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First Bank of Romania Settles OFAC Violations for $862,318 (Part IV of IV)

The First Bank of Romania and JC Flowers agreed to pay OFAC $862,318 to settle violations of Iran and Syria Sanctions Programs.  First Bank is owned by its U.S. parent, JC Flowers & Company. In 2018, JC Flowers acquired a majority stake in First Bank, subjecting Frist Bank to OFAC sanctions. In early 2019, First Bank’s regulator, the National Bank of Romania flagged a U.S....

United States and Global Community Adopt Broad Sanctions Targeting Belarus (Part III of IV)

The United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Canada and Switzerland have adopted or expanded sanctions against Belarus, and the Alexander Lukashenko regime.  President Biden issued a new executive order that expanded U.S. sanctions authority against Belarus, authorizing the designation of government officials, oligarchs and various companies linked to the Lukashenko regime.  The expanded sanctions authority now encompasses various sectors, including defense, energy, security,...

OFAC Settles with Bank of China for $2.3 Million for Violation of Now-Repealed Sudan Sanctions Program (Part II of IV)

The UK-based Bank of China agreed to pay $2.3 million to settle violations of OFAC’s Sudan Sanctions Program.  OFAC repealed the Sudan sanctions in October 2017 but is continuing to investigate violations of the Sudan Sanctions Program that occurred prior to October 2017. The enforcement action was the result of an internal investigation and voluntary disclosure triggered by a bank action blocking a customer transaction. ...

Trade Compliance Dominates Enforcement Landscape (Part I of IV)

Well, we are still waiting for the “big” FCPA enforcement actions.  Do not get me wrong – they are coming.  My suspicion is that they are being held up and calculated with a splash to announce the results of the White House’s Global Anti-Corruption Memorandum focusing on the anti-corruption effort as a national security priority.  The landscape is ready for a splash and DOJ is...

Episode 205 — How to Audit a Compliance Program

Chief compliance officers recognize the importance of conducting robust audits of their compliance programs. The audit process requires a delicate balance between qualitative and quantitative measures. As corporate compliance programs build data analytics and technological capabilities, CCOs have to tailor the audit program to incorporate data as an effective measure of a compliance program. In this Episode, Michael Volkov reviews strategies for conducting compliance program...

Joseph R. Biden, Jr. —The Anti-Corruption President?

Alex Cotoia, Regulatory Manager at The Volkov Law Group, rejoins us for a posting on the Biden Administration’s Memorandum designating the fight against corruption as a national security interest. Alex can be reached at [email protected] Scores of articles and volumes of commentary have been issued since President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. issued a presidential memorandum (hereinafter, “Memorandum”) making global anticorruption efforts an urgent national security...

White Collar Enforcement: Here We Go Again

The Justice Department suffered a terrible blow to its reputation during the financial crash in 2008 to 2009 for failing to criminally prosecute those individuals responsible for the financial misconduct.  It was one of the most devastating failures in DOJ history and stands as a stain against DOJ’s accomplishments in prosecuting white collar crime.  The failure to prosecute stemmed from both a lack of will...

A Kinship with Sisyphus: Challenging an OFAC SDN Designation

There are lots of life lessons to apply from Greek Mythology. The classic character Sisyphus, who was punished by Zeus for his trickery and condemned for eternity to push a large boulder up a hill, reminds us of the consequences of punishment and the frustration from repetitive failure. How does this apply to trade sanctions compliance?  Bear with me here as I make the leap...

The Critical Relationship — Compliance and Business

Compliance officers and business managers need each other, whether they like it or not. The CCO has to enlist the business to own and take responsibility for compliance.  Compliance cannot ensure compliance throughout an organization. If the business takes ownership of compliance, the organization has a chance to achieve an effective ethics and compliance program.  If the business avoids such responsibility, the company might as...

Insights from Recent NAVEX Global and KPMG Surveys

Chief compliance officers are always hungry for benchmarking data, for comparisons and insights around how their respective compliance programs stack up against other companies, especially in the same industry.  Compliance professionals, as a general rule, are collaborative and willing to share information with each other.  CCOs are an optimistic lot and enjoy sharing best practices, ideas and insights in order to further the ethics and...