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The V&E Report
Insights in Government Enforcement and Investigations

“Third Time’s the Charm?” SEC’s Latest Attempt to Pass a Disclosure Rule Could Create New Reporting Obligations for Oil & Gas Companies

Last week, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) initiated its third try to pass a rule on “Disclosure of Payments by Resource Extraction Issuers,”1 which would govern the disclosure of payments made by oil, natural gas, and mineral extractors to foreign governments — as required by Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (“Dodd-Frank”).2 The SEC’s first two attempts failed, but this third attempt may be the most meaningful attempt yet to add additional layers of oversight over multinational energy companies who seek valuable extraction rights abroad.

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U.K.’s SFO Recognizes Expectation that Compliance Functions Will be Insulated from Routine Cost Cutting Pressures

Sarah Lawson, the General Counsel of the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”), recently emphasized that corporate compliance functions must be well resourced and that the SFO expects such programs should be insulated from routine cost-cutting pressures. This expectation parallels the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”)’s long-standing focus on corporate compliance programs and its own recent focus on ensuring that compliance functions are provided with sufficient resources.

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Commodities in the Crosshairs: CFTC Joins DOJ and the SEC to Target Commodity Traders for Corrupt Practices Abroad

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) is entering the fight against foreign bribery and corruption. That is the clear message from recent announcements as the CFTC has made clear that it wants to join the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”), the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and foreign authorities by targeting commodity firms that commit corrupt practices outside the U.S.

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Because the Mafia Doesn’t Issue 8-Ks: DOJ Explains Recent Corporate Policy Changes and Foreshadows Additional Guidance

On September 12, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Miner announced in a speech that the DOJ Criminal Division will consider issuing prosecutorial guidance on how to evaluate companies’ claims that they are unable to pay large criminal fines. If adopted, the new guidance would be the latest of several recent DOJ policy reforms and clarifications aimed at increasing certainty for companies that are the target of white collar enforcement actions.

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Ninth Circuit Decision Underscores Expansive Definition of “Security”

Is an investment a “security” under the federal securities laws if it is made in part for reasons unrelated to investment returns? And can someone who facilitates the investment be liable for securities fraud? In SEC v. Feng1, the Ninth Circuit answered both questions affirmatively – helping to clarify what qualifies as a “security” under – and so who may be covered by – the federal securities laws.

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Where in the World Is Dirty Money Going? FinCEN’s Newest Investigation Unit Targets Global Money Laundering

The Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) recently announced the launch of a Global Investigations Division (“GID”). GID will focus its efforts on implementing targeted investigation strategies to combat money laundering and terrorism financing in domestic and international contexts.

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