Press review
8 September 2023

Press review – Week of 4 September 2023

This week, the Navacelle press review discusses the guide published by the European Commission for EU operators on the best practices to adopt in order to avoid violating regulations regarding sanctions against Russia. Additionally, the press review also covers the conviction of BNP Paribas and Société Générale in the United States, each receiving a 110 million euros fine for unauthorized communication methods. In addition, a corruption investigation has been opened in Germany into the sale of tanks by the Swiss company Ruag. With regard to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, a new complaint has been filed for influence peddling, in this case against the committee's deputy CEO Michael Aloïsio. US prosecutors seek to dismiss criminal charges against Airbus after the successful completion of the 3-year deferred prosecution agreement entered into in 2020. The former French official Alain Gardère has been referred to the criminal court to stand trial for a number of offenses related to public integrity.


Guidance for EU operators: implementing enhanced due diligence to shield against Russia sanctions circumvention

In a context of exceptionally severe sanctions imposed by the EU on Russia, the latter is developing techniques to circumvent them, such as financial packages. This represents a real risk for EU operators, who may find themselves involved in activities involving Russia, thereby violating European sanctions regulations. To address this risk, the European Commission provides a general overview of the areas in which they should show particular diligence in their compliance efforts. It identifies potential risks and threats and draws up a non-exhaustive list of best practices to adopt with business partners and customers. > Read guide


BNP Paribas and Société Générale sanctioned by US authorities for unauthorized communication methods

BNP Paribas and Société Générale have agreed to pay a fine of $110 million each for two unauthorized communications practices. On the one hand, the CFTC sanctioned them to a $75 million fine following intrusive communications such as private SMS messages and the use of WhatsApp in contravention of regulatory oversight requirements. On the other hand, the SEC imposed a $35 million penalty for failing to retain employee electronic communications since at least 2019. > Read article


Suspicions of corruption in Ruag’s sale of tanks to Germany

The Verden public prosecutor’s office in Germany, is investigating allegations of corruption in connection with tanks manufactured by the Ruag armaments group, as well as potential irregularities in the spare parts trade. As Ruag has the Swiss Confederation as its sole shareholder, they have requested judicial assistance from the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Berne. Simultaneously, an investigation has recently been opened in Switzerland regarding the purchase of 96 Leopard tanks by Ruag in Italy. > Read article


US seeks to end 2020 Airbus criminal case over bribery, export controls

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a motion to dismiss the criminal case against Airbus for alleged violations of U.S. regulations regarding anti-money laundering and export control. This investigation concluded in 2020 with the signing of a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) between Airbus and the DOJ prosecutors. As part of this DPA, Airbus agreed to comply with a series of conditions relating to cooperation and the enhancement of its compliance program for a three-year probationary period, which expired in January 2023. A report from the French Anti-Corruption Agency, responsible for the monitorship of the agreement, confirms Airbus’compliance with the deal. Prosecutors in France and the UK discontinued prosecution earlier this year. > Read the article


2030 and 2034 Winter Games: a complaint lodged against a Paris 2024 executive

A former employee of the Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Cojop), Sébastien Chesbeuf, has filed a complaint with the Financial Public Prosecutor’s Office for influence peddling against the Committee’s Deputy Managing Director Michael Aloïsio. At issue is a tender for the feasibility of organizing the Winter Olympics in the PACA region, which was lost by the candidate events company Keneo, where Mr. Chesbeuf now works as a consultant. Mr. Aloïsio, who denies the accusations, allegedly intervened directly to influence the PACA region by advising them not to select Keneo due to Mr. Chesbeuf’s presence, who had been unjustifiably dismissed from Cojop in February 2020, according to him.  This complaint adds to the two other preliminary investigations already opened since 2017 into Cojop for illegal taking of interest and favoritism. > Read article


Former public official Alain Gardère to face criminal court on suspicion of numerous breaches of probity

Alain Gardère, a former French official in charge of security in Marseille and at the airports of Roissy and Le Bourget under the Sarkozy and Hollande administrations, has been referred to the criminal court. He is facing various charges, including passive bribery of a public official, laundering of tax fraud, misappropriation of corporate assets, forgery and use of forgery and misappropriation of public funds. The referral order, issued on 10th August following a seven-year investigation, details a multitude of occasions in which Mr. Gardère, between 2005 and 2015, allegedly made inappropriate use of his status and functions to obtain benefits for himself or for those close to him. > Read the article

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