The week in news - August 24
Brussels has filed a request for a full report from the French government on Renault emissions to be submitted to the European Commission amid concerns that the existing report was not inclusive of the most harmful pollutants emitted the vehicles. The request comes after receiving a report on the emissions of domestic and imported vehicles in France, and amid speculation that raw data and methodologies may disclose further revelations. The French government owns nearly one fifth of Renault, a fact that has contributed to accusations that European governments are promoting industry at the expense of adequate and necessary environmental protection.
Taiwan’s Mega International Commercial Bank has been hit with a $180 million fine for violating the state of New York’s anti-money laundering legislation. Suspicious transactions reportedly took place between the bank’s New York and Panama branches; the latter of which was established using the services of Mossack Fonseca, the infamous law firm implicated in the Panama Papers. The fine comes from New York’s Department of Financial Services, along with the condition that the bank takes immediate steps to introduce controls and checks that will prevent further violations from occurring. They have labelled the bank’s activity as brazen and continual violations.
Whatsapp has recently announced changes to its data privacy terms. The instant messaging service, which was bought by Facebook in 2014, now appears to be more aligned with its parent company’s policies than ever before. Facebook has itself been the subject of recent controversy surrounding data privacy laws in Europe. The two platforms will now share phone numbers and data analytics information. Statements from the two companies outline the sharing of data analytics as a positive tool that they hope will serve to eliminate spam messaging. Future plans for Whatsapp include a way for businesses to contact people directly, similar to a method adopted by Facebook Messenger. Whatsapp, previously known for its staunch views on data privacy, has received criticism regarding its new direction.
Deutsche Bank whistleblower Eric Ben-Artzi has rejected his portion of a reward from the SEC for his involvement in reporting suspicious transactions and overvaluations at the financial institution. Ben-Artzi, who sued Deutsche Bank in 2012 for wrongful termination, declined the $8.25 million reward on the grounds that the SEC has not targeted the senior executives at the bank, following the issuance of a $55 million fine. Employees who served as executives during the period in question have retired with full pay and bonuses in tact, which Ben-Artzi describes as a grave injustice in a column for the Financial Times last week.