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Weekly News Roundup: SEC Fines Telefonica Brasil, Japan Has a Labor Shortage

US SEC fines Telefonica Brasil over World Cup tickets

Telefonica Brasil SA will pay a US$4.13 million civil fine as part of a settlement regarding US Securities and Exchange Commission charges over incentives provided to government officials in connection with soccer’s 2014 World Cup and 2013 Confederations Cup. The SEC accused Telefonica Brasil of inaccurately reflecting payments for tickets and hospitality awarded to officials capable of influencing legislative, regulatory, and business activity involving the Sao Paulo-based telecommunications company. According to the SEC, Telefonica Brasil provided 194 World Cup tickets to 93 officials, and 38 Confederations Cup tickets to 34 officials. Telefonica Brasil did not admit or deny wrongdoing in agreeing to settle.

Cost of security breaches to Canadian firms averaged over US$9 million a year

The annual Accenture Cost of Cybercrime survey revealed an average cost of investigating and fixing security breaches to 300+ organizations in 11 countries was US$13 million in 2018, an almost US$2 million-increase from a year ago. The average company in the survey suffered 145 security breaches in 2018, an increase from 130 in 2017.

McDonald’s buys out rogue licensee in India

India's McDonald's branch now controls Connaught Plaza Restaurants Pvt. Ltd. after it reached an agreement with Vikram Bakshi, its joint-venture partner for restaurants in the north and east of the country. Bakshi opened McDonald’s first outlet in India in 1996 as the company’s first beefless restaurant. Connaught Plaza eventually grew to 169 restaurants in the country.

Southern Europe companies face longer wait for payday

Businesses in Greece, Italy, Spain, and France are waiting longer to be paid by customers and the problem is getting worse. Euler Hermes, the trade credit insurer, checked payment times for companies in 36 advanced economies last year, with Greece, Italy, Spain, and France in the bottom 10. Marc Livinec, a sector adviser at Euler Hermes who compiled the data, said that companies in southern Europe have traditionally waited longer than their northern counterparts. The longer wait could indicate a level of complacency at not anticipating economic cycles.  

Deutsche Bank accused of bribery in London lawsuit

Stichting Vestia, a Dutch affordable-housing provider, is suing Deutsche Bank for bribery. Vestia, which nearly collapsed as a result of derivatives losses, alleges the bank paid 3.5 million euros (US$3.9 million) in commissions to a Dutch company, First in Finance Alternatives. The housing group said about 1.75 million euros of that went to Vestia’s treasury and control manager Marcel de Vries, who conducted Vestia’s derivatives trading. The bank may have paid commissions to First in Finance Alternatives (FIFA) at De Vries’ personal request, Vestia said in court filings, where it accuses the bank of “wining and dining and entertaining him to an excessive degree.” The bank either knew or suspected that De Vries was benefiting from fees paid to FIFA, and “dishonestly continued to pay commission nonetheless,” Vestia said.

Spanish privacy regulator finds fault with Google's data sharing

Spain's privacy regulator said that Google's Android mobile operating system sends data on its users to Facebook even when people turn off data-collection settings for advertising purposes. The agency concluded that Google still stored identifiable data, most notably a uniquely-identifiable ID tag linked to each Android smartphone, regardless of whether people asked the search giant not to share such information with other mobile applications.

Japan's labor shortage eats away at back-breaking work culture

A generational conflict is reshaping Japan’s infamous work culture, as unemployment in Japan is at a 26-year low, and companies are facing stiff competition for talent. Younger people entering the workforce often resent long hours, strict top-down discipline, and rewards based on seniority, everything that made the Japanese corporate environment notorious. Human resources experts say this shift is not the norm in Japan yet, but it is becoming increasingly common.

About the Author

Wendy R. Leibowitz is a freelance contributor. Her work has appeared in the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, and Chronicle of Higher Education.

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