Category: General

OFAC 2020 Review: Enforcement Themes and Common Violations (Part II of II)

The 2020 OFAC enforcement record underscores the importance of sanctions compliance.  Yet, companies appear to move slowly in response to sanctions risks, often relying on outdated or outmoded screening technologies and failing to build basic policy controls and procedures. In reviewing the 2020 enforcement actions, many of the cases involve common miscues and compliance failures.  These cases fall into the following categories: (1) basic screening...

2020 OFAC Sanctions Enforcement Year in Review (Part I of II)

The pandemic and its impact is the story of 2020 – no doubt.  Federal prosecutors and regulatory enforcement agencies faced unprecedented challenges. In the face of these challenges,  however, enforcement almost across the board continued with some significant exceptions relating to individual criminal enforcement.  Prosecutors faced almost impossible obstacles to convening grand juries and conducting court proceedings while the deadly pandemic raged. Despite the challenges...

2020: What a Year! The Important Keys to Rebuilding a Positive Corporate Culture

Whew!  2020 is over and we can start the New Year with hope – a fresh approach to restoring life “as it was before.”  It is hard to imagine life before 2019 because no matter what – we have been changed forever.  So, we need to let go of whatever notion we have of pre-pandemic life.  A positive way to approach this new year is...

The Curious Absence of Corporate Monitors

In 2020, the Justice Department did not insist on the appointment of any independent compliance monitors.  The year before, in 2019, DOJ insisted on the appointment of three independent corporate monitors – MTS Telecommunications, Fresenius and Wal-Mart.  If you ask me to distinguish between these cases and Goldman Sachs, Novartis or Herbalife, I would be hard pressed to provide a cogent explanation.  Granted, we are...

Attention U.S. Exporters to Hong Kong: Have you Reviewed Your Export Licenses and Trade Compliance Program to Account for Recent Changes?

Jessica Sanderson, Partner at The Volkov Law Group, rejoins us for a posting on recent changes to export regulations involving Hong Kong. Jessica can be reached at jsanderson@volkovlaw.com. Until recently, the U.S. government treated Hong Kong and China as two separate destinations for export control purposes and in many cases provided Hong Kong with preferential treatment.  At the end of 2020, however, on December 23,...

New Criminal Antitrust Whistleblower Law Enacted

Two days before Christmas, President Trump signed the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act, which prohibits retaliation against employees who report criminal antitrust violations internally or to the government.   The Act was sponsored by Senators Chuck Grassley from Iowa, a long-time supporter of whistleblowers, and Patrick Leahy. From 2010 to 2019, the Antitrust Division has brough criminal enforcement actions that resulted in over $9 billion in criminal...

SEC Launches Enforcement Action Against Cryptocurrency Company Ripple

Matt Stankiewicz, Managing Counsel at The Volkov Law Group, joins us for a posting on the SEC enforcement action against Ripple. Matt can be reached at mstankiewicz@volkovlaw.com. In December 2020, three days before Christmas, the SEC filed a significant case against Ripple, the major cryptocurrency company. Ripple is a major cryptocurrency company, utilizing the technology to create a global digital payment network – an alternative...

The “Person” of the Year: Goldman Sachs

Bear with me for a second, but remember Presidential Candidate Romney’s statement in 2011 that “Corporations are people.” Starting with that premise, my so-called “Person” of the Year award for 2020 goes to, drumroll . . . Goldman Sachs, for its defining ethical and compliance lapses, leading to the largest ever FCPA Settlement.  With tongue in cheek, the story of 2020 has to be the...

DOJ’s Antitrust Division Launches Two Criminal Prosecutions of Illegal No-Poach and Wage-Fixing Agreements

The Antitrust Division has warned companies that it would bring criminal indictments against companies that enter into illegal no-poach or wage-fixing agreements.  The Antitrust Division has now put its money where its mouth is, announcing two significant criminal cases at the end of 2020 and at the beginning of 2021, respectively.    The SCA No Poach Case On January 5, 2021, a federal grand jury...

2020: A Year of Ethical Challenges

If ever there was a year that challenged corporate leaders on their commitment to business ethics, 2020 was the year.  The number of difficult issues facing corporate leaders were challenging and ran the gamut – from health and safety concerns, to business continuity, and to economic disruptions and lay-offs or reductions in force.  Even outside the organization, social concerns, supply chain management and community needs...