Author: Michael Volkov

OFAC Pushes Iran Sanctions Enforcement

Many companies have been laser-focused on anti-corruption compliance, and with good reason given the risks and consequences of an anti-corruption enforcement action. In doing so, companies have to be careful to avoid ignoring sanctions risks, especially in the ever-evolving nature of sanctions rules and regulations. The Office of Foreign Asset Control is an enforcement agency that coordinates its investigations activity with the Department of Justice...

Anti-Corruption Risks and Drug and Device Companies

For years, the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission touted the FCPA “sweep” of the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. With good reason, DOJ and the SEC turned the drug and medical device industries into virtual enforcement punching bags as company after company reached settlements with the DOJ and/or SEC. Indeed, the drug and medical device industries replaced the earlier enforcement punching bag...

Retaining a “Risky” Third-Party

Every company has done it. Chief Compliance Officers have had to hold their respective noses and push forward with due diligence to retain a risky third party. Rather than reject the third party, a CCO convinces him or herself that the company can mitigate the risks by contract representations and warranties, annual certifications, and a plan to monitor and audit the third party in the...

Wake Up and Mind Your Culture — Practical Approaches to Managing a Company’s Culture

Ethical culture is the flavor of the year these days. We are seeing more postings and articles about the importance of ethical culture, and even pushing the idea of measuring and monitoring culture. It was only seven years ago, 2010 to be exact, when the US Sentencing Commission added ethics to the applicable guideline defining compliance program requirements. We have definitely come very far in...

Every CCO Needs Authority + Autonomy + Resources

Chief compliance officers are the rising stars in the corporate governance world.  However, CCOs have to avoid complacency.  CCOs have a lot more to accomplish — it is almost as if the profession has put its collective foot in the door.   CCOs have to be honest with themselves – it is easy to say everything is going great when some changes have been implemented....

Get Your Board On Board

Sometimes my references to Seinfeld episodes or Curb Your Enthusiasm vignettes do not work or can charitably be characterized as a little off. Nonetheless, I press on. In Season 4 of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Mel Brooks explained to Larry what a famous Greek actor explained to Mel Brooks about talent – “Or you got it. Or you ain’t.” (Watch here) The same applies to your board...

Maximizing Compliance Opportunities: Your Vendor Onboarding Process and Vendor Master File

Compliance practitioners are opportunists. They have to look for openings in the corporate resource world to build partnerships with related functions. To put it another way, they are purveyors of compliance thinking – they inject the compliance mindset into functions that can advance the effectiveness of compliance controls. When it comes to the vendor onboarding process, compliance practitioners need to participate in the design and...

New Sanctions Law Complicates Trade Compliance

Politics and sanctions law go hand-in-hand. In a rare instance of bi-partisanship, Congress united to constrain the administration’s ability to modify the existing sanctions program against Russia. At the same time, Congress expanded the sanctions regime for Russia, Iran and North Korea. The administration was forced to sign the bill given the overwhelming vote in favor of the measure. As a result, compliance practitioners have...

What Happens When Employees Stop Speaking Up?

One of several difficult compliance questions facing companies revolves around reporting of employee concerns. If the number of complaints coming in on a company hotline goes down over time, is corporate misconduct going down or are employees losing trust in the company’s speak up system? These are two diametrically opposite conclusions. Compliance officers have to be realistic and objective when analyzing this question. Misconduct rates...