SCCE Chief Executive Officer praises U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission and Department of Justice recognition of effective corporate compliance programs in Ralph Lauren Non-Prosecution Agreements

Apr 24, 2013, 15:31 ET from The Society of Corporate Compliance & Ethics

MINNEAPOLIS, April 24, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE) today applauds the government's recognition of effective corporate compliance programs, as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice (DOJ) released details of recent non-prosecution agreements (NPAs) with Ralph Lauren relating to the settlement of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations by its Argentinian subsidiary. The SEC has specifically noted that the misconduct was discovered "as a result of the company adopting measures to improve its worldwide internal controls and compliance efforts, including implementation of an FCPA compliance training program in Argentina."  

According to the SEC's press release, "This NPA shows the benefit of implementing an effective compliance program. Ralph Lauren Corporation discovered this problem after it put in place an enhanced compliance program and began training its employees. That level of self-policing along with its self-reporting and cooperation led to this resolution."

In a parallel case, the DOJ cited the positive steps the company has already taken in its compliance program: "… RLC has engaged in early and extensive remediation, including conducting extensive FCPA training for employees worldwide; enhancing the company's existing FCPA policy; implementing an enhanced gift policy and other enhanced compliance, control, and anti-corruption policies and procedures; enhancing its due diligence protocol for third-party agents; terminating culpable employees and a third-party agent; instituting a whistleblower hotline; and hiring a designated corporate compliance attorney."

SCCE Chief Executive Officer Roy Snell praised the actions of the SEC and the DOJ - both the Criminal Division in Washington and of the US Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of New York:  "As with the recent Morgan Stanley case, the government has made it clear that companies who take compliance seriously and are committed to finding, fixing, and solving legal and regulatory problems are in a far better position than those who do not invest in real, robust, and effective compliance programs. I can think of no better proof of the value of strong compliance and ethics programs than the DOJ's and SEC's recent actions."

SCCE Advisory Board member and Principal, Compliance Strategists, Donna Boehme said, "When the government visibly acknowledges and credits internal compliance efforts, Boards and management take note of their tangible value and are reminded of the need to support empowered, independent compliance officers and functions."

"The Ralph Lauren case also shows that it is never too late to invest in compliance," said Snell. "A reinvigorated program can both help protect your company going forward and pay dividends when discovering past wrongdoing."

Click here for the SEC press release:

Click here for the DOJ Press release:

About the SCCE
The Society of Corporate Compliance & Ethics (SCCE), headquartered in Minneapolis, MN, is a non-profit professional member association that serves compliance and ethics professionals globally. The association provides resources and training to compliance professionals and champions ethical practices and compliance standards.

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SOURCE The Society of Corporate Compliance & Ethics