Is It the End of the (Compliance) World?

by Thomas Fox
Contact

It’s the end of the world as we know it.

 It’s the end of the world as we know it.

It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

Today the Mayans predicted the world would end. I must say that I find the Mayans had a complete lack of courtesy, indeed if not foresight, as they did not identify the time the world would end and further did not specify if the time not indicated would be GMT or some other time zone. I would note for the record that for anyone who went to college in the 1980s, the R.E.M. version may be more prescient – “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” and I actually feel pretty good today, and thanks for asking. Finally, for all you conspiracy theorists out there, you might recall that, in the final episode of the X-Files, the Cigarette-Smoking Man predicted the end of the in 2012, although with even less courtesy than the Mayans, he did not give us any date. So if you are reading this blog it means that the world has not yet ended. If you are not reading it, I hope you enjoyed the rapture.

While the Mayans may have believed that the apocalypse was coming down as we neared the end of 2012, there may well be other events which have a more contemporary meaning for us. Exhibit A is the article in the Wednesday Wall Street Journal (WSJ), entitled “A Banker’s Costly Cab Ride”, in which reporter Aaron Lucchetti detailed the woes which have befallen the former Morgan Stanley employee William Bryan Jennings who got into a dispute with a cab driver over a fare during the holiday season in the pre-apocalypse year of 2011. The dispute got so heated that Jennings pulled a pen knife on the cab driver and cut him so that the driver required stitches. Police filed and later dropped charges against Jennings but Morgan Stanley fired him in October of this year, before there was a final determination that the charges would be dropped.

Jennings, a 22 year veteran of the company, was fired for breaching the Company’s Code of Conduct, which was reported to read in part “We promote a culture of integrity by taking personal responsibility for our actions, making the right decisions and being accountable.” The Code further specifies, “…If you violate the Code or other Morgan Stanley policy or procedure, you will be subject to the full range of disciplinary sanctions, including termination of your employment.” In addition to summarily firing him, the WSJ article reported “Morgan Stanley refused to give him a deferred-compensation payment in June and has frozen as much as $5 million or more…” Ouch!

In our continuing look at “Banks Behaving Badly” Exhibit B is the report by Bloomberg News regarding the HSBC $1.9 billion settlement with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to resolve its anti-money laundering violations. In an article entitled “HSBC Judge Requests Reasons to Approve Drug-Money Accord” it is reported that the Judge, who will pass upon the settlement with HSBC, has asked the parties “to submit a brief giving reasons he should approve the bank’s $1.9 billion settlement of money-laundering charges over drug cartel-related transfers.” The Judge was quoted as saying, “My suggestion is you present to the court a document that demonstrates why I should accept the agreement” and “There’s been some publicized criticism of this. I think you should feel free to address it.” With all the criticism of the settlement and its no criminal penalties perhaps he wants to know the same thing as Halah Touryalai, who asked in an article entitled “Final Thought On HSBC Settlement: How Much Bad Behavior Will We Tolerate?”, “What’s a bank got to do to get into some real trouble around here?” She then added, “The scary part about the HSBC settlement is that U.S. authorities are essentially saying they couldn’t act on criminal charges because it would harm the larger financial system. That’s got many calling HSBC (and potentially others) too-big-to-jail.”

Exhibit C is the article today in the WSJ by Chris Matthews entitled, “Judge Won’t Approve IBM, SEC Bribery Settlement”. In it he reported that the District Judge, in whose court the SEC filed its agreed to settlement with IBM for FCPA violation, refused to accept the agreed upon settlement. Judge Leon, the trial judge in the Gun Sting cases, was reported to have said he, “couldn’t approve the settlement unless the SEC and IBM agreed to abide by additional settlement terms imposed by the court or explain why the terms are too burdensome.” IBM’s counsel argued that certain of the Judge’s conditions were too burdensome and these included, that “that IBM must report to the court and the SEC annually on its efforts to comply with the FCPA, report any future violations of the FCPA, and report any new criminal or civil investigations.” Matthews wrote that “IBM said it was willing to report future improper payments, and books and records violations related to such payments, but was unable to report broader accounting inaccuracies that weren’t tied to improper payments.” Judge Leon asked “So if they learn about other FCPA violations, they get a pass on that?” He also “pressed lawyers for the SEC and IBM about what data they had to prove reporting FCPA books and records violations would be burdensome and wondered aloud why “one of the largest companies in the world” couldn’t track that.” Burdensome indeed.

So if the world does not end today, I hope that you have (or will) enjoy the shortest day of the year. As this will be my final post before Christmas, a Merry Christmas to all. I submit for your holiday enjoyment what I consider to be the greatest Christmas and holiday song of all-time, Nat King Cole singing “The Christmas Song”.

 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Thomas Fox, Compliance Evangelist | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Thomas Fox
Contact
more
less

Compliance Evangelist on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.