Financial Regulatory Forum

Standard Chartered case highlights competing agendas of compliance, legal departments in firms

By Julie DiMauro

NEW YORK, Aug. 13 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – The sanctions evasion case against Standard Chartered PLC highlights a governance disconnect at many financial services firms between the legal and compliance departments and their perceived obligations, with the former being focused on the letter of the law and the latter on its spirit.

Standard Chartered’s general counsel sent emails to the bank’s compliance officer that “embraced a framework for regulatory evasion,” according to the case filed against the bank last Monday by New York’s top financial regulator.

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Learn the compliance lessons from an epic fail in correspondent banking and trade finance

By Kim R. Manchester, Thomson Reuters Accelus contributing author

NEW YORK, July 16 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - A Settlement Agreement was released in June 2012 by the United States Department of the Treasury regarding the voluntary self-disclosure to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) by ING Bank, N.V. (ING Bank), a financial institution registered and organized in the Netherlands. The violations of numerous sanctions programs imposed by the United States against Cuba, Burma, the Sudan, Libya and Iran were determined by the Americans as “egregious.” (more…)

Canada’s Anti-Bribery Cops Reel One In

By John Mackie

TORONTO, July 22 (Business Law Currents) – Though Canada has had foreign bribery legislation in effect for over a decade, prosecutions have proven very few and very far between. So it remains to be seen whether the recent guilty plea by Calgary’s Niko Resources under Canada’s Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act marks a scaling-up of Canadian efforts on this front, or just another blip on the radar screen.

Canada’s Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (CFPOA) entered into force on February 14, 1999. The Act contemplates prosecutions in respect of three offences: bribing a foreign public official, laundering property and proceeds, and possession of property and proceeds. In addition, the CFPOA enables prosecutions for conspiracy, aiding and abetting, counselling, and the like.

One aspect of the CFPOA that has attracted criticism from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and Transparency International is that there must be a “real and substantial link” between the offence and Canada. While a bill has been introduced to eliminate this requirement, it has not passed into law, and arguably remains a significant barrier to investigations.

COLUMN – U.S. Libya sanctions: vendors beware — and beware of your vendors

By Richard J Cellini, Esq, CEO Briefcast analytics. The views expressed are his own.

NEW YORK, March 18 (Complinet) - New Libya sanction rules will have the biggest impact on suppliers and distributors of large U.S. companies. It’s official: the U.S. government has adopted unprecedented emergency regulations blocking property and prohibiting certain transactions connected with Libya and high-ranking Libyan officials. The new rules took effect on February 25, 2011.

These sanctions impose serious and far-reaching legal, financial and operational constraints on a broad range of US-based companies, business executives, investors and private individuals. And that’s the easy part. (more…)

SEC is watching, on the Web, for sanctions evaders

Feb. 25 (Westlaw Business) Big Brother has his eye on more than just filings: He is also surfing the Web to corroborate corporate disclosures. Staff correspondence filed by Scottsdale-based Hypercom Corp. shows that when it comes to rooting out potential sanctions-evaders in Iran and Syria, the Securities and Exchange Commission keeps close tabs. (more…)

Impact analysis: UK outline of new approach to financial regulation

By Susannah Hammond

LONDON, Feb. 24 (Complinet) -The British Treasury’s latest proposal for reshaping financial regulation, published last week, has given more detail to the plans set out in an outline last summer. The fundamental shape of the new bodies now looks to have been finalized, but many fine points on how the new approach will actually function in practical, operational and cultural terms are still under consideration.

Following is a discussion of the major elements of the consultation, “A new approach to financial regulation: building a stronger system,” and how they may affect the UK financial industry:

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US sentencing guidelines: a cornerstone of hedge fund compliance practices

By Judith Gross

The following is a guest column for Complinet  by Judith Gross, the principal and founder of JG Advisory Services. She develops compliance training for hedge funds, specializing in compliance and related topics, such as insider trading. The views expressed are her own.

Compliance regulations couldn’t get any more press coverage than they do today, given the almost daily raft of new SEC and Treasury rules. Putting the proposed and actual laws aside, however, have you ever stopped to wonder what the backbone of compliance law is?

The answer is the US Sentencing Guidelines, which were enacted in 1991 and later amended in 2004. These Guidelines set forth the sentencing recommendations for a variety of criminal offenses, including those for “organizations,” such as a hedge fund. Thus, if a hedge fund is convicted of engaging in criminal conduct, the court looks to these Sentencing Guidelines for a recommendation on penalties. (more…)

SEC whistleblower rules raise risk for companies, lawyers say (Complinet)

By Emmanuel Olaoye

NEW YORK, Feb. 2 (Complinet) Proposed increases in federal rewards for whistleblowers who report securities violations to the Securities and Exchange Commission raise the risk that employees will go outside their firms to report trouble, according to industry officials. Firms can avoid being the victims of potential whistleblowers by better publicizing their internal channels for reporting wrongdoing and getting creative with incentives for using them, they said. (more…)

WikiLeaks furor raises risk issue for financial firms -Complinet

WIKILEAKS/By Brett Wolf, Complinet

Some financial institutions are scrambling to put distance between themselves and the whistleblower web site WikiLeaks, but is this necessary? Financial services firms face no clear legal obligation to cut off WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange, but intense publicity and the pressure brought by the US government and lawmakers to cripple the organization are forcing companies to weigh other risks they might face if they continue to do business with WikiLeaks.

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Lessons from Galleon

In the prosecution of Galleon Group, the SEC and the Justice Department have charged the principals of the hedge fund with receiving inside information. Court documents reveal a pattern of self-destruction at the firm, according to Marianne M. Jennings, professor of legal and ethical studies at the WP Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, writing in Thomson Reuters Checkpoint’s WG&L Accounting & Compliance Alert. (more…)

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