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Over the past year, the ripple effects from several ongoing high-profile global corruption scandals have continued to dominate the foreign and domestic bribery landscape. Most notably, in Brazil, Operation Car Wash, the wide-ranging investigation that uncovered a colossal bribery and embezzlement ring at state-owned oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras), has implicated many domestic and multinational firms across a range of industries, and touched a growing number of foreign countries, leading to cross-border cooperation by enforcement agencies and one of the largest foreign bribery settlements in history. In December 2016, Odebrecht SA, the largest construction company in Latin America, and its subsidiary Braskem SA, a Brazilian petrochemical company, entered coordinated settlement agreements to pay approximately US$3.5 billion in fines and penalties to authorities in Brazil, the United States and Switzerland for making improper payments to government officials, including officials at Petrobras, Brazilian politicians and officials, and political parties through Odebrecht’s off-book accounts in exchange for improper business advantages, including contracts with Petrobras.
Likewise, there have been further developments in the worldwide investigations into the misappropriation of more than US$3.5 billion in funds by senior government officials from state-owned strategic development company 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). The Swiss Office of the Attorney General has been pursuing a money laundering investigation into 1MDB and two Swiss private banks with the help of Singapore, Luxembourg, and the US Department of Justice (DOJ). In June 2017, the DOJ filed additional civil forfeiture complaints seeking recovery of assets valued at approximately US$540 million. Combined with the DOJ’s June 2016 civil forfeiture complaints to recover more than US$1 billion in assets, this remains the largest civil forfeiture action ever brought under the DOJ’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative. The DOJ has also turned its focus to a criminal investigation into 1MDB, particularly in relation to funds used to acquire real estate and other assets in the United States.
This sixth edition of The Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption Review presents the views and observations of leading anti-corruption practitioners in jurisdictions spanning every region of the globe, including new chapters covering Argentina, Canada, Jersey and Sweden. The worldwide scope of this volume reflects the reality that anti-corruption enforcement has become an increasingly global endeavour.