Skip to content


Harry Cassin
Publisher and Editor

Andy Spalding
Senior Editor

Jessica Tillipman
Senior Editor

Bill Steinman
Senior Editor

Richard L. Cassin
Editor at Large

Elizabeth K. Spahn
Editor Emeritus

Cody Worthington
Contributing Editor

Julie DiMauro
Contributing Editor

Thomas Fox
Contributing Editor

Marc Alain Bohn
Contributing Editor

Bill Waite
Contributing Editor

Shruti J. Shah
Contributing Editor

Russell A. Stamets
Contributing Editor

Richard Bistrong
Contributing Editor

Eric Carlson
Contributing Editor

Resource Alert: TRACE launches ‘Bribe, Swindle or Steal’ podcast

Compliance professionals — broadly defined — are a generous and collaborative group. Most recognize that the world is large, financial crime is rampant, and we’re better at our jobs when we share information about schemes and benchmark solutions.

One way to keep training fresh — a perennial challenge — is to tap into this wealth of expertise: compliance experts, lawyers, former enforcement agents, investigative reporters and even those who have engaged in financial crime.

The growing popularity and accessibility of podcasting provides a convenient way to engage with this expertise. Among the available compliance-related podcasts are those produced by the FCPA Blog’s Tom Fox, Compliance Week, the Compliance and Ethics Blog, Radical Compliance, and many others.

TRACE has recently joined in this effort to educate, enlighten, and entertain. Members of the community are sharing their insight and expertise on our newly launched podcast, Bribe, Swindle or Steal. We hope the podcast provides a supplementary training resource to companies and we have some suggestions, below, on how the different categories can be used.

Enforcement Agencies and the OECD: Rob Leventhal of the U.S. Department of State discusses the tools available to the U.S. government to make the lives of kleptocrats more difficult. Upcoming podcasts featurDavid Green, the director of the UK’s Serious Fraud Office, and Nicola Bonucci, Director for Legal Affairs at the OECD. These interviews cover the organization’s priorities, success stories and lessons learned. Corporate compliance professionals and those working for government or intergovernmental organizations rarely get insight into one another’s worlds, but here they can find updates on the work these people and these organizations are doing. They will find we’re all pulling in the same direction.

Counsel and Compliance Professionals: In “The Compliance Whisperer,” Hui Chen, former Compliance Consultant at the Department of Justice, describes her job as the DOJ’s first ever compliance consultant and what the DOJ is really looking for in a compliance program. In “Understanding Sanctions,” Amanda Debusk, Partner at Hughes Hubbard & Reed, walks us through the goal and nature of US sanctions and the penalties for getting it wrong. Martina Vandenberg of HTProbono describes the horrifying world of forced and trafficked labor. In upcoming podcasts, Jessica Tillipman of George Washington Law School and the FCPA Blog will discuss debarment and blacklisting and John Madinger, a former Treasury Special Agent, will provide a primer on money laundering. These podcasts are strong on substance and can help compliance professionals in one field gain insight into overlapping financial crimes.

Those Caught Up in the Stories:  In the episode “After You Pay a Bribe,” Lindsey Mitchell, a former Unaoil executive, provides the riveting first-hand story of his time with the Monaco-based oil company and how he found himself at the center of a bribery scheme. Peter Humphrey, the former corporate investigator whose arrest, trial and imprisonment after performing due diligence in China on behalf of a major multinational shocked the international business and compliance communities. Today’s podcast is the first in a two part series in which Walt Pavlo will describe the role he played in the MCI Worldcom accounting fraud, which resulted in his two-year sentence. Tomorrow, he’ll talk about his experience of prison and the organization he co-foundedPrisonology, to coach and support white collar offenders headed to prison. These are powerful training tools; employees can hear directly from those embroiled in legal problems, fairly or otherwise, about the extraordinary toll it takes on them, their families and their careers.

Authors and Investigative Reporters:  AuthoDiana Henriques describes her book, “The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust,” which was adapted earlier this year into an HBO movie starring Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer. Ike Sorkin, Madoff’s lawyer, is interviewed in a separate podcast and together, the two paint a comprehensive picture of one of the most damaging fraudsters in U.S. history. Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl laments how decades of FIFA corruption and self-dealing have undermined the world’s favorite sport in “The FIFA Swamp.” Craig Whitlock of the Washington Post details the sleaze and corruption that compromised a group of U.S.Navy officers in the top ranks of the Seventh Fleet in “Fat Leonard,” the nickname of the Malaysian businessman who pleaded guilty to bribing dozens of officers. Peter Elkind provides a great refresher on the Enron scandal, now more than a decade old, and next week Jack Ewing will discuss the Volkswagen emission scandal. These podcasts can be used to prompt discussion about the damage that financial crime does and to provide context for the work that compliance professionals do.

Exploring the Criminal Mind: There is a growing body of research on the way white collar criminals rationalize their behavior in order to live with themselves. In one podcast, Eugene Soltes, author of “Why They Do It,” discusses the research behind and conclusions embedded in his book. Shaul Shalvi discusses how people get comfortable with their criminal conduct. This field is increasingly important to compliance professionals working to prevent misconduct by spotting employees teetering on the brink.

*     *     *

Storytelling is a powerful training tool and these are exceptional and generous storytellers. They help us understand more clearly how financial crime occurs, how it is justified by those involved, how it’s uncovered and, so, how it can be prevented.  

Our podcasts are posted on iTunes and similar sites each Wednesday.


Alexandra Wrage is the founder and president of TRACE and the host of the podcast Bribe, Swindle or Steal.

Share this post


Comments are closed for this article!