Tagged: internal controls

Prosecuting CCOs v. Holding CCOs Accountable

There has been a lot written about CCOs fearing prosecution for compliance failures. Not to say there is no risk, but the truth lies really in the middle.  From my perspective, there is too much fear-mongering around this issue. Let’s look at one extreme – a CCO who engages in misconduct should be prosecuted. A good example of this case is the prosecution of Thomas...

Defining Business Ethics

One of the more frustrating topics for discussion is defining business ethics. It is frustrating to see how complex and unhelpful the discussion turns when defining business ethics. I have two tests for how to deal with this issue. Do you use simple terms that can be easily communicated internally in a company? Do the terms embrace the kind of values important to the company?...

Preventing Terrorism with AML Accountability AND Budgeting

Lauren Connell, Managing Associate at The Volkov Law Group, joins us again for a posting about anti-money laundering (AML), terrorism financing and CCO certifications.  Lauren’s profile is here, and she can be reached at [email protected] Preventing money from getting to terrorists is a chief goal of AML programs. But at a basic level an AML program is only as strong as its budget, regardless of...

Asking the Right Questions: How to Measure Corporate Culture

As a federal prosecutor with lots of trial experience, I generally know what questions to ask a witness or a defendant.  In the compliance arena, there is much more leeway in how and what questions you ask. Many companies conduct employee surveys. These surveys are usually administered by human resources across the organization every year or two. I do not oppose these surveys but recommend...

Business Ethics as an Effective Control

Integrity has no need of rules. – Albert Camus Corporate decision-making ignores important principles and sometimes, common sense. With the increase in corporate compliance programs, corporate boards and senior executives need to take a moment to address one important issue – the importance of creating an ethical culture. For some reason, corporate boards and leaders like to focus on the tangible aspects of ethics and...

Dissecting a Bribery Violation: Two Important Questions to Answer

In the wreckage of a corporate FCPA enforcement action, a company has to answer two important questions. First, how did the conduct occur without senior executives and the Board learning or suspecting that such conduct was occurring or could occur? Second, how did the wrongdoers obtain access to the money needed to fund the bribery scheme? I know these two questions are fairly obvious, but...

Four Clear Messages from Bristol-Myers Squibb FCPA Enforcement Action

The SEC’s FCPA enforcement action for $14.6 million against Bristol-Myers Squibb (“BMS”) in China provides a textbook example of how things can go wrong in China. For the compliance practitioner (as well as CEO and senior executives) in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, the BMS enforcement action should be read and digested as a quick checklist of important principles. The facts underlying the BMS...

The Compliance Dangers of Cheerleaders and Nay-Sayers

Compliance always boils down to people and interpersonal relationships. No man is an island, and no one can go it alone in compliance. One essential requirement for effective compliance is the ability to engage colleagues and your audience. Many senior executives are smart people –we all understand that. But too often senor executives embrace an interpersonal style of cheerleading. It allows them to appear to...

Compliance Fatigue — A Dangerous Concept

I have a lot of pet peeves, especially when it comes to lawyers and compliance professionals. Do not worry — this is a not a column about all of my pet peeves; I would never bore you with all those issues. My current pet peeve in the compliance field is the expression “compliance fatigue.” I am not a paranoid person but anyone who claims that...

DOJ’s Warning to High-Tech Companies: SAP Official Pleads Guilty To FCPA Violation

When DOJ acts, they like to make a splash. While the FCPA Paparazzi have been lamenting the “slow down” in FCPA enforcement actions and the increase in case closings, DOJ still makes its mark when it acts, and I expect more DOJ actions in the last quarter of 2015. DOJ’s latest salvo was the criminal plea of a former SAP official, a US citizen, for...