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OFAC Announces Two Sanctions Enforcement Settlements

What a difference a year makes — The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (“OFAC”) announced two sanctions settlements in the beginning of 2019, a stark difference from 2018 when OFAC announced its first enforcement action in June 2018. ELF Cosmetics  On January 31, 2019, OFAC announced a $996,080 settlement with e.l.f. Cosmetics, Inc. (“ELF”), a California cosmetics company for violation of the North...

Corruption Risks and the Issue of Foreign Government Officials

Global companies are expending more time and resources to understanding their relationships with foreign officials.  This is a key focus of every anti-corruption compliance program. Foreign government officials create different risks dep[ending on the relationship and the nature of the interactions.  A helpful way to examine the issue is by dividing government officials into two categories – foreign government official (FGO) owners and FGOs that...

Four Audi Executives Indicted for Emissions Cheating Scandal

In January 2019, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan returned an indictment against four executives from Audi, a Volkswagen subsidiary, for their participation and direction of Audi’s emissions-cheating scandal.  In December 2018, Audi paid a fine of 800 million euros to settle charges with German prosecutors.  Audi’s CEO, Rupert Stadler, was arrested and has been charged in Germany with alleged fraud and...

The Urgency of Now: Corporate Ethics and the #MeToo Movement

The corporate scandal landscape is littered with important examples of governance failures surrounding corporate ethics and mishandling of harassment and sexual assault controversies.  Major corporate governance failures surrounding the handling of these issues have occurred at Google, CBS (Les Moonves), U.S. Gymnastics team, and U.S Congress, just to name a few of the many.  If there was ever a compelling argument for ethics and compliance...

New U.S. Sanctions Against Nicolás Maduro Place Venezuelan Oil Squarely in the Crosshairs

Noah Smith, an Associate at The Volkov Law Group, joins us for an interesting post on OFAC’s new Venezuela sanctions.  Noah can be contacted at nsmith@volkovlaw.com. Venezuela is undergoing a political upheaval. Since his rise to power in 2013, the embattled Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has precipitated a humanitarian crisis that has driven some 3 million Venezuelans to flee abroad. Widespread protests have erupted (yet again) against the country’s chronic violence,...

Episode 76 — Review of 2018 AML Enforcement and Compliance Trends

Global prosecutors and regulators continued to increase anti-money laundering enforcement and regulatory actions.  Global and US regulators have increasingly focused on beneficial ownership and transparency requirements.  In 2018, FinCEN’s Customer Due Diligence rule went into effect.   US prosecutors also brought several significant AML criminal prosecutions against large banks; the SEC has increased AML enforcement as part of reviews of internal controls.  Regulators brought enforcement actions...

Hospitals and Physician Relationships – Navigating Stark, AKS and Fraud Risks (Part III of III)

Chief compliance officers at hospitals face a crushing burden of risks.  The HHS-OIG has vigorously scrutinized hospitals compensation of physicians, especially for potential anti-kickback and Stark law violations.  Most of these suspect situations involve compensation for physician practice groups.  Unlawful compensation and influence arrangements have involved favorable leasing and facility payments, such as below-market office leasing arrangements in exchange for exclusive referral of patients to...

Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Company Payments to Healthcare Professionals (Part II of III)

Given the significant risks posed by transfers of money and other items of value to physicians, pharmaceutical and medical device companies have to implement appropriate controls governing such payments.  The federal Anti-Kickback Statute (“AKS”) prohibits the offering, paying, soliciting or receiving anything of value to induce or reward referrals or generate federal health care program business.  The statute defines “anything of value” broadly; criminal penalties...

Focusing on “Payments” to Healthcare Professionals (Part I of III)

The United States healthcare industry poses an infinite number of risks when it comes to interactions with healthcare professionals.  Given the aggressive regulation and enforcement of prohibitions against kickbacks and referrals, healthcare companies have to devote significant resources and strategies governing interactions with physicians. First, healthcare provides, pharmaceutical and medical device companies have a variety of legitimate reasons for relationships with physicians.  They work closely...

Export Control Reform: Major Changes for ITAR Regulations for Firearms Industry

Colleen Hurson, Of Counsel at The Volkov Law Group joins us for her first posting on the blog concerning export control reform measures applicable to the firearms industry. Colleen has substantial experience in handling export control and sanctions compliance for clients subject to the State Department’s ITAR regulations and Commerce Department’s EAR regulations. Colleen can be reached at churson@volkovlaw.com. This week the Trump Administration is...