The week in news - September 14
Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who served with the organization from 1998 to 2015, is to face formal charges of corruption and bribery alongside former Secretary General Jerome Valcke and former Finance Director Markus Kattner. The trio have been accused of obtaining more than $81 million in incentives, bonuses and compensation. In Switzerland, proceedings are underway in relation to the former senior executives’ contracts violating Swiss law. The contracts included clauses allowing the defendants to receive pay in full, inclusive of any potential termination for wrongdoing. According to the FCPA Blog, the US Department of Justice has charged 42 people in relation to the FIFA corruption scandal. The investigation, which also discovered payments of $2 million to former UEFA President Michael Platini, was spearheaded by US law firm Quinn Emanuel.
The former AIG Insurance chief, Maurice Greenberg, will face trial in New York, more than 11 years after the charges against him were first brought forward. Greenberg faces civil fraud charges relating to bid rigging and fake transactions, alongside co-defendant Howard Smith. The state is seeking damages in excess of $50 million, reports state, and could include reclaiming prior bonuses received by Greenberg and Smith. The state may also attempt to ban the pair from any future participation in the industry. Greenberg has made seven pre-trial appeals over the last decade, all of which have been denied. Now 91, he has made no admission of wrongdoing.
Dmitry Zakharchenko, a senior official with Russia’s anti-corruption body, has found himself in murky water, as $120 million and €2 million in cash was seized from a private home in which Zakharchenko was residing on Sunday. Police have yet to determine whether more cash and other assets remain hidden within the house. Zakharchenko, the deputy head of the Energy Industry Department of the General Administration of Economic Security and Combating the Corruption, will be held in police custody until November 8th, the RT reports, under suspicion of bribery and abuse of power. It has been speculated that the money came from NOTA-bank, whose license was revoked late last year.
Max Schrems, the Austrian privacy activist who filed a class action suit against Facebook, has seen his case referred to the European Court of Justice by the nation’s highest court. The ECJ could determine whether Schrems may file the law suit on behalf of all Europeans or even further. Schrems’ initial suit was filed on behalf of 25,000 Facebook users (himself included), challenging Facebook’s data and privacy policies, which allow for the obtaining and processing of personal data. This is not the first time that Schrems has sought to challenge the social media giant; in 2015, he won a case repealing the Safe Harbor Act, which allowed for the transfer of data between the US and European Union – an act which was particularly controversial amid Facebook’s alleged involvement in the PRISM programme – a claim the organization has strongly denied.