Featured Articles:

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...

Gatekeeper Misfires and Corporate Governance Failures

Here is another obvious point – internal controls are intended to ensure compliance with relevant policies and procedures.  Internal controls are not just for show, or not just limited to financial reporting.   A compliance program is a subset of a company’s internal controls. So, all this is well and good.  But it appears that a number of companies have been getting into trouble because they...

Five Basic Steps to Implement a Sanctions Compliance Program

Companies have to implement a sanctions compliance program (SCP).  When I use the term SCP, I mean much more than just having one employee screen a customer before a shipment is sent.  Too many companies are behind the 8-ball when it comes to sanctions compliance. The Treasury Department Office of Foreign Asset Control’s sanctions guidance issued in May 2019 is an extraordinary document and includes...

Webinar: Monitoring Your Third Parties — Digging into Distributor and Agent Risks

Webinar: Monitoring Your Third Parties — Digging into Distributor and Agent Risks December 15, 2020, 12 Noon EST Sign Up HERE Government enforcement actions against companies for anti-corruption, sanctions, money laundering and accounting misconduct often focus on third-party risks. And for good reason — government enforcement actions almost always cite third-party misconduct and complicity in illegal schemes to pay bribes, circumvent sanctions and launder money....

HHS-OIG Warns Drug and Device Companies on Speaker Program Fraud

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.  Copy of Special Alert Here.  HHS-OIG’s Fraud Alert is an important warning to pharmaceutical and medical device companies.  It directly applies to U.S. companies’ domestic speaker programs, but the analysis and observations have...

Citigroup Fined $400 Million by Banking Regulators for Risk and Compliance Control Deficiencies

Banking regulators, the Office of Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve, recently collected a $400 million civil penalty against Citigroup for long-standing deficiencies in its enterprise risk management, compliance controls and overall banking practices. The Consent Order is Here. The aggressive enforcement action was the result of Citigroup’s continuing deficiencies in its operations, risk oversight and management practices.  The OCC cited Citigroup for...