Category: General

DOJ Takes Aim At Apple’s Dominance Over Smartphones

The Justice Department has a long and rich history of targeting dominant companies using antitrust monopolization tools — looking back to the 1980s, it was AT&T; in the 1990s, it was Microsoft; and in 2023, DOJ has brought a monopolization case against Google; and meanwhile the FTC filed monopolization cases against Facebook and Amazon. DOJ has now turned to Apple and its dominance in the...

DOJ, Commerce and Treasury Issue JCN on Foreign Person Liability for Sanctions and Export Controls Violations

As DOJ, OFAC and BIS ramp up sanctions and export controls enforcement, they have continued to provide important compliance guidance.  You have to give the enforcement agencies credit — on the one hand, they regularly warn of the coming enforcement storm and aggressive push against companies and individuals; and on the other hand, they provide significant compliance guidance.  Over the last five years, DOJ, OFAC...

Lessons-Learned from the Trafigura FCPA Settlement (Part III of III)

The Justice Department is rightly trumpeting its successful sweep of the commodities trading industry.  DOJ’s success is reflected in its six separate corporate resolutions and 20 individual convictions, resulting in over $1.7 billion in penalties. Companies in the global commodities trading industry should take heed of DOJ’s focus.  Every significant player in the industry, if not under investigation, should audit and review their operations.  Those...

Trafigura’s Bribery Scheme: Clandestine Meetings, 3rd Parties and Shell Companies (Part II of III)

Trafigura’s bribery scheme resembles the same schemes implemented by its significant competitors — Vitol, Glencore, Gunvor.  At the core of the conduct, Petrobras and Brazilian government officials collected bribes in exchange for valuable contracts for Petrobras oil.  The factual statement reflects DOJ’s extensive knowledge base in the international commodity trading industry — DOJ had access to several significant cooperating witnesses, including Petrobras officials and trader...

Trafigura Joins the FCPA Enforcement Club: Pleads Guilty and Pays Over $126 Million for Bribery Violations in Brazil (Part I of III)

On the heels of the Gunvor FCPA settlement for $661 million, DOJ announced its settlement with Trafigura, the latest commodities trading company to fall under DOJ’s FCPA Sweep against the industry.  Trafigura joined the list of international commodity trading companies to suffer FCPA enforcement actions — Vitol, Sargeant Marine, Glencore, Freepoint, and Gunvor. DOJ’s corporate resolutions are connected to individual prosecutions and guilty pleas of...

SEC Finally Issues Climate Change Disclosure Rules

Daniela Melendez, an Associate at The Volkov Law Group, rejoins us for a posting on the SEC’s new climate disclosure rules. Daniela can be reached at [email protected]. After months and months of deliberations and negotiations, the SEC finally issued its final rules for climate disclosures. The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investor (“the final rule”).   The SEC navigated a series of political landmines...

Carrots and Sticks: DOJ’s Push to Incentivize Voluntary Disclosure of Corporate Misconduct (Part II of II)

DOJ has been on a public relations campaign to push a simple message for corporations: if companies learn of misconduct, companies should disclose such misconduct to earn valuable benefits.  The quintessential question remains — should companies disclose misconduct to the Department of Justice or should the company remediate the misconduct and maintain its silence? DOJ’s campaign is intended to push companies to reconsider this balance...

DOJ Enters Whistleblower Sweepstakes — Plans to Implement Bounty Program (Part I of II)

The Securities and Exchange Commission has gained well-publicized traction through its formal whistleblower bounty program.  Only a small portion of these whistleblower reports involve FCPA, anti-bribery allegations.  Notwithstanding this fact, the SEC whistleblower program has been an unquestioned success.  Given this example, it is not surprising that the Department of Justice recently announced its plan to create its own whistleblower bounty program. In a recent...

JP Morgan Fined $348 Million for Deficient Record-Keeping

Regulators with the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) have fined JP Morgan Chase & Co. a combined total of $348.2 million over the bank’s failure to monitor client trading activities between 2014 and 2023. The enforcement action is a testament to regulators’ emphasis on the importance of sound market conduct risk controls, to which diligent record-keeping remains paramount....

DOJ and CFTC Bring Charges Against Crypto Exchange KuCoin for AML and KYC Failures

On March 26, 2024, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) unsealed an indictment against prominent cryptocurrency exchange KuCoin and two of its founders, Chun Gan and Ke Tang.  The DOJ charged the exchange and its founders with conspiracy and substantive charges related to Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) violations and operating an unlicensed money transmitter business.  These charges were filed in the Southern District of New...