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Steve Bannon and Three Defendants Indicted for $25 Million “We Build The Wall” Fraud Scheme

In a surprise indictment, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced that Steve Bannon, Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea were indicted for defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors in response to the “We Build The Wall” online fundraising campaign.  The indictment charges the defendants in defrauding donors from more than $25 million. As charged, the defendants defrauded hundreds...

Webinar: FCPA Compliance — Acquisitions, Integration & FCPA Audits

Webinar: FCPA Compliance — Acquisitions, Integration & FCPA Audits Tuesday, September 8, 2020, 12 Noon EST SIGN UP HERE In general, when a company acquires another company, the successor company can be liable for the acquired company’s activities prior to acquisition. The U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) have administered Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) enforcement actions against successor...

Episode 157 — A Review of World Acceptance Corp. Settlement with SEC for FCPA Violations

World Acceptance Corporation (“WAC”), a US-based consumer loan company, agreed to pay the SEC $21.7 million for FCPA violations in Mexico.  WAC’s cited violations covered the full gamut of FCPA violations, including bribery payments to government officials in Mexico, failure to keep accurate books and records and inadequate internal accounting controls. In this Episode, Michael Volkov discusses the WAC SEC settlement.

Ten Essential Steps to Take Now to Advance Corporate Board Governance (IV of IV)

Corporate board members face increasing risks.  Federal prosecutors are watching their behavior when corporate malfeasance occurs.  Regulators focus on the important issue of board governance.  Shareholders are ready to file derivative suits at the drop of a hat when corporate misconduct occurs. An effective corporate board can bring about significant results – improved financial performance, effective ethics and compliance, a positive corporate culture and a...

Challenges for Board Decision-Making (Part III of IV)

Corporate boards face serious challenges – business disruption from the pandemic and a slowing global economy.  Directors have to focus on these two issues for at least the next 12 months.  But the issue plate contains other significant risks.  Three out of five directors have identified cybersecurity as a significant risk along with the current crisis climate.  The impact from a cyber-event is significant and...

Corporate Board Diversity: A Slow Train Moving (Part II of IV)

Corporate board diversity continues to increase slowly – and I mean slowly.  For United States companies, corporate boards are far behind their foreign counterparts.  California has imposed a minimal requirement that every public company must reserve at least one board seat for a female director.  Norway, Spain, France and Iceland have legal requirements that women comprise at least 40 percent of boards at public companies. ...

The State of Corporate Board Performance and Accountability (Part I of IV)

It is perhaps fitting that we are coming up on the one-year anniversary of the Business Roundtable’s Restatement of Corporate Purposes, which was signed by 181 corporate leaders and widely-praised for its expansion of corporate ethics and values. But I am sorry to say that not much has really changed. Some of this lack of action could be excused by the COVID-19 crisis and the...

Episode 156 — OFAC Sanctions Enforcement and Screening Errors

OFAC has brought several significant enforcement actions in last two years that are described as the result of “screening errors.” These screening errors are sometimes described as the fault of sanctions screening software or human error. In this Episode, Michael Volkov reviews several OFAC enforcement cases stemming from screening errors, including Apple, Amazon, American Express and Cobham Metelics.

Companies and Change: A CCO Challenge

Change before you have to – Jack Welch The key to change . . . is to let go of fear – Rosanne Cash Corporations are slow to change. Unless forced by government prosecutors or regulators, companies inherently resist change, even when such changes can make a business more profitable.  Corporate behavior often reflects individual human perceptions and conduct.  Individuals are slow to change unless...

The EU Whistleblowing Protection Directive: Implementing Practical Solutions to Comply (Part II of II)

The European Union Whistleblower Protection Directive imposes a broad set of requirements – to Member States and EU companies.  At the heart of the EU’s concern is to ensure that no employee (or business partner) should risk their job as a result of exposing corporate wrongdoing. Three-Tier Reporting System The EU Directive establishes a three-tiered reporting system.  Tier-1 applies to corporate internal reporting systems; Tier-2...