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News digest 4/12/15: British American Tobacco and Standard Bank bribery cases

04 December 2015 by Henry Ker

British American Tobacco and Standard Bank bribery cases - read more

British American Tobacco bribery case

British American Tobacco has attempted to undermine the UN’s global anti-smoking treaty by bribing government officials, an investigation by the BBC’s Panorama programme alleges.

Representatives from three African countries connected to the World Health Organisation’s ‘Framework convention on tobacco control’ took bribes, according to emails obtained by the programme. Panorama alleges that one of the representatives, Godefroid Kamwenubusa, an official at Burundi’s Ministry of Health, was bribed to help undermine Burundi’s tobacco control bill (drafted in compliance with the WHO framework convention).


Standard Bank settles with SFO

Standard Bank will pay a fine of $25.2 million to settle bribery accusations levelled by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). The bank allegedly failed to prevent bribery in a Tanzanian subsidiary between June 2012 and March 2013. This was the SFO’s first deferred prosecution agreement and also the first prosecution for the SFO under the 2010 Bribery Act.

Standard Bank will pay £330,000 in costs to the SFO and $6 million to the Tanzanian government, plus interest. The bank also has to pay a further $4.2 million to settle with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.


Fifa sponsors demand cultural change

Five key Fifa sponsors have demanded that the organisation introduce drastic ‘cultural change’ and ‘independent oversight’ of reforms. A letter was sent by McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Adidas, Visa and Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser’s parent company) to football's governing body as it discusses reform.

This follows a series of corruption allegations against the organisation, including American and Swiss investigations, the suspension of Fifa president Sepp Blatter and the indictment of nine officials, and five corporate executives on charges of corruption.


No contingency plan for Brexit

George Osborne has stated that the government will not make contingency plans for Brexit. Instead, the government’s focus would be to keep Britain in a ‘reformed EU’. Although an EU deal is unlikely in the coming weeks, the government’s plan is to keep momentum in the negotiations for the next summit – scheduled in mid-February.


Deutsche bank devised tax avoidance strategies

Deutsche Bank created complex international tax avoidance strategies for some of its largest clients, according to the Financial Times. This exposure comes as G20 governments and the OECD are attempting to end the loopholes around moving money to other jurisdictions in order to avoid paying tax. The activity involves the ‘profit-participating instruments’, or PPI trades.

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