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THE LATEST ON GOVERNMENT INQUIRIES AND ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS

Government Investigations and White Collar Litigation Group

Alex J. Brackett

Photo of Alex J. Brackett Alex is a member of the Government Investigations and White Collar Litigation department, and co-head of McGuireWoods' Strategic Risk and Compliance team. His practice focuses primarily on advising and supporting corporate and individual clients in the areas of white collar criminal defense and internal investigations.

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G7+ Coalition Issues Alert on Russian Oil Price Cap Evasion Methods and How to Report Violations

Energy Enforcement, Sanctions, Trade Embargo, and Export Controls
On February 1, 2024, the G7+ Coalition (consisting of the G7, the European Union, and Australia) published an Oil Price Cap (OPC) Compliance and Enforcement Alert (the “Alert”), identifying notable OPC evasion methods and recommending various methods to reduce the risk of evasion and its negative impacts.  The OPC was enacted in December 2022 in… Continue Reading

Disruptive Technology Strike Force Continues Focus on Trade Secret Theft, Export Control Enforcement

Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Government Contracts, Sanctions, Trade Embargo, and Export Controls
During a summit celebrating its one-year anniversary, the Disruptive Technology Strike Force provided updates on its efforts to prevent authoritarian regimes and hostile nation-states from acquiring critical technologies. Read on for details about a new expansion of the effort, recent prosecutions and the group’s continued focus on cases involving theft of trade secrets and export… Continue Reading

BIS Continues Enforcement Policy Ramp-Up

Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends
On January 16, 2024, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) issued new guidance to incentivize voluntary self-disclosure (“VSD”) of possible violations of the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”). This new guidance—which was announced in conjunction with a speech by BIS’s top enforcement official indicating the EAR enforcement is an increasingly important priority… Continue Reading

Recent Sanctions Enforcement Actions Demonstrate Importance of  Incorporating All Available Data into Screening

Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Sanctions, Trade Embargo, and Export Controls
For U.S. businesses, sanctions compliance has never been more challenging or more important.  The U.S. has responded to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with a broad range of sanctions targeting the Russian government, its officials, oligarchs and Russia’s financial and energy industries, among others.  Indeed, since the invasion of Ukraine, the agency that administers sanctions, the… Continue Reading

California Climate Accountability Package Poised to Disrupt

Compliance
During the week of September 11, 2023, the California Legislature passed a series of bills known collectively as the “California Climate Accountability Package” (“CCAP”).  The CCAP is comprised of three bills: S.B. 252 (applicable only to two California state pension funds, and not discussed further herein), S.B. 253 (the “Climate Corporate Data Accountability Act” of… Continue Reading

Departments of Justice, Commerce and Treasury Issue Tri-Seal Compliance Note on Voluntary Self-Disclosure of Potential Violations

Sanctions, Trade Embargo, and Export Controls
On July 26, 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Security Division, U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security, and U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control issued a Tri-Seal Compliance Note (the Note) detailing updates to the three agencies’ voluntary self-disclosure policies applicable to violations of U.S. sanctions, export… Continue Reading

Disruptive Technology Strike Force Initiates Federal Prosecutions Targeting Trade Secret Theft

Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Sanctions, Trade Embargo, and Export Controls
In early 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Commerce launched the Disruptive Technology Strike Force to target illicit actors, strengthen supply chains and protect critical technology assets from theft by nation-state adversaries. Read on to learn about recent federal prosecutions initiated by the Strike Force, targeting theft of trade secrets and… Continue Reading

U.S. Department of Justice and Partners Increasing Enforcement of Sanctions and Export Controls

Sanctions, Trade Embargo, and Export Controls
It has been a little more than a year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the war continues to rage.  In an effort to deter the Russian government and weaken its military capabilities, the United States has imposed significant sanctions and export controls targeting Russia.  Recognizing that these sanctions and export control laws merit aggressive… Continue Reading

FinCEN Alert Highlights Potential U.S. Real Estate Investments by Sanctioned Russian Elites

Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Sanctions, Trade Embargo, and Export Controls
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network recently issued an alert cautioning all financial institutions about potential investments in the U.S. commercial real estate sector, by or on behalf of Russian elites and their proxies. FinCEN’s communication complements U.S. efforts, in response to Russia’s war against Ukraine, to isolate sanctioned Russian persons from the international financial system.… Continue Reading

Brazilian Airline to Pay Millions in Coordinated Foreign Bribery Resolution

Anti-Bribery and Corruption
On September 15, 2022, GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes S.A. (GOL), Brazil’s second largest domestic airline, resolved long-running parallel investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The São Paulo-based company, whose shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, consented to a cease-and-desist order with the SEC… Continue Reading

Proposed Federal Rule Signals Remote Form I-9 Inspection of Employee Documents Will Likely Become Permanent Option

Immigration and Worksite Enforcement
On August 18, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a Proposed Rule titled Optional Alternatives to the Physical Document Examination Associated With Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9). The Proposed Rule would formalize the authority of the Secretary of Homeland Security to extend certain COVID-19 rules permitting remote inspection of employee documents presented for… Continue Reading

Less is More? DOJ Signals Shift to More Targeted Evidence Collection

Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends
For a corporation receiving a grand jury subpoena, the most difficult (and expensive) part of a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) inquiry is often sifting through corporate data to find relevant material. That is proving to be increasingly burdensome to prosecutors as well—not just because it costs DOJ time and resources to review extensive data… Continue Reading

DOJ and SEC Kick Off the Second Quarter with Major FCPA Settlement with International Waste Management Company

Anti-Bribery and Corruption
On April 20, 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) separately announced that Stericycle Inc. (Stericycle), an international waste management company headquartered in Lake Forest, Illinois, has agreed to pay more than $84 million to resolve parallel investigations by authorities in the United States and Brazil. The investigation is… Continue Reading

New Revelations in Ukraine Lead to Tightening Global Sanctions

Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Sanctions, Trade Embargo, and Export Controls
RELATED UPDATE: FinCEN Alert Highlights Potential U.S. Commercial Real Estate Investments by Sanctioned Russian Elites and Their Proxies (January 30, 2023) As the world watched in horror over the atrocities occurring in the war zones of Ukraine this week, global leaders re-doubled their efforts to bring increasing sanctions pressure to bear on Russian industry, the… Continue Reading

Western Companies Starting to Feel Impact of Russian Sanctions

Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation, Sanctions, Trade Embargo, and Export Controls
RELATED UPDATES: FinCEN Alert Highlights Potential U.S. Commercial Real Estate Investments by Sanctioned Russian Elites and Their Proxies (January 30, 2023) New Revelations in Ukraine Lead to Tightening Global Sanctions (April 8, 2022) As we approach the thirty day mark since the United States, and other Western countries began imposing a series of rigorous sanctions… Continue Reading

FinCEN Encourages “Increased Vigilance” and Highlights Red Flags for Evasion of Russian Sanctions including Use of Virtual Currency

Anti-Money Laundering, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation, Sanctions, Trade Embargo, and Export Controls
RELATED UPDATES: FinCEN Alert Highlights Potential U.S. Commercial Real Estate Investments by Sanctioned Russian Elites and Their Proxies (January 30, 2023) New Revelations in Ukraine Lead to Tightening Global Sanctions (April 8, 2022) Western Companies Starting to Feel Impact of Russian Sanctions (March 24, 2022) The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has issued an alert… Continue Reading

Biden Administration Amends “Buy American” Rules to Increase Domestic Content Requirements

Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends
On March 7, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council promulgated a final rule aimed at increasing federal government preferences for goods and construction materials that are domestically manufactured and increasing the required domestic content threshold for purchases governed by the Buy American Act. Read on for highlights from the rule and next steps for government contractors… Continue Reading

DOJ Launches “Task Force KleptoCapture” in Response to Russian Invasion

Anti-Bribery and Corruption, Sanctions, Trade Embargo, and Export Controls
RELATED UPDATES: U.S. Department of Justice and Partners Increasing Enforcement of Sanctions and Export Controls (March 6, 2023) New Revelations in Ukraine Lead to Tightening Global Sanctions (April 8, 2022) Western Companies Starting to Feel Impact of Russian Sanctions (March 24, 2022) FinCEN Encourages “Increased Vigilance” and Highlights Red Flags for Evasion of Russian Sanctions… Continue Reading

U.S. and Allies Significantly Expand Sanctions and Related Restrictions on Russia and Belarus

Sanctions, Trade Embargo, and Export Controls
RELATED UPDATES: New Revelations in Ukraine Lead to Tightening Global Sanctions (April 8, 2022) Western Companies Starting to Feel Impact of Russian Sanctions (March 24, 2022) FinCEN Encourages “Increased Vigilance” and Highlights Red Flags for Evasion of Russian Sanctions including Use of Virtual Currency (March 16, 2022) DOJ Launches “Task Force KleptoCapture” in Response to… Continue Reading

Additional Sanctions on Russia and the Importance of Business Contingency Planning

Sanctions, Trade Embargo, and Export Controls
RELATED UPDATES: New Revelations in Ukraine Lead to Tightening Global Sanctions (April 8, 2022) Western Companies Starting to Feel Impact of Russian Sanctions (March 24, 2022) FinCEN Encourages “Increased Vigilance” and Highlights Red Flags for Evasion of Russian Sanctions including Use of Virtual Currency (March 16, 2022) DOJ Launches “Task Force KleptoCapture” in Response to… Continue Reading

Biden Administration Issues Initial Ukraine Sanctions

Sanctions, Trade Embargo, and Export Controls
RELATED UPDATES: New Revelations in Ukraine Lead to Tightening Global Sanctions (April 8, 2022) Western Companies Starting to Feel Impact of Russian Sanctions (March 24, 2022) FinCEN Encourages “Increased Vigilance” and Highlights Red Flags for Evasion of Russian Sanctions including Use of Virtual Currency (March 16, 2022) DOJ Launches “Task Force KleptoCapture” in Response to… Continue Reading

What Significant Russian Sanctions Could Look Like, and How to Prepare

Sanctions, Trade Embargo, and Export Controls
RELATED UPDATES: New Revelations in Ukraine Lead to Tightening Global Sanctions (April 8, 2022) Western Companies Starting to Feel Impact of Russian Sanctions (March 24, 2022) FinCEN Encourages “Increased Vigilance” and Highlights Red Flags for Evasion of Russian Sanctions including Use of Virtual Currency (March 16, 2022) DOJ Launches “Task Force KleptoCapture” in Response to… Continue Reading

The Perils of Global Expansion: World’s Largest Ad Agency Sanctioned $19 Million for FCPA Violations, Insufficient Controls

Anti-Bribery and Corruption, Sanctions, Trade Embargo, and Export Controls, Securities and Commodities
Global expansion without adequate controls is asking for trouble. That’s the lesson of a $19 million settlement between WPP, the world’s largest advertising agency, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to resolve alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). According to an SEC order memorializing the settlement, WPP’s trouble began when… Continue Reading

Sanctions and Export Compliance Strategies for Supply Chains

Compliance, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Sanctions, Trade Embargo, and Export Controls
The following is an excerpt from McGuireWoods’ recent contribution to the Global Investigations Review’s (GIR’s) The Guide to Sanctions – Second Edition published in July 2021. Authors Alex Brackett, Pat Rowan and Jason Cowley, each partners in the firm’s Government Investigations and White Collar Litigation department, penned a chapter on the Impacts of Sanctions and… Continue Reading

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