Nov. 13, 2019

In New Guidance, SFO Outlines Internal Investigation Expectations

The SFO’s suggestion in its long-awaited Corporate Co-operation Guidance that companies should waive privilege to optimize their chances of earning full cooperation credit is not the only controversial aspect of the document. The Guidance also contains specific suggestions on how companies should preserve and produce digital evidence, maintain audit trails, assist prosecutors in identifying materials to assist accused individuals and consult with the SFO before taking overt steps in an investigation. We spoke with practitioners in London to understand how the Guidance affects corporates under investigation. See “SFO Guidance Moves Toward Transparency but Offers No Guarantees” (Sep. 18, 2019).

Former Unaoil CEO and COO Plead Guilty to an FCPA Violation

The latest chapter in the long-running Unaoil saga involves guilty pleas by two former executives of the Monaco-based company who had helped oil- and gas-industry clients navigate various political systems and requirements in countries around the globe. With sentencing set for next spring, we analyze why the investigation of these two took so long, the severity of the punishment and how the energy industry can comply with anti-corruption laws when it still must rely on intermediaries for help. See “Petrobras and Unaoil Investigations Collide in Individual Prosecutions in the U.S. and U.K.” (Nov. 29, 2017).

Effective Compliance in the Spotlight: Roles, Reality and Real Life Suggestions

As enforcement globalizes, stakeholder corporate responsibility expectations broaden and the compliance industry matures, the substance and outcomes of compliance programs are squarely in the spotlight – with programs being judged not just on their paper and process, but on their results. While implementing and maintaining an effective compliance program may seem complex and overwhelming, the key to success is simplicity. In a guest article, Mayer Brown partners Audrey Harris and Matthew Alexander, with associate Juliet Gunev, provide a set of simple strategies, drawn from years of in-house compliance experience, that can help compliance professionals develop the “how” of effective compliance within their companies’ business model. See “Five Tools Every Chief Compliance Officer Needs for Effective FCPA Compliance: Title, Authority, Access, Budget and Culture (Part One of Two)” (Apr. 3, 2013); Part Two (Apr. 17, 2013).

All Eyes on Ireland’s Expanded Anti-Corruption Regime

All eyes are on Ireland because of Brexit and the vexed question of the backstop option to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. However, there is a top priority beside Brexit for those who are doing business with Ireland. In a guest article, McCann FitzGerald partner Megan Hooper, consultant Louise Delahunty and knowledge lawyers Imelda Higgins and Heather Mahon explain how new corruption laws incorporating a U.K.-style strict liability corporate offence, combined with Ireland’s unique mandatory and wide reporting regime, should be urgent focal points for companies with ties to Ireland. See “Compliance Implications of Brexit” (Apr. 26, 2017).

Whistleblowers’ Impact on Corporations and SEC Enforcement

It has been an active year for the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, with increasing tips coming in, awards going out and the recent Digital Realty Trust Supreme Court decision discouraging internal reporting. At a recent panel at the Securities Enforcement Forum, Jane Norberg, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower (OWB), discussed the office’s priorities. She was joined by Bridget Moore, a partner at Baker Botts who represents companies before the SEC, and Sean McKessy, a partner at Phillips & Cohen and former head of the OWB, who represents whistleblowers, providing a multitude of perspectives on the best practices for handling whistleblower complaints. See “Ninth Circuit Limits Protections for Whistleblowers Reporting FCPA Violations” (Apr. 3, 2019).

Hallmarks of High-Impact Compliance Programs and Compensation Trends for Compliance Officers Who Implement Them

Ethics and compliance programs that are values-based, receive high-level support, reward ethical behavior, penalize misconduct and manage risk proactively are able to better influence business decisions, according to a recent LRN study. Executive search consulting firm BarkerGilmore dovetailed those findings in its study of compliance officer compensation, which found modest year-over-year increases in total compensation as responsibilities mounted. The study also found a persistent significant pay gap between male and female compliance professionals and that compliance professionals with law degrees earn significantly more than those without one. For more insight from LRN, see “How and Why Leaders Should Create Transparent Cultures” (May 2, 2018).

Former DOJ Attaché for France and Monaco Joins Paul Hastings’ White Collar Defense Practice

At Paul Hastings, Peter Axelrod’s practice focuses on white collar criminal defense, internal investigations and intellectual property litigation. For more from Paul Hastings, see “Quad/Graphics Self-Reports FCPA and Sanctions Violations, Earning a DOJ Declination and Small SEC Fine” (Oct. 16, 2019).

VF Corporation Welcomes Senior Counsel in Virginia

Marc Alain Bohn is a compliance and investigations attorney who focuses on the FCPA and other areas of international corporate compliance, including anti-money laundering, export controls, economic sanctions and human rights. For more from Bohn, see “Dissecting Mead Johnson’s $12 Million Chinese Baby Formula Bribe Settlement” (Aug. 5, 2015).