Category: General

Addressing AML Risks in the Era of Aggressive Enforcement

The resurgence in anti-money laundering enforcement in the last few years reflects the overall improvement in the banking industry and recovery from the financial collapse. Federal prosecutors and regulators have renewed their interest in AML compliance lapses, particularly in the area of sanctions/OFAC violations. FinCEN, the primary regulatory agency responsible for enforcement, has both diversified its targets and increased its enforcement efforts. For years, FinCEN...

Do Former Prosecutors Make Good CCOs?

A number of companies have adopted the requirement that a new Chief Compliance Office come from the ranks of former federal prosecutors. I am not sure exactly why companies have adopted this requirement. Perhaps company leaders think this will give the company an advantage when dealing with the Justice Department or the SEC. With full disclosure here, I admit my bias in favor of federal...

AML Risks and Foreign Correspondent Banking

With the Panama Papers scandal and government promises of continued aggressive AML enforcement, financial institutions face a variety of risks that require increased vigilance and mitigation strategies. One of the most challenging risks facing all financial institutions is foreign correspondent banking. In essence, a foreign correspondent banking relationship is built on the effectiveness of a foreign bank’s AML compliance program and ongoing monitoring capabilities. Such...

FinCEN Issues New Beneficial Ownership Regulations

Under the dark cover of the Panama Papers scandal, FinCEN moved quickly to issue its beneficial; ownership regulations. For all of the US regulatory and financial industry bluster, it is about time. The United States stands far behind other countries in requiring transparency with regard to financial ownership. It is unfortunate that it took the Panama Papers scandal to give FinCEN the political opportunity to...

Global Standardization of Enforcement

Maybe I am a Luddite; maybe I just do not understand the new world and the impact of globalization. New ideas do not scare me, like others we know. New ideas present real opportunities for progress and innovation. I understand the impact that globalization has had on our economy, our society and our country. There are many positive benefits that flow from this incredible transformation...

Global Construction and Corruption

With increasing focus on infrastructure projects and greater public demand for improvements, governments are preparing to ramp up construction projects. Part of the budgeting process has to acknowledge the cost of corruption. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that construction and corruption go hand-in-hand. Corruption occurs in construction projects because of the incendiary mix of money, government bureaucracy, and lack of...

Corruption Risks and Corporate Social Responsibility Spending

Global companies have been embracing socially responsible spending projects to build stronger relationships with local communities. The idea makes a lot of sense and real projects can result in real benefits. As with any significant source of money, there are risks. Major global companies have been caught in some embarrassing situations, some of which can have real legal and reputational consequences. Think of the irony...

Watch Michael Volkov on Bureau van Dijk Webinar Addressing Third-Party Due Diligence

I was honored to conduct a live, video webinar last week on third party due diligence, focusing on the importance of beneficial ownership.  My co-panelists were Bill Hauserman and Ted Datta from Bureau van Dijk. You can watch the webinar and download the slides from the webinar (here). I have been impressed with BvD’s product offering – key tools in your third party screening process...

The McDonnell Case: Supreme Court Weighs Limiting Bribery Statute

We all suffer from a little myopia. Following FCPA enforcement and compliance issues makes a lot of sense in today’s enforcement environment. However, there is plenty of domestic enforcement of bribery laws – the New York corruption investigations and prosecutions and the recent high-profile prosecution of Virginia Governor McDonnell are just a few of the high profile domestic prosecutions. The Supreme Court recently heard argument...

The Evolving Due Diligence Standards and Beneficial Ownership

In case you are not following all the latest scandals – Unaoil and the Panama Papers being two significant ones – we are seeing an evolution and possibly a revolution in due diligence expectations. No matter what context or what your specific concern may be, the need for every compliance department to identify the beneficial owners of joint venture partners, third party intermediaries, distributors, agents...