The PGA Tour and LIV Golf have agreed to a partnership, ending the rivalry that has divided golf for the past year. While golf fans may be rejoicing, it may be a premature celebration as the Justice Department has already been investigating the golf industry for anticompetitive behavior. The announcement of the PGA Tour and LIV Golf partnership has raised further concerns about monopolistic practices within the golf industry.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced significant changes to its Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs (ECCP) on March 2, 2023, at the American Bar Association’s National Institute on White Collar Crime. By investigating deeper into companies’ compliance programs, DOJ now provides new stricter guidelines and emphasizes its vigilance and the level of commitment expected from companies. The latest announcement illustrates DOJ’s continued emphasis on company policies regarding compliance incentives and disincentives in executive compensation and the preservation of company communications made via personal devices and instant messaging applications.
Founded in 1983, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) is a midsize California-based lender that shook the foundation of the entire global financial system. Regulators closed SVB on March 10, making it the largest bank failure since the 2008 financial crisis and the second largest in U.S. history. While SVB offered various services from standard checking accounts to loans, it was primarily home to venture capitalists in the tech industry. Therefore, the majority of the corporate deposits were larger than the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (FDIC) $250,000 insurance limit, leaving over $150 billion in uninsured deposits at the end of 2022. The sudden collapse caused a frenzy leaving companies and investors vulnerable having already experienced mass layoffs in the tech industry.
The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), the 16th-largest bank in the United States, in early March of this year is considered the biggest bank failure since the fall of Washington Mutual during the 2008 global financial crisis. After 40 years of success, the bank collapsed swiftly and unexpectedly. The collapse has ricocheted through the industry, provoking bank closures, rattling the global markets, and threatening the livelihood of startups. The Federal government has not only intervened and taken over the bank, but prosecutors and regulators from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have initiated preliminary investigations. Inevitably the collapse will cause regulators to revise the current banking rules and pursue stricter regulation in order to prevent the demise of other banks and a financial crisis.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently took several steps to strengthen its fight against white-collar crime. In its attempt to promote corporate compliance, the DOJ announced last September that it would focus on two policies: (1) voluntary self-disclosure and (2) compensation incentives with the use of clawbacks. Since then, every U.S. Attorney’s Office has adopted the first policy, a voluntary self-disclosure program. For consistent application of the policy throughout the nation, all the voluntary self-disclosure programs have a common basis: where a company has voluntarily self-disclosed a violation, cooperated, and remediated the issue without other aggravating factors, the DOJ will not seek a guilty plea. Now, on March 2, 2023, U.S. Deputy Attorney General, Lisa Monaco, announced that the DOJ is ready to launch its second policy through a Compensation Incentives and Clawbacks Program (CICP). This pilot program shifts the responsibility of corporate violations from shareholders onto individual wrongdoers, but it is unclear how effective it will be at promoting compliance.
On February 16, 2023, the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Department of Commerce (DoC) announced the launch of the Disruptive Technology Strike Force. Under the leadership of Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division and Matthew Axelrod, the Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement in the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), the strike force will bring together various agencies throughout the government, including the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and 14 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, to “target illicit actors, strengthen supply chains and protect critical technological assets from being acquired or used by nation-state adversaries”.
Since the beginning of 2023, the cryptocurrency market has faced legal action from multiple U.S. agencies in efforts to control a sector that, until recently, mostly operated beyond the bounds of conventional financial regulation. As a result of the executive order issued by the Biden Administration in March 2022, various federal agencies examined the risk and benefits of cryptocurrencies and have issued official reports. These reports have led to coordinated action against the crypto market. The administration aims to “ensure that cryptocurrencies cannot undermine financial stability, to protect investors, and to hold bad actors accountable.” In their attempts to promote regulation, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the U.S. Department of Treasury, have acted against the crypto market on several fronts, frightening off bank allies, suing crypto firms for violating investor protection laws, and targeting exchanges connected to money laundering.
After months of near-total silence, Beyonce opened Black History Month with a bang when she finally blessed the Beehive with what they had been impatiently waiting for since the release of her seventh studio album: the announcement of the Renaissance World Tour. Her loyal fans have been anticipating this news since Renaissance was released too much acclaim at the end of July 2022. However, alongside anticipation, fans are battling a strong feeling of anxiety at the prospect of not being able to secure tickets for the coveted shows. And no wonder. Ticketmaster – the vendor through which tickets for the Renaissance tour are being sold – recently, and very publicly, bungled another highly awaited ticket sale.
In an action meant to incentive companies to self-report their wrongdoings, the Justice Department (DOJ), has announced big changes to its Corporate Enforcement Policy (CEP). The Department of Justice has long been fighting against corporate criminality in its pursuit to maintain the integrity of the financial market. On January 17, Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr., announced revisions to the Criminal Division’s Corporate Enforcement Policy. Some of the revisions include up to a 75 percent reduction in fines for companies that voluntarily report their wrongdoings and fully cooperate with investigations and up to a 50 percent reduction for companies that fully cooperate with investigations even if they do not voluntarily disclose the crime. These incentives further soften the aggressive stance that the Biden administration originally took against Corporate America in 2021.
In an action to keep company executives in check, the Justice Department (DOJ), created a policy where executives and compliance chiefs sign and personally attest to the effectiveness of their compliance programs. The individuals would therefore be held personally liable for their roles in the company’s wrongdoing. The DOJ and Google had a pending dispute, which was due to Google’s non-compliance with assisting authorities in an investigation. The DOJ and Google reached an agreement, with a stipulation attached, resolving the dispute over Google’s loss of data responsive to a 2016 search warrant. In the stipulation, Google has said that it has spent over 90 million dollars on additional systems and resources to improve its compliance programs, including an agreement to allow an Independent Compliance Professional to serve as a third party to monitor that Google is fulfilling its compliance legal obligations. This policy, as already seen in the settlement with Google, is forcing compliance to become a top-tier concern for big companies or face serious consequences.