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In Case You Missed It

Katherine O'Hara | June 16, 2017

It's been a busy week as always in the world of compliance. Here are just a few of the stories of interest that you might have missed from around the Web.

Financial regulation calls for 20/20 vision

The Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), originally created in response to the 2008 financial crisis, is edging towards an about-face. Deregulation wasn’t part of their original mission, but may become their main focus under the new administration. Those who ignore history …

Uber fires more than 20 employees in harassment probe

Uber is trying to turn a new leaf. After a slew of bad press in recent months, the ride-share company fired more than 20 of its employees following a harassment investigation—not to be confused with a separate, internal second investigation being led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, on where the company needs to overhaul its culture and business practices. Simultaneously, CEO Travis Kalanick took a leave of absence to “improve himself as a leader.”

Senate GOP aims for June vote on Obamacare repeal

Obamacare is once more in the GOP’s crosshairs. Party leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, are eyeing their to-do list slated to hit this fall, and have decided to push up voting day to later this June. Here we go again. And again. And again …

The easy trail that led the feds to Reality Winner, alleged source of NSA leak

The arrest of Reality Leigh Winner, an NSA contractor who leaked secret documents to the media regarding possible Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, has big implications for potential whistleblowers. Using tracking dots that appear on nearly every document run through modern printers, federal agents were able to trace the top-secret report a mere week after she tipped off a local news outlet. The ease of her unmasking could deter future whistleblowers from coming forward.

The Trump Organization’s new budget hotel venture is an ethics nightmare

The Trump Organization knows where some of its most enthusiastic supporters are, and they’re looking to capitalize on it. Their newest project is a chain of budget hotels targeted at middle-class, small-town America. This is only the latest in a list of ethically questionable moves—because President Trump never divested from his business, he still profits from any new venture opportunities.

Everything we know about the Mueller probe so far 

Special counsel Robert Mueller is assembling a literal Justice League in preparation for the Russia probe. His team has a pretty impressive resume, including Watergate and Enron task forces, which will help them hit the ground running when they pick up where the FBI left off. But this investigation is a marathon, not a sprint—experts say it could take two or more years for them to produce a final report on whether or not, or to what degree, members of the Trump campaign, including President Trump himself, colluded with Russia to tip the 2016 U.S. election in Trump’s favor.

Blagojevich loses another round in appeals fight over conviction, sentence

In a second attempt to turn the tides, former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s appeal for a rehearing was denied. In 2011 he was convicted of misusing his powers after, among other things, he tried to sell Obama’s vacant senate seat. With the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals giving a resounding “no,” Blagojevich’s best hope lies with the USSC or a commutation from President Trump.

Brazilians adore top prosecutor after he exposes massive corruption web

One of the biggest stars in Brazil right now is a federal lawyer who’s been leading the charge against the country’s massive web of political corruption. The investigation, known as Operation Car Wash, is giving people hope that real change is possible. Turns out Brazilians aren’t crazy about their government being riddled with criminals. Which reminds us ...

Brazil’s embattled president in court over graft scandal 

Brazil is facing its second presidential crisis in a year. President Michel Temer is in hot water over a 2014 audio clip revealing he consented to sending a large sum of hush-money to a political leader. Reminder: Temer came into power after then-president Dilma Rousseff was impeached for “creative accounting.” People are fairly upset with going from bad to still pretty bad.

VW independent monitor: Company is trying to change

Volkswagen is taking some serious initiative to address its long-running compliance problems, according to the independent monitor overseeing its efforts. Earlier this year the company agreed to pay $25B to settle civil suits related to the 2015 emissions scandal, but it won’t there. VW is intent on changing the company culture as whole, but with more than half a million employees it has its work cut out for them.

Czech soccer chief steps down, facing graft charges

The world of international soccer is still trying to get its corrupt ducks in a row. The chairman of the Czech Football Association, Miroslav Pelta, was arrested last week on charges of abuse of power, breaching fiduciary duties, and favoritism in public tenders. This is a big step for the association—while its made efforts in the past, arresting a sitting chairman is a new move.

Financial watchdog drops probe into PwC over Tesco accounting scandal 

The U.K.’s Financial Reporting Council has decided PwC is in the clear for Tesco’s accounting scandal. In 2014, a large black-hole account was uncovered to the tune £326m, and PwC—its then-accounting firm—was supposed to be keeping the books in order. But while it may have the green light, other organizations are still on the hook.

Whistleblower reveals how a dangerously addictive painkiller got wrongfully prescribed again and again 

A whistleblower has claimed that Insys Therapeutics sold more than $1 billion of Subsys—a painkiller for cancer patients—over the last five years, by pressuring sales reps to flat-out lie to insurance companies to get the drug prescribed. Subsys is 100 times more addictive than morphine, and most of the people who got it didn’t even have cancer.

New database shows how prosecutors handled corporate crimes. Some corporations were never prosecuted 

The University of Virginia Law School just released a new database listing nearly three decades’ worth of corporate crimes and their outcomes. One of the big takeaways: When prosecutors say they handled the case, there are some pretty big air-quotes involved. Professor Brandon L. Garrett and librarian Jon Ashley are hoping to shine a light onto how those fines stack up, and whether it amounts to sending a message or a slap on the wrist.

IBM is letting Watson loose on Wall Street regulations 

IBM is unleashing its artificial intelligence super-computer, Watson, onto Wall Street. The platform may help stymie the enormous bill financial firms pay to comply with regulations. This top-of-the-line tech will be one of the biggest AI and automation developments to hit the world of compliance.

Wal-Mart CEO to be questioned in U.S. lawsuit over Mexican bribery

A federal judge has decided that Douglas McMillon, CEO of Wal-Mart, may know more than he originally let on about a bribery scandal involving the company’s Mexican counterpart. Shareholders aren’t exactly thrilled with McMillon or his predecessor Mike Duke, accusing them of “downplaying the scheme” even after an NYT exposé revealed a scheme of systemic bribery within the retail giant’s Mexican subsidiary.