Tagged: internal controls

The SEC’s Continuing Refinement of Internal Controls Enforcement

My good friend and colleague, Tom Fox, has written an interesting post (here) on the SEC’s recent United Airlines settlement for $2.4 million for domestic bribery. As Tom has noted, the interesting aspect of the SEC’s enforcement theory is that United violated its Business Code of Ethics (and Continental’s Code of Ethics, which was in force in 2011 as well), resulting in the failure to...

Och-Ziff: Accountability and Internal Controls (Part IV)

There are a number of important lessons from the Och-Ziff enforcement action, some of which are related to the private equity and hedge fund industry and some of which apply across all businesses. SEC regulations require public companies to design and implement a system of internal controls. As FCPA enforcement has increased, companies have to question how to design and implement an effective system of...

Lessons Learned from AstraZeneca’s $5.5 Million SEC FCPA Settlement

Last week, the SEC added another pharmaceutical company to its list of FCPA violators when AstraZeneca agreed to a $5.5 million settlement with the SEC. AZ is now the 25th drug or medical device company to pay an FCPA penalty for violating the FCPA. AZ’s violations were not limited to China as a number of recent FCPA enforcement actions against drug/medical device companies, but included...

Five Key Takeaways from Key Energy’s SEC FCPA Settlement

The SEC, last week, announced its $5 million settlement with Key Energy. As always, FCPA settlements contain important examples of enforcement priorities and policies. Key Energy’s recent settlement is an example of the benefits of cooperation, especially when a company, like Key Energy, did not initiate the investigation by disclosing the matter to the government. Key Energy agreed to a books and records and internal...

FinCEN Expands Crackdown on Real Estate Buyers

Building on early successes, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) announced new rules targeting buyers of high-end real estate properties.  (Here). Earlier this year, FinCEN adopted rules focusing on high-end buyers of real estate in Miami and New York City. The new rules required title companies to report the beneficial owners of limited liability companies and shell companies which use cash to purchase high-end real...

DOJ and SEC Collect $22 Million from LAN Airlines for Conduct in Resolving Labor Dispute

Last week, the Justice Department (here) and the SEC (here) announced parallel FCPA settlements totaling $22 million in fines, penalties and disgorgement against LAN Airlines, a Chile-based airline, for conduct in resolving a labor dispute in Argentina. In March 2016, the SEC settled a case with LAN’s CEO for approving payments to a consultant, an advisor to the Secretary of Argentina’s Ministry of Transportation, to...

The SEC’s Love Affair with Internal Controls

The SEC has been flexing its muscles lately. If you had some of the enforcement tools the SEC has, you would be doing the same. What am I referring to? The FCPA statute includes broad provisions requiring companies to maintain adequate internal controls and accurate books and records. If taken literally, these prohibitions can be applied to many situations to support aggressive SEC enforcement actions....

Creating a Real Incentive for Self-Reporting FCPA Violations (Part II of II)

Let’s start with a big “If.” I know that sounds like a real turn off but bear with me. Assuming that the Justice Department is ready to turn over a new approach to criminal enforcement and aggressively prosecute culpable individuals in white collar crime investigations, would it be a good idea to offer a pass, or leniency to the company if the company self-reports the...

Internal Controls Enforcement: Hoisting Yourself on Your Own Petard

William Shakespeare’s Hamlet included this often used  phrase – hoist with his own petard (a small bomb). Shakespeare never knew that his eloquence would apply to today’s SEC enforcement of internal controls. The FCPA requires companies to make and keep accurate books and records and to devise and maintain an adequate system of internal accounting controls. The FCPA also prohibits individuals and businesses from knowingly...

Las Vegas Sands $9 Million SEC Settlement: An Easy Mark

The SEC continues its cutting edge FCPA enforcement program, bringing in a variety of enforcement cases and employing some new strategies. In its latest foray, the SEC settled with Las Vegas Sands, owned by Sheldon Adelson, for $9 million for deficiencies in its internal accounting controls concerning its operations in China and Macao. The SEC’s enforcement action reflects one important theme – they could not...