Inadequate due diligence hit Space-transport SPAC Momentus $8 million SEC fine

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Inadequate due diligence hit SPAC Momentus $8 million SEC fine

Inadequate due diligence hit SPAC Momentus $8 million SEC fine after misleading investors. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged the Momentus particular purpose acquisition company (SPAC), its sponsor SRC-NI, the sponsor’s CEO Brian Kabot, the company, and founder Mikhail Kokorich – which involved in a $1.2 billion space-transport SPAC for defrauding investors and obscuring the CEO’s status as a US national security risk.

The Fraud Claimed

The SPAC, Stable Road Acquisition Corp, had sought to merge with Momentus, a private start-up, to take it public. Momentus’s key offering was a “microwave electro-thermal water plasma thruster,” a way of zapping water vapour to propel a spacecraft, intending to transport satellites into space.

But Momentus’s propulsion tech failed to show results, according to SEC filings. A test mission fell well short of the company’s benchmarks, and a former Momentus employee said that the test yielded “no data to suggest that that thruster would deliver an impulse of any commercial significance.”

According to the SEC’s settled order, Kokorich and Momentus, an early-stage space transportation company, repeatedly told investors that it had “successfully tested” its propulsion technology in space when, in fact, the company’s only in-space test had failed to achieve its primary mission objectives or demonstrate the technology’s commercial viability.

The order finds that Momentus and Kokorich also misrepresented the extent to which national security concerns involving Kokorich undermined Momentus’s ability to secure required governmental licenses essential to its operations.

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The compliance issue: Inadequate due diligence

The SEC’s settled order finds that Stable Road repeated Momentus’s misleading statements in public filings associated with the proposed merger and failed its due diligence obligations to investors.

According to the order, while Stable Road claimed to have conducted extensive due diligence of Momentus, it never reviewed Momentus’s in-space test results or received sufficient documents relevant to assessing the national security risks posed by Kokorich.

The order finds that Kabot participated in Stable Road’s inadequate due diligence and filed its inaccurate registration statements and proxy solicitations. The SEC’s complaint against Kokorich includes factual allegations that are consistent with the findings in the order.

“This case illustrates risks inherent to SPAC transactions, as those who stand to earn significant profits from a SPAC merger may conduct inadequate due diligence and mislead investors. Stable Road, a SPAC, and its merger target, Momentus, both misled the investing public. The fact that Momentus lied to Stable Road does not absolve Stable Road of its failure to undertake adequate due diligence to protect shareholders. Today’s actions will prevent the wrongdoers from benefitting at the expense of investors and help to better align the incentives of parties to a SPAC transaction with those of investors relying on truthful information to make investment decisions.

SEC Chair Gary Gensler

The litigation against Momentus, Stable Road, and Kabot

Associate Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, Anita B, mentioned in her statement that Momentus’s former CEO alleged to have engaged in fraud by misrepresenting the viability of the company’s technology and his status as a national security threat, inducing shareholders to approve a merger in which he stood to obtain shares worth upwards of $200 million.

The SEC’s order finds that Momentus violated scienter-based antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws and caused sure of Stable Road’s violations. It also considers that Stable Road violated negligence-based antifraud provisions of the US federal securities laws as well as specific reporting and proxy solicitation provisions.

The order finds that Kabot violated provisions of the federal securities laws related to proxy solicitations. Kabot and SRC-NI caused Stable Road’s violation of Section 17(a)(3) of the Securities Act of 1933. Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, Momentus, Stable Road, Kabot, and SRC-NI consented to an order requiring them to cease from future violations. Momentus, Stable Road, and Kabot will pay civil penalties of $7 million, $1 million, and $40,000, respectively.

Inadequate due diligence hit SPAC Momentus $8 million SEC fine. Source: US Securities and Exchange Commission 

What do you actually know about the integrity of the 3rd party and their way of doing business? Do they adhere to (inter)national regulations on anti-bribery and anti-corruption? Is it possible that there is a liability risk?

Due diligence on potential business partners when adding a new vendor or even hiring a new employee is vital to confirm the legitimacy and reduce the risks associated with such professional relationships. Global integrity DueDiligence360TM investigations provide your business with the critical information it needs in making sound decisions regarding mergers and acquisitions, strategic partnerships, and the selection of vendors, suppliers, and employees. It will ensure that working with an, i.e. potential trade partner will ultimately achieve your organisation’s strategic and financial goals.

At CRI Group, we specialise in Integrity Due Diligence, working as trusted partners to businesses and institutions worldwide. Our people work with energy, insight and care to ensure we provide a positive experience to everyone involved – clients, reference providers and candidates. CRI’s unique identity and vision evolved from our fundamental desire to support our clients and their candidates. Safeguard your business and its integrity with DueDiligence360™.

Our DueDiligence360™ expose vulnerabilities and threats that can cause serious damage to your organisation and can significantly reduce business. CRI Group is trusted by the world’s largest corporations and consultancies – outsource your due diligence to an experienced provider, and you will only ever have to look forward, never back.

CRI Group investigators employ a proven, multi-faceted research approach that involves a global array of databases, courts and public record searches, local contacts, industry and media resources, and in-depth web-based research. Our resources include:

  • International business verification
  • Individual business interest search
  • Personal profile on individual subjects
  • Company profile on corporate entities
  • Historical ownership analysis
  • Identification of subsidiaries & connected parties
  • Global/national criminality & regulatory records checks
  • Politically Exposed Person database
  • International digital media research
  • Company background analysis
  • Industry reputational assessment
  • FCPA, UK Anti-Bribery & corruption risk databases
  • Global terrorism checks
  • Global financial regulatory authorities checks
  • Money laundering risk database
  • Financial reports
  • Asset tracing
  • Country-specific databases that include litigation checks, law enforcement agencies & capital market, regulators

Protect your reputation and the risk of financial damage and regulator action using our detailed reports. They enhance your knowledge and understanding of the customer, supplier, and third-party risk, helping you avoid those involved with financial crime.

DueDiligence360™ from CRI Group

WHAT DO YOU ACTUALLY KNOW ABOUT THE INTEGRITY OF THE PARTY & THEIR WAY OF DOING BUSINESS? DOES OR DID THIS PARTY ADHERE TO (INTER)NATIONAL REGULATIONS ON ANTI-CORRUPTION & ANTI-BRIBERY? IS IT POSSIBLE THAT THERE IS A LIABILITY RISK?

At CRI Group, we specialise in Integrity Due Diligence, working as trusted partners to businesses and institutions across the world. Our people work with energy, insight and care to ensure we provide a positive experience to everyone involved – clients, reference providers and candidates.

CRI’s unique identity and vision evolved from our fundamental desire to support our clients and their candidates. Safeguard your business and its integrity with DueDiligence360™.

Our DueDiligence360™ expose vulnerabilities and threats that can cause serious damage to your organisation and can significantly reduce business. CRI Group is trusted by the world’s largest corporations and consultancies – outsource your due diligence to an experienced provider and you will only ever have to look forward, never back. Clients who partner with us benefit from our:

Expertise
CRI Group has one of the largest, most experienced and best-trained integrity due diligence teams in the world.

Global scope
Our multi-lingual teams have conducted assignments on thousands of subjects in over 80 countries, and we’re committed to maintaining and constantly evolving our global network.

Flexibility
Our DueDiligence360TM service is flexible and can apply different levels of scrutiny to the subjects of our assignments, according to client needs and the nature of the project.

About CRI Group

Based in London, CRI Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk ManagementEmployee Background ScreeningBusiness IntelligenceDue DiligenceCompliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider. We have the largest proprietary network of background screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are, we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI Group also holds BS 102000:2013 and BS 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle.

In 2016, the CRI Group launched the Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001 Anti-Bribery Management SystemsISO 37301 Compliance Management Systems and ISO 31000 Risk Management, providing training and certification. ABAC® operates through its global network of certified ethics and compliance professionals, qualified auditors and other certified professionals. As a result, CRI Group’s global team of certified fraud examiners work as a discreet white-labelled supplier to some of the world’s largest organisations.

To check or not to check?

Background Checks: To check or not to check?

Background checks don’t tend to make international news. They are the low-key diligent step in most well-managed recruitment processes to comfort employers that the person they are hiring is everything they seem – and nothing more.

That’s why the background checks of Belle Gibson, a super influencer who lied about having cancer, and Brett Kavanaugh, a nominee to the US Supreme Court, tend to make news headlines for who can you trust if not those in direct line of the public eye?

The Story of Belle Gibson & Brett Kavanaugh

Belle Gibson was a Melbourne “wellness” who rose to fame after sharing her story on Instagram of her terminal brain cancer and how she controls it through the power of healthy eating. Gibson claimed to have kept her cancer under control by turning away conventional medicinal practices and instead of following what she termed a “wellness” diet, a diet consisting of avocados, berries, no alcohol and so on.

Sounds impressive, right? To rid yourself of an incurable disease simply through eating better? Think again – it is too good to be true. The influencers lie caused untold damage, including turning a 44-year-old mother away from her chemotherapy in hopes of attaining Ms Gibson’s lifestyle.

But the reason why this lie broke headlines is because of what followed; a book deal with Penguin Books publishing company and an Apple app titled ‘The Whole Pantry’. It was evident that neither the tech giants nor the publishers thought to verify her assertions, thus leading to a $320,000 fine and a lot more emotional damage for the individual’s that Ms Gibson had provided false hope.

Context is everything, of course, and this job-for-life is one of the more crucial public office positions in the United States. Mr Kavanaugh had undergone six separate background checks during his career before the latest, which the FBI recently completed on behalf of the White House. Each of these will have been meticulous and thorough, right down to interviews with neighbours and acquaintances.

But you don’t have to be entrusted with national security clearance to pose a real risk to your employer. All staff members are in a position of trust, and even the humblest labourers or office workers will have privileged access to property – whether physical or intellectual. And this is not a theoretical risk – it’s a truism that employees or contractors cause the vast majority of security breaches.

The compliance perspective

Interviewing the ex-wives and sports coaches of factory and desk clerks is overkill and not economic. And that is where professional background checking comes in. It allows low hassle, cost-effective and fast checking for all recruits and employees to ensure everyone is what they claim to be, from the CEO to the company mascot.

Such checks will cover everything required to give HR directors and governing boards peace of mind: from criminal record checks and right-to-work documentation to education and qualification verifications and employment records.

A properly systematised process, supported by local intelligence, is essential to keeping costs low without compromising quality or effectiveness.

CRI Group is one of the few providers with a truly global reach and more than thirty years of experience in the sector. Our proven process means that we have one of the fastest turnaround times in the industry – typically just 3-5 days. Meanwhile, our more than 175 investigatory experts on the ground across the US, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, ensure we can navigate local customs, processes and regulations, no matter where your employees are based.

 

About CRI Group

Based in London, CRI Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk ManagementEmployee Background ScreeningBusiness IntelligenceDue DiligenceCompliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider.

We have the largest proprietary network of background screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are, we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI Group also holds B.S. 102000:2013 and B.S. 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle.

In 2016, CRI Group launched the Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management SystemsISO 37301:2021 Compliance Management Systems and ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management, providing training and certification.

ABAC® operates through its global network of certified ethics and compliance professionals, qualified auditors and other certified professionals. As a result, CRI Group’s international team of certified fraud examiners work as a discreet white-labelled supplier to some of the world’s largest organisations. Contact ABAC® for more on ISO Certification and training.

 

 

John Wood Group to pay $177 million to settle bribery charges inherited through its merger

John Wood Group bribery probe trace back to its merger with Amec Foster Wheeler Plc.

John Wood Group Plc has agreed to pay $177 million to settle the UK led bribery and corruption probe into a British engineering firm it acquired in 2017. The settlement is part of a so-called deferred prosecution agreement with the Serious Fraud Office and the US Department of Justice concerning Amec Foster Wheeler Plc.

The UK agreement is still subject to court approval. As part of the deal, the company can avoid prosecution for three years if it cooperates in the continuing bribery probe. Wood Group’s payment is one of the largest ever obtained in the UK led bribery and corruption case. The biggest was a $1.2 billion settlement with Airbus SE that also involved the US and French authorities.

In 2017, the SFO opened an investigation into Amec’s use of third parties to gain contracts, just weeks after Shareholders approved wood Group’s proposed acquisition. The DOJ said the probe concerned a scheme to pay bribes to officials in Brazil for a $190 million contract to design a gas-to-chemicals complex.

As part of the deal announced, at least $10.1 million will settle charges brought by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The DOJ said it would get about $18.4 million to resolve its criminal charges in the Brazil bribery probe. Amounts to be paid to the UK and Brazil are yet to be made public.

Wood Group announced that it was close to a settlement. It originally said it expected a deal for $186 million, with about $60 million paid in the first half of 2021 and the rest over three years. The company also agreed to pay $10 million to Scottish authorities earlier this year to settle the case.

“The investigations brought to light unacceptable, albeit historical, behaviour that I condemn in the strongest terms,” Wood Group Chief Executive Officer Robin Watson said in a statement. “Although we inherited these issues through acquisition, we took full responsibility in addressing them, as any responsible business would.”

The company has “cooperated fully with the authorities” and “taken steps to improve further our ethics and compliance program from an already strong foundation,” Watson said. “I’m pleased that, subject to final court approval in the UK, we have been able to resolve these issues and can now look to the future.”

The agreement comes amid criticism of the SFO and its inability to prosecute individuals after securing settlements with companies. Earlier this year, the SFO dropped its probe into former Airbus directors and was dealt a humiliating setback after its trial against two former Serco Group Plc directors fell apart because it failed to disclose evidence.

In May 2021, the SFO opened one of its biggest investigations into suspected fraud and money laundering concerning GFG Alliance and its financing agreements with Greensill Capital. It was after months of intense pressure from lawmakers to investigate Sanjeev Gupta’s empire.

John Wood Group bribery probe

Source: Financial Crimes News

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The importance of due diligence in merger and acquisition to avoid a similar incident happened like in John Wood Group.

Due diligence is understood as the reasonable steps taken to satisfy legal requirements in the conduct of business relations. That allows you to reduce risks – including risks arising from the FCPA (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) and the UKBA (UK Bribery Act), to make informed decisions and to pursue takeovers or mergers with more confidence.

Unlike other kinds of control (audits, market analysis, etc.), it must be completely independent and rely as little on information provided by the researched subject. The other important difference lies in the methodology: commercial or financial due diligence analyses available information, investigative type provides reliable and pertinent, but raw, information.

Due diligence on potential business partners when adding a new vendor or hiring a new employee is vital to confirm the legitimacy and reduce the risks associated with such professional relationships. Global integrity due diligence investigations provides your business with the critical information it needs to make sound decisions regarding mergers and acquisitions, strategic partnerships, and the selection of vendors, suppliers, and employees.

It will ensure that working with an, i.e. potential trade partner will ultimately achieve your organisation’s strategic and financial goals. CRI Group investigators employ a proven, multi-faceted research approach that involves a global array of databases, courts and public record searches, local contacts, industry and media resources, and in-depth web-based research. Our resources include:

  • International business verification

  • Individual business interest search

  • Personal profile on individual subjects

  • Company profile on corporate entities

  • Historical ownership analysis

  • Identification of subsidiaries & connected parties

  • Global/national criminality & regulatory records checks

  • Politically Exposed Person database

  • International digital media research

  • Company background analysis

  • Industry reputational assessment

  • FCPA, UK Anti-Bribery & corruption risk databases

  • Global terrorism checks

  • Global financial regulatory authorities checks

  • Money laundering risk database

  • Financial reports

  • Asset tracing

  • Country-specific databases that include litigation checks, law enforcement agencies & capital market regulators

DueDiligence360™ from CRI Group

WHAT DO YOU ACTUALLY KNOW ABOUT THE INTEGRITY OF THE PARTY & THEIR WAY OF DOING BUSINESS? DOES OR DID THIS PARTY ADHERE TO (INTER)NATIONAL REGULATIONS ON ANTI-CORRUPTION & ANTI-BRIBERY? IS IT POSSIBLE THAT THERE IS A LIABILITY RISK?

At CRI Group, we specialise in Integrity Due Diligence, working as trusted partners to businesses and institutions across the world. Our people work with energy, insight and care to ensure we provide a positive experience to everyone involved – clients, reference providers and candidates.

CRI’s unique identity and vision evolved from our fundamental desire to support our clients and their candidates. Safeguard your business and its integrity with DueDiligence360™.

Our DueDiligence360™ expose vulnerabilities and threats that can cause serious damage to your organisation and can significantly reduce business. CRI Group is trusted by the world’s largest corporations and consultancies – outsource your due diligence to an experienced provider and you will only ever have to look forward, never back. Clients who partner with us benefit from our:

Expertise
CRI Group has one of the largest, most experienced and best-trained integrity due diligence teams in the world.

Global scope
Our multi-lingual teams have conducted assignments on thousands of subjects in over 80 countries, and we’re committed to maintaining and constantly evolving our global network.

Flexibility
Our DueDiligence360TM service is flexible and can apply different levels of scrutiny to the subjects of our assignments, according to client needs and the nature of the project.

About CRI Group

Based in London, CRI Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk ManagementEmployee Background ScreeningBusiness IntelligenceDue DiligenceCompliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider. We have the largest proprietary network of background screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are, we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI Group also holds BS 102000:2013 and BS 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle.

In 2016, the CRI Group launched the Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001 Anti-Bribery Management SystemsISO 37301 Compliance Management Systems and ISO 31000 Risk Management, providing training and certification. ABAC® operates through its global network of certified ethics and compliance professionals, qualified auditors and other certified professionals. As a result, CRI Group’s global team of certified fraud examiners work as a discreet white-labelled supplier to some of the world’s largest organisations.

Top 10 Bribery & Corruption Stories of 2020

Even with much of the world under partial lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been no shortage of bribery and corruption cases through the first half of 2020. Each of these stories makes it clear that organisations must have proper controls in place to prevent bribery and corruption. ISO 37001 Anti-Bribery Management Systems standard provides a comprehensive approach to mitigating bribery and corruption risk.

Organisations of all sizes and industries should take steps now to ensure that they don’t end up on a future list of top bribery and corruption scandals. Due to last year’s “Top 10 Bribery and Corruption Cases of 2019” successful article we decided to compile a 2020 list too. In no particular order, ABAC® Center of Excellence collated the top bribery and corruption stories we’ve seen so far in 2020.

In no particular order, here are 10 of the top bribery and corruption stories we’ve seen so far in 2020.

#10. Airbus

In February, French-based Airbus agreed to pay a record $4 billion in fines for alleged bribery and corruption spanning at least 15 years. The company reached a plea bargain with prosecutors in Britain, France and the United States. According to prosecution documents, Airbus used a global network of agents or middlemen for corrupt transactions, included payouts disguised as commissions to push airplane sales.

“Fallout from the Airbus bribery scandal reverberated around the world on Monday as the head of one of its top buyers temporarily stood down and investigations were launched in countries aggrieved at being dragged into the increasingly political row.” (Reuters, 2020)

#9. Novartis

While the investigation into suspected corruption at Novartis began seven years ago, it appears that 2020 is the year the company can finally close this damaging chapter in its history. The resolution comes at a steep cost. The Swiss-based pharmaceutical company will pay a staggering $1.3 billion in a settlement for kickbacks, bribery and price-fixing.

“The latest settlements cover two different cases. In the first, federal prosecutors claim Novartis used ‘tens of thousands of’ speaker programs and events — some entailing exorbitant meals — as disguise to provide bribes to doctors. The goal, according to prosecutors, was to encourage doctors to prescribe its drugs, including Lotrel, Valturna, Starlix, Tekturna, Tekamlo, Diovan and Exforge.” (Fierce Pharma, 2020)

#8. Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder

While political corruption is nothing new, his constituents were nevertheless shocked when Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder was arrested, along with four alleged co-conspirators, as part of a $60 million racketeering and bribery investigation. The alleged scheme is being described as one of the biggest public corruption cases in Ohio, U.S. history.

“All the charges are tied to what federal prosecutors said was a criminal enterprise dedicated to securing a bailout for two nuclear power plants in northern Ohio owned by FirstEnergy Solutions of Akron. The bailout is expected to cost the state’s utility ratepayers $1 billion.” (Cincinnati Enquirer, 2020)

#7. Alexion Pharmaceuticals

Charged by the SEC with violating the FCPA by bribing officials in Turkey and Russia, Alexion Pharmaceuticals will pay $21.4 million to resolve an investigation that began in 2015. The Connecticut, U.S.- based company was also accused of failing to keep accurate financial records at subsidiaries in Brazil and Colombia.

“In Turkey and Russia, Alexion paid government officials and doctors at state-connected hospitals to promote use of its blood-disease drug, Soliris. Alexion retained a consultant in Turkey from 2010 to 2015 with ties to health officials. Alexion Turkey paid the consultant over $1.3 million for ‘consulting fees and purported expense reimbursements,’ the SEC said. … In Russia, Alexion paid doctors at government hospitals over $1 million from 2011 to 2015 to increase Soliris prescriptions. … The bribery resulted in Alexion being ‘unjustly enriched’ by about $6.6 million in Turkey and $7.5 million in Russia, the SEC said.” (FCPA Blog, 2020)

#6. Taiwan Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan

In Taiwan, a scandal embroiling some top legislators prompted Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan to resign from office. Su Jia-chyuan’s nephew, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching, is reportedly under investigation in a bribery case related to the ownership of a department store. Su Jia-chyuan said he has “nothing to hide” and insisted he is stepping down to avoid letting the controversy continue to affect the president.

“Taipei prosecutors on Saturday filed a motion to detain Su Chen-ching, along with four other former and incumbent lawmakers as part of an investigation into bribery allegations against six current and former legislators and their aides. The court hearing on whether to grant the prosecutors’ request to detain them was ongoing as of press time last night. The DPP’s anti-corruption committee convened a meeting at 8 pm to discuss the penalties for Su Chen-ching and former legislator Mark Chen, who has also been implicated in the case and was released on NT$500,000 bail early on Saturday.” (Taipei Times, 2020)

#5. Former Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak

As part of the 1MDB corruption scandal, former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was convicted on seven counts for charges that include money laundering, abuse of power and criminal breach of trust. Investigators said he transferred about $10 million from a 1MDB affiliate to his own bank accounts, and the Malaysian High Court agreed. Razak was forced out of office in 2018 during the scandal.

“In 2015, the Wall Street Journal reported that Najib deposited about $700 million from 1MDB into his personal accounts. He has always denied the allegations. He faces more trials in Malaysia on at least 35 additional corruption charges. The judge Tuesday imposed a 12-year prison sentence on Najib, 67, but suspended it during any appeals.” (FCPA Blog, 2020)

#4. Alstom

A multi-year, multi-million-dollar bribery and money laundering investigation involving Alstom Indonesia resulted in more indictments this year. Reza Moenaf, former president, and Eko Sulianto, former director of sales, for Alstom Indonesia were charged along with a former deputy general manager of Marubeni Corporation’s overseas power project department. They are accused by the U.S. Justice Department of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

“According to the Justice Department, Kusunoki, Moenaf, and Sulianto engaged in a conspiracy to pay bribes to officials in Indonesia — including a high-ranking member of the Indonesian Parliament and the president of Perusahaan Listrik Negara, the state-owned and state-controlled electricity company in Indonesia — in exchange for assistance in securing a $118 million contract, known as the Tarahan Project, for Alstom Power and its consortium partner, Marubeni, to provide power-related services for Indonesian citizens.” (Compliance Week, 2020)

#3. Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar

Corruption in local politics is still a major issue, especially in a major city like Los Angeles, U.S.  That’s where City Councilman Jose Huizar is alleged to have engaged in a wide array of bribery and corruption acts to enrich himself and his associates. He now faces a laundry list of charges after a federal grand jury returned a 34-count indictment against Huizar.

“Huizar was charged last month with one count of conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. Thursday’s indictment charges Huizar with the following criminal charges: 12 counts of honest services wire fraud; two counts of honest services mail fraud; four counts of traveling interstate in aid of racketeering; six counts of bribery; five counts of money laundering; one count of structuring cash deposits to conceal bribes; one count of making a false statement to a financial institution; one count of making false statements to federal law enforcement; and one count of tax evasion, according to prosecutors.” (CBS News, 2020)

#2. Asante Berko, Former Goldman Sachs Executive

Former Goldman Sachs executive Asante Berko was charged by the SEC as a result of their investigation into his alleged bribery plot. Berko is accused of FCPA violations in his effort to help an energy company based in Turkey secure a contract for a power plant in Ghana. He was charged in a civil complaint in New York, U.S., for “aiding and abetting violations of the FCPA anti-bribery provisions.”

“According to the SEC, Berko helped the Turkish energy company pay at least $2.5 million to a Ghana-based intermediary, ‘all or most of which was used to bribe Ghanaian government officials’ to secure approval of an electrical power plant project. … In 2015, Berko negotiated a contract for the Turkish energy company to pay the intermediary $2.5 million at first, and up to $42 million over five years, the complaint said.” (FCPA Blog, 2020)

#1. Cardinal Health

Ohio, U.S.-based Cardinal Health paid the SEC $8.8 million Friday to settle FCPA offenses related to a Chinese subsidiary that provided marketing services. Cardinal Health allegedly violated provisions for maintaining books and records, as well as internal accounting controls. Cardinal Health first began doing business in China after acquiring an existing company and rebranding it. It appears the company made voluntary disclosures and has been taking proactive steps to address the corruption issues in its ranks.

“In 2016, Cardinal China learned that the marketing employees and the dermocosmetic company had disguised some ‘marketing payments’ that were funneled to healthcare professionals who provided marketing services, as well as other employees of state-owned retail entities. The state-owned entities had influence over purchasing decisions related to the dermocosmetic company’s products. Cardinal took steps to stop the suspect payments in 2016 when it learned about the misconduct, the SEC said. In December 2016, Cardinal voluntarily disclosed the results of its internal investigation to the SEC.” (FCPA Blog, 2020)

Staying one step ahead of any critical risk to your organisation is part of being an effective business leader. Contact us today to get started on implementing a robust program that will serve you well for years to come. Get your FREE QUOTE now!

We Welcome You To Have Free Gap Analysis of Highest Ethical Business Survey: prove that your business is ethical. Complete our FREE Highest Ethical Business Assessment (HEBA) and evaluate your current Corporate Compliance Program.

TAKE THE GAP ANALYSIS NOW!

Find out if your organisation’s compliance program is in the line with worldwide Compliance, Business Ethics, Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption Frameworks. Let ABAC® experts prepare a complimentary gap analysis of your compliance program to evaluate if it meets “adequate procedures” requirements under UK Bribery Act, DOJ’s Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs Guidance and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

The HEBA survey is designed to evaluate your compliance with the adequate procedures to prevent bribery and corruption across the organisation. This survey is monitored and evaluated by qualified ABAC® professionals with Business Ethics, Legal and Compliance background. The questions are open-ended to encourage a qualitative analysis of your Compliance Program and to facilitate the gap analysis process.

TAKE THE GAP ANALYSIS NOW!

The survey takes around 10 minutes to complete. ABAC® is powered by CRI Group – this GAP analysis will be performed by ABAC®

About CRI Group

Based in London, CRI Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk ManagementEmployee Background ScreeningBusiness IntelligenceDue Diligence and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider. We have the largest proprietary network of background-screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI Group also holds BS 102000:2013 and BS 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle.

In 2016, CRI Group launched Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management SystemsISO 37301 Compliance Management Systems and ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management, providing training and certification. ABAC® operates through its global network of certified ethics and compliance professionals, qualified auditors and other certified professionals. As a result, CRI Group’s global team of certified fraud examiners work as a discreet white-labelled supplier to some of the world’s largest organisations. Contact ABAC® for more on ISO Certification and training.

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FAQ: Employment Screening

Want to know what types of red flags are most often found on résumés and employment applications? CRI Group’s EmploySmart™ experts provided some statistics on their latest pre- and post-employment screening engagements, and they give insights into where companies are most vulnerable in the hiring process. The operations team found that providing incorrect employment details is the most common red flag, as it was uncovered in about 4.5 per cent of background screenings. This is followed by providing incorrect education degree details as well as having adverse media (unfavourable news or online mentions), both at 2.33 per cent.

Most employers would probably say that when it comes to educational background, the only thing worse than providing incorrect degree information would be outright claiming a fake degree – which occurred in nearly 2 per cent of cases. Other red flags included having a criminal record (1.5 per cent), a civil litigation record (1.27 per cent), and providing a fake address (also 1.27 per cent). To round out the findings, the operations team found bankruptcy records, fake certificates and negative references among 0.85 per cent of those screened.

Get answers to frequently asked questions about background checks / screening cost,  guidelines, check references etc. This eBook is a compilation of all of the background screening related questions you ever needed answers to:

  • Does a candidate have to give consent to process a background check / screening?
  • How long does it take to conduct a background check?
  • When should I conduct pre-employment checks?
  • How often should i screen employees?
  • How to collect references and what to ask?
  • How much does it cost to conduct a background checks?
  • What is he difference between employment history verification and employment reference?
  • How do I check on entitlement to work?
  • How to conduct identity checks?
  • What will a financial regulatory check show?
  • Is it possible to identify conflict of interest during checks?
  • What is a bankruptcy check?
  • What about directorships and shareholding search?
  • Can I have access to a criminal watch list?
  • Anti-money laundering check?
  • Can we conduct FACIS (fraud and abuse control information system) searches?
  • … and MORE!

Taken as a whole, is the perfect primer for any HR professional, business leader and companies looking to avoid employee background screening risks. It provides the tools and knowledge needed to make the right decisions.

Download your “Employee Background Screening FAQ” FREE ebook now!

FAQ employee background screening

FAQ employee background screening

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About CRI Group

Based in London, CRI Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk Management, Employee Background Screening, Business IntelligenceDue Diligence, Compliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider. We have the largest proprietary network of background-screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI Group also holds BS 102000:2013 and BS 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle.

In 2016, CRI Group launched Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management Systems, ISO 19600:2014 Compliance Management Systems and ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management, providing training and certification. ABAC® operates through its global network of certified ethics and compliance professionals, qualified auditors and other certified professionals. As a result, CRI Group’s global team of certified fraud examiners work as a discreet white-labelled supplier to some of the world’s largest organisations. Contact ABAC® for more on ISO Certification and training.

Background Screening Red flags: Numbers Don’t Lie

Want to know what types of red flags are most often found on résumés and employment applications? CRI® Group’s EmploySmart™ experts provided some statistics on their latest pre- and post-employment screening engagements, and they give insights into where companies are most vulnerable in the hiring process. background screening red flags

The operations team found that providing incorrect employment details is the most common red flag, as it was uncovered in about 4.5 per cent of background screenings. This is followed by providing incorrect education degree details as well as having adverse media (unfavourable news or online mentions), both at 2.33 per cent.

Most employers would probably say that when it comes to educational background, the only thing worse than providing incorrect degree information would be outright claiming a fake degree – which occurred in nearly 2 per cent of cases. Other red flags included having a criminal record (1.5 per cent), a civil litigation record (1.27 per cent), and providing a fake address (also 1.27 per cent). To round out the findings, the operations team found bankruptcy records, fake certificates and negative references among 0.85 per cent of those screened.

Deception among job seekers is real

Anytime someone intentionally provides false information in their résumé, they are committing résumé fraud – usually in the hopes of gaining a competitive edge in the hiring process. “There are even business services out there that will knowingly assist candidates with changing their résumé in this way, such as offering advice on how to hide employment gaps or how to add false information that looks realistic. Some will even provide fake transcripts and fake letters of recommendation” (HR Daily Advisor, 2018).

The same goes for fabrications on an application. It can occur anywhere in the process, and the candidate will likely continue to misrepresent themselves in the interview process to maintain their fraud. As mentioned above, helping candidates embellish or even fabricate credentials has become a business unto itself. “On the surface, these appear to be candidates taking desperate measures. But the candidates themselves may not be the only ones at fault. As recruitment has migrated online and become automated … opportunities for scammers have arisen. Professional recruiters, who get placement fees when they land candidates in jobs, have a clear incentive to game the system, Zhao says. They are ‘middlemen who can make significant profit by misrepresenting clients’” (Inc.com, 2019).

There is only one clear remedy and protection method to combat this type of fraud: thorough and comprehensive background checks. Most organisations, however, don’t have the time, resources, or the expertise to conduct the needed level of background screening on their own. This is where CRI® Group’s EmploySmart™ comes in. The robust pre-employment background screening service helps organisations worldwide avoid making uninformed and potentially harmful hiring decisions. As a leading provider of specialised local and international employment background screening, CRI® Group’s uses EmploySmart™ to provide risk mitigation and give business leaders confidence in their hiring process. EmploySmart™ includes a thorough menu of screening that fulfills your organisation’s risk management needs. These checks include the following:

  • Address verification – one of the red flags discussed above.
  • Identity verification – what are they hiding? Falsifying one’s identity is a major red flag.
  • Previous employment verification – candidates might claim false employment to beef up their résumés.
  • Education & credential verification – screeners check degrees and education history.
  • Local language media check – what is uncovered about the candidate in news reports?
  • Credit verification & financial history – candidates who conceal financial problems can be a fraud risk (local privacy laws apply).
  • Civil litigation record check – lawsuits can indicate red flags, background screening will uncover the details.
  • Bankruptcy record check – when hiring someone for a financial or leadership position, it’s important to know if they have bankruptcy filings.
  • International criminal record check – checking criminal records is essential for the safety of your employees and your business.

These are just a few of the essential checks that are part of the EmploySmart™ process. CRI® Group’s network spans the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia-Pacific for providing international risk management, background screening and due diligence solutions provider. Don’t tempt fate and invite red flags into your business by making risky hires. The proper pre-and post-employment screening will uncover those hidden things that a candidate might not want you to know. Contact CRI® today and learn more about how EmploySmart™ will help provide your organisation with that extra layer of protection you need. Get a FREE QUOTE now!

Who is CRI® Group?

Based in London, CRI® works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk Management, Employee Background Screening, Business IntelligenceDue Diligence, Compliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider. We have the largest proprietary network of background-screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI® also holds BS 102000:2013 and BS 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle.

In 2016, CRI® launched Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management Systems, ISO 37301 Compliance Management Systems and ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management, providing training and certification. ABAC® operates through its global network of certified ethics and compliance professionals, qualified auditors and other certified professionals. As a result, CRI® Group’s global team of certified fraud examiners work as a discreet white-labelled supplier to some of the world’s largest organisations. Contact ABAC® for more on ISO Certification and training.

Fraud Advisory Panel UK counter fraud 2019 report is out!

Fraud poses a major threat to the UK and the world. The slow progress in fighting fraud in 2019 was evident to all of us with the never-ending stream of news stories documenting bribery and corruption cases around the world in 2019. We documented each with our article on Top 10 Bribery and Corruption Cases of 2019  where we count down the stories:

  • Juniper Networks
  • Alstom
  • Microsoft
  • KPMG
  • Samsung Heavy Industries
  • Fresenius Medical
  • Walmart
  • TechnipFMC
  • Ericsson
  • Unaoil

But these cases helped some of the welcome signs that government and law enforcement were beginning to ratchet-up their interest in fraud with new regulatory updates. 2020 was looking promising to all fraud fighters around the world. Unfortunately COVID-19 pandemic has turned the tide in the fraudsters’ favour – creating the current environment of fear, confusion and economic uncertainty in which fraudsters thrive.

The latest Fraud Advisory Panel’s report, The calm before the storm UK counter fraud in 2019 highlights all of these and more. According to the report the SFO continued to conclude
successful deferred prosecution agreements (though still without converting any of them into individual prosecutions):

  • 53% conviction rate (17 defendants out of 32)
  • 11 criminal investigations opened
  • 8 defendants charged (investigations closed without charge – 14)
  • 16 defendants awaiting trial
  • £3.9m funds recovered
  • 11 new confiscation orders (combined value £4.1m)
  • £1.5m for the first Account Forfeiture Order
  • 70 total caseload

And all of the stories help illustrate the need for organisations to have proper controls in place to prevent bribery and corruption. A certification such as ISO 37001 – Anti-Bribery Management Systems standard can provide a comprehensive approach to mitigating bribery and corruption risk. Organisations of all sizes and industries should take steps now to ensure that they don’t end up on a future list of top bribery and corruption scandals. Only a well resourced, cross-sector, intelligence-led response can tackle fraud.

Staying one step ahead of any critical risk to your organisation is part of being an effective business leader. For assistance in developing and implementing a fraud prevention strategy, contact us today or get a FREE QUOTE now!

Who is CRI Group?

Based in London, CRI Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk Management, Employee Background Screening, Business IntelligenceDue Diligence and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider. We have the largest proprietary network of background-screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI Group also holds BS 102000:2013 and BS 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle.

In 2016, CRI Group launched Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management Systems, ISO 19600:2014 Compliance Management Systems and ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management, providing training and certification. ABAC® operates through its global network of certified ethics and compliance professionals, qualified auditors and other certified professionals. As a result, CRI Group’s global team of certified fraud examiners work as a discreet white-labelled supplier to some of the world’s largest organisations. Contact ABAC® for more on ISO Certification and training.

Fraud Advisory Panel have set up a COVID-19 fraud watch group

The Fraud Advisory Panel have set up a COVID-19 fraud watch group.  A cross-sector and cross-industry coalition of trusted partners (including the Cabinet Office and City of London Police) who meet weekly to share information on emerging fraud threats and trends affecting business. The panel aims to act as a conduit to warn the public, private and third sectors about COVID-19 fraud risks. In addition to supply  preventative actions that can be taken.

Measures announced over recent months to deal with COVID-19 have seen our day-to-day life drastically changed forcing us to spend more time at home and online. Unfortunately, criminals are using every opportunity they can to scam innocent people and businesses.  has also released advice and guidance on how to protect yourself and your business from fraud and cyber crime. This guidance explains simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your business against fraud and cyber crime and where to get help. The National Cyber Security Centre has also published advice on how to spot COVID-19 scams and keep remote working safe.

If you think you’ve been scammed or you’ve found something which looks like fraud or a scam, contact Action Fraud.

Staying one step ahead of any critical risk to your organisation is part of being an effective business leader. For assistance in developing and implementing a fraud prevention strategy, contact us today or get a FREE QUOTE now!

Have you read?

Who is CRI Group?

Based in London, CRI Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk Management, Employee Background Screening, Business IntelligenceDue Diligence and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider. We have the largest proprietary network of background-screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI Group also holds BS 102000:2013 and BS 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle.

In 2016, CRI Group launched Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management Systems, ISO 19600:2014 Compliance Management Systems and ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management, providing training and certification. ABAC® operates through its global network of certified ethics and compliance professionals, qualified auditors and other certified professionals. As a result, CRI Group’s global team of certified fraud examiners work as a discreet white-labelled supplier to some of the world’s largest organisations. Contact ABAC® for more on ISO Certification and training.