In case you missed it this week, General Electric is under investigation and Thailand’s fishing industry could spell out big third-party risk complications.
For sale by owner | Spotify is raising some eyebrows with their unconventional IPO tactics. The popular (and currently unprofitable) streaming service has decided to do something almost unheard of: launch their IPO sans investment bank, opting instead to just list their shares and let them trade on the market. Their thinking: why give away a chunk (possibly $3M) to a broker when we’re so popular already? People will definitely buy in, so let’s cut out the middle man. But critics aren’t so sure, saying that the small-time investors they’re gunning for aren’t going to jump on the bandwagon so easily.
Fish or die | A new report has come out detailing the multitude of human rights violations, like forced labor and human trafficking, in Thailand’s fishing industry. Human Rights Watch released the 134-page report, comprised of hundreds of interviews with Thai fisherman. This isn’t even the first time Thailand’s fishing industry has come under fire—there’s been pushes for years to get them to a morally sound place, but according to HRW’s report the gov’t just hasn’t “taken the steps necessary” to fix their problem. Now the European Union is threatening an export ban, and the United States has put them on a human trafficking watchlist. This means potentially big complications for companies that deal with Thai fishermen as a third party—which, considering Thailand is one of the world’s largest fish exporters, might be a lot.
I'm sure nobody needs this | This week, a (former) U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs official pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud and bribery. 39-year-old Russell Ware stole $66K, including $21K in VA disability money, and $13K in kickbacks for wiring thousands to a friend. A statement released said that they were, “not entitled to that money.” No kidding.
Doozy of a day | GE’s making headlines, and none of them are looking great. Last week, the company announced a huge GAAP charge related to its insurance company, which had a bit of an effect on its stocks. This week, the company took the mic and said, “oh one more thing” and dropped the bomb that the Securities and Exchange Commission has actually been investigating it for things like “revenue recognition and controls for long-term service agreements.” Yikes.
Hips do lie | Pop icon Shakira is under investigation for possibly failing to pay taxes. Spanish authorities claim she moved from the Bahamas to Barcelona three years before she officially declared it on her tax statements. Shakira was also named in the “Paradise Papers” last year as one of the (numerous) high-profile celebs with offshore tax deals. If authorities do find her guilty, the pop star will join the ranks of other recent Spanish icons who found themselves in trouble, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Thanks for reading! Keep your eyes glued to this column for another roundup of the latest news from the wider world of compliance. And as always, please send any questions, comments, or leads to email@example.com.