Press review
15 September 2023

Press review – Week of 11 September 2023

This week, the Navacelle press review looks back at the decision of a Brazilian Supreme Court judge to overturn the confession of the Odebrecht construction company in the corruption case involving current president Lula. Additionally, the press review also covers the referral of former head of domestic intelligence Bernard Squarcini to the magistrates’ court. Customs authorities also publish a memo setting out the regulations applicable to the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Europol presents its first report from the European Financial and Economic Crime Centre. The French Competition Authority sanctions six companies for collusion in calls for public contracts organized by CEA in the nuclear engineering, maintenance, dismantling and waste treatment services sector. Finally, the U.S. Justice Department Announces First Criminal Resolution Involving the Illicit Sale and Transport of Iranian Oil in Violation of U.S. Sanctions.

Brazil suffers setback in fight against corruption

Brazilian Supreme Court judge José Antonio Dias Toffolio overturned Odebrecht’s confession, considering that it had been obtained through “real psychological torture”. These confessions had led to current President Lula being sentenced to 18 months in prison as part of the Petrobas corruption affair. The President of the Supreme Court must ,ow decide on the setting up of a plenary session in which ten magistrates will rule on the case. > Read article

Memo – Implementation of the LCB-FT system for professionals supervised by Customs

On September 6, 2023, the National Customs Intelligence and Investigation Division published a memo setting out the regulations applicable to the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism (LCB-FT). This document is addressed to professionals subject to LCB-FT obligations supervised by customs (art and antiques dealers, voluntary public auction houses, precious metals and precious stones dealers). It summarizes the role of TRACFIN, customs and the national sanctions commission in the fight against money laundering. The memo also guides professionals in implementing their obligations. > Read the article

The judges’ accusations against Bernard Squarcini, former head of domestic intelligence referred to criminal court

Former DCRI boss Bernard Squarcini has been remanded to appear before the Paris Criminal Court on charges including passive influence peddling for the benefit of LVMH, breach of trust, compromising national defense secrets and misappropriation of public funds. The “Squale”, who contests all the charges, will appear alongside ten other defendants, mainly charged with breach of professional secrecy. The LVMH group, which will be at the heart of the debates in this exceptional trial on the “privatization of intelligence”, is not being prosecuted, having signed a 10 million euro public interest judicial agreement guaranteeing that the prosecution will be dropped. > Read article

New Europol report shines light on multi-billion euro underground criminal economy

On 11 September 2023, Europol presented its first report from the European Financial and Economic Crime Center (EFECC) “The other side of the coin: an analysis of financial and economic crime”. The report is based on operational knowledge and strategic intelligence provided by European Union (EU) member states and Europol partners. It assesses the current threats related to financial and economic crime, and their impact on our society. The report reveals that almost “70% of criminal networks operating in the EU make use of one form of money laundering or the other to fund their activities and conceal their assets.” On the corruption side, “more than 60% of criminal networks operating in the EU use corruptive methods to achieve their illicit goals”. > Read the article

Dismantling operations at the Marcoule nuclear site (Gard): the French Competition Authority sanctions six companies for collusion in calls for tender organized by CEA

The French Competition Authority (Autorité de la Concurrence) has fined six companies operating in the nuclear engineering, maintenance, dismantling and waste treatment services sector, for having engaged in cartel practices in connection with public contract adjudications by the French Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission (CEA) in the South of France. As a result, the six companies Bouygues Construction Expertises, SNEF, ENDEL (a former ENGIE subsidiary), Nuvia Process (a Vinci Group subsidiary) and SPIE Nucléaire were fined a total of 31,239,000 euros for anti-competitive practices. The Authority granted to ONET group, a seventh company, full exemption from penalties under the leniency procedure for its cooperation in the investigation. > Read the article

U.S. Justice Department Announces First Criminal Resolution Involving the Illicit Sale and Transport of Iranian Oil in Violation of U.S. Sanctions

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the disruption of a multimillion delivery of Iranian crude oil by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, an entity recognized by the USA as a terrorist organization, to another country last April. The ship’s owner, Suez Rajan Limited, pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and was fined US$ 2.5 million. The company Empire Navigation, which operated the ship, signed a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with DOJ prosecutors, under which the company agreed to transport the cargo to the United States for seizure. > Read guide

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