Category: General

Parallel Universes: Antitrust Leniency and the FCPA Pilot Program

The world of science fiction can be exhilarating. If you ever read The Foundation Trilogy or Martian Chronicles, you know what I mean. The concept of parallel universes has always been an intriguing idea where believers can aspire to correct events in one universe by fantasizing about their own life in the parallel universe. How I am going to twist this concept into a compliance...

Unpacking the Justice Department’s Compliance Remediation Standards (Part I of II)

The Justice Department has a lot to be proud about when it comes to its FCPA enforcement program. In one area in particular – promoting effective ethics and compliance strategies – DOJ’s FCPA prosecutors have played a leadership role in promoting ethics and compliance programs. When reviewing the history of compliance, most practitioners point to the impact of the Sentencing Guidelines as the most significant...

The FCPA Pilot Program Disciplinary Standards (Part II of II)

Returning to the FCPA Pilot Project requirements for timely and appropriate remediation, the Justice Department added three new elements, one of which reinforces the CCO “independence” requirement. The two other elements for an effective ethics and compliance program focus on the qualifications and compensation of compliance officers. First, with respect to the structure of the company’s compliance program, the Justice Department listed the reporting structure...

Yikes: The Perils of Remediation and Corporate Monitors

The Justice Department has raised the stakes on anti-corruption compliance. In other words, DOJ prosecutors expect companies to have more sophisticated and mature compliance programs. If a company walks into the Justice Department to begin the voluntary disclosure process, the company better have a mature compliance program. If the company presents only a paper program that has not been “operationalized,” the company can expect a...

Focus on the Issue of “Corrupt Intent”

Legal and compliance practitioners are often asked to review a set of facts and determine whether the actors will potentially violate the FCPA. A lot has been written on the vagueness or lack of clarity surrounding the FCPA. Those opinions are not very persuasive and ignore common sense, legal concepts and good faith. A legal and compliance professional knows the importance of good faith. They...

The Test for Bad Actors in a Bad Company

Some business people are “bad,” meaning they engage in misconduct and either feel no remorse or rationalize why their conduct is acceptable. In a company that embraces bad acting, breaking rules or cutting corners, bad actors are likely to flourish. A bad company is the breeding ground for bad actors. How do you define a “bad” company? We all know examples of bad companies that...

The Challenges Facing the Antitrust Leniency Program and the Yates Memorandum

The Justice Department’s Antitrust Division has a long history of independence within the US Department of Justice. Antitrust enforcement was considered a unique area requiring a specialized understanding of markets and economics. In the civil enforcement area, this expertise and understanding of economics, competition and business makes sense. As a former prosecutor, the Antitrust Division’s prosecution of criminal violations is not so unique. Antitrust prosecutors...

SEC Snares Two “Masterminds” Behind Och-Ziff Bribery Scheme

The SEC recently filed a lengthy civil complaint against two Och-Ziff executives: Michael Cohen, who headed Och-Ziff’s European office, and Vanja Barros, an executive responsible for Africa-related transactions, charging them with participation in a massive bribery scheme in Libya, Chad, Niger, Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Last year, Och-Ziff settled with the Justice Department and the SEC, and agreed to pay fines and...

Walking the Walk and Talking the Talk – A CEO’s Commitment to Ethics and Compliance

The phrase tone at the top is becoming trite. Compliance professionals use it over and over, and few people explain how to apply the concept.   Speakers and webinar presenters always gloss over tone at the top, emphasizing its importance but providing little practical advice. In some sense, it is hard to define in specific actions since the context and the actors can vary with respect...

The Win-Win Argument: Compliance as a Marketing Advantage

My good friend and colleague Dan Chapman, now the CCO at VimpelCom, is a compliance rock star. I have known Dan for years, beginning when he took over at Parker Drilling and implemented a world-class remediation program to pull Parker Drilling through a difficult FCPA problem. Dan is now heading the effort to remediate and “fix” VimpelCom after the FCPA enforcement action announced last year....