Featured Articles:

California Mandates Increased Diversity on Corporate Boards

The United States continues to lag in corporate board diversity.  Many corporate boards are dominated by white males.  Progress on this issue has been slow. The number of women on Russell 3000 boards rose from 15 to 19 percent.  Most of the increase occurred on boards of mid- and large-cap companies.  In 2019, 45 percent of new board members were female and only 15 percent...

The Danger of Internal Controls Enforcement: The Andeavor SEC Settlement

The internal controls provision in the FCPA statute has broad application to a variety of situations beyond foreign bribery.  The Securities and Exchange Commission knows full well the power of the internal controls provision and has readily applied it in a variety of circumstances. One recent example is the SEC’s settlement with Andeavor LLC for failure to publicly disclose the status of its negotiations to...

FTC and 48 States File Antitrust Case Against Facebook

The Trump Administration has focused on competition and the technology sector.  First, the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division filed a monopolization case against Google. Last week, the Federal Trade Commission and 46 states filed a monopolization case against Facebook. These are two major antitrust cases.  When the Biden Administration takes over, it will be interesting to monitor how DOJ and the FTC handle these two cases....

Episode 173 — Review of HHS-OIG Fraud Alert on Speaker Programs

In a far-reaching action, the Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) issued a Special Fraud Alert underscoring the “inherent fraud and abuse risks” associated with company-sponsored speaker programs.  In this Episode, Michael Volkov reviews the HHS-OIG Fraud Alert. The Episode is available Here.

Maintaining Perspective: Enterprise and Compliance Risk Management

It is always interesting to watch the flow of risk management trends, particularly as they impact ethics and compliance issues.  Financial companies have been the target of regulatory enforcement actions for risk management and control deficiencies.  Citigroup and JP Morgan were two recent targets of banking regulatory enforcement actions.  We will probably see a few more banks subject to regulatory enforcement actions. Apart from the...

Vitol FCPA Settlement: Lessons Learned (Part III of III)

The Justice Department is coming to the close of a record FCPA enforcement year despite the disruptions caused by the pandemic. The Vitol case also represents the first parallel prosecution involving the Commodities Futures Trading Commission.  Aside from these points, there are a number of valuable lessons from the case: High-Risk Energy Trading Markets:  Commodity trading markets presents significant corruption risks.  While such trading operations...

Vitol’s Bribery Schemes in Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico (Part II of III)

Vitol’s bribery scheme stretched into three separate countries – Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico — and was carried out over a ten-year period. The Statement of Facts is instructive in describing the means by which Vitol used false documentation and financial arrangements involving offshore accounts, shell companies and correspondent banking transactions,  Brazil: Confidential Information For a nine-year period, 2005 to 2014, Vitol paid more than $8...

Vitol Pays $163.7 Million to Settle FCPA Case (Part I of III)

The Justice Department continues to produce FCPA resolutions in a record year for enforcement.  The latest, and perhaps the beginning of several end-of-year and end of the Trump Administration resolutions, is DOJ’s settlement with Vitol, Inc. (Vitol), an energy trading company.  DOJ agreed to a three-year deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) in exchange for a criminal penalty of $135 million.  One-third of the payment, or $45...

Episode 172 — Interview of Brian Whisler, Baker McKenzie Partner, on Department of Justice Changes under the Biden Administration

Brian Whisler is a long-time white collar practitioner at Baker McKenzie.  Brian joined me to discuss the new Biden Administration and the enforcement outlook from the Biden Department of Justice.  Brian has a unique perspective since he served as part of the DOJ transition in 2001 for the incoming Bush Administration. Brian’s Profile is Here. The Episode/Interview is HERE.

OCC Fines JP Morgan Chase $250 Million for Deficient Internal Controls

Banking regulators have been flexing their muscles.  With the coming Biden Administration, this may portend the beginning of a new, enforcement wave.  Some have suggested that banks are resolving these cases before a more aggressive approach is taken by the new Biden Administration. Citigroup recently was tagged for $400 million by the Treasury Department’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).  The OCC also...