Regulatory Enforcement


Will ExxonMobil’s victory in sanctions case mean more pushback?


ExxonMobil’s victory in a sanctions case before a federal court just might empower others in the regulated community to challenge the imposition of fines for alleged violations of sanctions regulations.


Heartbreaker: SEC Commissioner Jackson to resign Feb. 14


Robert Jackson Jr., one of five commissioners at the Securities and Exchange Commission, confirmed Thursday his intention to resign from his post next month.


SEC bars former KPMG leader atop ‘chain of corruption’


The Securities and Exchange Commission has suspended a former KPMG leader from appearing or practicing before the SEC after he was convicted of a felony last year.


Germany hits pesticides wholesalers with large fines


Seven pesticide wholesalers have been fined a total of €155 million (U.S. $173 million) for operating a 17-year price-fixing cartel.


OFAC designates new sanctions against Iran’s metals industry


Sanctions compliance officers should be on alert following several new sanctions designated by the Office of Foreign Assets Control against Iran’s largest steel, aluminum, copper, and iron manufacturers.


A modern, corporate-friendly SEC glides into 2020


There are a few clouds on the horizon as some on Capitol Hill wonder whether a purported concern for the “Main Street investor” is cloaking a deregulation initiative.


FRC calls for better reporting to improve trust


U.K. regulator the Financial Reporting Council’s annual review shows many of Britain’s largest companies use a “tick-box” approach to compliance with the U.K. Corporate Governance Code—often providing scant explanations and little detail.


DOJ enforcement priorities for 2020 include antitrust


Compliance officers need to step it up in 2020; a world of heightened risk means a world of heightened regulatory oversight.


SEC’s 2020 priorities can be gleaned from 2019 trends


Companies would be wise to study the SEC’s annual enforcement report and avoid becoming one of the ever-increasing number of enforcement actions the Commission doles out yearly for misconduct.


Uber: Fraud Section ends bribery probe


The Department of Justice has closed its investigation into possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by ride-sharing company Uber.


Swiss firm, owner face charges in stock manipulation scheme


The SEC and DOJ have separately announced charges against a Swiss asset management firm and several individuals for engaging in a long-running stock manipulation scheme involving numerous U.S. issuers. The charges resulted from a failed attempt to circumvent disclosure requirements imposed by securities laws.


UBP to pay additional $14M for hidden accounts


Union Bancaire Privée (UBP), a Swiss private bank, must pay an additional $14 million to the U.S. government for accounts it failed to disclose in an addendum to a non-prosecution agreement reached with the Department of Justice four years ago.


Exxon wins legal battle with OFAC over sanctions violation


A federal judge ruled this week Exxon will not have to pay a $2 million civil penalty levied by OFAC in 2017 for violating Ukraine-related sanctions regulations.


Hong Kong’s SFC fines RHB Securities Hong Kong $6.4M


Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission has fined RHB Securities Hong Kong $6.4 million for failing to comply with regulatory requirements on conflicts of interest and supervision of account executives.


Compliance 2020: A timeline

2020-01-02T14:03:00+00:00By Compliance Week

Compliance Week looks back at two decades of scandals, enforcement actions, and regulatory policies (2000-2019) that shaped the compliance function we see today.

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Top ethics and compliance failures of 2019


From antitrust and privacy concerns in the tech world to compliance officer liability in the pharmaceutical industry to unethical practices in the banking and accounting professions, more than a dozen companies made Compliance Week’s list of the biggest compliance fails in 2019.


Sutter agrees to pay $575M, gets compliance monitor in antitrust settlement


California announced a settlement with Sutter Health for $575 million to settle claims of anti-competitive behavior brought by the state attorney general as well as a class-action group that included employers and unions.


CFTC awards more than $1M to internal compliance whistleblower


The CFTC announced a whistleblower award north of $1 million for a tipster who went through internal compliance at his or her company to get the information to regulators.


SEC cites ‘inadequate’ compliance in fraud charges against radio host


The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Sacramento, Calif.-based radio host Keith Springer and his company with defrauding hundreds of retail clients. The SEC specifically singled out failures in Springer’s compliance program in its complaint.

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Most-trafficked content tells story of the compliance officer


Changes in the interests of our audience over the last several years help us to understand how much compliance officers must evolve in their jobs to meet the demands of a given time.

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SFO confirms DPA with Güralp Systems after three acquitted


The founder and two former employees of Güralp Systems were acquitted of charges they conspired to bribe a South Korean public official, making it the latest corruption case in which the U.K. Serious Fraud Office failed to secure individual convictions.


MetLife to pay $10M for ‘longstanding’ accounting errors


MetLife will pay a civil penalty of $10 million to resolve charges the insurance company violated the books and records and internal accounting controls provisions of federal securities laws.

David Lefort

Companies deserve a break on rushed CCPA compliance


The CCPA has been rushed from the start, says CW Editor in Chief Dave Lefort, who believes the California attorney general’s plan to give leniency for companies making good-faith efforts is the right call.


Alleged compliance failures at Omnicare lead to healthcare fraud lawsuit


A series of alleged compliance failures at pharmaceutical services provider Omnicare has resulted in the Department of Justice intervening in yet another civil healthcare fraud lawsuit against the company.


FTC appoints new antitrust head


The Federal Trade Commission announced the appointment of Ian Conner as director of the Bureau of Competition. In addition, Daniel Francis was named deputy director at the Bureau.


SEC bars former Goldman Sachs director over 1MDB scandal


Former Goldman Sachs Group executive Tim Leissner has settled charges brought by the SEC for alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. His settlement includes a permanent bar from the securities industry.


DOJ revises export control and sanctions enforcement policy


The Department of Justice has revised its policy regarding voluntary disclosures of export control and sanctions violations.

Accounting fraud

SFO charges two former Serco directors with fraud, false accounting


The U.K. Serious Fraud Office has charged two individuals with fraud and false accounting concerning Serco’s electronic monitoring contract with the Ministry of Justice.


WADA mess: Sports regulator’s light touch sends bad compliance message


One of sports’ key enforcement agencies handed out a penalty this week that sent a message no regulator wants to send: Punitive action may only come after the guilty party has already reaped the rewards.


Morgan Stanley fined $22.2M for manipulating bond prices


France’s financial market regulator has fined Morgan Stanley €20 million (U.S. $22.2 million) for manipulating the price of French and Belgian government bonds in June 2015.


Jefferies to pay $4M for improper handling of ADRs


Broker-dealer Jefferies will pay $4 million to settle charges for the improper handling of “pre-released” American Depositary Receipts (ADRs), the Securities and Exchange Commission announced.


Ericsson finalizes $1B FCPA settlement


Swedish telecom giant Ericsson has entered a $1 billion settlement with U.S. authorities to resolve a long-running investigation into violations of the FCPA that spanned 17 years and several geographies and involved high-level executives.


Study: Spike in OFAC sanctions pose compliance challenges


Some companies might scramble to comply with more—and sometimes quickly shifting—sanctions requirements as the U.S. government chalks up record enforcement levels.


Celadon execs charged with accounting fraud


Two former top executives of trucking company Celadon Group face civil and criminal charges for their participation in an accounting fraud scheme that inflated the company’s income and earnings per share.

Accounting fraud

Iconix, three former execs charged with accounting fraud


Iconix Brand Group and three of its former top executives were charged by the SEC for engaging in accounting fraud. Iconix and two of the executives agreed to settle, with litigation still pending against the company’s former CEO.


FTC settles with four over alleged EU-U.S. Privacy Shield deception


Four companies have reached settlements with the Federal Trade Commission for allegedly misrepresenting their participation in the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework.


Former Bumble Bee CEO convicted in price-fixing scheme


The former president and CEO of packaged seafood company Bumble Bee was convicted for his participation in an antitrust conspiracy to fix prices of canned tuna, the Justice Department announced.

Liberty Tax

Compliance called out in Liberty Tax DOJ settlement


The Department of Justice is requiring Liberty Tax Service to greatly enhance its internal compliance controls as part of a proposed settlement with the tax preparation service provider over allegations of fraud and misconduct.


SEC names new cyber chief


The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the appointment of Kristina Littman as chief of the Division of Enforcement’s Cyber Unit.


Vestager once again takes aim at digital giants


Margrethe Vestager, European commissioner for competition, once again rallied against Big Tech in a Nov. 29 speech. The politician has promised more oversight of search engines, online marketplaces, social media networks, and app sites to ensure fair markets.


SEC bars former PCAOB leader for role in KPMG scandal


The Securities and Exchange Commission has barred Cynthia Holder from practicing as an accountant before the Commission for her role in the long-running KPMG inspections scandal.


SEC charges MiMedx Group with accounting fraud


Biotech company MiMedx Group and three of its former top executives have been charged with defrauding investors. In response, MiMedx reshuffled its management team, including the appointment of a new general counsel and secretary.


PRA fines Citigroup for regulatory disclosure failure


The Bank of England has hit Citigroup with a record £44 million (U.S. $56.5 million) fine after it found three of its U.K. units failed to submit complete and accurate regulatory information about the lender’s capital and liquidity levels.

Uber London

Uber stripped of London license for ‘pattern of failures’


Uber has been stripped of its London operating license after the city’s transportation regulator identified a “pattern of failures” by the company, including several safety breaches that placed passengers at risk. It is appealing the ruling.


OFAC: Apple shows ‘reckless disregard’ for sanctions in ‘non-egregious’ violation


The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control had harsh words for Apple’s sanctions compliance program in announcing a not-so-hefty $466,912 settlement with the technology giant.


BGC Financial to pay $3M for supervisory failures


BGC Financial was accused of various supervision, reporting, and recordkeeping violations that went on for more than five years in a $3 million enforcement action from the CFTC.

Campaign money

Dannenbaum Engineering overhauls compliance; fined $1.6M for campaign contributions


Dannenbaum Engineering and its parent company have agreed to pay a $1.6 million criminal fine for a scheme involving illegal campaign contributions. While the fine might not be significant, the compliance lessons are.


Samsung Heavy Industries to pay $75M in foreign bribery case


Samsung Heavy Industries will pay total criminal penalties of $75.5 million to enforcement authorities in the United States and Brazil to resolve violations arising out of a bribery scheme in Brazil.


Corporate Enforcement Policy revisions impact FCPA disclosure


The Department of Justice this month made a few minor adjustments to its Corporate Enforcement Policy that are worth a closer look, as these changes could impact when compliance officers and corporate counsel decide to self-report a potential Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violation.


Hong Kong, Singapore regulators fine UBS $59M for client overcharges


Swiss bank UBS will pay $59 million in total civil penalties in resolutions with both Hong Kong and Swiss regulators for overcharging clients for over a decade.