Press review
23 June 2023

Press review – Week of 19 June 2023

This week's press review looks at the European Union's accession to the Istanbul Convention on combating domestic violence and violence against women, as well as the groundbreaking trial of four members of the French neo-Nazi movement for attempt to commit violence on religious sites. In criminal business law, the press review presents the plea bargain agreement that Hunter Biden, the son of US President Joe Biden, signed with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) for tax fraud and illegal possession of firearms, including the Federal Reserve Board (FED) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)'s investigation into the role of Goldman Sachs in the collapse of the Silicon Valley Bank. Finally, the press review highlights the French authorities' raids at the headquarters of the Olympic Games Organizing Committee as part of an investigation for alleged irregularities in public contracts for the 2024 Olympics and the dismissal of the complaint against the French Tennis Federation for alleged corruption.


Hunter Biden pleads guilty to tax fraud and illegal possession of a firearm

Hunter Biden, the son of U.S. President, Joe Biden, reached an agreement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) in which he admits his guilt for federal tax fraud and violations of firearms legislation. Republicans are denouncing “preferential treatment” and an attack on Donald Trump, who has recently come under fire for his handling of top-secret documents. According to them, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) did not properly carry-out their investigations against Hunter Biden into illegal enrichment and conflicts of interest when he was on the board of directors of a Ukrainian gas company, Burisma, and Joe Biden was the U.S. vice-president. > Read article


Fed, SEC probing Goldman Sachs’ role in Silicon Valley Bank’s final days, Wall Street Journal reports

The Federal Reserve Board (FED) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are investigating the role of New York investment bank Goldman Sachs in two agreements signed with Silicon Valley Bank before its stock market collapse. Silicon Valley Bank recorded a loss of 1.8 billion dollars on selling a bond portfolio to Goldman Sachs. The FED and SEC are seeking documents related to Goldman’s role as both buyer of the securities portfolio and adviser on the capital raise and investigating whether Goldman Sachs’ investment bank properly disclosed the portfolio sale. > Read article


2024 Olympics: raid of the Organizing Committee for suspected irregularities in public contracts

On Tuesday, 20 June 2023, French authorities raided the headquarters of the Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (Cojop) and the Société de Livraison des Ouvrages Olympiques (Solideo) as part of two judicial investigations into alleged irregularities in public contracts. The first investigation opened in 2022, following an audit by the French Anti-Corruption Agency (AFA), which uncovered illegal interest-taking, favoritism, and concealment of favoritism. The second procedure, opened in 2017 and entrusted to the OCLCIFF, concerns suspicions of illegal interest-taking, misappropriation of public funds, favoritism and concealment of favoritism, and targets several public contracts.  > Read article


Roland Garros ticketing: complaint against FFT management dismissed, but legal battle continues

On Wednesday, 14 June 2023, the French National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (Parquet National financier – PNF) dismissed, for lack of breach, the criminal complaint lodged by elected members of the French Tennis Federation for suspicions of “corruption” and “misappropriation of public funds” surrounding the ticketing of the Roland Garros tournament. The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Jean-Pierre Versini-Campinchi, said they would file a complaint with civil action. The PNF held that “non-compliance with the general terms and conditions of sale of tickets granted to the leagues does not appear likely to give rise to the offense of misappropriation of public funds, especially as the ticket sales at issue gave rise to coherent financial considerations for the benefit of the leagues concerned, without any misappropriation or personal gain on the part of the directors.” > Read article


Violence against women: EU accession to the Istanbul Convention

On 1 June 2023, the European Union acceded to the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, also known as the “Istanbul Convention.” This international treaty provides the European Union with a general framework for preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence in judicial cooperation in criminal matters, asylum, and non-refoulement. The European Union signed the Convention in 2017 but was slow to ratify the Convention due to a lack of consensus among the Member States. > Read article


Ultra-right trial: one defendant admits “plans for violence”

Since Monday, 19 June 2023, four members with close ties to the the neo-nazi movement have been on trial before the Cour d’Assises des mineurs in Paris (Paris juvenile court), accused of organized crime. The defendants, now adults, allegedly participated in a private forum whose discussions centered on orchestrating terrorist attacks on religious sites, bought weapons and took part in target practices. The public prosecutor requested and obtained the lifting of the closed-door proceedings to inform the public of the reality of this “new and growing threat.”  > Read article

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