Regulatory Enforcement

Rohit Chopra

CFPB under Chopra will be aggressive consumer watchdog, experts say


Rohit Chopra’s nomination to lead the CFPB represents a full-throated return to the combative consumer protection agency under former director Richard Cordray, experts say.

Joseph Simons

FTC Chair Joseph Simons to step down Jan. 29


Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joseph Simons and a group of senior staff announced their resignations, making way for new leadership to be appointed by President-elect Joe Biden.

Wells Fargo

Ex-Wells Fargo general counsel fined $3.5M for fake accounts role


General Counsel James Strother agreed to a $3.5 million settlement to become the seventh former senior executive at Wells Fargo fined by the OCC for their role in the bank’s fake account scandal.

Capital One

Capital One fined $390M for ‘egregious’ AML compliance failures


Capital One will pay a $390 million civil penalty for compliance failures regarding banking services offered to its check cashing group, which—according to FinCEN—had a reputation for money-laundering risks.

North Korea sanctions

OFAC fines Indonesian manufacturer $1M in North Korea sanctions case


The Office of Foreign Assets Control announced a $1.02 million settlement with paper products manufacturer PT Bukit Muria Jaya for lapses in its compliance procedures that led to 28 apparent violations of North Korea sanctions.


Toyota to pay $180M for shirking emissions-reporting requirements


Toyota settled a lawsuit with the Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency for $180 million—the largest civil penalty ever for violations of the EPA’s emission-reporting requirements under the Clean Air Act.

Magnifying glass

SFO closes bribery probe into British American Tobacco


The U.K. Serious Fraud Office announced it has concluded without prosecution its investigation into British American Tobacco regarding whistleblower allegations of corruption in the conduct of business.


Video: Gensler a strong choice for SEC; Flo’s alleged privacy lapses inexcusable

2021-01-14T21:27:00+00:00By Compliance Week

Aaron Nicodemus explains why President-elect Joe Biden’s SEC chairman pick, Gary Gensler, is getting rave reviews, while Aly McDevitt criticizes the alleged privacy misdeeds of Flo Health that led to an FTC settlement.


‘A very strong and vocal regulator’: Biden taps Gary Gensler to lead SEC


Gary Gensler, former chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, has been picked to be the next chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission by President-elect Joe Biden.


Acting enforcement head Marc Berger to depart SEC


Marc Berger, who has served as acting director of the Division of Enforcement at the SEC for a few short weeks, will leave the agency later this month.

Accounting fraud

Common themes from financial statement fraud SEC enforcement actions


A new report from the Anti-Fraud Collaboration analyzes the most common financial statement fraud themes noted in SEC enforcement actions and offers insights to mitigate the top risk areas.


All signs point to aggressive consumer protection under Biden


Consumer protection initiatives are expected to be a major area of focus for President-elect Joe Biden, who is widely anticipated to breathe new life into the enforcement priorities of federal and state agencies with such powers.

Employee monitoring

German laptop retailer fined $12.7M under GDPR for employee surveillance


A German data regulator fined an online laptop and electronic goods retailer €10.4 million (U.S. $12.7 million) for video-monitoring employees for at least two years without legal basis.

Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank to pay $130M to settle bribery, ‘spoofing’ charges


Deutsche Bank has agreed to pay more than $130 million to resolve charges that it paid bribes to third parties to secure business deals in Asia and the Middle East, in addition to a separate commodities fraud “spoofing” case.

Boeing 737

Compliance implications of Boeing $2.5B fraud settlement


Boeing has agreed to pay over $2.5 billion as part of a three-year deferred prosecution agreement entered into with the Justice Department to resolve a criminal charge related to the company’s 737 MAX scandal.

US Capitol

What Senate control means for Biden’s regulatory agenda


Even with Democratic control of the House and Senate, President-elect Joe Biden will still find it difficult to pass new laws, experts say.

Money laundering

U.K. tax authority fines MT Global record $32.4M for AML failures


MT Global Limited, a U.K.-based money transfer company, was hit with a record £23.8 million (U.S. $32.4 million) fine by the U.K.’s tax authority for violations of anti-money laundering regulations.

Merrick Garland

Biden picks Merrick Garland for AG


Merrick Garland, a federal appeals court judge whose 2016 Supreme Court nomination was thwarted by Senate Republicans, has been tapped to become U.S. attorney general by President-elect Joe Biden.


OFAC targets Iran metals sector with new sanctions


The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated more than a dozen new sanctions aimed to impact the revenue production of the Iranian metals sector.


Argos USA to pay $20M in price-fixing scheme


Argos USA agreed to pay a $20 million criminal penalty to resolve DOJ charges of conspiracy to fix prices, rig bids, and allocate markets for sales of ready-mix concrete.


OFAC fines French bank UBAF $8.6M for Syria-related sanctions violations


The Office of Foreign Assets Control settled with a French bank for processing payments on behalf of sanctioned Syrian financial institutions that were followed by corresponding funds transfers through the U.S. financial system.


CFTC’s foray into FCPA enforcement creates new risk factors


The CFTC’s recent fine ladled onto a DOJ investigation into foreign corrupt practices by Swiss energy trader Vitol S.A. should force companies with any exposure in the commodities market to reexamine their risk profiles, experts say.


Ticketmaster fined $10M for unauthorized access of rival’s systems


Ticketmaster agreed to a $10 million criminal fine as part of a deferred prosecution agreement to resolve charges that it repeatedly accessed the computer systems of a competitor without authorization to illegally gather business intelligence.


BitGo fined $99K for digital currency sanctions violations


The Office of Foreign Assets Control announced an approximately $99,000 settlement with digital asset platform BitGo for lapses in its sanctions compliance procedures that led to 183 apparent violations of multiple sanctions programs.


OFAC fines Saudi bank for Sudan/Syria sanctions violations


The Office of Foreign Assets Control announced a $650,000 settlement with a Saudi Arabian bank for apparent violations of sanctions against Sudan and Syria related to transactions that took place via the U.S. financial system.


RPM, chief compliance officer to pay $2M for accounting violations


RPM International and its general counsel and chief compliance officer have agreed to a $2 million settlement with the SEC for accounting and disclosure rules violations relating to a prior DOJ investigation.


Compliance called out in Walmart opioid lawsuit


The Department of Justice alleged many failures by Walmart’s compliance program in its 160-page lawsuit accusing the retailer of playing an active role in fueling the opioid epidemic.

Brian Rabbitt

DOJ’s acting Criminal Division head to depart


Brian Rabbitt will depart the Justice Department on Friday after a short time serving as acting head of the Criminal Division. David Burns, a senior official in the National Security Division, will succeed him.


CCO allegedly ignored in Ripple cryptocurrency lawsuit


The chief compliance officer at Ripple Labs allegedly warned company leaders on multiple occasions that its marketing of its cryptocurrency offering, XRP, could lead the SEC to classify it as a security—the focal point of a lawsuit filed Tuesday.


Report: Fines against financial institutions hit $10.4B in 2020


Financial institutions have been hit with $10.4 billion in global fines and penalties related to AML, KYC, data privacy, and MiFID regulations in 2020, according to a recent Fenergo report.


GDPR priorities for 2021: Twitter ruling stresses need for harmonization


European data protection authorities need to speed up their decision-making processes—especially with regard to cross-border complaints—before regulators lose patience and find legal means to mete out penalties under national laws instead of the GDPR.

Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab U.K. fined $12M for failing to protect client assets


The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority fined Charles Schwab U.K. approximately £9 million (U.S. $12 million) for compliance failures related to the protection of client assets.


OFAC closes investigation into Danske Estonia case


Danske Bank received a no-action letter from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control regarding an investigation at the bank’s infamous Estonian branch.


U.K. court upholds insider trading charges against former UBS compliance officer


A U.K. appeals court upheld five insider trading convictions against a former senior compliance officer at investment bank UBS.


EY member firm fined $1.5M for failure to uncover $3B homebuilding fraud


A member firm of EY Global has been fined $1.5 million by the SEC to settle audit violations and improper conduct charges connected to a $3.3 billion accounting fraud committed by one of its customers.

Luckin Coffee

Luckin Coffee to pay $180M for accounting fraud


China-based Luckin Coffee has agreed to a $180 million penalty as part of a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to resolve charges related to the coffee chain’s inflated-sales scandal.


FinTech darling Robinhood fined $65M for misleading customers


Mobile trading app provider Robinhood Financial, which has become a disruptive force in the stock market, has agreed to pay $65 million to the SEC to settle charges of misleading customers about how it makes money and for failing to secure best sale prices.


Barclays fined $34.8M over treatment of cash-strapped customers


The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority fined Barclays Bank and its related units £26 million (U.S. $34.8 million) for poor treatment of consumer credit customers experiencing financial hardship.


Twitter’s tiny $547K GDPR fine leaves many scratching their heads


Ireland’s first major decision against a Big Tech company under the GDPR has stirred controversy as the country’s data regulator hit Twitter with an underwhelming €450,000 (U.S. $547,000) fine for a 2018 data breach.


SEC charges CCO over illegal security sales practices


A chief compliance officer is one of three individuals on the receiving end of SEC charges for illegally selling securities in unregistered transactions to retail investors while acting as an unregistered broker.


AG William Barr to depart Justice Department on Dec. 23


Attorney General William Barr will leave his post leading the Department of Justice on Dec. 23. Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen will take Barr’s place on an interim basis.


Regulators catching up on use of analytics; compliance better take notice


If your company isn’t making optimal use of data to enhance its compliance program, now is the time to start—before it’s too late.


SEC charges Sequential Brands for goodwill impairment failures


The SEC has filed a civil complaint against brand-management company Sequential Brands Group for ignoring “clear, objective evidence of likely goodwill impairment.”

Google building

France sidesteps GDPR in fining Google, Amazon $163M combined


Data privacy watchdog CNIL utilized the French Data Protection Act in fining Google and Amazon a combined €135 million (U.S. $163 million) for illegal cookie practices, sidestepping the “one-stop shop” provision of the GDPR.


UBS chief facing investigation in ING money laundering case


A Dutch court has ordered a criminal investigation into UBS CEO Ralph Hamers for his role in the ING money laundering scandal that occurred during his tenure as the latter financial institution’s leader.


SEC enforcement head Avakian to step down by year’s end


Stephanie Avakian, who led the Division of Enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission for the past four years, announced she will leave at the end of the year.

Heath Tarbert

CFTC Chairman Tarbert to step down early next year


Heath Tarbert, chairman and chief executive of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, will step down from his post early next year while remaining on as one of the agency’s commissioners.

General Electric

GE settles SEC accounting probe for $200M


General Electric agreed to pay $200 million to settle charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding a series of accounting violations at its power and insurance businesses.


Record year of FCPA enforcement a sign of more to come in 2021


Major bribery scandals, record enforcement actions, unprecedented cross-border coordination and prosecutions—all this amid a global pandemic made 2020 an unforgettable year for FCPA enforcement.

Intercontinental Exchange

Intercontinental Exchange subsidiary fined $8M for inaccurate securities quotes


A New York-based subsidiary of the Intercontinental Exchange has agreed to pay $8 million as part of a settlement with the SEC for compliance deficiencies related to its provision of securities quotes to subscribers.