Corporate Compliance

Federal legislators continue to struggle over the growing disconnect between increasing State legalization of the cannabis industry, and the continued illegality of cannabis under federal law. This struggle represents an increasingly pressing question for financial institutions, given the burgeoning market involving cannabis-related products – including third parties who provide services and equipment to growers and distributors – and its need for safe, traditional banking services. The latest chapter in this struggle was a hearing, entitled…
As we have blogged (here and here), the United States – despite its self-perception as a global financial cop and “good guy” – is often regarded by the world as a haven for money laundering and tax evasion. The U.S. just took another black eye in the arena of global perception: the European Commission (“EC”) has placed the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam and American Samoa on a list of 23 high-risk
2018 was a transformative year for corporate governance. Record whistleblower awards, an increasing number internal investigations partly arising out of the #MeToo movement, an expansion of the role of companies’ boards, and corporate social responsibility all shaped 2018. This is our retrospective review of these trends.  Record Whistleblower Tips and Awards and Possible Changes Companies and regulatory agencies reported a rise in whistleblower tips in 2018. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Whistleblower Program had…
Director Blanco Emphasizes BSA Resource Sharing, Technological Innovation, and Collaboration Between Public and Private Sectors The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) released prepared remarks delivered by FinCEN director, Kenneth A. Blanco, at the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) Anti-Money Laundering (AML) & Financial Crimes Conference on February 4, 2019. Director Blanco’s speech highlights various regulatory reform efforts, including the approval of collaborative sharing of Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) resources and an interagency initiative…
To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” That is true in any business, but particularly so in franchising.  Planning is more important in franchising because franchising leverages a business–expanding the horizon of the brand more than a single owner or operator could. Decisions on branding need to balance the effects on employees, franchisees, prospective franchisees and customers. Without proper planning, the brand will grow randomly, without alignment, and will never…
A director of a Delaware corporation is afforded broad rights under 8 Del. C. § 220(d) to inspect a corporation’s books and records.  In the recent decision of Schnatter v. Papa John’s Int’l, Inc., C.A. No. 2018-0542-AGB (Del. Ch. Jan. 15, 2019), the Delaware Court of Chancery examined a books and records demand by John Schnatter, who is the largest stockholder and founder of Papa John’s pizza company.  Schnatter sought to inspect certain categories of…
“V-bucks,” the in-game virtual value currency of the wildly popular video game, Fortnite, is reportedly being used to launder the proceeds of stolen credit cards. An investigation by The Independent reveals that discounted V-bucks are being sold in surprisingly large quantities on the dark web – the relatively hidden section of the internet only accessible using special software. Yet these purportedly ill-gotten gains are also being spread throughout the open web, albeit on a smaller…
Typical Virtual Currency Exchanges Do Not Require PA Money Transmitter Licenses The Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities (“DoBS”) just released Guidance declaring that virtual currency, “including Bitcoin,” is not considered “money” under the Pennsylvania Money Transmission Business Licensing Law, otherwise known as the Money Transmitter Act (“MTA”). Therefore, according to the Guidance, the operator of the typical virtual currency exchange platform, kiosk, ATM or vending machine does not represent a money transmitter subject…
On December 28, 2018, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion in the Browning-Ferris case. In this much anticipated decision, the Court of Appeals concluded that the National Labor Relations Board’s decision to enumerate a new joint employer test was a valid exercise of its authority. The Court of Appeals held, however, the NLRB failed to properly apply the newly created test. Consequently, while the Court of Appeals didn’t completely abrogate the NLRB’s…
As we have blogged, courts have held that financial institutions generally do not owe a duty of care to a noncustomer and that no special duty of care arises from the duties and obligations set forth in the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”), absent a special relationship or contractual relationship. Moreover, there is no private right of action stemming from the BSA. Nor does the BSA define a financial institution’s standard of care for the…