The DOJ Reinforces And Updates Corporate Criminal Enforcement Priorities With Speech By Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco
On September 15, 2022, Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco delivered remarks on the Department of Justice’s corporate prosecution priorities at New York University, at the invitation of the University’s Project on Corporate Compliance and Enforcement. While many of her comments were simply a reiteration of existing priorities, some were potentially meaningful changes. Indeed, by clarifying certain points and strengthening others, Monaco emphasized the “carrot and stick” approach to signal loud and clear that the DOJ remains as focused as ever on pursuing corporate crime. She unambiguously encouraged corporations both to self-report potential criminal activity and cooperate in the investigation of culpable individuals, indicating that failure to do so could lead to severe consequences. At the same time, as has long been the case, the policies leave somewhat subjective the true nature of any “carrot” and any “stick” that would apply in any given case, making the decision of how corporations should deal with potential criminal conduct one of the most challenging decisions corporations can face.
SEC And DOJ Bring First Ever Charges For Cryptocurrency Insider Trading Tipping Scheme
On July 21, 2022, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) filed a complaint and the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) unsealed an indictment against Ishan Wahi, a former Coinbase employee, his brother, Nikhil Wahi, and friend, Sameer Ramani, for alleged insider trading. SEC v. Ihan Wahi, Nikhil Wahi, and Sameer Ramani, 2:22-cv01009 (W.D. Wa. July 21, 2022); United States v. Ishan Wahi, Nikhil Wahi, and Sameer Ramani, 22-cr-392 (S.D.N.Y. 2022). Both the complaint and indictment concern the same underlying conduct by Wahi, who allegedly provided dozens of tips to his brother and friend over several months to purchase certain digital assets tied to cryptocurrencies (the “digital assets”) shortly before they were publicly listed on Coinbase’s exchange.
Glencore Pleads Guilty And Agrees To $1.1 Billion Penalty To Resolve Manipulation And Foreign Corruption Allegations
On May 24, 2022, Glencore International A.G. of Switzerland (“Glencore”), an energy and commodities trading firm, and its affiliates Glencore Ltd. of New York and Chemoil Corporation of New York resolved long-running investigations by the Department of Justice (“DOJ”), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”), and regulators in the UK and Brazil related to alleged foreign bribery and market manipulation schemes. The companies agreed to pay total fines and monetary penalties in excess of $1.1 billion, including the largest penalty and disgorgement ever ordered by the CFTC, for conduct that spanned over ten years. As part of its resolutions with the CFTC and the DOJ, Glencore and Glencore Ltd. have agreed to retain independent compliance monitors for three years and continue to cooperate fully and expeditiously with both enforcement agencies. In addition to the corporate resolutions, two Glencore former employees have previously been charged. A Glencore Ltd. senior fuel oil trader, Emilio Jose Heredia Collado, pleaded guilty in March 2021 to one count of conspiracy to engage in commodities price manipulation. His sentencing is scheduled for June 17, 2022. Similarly, in July 2021, a senior trader in charge of Glencore’s West Africa crude oil desk pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.