Author: Michael Volkov

Corporate Doublespeak: A Bribe is a Bribe

Language communicates more than just words – indeed, the use of language reflects much more than simple communication.  Often, a person’s language reveals an attitude, a feeling, a perspective, and much more about a person.  To me, I am often struck how language is used by corporations to mask a clear and distinct idea.  Corporate speak is a language unto itself, and can reflect a...

Artificial Intelligence, Hype and Financial Misconduct

The compliance world, like business in general, is being inundated with “trends” and claims of “new technology” that inevitably (is or) will transform our economy.  There is no question that artificial intelligence holds great promise for compliance and our entire economy. When you boil down artificial intelligence, it is built on two significant developments – the creation and collection of large data sets (sometimes called...

Corporate Character and Lack of Corporate Will

The right way is not always the popular and easy way. Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true test of moral character. Margaret Chase Smith Corporations experience numerous tests of character.  Perhaps one of the most important is how the company responds when facing potential misconduct.  Too often we read enforcement action factual statements where companies veer off the track and ignore...

Iran Sanctions and Third Party Risk

United States businesses are experiencing a sanctions whipsaw.  Since 1979, the President has issued twenty-six Executive Orders restricting trade and commerce with Iran. The Iran Sanctions Program imposed strict prohibitions in a range of areas.  The Iran Sanctions Program and the Cuba Embargo are the two most restrict sanctions program implemented by the United States. All of this changed in January 2016 when the Joint...

Episode 48: Tom Fox and Michael Volkov Review FCPA Enforcement for First Half of 2018

FCPA enforcement in the first half of 2018 continued at a steady pace.  The first half of 2018 included several significant corporate and individual prosecutions for FCPA violations.  Tom Fox and Michael Volkov review FCPA enforcement and identify significant trends and enforcement actions. Tom Fox has released his new compliance book — The Compliance Handbook, which is available at HERE

The Risk of Employee Misconduct

Companies are hyper-focused on third-party risks, especially when it comes to anti-corruption risks.  And for good reason – a large percentage of FCPA enforcement actions involve illegal use of third parties to carry out illegal bribery schemes.  In this era of third-party risk management, however, companies may be missing a more significant risk – employee misconduct. In the global economy, companies face a number of...

Antitrust Division Continues to Wrestle with Credit for Pre-Enforcement Compliance Programs

The Justice Department’s Antitrust Division maintains a robust criminal enforcement program fueled by the steady stream of leniency applicants.  Since the 1990s, the Antitrust Division has trumpeted a successful leniency program that has been followed by many other foreign enforcement agencies.  There is no question that the Antitrust Division’s leniency program has led to major prosecution and settlement successes. The Antitrust Division has used this...

Four Current FCPA Enforcement Trends

There are two distinct themes in FCPA enforcement – the first is consistency, i.e., that some enforcement actions are relatively consistent across the board and, in the last five to ten years, the FCPA caseload has been fairly steady; the second is variability, meaning that new policies have an impact on FCPA enforcement.  Some minor and some major.  All of this may be another in...

Episode 47 — Cybersecurity Threats and Compliance

Companies face evolving and significant cyber risks. The FBI estimates that ransomware will generate at least $1 billion for criminals.  Businesses stand to lose at least $400 billion each year from hacks.  The cyber defense, forensics and insurance industry will be worth nearly $200 billion by the end of this decade.  Each year there is an average of 1.5 million cyber attacks, or approximately 4000 per day....

Beam Settles FCPA Violations with SEC for $8 Million for Pervasive Third-Party Bribery Schemes

After a lengthy investigation conducted by the SEC, Beam Suntory agreed to pay $8 million to settle FCPA violations in India.  (Copy of SEC order Here).  Beam’s settlement took over 5 years from initial disclosure to resolution – a long-time to say the least.  Interestingly, there has been no resolution or mention of a parallel DOJ investigation. Beam’s conduct follows similar conduct by other liquor companies...