Featured Articles:

An Introduction to Libra – Facebook’s Foray into Cryptocurrency and its Regulatory Hurdles

Matt Stankiewicz, Senior Associate at the Volkov Law Group, rejoins us for an interesting posting on Facebook’s cryptocurrency plans. Matt can be reached at mstankiewicz@volkovlaw.com. It was inevitable.  With the continuing growth of the cryptocurrency industry, major corporations were surely going to begin to figure out how best to profit from it.  Facebook has entered the game in a massive way with the announcement of...

Episode 98 — Quick Dive into Recent OFAC Enforcement Actions

So far in 2019, OFAC is sending a strong message about sanctions enforcement and compliance responsibilities. OFAC is aggressively seeking out new targets for enforcement, emphasizing compliance with Cuba and Iran sanctions programs, and focusing on US companies that acquire foreign subsidiaries to ensure post-closing compliance with OFAC sanctions regulations. In this episode Michael Volkov discusses recent trends in OFAC enforcement actions and priorities.

Episode 97 — Matt Stankiewicz Discusses Blockchain Domains and Trademarks with Brad Kam, Co-Founder of Unstoppable Domains

As the blockchain industry continues to grow, we’ll begin to see traditional industries shifting to the blockchain to leverage the technology. Unstoppable domains is a company working to place web domains on the blockchain. Instead of traditional extensions like .com, .net, or .io. Unstoppable Domains will utilize .zil addresses as smart contracts on the Zilliqa public blockchain. This will first provide simple, human-readable crypto wallet...

A Classic Criminal Investigation: Unraveling PDVSA Corruption

The Justice Department has been criticized on numerous occasions about its approach to criminal investigations and prosecutions.  In a recent decision, the chief judge in the Eastern District of New York criticized DOJ for “outsourcing” criminal investigations to outside counsel who conduct internal investigations under DOJ review.  I have long predicted that courts would eventually impose criminal procedural protections in the context of criminal internal...

TechnipFMC Settles FCPA Violations for $296 Million

Last week, on June 25, 2019, TechnipFMC agreed to settle FCPA violations with the Justice Department for $296 million that occurred in Iraq and Brazil.  TechnipFMC was created in 2017 through the merger of Technip, a French company, and FMC Technologies, a Houston-based company. The SEC’s investigation is still pending. The combined FCPA settlement was the result of separate FCPA violations by each of the...

Episode 96 — The End of the Line: The Walmart FCPA Settlement

After a lengthy investigation (yes, 8 years), Walmart agreed to settle its FCPA violations and paid approximately $282 million , divided as follows: (1) $138 combined criminal penalty under the terms of a three-year non-prosecution agreement; and (2) $144 million disgorgement pursuant to an agreement with the SEC. Walmart’s Brazil subsidiary entered a guilty plea to one count of violating books and records in the Eastern...

Applying OFAC’s Sanctions Enforcement Guidelines to Determine A Civil Monetary Penalty (Part II of II)

In yesterday’s posting, I examined the General Factors identified by OFAC to determine whether to initiate a civil penalty proceeding and the amount of any civil monetary penalty.   After analyzing these factors, OFAC determines the base penalty using a formula that depends on whether (a) the company voluntarily disclosed the matter; and (b) whether the violations are “egregious” or “non-egregious.” 1. Egregious case.  OFAC determines whether...

Understanding the OFAC Sanctions Enforcement Guidelines (Part I of II)

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control is an enforcement agency – it is not a regulatory agency.  That sounds like a lot of bureaucratic speak but it does have some real significance.  OFAC staff view themselves and act like an enforcement agency.  Yes, they regulate in the sense that they authorize general and specific licenses and provide guidance.  OFAC guidance is sometimes provided...

Lessons Learned from the Walmart FCPA Enforcement Action (Part III of III)

This is a tough posting – frankly, there are so many lessons learned from the Walmart case that they could fill a book, or an e-book at least.  I will focus on some of the big issues. Walmart should breathe a sigh of relief.  The compliance cloud hanging over its heard for so long is now gone, except with one big caveat – Walmart has...

Rescheduled Webinar: Achieving an Effective Compliance Program: DOJ and OFAC Guidance, Best Practices, and Industry Trends

Rescheduled Webinar: Achieving an Effective Compliance Program: DOJ and OFAC Guidance, Best Practices and Industry Trends July 10, 2019, 12 Noon EST Sign Up Here The compliance industry is evolving. Recent DOJ and OFAC Guidance are just one influence. At the same technology and innovative strategies using data analytics are quickly eclipsing government guidance, especially in the area of compliance program monitoring, testing and auditing....