This article was republished with permission from Michael Volkov’s blog, Corruption, Crime & Compliance.

Multinational companies cannot employ and maintain a sufficient number of dedicated compliance staff to ensure the effectiveness of an ethics and compliance program. That is a reality, and we all know that is true.

Instead, global companies have to figure out ways to leverage other personnel from other functions to serve as some part of a global compliance function. This regularly occurs with respect to compliance program functions and internal investigations.

Chief Compliance Officers have to rely on non-compliance staff on occasion to conduct global compliance functions, providing advice and counsel on compliance issues or completing compliance functions such as due diligence reviews, gifts, meals and entertainment expense approvals. In addition, global compliance network officials, on occasion, have to conduct internal investigations on potential code and/or legal violations.

Everyone may be nodding their heads right now, saying so what is the big deal?

A CCO recognizes that, in reality, he has to “outsource” internally important compliance functions to provide adequate global coverage of important issues. It is a process that can quickly undermine a compliance program. Every CCO knows that this is a huge challenge for the CCO and the compliance program.

When relying on a network of compliance officials who serve in other positions, there are a number of important issues that need to be considered and addressed on a continuing basis.

What positions should be eligible for serving in a global compliance network?

For example, should a regional CFO be permitted to serve as compliance official on a part-time basis? The issue is a serious one because there may be real and significant conflicts of interest that may arise when a senior official in a region serves as a part-time compliance officer. Also, the regional CFO may not have adequate time to devote to the compliance function.

On the internal investigation front, a high-level regional official may have serious conflicts in conducting an independent and fair investigation, without potential for conflict of interest over the subject matter of the investigation.

How does the CCO ensure a consistent ethics and compliance program when they depend on performance by non-compliance personnel?

A CCO relying on non-compliance staff may have restricted ability to supervise, evaluate and ultimately hold accountable a part-time non-compliance employee who is assisting the compliance program. If the CCO has input to the employee’s overall evaluation and compensation, that may alter the equation, but usually CCOs rely on non-compliance staff to carry out compliance responsibilities by cajoling, encouraging and seeking to persuade them to perform at a certain level.

CCOs may conduct regular regional and global meetings to bring together all compliance and non-compliance staff for planning and training meetings, but there is no guarantee that such programs, usually constrained by limited budgets, will ensure consistent performance by global non-compliance staff.

What steps can be taken to maximize the benefit of a global compliance network?

CCOs need to approach the issue carefully and with proper regard for planning. A CCO should identify tasks and responsibilities that are best suited for global non-compliance partners. In addition, the CCO should develop membership criteria so that the global network includes managers and employees who are appropriate or naturally suited for compliance responsibilities and who have adequate time to dedicate to the function. If a company has a rotation program where business people are permitted to serve in compliance functions for a brief period of time, and vice versa, these participants are obvious candidates for growing a compliance network.


Michael Volkov

Michael Volkov

Michael-Volkov-leclairryanMichael Volkov is the CEO of The Volkov Law Group LLC, where he provides compliance, internal investigation and white collar defense services.  He can be reached at [email protected].  His practice focuses on white collar defense, corporate compliance, internal investigations, and regulatory enforcement matters. He is a former federal prosecutor with almost 30 years of experience in a variety of government positions and private practice.

Michael maintains a well-known blog: Corruption Crime & Compliance which is frequently cited by anti-corruption professionals and professionals in the compliance industry.Michael has extensive experience representing clients on matters involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the UK Bribery Act, money laundering, Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC), export controls, sanctions and International Traffic in Arms, False Claims Act, Congressional investigations, online gambling and regulatory enforcement issues.

Michael has assisted clients with design and implementation of compliance programs to reduce risk and respond to global and US enforcement programs.

Michael has built a strong reputation for his practical and comprehensive compliance strategies.Michael served for more than 17 years as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Columbia; for 5 years as the Chief Crime and Terrorism Counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Chief Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security Counsel for the Senate and House Judiciary Committees; and as a Trial Attorney in the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Michael also has extensive trial experience and has been lead attorney in more than 75 jury trials, including some lasting more than six months. His clients have included corporations, officers, directors and professionals in, internal investigations and criminal and civil trials. He has handled a number of high-profile criminal cases involving a wide‐range of issues, including the FCPA and compliance matters, environmental crimes, and antitrust cartel investigations in countries all around the world.

Representative Engagements

  • Successfully represented three officers of a multinational company in two separate criminal antitrust investigations involving a criminal antitrust investigation in the District of Columbia and the Southern District of New York.
  • Defended pharmaceutical company before the Food and Drug Administration and Senate Finance Committee relating to application for approval of generic drug.
  • Conducted internal investigation which exonerated company against allegations of false statements in submissions to the FDA and against improper conduct alleged by Senate Finance Committee.
  • Represented company before the US State Department on alleged violations of ITAR which lead to voluntary disclosure and imposition of no civil or criminal penalties.
  • Advised several multinational companies on compliance with anti‐corruption laws, and design and implementation of anti‐corruption and anti‐money laundering compliance programs.
  • Advised hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and medical device companies on compliance issues relating to Stark law and Anti‐Kickback law and regulations.
  • Conducted due diligence investigations for large multinational companies for anti‐corruption compliance of: potential third party agents, joint venture partners and acquisition targets in Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America.
  • Represented individual in white collar fraud case in Alexandria, Virginia and secured dismissal of criminal charges and expungement of criminal record.
  • Represented company before Congress and Executive Branch in effort to modify Justice Department regulations concerning use of federal funds.
  • Advised and assisted World Bank in review of global corruption policies, enforcement programs and corruption investigations and prosecutions.

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