Hagens Berman Blog

Whistleblower News: FCPA, Crypto Plunge, Tesla

by HB Whistleblower Legal Team

09/13/2018

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United Technologies Charged With Violating FCPA

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Connecticut-based United Technologies Corporation will pay $13.9 million to resolve charges that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by making illicit payments in its elevator and aircraft engine businesses.

According to the SEC’s order, United Technologies subsidiary Otis Elevator Co. made unlawful payments to Azerbaijani officials to facilitate the sales of elevator equipment for public housing in Baku and as part of a kickback scheme to sell elevators in China.  The order also found that United Technologies, through its joint venture, made payments to a Chinese sales agent in a bid to obtain confidential information from a Chinese official that would help the company win engine sales to a Chinese state-owned airline.  The SEC’s order also found that United Technologies improperly provided trips and gifts to various foreign officials in China, Kuwait, South Korea, Pakistan, Thailand, and Indonesia through its Pratt & Whitney division and Otis subsidiary in order to obtain business. read more »

Crypto’s 80% Plunge Is Now Worse Than the Dot-Com Crash

The Great Crypto Crash of 2018 looks more and more like one for the record books.

As virtual currencies plumbed new depths on Wednesday, the MVIS CryptoCompare Digital Assets 10 Index extended its collapse from a January high to 80 percent. The tumble has now surpassed the Nasdaq Composite Index’s 78 percent peak-to-trough decline after the dot-com bubble burst in 2000.

Like their predecessors during the Internet-stock boom almost two decades ago, cryptocurrency investors who bet big on a seemingly revolutionary technology are suffering a painful reality check, particularly those in many secondary tokens, so-called alt-coins.

“It just shows what a massive, speculative bubble the whole crypto thing was -- as many of us at the time warned,” said Neil Wilson, chief market analyst in London for Markets.com, a foreign-exchange trading platform. “It’s a very likely a winner takes all market -- Bitcoin currently most likely.”

Wednesday’s losses were led by Ether, the second-largest virtual currency. It fell 6 percent to $171.15 at 7:50 a.m. in New York, extending this month’s retreat to 40 percent. Bitcoin was little changed, while the MVIS CryptoCompare index fell 3.8 percent. The value of all virtual currencies tracked by CoinMarketCap.com sank to $187 billion, a 10-month low. read more »

Tesla investor says SEC asked it about 'funding secured' tweet

Tesla Inc’s (TSLA.O) biggest institutional investor said on Wednesday it was questioned by U.S. securities regulators about Elon Musk’s now-abandoned plans to take the electric carmaker private and that the chief executive needed help running the company.

“He needs help, and I mean that psychologically as much as practically,” said asset manager Baillie Gifford’s James Anderson, the fund manager of Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, which owns Tesla shares. read more »