Category: General

Cryptocurrencies, Blockchain and Ponzi Schemes

When you read and learn about cryptocurrencies (e.g. Bitcoin, Ripple, Ethereum), there are some commentators, politicians and others who characterize cryptocurrencies as a “Ponzi” scheme.  Some countries have banned cryptocurrencies.  The issue of cryptocurrencies, like many other issues, is nuanced, and not so dogmatic.  As I like to say, there are benefits and there are risks.  Let’s address a number of the risks and lay...

The State of Whistleblowing

We continue to read headlines of whistleblowers receiving large, sometimes, multi-million-dollar awards after successful prosecutions of companies for a variety of criminal and civil offenses.  From these headlines, we may be convinced that whistleblowers continue to grow in influence and achieving real results – the improvement of overall corporate performance.  I hate to burst the proverbial bubble, but it is difficult to reach such a...

Kinross Gold Mining FCPA Settlement: SEC Continues Internal Controls Focus

The SEC continues to exercise its powerful enforcement tool – internal controls violations – in FCPA enforcement actions against public companies.  Kinross Gold Corporation is the latest company to enter into an FCPA settlement. Kinross agreed to pay $950,000 for inadequate internal controls and books and records violations centered on the activities of two mining companies Kinross acquired.  The SEC cited no evidence of any...

Episode 32 — Ten Steps to Prepare Your Company for Execution of a Search Warrant

As part of the aggressive enforcement of white collar crime cases, federal  law enforcement officers are executing more search warrants at company offices.  Companies should plan in advance for such an event.  A company can learn valuable information about an ongoing investigation.  Just as important, company officials have to preserve and assert objections when federal agents conduct a search. In this episode, Michael Volkov outlines...

ECI’s New Business Ethics Survey Confirms Misconduct Rates Declining — But Retaliation Rates Increasing

The Ethics and Compliance Initiative recently released the results of its global business ethics survey.  (Download Copy Here).  The last survey was conducted in 2017 and ECI’s survey provides important and valuable insights into corporate metrics and compliance, focusing on misconduct issues. The survey was conducted in late 2016 and 2017.  Thirteen countries were selected: Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South...

The State of Affairs: General Counsels and Chief Compliance Officers

In the last few years, the tension between chief compliance officers and general counsels appears to have subsided.  The issue of separating CCOs from legal departments is not as important as it used to be.  Why? I would like to think that CCOs have gained independence, authority and line of sight across their organizations.  General counsels have acknowledged the importance of this change and accepted...

Who’s on First, What’s on Second – Who is Regulating ICOs, Cryptocurrencies and Exchange Platforms?

Abbott and Costello’s famous routine — Who’s on First, What’s on Second — puts cryptocurrency regulation and enforcement risks in perspective.  Here is the classic comedy routine. When new technologies appear on the scene, Washington regulation is sure to follow.  The exact configuration can take years to sort out, especially when it comes to financial products, given the labyrinth of regulatory bodies seeking to lay...

Culture and Leadership in Middle Management

We always hear about the importance of tone-at-the-top.  Corporate leaders are very familiar with how to say the right things about ethics and compliance and the company’s culture.  But we all know that words are cheap – it is conduct that matters, and it is behavior that ultimately builds trust in an organization. In large corporations, however, the tone-at-the-top can only go so far.  No...

Congress and the Blockchain: The 2018 Joint Economic Report’s Discussion on Cryptocurrency

Matt Stankiewicz, an Associate at The Volkov Law Group, rejoins us as a guest contributor for another posting on cryptocurrencies.  Matt can be reached at mstankiewicz@volkovlaw.com. A few days ago, Congress released its 2018 Joint Economic Report.  As many of you know, the Joint Economic Committee prepares this report as a national assessment of the country’s economic status.  The report often assesses the implications of a...

DOJ Settles Follow-On FCPA Case: Transport Logistics Pays $2 Million Penalty

Last week, the Justice Department announced its first FCPA enforcement action in 2018 – a follow-on settlement from prior FCPA enforcement actions centering on a bribery scheme involving a Russian government official from a subsidiary of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation.  Three individuals have been charged in connection with the bribery scheme. Transport Logistics International, a Maryland company, entered into a deferred prosecution agreement and...