Corporate Defense and Disputes

Important developments in U.S. securities law, white collar criminal defense, regulatory enforcement and other emerging issues impacting financial services institutions, publicly traded companies and private investment funds

Sigal Mandelker

Sigal Mandelker

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Sigal Mandelker is a member of Proskauer’s White Collar Defense & Investigations Group and recently launched the firm’s Corporate Defense and Disputes Blog (www.corporatedefensedisputes.com). Leveraging her broad experience in senior government positions at the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Sigal offers a nuanced understanding of domestic and international enforcement matters, crisis management, appellate litigation and regulatory matters.

Sigal represents individual and corporate clients in connection with government investigations and prosecutions, including white collar criminal defense, the False Claims Act, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), anti-money laundering matters, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement matters, securities litigation, internal investigations, public corruption issues and cyber security matters.

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SEC and DOJ Charge Board Member with Trading on Inside Information . . . During a Board Meeting

On Friday, the SEC filed a complaint against James C. Cope, a former member of the Executive Committee of Pinnacle Financial Partners’ (“PFP”) board of directors, alleging that he engaged in insider trading.  The same day, Cope pleaded guilty to related insider trading charges brought by the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Middle District of … Continue Reading

DOJ Moves to Dismiss Public Corruption Charges Against Former VA Governor

Last week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia moved to dismiss public corruption charges against former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell, and his wife, Maureen McDonnell. The decision comes after the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously vacated the former Governor’s corruption conviction earlier this summer.  McDonnell v. United States, 579 U. S. ____ … Continue Reading

10 Takeaways from Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates’ Remarks at the 2016 New York City Bar Association White Collar Crime Conference

This week, Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates delivered remarks at the New York City Bar Association reflecting on the eight months since the release of the “Yates Memo,” or as Deputy AG Yates prefers, the “Individual Accountability Policy” (“the Policy”).  The Policy’s release in September 2015 followed prolonged criticism over a perceived lack of … Continue Reading

SEC Increases Focus on Private Equity Enforcement

Yesterday, SEC Director of Enforcement Andrew Ceresney gave a keynote address on Private Equity Enforcement.  In his remarks, Ceresney reiterated the SEC’s view that private equity is and will be a key enforcement area, and detailed recent actions showing the Commission’s particular focus on undisclosed fees and expenses and on increasing transparency in the industry.  … Continue Reading

Justice Department Launches New FCPA Pilot Program

The Department of Justice yesterday upped the ante in its efforts to encourage companies to self-report potential Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) violations when it unveiled a one-year pilot program that includes carrots for companies who take the self-reporting route and sticks for those that don’t.  This announcement follows the Department’s recent emphasis on prosecuting individuals … Continue Reading

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 and Supply Chain Transparency

Introduction The Modern Slavery Act 2015 is new legislation introduced in the UK with the intention of combatting slavery and human trafficking.  Continuing the trend for legislation to have extra-territorial reach, as illustrated by the UK Bribery Act, it can apply to entities based outside of the UK. Of particular importance to businesses is Section 54. … Continue Reading

Justice Department Prioritizes Prosecution of Individuals for Corporate Misconduct in New Guidance

After prolonged criticism over its lack of prosecution of individuals responsible for corporate misconduct, the Justice Department has issued new internal guidance that makes clear that prosecuting individuals in white collar cases is a high priority and should be considered at the very early stages of a corporate misconduct investigation. … Continue Reading

Scope of Attorney-Client Privilege And Work Product Doctrine In Internal Investigations Clarified

The scope of the attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine for internal investigation reports has once again been clarified by the D.C. Circuit in a False Claims Act case against defense contractor KBR, Inc.  In its most recent decision, the D.C. Circuit rejected whistleblower Harry Barko’s arguments that KBR’s internal investigation documents were rendered discoverable … Continue Reading

SEC Brings First Major Cyber Insider Trading Case Against International Hacking Ring

In an action that emphasizes the agency’s commitment to cybersecurity, the SEC recently charged 32 defendants with violations of the federal antifraud laws and corresponding SEC rules, stemming from an alleged $100 million conspiracy to steal and trade on material non-public information contained in corporate earnings announcements that were obtained by hacking into the computer … Continue Reading

Louis Berger International Pays $17 Million Penalty for FCPA Violation

On July 17, 2015, Louis Berger International, Inc., a New Jersey-based construction management company, entered into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with the Department of Justice under which it agreed to pay a $17.1 million penalty for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). In addition to the hefty penalty paid, the company agreed to … Continue Reading

DOJ Breaks its Silence in 2015 FCPA Enforcement

Last week, the DOJ announced its first corporate enforcement action under the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act (“FCPA”) for 2015. IAP World Services, Inc., a Florida-based defense and government contractor, agreed to pay $7.1 million in a non-prosecution agreement (NPA) for conspiring to bribe Kuwaiti officials in exchange for a contract to build a large-scale homeland … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Indefinite Tolling of False Claims Act under Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act; Holds First-to-File Bar Only Applies to Pending Cases

Yesterday, in Kellogg Brown & Root Services, Inc., et al. v. United States ex rel. Carter, 575 U.S. __ (2015), the Supreme Court settled two important questions under the False Claims Act (the FCA).  In a unanimous decision authored by Justice Alito, the Court held: (1) the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act (WSLA) applies only … Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court: Companies Shielded from Defamation Claims for Statements in Internal Investigation Reports

Last week, the Texas Supreme Court joined the majority of jurisdictions in holding that a company enjoys an absolute privilege when providing the Department of Justice (DOJ) with an internal investigation report containing statements later alleged by an employee to be defamatory. The decision in Shell Oil Co. v. Writt, __S.W.3d__ (Tex. 2015) should provide … Continue Reading

Head Of Criminal Division Speaks On Corporate Cooperation

Leslie Caldwell, head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, is, in her own words, “pounding the pavement on cooperation and transparency.”  Speaking on Tuesday at the New York City Bar’s fourth annual White Collar Crime Institute in Manhattan, Caldwell took another opportunity to discuss what the government expects of companies that seek to cooperate with criminal … Continue Reading

SEC Awards Compliance Officer Whistleblower Bounty of Approximately $1.5 Million

Earlier today, the SEC announced that it would pay an unidentified compliance officer a whistleblower bounty award of between $1.4 and $1.6 million.   This is the second award that the SEC has made to a whistleblower with internal audit or compliance responsibilities.  According to the SEC, the recipient of the bounty award “had a reasonable … Continue Reading

Cyber Security Regulations Ahead Says New York State’s Dept. of Financial Services

Based on a report released last week about cyber security vulnerabilities faced by financial institutions, New York State Department of Financial Services (“NYDFS”) Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky signaled that the agency will soon move forward with cyber security regulations.  The report concluded that banks’ third-party vendors have significant potential cyber security vulnerabilities.  Superintendent Lawsky said that … Continue Reading

New DOJ Policy on Asset Forfeiture in Structuring Offenses

In an effort to lessen the risk that businesses and individuals performing legitimate financial transactions will have funds frozen through a prosecutor’s use of forfeiture laws, on March 31, Attorney General Eric Holder issued new guidance concerning asset forfeiture in structuring offenses.  The new policy restricts the use by prosecutors of civil or criminal asset forfeiture … Continue Reading

SEC Charges Ex-CEO with Concealing Personal Use of Corporate Funds from Investors, Settles with Corporation

Signaling that it is closely scrutinizing the expenses of senior executives and the internal controls of public companies, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged former Polycom CEO Andrew M. Miller this week with using approximately $190,000 in corporate funds for personal expenses and falsifying business records to hide this scheme from investors.  The SEC alleged … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Denies DOJ’s Request for En Banc Review of Newman; Leaves Landmark Insider Trading Decision in Place

The Second Circuit today denied the request by the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York for panel or en banc rehearing of the landmark U.S. v. Newman decision, which overturned insider-trading convictions of two remote tippees by (i) holding that a tippee must know that the insider tipper received a personal benefit … Continue Reading

Goodyear Pays for the Acts of its Subsidiaries in a $16 Million FCPA Settlement

Following recent trends, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission brought an administrative proceeding against a U.S. issuer for the alleged corrupt activities of its foreign subsidiaries. Earlier this week, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company agreed to pay the SEC over $16 million to settle charges alleging that it violated the accounting provisions of the Foreign … Continue Reading

Department Of Justice Emphasizes Expectation That Corporations Cooperate In The Prosecution Of Company Executives

The Justice Department continues to send the strong signal that it is looking to charge senior executives of companies.  At a conference this week in London, senior Justice Department official Deputy Assistant Attorney General Sung-Hee Suh focused not only on the high priority the Department places on prosecution of corporate executives but she also made … Continue Reading

DOJ Announces First FCPA Enforcement Action of 2015

Last week, the Department of Justice announced the first Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action of 2015, against Dmitrij Harder, the former owner and president of the Chestnut Consulting Group.  The allegations are premised, in part, on a seldom-used section of the FCPA: the statutory provision that prohibits bribing officials of public international organizations. According … Continue Reading

Alstom to Pay Largest FCPA Criminal Penalty in History

Earlier this week, Alstom S.A., a French multinational power and transportation company, pleaded guilty in the District of Connecticut to a two-count information charging it with violating the accounting provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  The penalty levied against Alstom, over $772 million, will be the largest criminal fine that has ever been imposed … Continue Reading
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