Category: General

DOJ and CFTC Bring Charges Against Crypto Exchange KuCoin for AML and KYC Failures

On March 26, 2024, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) unsealed an indictment against prominent cryptocurrency exchange KuCoin and two of its founders, Chun Gan and Ke Tang.  The DOJ charged the exchange and its founders with conspiracy and substantive charges related to Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) violations and operating an unlicensed money transmitter business.  These charges were filed in the Southern District of New...

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Whistleblowing Laws (Part II of II)

Daniela Melendez Garces, Associate at The Volkov Law Group and Alex Cotoia, Regulatory Compliance Manager at The Volkov Law Group Challenges may arise when conducting an internal investigation related to an underlying disclosure by a whistleblower pursuant to the EU Directive, because companies must strictly comply with the GDPR. Failure to comply with the GDPR can lead to administrative sanctions and high fines by the...

Implementation of EU Directive on Whistleblowing 2019/1931 (Part I of II)

By: Daniela Melendez, Associate at The Volkov Law Group and Alex Cotoia, Regulatory Compliance Manager at The Volkov Law Group Since its enactment in 2019, the European Union (“EU”) Directive on Whistleblowing 2019/1931 (“EU Directive”) has required all 27 EU Member States to incorporate certain requirements pertaining to the protection of whistleblowers into their own bodies of national law. The EU Directive alloted 2 years...

OFAC Settles First Case in 2024: EFG, a Private Bank, Pays $3.7 Million for Sanctions Violations

OFAC is getting ready for a big year.  While managing a comprehensive set of sanctions against the Russian Federation in response to its Invasion of Ukraine, OFAC has demonstrated its ability to maintain aggressive enforcement of existing sanctions programs. The Justice Department and OFAC are forging a new enforcement partnership — and 2024 will be a precedent-setting year.  Stay tuned for more on this new...

LRN 2024 Program Effectiveness Report Underscores Importance of Values, Adaptation and Accountability

LRN continues to set the standard for ethics and compliance program research.  Volkov Law is  a supporter of, and advocate for, LRN’s research because it has consistently confirmed what we all know and believe — ethical companies perform better in the marketplace over the long run.  It is an intuitive fact that employees respond better to values-based leadership than a rules-based environment and culture.  Volkov...

The SEC’s Recent Action Against Crypto Exchange ShapeShift Lacks Guidance and Draws Internal Criticism

On March 5, 2024, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced charges and a corresponding cease-and-desist order (the “Order”) with ShapeShift AG, a cryptocurrency exchange registered in Switzerland that previously operated out of Colorado.  The Order notes that ShapeShift allowed its users to buy and sell certain crypto assets that are considered securities as defined in Section3(a)(10) if the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. ...

Gunvor’s Blockbuster FCPA Settlement: Lessons Learned and Trends (Part III of III)

The Department of Justice’s blockbuster FCPA settlement with Gunvor restores the credibility of DOJ’s pronouncements of DOJ’s commitment to aggressive FCPA enforcement.  While I have questioned DOJ’s commitment to its corporate enforcement policy in recent high-profile settlements (ABB and SAP, in particular), DOJ’s Gunvor settlement of $661 million stands as the ninth largest FCPA settlement in history.  DOJ’s settlement is proportionate to the misconduct and...

Gunvor’s Bribery Schemes — Third-Parties, Shell Companies and Evasion of Controls (Part II of III)

Gunvor’s bribery scheme is not very surprising nor ingenious.  After all, a number of energy trading companies have been prosecuted for bribery over the years, including Glencore, Vitol, Freepoint.  Numerous individuals have been prosecuted, convicted and some have cooperated.  The global energy trading market presents numerous risk factors — large and valuable energy products (oil, gas etc.) are controlled by foreign-owned companies.  All of these...

Gunvor Falls Under FCPA Axe and Agrees to Pay Criminal Penalty of $661 Million (Part I of III)

Gunvor Falls Under FCPA Axe and Agrees to Pay Criminal Penalty of $661 Million (Part I of III)

You have to give the Justice Department credit — after two slow enforcement years, DOJ is starting off 2024 with a relative “bang;” first, DOJ reached a large settlement with SAP in January, and now, DOJ has reached a blockbuster settlement with Gunvor S.A. for $661 million. Gunvor is one of the world’s largest commodities trading companies.  DOJ’s settlement represents a “return” to its long-standing...

Former Stericyle Official Charged in Foreign Bribery Scheme

Former Stericyle Official Charged in Foreign Bribery Scheme

According to the terms of a superseding information made public by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York on or about February 13, 2024, Mauricio Gomez Baez (“Baez”)—a former Stericycle executive for Latin America—was officially charged with a single count of  conspiracy for his role in a multi-year scheme to expand Stericycle’s business opportunities in the Latin American region (particularly, Mexico,...