Compliance Bits and Pieces For July 20

These are some stories that recently caught my attention:

Inside Straight: The Shoemaker’s Children by in Above the Law

I recently heard a law firm presentation describing the UK Bribery Act along the lines I just laid out. A member of the audience asked the obvious question: “If bribery of anyone — including both government and non-government employees — can result in such severe punishments, what sort of client entertainment policy should my company have? Should we allow our sales people to treat clients to $1,000 dinners once a month? $500 dinners every other month? $50 dinners twice a year? What should our policy be?”

The law firm partner puffed up his chest and explained that the only safe policy is to prohibit all client entertainment: “The limit should be zero dollars. That will keep you safe.”

“The Limit Should Be Zero Dollars” by Howard Sklar in Open Air

The number you come up with is entirely less important than the process by which you determine it. The number can’t be outrageous, but here’s the thing: the DOJ has never brought a case against a company that came up with a reasonable number, and enforced it. There are few cases where gifts play any role, none where they play a truly primary role, and absolutely none where the DOJ overruled a business decision. That’s not something the DOJ does, as a rule. They don’t take a reasoned decision and say “you made the wrong choice.” Almost all of the time, the company failed to consider the problem, or considered it but said, “who cares,” or the equivalent.

Blogger: Graft Doubled Cost Of Venezuelan Drill Rig by Richard L. Cassin in The FCPA Blog

Rental was through a Singapore-based company incorporated in Panama called Petro Marine Energy Services LTD, formed in 2008 shortly before the rental agreement was signed. Aban Offshore said it received a rental fee of $358,000 a day. However, Petroleos de Venezuela said in its annual report for 2008 that the value of the contract for the five-year period amounted to $1.3 billion, or $730,000 per day.

Is Kickstarter selling dreams? from Felix Salmon

Maybe that just makes me a tightwad, and maybe America has millions of people who are happy dropping $100 on the experience of funding some exciting new project, just for the way it makes them feel. But it seems to me that one of Kickstarter’s greatest successes is the way in which it has managed to change the way we think about cost.

The Biggest Team in the Universe is an Emerging Growth Company by  James Saksa in Securities Compliance Sentinel

Manchester United – the world’s most valuable sports team, adored by estimated 659 million fans, winner of numerous Premiership titles, FA Cups, and Championship League titles– is going public.  In America.  As an Emerging Growth Company.

Securities Enforcement Forum 2012 is a one-day conference in Washington, D.C. that brings together securities enforcement and white-collar attorneys, current and former senior SEC and DOJ officials, in-house counsel and compliance executives, and other top professionals in the field. The conference will take place on Thursday, October 18, 2012, at the historic Mayflower Hotelin downtown Washington, D.C.

Securities Enforcement Forum 2012 will kick off with a keynote address by SEC Commissioner Luis A. Aguilar, and will feature an extraordinary faculty – including former SEC Directors of Enforcement The Honorable Stanley J. Sporkin,  William R. McLucas and over a dozen other luminaries in the securities enforcement field — who will discuss the most important issues now facing attorneys and professionals who work in this area.

Securities Enforcement Forum 2012 is also specifically designed to maximize networking and discussion opportunities for attendees, with breakfast, lunch, a cocktail party, and numerous breaks scheduled throughout the day. The conference is produced by Securities Docket, the leading publication in the securities enforcement area and the producer of over 80 related webcasts.

Judge OKs Nudity at TSA Checkpoint by David Kravets in’s Threat Level

The incident began when Brennan refused to go through the so-called “nude” scanners and instead opted for a pat-down. A TSA officer detected nitrates on his gloves after the pat down. Nitrates are used in explosives. That, Brennan said, was the last straw. He took his clothes off and proceeded through the checkpoint. He was subsequently arrested.