Category: General

The Headline from the SAP Settlement: It’s a New Dawn for Export and Sanctions Compliance (Part IV of IV)

The Department of Justice’s National Security Division, like its counterpart, the Criminal Division, has made a splash on the enforcement and compliance arena. DOJ has elevated the importance and standing of export and sanctions enforcement to make one message clear – DOJ will hold companies accountable for criminal violations of U.S. export and sanctions laws.  And it will do so with the carrot and stick...

SAP’s Comprehensive Export Control and Sanctions Settlement – A New Compliance Frontier for Cloud-Based Services (Part III of IV)

The Justice Department’s National Security Division used the SAP comprehensive settlement of export control and sanctions violations to send a message – a loud and clear one. As the first real flexing of its Business Organizations Corporate Enforcement policy, the Justice Department underscored that companies that voluntarily disclose illegal conduct, fully cooperate, and implement timely and robust remediation will earn a non-prosecution agreement or deferred...

SAP’s Export Control and Sanctions Failures Results in Numerous Violations of Iran Sanctions Program (Part II of IV)

When reviewing factual reports of global corporate failures – be it FCPA, sanctions, export controls, or anti-money laundering schemes and systemic misconduct schemes – the story appears to follow a familiar pattern.  A company starts with inadequate compliance controls, engages in violations driven by the desire to earn money and increase business, learns about the violations through an internal audit, compliance program assessment and/or whistleblower...

SAP Reaches Broad Settlement and Agrees to Pay More Than $8 Million for Violations of Iran Sanctions Program (Part I of IV)

In a precedent-setting agreement, the Justice Department, OFAC and the Bureau of Industry and Security announced a settlement with SAP SE for more than $8 million for numerous violations of the Iran Sanctions program. While the Justice Department’s National Security Division (“NSD”) has settled prior export control and sanctions cases against corporations for violations of the North Korea Sanctions program, the SAP case is the...

SEC Risk Alert on ESG Investing

I have written extensively about the new and hot business trend – environmental, social and governance programs (“ESG”).  The luster surrounding ESG has been a significant business trend and priority. Like any new trend, the SEC as an important protector of investor interests issued a Risk Alert for investment products and financial services that include ESG factors.  Investors are demanding investment products and financial services...

ESG Automation: Picking the Right Solution

The ESG bandwagon continues to roll – investors, companies and business media are all touting the importance of ESG for corporate success.  Right behind are a number of ESG vendors, who are providing automated platforms to manage ESG criteria, measurement and reporting.  The new gold rush has begun and continues to gain momentum.  Companies interested in ESG have to define their program, the criteria for...

Compliance Understanding of Business Processes

We often hear the adage – “compliance has to understand a company’s business;” “compliance has to work well with the business side.” While I generally agree in principle with these phrases, there is a more important point here.  A compliance professional has to understand a business, the specific business processes, and its operations.  In other words, a compliance officer has to understand step-by-step a business...

Alliance Steel Settles with OFAC for $435,003 for Violations of the Iran Sanctions Program

Alliance Steel, a US company based in Oklahoma, agreed to pay $435,003 to OFAC to settle violations of the Iran Sanctions Program.  Alliance Steel is a designer and manufacturer of prefabricated steel structures. Alliance Steel voluntarily disclosed to OFAC 61 violations of the Iran Sanctions programs. Over a five-year period, Alliance Steel maintained a professional relationship with an Iran engineering company.  The OFAV violations occurred...

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Whistleblower Protections under the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020

Alex Cotoia, Regulatory Manager and Compliance Consultant at the Volkov Law Group, re-joins us for a posting on whistleblower protections. Alex can be reached at acotoia@volkovlaw.com. When Congress overrode former President Donald J. Trump’s veto of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”) in January of this year, it simultaneously enacted the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (“AMLA”) into law. AMLA significantly expands upon the...

Auditors, Lawyers and the Lack of “Independence” — Bias and Financial Incentives

We are surrounded by bias in a variety of contexts –  news, politics, books and Internet information.  Given the overwhelming amount of information, some find comfort in information supplied by sources with a bias.  We have become comfortable with some level of bias.  The key is to understand the bias, the lack of objectivity and then filter the information.   Given the highly-charged political and...