In a letter dated June 2, 2015, Senator Elizabeth Warren described several “promises” that Mary Jo White, chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, had allegedly broken. Senator Warren focused on (1) the SEC’s failure to finalize Dodd-Frank rules requiring disclosure of the ratio of CEO pay to that of the median worker; (2) settlement

On May 20, BHP Billiton Ltd. and BHP Billiton Plc (BHPB), a global resources company that sponsored the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games, settled Securities and Exchange Commission charges of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations. The SEC found that BHPB violated the FCPA by failing to devise and maintain internal controls over a global hospitality program that used BHPB’s Olympics sponsorship as a platform to entertain government officials.
Continue Reading

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) wiretapping played an important role in the wide-ranging insider trading investigation and subsequent trials of Galleon Group LLC principals and traders. During his criminal prosecution, former Galleon trader, Craig Drimal, unsuccessfully moved to suppress evidence obtained via an authorized wiretap of his cell phone because of a failure to minimize interception of calls with his wife. His wife, Arlene Villamia Drimal, is now pursuing civil claims against FBI agents for wiretapping her personal telephone conversations with her husband, but her claims have thus far been unsuccessful. On May, 15, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit dismissed Ms. Drimal’s complaint without prejudice to repleading, finding that her conclusory pleading failed to state a claim under Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, which requires the government to “minimize the interception of communications not otherwise subject to interception.” The Second Circuit also found fault with the lower court’s assessment of the agents’ qualified immunity defense.
Continue Reading

The US District Court of Massachusetts in U.S. v. McPhail, et. al., Case No. 1:14-cr-10201, 2015 WL 2226249 (D. Mass. May 12, 2015), denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss an insider trading indictment in the wake of the U.S. v. Newman insider trading decision issued by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 2014, which requires prosecutors to prove that the tippee had knowledge of the personal benefit received by the tipper who initially conveyed the insider information.
Continue Reading

The US Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of California recently settled an enforcement action against Ripple Labs Inc., a Delaware corporation providing virtual currency exchange services. According to the settlement agreement, Ripple Labs was not registered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) as a money services business (MSB) pursuant to the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 while engaged in currency trading, and lacked required anti-money laundering controls.
Continue Reading