, in addition, laundering the proceeds of tax offences will be criminalised and laws on tax evasion tightened. “MAS is reviewing whether we need to increase our supervisory intensity and is considering if we should make public sanctions against persistently or egregiously errant institutions”, Mr Menon reportedly said.
Bloomberg: Singapore May Toughen Penalties for Money Laundering, Terrorism Financing (28 October 2011)
(Source: Bloomberg)

Whistleblower Retaliation Not Uncommon at Mortgage Lender

After reporting that workers in her branch were committing fraud, Mari Eisenman was called into a meeting with a senior vice president at her company, Countrywide Financial Corp. Rather than being commended for reporting the illicit behavior within her branch, Eisenman was reprimanded for causing trouble. After it became clear to her that she was going to be let go from the company, she sought protection from the company’s corporate office in California, but they would not provide it to her. Eisenman’s story is like many of those who worked for Countrywide between the years of 2003 and 2008 and experienced retaliation. Some were non-supervisory employees who were fired when they refused to commit fraud while others were higher-level employees who had access to the company’s operations and were fired for reporting fraud.
iWatch News: Inside Countrywide, a ‘counseling meeting’ then termination (18 October 2011)
(Source: iWatch News)

Woman Sues Over Workplace Harassment and Bullying

The Herald Sun reports that IBM employee Susan Spiteri is suing the company for $1.1 million over a claim that her former supervisor, Joe Arcuri, sexually harassed and bullied her for almost two years, including an incident in which she was told to “show her breasts to get more sales”. Ms Spiteri has reportedly filed a claim in the Federal Court alleging that Mr Arcuri “scream[ed] abuse at her, [told] her she was stupid, [said] embarrassing things about her to customers and workmates, and repeatedly call[ed] her on her mobile phone after hours”. According to the Herald Sun, Ms Spiteri claimed that she suffered a mental breakdown as a result of the continuous harassment and bullying, and had tried to take her own life on several occasions. Maurice Blackburn legal counsel Siobhan Keating reportedly said that “IBM’s failure to act had a catastrophic effect on Susan’s health”, noting that “there had been a positive shift in community attitude towards acknowledging workplace bullying, particularly since the Brodie Panlock case”. IBM is yet to file a response to Ms Spiteri’s claim, reports the Herald Sun.
Herald Sun: Woman sues IBM for $1.1m over claim she was told to ‘get breasts out’ (20 October 2011)
(Source: Herald Sun)