Featured Articles:

The Purpose of a Compliance Program: To Prevent and Detect

I do not think there is much disagreement on the basic purpose of an ethics and compliance program.  After all, one of the primary sources for compliance programs continues to be the United States Sentencing Guidelines which very clearly affirm that stated purpose of a corporate compliance program. To play devil’s advocate for a minute, let’s consider the following: the United States Sentencing Guidelines are...

Episode 67 — Conducting Compliance Audits

Corporate compliance departments are rapidly implementing their own internal audit function — operating their own internal compliance monitoring and audit function.  No longer can compliance departments rely on internal audit to report on the compliance department’s operations.  Companies have to implement internal (or external) audit procedures. In this episode, Michael Volkov discusses how to conduct a compliance audit.

Vantage Drilling Forks Over $5 Million for SEC FCPA Settlement

The SEC announced last week a $5 million FCPA settlement with Vantage Drilling International (“Vantage”), a Texas-based offshore drilling company.  The violations involved Vantage’s predecessor company, Vantage Drilling Company (“VDC”), for transactions with its former outside director, largest shareholder and only supplier of drilling assets, and for failure to implement appropriate controls for its third-party marketing agents. The Justice Department closed its related investigation. The...

Your CEO Agrees the Company’s Culture is Important – Now What?

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain  “To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.” – Mark Twain  Mark Twain would have been a great Chief Compliance Officer – he had an extraordinary ability to capture human behavior and motivation.  He would have known how to use the right phrase at the right time. I can just imagine CCO Mark Twain meeting...

OFAC Completes Re-Imposition of Iran Sanctions

On November 5, 2018 the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (“OFAC”) completed the process to re-impose the Iran sanctions program.  The 180-day wind-down period for termination of the United States’ participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”) ended.  As part of the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions, OFAC added more than 700 individuals, entities, aircraft, and vessels to the SDN List,...

Société Générale Pays $1.4 Billion for Systemic Sanctions Violations

Société Générale (“SocGen”) entered into two deferred prosecution agreements (“DPA”) (here) and agreed to pay $1.34 billion in penalties (here): $717 million to the Justice Department; $325 million to New York’s Department of Financial Services “DFS”); $163 million to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office; $81 million to the U.S. Federal Reserve; and $54 million to the U.S Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”).  The...

Episode 66 — Gifts, Meals, Entertainment and Travel Expense Compliance

Companies have to focus on compliance controls and non-material financial transactions to prevent fraud, bribery and other misuse of corporate funds.  One particular risky area is the control of gifts, meals, entertainment, and travel expenses.  In this new era of compliance, companies have to adopt proactive and automated strategies to mitigate risks of unauthorized GMET expenditures. In this episode, Michael Volkov discusses GMET risks and...

Effective Compliance is More than the Sum of a Program’s Parts

The beauty of an effective ethics and compliance program is captured in the well-known phrase that it is worth much more than the sum of its parts. I am reminded of the Beatles refrain, “All Together Now,” (HERE) which is an apt reminder of the importance of operationalizing an ethics and compliance program.  Frankly, the life of an ethics and compliance program depends on the...

Behavioral Studies and Compliance

I am not a cynic when it comes to looking at the latest “fads” in compliance.  Please do not get me wrong.  Compliance is a fast-evolving field that is quickly moving beyond the limited perspective of legal into a new territory, coined by Donna Boehme (here), the subject-matter expert (“SME”). Donna has a great point – lawyers and other professionals cannot just willy-nilly decree themselves...

Episode 65 — Goldman Sachs and the 1MDB Corruption Scandal

Goldman Sachs’ role in the 1MDB scandal continues to draw scrutiny.  Justice Department prosecutors are investigating the extent to which Goldman Sachs knew and participated in the 1MDB scandal, and what penalty, if any, Goldman Sachs should pay.  The recent indictment and guilty plea of two former Goldman Sachs officials represents a significant development in the ongoing investigation. In this episode, Michael Volkov discusses recent...