Category: General

The Danger of Benchmarking

As the Bible reminds us, “Beware of false prophets,” or in the compliance context, “Beware of false [measurements].”  Compliance professionals have an obsession with benchmarking their compliance programs.  Why are compliance officers so obsessed with such comparisons? Compliance is a function that, by definition, involves objective and subjective measurements.  In its simplest form, compliance success is measured by the absence of a negative occurrence.  Such...

Assessing Your Hotline System

Employee hotlines are – sorry about this – a “hot” topic these days in compliance.  NAVEX Global’s recent study (here) confirmed the importance of an effective hotline system.  Companies that implement robust and widely-used internal reporting systems are more effective in identifying and responding to potential problems.  Such an impact improves overall business performance as measured by return on assets, fewer material lawsuits, lower litigation...

Jessica Sanderson Joins The Volkov Law Group

The Volkov Law Group is pleased to announce the addition of Jessica Sanderson to the firm.  Jessica has a wealth of compliance and enforcement defense experience. We look forward to introducing her to new and existing clients. Jessica Sanderson, Of Counsel, has more than 20 years of experience in a number of areas, including complex civil litigation, white-collar defense and regulatory and securities enforcement under...

Polycom Pays $36 Million, Settles with SEC, and Earns DOJ Declination for Bribery in China

Polycom, Inc., a U.S. communication technology company, which was recently acquired by Plantronics, earned a DOJ declination and entered into an SEC settlement for FCPA violations in China.  DOJ released a declination letter (here); and the SEC issued an administrative order (here). Polycom earned the declination under the FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy.  Polycom identified the misconduct and voluntarily disclosed to the government; Polycom conducted a...

SEC Settles FCPA Charges Against Ex-Panasonic Avionics Officers

On December 19, 2018, the SEC announced settlements with two former senior executives of Panasonic Avionics Corporation.  In April 2018, Panasonic Avionics settled FCPA charges with the Justice Department and the SEC and agreed to pay $280 million.  (Here) Paul Margis (Here), the former CEO, and Takeshi Uonaga (Here), the former CFO, agreed to pay $75,000, and $50,000 respectively, to settle books and records and...

OFAC Relaxes Russia Sanctions After Oligarch Ownership Changes

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) rarely backs down.  Recently, in response to significant ownership and governance changes, OFAC removed three Russian companies, EN+ Group (EN+), UC Rusal plc (Rusal), and JSC EuroSibEnergo (ESE) from the sectoral sanctions list. (Here). OFAC’s decision to remove the three companies capped the efforts of Russian oligarch, Oleg Daripaska, to modify his ownership and control of...

2019 Ethics and Compliance Predictions

This is my favorite topic.  New trends come and go in the compliance field, while effective solutions and strategies slowly but surely take hold.  Eventually, an effective  compliance practice or strategy becomes a “best practice,” or an “industry standard.” To those who complain that ethics and compliance is a profession riddled with amorphous standards or vague “guidance” that lacks discipline, my response is that such...

Sanctions Enforcement and Compliance Year in Review

The Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) has steadily expanded its influence in the enforcement landscape.  Global companies now face a complex regime of sanctions that require careful navigation. As the U.S. government expands its reliance on sanctions to influence foreign actors and advance foreign policy interests, global companies have to design and implement robust trade compliance programs.  In recognition of this...

FCPA Predictions for 2019

Here we go – another year, another set of predictions.  Who knows whether they will come true? Actually, I went back and read my annual prediction posting for 2018 and 2017, respectively.  Some things I called correctly, and others I missed the mark on. One consistent error – the Wal-Mart FCPA case would be resolved.  So this year, I am employing reverse psychology.  The Wal-Mart...

2018 FCPA Year in Review: The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same

Happy New Year! Another year is in the books for FCPA enforcement and compliance.  The headline for this past year (like many other years) is/was – The more things change, the more they stay the same. FCPA enforcement is bipartisan and immune from political winds.  I may live to regret this assertion.  Whether DOJ is under Republican or Democrat control, FCPA enforcement will continue.  DOJ’s...