Compliance Bits and Pieces for May 6

Here are some compliance-related stories that recently caught my eye:

Investing in an ethical corporate culture by Aarti Maharaj in Corporate Secretary

Companies are starting to distinguish between non-financial and financial risks in order to continue improving their overall governance and business structures. But non-financial risks, such as ethics, still don’t get the attention they deserve from industry experts. And this could have real – and financial – implications for your company.

Buffet, Sokol and Reporting to the SEC by Tom Fox

We certainly applaud the fact that Buffet timely notified the SEC. However, to publicly praise someone for conduct which may have violated securities law and led to that employee’s resignation and expect such praise to send a signal of reproach still leaves us, as it did initially with Andrew Ross Sorkin, “scratching my head about his reaction.”

Avon Probe Expands To Countries Beyond China by Joe Palazzolo in’s Corruption Currents

Avon Products Inc.’s probe into possible bribery of foreign officials has found evidence of improper payments to government officials in several countries beyond the probe’s original focus of China, The Wall Street Journal reported. The probe has uncovered millions of dollars of questionable payments to officials in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, India and Japan that may have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the matter. The payments date back as far as 2004.

Russia Criminalizes Foreign Bribery by Joe Palazzolo in’s Corruption Currents

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who has made tamping down on corruption his signature issue, signed a bill on Wednesday outlawing foreign bribery and allowing prosecutors to seek large fines instead of prison sentences for graft. The law pushed Russia closer to accession to the Organization for Economic Cooperation’s anti-bribery convention, a key anti-corruption benchmark and a prerequisite for full membership to the OECD, which Russia has sought since 2009.

On a lighter note, Causation, Correlation and Your Dog from Doghouse Diaries