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The Week In Securities Litigation: Record Payments, Potentially Significant MOU

Record payments and a potentially significant MOU were the focus in securities enforcement litigation this week. French oil and gas giant Total paid the DOJ and the SEC $398 million to settle FCPA charges, the fourth largest sum paid in settlement of corruption charges. NASDAQ paid $10 million, the largest amount paid by an exchange to resolve a Commission administrative proceeding centered on its botched Facebook IPO.

The PCAOB executed a potentially significant MOU with its PRC counterparts which promises to make available the audit work papers for Chinese based issuers. The agreement is the first step toward transparency for Chinese based issuers. It also holds the promise of a future agreement on the SOX mandated inspections and perhaps resolving the three pending Commission actions focused on the question of work paper availability.

SEC Enforcement: Filings and settlements

Weekly statistics: This week the Commission filed 1 civil injunctive action and 2 administrative proceedings (excluding follow-on actions and 12(j) proceedings).

Prior bar: SEC v. Grant, Civil Action No. 1:11-CV-11538 (D. Mass.) is a previously filed action against John Grant and others. The complaint alleges that Mr. Grant violated a Commission bar from association with an investment adviser by associating with his son's firm, Sage Advisory Group LLC, and acting as an investment adviser. The court entered a final judgment by consent permanently enjoining Mr. Grant from violating Advisers Act Sections 206(1) and (2). The order also directs him to comply with the earlier bar. Mr. Grant, who is also an attorney, consented to the entry of an order permanently suspending him from practicing before the Commission as an attorney in a related follow-on proceeding. See also Lit. Rel. No. 22708 (May 30, 2013).

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For more commentary on developing securities issues, visit SEC Actions, a blog by Thomas Gorman.

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