Category: General

Does Your Board Know How to Conduct Oversight and Monitor Your Compliance Program?

There is nothing training cannot do. Nothing is above its reach. It can turn bad morals to good; it can destroy bad principles and recreate good ones; it can lift men to ‘angel ship. – Mark Twain I am always struck by how much is written about tone-at-the-top, board commitment to compliance and specific benchmarking of chief compliance officer access and reporting to a corporate...

National College Admissions Scandal Reveals Corrupt Underbelly of College Exams and Athletic Recruitment

In a shocking announcement, federal prosecutors announced the arrest and charges against numerous individuals in connection with a nationwide criminal investigation focusing on college entrance exam cheating and admission of students to elite universities as fake athletic recruits.  Athletic coaches from Yale, Stanford, USC, Wake Forest and Georgetown, as well as parents and exam administrators have been implicated. At the center of the scam was...

U.S. Domestic Bribery Enforcement and State and Local Corruption

We spend a lot of time discussing foreign bribery.  The United States has its own bribery problems, depending on the states in which a business operates and the extent to which it relies on government business.  Sometimes our myopic approach ignores significant domestic bribery risks. The FBI has long been at the forefront of the fight against federal and state bribery in the United States. ...

2019 Cryptocurrency Regulations – A Primer and What to Expect Throughout the Year

Matt Stankiewicz, Senior Counsel at The Volkov Law Group, rejoins us for an interesting posting on 2019 cryptocurrency trends and regulations. Matt can be contacted at mstankiewicz@volkovlaw.com. You’ve heard this before, but it still holds true – cryptocurrency regulations are coming.  Everyone knows they’re inevitable, and there has been some trepidation amongst investors that regulations will disrupt innovation and just generally cause a mess within...

Lessons Learned and Trends from MTS FCPA Enforcement Action and Criminal Indictment of Karimova and Akhmedov (Part III of III)

The MTS FCPA enforcement action stands as one of several significant prosecutions in FCPA history.  The breadth and depth of MTS’ corruption scheme stands as another example of systemic bribery cultures.  The details of the enforcement action underscore several important trends and enforcement policies.  Let’s review some of the more significant lessons learned and trends. Application of FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy: MTS was not able...

Anatomy of MTS, Karimova and Akhmedov Bribery Scheme in Uzbekistan (Part II of III)

The MTS bribery scandal in Uzbekistan represents the culmination of several significant FCPA violations involving VimpelCom, Telia Sonera, MTS, and Gulnara Karimova, the notoriously corrupt daughter of the former Uzbek President.  Karimova is perhaps one of the most notorious corrupt offenders in the world.  She has been under house arrest in Uzbekistan since 2014. (Indictment Here). According to MTS’ admissions, MTS and its subsidiaries, Uzdunrobita...

Russian Mobile Carrier, Mobile Telesystems, Settles FCPA Case with DOJ and FCPA for $850 Million; MTS Executive and Notorious Uzbek Government Official Indicted (Part I of III)

In another blockbuster FCPA prosecution, the Justice Department and the SEC announced an $850 million settlement with Mobile Telesystems (“MTS”), Russia’s largest mobile carrier.  At the same time, the Justice Department announced criminal indictments against an MTS executive and the notorious corrupt Uzbek official, Gulnara Karimova, on criminal charges. MTS is the largest mobile telecommunications company in Russia, and has stock that is publicly-traded in...

DOJ Sweeps Up Two More Defendants in PDVSA Criminal Investigation

The Justice Department’s sprawling and successful prosecution of bribery and money laundering surrounding PDVSA, Venezuela’s state-owned energy company, shows no signs of letting up.  DOJ’s prosecutions began in 2015, and with the recent announcement of two new defendants, DOJ’s scorecard has reached a total of 21 defendants, 15 of whom have pleaded guilty.  Given PDVSA’s reputation for corruption, which is well earned (or as I...

OFAC Announces Yet Another Enforcement Action – Cement Clinker Company Settles for Violations of Iran Sanctions Program

OFAC is definitely off to a fast start this year – it recently announced its fourth enforcement action for 2019.  So far, OFAC has collected over $7 million in civil penalties.  While this may not appear to be a lot of money in civil penalties, it is important to remember the consequences of an OFAC settlement and scrutiny for future violations, restrictions on exports, and...

DOJ Arrests Micronesian Official and Hawaii-Based Businessman Pleads Guilty to FCPA Violation

In January 2019, the Justice Department brought an interesting FCPA prosecution involving a Hawaii-based businessman, Frank James Lyon, and Master Halbert, a government official from Micronesia.  DOJ’s prosecution was interesting for two significant reasons – first, it was another example of DOJ enforcement efforts against the payor of the bribe for violating the FCPA and the recipient of the bribe, the foreign official, for money...