Press review
10 March 2023

Press review – Week of 6 March 2023

This week in the press review, HVI Cat Canyon Inc. has been ordered to pay more than 65 million dollars for spilling oil in US waters and Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson has been fined $206.7 million (€195 million) in the United States for alleged corruption related to the Islamic State of Iraq (ISA). The Agence français anticorruption has not had a sanctions committee for the last nine months, and. Aurore Bergé, president of the Renaissance group, proposed a bill to prevent people convicted for domestic violence to be elected. In addition, Caroline Cayeux, former minister in charge of local authorities, is under preliminary investigation for incomplete or false declaration of assets and tax fraud. Finally, the European Union approved a new round of sanctions targeting the Russian economy and Iranian companies accused of supporting the invasion of Ukraine.


The French Anti-Corruption Agency: an unarmed “gendarme”

Opened in March 2017 the French Anti-Corruption Agency (AFA) was supposed to implement the Sapin 2 law on transparency, the fight against corruption and the modernisation of economic life. However, it has been nine months since it had a sanctions committee, hindering its proper functioning. This results from a delay in preparation by the Minister of Justice of a decree nominating its six members proposed in equal numbers by the Court of cassation, the State Council, and the Court of Auditors. > Read article


DOJ: Court Finds Gross Negligence, Orders Oil Company to Pay United States and State of California $65 Million

The U.S. District Court of the Central District of California has ruled that HVI Cat Canyon Inc. (formerly known as Greka Oil & Gas Inc.) which owned and operated several oil and gas production facilities in California was grossly negligent for discharging oil into U.S. waters between 2005 and 2010 in violation of the Clean Water Act and California state law, and for numerous violations of federal oil pollution prevention regulations. Among other things, the court ordered the company to pay $40 million in penalties for the spills, $15 million in penalties for the federal violations and $2.5 million in clean-up costs. > Read article


Elected officials who commit domestic violence soon to be ineligible?

Aurore Bergé, chairwoman of the Renaissance group in the National Assembly, has proposed a bill to make ineligible people convicted of domestic violence, violence against minors, and homophobic and racist violence. This bill is not retroactive and will not affect elected officials already convicted. It has been proposed after Adrien Quatennens, the LFI deputy convicted of violence against his former partner, returned to the National Assembly. > Read article


Caroline Cayeux, former minister in charge of local authorities, targeted by an investigation by the Paris prosecutor’s office

Caroline Cayeux, the former mayor of Beauvais, who resigned from her ministry position on 28 November 2022, is targeted by a preliminary investigation for incomplete or false declaration, notably due to undervaluation of her assets, and tax fraud laundering. The Brigade for the Repression of Economic Crime was seized on 5 December 2022, following a report made on 28 November by the High Authority for the Transparency of Public Officials (HATVP). > Read article


Ericsson fined over $200 million in the United States in relation to an Iraqi corruption case

Telecoms company Ericsson has been fined $206.7m (€195m) for alleged corruption related to possible bribes made to the Islamic State in Iraq. This follows a deferred prosecution agreement entered in December 2019, whereby Ericsson agreed to pay $1 billion to the U.S. judicial authorities to end corruption prosecutions in five countries (Djibouti, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Kuwait). U.S. authorities has deemed that Ericsson had not informed them of serious suspicions of corruption in Iraq, identified in an internal investigation that the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and its partners published in February 2022. The company had previously announced the departure of its head of ethics and compliance, Laurie Waddy. > Read article


European Union approves new package of sanctions against Russia

The European Union approved on Friday 3 March 2023 a new set of sanctions targeting the Russian economy and Iranian companies accused of supporting the invasion of Ukraine. These new sanctions include new restrictions on European exports of technology and dual-use goods to Russia worth €11 billion, as well as the freezing of assets of three Russian banks and numerous entities. The list includes 120 names, which will be published in the EU’s Official Journal. > Read article

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