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2019 OFAC Sanctions Enforcement Review (Part I of II)

While DOJ had its biggest year in FCPA enforcement, OFAC quietly had a record year in enforcement.  OFAC collected approximately $1.28 billion (yes, with a B) in 26 separate enforcement actions.  That is quite an increase over 2018 when OFAC collected $71 million in 7 separate enforcement actions.  OFAC enforcement is maturing, and its relationship with DOJ is coordinated in much the same way that...

Episode 123 — 2019 OFAC Enforcement and Compliance Review

2019 was a big year for OFAC enforcement and compliance — OFAC collected $1.28 billion in fines and penalties in a total of 26 separate enforcement actions.  OFAC also issued important compliance program guidance, mandating a number of important requirements for compliance programs. OFAC’s enforcement record for 2019 focused on supply chain sourcing; acquisition of foreign companies engaged in transactions with prohibited countries and customers;...

The Future of Compliance – The New Proactive CCO (Part III of III)

The path of the compliance profession has been remarkable.  Recently, I have seen a number of tweets and postings from compliance thought leaders touting the accomplishments of compliance and the transformation of the profession (e.g. Donna Boehme and Roy Snell).  In particular, compliance thought leaders cite the increase of CCOs who report directly to the CEO and no longer report to the chief legal officer. ...

The Future of Compliance: Building Bridges (Part II of III)

As a passionate supporter of the compliance function, I continue to advocate for compliance officers and the importance of compliance to overall governance.  Good compliance means good business – we all know that. Compliance always depends on interpersonal skills.  A CCO is only as good as his/her ability to persuade and enlist commitments from senior management and related functions.  Often I hear about problems CCOs...

The Future of Compliance: Re-Branding Compliance from Reactive to Proactive (Part I of III)

As everyone knows, I am an eternal optimist.  Being a cynic always leads to negative energy and results.  As a former federal prosecutor, I am deeply committed to the idea of doing the right thing.  There is no meaningful alternative and I am mystified by individuals who can avoid or convince themselves that engaging in wrongdoing is somehow acceptable. With that background and foundation in...

Ethics and Compliance Trends and Predictions for 2020

2019 was a big year for ethics and compliance.  In fact, it is easy to argue that since the adoption of the compliance provisions in the US Sentencing Guidelines in 1991, compliance had its biggest year. The federal government issued three important documents in 2019 – DOJ issued the Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs from the Criminal Division (here) and from the Antitrust Division (here),...

Episode 122 — 2020 Ethics and Compliance Predictions and Trends

Ethics and compliance had a big year — new compliance guidance was issued by the Justice Department’s Criminal and Antitrust Divisions and by the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control.  The compliance profession continues to innovate and new automated technologies are rapidly becoming available. In this Episode, Michael Volkov reviews ethics and compliance trends.

A Speak Up Culture Depends on Follow Through and Accountability

Corporate leaders often talk to the talk when it comes to a Speak Up culture.  In theory, many business leaders can articulate their commitment to a Speak Up culture by emphasizing the importance of employees raising concerns.  It all sounds great and is usually reflected on paper in the form of positive statements in the code of conduct and other communications.  All too often, however,...

FCPA Predictions for 2020 (Part III of III)

It is time to break out the crystal ball for FCPA 2020 Predictions.  In preparing for this, I always rely on my past admiration of Carnac the Magnificent (see here and here for a couple of examples). There are some trends that are becoming more reliable to “predict” or just observe.  DOJ is steadily adhering to the principles outlined in its FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy. ...

2019 FCPA Enforcement Highlights (Part II of III)

In a record year, there are bound to be numerous interesting enforcement actions and principles.  I picked out a few to highlight.  It is surprising to say the least that DOJ continues to return large enforcement actions against a number of global companies.  You would think after the last ten years of aggressive enforcement companies would refrain from bribery schemes or dedicate resources to cleaning...