Category: General

NAVEX Global Research Demonstrates Correlation Between Business Performance and Hotline System

NAVEX Global continues to publish important research and guidance on ethics and compliance program (benchmark reports for hotline systems here, third-party risk management systems here, and policies and procedure management here). In an interesting new report (here), NAVEX Global enlisted Professor Kyle Welch from George Washington University’s Business School to analyze years of NAVEX Global’s hotline data.  Professor Welch was given access to over ten...

Where Has All the Money Gone? Longtime Passing, Oh Where Has it Gone?

Compliance officers have enough challenges.  Most compliance officers, if you ask them, will candidly admit they are constantly putting out fires.  It is just part of the profession and comes with the territory. I hate to add to their burden but here goes anyway – companies face serious financial risks: I do not mean in the profitability way but in the fact that employee misconduct...

The Goldman Sachs 1MDB Scandal: The Doctrine of Respondeat Superior

As Goldman Sachs continues to navigate its way through the 1MDB investigation and prosecution, there is no question that the media is beginning to focus on who at Goldman Sachs knew about the bribery activity (or should have known) and what liability, if any, Goldman Sachs will incur as a result. At the outset, it is important to remember what facts have been disclosed so...

The Tangible Benefits of a Positive Ethical Culture

We all enjoy citing Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s famous description relating to obscene materials, “I know it when I see it.” To apply this maxim in the corporate compliance field does not take much imagination.  Let’s start with the most important corporate control for any organization – its culture? How do we define a positive culture of ethics and compliance?  We can throw out...

Human Resources and Criminal Antitrust Prosecutions

As companies seek to attract talented employees in a competitive market, Human Resource officers have to be aware of and avoid serious potential antitrust risks.  The Justice Department’s Antitrust Division has put everyone on notice – corporations will be criminally prosecuted if they enter into anti-competitive agreements with competitors concerning hiring and retention of employees. The Antitrust Division and the FTC have prosecuted companies under...

Justice Department Recalibrates Corporate Monitors and DOJ Compliance Position

In a recent speech (here), Brian Benczkowski, the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division outlined the Justice Department’s new policy governing imposition of a corporate compliance monitor.  (Here). The Justice Department has faced criticism concerning the circumstances and the manner in which it decides to require a corporate monitor as part of a settlement agreement. Some have suggested that the Justice Department has not...

Goldman Sachs and the 1MDB Criminal Prosecutions

The 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal (“1MDB scandal”) has been making headlines for the past few years.  The turning point for US prosecutors was the cooperation of Malaysian law enforcement and the corruption allegations surrounding Malaysia’s former prime minister Najib Razak.  At the center of this scandal is Goldman Sachs, which profited from $3 billion in bond issues on behalf of the 1MDB fund. The interesting...

Episode 63 — The Epsilon Case and Third-Party Sanctions Risks

The Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) recently settled a long-active enforcement action with Epsilon relating to alleged violations of the Iran Sanctions Program.  After a mixed decision from the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, OFAC negotiated a $1.5 settlement for 39 violations of the Iran Sanctions Program.  Along the way, however, OFAC secured favorable rulings affirming...

Japanese Electrolytic Capacitor Manufacturer Sentenced to Pay $60 Million for Criminal Price-Fixing

The Justice Department’s Antitrust Division had a slow year in criminal antitrust cases.  There are a number of explanations for the slowdown in criminal cases – the most persuasive is that such a slowdown is part of normal case processing ups and downs, especially as several significant investigations (e.g. auto parts suppliers) are coming to a close. One criminal antitrust investigation is picking up speed...

Speak Up is Great – Is Anyone Listening?

Chief compliance officers face a mountain of tasks – it is easy to get overwhelmed.  Add to the mix the fact that CCOs are under extraordinary pressure to “prevent and detect” potential violations of the company’s code and any law or regulation.  When you think about it, that is quite a heavy responsibility. In the ebb and flow of ethics and compliance ideas, one constant...