Enforcement

Binance Holdings Limited (Binance), the entity that operates the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance.com, pleaded guilty and has agreed to pay over $4 billion to resolve the Justice Department’s investigation into violations related to the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), failure to register as a money transmitting business, and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) Binance’s founder and chief executive officer (CEO), Changpeng Zhao, a Canadian national, also pleaded guilty to failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering (AML) program, in violation of the BSA and has resigned as CEO of Binance.

On November 16, 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a letter to Lifecore Biomedical, Inc., formerly known as Landec Corporation, under the agency's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Corporate Enforcement Policy. This letter was a "declination with disgorgement," [link] indicating that the DOJ decided not to prosecute Lifecore despite identified misconduct. The situation involved FCPA violations by Lifecore’s former subsidiary, Yucatan Foods. It was found that employees and agents of Yucatan Foods had engaged in bribery, specifically paying bribes to Mexican government officials to secure a wastewater discharge permit.

Aircraft parts suppliers to the Maduro Regime and Indian semiconductor distributors trading with Russia were the subject of regulatory actions last week, while Uncle Xi's promise of help with our Fentanyl problem got a state forensic lab off the blacklist.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized a shipment of China-bound deuterium cylinders in Norfolk on October 18 for violating nuclear nonproliferation licensing laws. On August 22, CBP’s National Targeting Center (NTC) identified the deuterium on the manifest of a shipping container destined to China. CBP officers detained the deuterium, and the following day requested a licensing determination from the Bureau of Industry and Security. 

Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced the imposition of a civil penalty of $44,750 against Forta LLC (Forta), a manufacturer of synthetic reinforcement fibers, located in Grove City, Pennsylvania, to resolve three violations of the antiboycott provisions of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR, 15 C.F.R. parts 730-774) (antiboycott regulations). Forta voluntarily disclosed the conduct to BIS, cooperated with the investigation by BIS’s Office of Antiboycott Compliance (OAC), and took remedial measures after discovering the conduct at issue, all of which resulted in a significant reduction in penalty.

Four individuals were arrested, and an indictment and criminal complaint were unsealed this week regarding two separate conspiracies to unlawfully export controlled, dual-use technologies to Russia. October 31, a criminal complaint was unsealed, and a Brooklyn, New York, resident and two Canadian nationals were arrested in connection with a global procurement scheme in which the defendants used two corporate entities registered in Brooklyn to unlawfully source and purchase dual-use electronics on behalf of end-users in Russia, including companies affiliated with the Russian military. Separately, a Brooklyn resident was arrested, and a four-count indictment was unsealed alleging an illegal exports scheme to procure dual-use electronic components for entities in Russia involved in the development and manufacture of drones for the Russian war effort in Ukraine.

GE Healthcare Technologies, a spinoff of General Electric, has reported potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in its China-based operations. The disclosure was made in the company's quarterly filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Ootober 31. According to the filing, GE Healthcare identified "tender irregularities and other potential violations" related to its activities across multiple Chinese provinces. This marks the first instance that the company has publicly acknowledged possible FCPA violations.

  The Federal government announced the filing of a civil forfeiture complaint against the Motor Yacht Amadea, a 348-foot luxury vessel reportedly worth over $300 million.   The Complaint alleges that the superyacht, which is beneficially owned by Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov, was improved and maintained in violation of applicable sanctions against Kerimov and those acting on his behalf.

FinCEN has identified the following red flag indicators to help detect, prevent, and report potential suspicious activity related to Hamas’s terrorist financing activity. As no single red …

The OECD Released its Phase 4 Report on Brazil's implementtion of the Anit-Bribery Convention October 17.  This report details Brazil's achievements and challenges in respect to implementation and enforcement of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, as well as progress made since the Phase 3 evaluation in 2014.

A U.S. citizen residing in the Principality of Monaco pleaded guilty to tax evasion for concealing from the IRS over $5,130,000 in income derived from a real estate transaction and securities investments in offshore bank accounts.

The US. State Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation, in coordination with partners from the Republic of Korea Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Police Agency, and National Intelligence Service are releasing a joint public service announcement (PSA)  with updated guidance on red flag indicators and due diligence measures to help companies avoid hiring Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) information technology (IT) workers posing as non-DPRK nationals. This update identifies new tradecraft used by DPRK IT workers since the release of the 2022 advisories, including new indicators of potential DPRK IT worker activity and additional due diligence measures the international community, private sector, and public can take to prevent the hiring of DPRK IT workers.

Two appeals related to Denial Orders affecting Russian and Turkish Airlines have been denied, one because the TDO had been reversed, and one because the complainant was not named. Pegas Touristik and Southwind Airlines had filed appeals based on the repetitional damage created by Temporary Denial Orders related to Nordwind Airlines, a Moscow-based holiday package carrier, which remains subject to sanctions. Pegas Touristik is the Moscow-based tour operator which has owned 100% of Nordwind Airlines since 2008.   Southwind Airlines was formed in April 2022 in Antalya Turkey by Pegas Touristik in response to the US Sanctions on Nordwind. Despite the distinction, some MRO providers have been reluctant to maintain Southwind's fleet.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri reviewed developments in the Criminal Division's revised enformement policies, citing examples in the department's caseload year to date.  Previously Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Ms. Argentieri assumed her current role in August replacing Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite.  Her remarks were delivered at the American Bar Association 10th Annual London White Collar Crime Institute October 10, 2023.

Both Florida men arrested this Spring in a scheme to launder funds for the fugitive "Gas King of Ukraine," through a Florida metals service center have entered guilty pleas. John Can Unsalan, president of Orlando-based Metalhouse, LLC, and Sergey Karpushkin, a Belarusian citizen from Miami, and were indicted and arrested in April for engaging in a $150 million scheme to violate U.S. sanctions against Russian oligarch Sergey Kurchenko and his two companies. As set forth in court filings, between July 2018 and October 2021, Unsalan and Karpushkin conspired to transfer over $150 million to Kurchenko and sanctioned companies under Kurchenko’s control.

Newly installed FinCEN Director Andrea Gacki outlined her group's  agenda including a whistleblower rewards program, rules targeting real estate and investment advisors, drug trafficking and the rollout of  beneficial ownership information reporting requirements of the Corporate Transparency Act In a presentation to the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists October 3. Ms. Gacki walked attendees through her objectives since being named to head FinCEN in July.   Prevoiusly she served as chief of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) 

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced a "Department-wide Safe Harbor Policy" for voluntary self-disclosures of misconduct by acquirers in the mergers and acquisition process.  

October 3, BIS announced four denials of export privileges for parties convicted of unauthorized exports of firearms or ammunition.

Stanford University has agreed to pay $1.9 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by submitting proposals for federal research grants that failed to disclose current and pending support that 12 Stanford faculty members were receiving from foreign sources. The settlement relates to research grants that Stanford received between 2015 and 2020 from five federal agencies: the Departments of the Army, Navy and Air Force, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced today that the United States has asked Mexico to review whether workers at the Teklas Automotive facility in Aguascalientes, which manufactures automotive parts, are being denied the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining.

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