Top Menu

“The SEC Penalty Racket”


Russ Ryan spent ten years in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, including his last three years as Assistant Director of the Enforcement Division. He also spent substantial time in private practice at King & Spalding and is currently Senior Litigation Counsel at the New Civil Liberties Alliance.

Ryan is one of the best commentators around on many SEC issues and his candor is delightful.

His latest piece published on his LinkedIn page is titled “The SEC Penalty Racket” and it discusses two recent SEC FCPA enforcement actions against Rio Tinto and Flutter International (see prior posts here and here) to illustrate the SEC’s “largely unchecked power to shake down companies with astronomical penalties that far exceed statutory limits set by Congress.”

Continue Reading

The Gap In SEC Individual FCPA Enforcement Actions Is Now 2.5 Years


One reason to take FCPA enforcement agency rhetoric with a grain of salt is because it is warranted.

For instance, the FCPA enforcement agencies often talk about the importance of x and how they are committed to x, but in reality rarely do x.

Case in point is SEC individual FCPA enforcement actions.

For many years, SEC enforcement officials have talked about the importance of individual FCPA enforcement actions and set forth below are representative quotes from over the years.

Continue Reading

SEC Commissioner Peirce: “The SEC Once Again Has Sat Down At The Gaming Console To Play Its New Favorite Game “Corporate Manager”


Last week, the SEC announced that Activision Blizzard Inc. (a video game development and publishing company) “agreed to pay $35 million to settle charges that it failed to maintain disclosure controls and procedures to ensure that the company could assess whether its disclosures pertaining to its workforce were adequate.”

The SEC order also found that the company “violated an SEC whistleblower protection rule.”

In summary fashion, the SEC order finds:

Continue Reading

FCPA “Tips” Continue To Be A Minor Component Of The SEC’s Whistleblower Program


The Dodd-Frank Act enacted in July 2010 contained whistleblower provisions applicable to all securities law violations including those under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

In this prior post from July 2010, I predicted that the whistleblower provisions would have a negligible impact on FCPA enforcement. As noted in this prior post, my prediction was an outlier (so it seemed) compared to the flurry of law firm client alerts predicting that the whistleblower provisions would have a significant impact on FCPA enforcement. Many FCPA Inc. participants seemed so eager for a marketing opportunity to sell compliance services, that some even called the generic whistleblower provision the FCPA’s “new” whistleblower provisions.

Continue Reading

SEC Chair Gensler Is Right … Details Matter


Recently, SEC Chair Gary Gensler delivered this speech.

Citing President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who stated upon signing the first of the federal securities laws, “this law and its effective administration are steps in a program to restore some old-fashioned standards of rectitude,” Gensler discussed “effective administration” of SEC enforcement including accountability and process.

Regarding accountability, Gensler stated:

Continue Reading

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes