Whistleblower News: Trump Administration Rolls Back Anti-Corruption Efforts in the Oil Industry, Major Uber investor sues Travis Kalanick, alleging fraud for 'selfish ends', Warren asks where bank CEOs stand on customers' ability to join class action suit

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Trump Administration Rolls Back Anti-Corruption Efforts in the Oil Industry

In February, in one of its first acts of lawmaking, the Trump Administration, with the Republican-controlled Congress, rescinded a pending Securities and Exchange Commission rule that would have required oil companies to disclose details of their payments to international governments in connection with oil and gas production.

The rule, which was mandated by a law co-sponsored by former Republican Senator Richard Lugar, of Indiana, and Democratic Senator Ben Cardin, of Maryland, was designed to combat bribery and corruption, especially in poor countries governed by kleptocrats. Thirty other countries, including Canada and the members of the European Union, had already adopted similar requirements. Yet the American Petroleum Institute and companies such as ExxonMobil, at the time when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was still its C.E.O., had lobbied against the rule. They said that it was costly to implement and gave unfair advantage to overseas competitors to which it did not apply. When Trump took power, the lobbyists got their way.

A month later, Trump’s Interior Department signalled that the Administration would also withdraw from a certification process of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. The E.I.T.I. is another corruption-fighting effort in the oil and mining sectors that involves governments, corporations, and civil-society groups. The United States officially endorsed the initiative, in 2004, because the George W. Bush Administration believed that it could promote better governance worldwide. The E.I.T.I. standards for transparency in oil finance were initially imposed mainly on poor countries, but, under the Obama Administration, the U.S. agreed, along with other wealthy countries, to adopt the standards. Trump apparently intends to reverse that decision. This is one more area, among many, where the U.S. no longer leads by example. read more »

Major Uber investor sues Travis Kalanick, alleging fraud for 'selfish ends

Benchmark Capital is accusing the embattled former CEO of engaging in fraud in order to ‘increase his power over Uber’

Travis Kalanick is being sued by one of Uber’s largest investors, Benchmark Capital, which accuses the former chief executive of engaging in fraud in order to “increase his power over Uber for his own selfish ends”.

The Benchmark complaint exposes an ugly battle for power at the top of the nearly $70bn startup, which has been buffeted from crisis to crisis all year and is still searching for a replacement for Kalanick.

The suit, filed on Thursday in Delaware Chancery court and first revealed by Axios, seeks to remove Kalanick from Uber’s board of directors and bar him from interfering with Uber’s business affairs. It demands redress for the alleged “fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, and breaches of contractual obligations” perpetrated by Kalanick. read more »

Warren asks where bank CEOs stand on customers' ability to join class action suits

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) wants to know where the nation’s biggest banks stand on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new rule banning companies from stripping consumers of their right to join class action lawsuits.

Warren sent a letter Thursday to the CEOs of the 16 largest financial firms, including Bank of America and Wells Fargo & Co., asking whether they oppose the rule limiting use of language, know as arbitration clauses, in consumer contracts that force consumers to settle disputes privately with an independent third party.

House Republicans passed a resolution late last month to repeal the controversial rule under the Congressional Review Act. Business and bank lobbying groups reportedly claim the rule limits consumer choices and makes it harder to collect from bad actors. read more »

Whistleblowers reportedly allege fraud at top Canadian buyout firm

Canadian regulators are looking into allegations of fraud at Catalyst Capital.

At least four whistleblowers have filed complaints with the Ontario Securities Commission.

Catalyst is one of the largest private-equity firms in the country with more than 6 billion Canadian dollars in assets under management. read more »

Defense Contractor ADS Inc. Agrees to Pay $16M to Settle False Claims Act Allegations

Virginia-based https://www.hbsslaw.com/qui-tam-whistleblowers/types-of-qui-tam-fraud-2/defense-contractor-fraud/ ADS Inc. and its subsidiaries have agreed to pay the United States $16 million to settle allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by knowingly conspiring with and causing purported small businesses to submit false claims for payment in connection with fraudulently obtained small business contracts, the Department of Justice announced today. The settlement further resolves allegations that ADS engaged in improper bid rigging relating to certain of the fraudulently obtained contracts. The settlement with ADS ranks as one of the largest recoveries involving alleged fraud in connection with small business contracting eligibility. read more »