Featured Articles:

The Strange Case of OFAC Against Exxon for Sanctions Violations

In a bizarre enforcement action, The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (“OFAC”) assessed a $2 million civil monetary penalty against ExxonMobil (“Exxon”) for violations of the Ukraine sanctions. (Copy Here). OFAC’s enforcement action boiled down to Exxon’s execution of eight legal documents with Igor Sechin, the CEO of Rosneft OAO (“Rosneft”), who is a Specially Designated Nation and Blocked Person on what is...

Is Your Company At-Risk for a Government Enforcement Action?

For some reason, I have always believed that picking successful stocks should not be very difficult. Unfortunately, my record in the stock market does not back up my self-assessment. On the other hand, when it comes to compliance and corporate misconduct, I am confident about identifying and defining “at risk” companies. What is an “at-risk” company? An at-risk company is a company that suffers both...

Should You Record Internal Investigation Interviews?

As a former federal prosecutor, I noticed a renewed discussion of the important question of whether witness interviews should be recorded (either audio or video). I have always found this issue to be interesting and have welcomed discussion of the pros and cons of recording witness interviews. In this era of focus on prosecutorial misconduct, the issue has taken on greater importance. For example, in...

United States v. Nixon – An Important Reminder

In these days of political turmoil, it is always important to know specific and relevant events from our country’s past. I was fascinated by the Watergate scandal and was enamored with the role played by prosecutors and Congressional investigations that eventually uncovered the full scope of President Nixon’s involvement in the Watergate burglary and cover-up. One of the more significant events, with continuing ramifications today,...

Important Polling Results from BvD Webinar on Beneficial Ownership

On June 28, 2017, Bureau van Dijk, a sponsor of my blog, conducted a webinar on the importance of beneficial ownership information to corporate compliance functions. The blog posting by Alistair King is here, and the replay of the important webinar is here. I have emphasized in a number of postings the importance of beneficial ownership information to compliance functions. It is not enough to...

CCO’s and Delusions About a Company’s Ethical Culture

It is easy to say something and convince yourself it is true. As George Costanza advised Jerry Seinfeld when Jerry had to take a polygraph examination when he failed to admit that he watched  “Melrose Place,” “Remember Jerry.  It’s  not a lie, if you believe it.” See Video Here. This statement from this Seinfeld episode (Season 6, Episode 16) reminds me of compliance professionals who...

New Episode — Everything Compliance

Tom Fox, the Compliance Evangelist and Guru, has posted a new episode of Everything Compliance, a roundtable discussion led by Tom and including Matt Kelly, Jonathan Armstrong, Jay Rosen, and myself. During this episode, we discuss the Uber controversy, blockchain technology, GDPR, and FCPA enforcement trends and questions. Here is a link to the episode. Thanks to Tom, Matt, Jonathan, and Jay!

Is Your Chief Compliance Officer Lonely?

Compliance officers have a tough job. In most cases, they are overworked, under-resourced, and accountable for significant risks and issues. In the recent compliance vernacular, a CCO has to “operationalize” the company’s compliance program. That requires a CCO to go out and make friends inside the company. CCOs have “natural” friends – legal, internal audit, human resources, and security – which share many common objectives...

“Too Important to Jail,” the Yates Memorandum and FCPA Criminal Prosecutions

The Justice Department’s continuing lack of individual criminal prosecutions in the FCPA arena continues to raise serious questions. DOJ’s issuance of the Yates memorandum was seen as a new and important reiteration of DOJ’s commitment to individual prosecutions. In several significant areas, healthcare and antitrust, individual prosecutions have continued at a significant rate. One could argue that such prosecutions were already occurring in these areas...

DOJ’s “Filip” Factors and Corporate Prosecutions

Companies that experience a Justice Department criminal investigation undergo a long and painful process. DOJ prosecutors hold the cards when reviewing the facts and deciding whether to indict a company. The United States Attorneys’ Manual (“USAM”) is a comprehensive collection of DOJ policies regarding civil and criminal enforcement issues. The USAM includes specific policies concerning corporate prosecution guidelines.  Specifically, whether to criminally charge a corporation...