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Inside Compliance (Aug 21st, 2019)

1. Two drug manufactures have agreed to a $15 million settlement to avoid a trial in a case brought by two Ohio counties reeling from the opioid epidemic. The deals involving Endo and Allergan were reached Tuesday and do not involve other companies that are named as defendants in the Cleveland federal trial scheduled for October -- including Purdue Pharma, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Johnson & Johnson. More than 2,300 opioid-related lawsuits are pending across the country. Earlier this year, Purdue and Teva settled with Oklahoma for $270 million and $85 million respectively. - REUTERS

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2. American Airlines Group will pay $22.1 million in a settlement with the Justice Department, which charged the country's largest airline with lying about the times it moved U.S. mail to foreign postal services and other designated receivers. "We expect companies doing business with the government to comply with their contractual obligations,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt. Meanwhile, American said it was pleased with the settlement. "The allegations focused on conduct that was remedied years ago, and we have invested in new equipment and procedures to ensure that we are in full compliance with our commitments," the company said. - DALLAS BUSINESS JOURNAL

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3. In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Arthur Levitt warns against the current SEC commissioner's argument in favor of exempting small companies from audit requirements. The current commissioner, Republican Hester Peirce, recently tweeted: "If an investor in a small biotech company had the option of having her money go to an audit of internal controls or the hiring of another scientist, what would she choose?” But Levitt, a Democrat who served as chairman from 1993 to 2001, argues that Pierce's example offers a false choice. "Her example unintentionally shines light on the actual problem the SEC faces: Left alone, many companies will shift resources away from the thorough accounting practices that protect investors," he writes. - WALL STREET JOURNAL

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4. In a letter to the U.S. Attorney General, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) demanded information regarding the Trump administration's decision to reduce penalties for two banks that sold faulty mortgages to investors. Political appointees overruled staff prosecutors who sought higher penalties from Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland, which ended up paying $2 billion and $4.9 billion respectively -- less than half of what DOJ staff prosecutors had sought. “These weak settlements send a clear message to financial institutions and white-collar criminals that they can evade accountability as long as they are wealthy and well connected,” Warren wrote. - AMERICAN BANKER

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5. The Trump adminstration is scrambling for ways to appease farmers who are upset by the president's decision to let oil refiners mix less ethanol into their gasoline, sources told Reuters. By granting the waivers, the Trump administration has saved the oil industry billions in compliance costs. But the move upset ethanol producers, even those who had supported the president. "POET made strategic decisions to support President Trump’s goal of boosting the farm economy," said Jeff Laut, president of POET, the country's largest ethanol producer. "However, these goals are contradicted by bailouts to oil companies. The result is pain for Midwest farmers and the reduction of hundreds of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of economic activity across Indiana." - REUTERS

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6. While a federal judge granted former Alstom senior vice president Lawrence Hoskins a brief delay before his trial begins, the judge denied that Hoskins's constitutional rights had been abused. Hoskins, a British national,  was arrested in 2014 and charged with bribing Indonesian officials from 2002 to 2004 in order to win a lucrative power contract. In July, Hoskins filed a motion asking the case to be dismissed, citing his constitutional right to a speedy trial. But the judge ruled that his constitutional rights hadn't been violated, noting that Hoskins hadn't requested a speedy trial earlier and also asked for delays to acquire evidence. The trial is now set to begin on Oct. 28, two months later than previously scheduled - WALL STREET JOURNAL

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7. Marketing agencies in the United Kingdom are handing out cash and booze to university students to get them to join gambling apps. “This is pretty unscrupulous behavior from operators, given the younger you start gambling, the more likely you are to get addicted," said Matt Zarb-Cousin, co-founder of Gamban software that blocks access to gambling sites. App developers have denied knowledge of the practice. "Betbull does not tolerate or condone this practice -- we take our marketing compliance obligations extremely seriously and ensure that our marketing affiliates are fully and regularly trained on these compliance requirements," said a Betbull spokesman. - THE GUARDIAN

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8. The Reserve Bank of India's deputy governor, M.K. Jain, lashed out Tuesday at the subpar compliance culture of the nation's banks. Already this year, the reserve bank had imposed 70 penalties amounting to more than $1.7 million. Numerous scams could have been prevented if a better compliance culture had been in place, he said. “Subsequent to the financial crisis, the focus on compliance has gone up significantly, especially in the area of 'know your customer,' anti-money laundering, suitability and appropriateness of banking product offered to specific customer," he said. But "despite benefits offered, the compliance culture of Indian banks is far from satisfactory." - MONEY CONTROL

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9. Sutter Rock Capital, a venture investment firm, seeks a chief compliance officer. The officer, who will be based in San Francisco, will mastermind compliance policies for the firm as well as establish and track metrics. Candidates must have 1940 Act experience.

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10. The Gun Lake Tribe seeks a director of compliance for the tribal gaming commissions offices in Wayland, Michigan. Overseeing casino regulations and controls, the director will enforce the Gun Lake Tribal Gaming Commission Regulations, Tribal Internal Controls, the Gun Lake Tribal Ordinances and other applicable rules. Gaming regulatory experience is required.

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Paul Wachter is a California-based journalist who has written for The New York Times Magazine, Harper's, ESPN, and other publications. 

Editor: David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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