SEC Awards At Least $5 Million to Whistleblower

On May 17, the SEC announced that a former company insider will receive between $5 million and $6 million for providing a “detailed tip” that led the agency to uncover securities violations. According to the SEC, without the whistleblower’s information, the violations would have been “nearly impossible” to detect. Since the SEC started its whistleblower program in 2011, the agency has awarded more than $67 million to 29 whistleblowers. The SEC’s most recent award is its third highest and follows a $3.5 million award announced last week.

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POSTED IN: Federal Issues, Securities

DOJ Closes FCPA Investigation into Onshore, Rig-based Well Servicing Contractor Without Prosecution; SEC Negotiations Continuing

On April 28, an onshore, rig-based well servicing contractor with operations in the United States, Mexico, and Russia announced that the DOJ had closed its investigation into possible violations of the FCPA in relation to the company’s Mexico operations and declined prosecution. The company stated that it is still in negotiations with the SEC regarding possible violations involving the company’s Russian business. The company has been under investigation by the SEC and DOJ since 2014, when the company made a voluntary disclosure to both agencies about the Mexico allegations.

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POSTED IN: Federal Issues, International

Colorado Mining Company Announces FCPA Investigation

Recently, a gold mining company based in Colorado disclosed in its quarterly filings an investigation of certain business activities of the company and its affiliates outside the U.S. for possible violations of the FCPA. The company stated that it had hired outside counsel to assist in the investigation, and it was working with the SEC and DOJ with respect to the investigation. The company also stated that, in March 2016, it entered into one-year tolling agreements with the SEC and DOJ. The company’s recent disclosure of the investigation did not specify the nature of the business activities being investigated or where the potential misconduct took place, but the company has mining operations in Ghana, Australia, Indonesia, Peru, and Suriname.

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Nevada Casino Operator Settles FCPA Allegations with SEC

On April 7, the SEC settled FCPA allegations with a Nevada-based operator of numerous hotel, resort, and casino properties in the United States and Asia. In a cease and desist order, the SEC found that the operating company violated the FCPA’s internal controls and books and records provisions related to activities in China and Macau. The SEC order alleged that the operating company made more than $62 million in payments to a consultant in Asia, without supporting documentation or appropriate authorizations, and at times continued to make payments to the consultant without being able to account for prior transfers.

The operating company consented to the SEC’s order without admitting or denying the charges and agreed to pay a $9 million dollar penalty. In addition to the penalty, the operating company agreed to obtain an independent monitor for two years to “review its FCPA-related internal controls, recordkeeping, and financial reporting policies and procedures and its ethics and compliance functions.”

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Indiana Medical Device Manufacturer’s Deferred Prosecution Agreement with DOJ Extended for a Second Time

On March 25, an Indiana-based medical device manufacturer announced that the deferred prosecution agreement it entered into with the DOJ to settle FCPA charges in 2012 would be extended a second time. The company reported that the DOJ and SEC’s investigation into alleged misconduct in Brazil and Mexico, and into the company’s compliance program, was still ongoing.

The company settled FCPA charges with the DOJ and SEC in 2012 related to its conduct in Argentina, Brazil and China. As previously reported, the company disclosed in March 2015 that the deferred prosecution agreement it had agreed to as part of the settlement would be extended for one year because the company had discovered additional potential FCPA violations in Brazil and Mexico.

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