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Eletrobas Settles SEC FCPA & Bid-Rigging Enforcement Action for $2.5 Million

In a December 2018 enforcement settlement, the SEC and Brazil’s Centrais Elétricas Brasileiras S.A. (“Eletrobas”) agreed to violating books and records and internal accounting controls requirements and paid a $2.5 million penalty.  (Here). DOJ declined to prosecute Eletrobas. Eletrobas stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange.  The Brazilian government owns 51 percent of Eletrobas and appoints seven of eleven board members. The bribery...

The Danger of Benchmarking

As the Bible reminds us, “Beware of false prophets,” or in the compliance context, “Beware of false [measurements].”  Compliance professionals have an obsession with benchmarking their compliance programs.  Why are compliance officers so obsessed with such comparisons? Compliance is a function that, by definition, involves objective and subjective measurements.  In its simplest form, compliance success is measured by the absence of a negative occurrence.  Such...

Assessing Your Hotline System

Employee hotlines are – sorry about this – a “hot” topic these days in compliance.  NAVEX Global’s recent study (here) confirmed the importance of an effective hotline system.  Companies that implement robust and widely-used internal reporting systems are more effective in identifying and responding to potential problems.  Such an impact improves overall business performance as measured by return on assets, fewer material lawsuits, lower litigation...

Jessica Sanderson Joins The Volkov Law Group

The Volkov Law Group is pleased to announce the addition of Jessica Sanderson to the firm.  Jessica has a wealth of compliance and enforcement defense experience. We look forward to introducing her to new and existing clients. Jessica Sanderson, Of Counsel, has more than 20 years of experience in a number of areas, including complex civil litigation, white-collar defense and regulatory and securities enforcement under...

Polycom Pays $36 Million, Settles with SEC, and Earns DOJ Declination for Bribery in China

Polycom, Inc., a U.S. communication technology company, which was recently acquired by Plantronics, earned a DOJ declination and entered into an SEC settlement for FCPA violations in China.  DOJ released a declination letter (here); and the SEC issued an administrative order (here). Polycom earned the declination under the FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy.  Polycom identified the misconduct and voluntarily disclosed to the government; Polycom conducted a...

Episode 72 — 2018 Review of OFAC Sanctions Enforcement and Compliance Trends

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (“OFAC”) had a busy year — the first half of 2018 was dedicated to re-imposing the Iran Sanctions Program and updating the Russia Sanctions Program. In the second half of the year, OFAC resumed its pace for enforcement actions. In this episode, Michael Volkov reviews OFAC enforcement actions and sanctions regulations for 2018.

SEC Settles FCPA Charges Against Ex-Panasonic Avionics Officers

On December 19, 2018, the SEC announced settlements with two former senior executives of Panasonic Avionics Corporation.  In April 2018, Panasonic Avionics settled FCPA charges with the Justice Department and the SEC and agreed to pay $280 million.  (Here) Paul Margis (Here), the former CEO, and Takeshi Uonaga (Here), the former CFO, agreed to pay $75,000, and $50,000 respectively, to settle books and records and...

OFAC Relaxes Russia Sanctions After Oligarch Ownership Changes

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) rarely backs down.  Recently, in response to significant ownership and governance changes, OFAC removed three Russian companies, EN+ Group (EN+), UC Rusal plc (Rusal), and JSC EuroSibEnergo (ESE) from the sectoral sanctions list. (Here). OFAC’s decision to remove the three companies capped the efforts of Russian oligarch, Oleg Daripaska, to modify his ownership and control of...

2019 Ethics and Compliance Predictions

This is my favorite topic.  New trends come and go in the compliance field, while effective solutions and strategies slowly but surely take hold.  Eventually, an effective  compliance practice or strategy becomes a “best practice,” or an “industry standard.” To those who complain that ethics and compliance is a profession riddled with amorphous standards or vague “guidance” that lacks discipline, my response is that such...

Webinar: 2018 OFAC Sanctions Enforcement and Compliance Trends

Webinar: 2018 Review of OFAC Sanctions Enforcement and Compliance Trends January 15, 2019, 12 Noon EST Sign Up HERE The Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control had a busy year — first imposing the Russian Oligarch Sanctions Program and re-imposing the Iran Sanctions Program; and in the second-half of 2018, OFAC resumed its steady enforcement of sanctions.   Join Michael Volkov, CEO of The...