Michael Volkov tackles the current and hot topics in the legal realms of corruption, crime, and compliance.
Episode 177 -- 2020 OFAC Sanctions Enforcement Review
Despite the challenges facing OFAC during the pandemic and the strain on resources, OFAC continued its dogged commitment to sanctions enforcement. While the numbers racked up by OFAC were lower because of the pandemic, OFAC later in the year resumed its aggressive pace of sanctions enforcement. It even released two enforcement actions during the week between Christmas and New Year’s.
In this Episode, Michael Volkov reviews the 2020 OFAC sanctions enforcement action.
Episode 176 -- 2020 FCPA Year in Review
The Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission had another record year of enforcement. In fact, the last four years of FCPA enforcement included two years of record enforcement – 2019 and 2020. After those two years, 2016, 2014, 2010 were larger enforcement years (as measured by total fines) than 2017 and 2018, the first two years of FCPA enforcement under the Trump Administration.
In this Episode, Michael Volkov reviews FCPA enforcement trends for 2020.
Episode 175 -- A Deep Dive into the Vitol FCPA Settlement
The Justice Department continues to produce FCPA resolutions in a record year for enforcement. The latest 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 million, would be credited if Vitol pays $45 million to Brazil prosecutors for resolution of the case.
Vitol also agreed to a civil settlement with the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) for $28.7 million, $12.7 million of which was for disgorgement. The Vitol case represented the first coordinated FCPA enforcement action between DOJ and the CFTC.
Vitol’s DOJ and Brazil settlements stem from Vitol bribery schemes in Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico. Over a fifteen year period, Vitol paid millions of dollars in bribes to numerous public officials in Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico.
In this Episode, Michael Volkov reviews Vitol's FCPA settlement and the bribery schemes.
Episode 174 -- Five Basic Steps to Implement a Sanctions Compliance Program
Companies have to implement a sanctions compliance program (SCP). The Treasury Department Office of Foreign Asset Control’s sanctions guidance issued in May 2019 is an extraordinary document and includes numerous prescriptive requirements. Companies ignore the SCP Guidance at their peril.
The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) has a robust and mature enforcement program. Over the last few years, OFAC has successfully expanded its enforcement focus beyond the financial industry and now targets manufacturing, service and other industries. The Justice Department expects companies to voluntarily disclose potential sanctions violation where there is evidence that the violation may be willful.
In this Episode, Michael Volkov reviews five basic steps companies should take to implement a sanctions compliance program.
Episode 173 -- Review of HHS-OIG Special Fraud Alert on Speaker Programs
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.
In this Episode, Michael Volkov reviews the HHS-OIG Fraud Alert.
Episode 172 -- Interview of Brian Whisler on DOJ In the new 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 has been a partner at Baker McKenzie for 12 years. Prior to joining Baker McKenzie, Brian served for fifteen years as a federal prosecutor with the US Department of Justice. During that time, he was the Criminal Chief Assistant US Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond, overseeing and prosecuting cases ranging from white collar crime, violent crime, public corruption, and terrorism. His trial practice focused predominantly on white collar cases, including health care fraud, securities fraud, public corruption, money laundering and tax fraud. He previously served as an Assistant US Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina for ten years, where he focused on white collar prosecutions and received the Attorney General’s Award for his prosecutions in a money laundering investigation resulting in convictions of more than 25 defendants after three jury trials and multiple guilty pleas.
Brian has extensive federal trial and appellate experience, having tried over 30 cases to verdict and argued more than 40 cases at the federal appellate level. He is experienced in handling a broad range of civil and criminal matters, including cases implicating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, False Claims Act, Anti-Money Laundering laws, Health Care Fraud, Securities Fraud, and Procurement Fraud.
Brian has led multijurisdictional internal investigations and provided regulatory advice to multinational and domestic clients across many sectors, including oil and gas services, pharmaceuticals, financial services, manufacturing, and telecommunications. Additionally, he has developed compliance programs for Fortune 50 corporate clients, advised Boards and Audit Committees, guided companies and individuals in government investigations in multiple global jurisdictions and defended clients in criminal and civil litigation. He also represents companies and individual clients in investigations before multilateral institutions, including the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, as well as the US Agency for International Development, the United Nations, and the Global Fund.