January 27, 2016—DOJ announced final resolution with a Category 2 bank under the Swiss Bank Program: The DOJ announced that it had reached its final non-prosecution agreement under Category 2 of the Swiss Bank Program with HSZH Verwaltungs AG (HSZH). The DOJ said that it has executed agreements with 80 banks since March 30, 2015, when it announced the first Swiss Bank Program non-prosecution agreement with BSI SA and has imposed more than $1.36 billion in Swiss Bank penalties, including $49 million in penalties from HSZH. On February 4, 2015, the DOJ also announced that it had reached a resolution with Zurich-based Bank Julius Baer & Co. pursuant to which the bank agreed to enter into a deferred prosecution agreement requiring payment of $547 million as well as guilty pleas of two of its bankers. For more on this subject, see the article in our April 2015 newsletter entitled "First Swiss Bank Reaches Resolution with the DOJ Under Its Swiss Bank Program."

SEC actions:

  • January 19, 2016—SEC modified its order in connection with its 2014 consent decree with Barclays Capital Bank (Barclays) to allow the sale of the unit that was being overseen by a compliance monitor: The SEC agreed to allow Barclays to sell the business wealth management unit that an independent consultant was overseeing in connection with the 2014 consent decree it entered into with Barclays. The SEC thus modified the order to "relieve" Barclays of the responsibility to retain the consultant and make the compliance reforms.
  • January 15, 2016—SEC announced that, for the first time, it had awarded a "company outsider"—i.e., someone not employed by the company—more than $700,000 under its whistleblower program for providing a "detailed analysis": The SEC stated that the award was granted to "a company outsider who conducted a detailed analysis that led to a successful SEC enforcement action." Three other whistleblowers connected with the same matter were denied awards. For more on the SEC's whistleblower program, see the article in our May 2015 newsletter entitled "Whistle While You Work: April Showers Bring Big Whistleblower Awards, Some to Compliance Officers."
  • January 13, 2016—SEC's Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) announced its annual list of "examination priorities" for 2016: The OCIE stated that its examination priorities are organized around the same "three thematic areas" as 2015, namely (i) examining matters of importance to retail investors, including investors saving for retirement; (ii) assessing issues related to market-wide risks; and (iii) using the OCIE's evolving ability to analyze data to identify and examine registrants that may be engaged in illegal activity. The OCIE said that, to accomplish these priorities, its examinations will focus on the cybersecurity and AML programs a company has in place, among other things.

January 17, 2016—New sanctions imposed by OFAC on 11 individuals and companies in connection with Iran's ballistic missile program:OFAC announced the sanctions against 11 people and companies allegedly involved in Iran's ballistic missile program, which "poses a significant threat to regional and global security and will continue to be subject to international sanctions." The action came one day after President Obama lifted sanctions on Iran's nuclear program and hours after a prisoner swap between Washington and Tehran.

January 10, 2016—Derivatives marketplace CME Group proposed new requirements prohibiting exchange access by persons subject to economic sanctions: The proposals, which impose new obligations on clearing members, add one new rule and amend two others to minimize the likelihood that its exchanges might be used for illicit money laundering. Absent objection from the CFTC, the new provisions will become effective on February 29, 2016.

Talks about town: (a) on January 26, 2016, SEC Chair Mary Jo White participated in a keynote session Q&A at the 43rd Annual Securities Regulation Institute, and (b) on January 25, 2016, Deputy Attorney General Leslie Caldwell spoke at the 12th Annual State of the Net Conference about the DOJ's efforts, working with other law enforcement partners, to combat cybercrime.