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legal Archives - Elisa Turullols Ambassador of Assurance
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Breakfast with Angeline

they are going to send all the money to one of the PA’s personal bank account, for her to take the money in cash from her bank account and bring it to the office to put it in the red envelopes.
We are giving one employee an additional full bonus, and then we expect that this person will take all that money in cash to do what? I do not think this is something so small, it sounds so dodgy that it can be perceived as something illegal, even if this money is fully used on the red envelopes, Caesar’s wife principle should apply.an email should be sent by the CEO, informing all employees, that they will get a red envelope the following day.
With all this, we have evidence of the payment approved by the CEO, the money been retrieved from the company bank by a person with legal powers to do so in presence of HR and another email informing the employees about the red envelope
The lesson from this real example is that, even a good gesture can be completely undermined and bring a company into trouble, if the way of doing it looks suspicious and dodgy. Since the recent bribery and corruption scandals (e.g.: GSK China, FIFA, etc) companies should pay more attention to cash payments. Doing the right thing in the right way it may take some effort. In this real experience this involved drafting official emails, the Finance Director appointment with the company bank, etc. This effort should be compared to the effort deployed explaining cash payments without much evidence on top of any reputational impact (regardless of whether the cash payment was for valid reasons or not).
how it would look like if it was to appear in a global newspaper and you had to provide an explanation to the media. I am still trying to find ways to explain the sizeable payment to the PA’s personal bank account for her to retrieve the money in cash….

Where were the Internal Audit and Compliance teams?

Ten biggest banks scandals have costed £53bn in fines, FT 11 April 2016. Apparently Internal Audit and Compliance teams did not see any of the issues that caused the scandals, neither the financial crisis…Can you imagine the VW Internal Audit team being told that they had style of writing issues as soon as they raised the emissions problem? The way some companies reward an internal auditor or compliance person highlighting serious issues is by campaigning against, raising negative feedback against and putting him/her under huge stress.

Growth at all costs?

The company was at risk of heavy losses in contract liabilities, thousands of contracts had to be reviewed, there was only two or three months time to do it and it was just me…..

The root cause of these contract liabilities? an aggressive growth strategy with no monitoring on the terms agreed with clients. Growth at all costs?

Liable or not?

That was clearly the thought of the Regional Finance Director when he sent me an email stating that the Commercial policy did not say anything in relation to the level of approval required for discounts higher than 30%. As proof of his statement he attached the policy.

What could have been perceived as a proof of the sincerity of his statement was his perdition. I read the policy, and it clearly stated that discounts higher than 30% had to be approved by the SVP of Sales for Europe and the President Europe. I had a few examples where this requirement had not been met.

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