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Episode 80 — Best Practices for Investigation of Allegations of Sexual Misconduct in the #MeToo Era

The corporate governance landscape is littered with companies that have suffered major legal and reputational damage as a result of failure to promote and protect a safe workplace environment.  Companies have failed to hold offenders accountable for sexual misconduct and violation of applicable legal and code requirements. The #MeToo era has resulted in increased reporting of sexual misconduct allegations and requires enhanced monitoring of corporate...

DOJ Sweeps Up Two More Defendants in PDVSA Criminal Investigation

The Justice Department’s sprawling and successful prosecution of bribery and money laundering surrounding PDVSA, Venezuela’s state-owned energy company, shows no signs of letting up.  DOJ’s prosecutions began in 2015, and with the recent announcement of two new defendants, DOJ’s scorecard has reached a total of 21 defendants, 15 of whom have pleaded guilty.  Given PDVSA’s reputation for corruption, which is well earned (or as I...

Webinar: Best Practices for Internal Investigations of Sexual Misconduct Allegations in the #MeToo Era

Webinar: Best Practices for Investigation Sexual Misconduct Allegations in the #MeToo Era March 26, 2019, 12 Noon EST SIGN UP HERE The corporate governance landscape is littered with companies that have suffered major legal and reputational damage as a result of failure to promote and protect a safe workplace environment. Companies have failed to hold offenders accountable for sexual misconduct and violation of applicable legal...

OFAC Announces Yet Another Enforcement Action – Cement Clinker Company Settles for Violations of Iran Sanctions Program

OFAC is definitely off to a fast start this year – it recently announced its fourth enforcement action for 2019.  So far, OFAC has collected over $7 million in civil penalties.  While this may not appear to be a lot of money in civil penalties, it is important to remember the consequences of an OFAC settlement and scrutiny for future violations, restrictions on exports, and...

DOJ Arrests Micronesian Official and Hawaii-Based Businessman Pleads Guilty to FCPA Violation

In January 2019, the Justice Department brought an interesting FCPA prosecution involving a Hawaii-based businessman, Frank James Lyon, and Master Halbert, a government official from Micronesia.  DOJ’s prosecution was interesting for two significant reasons – first, it was another example of DOJ enforcement efforts against the payor of the bribe for violating the FCPA and the recipient of the bribe, the foreign official, for money...

The Criminal Pursuit of Huawei China: DOJ Brings Two Indictments

The Department of Justice has launched two separate criminal cases against Huawei China, the controversial Chinese telecommunications equipment provider.  For years, US government officials have questioned the ownership, control and practices of Huawei, claiming that it is owned by the Chinese government and  acting as an agent for Chinese interests.  At the end of January, the Justice Department announced two separate indictments against Huawei, and...

Episode 79 — Update on GDPR Enforcement

The General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 (“GDPR”) was a watershed moment in data and privacy compliance.  The new law applies to all companies and persons within the European Union and the European Economic Area.  Since its effective date, May 25, 2018, enforcement of the new law has begun.  In the first year, compliance and enforcement practitioners have identified important issues and trends for companies and...

AppliChem Pays OFAC $5.5 Million for Cuba Sanctions Violations

OFAC continues to pile up enforcement actions for sanctions violations.  In yet another example of a failure of companies to address compliance, to follow up on compliance and to ensure ultimate compliance, AppliChem, a German company agreed to pay $5.5 million for 304 violations of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations during the time period between May 2012 and February 2016.  Specifically, AppliChem engaged in 304...

CCO and CLO “Authority”: A Fundamental Requirement

A basic compliance program control, which is often overlooked (or assumed to exist), is the requirement that a chief compliance officer and/or chief legal officer have the authority to stop a specific contract or business transaction. To simplify this statement, compliance and legal have to approve certain business transactions before they can proceed.  If a compliance officer or legal officer is consulted just for “advice,”...

U.S. Marijuana Laws Cause Uncertainty for Financial Institutions

Noah Smith, Associate at The Volkov Law Group, rejoins us for an interesting blog posting on the compliance challenges for financial institutions and other businesses involved in legal marijuana transactions. Noah can be reached at nsmith@volkovlaw.com. The quasi-legal status of marijuana in today’s United States is raising serious questions about federalism and enforcement for U.S. financial institutions. It is well known that marijuana is still...