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On February 16, 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) filed a civil complaint against Morningstar Credit Ratings LLC (“Morningstar”), a credit rating agency, alleging violations of the disclosure and internal controls provisions of the federal securities laws based on Morningstar’s ratings of commercial mortgage-backed securities (“CMBS”).

February 24, 2021
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The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) recently released its annual Risk Monitoring and Examination Activities Report (the “Report”).

February 10, 2021
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To settle enforcement matters, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) often seeks to require non-monetary conditions on top of civil monetary penalties from companies that have allegedly violated federal securities laws.

February 4, 2021
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On January 1, 2021, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021 became law. Section 6501 of the NDAA includes amendments to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”), expanding the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (the “SEC”) ability to obtain disgorgement and other equitable relief in cases involving securities fraud.

January 13, 2021
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Insight

On December 16, 2020, the SEC passed a new rule which will require publicly traded companies operating in the oil and gas industries to disclose payments that they make to foreign governments.

Government Investigations Update

December 21, 2020
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Insight

During a roundtable at the Fifth International Debarment Colloquium last month, Joseph Mauro, a spokesperson for the Compliance Unit of the World Bank Group’s (“World Bank”) Integrity Vice Presidency (“INT”), announced recent changes to the manner in which the World Bank will evaluate borrowers’ compliance programs in future corruption investigations.

November 5, 2020
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Insight

In 2019, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) estimated that business email compromises, often carried out via email scams that trick businesses into making wire payments, have caused an estimated $1.7 billion in losses for businesses that fell victim to these schemes, which amounts to the highest out-of-pocket losses incurred from any class of cybercrime.[1]

November 3, 2020
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Insight

On October 22, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC” or “Commission”) announced a $114 million whistleblower award—by far the largest amount ever awarded and more than doubling the previous record of nearly $50 million.[1]

November 3, 2020
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Insight

On October 8, 2020, the Attorney General’s Cyber-Digital Task Force (“the Task Force”) issued its Cryptocurrency Enforcement Framework (the “Report”), which offers background on virtual assets, enforcement milestones, and plans for increasing scrutiny into the use of cryptocurrency, following the Task Force’s inception in 2018.

October 22, 2020
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Dodd-Frank created the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (the “SEC” or “Commission”) whistleblower program, which allows the SEC to issue awards to eligible whistleblowers who provide original information that leads to successful enforcement actions with total monetary sanctions above $1 million.[1]

October 1, 2020
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Insight

A recent decision out of the Southern District of Florida highlights the importance of businesses taking an expansive approach when considering whether to register as a broker dealer and the applicability of other requirements under the federal securities laws …

September 23, 2020
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Insight

A recurring question of general counsel and chief compliance officers is whether their proactive investments in compliance programs, voluntary self-disclosure of issues, and cooperation will be meaningfully rewarded.

August 13, 2020