On September 9, 2015, Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates issued a memorandum outlining “six key steps” department attorneys must take in corporate investigations, particularly when handling misconduct. Among these steps, the memorandum made eligibility for any cooperation credit conditional on the corporation providing information that identified individuals in the organization responsible for the violations. Ms. Yates went on to explain the importance of “deter[ing] corporate misdeeds, hav[ing] a real impact on corporate culture and ensur[ing] that the public has confidence in our justice system.”
On January 18th, the Berkeley Center for Law, Business and the Economy (BCLBE) held a speaker series entitled, “A conversation with Dom Perella, Deputy General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of Snap, Inc.” Perella spoke to Berkeley Law students and faculty on his position at one of the world’s most popular startups, as well as his time at the Supreme Court and Appellate Litigation practice at Hogan Lovells.
On January 19, 2017, Uber Technologies Inc. entered into a settlement agreement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), whereby the San Francisco-based startup agreed to pay $20 million dollars to its drivers. How the refunds will be distributed has yet to be determined, but the consumer-protection agency has ordered the company to work closely with its officials on the matter.
Several big banks are fighting crisis-era financial lawsuits worth tens of billions of dollars. These banks recently asked the Supreme Court to review a decision from the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, arguing that the regulators took too long to file their claims. The case relates to the failure of Colonial Bank. In August 2009, Colonial collapsed as a result of Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities (“RMBS”) purchases. As a result, the Federal Deposit Insurance Co. (“FDIC”) was appointed as a receiver. In August 2012, the FDIC sued the banks that issued and underwrote these RMBS in 2007, arguing that they issued a series of false and misleading statements in the offering documents relating to the RMBS’s liquidity and investment quality, which constituted a violation of Sections 11 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933.
On November 17, 2016, the SEC announced that JPMorgan Chase agreed to pay $130 million to the SEC, $72 million to the Justice Department, and $61.9 million to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, in order to settle the charges that it “won business from clients and corruptly influenced government officials in the Asia-Pacific region by giving jobs and internships to their relatives and friends in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).”
Worldwide, 2016 has been a politically impactful year. In the United States, a controversial presidential election resulted in the unexpected election of Donald Trump. Across the pond, the United Kingdom voted to separate itself from the European Union , resulting in Brexit. Europe saw its own political battlegrounds with the Italian referendum and the French and German national elections. Furthermore, Central and South America faced falling oil prices and changes in U.S. monetary policy. These events had a huge impact on the M&A market by reducing investors’ confidence, which resulted in a decline in the volume and value of deals, compared with the huge numbers in global mergers obtained in 2015.
On November 28, the South-Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics Co. announced that for the following six months it will work with external advisors in order to assess restructuring alternatives. Such alternatives might include splitting their electronic business into a holding company listed on an American exchange and an operating company. These moves would be the most important reorganization of the Asian company in its history.