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Due Diligence

Overview of an Effective Corporate Investigation

In the complex world of corporate affairs, the need for thorough and effective investigations cannot be overstated. Corporate investigations delve into the depths of corporate activities to uncover truths, prevent fraud, and maintain compliance with legal standards. This guide offers a high-level overview of conducting such investigations, providing invaluable insights for businesses and investigators alike.

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Background Investigations

Brand Protection Services

Top 5 Challenges in Brand Protection and How to Overcome Them

Imagine your brand as a majestic lion, meticulously building its pride, defending its territory, and roaring with success. Now, imagine rogue hyenas – counterfeiters – infiltrating your pride

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Brand Protection Services

Diesel Goes Full Commando Against Counterfeiting

Fashion powerhouse Diesel is making headlines for its innovative approach to combating counterfeiting. Their recent collaboration with Certilogo, a blockchain-based authentication platform

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Business Investigations

Navigating the 2024 Anti-Bribery Landscape: Insights from Kreller Group

In the ever-changing world of anti-bribery and anti-corruption (ABAC), staying informed is crucial. Whether you're a corporate leader or simply interested in understanding these changes, it's vital to grasp the nuances of the evolving regulatory landscape.

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Brand Protection Services

Data Privacy Laws to Prepare for in 2024

The data privacy landscape is constantly changing. It's critical to stay informed, whether you work as legal counsel, are a corporate leader, or are just interested in learning more about the nuances of these changes.

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Due Diligence

What Makes a Good Corporate Investigator?

Corporate investigators play a pivotal role in the business world. They are the unsung heroes who work behind the scenes to uncover facts, protect assets, and ensure legal compliance. Understanding what makes a top corporate investigator is crucial for businesses looking to secure their operations.

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Due Diligence

Navigating Cross-Border Corporate Investigations

Corporations frequently have to navigate the difficult and complex terrain of conducting business internationally in the current era of globalization. This climate makes it necessary to conduct cross-border company investigations, which is a difficult process requiring knowledge of legal, cultural, and ethical aspects. We explore the kinds of investigations that are common in the context of international commerce, talk about the legal and regulatory frameworks that control them, and emphasize how important it is to take cultural and language factors into account.

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Business Investigations

The ABAC Compliance Playbook: Mastering the Game of Corporate Integrity

Welcome to the field of corporate compliance, where the game is complex, the stakes are high, and the rules are stringent. Just like a football coach needs a call card to navigate through the game, businesses require a robust Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption (ABAC) Compliance Playbook.

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Background Investigations

Lessons Learned From the GSK Whistleblower Case: A Landmark in Corporate Ethics and Legal Compliance

The GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) whistleblower case is a pivotal moment in corporate ethics and legal compliance, illustrating the importance of proactively addressing whistleblower’s concerns before it is escalated to the courts. Read more to understand the significance of the case in shaping the landscape of corporate responsibility and the role of whistleblowers.

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Background Investigations

Powerful Romanian Politician Jailed on Graft Charges

On May 27, 2019 the Romanian High Court of Cassation and Justice (the Supreme Court of Romania) upheld the 3.5-year jail sentence originally issued by a lower court in June 2018 to prominent Romanian politician Liviu Dragnea (until recently, leader of the political party – Social Democratic Party) after his conviction for graft charges.

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Background Investigations

Don’t Get Caught Up With A Bad Broker

Several days ago the Wall Street Journal published an article about a financial adviser in Beverly Hills, California (article is behind a paywall) named Mr. Kay who had promoted a supposedly high-yield, low-risk investment. Unfortunately, the company behind the investment is now in bankruptcy and is being investigated as a Ponzi Scheme. Mr. Kay himself, it turns out, was “barred from the securities industry for allegedly running a fraud, according to public records, and later fined $5,000 for breaking that ban.” However, he had changed his name since these infractions, which would have made it more difficult for investors to know about his history.

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Brand Protection Services

FIFA Bans top Brazilian Official for Life

Smith Brandon International has years of experience working in Brazil, and a broad network of investigators in the country. Many of our clients have asked us to help them with expanding their business in Brazil and we have been happy to help them avoid risks to keep their plans on track.

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Brand Protection Services

US Ramps Up Russia Sanctions, Eyes China, UAE, and Turkey

Just two months after enhancing the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Whistleblower Improvement Act, a move largely seen as an attempt to crack down on Russian sanction evasion, the Biden Administration announced new sanctions on Russia and related entities on February 24, 2023. Less than a week later, the US also signaled that sanctions may be coming for China and other countries helping Russia circumvent restrictions, presenting an increasing need for tight supply chain management and awareness of the potential exposure of downstream and upstream partners.

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Brand Protection Services

Anti-Money Laundering Whistleblower Law Expected to “Change the Game” for Sanctions Enforcement

Anti-Money Laundering Whistleblower Law Expected to “Change the Game” for Sanctions Enforcement

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Brand Protection Services

Uber Files: Inside Look at the Covert Tactics That Fueled Uber’s Global Ascent

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Business Investigations

The US Considering "Sanctions Doomsday Device" Among Responses to Russia's Ukraine Threat

As Russia–Ukraine tensions mount, de-escalation of the conflict between the two former Soviet nations seems less likely by the day. Kremlin officials have denied any intention to invade, but commentators note that, at the same time, Russian troops are undertaking what looks like "final preparations" before an incursion.

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Brand Protection Services

As the U.S. Bans Imports from Xinjiang, Burden of Proof May Complicate Supply Chain Due Diligence

What do the Golden State Warriors have in common with a French parliamentary motion, a new U.S. law, and a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing? How could these seemingly unrelated things affect the global supply chains? The thread tying all of these together is the growing controversy around China’s reported abuse of the Muslim Uyghur minority in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang).

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Due Diligence

Breaking Down the Federal Government’s Latest Push to Curb Corruption

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Due Diligence

Breaking Down the Federal Government’s Latest Push to Curb Corruption

Last month, the Biden administration released its plan to crack down on corrupt practices on a global scale. In a 38-page document called “United States Strategy on Countering Corruption,” the White House outlined the steps it will take to increase financial transparency and combat unlawful acts such as money laundering. The announcement came amid a slew of developments that underscore the administration’s commitment to tackling abuse of power."

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Due Diligence

The Pegasus Project Lands NSO Group on the US Entity List

The US Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) released a final rule on November 3, 2021, that added four foreign companies to the Entity List for engaging in activities contrary to the United States' national security or foreign policy interests. One of the four named was NSO Group—the Israeli military-grade spyware manufacturer responsible for creating software traced to the phones of politicians, journalists, and human rights activists around the world.

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Due Diligence

The Pegasus Project Lands NSO Group on the US Entity List

The US Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) released a final rule that added four foreign companies to the Entity List for engaging in activities contrary to the United States' national security or foreign policy interests

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Due Diligence

Export Controls in the Digital Space – Overview

What do Honeywell, Princeton University, and Keysight Technologies have in common? Find out in this article.

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Due Diligence

Exports Controls in the Digital Space - Overview

What do Honeywell, Princeton University, and Keysight Technologies have in common? In the past year, all three entities have been found in violation of the US Export Administration Regulations (EAR). They could make it into the next edition of Don’t Let This Happen to You by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS).

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Business Investigations

Lessons From Theranos: Saga Nears Culmination as Elizabeth Holmes’ Trial Kicks Off

Few fraud cases have garnered as much attention in the last decade as the Theranos scandal. The spectacular rise and fall of the biotech startup and its founder Elizabeth Holmes have already inspired a documentary and a best-selling book, while a Hollywood film starring Jennifer Lawrence is in the making. And now, as Holmes’ criminal fraud trial is underway, it looks like the Theranos saga might be drawing to an end.

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Business Investigations

SEC Expands Use of Data Analytics to Detect Financial Reporting Misconduct

Data science has reshaped many industries in the last two decades. But it has notably entered the government sector too, as regulators increasingly rely on analytical tools to uncover and prosecute violators.

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Background Investigations

ESG No Longer Just a Buzzword as Regulation Creates Emerging Supply Chain Risk

With the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sounding a “code red” alarm on the future of humanity, the topic of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) is more current than ever.

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Business Investigations

Lessons From Theranos: Saga Nears Culmination as Elizabeth Holmes’ Trial Kicks Off

Few fraud cases have garnered as much attention in the last decade as the Theranos scandal. The spectacular rise and fall of the biotech startup and its founder Elizabeth Holmes have already inspired a documentary and a best-selling book, while a Hollywood film starring Jennifer Lawrence is in the making. And now, as Holmes’ criminal fraud trial is underway, it looks like the Theranos saga might be drawing to an end.

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Business Investigations

ESG No Longer Just a Buzzword as Regulation Creates Emerging Supply Chain Risk

With the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sounding a “code red” alarm on the future of humanity, the topic of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) is more current than ever.

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Business Investigations

SEC Expands Use of Data Analytics to Detect Financial Reporting Misconduct

Data science has reshaped many industries in the last two decades. But it has notably entered the government sector too, as regulators increasingly rely on analytical tools to uncover and prosecute violators.

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Due Diligence

Jacob Zuma and Thales: An Arms Deal with Repercussions Decades Later

Public funds reportedly spent on items such as luxury yachts, private jets, and a diamond-encrusted glove worn by Michael Jackson prompted the UK Foreign Office to impose new sanctions.

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Brand Protection Services

UK Sanctions Five, “Flexing” Post-Brexit Autonomy

Public funds reportedly spent on items such as luxury yachts, private jets, and a diamond-encrusted glove worn by Michael Jackson prompted the UK Foreign Office to impose new sanctions.

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Brand Protection Services

The Pegasus Project – What the Investigation Has Revealed So Far

In 2020, a list of over 50,000 phone numbers was leaked to Amnesty International and Forbidden Stories, a nonprofit media organization based in Paris, France. The numbers are believed to belong to individuals identified as "people of interest" by clients of the Israeli cyber defense firm NSO Group. The leak set off a worldwide investigative journalism initiative – the Pegasus Project.

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Brand Protection Services

Jacob Zuma and Thales: An Arms Deal with Repercussions Decades Later

Breaking into new markets and winning major government contracts can be a daunting task for even the largest corporations, doubly so in emerging markets that are in political transition or have gone through a recent major upheaval.

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Brand Protection Services

The Pegasus Project – What the Investigation Has Revealed So Far

Public funds reportedly spent on items such as luxury yachts, private jets, and a diamond-encrusted glove worn by Michael Jackson prompted the UK Foreign Office to impose new sanctions.

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Brand Protection Services

UK Sanctions Five, “Flexing” Post-Brexit Autonomy

Public funds reportedly spent on items such as luxury yachts, private jets, and a diamond-encrusted glove worn by Michael Jackson prompted the UK Foreign Office to impose new sanctions.

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Business Investigations

COVID-19 Has Given Corporate America an Accountability Challenge

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Business Investigations

Navigating the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act

The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act would require any importer of Xinjiang-sourced products to prove they were not made using forced labor.

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Business Investigations

Rodney Alcala: The Dating Game Killer

We all encounter the problem of knowing who we’re working with. Whether it’s our business partners, vendors, or clients, it’s difficult to know anyone.

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Business Investigations

Coronavirus have you rethinking your Global Supply Chain?

As Chinese manufacturing hits a record low amid coronavirus disease concerns*, American companies are forced to look elsewhere for product and component sourcing.

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Brand Protection Services

Kreller Group Acquires Smith Brandon International, Inc.

The Kreller Group today announced its acquisition of Smith Brandon International, Inc. (SBI).

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Brand Protection Services

Kreller Group Acquires Smith Brandon International, Inc.

CINCINNATI, Jan. 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The Kreller Group today announced its acquisition of Smith Brandon International, Inc. (SBI), a corporate investigations and risk consulting firm based in Washington, D.C. SBI will now be known as Smith Brandon International, a Kreller Company. The SBI entire SBI team is staying on, and SBI will continue to operate out of its Washington, DC office.

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Due Diligence

Kreller Due Diligence Report | Artificial Intelligence & Human Analysis: A Collaborative Relationship

While many industries have become fixated with the potential of AI – including the field of corporate Due Diligence.

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Due Diligence

Here’s What’s in the Phase One China Trade Deal Trump Is Signing This Week

U.S. and China trade representatives will end years of intense bilateral negotiations with a “phase one” deal on Wednesday that promises...

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Due Diligence

Kreller Hot Topic Report | Gift Horse: The Role of Due Diligence in Fundraising and Philanthropy

In a memorable 2007 episode of Curb your Enthusiasm, titled “The Anonymous Donor,” Larry David attends a gala honoring his and another major donation made to the National Resources Defense Council.

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Brand Protection Services

How Long Can the American Consumer Shoulder the Global Economy?

If the U.S. economy is headed for a significant slowdown, nobody told the American consumer...

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Brand Protection Services

Asia Stocks Drop as Slowdown Fears Rattle Investors

Asia markets joined a global sell-off as fresh worries about trade and the world economy rattled investors.

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Business Investigations

Kreller Hot Topic Report | Steal Country: The Case of Ukrainian Money Laundering in Northeast Ohio

On January 12, 2016, an all too familiar story appeared in Youngstown’s Business Journal: Warren Steel Holdings LLC would...

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Due Diligence

Kreller Hot Topic Report | Facebook, Privacy Awareness and Investigations

The Federal Trade Commission announced a staggering $5 billion dollar civil penalty against Facebook.

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Due Diligence

Zimbabwe’s Amnesty International Branch Suspended

Recently, the local Zimbabwe branch of Amnesty International, a UK-based international non-governmental rights advocacy group, was suspended indefinitely following fraud allegations.

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Due Diligence

Illegal Wood Seized in Gabon

A scandal pertaining to the theft of rare and precious kevazingo wood seized by Gabon officials has allegedly resulted in the termination of the Vice President of Gabon as well as the Forestry Minister.

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Due Diligence

Can Fresh Us-China Talks End the Trade War?

Top trade negotiators from the US and China are meeting for the first time in almost three months on Tuesday to try and do a deal, but expectations are low.

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Due Diligence

How Japan’s Trade Row With South Korea Could Hit Tech Supplies

A trade spat between Japan and South Korea threatens to spill beyond their borders, posing potential risks to consumer electronics...

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Due Diligence

Kreller Hot Topic Report | Careful What You Wish For: Lessons From Walmart Brazil

Despite well-documented missteps in Germany and South Korea, the late 2000’s were a dynamic time for Walmart’s expansion...

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Due Diligence

Kreller Hot Topic Report | Careful What You Wish For: Lessons From Wal-Mart Brazil

Despite well-documented missteps in Germany and South Korea, the late 2000’s were a dynamic time for Wal-Mart’s expansion efforts worldwide.

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Due Diligence

GSA to Host Virtual Unique Identifier Meeting for Federal Contractors

The General Services Administration will administer a virtual meeting July 25 with current and potential government contractors to discuss...

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Due Diligence

Kreller Hot Topic Report | The Role of Digital Footprint Research in Corporate Compliance

The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Syed Arham Arbab with conducting a Ponzi scheme from a University of Georgia fraternity house.

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Brand Protection Services

Kreller Client NXT Energy Solutions Wins Major Contract

Our client, NXT Energy Solution, was recently featured in BusinessInsider.com for being awarded a major contract in Nigeria.

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Due Diligence

European Markets Cautious as Fed-Induced Rally Subsides and Trade War Looms

European markets were cautious on Tuesday as the dust settled on last week’s rally and concerns over a trade war tempered gains.

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Due Diligence

Kreller Hot Topic Report | OFAC on the Essential Elements of a Compliance Program

On May 2, 2019 the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) released “A Framework for OFAC Compliance Commitments”.

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Due Diligence

Political Crisis and Corruption Probes in Algeria

In early April of this year Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned from office after ruling for roughly 20 years. Bouteflika’s resignation is reportedly a result of peaceful protests and pressure from Algerian military leaders in response to Bouteflika’s announcement that he would be seeking a fifth presidential term. The protests in Algeria have been ongoing since mid-February 2019, and more recently have been occurring on a weekly basis.

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Due Diligence

Anna “Delvey” Sorokin: A Classic Con Artist in the Digital Age

Here at Smith Brandon International, we watched with some interest the recent conviction of con artist Anna “Delvey” Sorokin. For years, the Russian-born Ms. Sorokin claimed to be a German heiress, situating herself within New York’s wealthy party circles while seeking funding for a private club and arts foundation.

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Due Diligence

Trade Fight Escalates as China Hits U.S. With Higher Tariffs

The U.S.-China trade dispute escalated sharply Monday, as Beijing retaliated against higher U.S. tariffs with plans to increase levies on...

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Business Investigations

Deepfake Technology Gives Fake CEO Scammers a Scary New Tool

We were recently made aware of a new twist on a common scam and want to be sure our readers are aware of it.

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Due Diligence

Breaks in Maltese Car Bombing Case Lead to Political Upheaval

Two years ago, we wrote about the murder of Maltese journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia, known for her work on Maltese corruption. While three men suspected of planting the car bomb that killed her were arrested shortly after her death in 2017, until recently little progress had been made regarding the identity of the person or persons who hired them.

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Due Diligence

When Beneficial Ownership Research Hits a Dead End

You have a questionnaire. You’ve conducted due diligence. Your research of beneficial ownership just hit a dead end. Now what?

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Due Diligence

New DOJ Guidance on Corporate Compliance Programs

Yesterday the Department of Justice announced the release of updated guidance on corporate compliance programs. We are still evaluating the new guidance and what has changed, but we wanted to be sure all of our clients and readers were aware that there is new information from the DOJ on what compliance programs should look like and how they should work.

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Brand Protection Services

Kreller Hot Topic Report | Beneficial Ownership in Real Estate Transactions

In March 2019, Transparency International Canada released a comprehensive new report, in conjunction with Publish What You Pay Canada...

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Due Diligence

U.S. Core Capital Goods Orders Slip in February, Shipments Unchanged

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New orders for key U.S.-made capital goods slipped in February and shipments were unchanged, but data for...

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Due Diligence

Shipping Data Signals Weakness in Global Economy

LOS ANGELES/DUSSELDORF, April 2 (Reuters) - The volume of U.S. ocean cargo imports arranged by Deutsche Post’s DHL Group...

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Due Diligence

Russia’s Manufacturing PMI Climbs to Highest Level in Two Years

Russia’s manufacturing PMI climbed to its highest level since January 2017 registering 52.8 in March, up from almost no change of...

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Due Diligence

Euro Zone Business Lending Rebounds in February

Corporate lending growth in the euro zone rebounded last month, European Central Bank data showed on Thursday...

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Due Diligence

Corruption in Ukraine’s Defense Sector Leads to the Initiation of Impeachment Proceedings

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (Petro Poroshenko Bloc “Solidarity” / BPP-S Political Party) has been the subject of recent reporting by investigative journalists that identified Poroshenko as allegedly tied to a corrupt defense scheme pertaining to contraband military parts. As a result, the initiation of impeachment proceedings were announced against Poroshenko in Ukraine’s Parliament.

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Due Diligence

New Developments in the 1MBD Scandal

We've written before about Malaysia's 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) fund and the scandals associated with it. The corruption from the scandal just keeps ensaring more people and organizations through out the world. Recently Tim Leissner, former Goldman Sachs Chairman in Southeast Asia pleaded guilty to money laundering conspiracies in connection with the 1MDB fund. Several other employees were also implicated in that plot.

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Due Diligence

INSTEX: A New Mechanism for European-Iranian Trade

While we’ve previously written about the uncertainties of international trade involving Iran, we’re currently monitoring a new wrinkle. On January 31, 2019, the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany, and the UK announced the creation of INSTEX (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges), a special purpose vehicle (SPV) designed to facilitate European trade with Iran. The SPV is expected to begin operating within the next few months.

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Due Diligence

Uncertainty regarding the future of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala

The International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) has been the subject of recent media reporting as the current President of Guatemala, Jimmy Morales, prematurely ordered the shut down of the Commission in early January. CICIG was expected to conclude its operations in September 2019 as President Morales had declined to further renew its mandate.

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Due Diligence

Corruption Costs the World Economy at least 5% of GDP Says UN Secretary General

The United Nations recently marked World Anti-Corruption Day. In announcing the day the UN highlighted the current estimate that every year over $1 Trillion is paid in bribes and over $2.6 Trillion is stolen through corruption. That's over 5 percent of the worlds gross domestic product. An astonishing figure.

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Due Diligence

How to Avoid a Census Scam

The United States Census Bureau performs a vital service for the United States, surveying the population to make sure the government has accurate information on the people it represents and helps to direct government spending and programs. To that end they ask a lot of different kinds of questions in their official surveys.

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Due Diligence

What will happen with Brazil's Presidential Election Next Month?

Update: We wanted to provide a short update on the results of the election. As expected, Bolsonaro won the most votes, though not enough to win outright, though he came surprsingly close. Despite there being a small fine for not voting in Brazil, almost a third of voters either didn't vote in the last round of the elections or cast blank or null ballots.

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Due Diligence

Tracking down Counterfeit Products

Recently authorities in Cambodia seized fake and expired pharmaceuticals from an importer, US authorities charged 22 Chinese importers with smuggling counterfeit goods, including cosmetics and luxury hand-bags, and Singaporean police raided four businesses with $1.03 Million in goods as part of an operation against counterfeit products.These are just a few recent examples, but there are many more. And these are just the cases that have been found out.

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Due Diligence

Lessons About Corruption From A Judge At The Center Of Operation Car Wash

Over on FCPA Blog they've published an article we wanted to be sure our readers saw. The article comes from Felipe Monteiro a Professor at INSEAD, who has written a case study on the implications of Operation Car Wash for Brazilian businesses. The article on FCPA blog details lessons learned from Brazil's Operation Car Wash, based on comments from Judge Sergio Moro, who has jailed many of those prosecuted by the operation.

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Due Diligence

Former Panamanian President Extradited to Face Charges Related to Corruption Allegations

The US Department of State recently granted an extradition request filed by the government of Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela to extradite his predecessor – former President Ricardo Martinelli (2009 – 2014), often described as a supermarket tycoon. The extradition request appears to focus primarily on allegations of illegal surveillance and political espionage during Martinelli’s presidential term.

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Due Diligence

New Panama Papers Leaks Show Law Firm Scrambling To Contain The Chaos Of The First Leak

Recently there was a new round of leaks from Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the center of the Panama Papers leak that happened several years ago. We’ve covered the Panama Papers several times here on the blog. These latest leaks, of internal company emails and other documents, don’t just add more names and companies to those already leaked, they also give a lot more detail on the practices of this law firm, and the chaos inside the firm after the initial leak, and the eventual demise of Mossack Fonseca.

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Due Diligence

Spanish Prime Minister Ousted in Corruption Scandal

Ousting corrupt heads of government has slowly become more common across the world. In 2016, major corruption scandals and nation-wide political protests led to the impeachment of the Presidents of Brazil and South Korea. In 2017, the release of the Panama Papers led to the resignation of the Prime Minister of Iceland and the dismissal of the President of Pakistan. Now, a corruption case almost a decade in the making has unseated the Prime Minister of Spain.

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Business Investigations

Avoiding Resume Fraudsters

It’s always important to hire the right person for the job. But the recent resignation of luggage-maker Samsonite’s CEO, Ramesh Tainwala, serves as a high-profile reminder that resumes sometimes fail to reflect reality.

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Business Investigations

Updates on Malaysia's $4.5 Billion 1MDB scandal

Here on the blog we've discussed the 1MDB scandal before before in Malaysia. First reported on in 2015, the scandal involves some US $4.5 billion that was allegedly misappropriated from a government-owned fund.

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Business Investigations

India's Banking Sector Faces Fraud Problems

Smith Brandon International frequently works for our clients in India. So we keep a close eye on the country to make sure we're always up to speed on what's happening there, and how it might effect our clients. Recently, India’s banking fraud problem has become so severe, some economic experts warn that it may hamper the country’s economic growth and development.

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Business Investigations

Former Aruban Official Pleads Guilty in Scheme Connected to FCPA Violations

Egbert Koolman, a current resident of Florida and former official at the Aruban state-owned telecommunications company Servicio di Telecommunicacion di Aruba N.V. (Setar), has recently plead guilty in a money laundering and bribery scheme that also led to guilty pleas for FCPA violations from others involved in the scheme.

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Brand Protection Services

South Korean Leader Will Not Appeal Prison Sentence for Bribery

Park Geun-hye, the disgraced former president of South Korea, will not appeal her 24-year prison sentence for bribery, corruption, and extortion. This announcement, made on April 16, ends what has been one of the biggest political scandals in South Korean history. A scandal which has shined a light on government and corporate corruption in the nation.

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Brand Protection Services

Strained Relations between Somalia and the UAE

While often this blog focuses on corruption and fraud, we also pay close attention to international news generally, so we can be sure we’re prepared for any issues that may come up for our clients. One situation we’ve recently been following is the relationship between the UAE and Somalia.

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Brand Protection Services

FBI Bribery Investigation of NCAA Basketball Teams May Have Led to Tournament Snubs

While our focus is generally on the more traditional business world, today we have an example of corruption and bribery from the world of college sports. This story also serves as a good example of the ways that the repercussions of bribery and corruption are not always limited to legal proceedings or prosecutions. The repercussions and impact on business and organizations can be wide-reaching, and can hit in unexpected ways.

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Brand Protection Services

Fake FINRA Scam Alert!

We just wanted to alert everyone to a new scam going around in which the scammers pretend to be representing or to have some affiliation with FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. The letters offer fake investment opportunities and use the FINRA Logo, a lot of legal sounding language, and even a fake signature from the FINRA President and CEO to try to make them look more official. The letters falsely claim that FINRA is backing or "guaranteeing" these investments.

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Brand Protection Services

US Energy Company is the Victim of Intellectual Property Theft

In mid-2013 Beijing-based wind turbine manufacturer and exporter Sinovel Wind Group Co. Ltd. (Sinovel) was charged with theft of intellectual property from US energy technology company AMSC, formerly American Superconductor Inc.

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Due Diligence

Doing Business in Iran

In January 2016, the UN started to remove some of the sanctions imposed on Iran, related to the country’s nuclear program and uranium-enrichment program. The sanctions were eased as a result of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that was reached by the EU, the US, China, Russia, and Iran on July 14, 2015.

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Business Investigations

Watch and Vote for Smith Brandon International's New Video!

We usually comment on news and current events here on the blog, but we'd like to take a moment to point you all to our entry in a recent video contest. We entered a video contest for small businesses (under 50 employees), sponsored by SCORE (a nonprofit organization that provides business mentoring services to entrepreneurs in the US), in partnership with the Small Business Administration (SBA).

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Business Investigations

Australia Considers Stronger Anti-Corruption Laws

Australia, like many countries, is looking at overhauling and strengthening its various anti-corruption laws. A number of new laws have been proposed recently that would change the way Australia handles corruption and bribery cases. If adopted these new proposed laws could be a big step toward making action on corruption in Australia much easier and more effective.

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Business Investigations

Brazil Experiments with Blockchain to Clean Up Land Corruption

Blockchains and cryptocurrencies are a major topic at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. While cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are not always held in high regard due to their volatility, lack of a supportive financial structure, and history of association with illicit trade, the blockchain, one of the technologies behind bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, is being hailed by some as a potential tool to increase financial security and transparency.

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Business Investigations

Carillion's Liquidation

In mid-January 2018, Carillion, the UK’s second largest construction company that provides business support services as well as public services in schools, prisons, hospitals, transportation systems, and ministry of defense sites, announced that it was forced into compulsory liquidation. Carillion, which has debts and liabilities totaling roughly US $3 billion, stated that the company was unable to secure funding to continue its business plan.

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Business Investigations

Brazilian Supreme Court Rules Ex President To Face Jail Time

Today brought another big development in the ongoing and multifaceted "Operation Car Wash" anti-corruption investigation that has been going on in Brazil for some time now. We've talked about Operation Car wash a couple of times before. The Brazilian Supreme Court ruled today that former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will be jailed before he can further appeal his corruption conviction.

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Business Investigations

Singapore Based Company and US Subsidiary pay bribery penalties

Keppel Offshore & Marine Ltd. (KOM), a Singapore-based shipyard operator and oil-rig builder, and its wholly-owned US subsidiary Keppel Offshore & Marine USA Inc. (KOM USA) have agreed to pay $422 million in penalties for violations against the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). These penalties, which will be paid to authorities in the US, Singapore, and Brazil are the result of more than a decade of bribery payments made by KOM and KOM USA to Brazilian officials.

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Business Investigations

Sweden's Telia ordered to pay $965 Million in FCPA Penalties

Recently the Swedish Telecom company Telia Company AB has agreed to pay $965 Million in penalties for violating the FCPA. Some of that money will go to Swedish and Dutch prosecutors, with the rest going to the Department of Justice and the SEC. This is, by the reckoning of the authors over at the website FCPA Blog, the largest ever FCPA settlement.

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Business Investigations

Guatemala in Political Turmoil over Corruption Scandals

Guatemala is currently in political upheaval over a recent events related to anti-corruption efforts in the country. Last month, President Morales tried to expel Ivan Velasquez, the head of a UN commission (The International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, or CICIG) set up to expose political corruption in Guatemala. However, the country's top court quickly moved to stop the expulsion. The president has argued that the UN commission violated Guatemala's sovereignty, but protesters and other groups feel that the commission is the country's best hope to curb corruption in the country.

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