ACR Brief

The ACR Brief is a biweekly newsletter that complements our regular issues. It serves as a forum for our editorial team to discuss and analyze smaller developments in the anti-corruption and bribery world as well as to tie together themes and highlight newly relevant articles from the Anti-Corruption Report.

Aug. 11, 2022: Fifty Shades of Green:  How ESG Colors the Future of Legal Work

Jul. 13, 2022 : CCO Certification the New Norm for Corporate Resolutions

Jun. 15, 2022: A Look at the Draft U.S. Data Privacy Law and its Implications

Jun. 1, 2022: Sharpening an Old Tool for FARA Enforcement

May 18, 2022: No More Hiding Behind the Crypto Curtain

May 4, 2022: Sanctions Are the New Black

Apr. 20, 2022: AI Compliance and AI in Compliance

Mar. 23, 2022: Women in the Law: How Far Have We Come?

Mar. 9, 2022: Where the Rubber Meets the ESG Road

Feb. 23, 2022: ACR at ABA White Collar Crime

Feb. 9, 2022: The House Passes New Anti-Corruption Measures

Jan. 26, 2022: Increasing Regulations Could Lead to Increased Supply-Chain Delays

Jan. 12, 2022: Diversity and Inclusion in the ABAC Space

Dec 8, 2021: Building a National Anti-Corruption Strategy

Nov 17, 2021: Modernizing the Foreign Agents Registration Act

Nov. 3, 2021: Biden DOJ's New Approach to Recidivism

Oct. 20, 2021: A Clearer Picture of Priorities at Garland’s DOJ

Oct. 6, 2021: Amazon Allegations Highlight Three Corruption Risks

Sep. 22, 2021: Holding Firms Accountable for 1MDB

Aug. 25, 2021: A New Chief for the FCPA Unit and a New CECO for Walmart

Aug. 11, 2021: What Role Should Compliance Officers Play in ESG?

Jul. 28, 2021: Fighting Corruption With FARA

Jul. 14, 2021: Making a Code Relevant

Jun. 30, 2021: Most-Read Articles of H1 2021

Jun. 16, 2021: Tone at the Tippy Top

Jun. 2, 2021: Lucrative Whistleblowing

May 19, 2021: Narrative Compliance

May 5, 2021: Compliance and Human Behavior

Apr. 21, 2021: Finding the Right Compliance Benchmarks

Apr. 7, 2021: Q1 Most Read Articles

Mar. 24, 2021: AI as an Enforcement Tool

Mar. 10, 2021: Is the Finance Industry Back in the Hot Seat?

Feb. 24, 2021: CSR and ESG Concerns and Compliance

Feb. 10, 2021: Is the Decrease in Monitors Here to Stay?

Jan. 27, 2021: The Intersection of Sanctions, Money Laundering and Corruption

Jan. 13, 2021: Refreshing Risk Assessments

Dec. 23, 2020: Most-Read Articles of 2020

Dec. 9, 2020: The Bribery Act’s First Decade

Nov. 18, 2020: Beam, Goldman and Maximizing Cooperation Credit

Nov. 4, 2020: Latin American Developments

Oct. 21, 2020: Q3 Editorial Update

Oct. 7, 2020: Q3 Most-Read Articles

Sept. 23, 2020: Coordinating Compliance and Employment Law During the Pandemic

Sept. 9, 2020: DOJ Issues Its First FCPA Opinion Since 2014

Aug. 12, 2020: Charitable Donations in the Pandemic

Jul. 29, 2020: A Small, “Delightful” Silver Lining

Jul. 15, 2020: Summer 2020 Editorial Update

Jul. 1, 2020: Most-Read Articles of 2020 H1

Jun. 17, 2020: A Recipe for Corruption

Jun. 3, 2020: Reassessing Risk

May 20, 2020: Pandemic SEC Enforcement

May 6, 2020: 2020 Spring Editorial Update

Apr. 22, 2020: Most-Read Articles of 2020 So Far

Apr. 8, 2020: Supply Chain Risks Remain Even As China Begins Recovery

Mar. 25, 2020: A Note on the Current Crisis

Mar. 11, 2020: A Setback for the DOJ in the Long-Running Hoskins Case

Feb. 26, 2020: A Monitor Is Not the End of the World

Feb. 12, 2020: Is Tech Helping or Hurting Compliance?

Jan. 29, 2020: How DOJ’s Focus on Individuals Is Yielding Results

Jan. 15, 2020: Another Long Sentence for PDVSA-Related Bribery

Nov. 20, 2019: Hoskins Win Shows DOJ Pursuit of Individuals Won’t Be Held Back by Jurisdictional Concerns

Nov. 6, 2019: In Win for DOJ’s Kleptocracy Initiative, Jho Low Pays Up

Oct. 23, 2019: The Corruption Risks of Local Litigation

Oct. 9, 2019: Barr Touts SEC and DOJ Coordination but Urges Discernment in Choosing Cases

Sept. 25, 2019: Cleaning Up After Car Wash

Sept. 11, 2019: Clayton Questions International Cooperation

Aug. 14, 2019: Pushing the Limits of the FCPA

Jul. 31, 2019: Combating Third-Party Risk

Jul. 17, 2019: New E.U. Protections for Whistleblowers

Jun. 19, 2019: Keeping Supply Chains Clean

Jun. 5, 2019: DOJ’s PDVSA Investigation Continues to Unfold

May 22, 2019: The DOJ Wants to Stay Out of Your Investigations

May 8, 2019: More Compliance Clarity From the DOJ

Apr. 24, 2019: Proactive Remediation

Apr. 10, 2019: The Changing Legislative Landscape

Mar. 27, 2019: Collective Action to Fight Corruption

Mar. 13, 2019: The Ongoing Self-Reporting Dilemma

Feb. 13, 2019: In-House Insight on Practical Compliance Strategies

Jan. 30, 2019: Keeping Tabs on GDPR Enforcement

Jan. 16, 2019: The FCPA and the China Initiative

Dec. 19, 2018: The Year of the Policy Announcement

Dec. 5, 2018: Same Old Wine in a Newer Bottle

Nov. 7, 2018: Microburst Learning

Oct. 25, 2018: Deciphering the DOJ's Stance on Data Retention

Oct. 10, 2018: Chief Executive in Charge of Going to Jail

Sep. 26, 2018: SEC Enforcement Beyond the Numbers

Sep. 12, 2018: Demystifying Declinations

Aug. 15, 2018: Refocusing on M&A

Jul. 18, 2018: New Pilot Takes Helm at the Criminal Division

Jun. 20, 2018: Global Enforcement, Global Program

Jun. 6, 2018: Global Cooperation Means Global Accountability

May 23, 2018: Using the New DOJ Policy as a Teaching Tool

May 9, 2018: Protecting Privilege During Internal Investigations

Apr. 25, 2018: Compliance Innovations to Fit Your Company

Apr. 11, 2018:  Stellar Compliance, On a Budget

Mar. 14, 2018:  Tackling Anti-Corruption Challenges in China and Singapore

Feb. 28, 2018:  Keeping an Eye on Third Parties

Feb. 14, 2018:  What Makes FCPA Enforcement So Special?

Jan. 31, 2018:  The Softer Side of Compliance

Jan. 17, 2018:  Compliance Programs and the New FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy

Dec. 6, 2017:  Anti-Corruption Compliance in Brazil

Nov. 22, 2017:  Sophisticated Compliance

Nov. 8, 2017:  The Importance of Employee Discipline

Oct. 25, 2017:  Benchmarking Your Training Program 

Oct. 11, 2017:  Modern Codes of Conduct 

Sep. 27, 2017:  Compliance Checklists 

Sep. 13, 2017:  A Bribe by Any Other Name 

Aug. 23, 2017:  In-House Benchmarking

Aug. 9, 2017:  Quantity vs Quality When Measuring Compliance 

Jul. 26, 2017:  Welcome to the ACR Brief 


Holding Firms Accountable for 1MDB

Sept 22, 2021 ACR Brief

The repercussions of the sprawling 1MDB scandal – which involved international money laundering, embezzlement and bribery using billions of dollars from a sovereign wealth fund that was supposed to improve the well-being of Malaysian residents – are still being felt.

We have a detailed account of how the scheme, which ran from about 2009 to 2016, worked, including the compliance red flags, after allegations against key figure Low Taek Jho, or “Jho Low,” were made public in 2018.

High-profile professional firms have had to resolve serious claims relating to 1MDB. On September 16, 2021, accounting firm KPMG announced that it agreed to pay $80 million to settle a case in Malaysia relating to its auditing of 1MDB accounts from 2010-2012, 800 times the fees it earned, Reuters reported. The Malaysian government, 1MDB and its subsidiaries had filed a $5.6 billion lawsuit against dozens of former and current partners at KPMG in July. In June, it was widely reported that Malaysia received $80 million from Deloitte for its 1MDB audits from 2011 to 2014.

Perhaps the highest profile 1MDB settlement was that of Goldman Sachs – its November 2020 global settlement required it to pay $2.9 billion. The settlement involved multiple authorities and ranks as the largest FCPA settlement of all time, but as we explain in our deep dive into the settlement, the bank’s remediation efforts, including executive compensation clawbacks and a host of compliance measures, kept a lid on the potential fallout, which could have included a compliance monitor.

Guest authors from Ropes & Gray explain in their analysis of recent cases that a crucial factor in the Goldman case was the firm’s promise to undertake a “thoughtful root cause analysis and timely and appropriately remediate to address the root causes.” A root cause analysis, the DOJ has emphasized, is key to earning remediation credit. We have a three-part series on this essential part of an internal investigation – with guidance on  DOJ expectations, gathering information, and when to know it is over and time to move on to fixing the problem.

As always, we welcome your input on any of the difficult compliance problems you are tackling.

Rebecca Hughes Parker
Global Editor-in-Chief


A New Chief for the FCPA Unit and a New CECO for Walmart

Aug. 25, 2021: In these dog days of summer, we have had two big people moves in the anti-corruption compliance and enforcement space. First, the DOJ Fraud Section’s FCPA Unit has a new permanent chief – David Last, who had been serving as Acting Chief since April 2020 and has been in the FCPA Unit since 2016.

Last spoke at the American Conference Institute’s FCPA & Anti-Corruption for the Life Sciences Industry conference this spring, as we detail in our article series about root cause analyses. When something “in the rearview mirror has gone amiss,” Last said, prosecutors will use the DOJ’s Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Program (ECCP) and look at the situation from two perspectives: what the compliance program looked like at the time of the misconduct and what it looks like now. Earlier this year, we covered Last’s remarks about corruption risks in the pharmaceutical industry.

The second people move involves one of the architects of the updated ECCP, Matt Miner, who, as an AAG, oversaw the Criminal Division’s FCPA, Health Care Fraud, and Securities and Financial Fraud Units. Miner left the DOJ in 2020 to rejoin Morgan Lewis and now has been appointed as the executive vice president and global chief ethics officer at Walmart. Miner has made many appearances in the ACR, such as in our 2019 year in review, where he focused on the DOJ’s transparency and in articles covering his remarks about big data and individual prosecutions, and M&A corruption risk.

Miner’s new employer, Walmart, resolved its long-running FCPA case in 2019 (while Miner was still at the DOJ) for $282 million and a monitor. Our three-part series delved into the case and its lessons. Daniel Trujillo, a former chief ethics and compliance officer for Walmart, wrote about the company’s gift policy for us in 2017. 

We hope you enjoy the rest of your summer. Look for a retrospective issue highlighting our in-house Q&As on September 1 and our next full issue on September 15.

Rebecca Hughes Parker
Global Editor-in-Chief

What Role Should Compliance Officers Play in ESG?

Aug. 11, 2021: One of the hottest phrases in corporate governance these days is ESG. Among the developments that have put “environmental, social and governance” on the lips of many corporate counsel and compliance officers are the SEC’s request for input on climate disclosure rules and the comments that poured in; SEC Chair Gary Gensler’s July 28 speech outlining what those rules may look like; the creation of a Climate and ESG Task Force in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement; shareholder approvals of climate-related measures at companies such as GE, ConocoPhillips and United Airlines; and the entrance of three climate activists on Exxon’s board after a proxy vote.

“There is no one right answer for each individual company on how to mitigate risks and maximize opportunities with respect to climate and ESG issues,” SEC Commissioner Allison Herren Lee said in a June 28 speech. “They are complex, evolving and, in some cases, highly charged issues. This can make collaborative discussion more difficult.”

How much of these new, evolving and complex ESG issues should fall in the CCO’s (already large) remit? Compliance officers are used to “things that are big and hairy and nebulous…. The skills we built in compliance, dealing with issues that are complex, that are enterprise wide, that [involve] crises are skills that are useful in the ESG arena,” Kim Yapchai, chief compliance and ethics officer and the chief environmental, social and governance officer at Tenneco, said at the recent SCCE conference on ESG.

Third-party diligence, culture and risk management are among the areas of intersection between traditional compliance and ESG, and corporate compliance programs can be leveraged to address these concerns, Bryan Sillaman and Alexandra Poe of Hughes Hubbard explained in a guest article. In another article, they provide five steps for establishing an ESG policy. Further, Klaus Moosmayer, chief ethics, risk and compliance officer for Novartis, explained in a recent Q&A that compliance needs to take a broader view of risk – including ESG issues – to stay relevant and sustainable in the long run, and our series on post-COVID compliance delves into what companies should be thinking about regarding ESG as we (hopefully) exit the pandemic.

As we continue to explore these issues, let us know how your company or clients are handling the focus on ESG, and how they are, or should be, doling out responsibility.