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Biden Administration Responds to Death of Alexey Navalny with Additional Sanctions Against Russia Federation

Following the death of opposition politician Alexey Navalny, the Biden Administration announced a large swath of new and additional sanctions on the Russian Federation.  The U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (”OFAC”), in conjunction with the Department of State and the Department of Commerce, added almost 300 individuals and entities to the Specially Designated Nationals List (“SDN List”).  Later in the day,...

Episode 310 — Christian Focacci, CEO and Founder, Threat.Digital, on AI and Compliance

Episode 310 — Christian Focacci, CEO and Founder, Threat.Digital, on AI and Compliance

Christian Focacci is a leader in the artificial intelligence world and harnesses the capabilities for risk management. He is the founder and CEO of Threat.Digital, which has launched a new product DiligenAI.  Threat.Digital is leveraging large language models and real-time data feeds to empower organizations to identify risk information confidently and efficiently, setting a new standard in risk intelligence. Mike and Christian discuss AI and...

Sterling Bank’s ex-General Counsel hit with OCC Cease-and-Desist over Longstanding BSA/AML Shortcomings

Sterling Bank’s ex-General Counsel hit with OCC Cease-and-Desist over Longstanding BSA/AML Shortcomings

The Treasury Department’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) has taken action against the former General Counsel of Michigan-based Sterling Bank and Trust in the agency’s latest action against an individual corporate officer for failure to maintain an adequate Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) compliance program. Between 2012 and 2023, Colleen Kimmel was employed in various compliance-related capacities at Sterling Bank, including as General...

On the Horizon: EU Puts Final Touches on Risk-Based Artificial Intelligence Regulatory Overhaul

On the Horizon: EU Puts Final Touches on Risk-Based Artificial Intelligence Regulatory Overhaul

In a significant development, the European Union (EU) is set to implement the most comprehensive suite of regulations seen to date governing the use of artificial intelligence (“AI”) technology. The proposed regulatory overhaul aims to address a wide range of concerns surrounding AI, including ethical considerations, accountability, and potential risks to individuals and society writ large. The forthcoming “AI Act”––the final text of which was...

Supreme Court’s Unanimous Decision Provides Important Protections for Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblowers

Supreme Court’s Unanimous Decision Provides Important Protections for Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblowers

In a unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the whistleblower protections of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the case, Murray v. UBS Securities, LLC et al. (February 8, 2024).  The Supreme Court’s decision reaffirms an ongoing trend — to protect and encourage whistleblower reporting as a means to enforce proper corporate governance.  The European Union’s Whistleblower Directive and new United States whistleblower incentive programs continue to...

UFLPA in Focus: Lessons to Be Learned from Volkswagen’s Recent Experience

UFLPA in Focus: Lessons to Be Learned from Volkswagen’s Recent Experience

News recently published by multiple media outlets suggest that certain subcomponents incorporated into a variety of Volkswagen-owned vehicles—including cars manufactured by luxe brands Porsche, Bentley and Audi—were sourced from an unspecified region in “western China” (“PRC”) presumed to be the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (“XUAR”). According to these sources, Volkswagen itself was not aware of the origin of the part, which, according to the Financial...

Episode 309 — Alex Cotoia on Compliance with Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act

On December 31, 2021, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. signed the the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (“UFLPA”) into law to address the ongoing exploitation of the ethnic minority Uyghur population by the government of the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”). Among other things, the UFLPA creates a rebuttable presumption that all goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part...

Preparing for the Storm — Effective Compliance in  the New Sanctions Era (Part II of II)

Preparing for the Storm — Effective Compliance in the New Sanctions Era (Part II of II)

If companies operated with perfect governance mechanisms and controls, they would all be ready for the coming sanctions enforcement storm.  However, that is not the corporate reality.  Even after several companies are the subjects of these aggressive enforcement actions, corporate boards, senior risk managers and senior executives will turn to the chief compliance officer and ask — “do we have an effective sanctions compliance program?”...

The Coming Corporate Sanctions Enforcement Storm (Part I of II)

The Coming Corporate Sanctions Enforcement Storm (Part I of II)

There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.  Willa Cather I know I sound like a broken record.  The Justice Department’s white collar criminal enforcement  has been trending down over the last few years.  The reasons for that are unclear — is it resources, difficulty and length of investigations or just lack of initiative?  Whatever the cause may be, one...

New Executive Order Prohibitions Targets Violence in West Bank 

New Executive Order Prohibitions Targets Violence in West Bank 

On February 1, 2024, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. promulgated Executive Order 14115 (“E.O. 14115), the effect of which is to impose economic sanctions on individuals ostensibly contributing to gratuitous violence and political unrest in the West Bank. Finding that the “situation in the West Bank” involved unacceptably “high levels of extremist settler violence, forced displacement of people and villages, and property destruction,” the President...