Lessons From Glencore Settlement


Earlier this week Swiss commodities trading giant Glencore gave the compliance community a doozy of a corporate corruption settlement, agreeing to pay more than $1 billion to regulators around the world for bribery and market manipulation that lasted more than a decade. I’ve been sifting through the settlement documents since then and we have several…

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Some Polite Words on Testing


Gather round, corporate compliance professionals. We have another speech from a high-ranking Justice Department official about how compliance programs should work, and as usual these days, the speech is full of clues that are well worth your time and attention. The speech came from Kenneth Polite, assistant attorney general for the Criminal Division, who spoke…

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ComEd, Part II: Tone From Top, Enforcement


Today I want to return to Commonwealth Edison, the Illinois public utility trying to revamp its corporate culture and compliance program after a corruption scandal that erupted in 2020. As we sift through ComEd’s progress report on improvements it has made, let’s examine two subjects indispensable to effective compliance programs: tone at the top and…

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ComEd Gives a Compliance Update


One of the more colorful compliance stories from 2020 was Commonwealth Edison, the Chicago-based public utility which paid $200 million that year to settle corruption charges. ComEd also agreed to implement a raft of compliance program improvements — and last Friday, ComEd filed its first ethics and compliance report to talk about its progress so…

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USAA, Part II: Staffing Levels and SARs


Today I want to circle back to that civil settlement that banking regulators struck with USAA last month, where they fined USAA a total of $140 million and imposed a raft of compliance program improvements that USAA needs to make double-quick. What do those demands tell us about how corporate compliance programs should operate? First,…

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Updates on Antitrust Leniency Program


Useful news for anyone working at a company involved in an illegal cartel or other vast criminal conspiracy: the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division has updated its leniency policy for corporate offenders, with new emphasis on prompt self-disclosure of the violations and remediation to prevent repeat offenses. The Antitrust Division has long allowed the first individual…

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Compliance Programs, Big and Small


The Ethics & Compliance Initiative published a report late last week comparing compliance programs at large, medium, and small enterprises. Let’s look at those findings, since too often we in Best Practices Land talk about compliance programs as if they were a standard-issue thing — which, of course, is totally not the case.  Most interesting…

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More Compliance Program Pointers


Earlier this week we had a post about assistant attorney general Kenneth Polite’s idea to have chief compliance officers certify the effectiveness of their compliance programs. Today I want to revisit the rest of Polite’s speech; aside from that controversial proposal, he offered numerous other thoughts about effective compliance programs worth our attention. Polite began…

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Russia’s New Export Control Challenges


Of all the corporate responses so far from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, one that looks heartening is the idea of companies “self-sanctioning” their products against Russia. Look closer, however, and there’s a lot more going on here that compliance officers need to consider.  By now you’ve probably seen early glimpses of self-sanctioning. Two examples are…

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Ukraine Compliance Risks: A List


In our previous post we paused to consider some of the larger, more existential challenges to corporate ethics programs raised by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Today I want to shift to some of the practical compliance challenges — because those challenges are many and diverse, and compliance professionals need to start putting them into a…

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