Telia’s Compliance Program Efforts Dodge Monitorship Requirement
Swedish telecommunications firm Telia Co. (“Telia”) recently entered into a settlement with the US Department of Justice for a total of nearly $1 billion over its foreign bribery allegations. In its settlement, Telia admitted to making about $331 million in corruption payment from 2007 through 2010. Interestingly, despite the severity of its misconduct, DOJ did not impose a monitor requirement upon the company. See full DOJ press release here.
Although a monitor requirement has been a regular aspect of large corporate criminal settlements, there is an important reason to the unprecedented outcome in Telia’s settlement. No monitor was needed because of the state of the company’s compliance program. It is critical for a company who is under a criminal investigation to prove to the government the quality of their implementation efforts. Generally, this can be done through a third party who can offer an objective analysis and/or assessment. Moreover, the analysis must verify the company’s continuous efforts to improve and/or enhance the state of their compliance program.
A monitorship requirement is not only expensive, it also creates business disruption and adversary press that can directly affect a company’s market share. Telia’s settlement reiterates the importance of frequent compliance assessments and assurance reviews as they can help companies to avoid FCPA monitors. Government agencies respect companies who have a culture that values the importance of compliance.
Berkeley Research Group (“BRG”) experts have extensive business and process expertise and advise companies on developing and implementing effective corporate compliance and risk management programs. BRG experts provide a wide range of services including corporate compliance program effectiveness assessments in the context of a variety of DOJ, SEC and other regulatory investigations involving violations of FCPA, FCA and AKS. Compliance assessments of this nature can assist counsel in obtaining sentencing mitigations and/or declinations as part of the ‘Filip Factors’ that prosecuting agencies are directed to apply in rendering sentencing determinations. See our full services here.
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