United States and Partners Promote Accountability for Corruption and Human Rights Abuse

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

Yesterday and today the United States imposed sanctions under the Global Magnitsky sanctions program on corrupt actors and human rights abusers worldwide.  These actions target actors across the globe who disregard individuals’ human rights and international standards to prevent and combat corruption.

As we recognize International Anticorruption Day on December 9 and International Human Rights Day on December 10, the United States is using these sanctions along with the Department of State’s 7031(c) visa restriction authorities to promote accountability and deter human rights abuse and corruption globally.  Together, these actions address perpetrators of corruption and human rights abuses ranging from a corrupt customs official in Kyrgyzstan, to leaders of armed gangs in Haiti, to human rights abusers in Chechnya, and many other bad actors.

We stand beside our partners in the UK who similarly took action against those seeking to rob individuals of their rights.  We congratulate the UK on the actions it took today under its Global Human Rights sanctions program.  In total, the United States and the United Kingdom designated 37 actors in the past 48 hours in connection with corruption or serious human rights abuse.

The ideals we share, supported every day by the formidable work of civil society and journalists, drive these actions.  The United States looks forward to continuing our partnerships with allies and civil society alike to defend human rights, combat corruption, and promote accountability and good governance.

We also welcome the European Union as a partner in this effort after its decision this week to adopt a Global Human Rights sanctions framework of its own.  Together, along with other international partners who seek to promote our shared values with similar tools, we will ensure corrupt actors and human rights abusers will have no refuge within our jurisdictions.

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    In U.S GAO News
    In 2019, the number of women on the boards of directors at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—two government-sponsored enterprises (enterprises)—were five and three, respectively, slightly higher than in 2011. Female directors held leadership positions on the enterprises' boards for the first time in 2019, serving as vice chair at Fannie Mae and chair at Freddie Mac. The percentage of women in senior management positions remained relatively consistent for 2011 and 2018, while minority representation was higher in 2018 than in 2011 (see figure). The enterprises have implemented leading practices to support workforce diversity, such as career and networking events to recruit diverse populations and employee mentorship programs. Share of Women and Minorities in Senior Management at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, 2011 and 2018 Note: Percentages may not add to 100 due to rounding. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac used diverse broker-dealers (such as minority- and women-owned) for financial transactions to a limited extent. In 2019, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac both paid about 6 percent of their financial transaction fees to diverse broker-dealers. The enterprises have taken steps to work with diverse broker-dealers more often, such as by lowering some capital requirements to allow participation by typically smaller, less-capitalized diverse broker-dealers. Broker-dealer representatives GAO interviewed said that enterprises had taken steps to increase their participation. However, some representatives noted that additional performance feedback and data on how they compare to larger firms would help them understand what business areas they could improve to meet standards for handling additional, more complex products. The enterprises said that some of the information on other firms is proprietary. In 2017, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) began reviewing the diversity and inclusion efforts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as part of its annual examinations of the enterprises. In 2017, FHFA found the enterprises generally took steps to promote diversity and inclusion but made recommendations to improve both enterprises' programs. In response, the enterprises have directed more attention and resources to diversity efforts. FHFA officials told GAO the agency planned to review the diversity and inclusion of the enterprises' financial transactions in late 2020 and would update its examination manual to include a focus on activities in this area. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are government-sponsored enterprises regulated by FHFA that buy and pool mortgages into mortgage-backed securities. The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 requires the enterprises to promote diversity and inclusion in employment and related activities. GAO was asked to review the enterprises' diversity and inclusion efforts. This report examines, among other things, (1) trends in the diversity of the enterprises' boards and senior management; (2) the extent to which the enterprises used diverse broker-dealers and implemented practices to promote more diversity; and (3) FHFA oversight of the enterprises' diversity and inclusion efforts. To conduct this work, GAO analyzed enterprise and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission data on the enterprises' workforces, boards, and broker-dealers; and reviewed FHFA and enterprise policies and regulations and previous GAO reports on these issues. GAO also interviewed FHFA and enterprise staff and a nongeneralizable sample of external stakeholders knowledgeable about broker-dealer diversity. For more information, contact Michael E. Clements at (202) 512-8678 or ClementsM@gao.gov.
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  • CEO of Financial Firm Pleads Guilty to Running Multi-Million Dollar Securities and Tax Fraud Scheme, and Operating an Unlicensed Money Services Business
    In Crime News
    A California-based man pleaded guilty today to conspiring with others to defraud shareholders of publicly traded companies, transmitting millions of dollars through the operation of an unlicensed money-services business in California, and falsifying multiple years of federal tax returns.
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