has opened an internal investigation into allegations of bribery made last year by the former chief executive of Mexico’s state-owned oil company, according to securities disclosures.
The Brazilian petrochemical company said in filings Friday that it hired an unnamed US law firm to review claims by Emilio Lozoya, former CEO of Petróleos Mexicanos, also known as Pemex.
The testimony Lozoya provided to Mexico’s attorney general, including allegations involving parent company Braskem, was leaked to the press last year, adding fuel to what had happened. the widest-reaching corruption investigation in the modern history of Mexico.
Braskem and its parent, construction giant Odebrecht SA, paid a combined $ 3.5 billion to settle widespread bribery allegations with US, Brazilian and Swiss authorities in 2016. A Braskem spokesman declined to comment further on the disclosures. Odebrecht did not respond to a request for comment.
In his filing, Braskem said the allegations of illicit payments centered on the ethylene project with Pemex. Mr. Lozoya said he was taking bribes from Odebrecht, according to a complaint filed with Mexican prosecutors previously reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
Braskem and a joint venture subsidiary in Mexico opened an investigation into allegations of compliance with its global compliance and governance guidelines, the petrochemical company said.
Pemex earlier this month said it had reached an agreement with a subsidiary, Braskem Idesa, to change the terms under which Pemex supplies ethane to petrochemical plants in southern Mexico. The 2010 contract renegotiation came after the decline in Pemex’s production meant that the company was unable to supply the gas in the amount used to make plastics that was originally stipulated in the agreement.
Former Braskem chief executive, José Carlos Grubisich, faces criminal charges in the US over the 2016 company’s settlement. A Grubisich lawyer last month said executives were in discussion with prosecutors to settle the charges.
A said on Friday that an investigation into his alleged involvement in handling payments from an Icelandic fishing company involved in the bribery investigation had been dropped.
The Norwegian National Authority for the Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime, known as Okokrim, launched an investigation in November 2019 following the disposal of WikiLeaks data and the subsequent allegations made in the Icelandic media.
DNB said in a statement on Friday that it had been informed that the investigation had not yielded any information that provided a basis for criminal prosecution of the individual and that the public prosecutor did not think the company sentence was applicable in this case. “Because of that the case has been closed,” said DNB.
WikiLeaks published more than 30,000 documents called “Fish Files”, which show that the Icelandic fishing group Samherji hf has for years paid billions of dollars to Namibian officials for fishing quotas in the country’s waters.
Icelandic media later claimed that Samherji used DNB to funnel more than $ 70 million to a shell company in the Marshall Islands, part of the proceeds from his activities in Namibia.
Samherji said the figure was actually $ 28.9 million and related to fees for the crew but did not disclose which bank was used for the transaction.
“The dismissal of the case confirms that the allegations are pointless,” Samherji said in a statement on Friday. “Samherji is pleased with this result, because the company has always maintained that the allegations regarding Samherji’s affiliated transactions with DNB are baseless.”
ROME – Italy is rolling the dice on a new effort to combat tax evasion: a lottery in which only the person asking for a receipt can take part.
Starting January 1, shoppers will receive a virtual ticket for every euro they spend at any store, as long as they request a receipt. Seven people will win 5,000 euros, the equivalent of about $ 6,100, each week, with a grand prize of € 5 million at the end of next year.
The idea is to use the allure of cash prizes to ensure transactions are recorded and levies paid to them in a bid to reduce tax evasion that has weighed on the Italian economy for decades. The lottery complements another program where buyers can get up to 10% cash back on whatever they spend by the end of the year, up to a total of € 150, if they use their card.
Italy is not the first country to try this approach. Governments in several countries have turned receipts into lottery tickets to persuade buyers to get their purchases on the books, including China, several states in Brazil, the Czech Republic, and Portugal. Some people consider it an effective way to increase tax revenue without increasing rates.
Some Italians are very enthusiastic. Raffaele Sorrentino, a 23-year-old software developer from Naples, is one of five million Italians who signed up for the cash-back program and two million who downloaded code to participate in the lottery.
“I’ve been waiting for months, I’m excited,” said Sorrentino. “I’ve never won anything, but you never know.”
The Italian government has tried repeatedly to stop tax evasion, with little success. In 2011, the country banned cash payments above € 1,000 before raising the level to € 3,000 and then lowering it again to € 2,000 this year. Italy’s audit court estimates that the state still loses about € 100 billion – or 6% of gross domestic product – to tax evasion each year. One-third of that is the result of businesses not paying value added tax.
At another place, India in 2016 replaced it by the largest and most widely used banknotes in an effort to reduce tax evasion, crime and corruption. Banknotes that are roughly the equivalent of $ 100 and $ 20 cannot be used overnight. Central banks in the eurozone stopped issuing 500 euro banknotes in the region in 2019 to stop criminals profiting from their high face values, while countries from the Philippines to Denmark have changed regulations to encourage people towards electronic payments.
The Covid-19 pandemic has provided authorities with further incentives to prevent the use of banknotes and coins, which can carry the virus. Convincing more people to use the card can help solve Italian tax collection problems.
A survey conducted this fall by market research firm Nomisma, polling Ipsos, and credit association Assofin found that eight in 10 respondents had bought something online, with nearly a third saying they had spent more money online than before the pandemic.
There is further room for electronic payments to grow. According to European House – Ambrosetti, a consulting firm, Italy saw 61 transactions per capita paid out electronically in 2019, compared to 370 in the UK and 217 in France. Across Europe, only Romania and Bulgaria recorded lower figures.
Habits are hard to lose. The people here make 86% of their transactions in cash. The Bank of Italy in a survey last year found that Italians prefer to do it because cash is always welcome; is a faster, safer and anonymous payment method; and allows better control over their spending.
By effectively recruiting people to ask for receipts, the authorities hope to reduce the space for shop owners to eliminate the income in their tax declarations.
“We citizens will be voluntary supervisors of the tax agency, if I can do this,” said Federico Arceci, 33, from Fano, who will be participating in both programs. “If it really helps fight tax evasion, then that would be a great incentive.”
Not everyone is interested. Distrust of the government was widespread and some saw lottery and cashback programs as impractical. Others don’t want the authorities to see what they buy or how much they spend, or think cash is simpler.
“It’s easier to control how much you spend if you pay with cash,” said Roberta Zanlunghi, a 49-year-old waitress from Pavia. “Plus, to get some money back, you have to spend a lot of money in less than a month. It costs € 1,500 in 20 days to get the top amount back – that’s a lot of money for a lot of people. “
Ms. Zanlunghi said that of the 20 friends and clients he asked, none had signed up for the cash-back program.
The owner of the restaurant where he works is also skeptical. To take part in the receipt draw, they would need to spend more than € 200 to customize the cashier so that it can scan the code, he said.
About half of small retail businesses are not ready, says retail association Confesercenti, partly because they don’t want to pay the cost of making their tills compatible.
The European Central Bank says cash-back programs offer disproportionately large rewards to people using cards, and Italy must find more scalable ways to encourage digital payments. Italy’s Ministry of Finance said the plan did not penalize cash payments and would continue.
They plan to repeat it twice next year over a six month period, when Italians can also compete for the so-called super cashback – a € 1,500 prize for every first 100,000 participants who switch to card payments.
“To get a chance, I have to start going to the supermarket three times a day and get in the first half a can of tomato sauce, in the second a packet of spaghetti and then some fruit and vegetables in the third,” joked Andrea Splinakis, a 48 year old engineer from Treviso. who have signed up for the money back program.
Mr Sorrentino, the software developer, said he hopes more businesses will sign up for the lottery so he can start dreaming of big cash prizes.
“I can understand that someone is not interested or doesn’t want to participate,” he said. “But this is why it’s optional. In the end, it’s a game. “
Change your Online password Regular can be painful, but it is absolutely necessary to ensure that your personal and financial information is not hacked and hacked Cyber criminals -Especially at this time of year.
Millions of people will search the Internet for bargains. Black Friday and Cyber Monday Selling monopoly online, many of them use the saved passwords of their favorite retailers or website accounts.
Hacker Use sophisticated techniques to unlock these passwords, and since many people use the same password in multiple accounts, you may leave your debit or credit card account Vulnerable to attack.
If your password is on the list of the most used in 2020, stop what you are doing and make changes immediately-and use numbers, letters, and characters to make it complicated.
NordPass has published the 200 most commonly used passwords used this year, and revealed that the most commonly used password is ‘123456’-an improvement over its 2019 ranking, in which it was ranked as the second largest password of the year.
Although in the annual SplashData’s “Worst Password List”, it has been ranked first since 2013.
NordPass is a password management system that was first launched in 2019 to help users organize passwords and protect notes, and save them in an encrypted password library.
By using a single password to keep everything in the vault, users can create a unique super-strong alphanumeric password for each online account.
NordPass is free to use, although a paid subscription version is also available.
The latest scam to look for
The 20 most used passwords in 2020
I love you
Popular names on the password list include Michael, Daniel, Charlie, Jordan, Michelle and Jennifer.
NordPass wrote its findings in a blog post: “According to research, most people use simple and easy-to-remember passwords due to convenience. But the problem is that most memorable passwords are easily cracked. Less than half of the passwords ( 78 of them) are the new passwords for the “most popular” list in 2020.”
You can view a complete list of the 200 most commonly used passwords on the NordPass website Here.
An independent monitor has certified Odebrecht SA’s anti-bribery compliance program, the Brazilian construction company said.
The certification closes the 3½ year surveillance period imposed in Odebrecht as part of a settlement with the US Department of Justice in December 2016. The settlement resolves allegations that the company paid hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to public officials in Brazil and elsewhere to win lucrative infrastructure contracts.
The monitor has stated that Odebrecht’s compliance program is designed to prevent future violations of anti-corruption laws, including the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, according to the company.
Odebrecht marked the end of the surveillance period as a new chapter for the company, which was last year filed for bankruptcy in Brazil and the US
“The conclusion of the monitoring and certification provided by the DoJ monitors is the most eloquent attestation that Odebrecht has learned from its own mistakes and has reached the same level as other companies operating with ethics, integrity and transparency,” Odebrecht chairman, José Mauro Carneiro da Cunha. , said last week.
The Justice Department declined to comment.
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Monitoring, which began in February 2017, is extended in February for nearly nine months. Prosecutors at the time said Odebrecht had failed to adopt the recommendations made by its supervisors and failed to implement an adequate anti-bribery compliance program.
Odebrecht said at the time that surveillance was temporarily hampered by the company’s financial problems.
Odebrecht’s observer is Charles Duross, a partner at the law firm Morrison & Foerster LLP and former head of the Justice Department’s FCPA unit. Mr Duross did not respond to a request for comment.
More than 900 employees, including members of the board of directors, were eventually interviewed as part of the oversight, Odebrecht said. The monitoring team also traveled to seven countries, reviewed some 30,000 documents and tested more than 5,000 transactions.