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Whistleblower News: Kickbacks, SEC Fines NYSE

by HB Whistleblower Legal Team


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U.S. Government Contractor in Afghanistan Pleads Guilty to Accepting Kickbacks From Subcontractor

A former employee of a U.S. government contractor in Afghanistan pleaded guilty today to accepting illegal kickbacks from an Afghan subcontractor in return for his assistance in obtaining subcontracts on U.S. government contracts.

Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Byung J. Pak of the Northern District of Georgia; Special Agent in Charge John Khin of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service’s (DCIS) Southeast Field Office, Atlanta Resident Agency; Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John F. Sopko; Director Frank Robey of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s (CID) Major Procurement Fraud Unit (MPFU); Special Agent in Charge David J. LeValley of the FBI Atlanta Resident Agency and Special Agent in Charge Wendell W. Palmer of Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI), made the announcement. read more »

RBS Will Pay New York $500 Million Over Bogus RMBS Marketing

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc agreed to pay $500 million to the state of New York to settle a probe into its marketing and sale of toxic residential mortgage-backed securities before the financial crisis, moving the government-owned lender another step closer to resolving a series of costly U.S. investigations.

The deal boosts the bank’s U.S. settlement costs to $6 billion in less than a year for bundling dubious mortgages into top-rated securities and pitching them to investors in 2006 to 2008, before the housing bubble burst. In July, the lender agreed to pay $5.5 billion to the Federal Housing Finance Agency to resolve a parallel investigation. read more »

NYSE to Pay $14 Million Penalty for Multiple Violations

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that it charged the New York Stock Exchange and two affiliated exchanges with regulatory failures in connection with multiple episodes, including several disruptive market events.  The charges arose from five separate investigations and include the first-ever charged violation of Regulation SCI.  The Commission adopted Reg SCI to strengthen the technology infrastructure and integrity of the U.S. securities markets, and today charged two NYSE exchanges with violating Reg SCI’s business continuity and disaster recovery requirement.  In settlement, the exchanges agreed to pay a $14 million penalty.

According to the SEC’s order, the violations include erroneously implementing a market-wide regulatory halt, negligently misrepresenting stock prices as “automated” despite extensive system issues ahead of a total shutdown of two of the exchanges, and applying price collars during unusual market volatility on Aug. 24, 2015, without a rule in effect to permit them – a move that resulted in order imbalances being resolved more slowly.

“Exchanges play an important role in protecting investors,” said Stephanie Avakian, Co-Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.  “For retail investors to have confidence in our markets, exchanges must provide accurate information and comply with legal requirements, including being equipped for unexpected market disruptions.” read more »

Hagens Berman’s SEC whistleblower client Haim Bodek teamed up to investigate and develop information and analysis that was brought to the SEC for investigation of alleged unlawful order type operations at NYSE that were undisclosed by the exchange. more »

US investigation into BAE Saudi arms deal watered down, leaked memo suggests

The outcome of a US criminal investigation into alleged bribery in a £43bn arms deal between Britain and Saudi Arabia was watered down following a secret lobbying campaign, according to a leaked document.

The confidential memo seen by the Guardian provides a rare insight into behind-the-scenes negotiations between an American law firm hired by a Saudi prince and the US Department of Justice. read more »