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Episode 68 — FCPA Guidance and Safe Harbors

The FCPA Guidance continues to inform compliance practitioners on compliance best practices. Issued in 2012, the FCPA Guidance provides important information concerning a number of compliance functions and risks.  The FCPA Guidance includes important discussions about legal intent, due diligence, successor liability and other issues, which can be used to establish important safe harbors for an effective ethics and compliance program. In this episode, Michael...

Smart Compliance: Embracing Proactive Solutions

Over the last twenty years, we have seen a fundamental re-orientation in compliance.  I would argue that as the compliance profession has expanded and taken on greater space and responsibility in the corporate governance world, a fresh perspective has developed. In my view, compliance is devoting more attention, and properly so, to the idea of “proactive” compliance.  This is in contrast to “reactive” compliance.  What...

Enforcing Corporate Compliance Policies and Controls

The government has emphasized the dangers of a paper compliance program, meaning a compliance program that is written down but not implemented.  We all have seen programs that fit this bill, and they are discouraging.  They are exhilarating when written out because they are usually comprehensive and ambitious.  But such positive feelings can quickly turn negative when you start to kick the tires and find...

The Purpose of a Compliance Program: To Prevent and Detect

I do not think there is much disagreement on the basic purpose of an ethics and compliance program.  After all, one of the primary sources for compliance programs continues to be the United States Sentencing Guidelines which very clearly affirm that stated purpose of a corporate compliance program. To play devil’s advocate for a minute, let’s consider the following: the United States Sentencing Guidelines are...

Episode 67 — Conducting Compliance Audits

Corporate compliance departments are rapidly implementing their own internal audit function — operating their own internal compliance monitoring and audit function.  No longer can compliance departments rely on internal audit to report on the compliance department’s operations.  Companies have to implement internal (or external) audit procedures. In this episode, Michael Volkov discusses how to conduct a compliance audit.

Vantage Drilling Forks Over $5 Million for SEC FCPA Settlement

The SEC announced last week a $5 million FCPA settlement with Vantage Drilling International (“Vantage”), a Texas-based offshore drilling company.  The violations involved Vantage’s predecessor company, Vantage Drilling Company (“VDC”), for transactions with its former outside director, largest shareholder and only supplier of drilling assets, and for failure to implement appropriate controls for its third-party marketing agents. The Justice Department closed its related investigation. The...

Your CEO Agrees the Company’s Culture is Important – Now What?

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain  “To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.” – Mark Twain  Mark Twain would have been a great Chief Compliance Officer – he had an extraordinary ability to capture human behavior and motivation.  He would have known how to use the right phrase at the right time. I can just imagine CCO Mark Twain meeting...

OFAC Completes Re-Imposition of Iran Sanctions

On November 5, 2018 the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (“OFAC”) completed the process to re-impose the Iran sanctions program.  The 180-day wind-down period for termination of the United States’ participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”) ended.  As part of the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions, OFAC added more than 700 individuals, entities, aircraft, and vessels to the SDN List,...

Société Générale Pays $1.4 Billion for Systemic Sanctions Violations

Société Générale (“SocGen”) entered into two deferred prosecution agreements (“DPA”) (here) and agreed to pay $1.34 billion in penalties (here): $717 million to the Justice Department; $325 million to New York’s Department of Financial Services “DFS”); $163 million to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office; $81 million to the U.S. Federal Reserve; and $54 million to the U.S Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”).  The...