Venezuelan Billionaire News Network Owner, Former Venezuelan National Treasurer, and Former Owner of Dominican Republic Bank Charged in Money-Laundering Conspiracy Involving over $1 Billion in Bribes

On November 20, 2018, a Venezuelan billionaire who owns the Globovision news network was charged for his alleged role in a billion-dollar currency exchange and money-laundering scheme.  On the same day, a former Venezuelan national treasurer and former owner of Dominican Republic-based Banco Peravia pleaded guilty to charges for their roles in the scheme.  The charges involve a scheme to pay and receive bribes in exchange for the right to conduct foreign exchange transactions on
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MoneyGram International Inc. Agrees to Extend Deferred Prosecution Agreement, Forfeits $125 Million in Settlement with Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission

On November 8, 2018, officials announced that money services business MoneyGram International, Inc. (“MoneyGram”) had breached a 2012 deferred prosecution agreement (“DPA”) with DOJ in relation to its anti-fraud and anti-money laundering (“AML”) programs.  MoneyGram was charged in November 2012 with failing to maintain an effective AML program and aiding and abetting wire fraud, after MoneyGram agents and others engaged in fraud schemes through the company’s payment systems.  At the time, DOJ agreed to defer
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Malaysian Financier and Former Banker Indicted for Conspiring to Launder Billions of Dollars in Illegal Proceeds and to Pay Hundreds of Millions of Dollars in Bribes

On November 1, 2018, an indictment was unsealed charging two individuals with conspiring to violate the FCPA and to launder billions of dollars embezzled from Malaysia’s investment development fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (“1MDB”), between approximately 2009 and 2014.  The first individual, known as “Jho Low,” is a Malaysian financier, while the other, known as “Roger Ng,” is a former managing director at a New York-based financial institution (the “Financial Institution”).  On the same day that
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Former Executive Director at Venezuelan State-Owned Oil Company, Petroleos De Venezuela, S.A., Pleads Guilty to Role in Billion-Dollar Money Laundering Conspiracy

On October 31, 2018, a former executive director at the Venezuelan state-owned oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (“PDVSA”), pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering for his role in a billion-dollar international scheme to launder funds embezzled from PDVSA.  Abraham Edgardo Ortega, who was PDVSA’s Executive Director of Financial Planning, admitted as part of his plea that in his position with PDVSA, he accepted $5 million in bribes to give
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Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan Delivers Remarks Regarding DOJ Priorities, Policies, and Enforcement Activity

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of DOJ’s Criminal Division delivered wide-ranging remarks at three separate events in October and November, outlining for audiences the policy rationales and practical considerations of several DOJ policies.  In particular, Cronan highlighted the use of the FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy as “nonbinding guidance” in non-FCPA cases, stressing the importance of early self-disclosure and the need to provide a “regular and consistent flow” of information as internal investigations
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Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski Issues Memorandum on Selection of Monitors in Criminal Division Matters, Delivers Remarks at NYU School of Law

On October 11, 2018, Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski issued a memorandum to DOJ’s Criminal Division on the selection of corporate monitors, supplementing 2008 guidance on monitors in relation to deferred prosecution agreements (“DPAs”) and non-prosecution agreements (“NPAs”) with business organizations.  The new memorandum states at the outset that while beneficial in some instances, the imposition of a monitorship will not be necessary in many corporate criminal resolutions, and should generally be favored “only
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Traders Plead Guilty to Commodities Fraud and Spoofing Conspiracy

On October 9, 2018, a former precious metals trader at an unnamed United States-based bank (“Bank”) pleaded guilty to charges of commodities fraud and spoofing conspiracy in connection with his participation in deceptive trading activity in the precious metals futures markets.  The defendant, John Edmonds, said that from approximately 2009 through 2015, he conspired with other precious metals traders to manipulate the markets for gold, silver, platinum, and palladium futures.  Edmonds said that he did
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Department of Justice Announces Swiss Bank Program Resolutions

DOJ officials announced criminal resolutions with several Switzerland-based banks and asset managers in the third quarter of 2018, as the IRS’s Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program for U.S. taxpayers with undeclared assets overseas came to a close on September 28.  In announcing resolutions with NPB Neue Privat Bank AG, Mirelis Holding S.A., Bank Lombard Odier & Co., and Basler Kantonalbank, officials detailed years-long efforts by these firms to attract and retain U.S. clients with a number
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Oil Services CEO and Executive Sentenced to Prison for Roles in Foreign Bribery Scheme

On September 28, 2018, Anthony Mace, a former CEO of SBM Offshore, N.V. (“SBM”), a Dutch oil services company, was sentenced to 36 months in prison and a fine of $150,000.  Robert Zubiate, a former sales and marketing executive for SBM Offshore USA Inc. (“SBM USA”), a U.S.-based subsidiary, was also sentenced to 30 months in prison and a fine of $50,000.  Both Mace and Zubiate pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate
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Deputy Assistant Attorney General Matthew S. Miner of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division Delivers Remarks at the 5th Annual GIR New York Live Event

On September 27, 2018, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Matthew S. Miner delivered a speech to attendees of the Global Investigations Review’s annual conference in New York, addressing recent Criminal Division policy developments and providing an overview of the Division’s white collar enforcement activity during Fiscal Year 2018.  Miner highlighted the late-2017 rollout of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) Corporate Enforcement Policy and extension of the Policy in early 2018 as “nonbinding guidance” to non-FCPA
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Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. – Petrobras Agrees to Pay More Than $850 Million for FCPA Violations

On September 27, 2018, Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. – Petrobras (“Petrobras”), a Brazilian state-owned energy company, entered into a non-prosecution agreement and agreed to pay $853 million to U.S. and Brazilian authorities to resolve an investigation into FCPA violations.  As part of the agreement, Petrobras acknowledged that while its American Depository Shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, members of the company’s Executive Board (its high-level managers) facilitated millions of dollars in improper payments to
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Operator of Counter-Antivirus Service “Scan4you” Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison

On September 21, 2018, Latvian resident Ruslan Bondars was sentenced to 168 months in prison after a jury convicted him of offenses related to the operation of the counter-antivirus service “Scan4you.”  Authorities characterized Scan4you as providing “essential aid” to hackers, and the service has been linked to several large-scale computer intrusions and data breaches since 2009.  According to evidence at trial, the Scan4you service assisted hackers in determining whether their malware would be detected by
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Financial Advisor Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering Charge in Connection with Bribery Scheme Involving Ecuadorian Officials

On September 11, 2018, Jose Larrea, a Miami-based financial advisor, pleaded guilty to a money laundering conspiracy charge for his involvement in a scheme to bribe officials at Ecuador’s state-owned oil company, PetroEcuador.  Larrea admitted to wiring more than $1 million in funds to conceal the bribes, which an oil services contractor paid to PetroEcuador officials to secure business.  Larrea is the fourth individual to plead guilty in this case.

United States v. Larrea,
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North Korean Regime-Backed Programmer Charged in Conspiracy to Conduct Multiple Cyberattacks and Intrusions

On September 6, 2018, an indictment charged a North Korean citizen, Park Jin Hyok, with one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud and abuse and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with his alleged involvement in a series of cyberattacks around the world.  According to allegations in the complaint, Park, a computer programmer at the Korea Expo Joint Venture, belongs to a hacking team known as the “Lazarus Group,” which
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Former FIFA Executive, President of CONMEBOL, and Paraguayan Soccer Official Sentenced to Nine Years in Prison for Racketeering and Corruption Offenses

On August 29, 2018, Juan Ángel Napout—a former FIFA Vice President and president of CONMEBOL, the confederation responsible for soccer in South America—was sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment and ordered to pay a fine of $1 million and forfeit over $3.3 million.   A jury convicted Napout in December 2017 of charges arising from his acceptance of millions of dollars in bribes in exchange for media rights to soccer tournaments.  The tournaments included two cycles of
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