Whistleblower News: Telecom Executives to Pay Penalties For FCPA Violations, Malaysia to Pay $1.2 Billion to Abu Dhabi Fund Over 1MDB Scandal, Theranos Reportedly Staged Fake Blood Tests for Investors

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Telecom Executives Agree to Pay Penalties For FCPA Violations

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that two former executives at Hungarian-based telecommunications company Magyar Telekom have agreed to pay financial penalties and accept officer-and-director bars to settle a previously-filed SEC case alleging they violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

Magyar Telekom paid a $95 million penalty in December 2011 to settle parallel civil and criminal charges that the company bribed officials in Macedonia and Montenegro to win business and shut out competition in the telecommunications industry. The SEC’s complaint also charged the company’s former CEO Elek Straub and former chief strategy officer Andras Balogh with orchestrating the use of sham contracts to funnel millions of dollars in corrupt payments. The two executives were set to stand trial this month.

Straub has agreed to pay a $250,000 penalty and Balogh has agreed to pay a $150,000 penalty. Both executives agreed to a five-year bar from serving as an officer or director of any SEC-registered public company. The settlements are subject to court approval. read more »

Malaysia to Pay $1.2 Billion to Abu Dhabi Fund Over 1MDB Scandal

In 2012, with help from Goldman Sachs, a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund called 1Malaysia Development Berhad sold $3.5 billion worth of bonds backed by an Abu Dhabi government fund to help it purchase power plants.

But behind the scenes, American officials have claimed, nearly $1.45 billion was illegally redirected to Swiss bank accounts and ultimately into the hands of some of the people involved in the deal.

That deal is now part of an international investigation into the Malaysian fund, known as 1MDB, that has plagued Najib Razak, the prime minister of Malaysia. A civil complaint filed by Justice Department officials in the United States said that some of the funds landed in the hands of Mr. Najib’s friends and associates as well as officials and executives from Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund.

On Monday, Malaysia and Abu Dhabi moved to clean up one part of the scandal: who would pay back investors who bought the bonds. read more »

Theranos Reportedly Staged Fake Blood Tests for Investors

As Elizabeth Holmes retreats further and further into the collar of her requisite black turtleneck, things continue to look worse for her besmirched blood-testing company, Theranos. After months of bad news — including lab closures, major staff layoffs, and a revaluation of her personal wealth at effectively nothing — today, The Wall Street Journal writes that Theranos, yet again, allegedly wasn’t entirely forthcoming regarding its technology. (Holmes & Co. were supposedly creating a blood-testing product that could scan for significant data using less blood than traditional methods. This technology has yet to fully materialize.) The company, WSJ says, “used a shell company to ‘secretly’ buy commercial-lab equipment, and improperly created rosy financial projections for investors.” Theranos used the commercial technology it purchased to stage demonstrations of how its blood tests worked, or theoretically worked.

The information comes from a recently unsealed court filing involving Theranos investors who are currently suing the company. read more »

New Brazilian corruption probes and their consequences

Despite a mounting scandal, the government soldiers on

THE latest revelations of wrongdoing in high places struck Brazil with the force of a Netflix release: they are riveting, but so far have left the real world undisturbed. On April 12th Edson Fachin, the supreme-court justice who is overseeing a vast probe into corruption centred on Petrobras, the state-controlled oil company, authorised prosecutors to investigate eight government ministers, 24 senators, 39 deputies in the lower house of congress and three state governors. He sent dozens of cases to lower courts; they will now consider whether to launch new criminal inquiries into nine more state governors and three former presidents. All the big political parties and most front-runners in next year’s presidential election have been tarnished. read more »

Sanofi files U.S. antitrust lawsuit against Mylan over EpiPen

Sanofi SA on Monday sued Mylan NV, accusing the pharmaceutical company of engaging in illegal conduct to squelch competition to its EpiPen allergy treatment, which has been at the center of a public debate over drug prices. read more »

LafargeHolcim chief steps down after Syria investigation

The head of cement maker LafargeHolcim, Eric Olsen, is stepping down from the role following an investigation into the company's activities in Syria.

The firm recently found that managers of a factory in Syria had paid local armed groups in order to stay open.

.Mr Olsen said he had not been involved in any wrongdoing, and was standing down to bring "serenity" to the Swiss-French company.

Lafarge is the world's biggest supplier of concrete, cement and aggregates. read more »