Regulatory Enforcement

Accounting fraud

SEC investigating iQIYI over accounting scandal


iQIYI announced it’s under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission over allegations the China-based video-streaming company overstated its revenues and subscriber numbers.

Federal Reserve

Federal banking regs clarify BSA/AML compliance violation response


Two strikes and you’re out, say four federal agencies to repeat violators of Bank Secrecy Act/anti-money laundering compliance requirements.


SEC charges former Hertz CEO with aiding and abetting accounting fraud


The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Mark Frissora, the former chief executive officer of car rental service Hertz, with aiding and abetting the company in its filing of inaccurate financial statements and disclosures.


OFAC announces rare sanctions enforcement against individual


The Office of Foreign Assets Control announced a $5,000 settlement with a U.S. person for apparent sanctions violations—a reminder the regulator can pursue enforcement against individuals in addition to companies.


Interactive Brokers to pay $38M for SAR, AML failures


Interactive Brokers has agreed to pay $38 million in settlements with three regulatory agencies related to anti-money laundering lapses, including repeated failures regarding the filing of suspicious activity reports.


OCC fines Capital One $80M over 2019 data breach


Capital One and Capital One Bank (USA) were fined $80 million for failing to establish sound risk management processes and internal controls related to the company’s data breach last year.

New York Supreme Court

New York AG cites ‘culture of noncompliance’ in NRA fraud lawsuit


Central to the New York Attorney General’s lawsuit seeking to dissolve the National Rifle Association are allegations that the nonprofit’s “culture of noncompliance” allowed EVP Wayne LaPierre and three other NRA officers to steal $64 million from the organization over three years.


CCOs show resilience in early survey data; compliance-blind NRA in crosshairs

2020-08-06T20:41:00+01:00By Compliance Week

The National Rifle Association “Failed It” big time if a suit alleging a lack of compliance controls proves true. Meanwhile, we tip our caps to the stalwart CCOs who carry on despite a cut in pay and resources due to the pandemic.


World Acceptance Corp. to pay $21.7M to resolve SEC FCPA case


World Acceptance Corp., a small-loan consumer finance company, has agreed to pay $21.7 million to resolve Securities and Exchange Commission charges for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Steven Peikin

SEC Enforcement Co-Director Steven Peikin to step down


The co-director of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement will step down from his post next week, after three years on the job.

British pounds

SFO confiscates $7M from ex-Afren execs in fraud case


The U.K. Serious Fraud Office announced it has secured orders confiscating £5.45 million (U.S. $7 million) from two former executives of oil and gas exploration company Afren.

British Airways

British Airways banking on drastic reduction of record GDPR fine


British Airways has hinted that it will qualify for a nearly 90 percent reduction of its original GDPR fine (U.S. $230 million) and end up paying just $26 million.


Conn. investment firm fined $100K for trading, compliance failures


A small Connecticut investment firm has agreed to pay a $100,000 fine to settle charges levied by the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding unfair trade allocation and accompanying compliance failures.

Bausch Health

Bausch Health to pay $45M for misleading disclosures


The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Bausch Health (formerly Valeant Pharmaceuticals) and three former executives for improper revenue recognition and misleading disclosures in SEC filings and earnings presentations.

DOJ building

Advice for compliance from new DOJ Criminal Division head


Acting Justice Department Criminal Division head Brian Rabbitt shares his perspective on recent updates to the Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs guidance, the FCPA Resource Guide, and more.


SFO charges Airbus subsidiary for corrupt acts in Saudi Arabia


The U.K. Serious Fraud Office announced charges against GPT Special Project Management and three individuals concerning a criminal investigation that began eight years ago into allegations of misconduct in Saudi Arabia.


Whitford to pay $824K for sanctioned dealings in Iran


Cookware coating manufacturer Whitford Worldwide has agreed to pay $824,314 as part of a settlement with OFAC regarding subsidiary dealings in the sanctioned country of Iran.

Under Armour

Under Armour facing potential SEC enforcement over accounting practices


Under Armour revealed in a regulatory filing that its accounting practices are the subject of a pending enforcement action by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Ghost CCO

The problem with ‘ghost CCOs’ and the haunting consequences


If you’re a small investment firm owner acting as your firm’s chief compliance officer, here are some scary stories that might keep you up at night.


Taro Pharma to pay $206M to resolve price-fixing charges


Taro Pharmaceuticals will pay a $205.7 million criminal penalty to resolve charges as part of the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation into the generic pharmaceutical industry.


Goldman Sachs reaches $4B 1MDB settlement with Malaysia


Goldman Sachs reached a nearly $4 billion agreement in principle with the Government of Malaysia to resolve all criminal and regulatory proceedings related to three 1MDB bond transactions.


First American first charged with NYDFS cyber-regulation abuses


First American Title Insurance Company has become the first firm to face charges alleging violations of the New York State Department of Financial Services’ Cybersecurity Regulation.


SEC fines UBS $10M over municipal bond offerings


UBS Financial Services has agreed to pay more than $10 million to resolve SEC charges that it circumvented the priority given to retail investors in certain municipal bond offerings.


Exelon subsidiary ComEd to pay $200M in lobbying, bribery case


Commonwealth Edison will pay a $200 million fine as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice to resolve a criminal investigation into a years-long bribery scheme concerning lobbying practices in Illinois.


Medical device maker projects $18M to settle FCA violations alleged by former CCO


Evidence of kickbacks and bribes brought to light by a whistleblower and former chief compliance officer has led Merit Medical Systems to reach an estimated $18 million agreement in principle with the DOJ to settle False Claims Act allegations.


Colorado investment firm fined $200K for inadequate compliance procedures


A Colorado-based investment advisory firm has been fined $200,000 and ordered by the SEC to improve its compliance practices regarding the purchase of securities on behalf of certain institutional investors.


Cigarette filter maker agrees to first-ever U.S.-North Korea sanctions DPA


A cigarette filter maker has entered into the first-ever U.S.-North Korea DPA with the Justice Department for sanctions violations and agreed to pay a fine of $665,112 to the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.


Nailed It or Failed It? Twitter’s meltdown exposes major vulnerability

2020-07-16T09:29:00+01:00By Compliance Week

In this week’s “Nailed It or Failed It?”, we reflect on the most troubling aspect of Wednesday’s giant Twitter hack while giving Wells Fargo a rare kudos for being good corporate citizens.


Italian telecom fined $18.6M for violating GDPR data collection rules


Italian telecommunications operator Wind Tre S.p.A has been fined approximately €16.7 million (U.S. $18.6 million) for violating data collection provisions of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.


Google fined $670K for violating GDPR’s ‘right to be forgotten’


Belgium’s Data Protection Authority fined Google Belgium €600,000 (U.S. $670,000) for refusing to delete search results linked to a Belgian public official, a provision of the GDPR know as the “right to be forgotten.”

Serious Fraud Office

SFO secures two Unaoil convictions, but judge critical of director


Following a four-year investigation, the U.K. Serious Fraud Office has secured convictions against two former Unaoil executives for bribes made to win oil services contracts in Iraq, although the presiding judge ordered a review into how SFO Director Lisa Osofsky led the case.


Universal Health Services settles FCA allegations for $122M


Whistleblowers will receive a $16.7 million payday as part of a $122 million settlement between the Department of Justice and Universal Health Services.


G4S reaches proposed deferred prosecution agreement with SFO


A U.K. subsidiary of G4S has reached a proposed deferred prosecution agreement with the Serious Fraud Office to resolve an investigation into fraudulent contract activity with the U.K. Ministry of Justice.

Supreme Court

Supreme Court to consider scope of FTC enforcement authority


The Supreme Court agreed to hear a case that will decide whether the FTC can seek to recoup funds unlawfully obtained by individuals and companies resulting from violations of consumer protection laws.


FCPA Resource Guide revision a gold mine for compliance officers


The first update to the SEC and Justice Department’s FCPA Resource Guide since it was published in 2012 includes several clarifications intended to benefit chief compliance officers and in-house counsel.


Grant Thornton UK fined $2.4M for ethical, independence failures


The U.K. Financial Reporting Council fined Grant Thornton £1.95 million (U.S. $2.4 million) for firmwide ethical and independence failures concerning an audit of alcohol retailer Conviviality Retail.


Amazon pays $135K to settle OFAC screening violations


Amazon will pay approximately $135,000 as part of a settlement with the Office of Foreign Assets Control regarding apparent sanctions violations derived from deficient screening processes.

columnist icons - kyle

Deutsche Bank rightly paying the price for looking the other way on Epstein


In terms of Know Your Customer, Deutsche Bank knew what it had with Jeffrey Epstein. It just didn’t care enough to do anything about it.


Deutsche dinged $150M for compliance failures related, in part, to Jeffrey Epstein


Deutsche Bank will pay $150 million in penalties under a consent order with New York State for “significant compliance failures” regarding, in part, its former relationship with accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.


Novartis’ latest settlements: $729M in kickback charges


A week after resolving FCPA investigations for $347 million, Swiss pharmaceutical drug maker Novartis will pay another $729 million in separate settlements related to kickback schemes.


Alexion Pharmaceuticals to pay $21M to resolve FCPA case


Alexion Pharmaceuticals will pay $21 million to resolve SEC charges that it violated the books and records and internal accounting controls provisions of the FCPA concerning bribes made by subsidiaries to foreign government officials.


EPA enforcement discretion policy to end next month


The Environmental Protection Agency has revised its temporary—and controversial—enforcement discretion policy regarding environmental legal obligations during the coronavirus pandemic, establishing an end date of Aug. 31.


Supreme Court won’t hear challenge to CFTC authority


A lawsuit questioning the enforcement authority of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has petered out after being denied the chance to be heard at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Supreme Court

Supreme Court: CFPB single-director structure unconstitutional


The U.S. Supreme Court ruled the CFPB’s single-director structure violates the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches and is unconstitutional.


Telegram to pay back investors $1.2B for failed ICO


Telegram Group will return more than $1.2 billion in ill-gotten gains to investors and pay an $18.5 million civil penalty to resolve SEC charges that its unregistered offering of digital tokens violated federal securities laws.


SEC risk alert provides compliance roadmap for investment advisors


A risk alert issued recently by the SEC examines disclosure deficiencies by investment advisors managing private funds.


Following $107M fine for lax controls, SEB shares AML efforts


Sweden’s financial watchdog was fined SEB $107 million for weak governance practices related to the bank’s anti-money laundering controls in its Baltics subsidiaries.


Novartis to pay $347M to resolve FCPA investigations


Novartis will pay nearly $347 million in combined criminal and civil penalty settlements with U.S. authorities to resolve all FCPA investigations into historical conduct by the company and its subsidiaries.


VEREIT to pay $8M to settle SEC fraud charges


VEREIT, a publicly traded real estate investment trust, will pay an $8 million penalty to resolve SEC fraud charges over intentionally overstating a key non-GAAP performance metric.


FTC stumps for additional resources to police privacy


The FTC says it would consider creating three new units to pursue privacy enforcement investigations if Congress would increase its full-time employee headcount.