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NARDELLO & CO. EXPANDS GLOBAL INVESTIGATION PRACTICE WITH MAJOR NEW HIRES IN US, ASIA, MIDDLE EAST

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Daniel Nardello

Firm founded by former federal prosecutor Daniel Nardello adds senior talent in Washington DC, Hong Kong and Dubai; new hires join from Deloitte and Pillsbury

Nardello & Co., a leading international investigation firm, is extending its global reach with senior-level hires in Washington DC, Hong Kong and with its new office opening in Dubai.

The New York-based firm, headed by former federal prosecutor Daniel Nardello, works with leading law firms, financial institutions and corporations in conducting investigations tied to a wide range of sensitive matters, including civil and white-collar criminal litigation support as well as investigations stemming from alleged insider trading and money-laundering, to anti-bribery and corruption charges,  and due diligence in mergers & acquisitions.  Nardello & Co. is often a prominent, but unseen player in many “above the fold” investigations and deals playing out in the financial and legal media.

Daniel Nardello

Daniel Nardello

The firm’s latest expansion comes against a backdrop of increased government enforcement by U.S. regulators, with parallel actions in jurisdictions globally.  This includes ramped-up prosecutions driven by anti-bribery laws, especially the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which has put intense scrutiny on business practices all around the world.  Closer to home, new whistleblower provisions and a tight enforcement and regulatory environment have fueled a wave of investigations in financial services, energy and renewables, health care, and other industries.  And as cross-border M&A deals become commonplace and involve more players, international investigations are now standard practice, no matter if the tie-ups are friendly or hostile.  Nardello & Co. is also seeing a major uptick in due diligence investigations of senior executives and corporate directors.

“It’s no exaggeration to say that our practice is booming.  From white collar criminal defense and civil litigation support to high-stakes corporate dealmaking and hiring decisions, investigations are a critical part of fact-finding, due diligence and compliance,” said Mr. Nardello, a former federal prosecutor in Manhattan.  He noted recent FCPA and due diligence investigations the firm is undertaking in regions including Mauritania, Somalia, Mongolia, Ukraine and Mexico. “Our new hires in Washington, Hong Kong and Dubai – where we are opening an office – reflect that surge and also the international stage where our business takes us.”

Joining Nardello & Co. as managing director of the firm’s Washington, DC office is Ryan Sparacino, from law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, who is an accomplished litigator specializing in corporate investigations.  Joining as a director in the Hong Kong office is Christopher Pechstedt, who previously directed fraud investigations and litigation support for an Asian risk consulting firm.  Meanwhile, Nardello & Co. is expanding its MENA practice by launching its first Middle Eastern office in Dubai, headed up by Rana Feghali, a veteran investigator and former journalist who is returning to the firm after a stint with Deloitte Consulting in Dubai.

“Asia and the Middle East both represent huge growth markets for us, particularly in FCPA investigations, whereas Washington continues to be a key source of work tied to regulatory enforcement,” Mr. Nardello said.  “Ryan, Chris and Rana are dynamic, multi-skilled professionals at the top of their game.  They will deepen our core strengths across the board, including our work in litigation support, fraud and corruption investigations, asset traces, M&A diligence, pre-hire background investigations, and overall business intelligence and crisis management for our clients.”

“We’re especially excited to expand our MENA practice by opening a dedicated Mid East office – our new location in Dubai is in the International Finance Center in the Free Zone, which is a hub for the legal, financial and banking sectors,” Mr. Nardello said.  He noted that the firm’s Mid East engagements had previously been run out London. “Of course, we expect to see considerable work generated from the oil/gas and engineering-construction segments in the region, with so many international interests colliding, often creating gray areas for multinational businesses.”

Mr. Nardello noted the number of assignments coming lately from increased government actions, including those growing out of the financial crisis.  “Federal enforcement authorities and regulators have given no indication that they plan to relax enforcement, and foreign governments continue to introduce analogous laws clamping down on corruption and fraud,” he said.  “In an era of aggressive enforcement, companies are as vulnerable as their weakest employees, which is why investigations and due diligence have become such an important part of robust compliance.”

Hiring decisions can be especially costly if they fail to delve sufficiently into a candidate’s past, Mr. Nardello added.  “Companies need to be super careful about who, how and where they hire and with whom they conduct business, especially in less-transparent markets when interfacing with government officials,” he said.  “Solid due diligence is needed for every important hire all over the world.

“Prosecutors are aggressively going after businesses, making companies increasingly vulnerable:  individual actions by rogue employees can serious rise to corporate liability,” Mr. Nardello said. “We want to make sure our clients are never blindsided in a litigation or enforcement action.  Today more than ever, knowledge is power. That’s why our motto is extremely simple and to the point:  ‘We find out.’”

Backgrounds on Nardello New Hires:

  • Ryan Sparacino, Managing Director, Washington, DC

Mr. Sparacino was previously a member of the litigation and white collar practices at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP in Washington, DC.  He has extensive experience handling investigations involving the FCPA and UK Bribery Act, as well as consumer fraud statutes, whistleblower suits and intellectual property disputes.  In anti-corruption matters, he’s represented individuals and corporations in investigations in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, South America and the Caribbean, as well as Europe, Russia and the CIS.  He earned his J.D. from the University of Virginia and B.S. from Northwestern.

  • Chris Pechstedt, Director, Hong Kong

A Mandarin-speaking China specialist, Mr. Pechstedt has lived in Asia for a decade, handling investigations in internal fraud cases, litigation support, and crisis management.  He earned a B.A. in English literature from Pomona College and has completed a graduate program in Chinese studies at SAIS in Nanjing.

  • Rana Feghali, Director, Dubai

A former journalist for a leading Pan-Arab newspaper, Ms. Feghali has conducted investigations throughout the Middle East, Gulf States and North Africa.  Her work has included pre-transactional due diligence, FCPA and anti-corruption investigations, litigation support, money laundering traces, and asset searches leading to the recovery of millions of dollars in resources. She is a graduate of the American University of Beirut and the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.  Ms. Feghali previously was a director with Nardello in the firm’s London office before spending several years in the corporate investigations practice for Deloitte Consulting.

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U.S. inauguration turns poet Amanda Gorman into best seller

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U.S. inauguration turns poet Amanda Gorman into best seller 1

WASHINGTON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The president’s poet woke up a superstar on Thursday, after a powerful reading at the U.S. inauguration catapulted 22-year-old Amanda Gorman to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list.

Hours after Gorman’s electric performance at the swearing-in of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, her two books – neither out yet – topped Amazon.com’s sales list.

“I AM ON THE FLOOR MY BOOKS ARE #1 & #2 ON AMAZON AFTER 1 DAY!” Gorman, a Los Angeles resident, wrote on Twitter.

Gorman’s debut poetry collection ‘The Hill We Climb’ won top spot in the online retail giant’s sale charts, closely followed by her upcoming ‘Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem’.

While poetry’s popularity is on the up, it remains a niche market and the overnight adulation clearly caught Gorman short.

“Thank you so much to everyone for supporting me and my words. As Yeats put it: ‘For words alone are certain good: Sing, then’.”

Gorman, the youngest poet in U.S. history to mark the transition of presidential power, offered a hopeful vision for a deeply divided country in Wednesday’s rendition.

“Being American is more than a pride we inherit. It’s the past we step into and how we repair it,” Gorman said on the steps of the U.S. Capitol two weeks after a mob laid siege and following a year of global protests for racial justice.

“We will not march back to what was. We move to what shall be, a country that is bruised, but whole. Benevolent, but bold. Fierce and free.”

The performance stirred instant acclaim, with praise from across the country and political spectrum, from the Republican-backing Lincoln Project to former President Barack Obama.

“Wasn’t @TheAmandaGorman’s poem just stunning? She’s promised to run for president in 2036 and I for one can’t wait,” tweeted former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

A graduate of Harvard University, Gorman says she overcame a speech impediment in her youth and became the first U.S. National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017.

She has now joined the ranks of august inaugural poets such as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou.

Her social media reach boomed, with her tens of thousands of followers ballooning into a Twitter fan base of a million-plus.

“I have never been prouder to see another young woman rise! Brava Brava, @TheAmandaGorman! Maya Angelou is cheering—and so am I,” tweeted TV host Oprah Winfrey.

Gorman’s books are both due out in September.

Third on Amazon’s best selling list was another picture book linked to politics and projecting hope: ‘Ambitious Girl’ by Vice-President Kamala Harris’ niece, Meena Harris.

(Reporting by Umberto Bacchi @UmbertoBacchi, Editing by Lyndsay Griffiths. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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Why brands harnessing the power of digital are winning in this evolving business landscape

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Why brands harnessing the power of digital are winning in this evolving business landscape 2

By Justin Pike, Founder and Chairman, MYPINPAD

Delivery of intuitive, secure, personalised, and frictionless user experiences has long been table stakes in digital commerce, well before the era of COVID-19. As businesses harness the revolutionary power of digital technologies, they have pursued large-scale change to adapt to evolving consumer preferences (some more successfully than others, but that’s a blog for another day). Digital transformation is a term we hear repeatedly, and it looks different for each organisation, but essentially, it’s about utilising technology and data to digitise, automate, innovate and improve processes and the customer experience across the entire business.

As I said, this was already well underway but then came 2020 and no industry escaped the disruption of the coronavirus outbreak, which has had an indelible impact on businesses performance, operations, and revenue. Regardless of whether the impact of COVID has been very positive or very challenging, it has forced organisations globally to re-evaluate and re-orient strategies to adapt.

As lockdowns and pandemic-related restrictions continue to change daily life, this raises the question of how we can balance a dramatic shift to digital and the benefits it brings, while ensuring business continuity and innovation both during and post-COVID, and protecting everyone against fraud?

Digital is an essential survival tool, and even more so in a COVID world

No one could have predicted the dramatic digital pivot that has taken place over this year. Indeed, within weeks of the COVID outbreak cash usage in the UK dropped by around 50%. Digital solutions including delivery applications, contactless payments, mobile commerce, online and mobile banking have become essential components of a touchless customer experience in the era of social distancing. It’s no longer just about an enhanced and superior customer experience, it’s also about health, safety and survival.

In store, businesses have benefited from contactless payments enabling faster throughput and reduced need for consumers to touch payment terminals (therefore requiring greater cleaning, which degrades the hardware much faster). Mastercard reported a 40% increase in contactless payments – including tap-to-pay and mobile pay – during the first quarter of the year as the global pandemic worsened. Digital has also become an essential sales channel for many B2C brands. Where brick and mortar stores have been required to close, digital commerce enables continuity of customer relationships and revenue. This channel also provides brands with rich customer data, which can be used to enhance and personalise the customer experience and typically results in greater levels of engagement and uplifts in revenue.

Industry forecasts estimate that worldwide spending on the technologies and services enabling digital transformation will reach GBP 1.8 trillion in 2023 – a clear indication that the process represents a long-term investment and a global commitment to digital-first strategy. The key point here is that digital brings significant benefits, and regardless of COVID, is here to stay.

The challenges that rapid digital transformation brings to businesses

Justin Pike

Justin Pike

Regardless of whether businesses are operating in developed or less-developed economies, these times of crisis have levelled the playing field in the sense that all businesses are facing similar issues. Access to products and supplies, maintaining customer relationships, accelerating sales for some and declining sales for others, health and hygiene are just a few of the unique challenges brought about by COVID.

Many businesses in physical environments have had to swiftly implement changes to significantly reduce safety risks for staff and customers, such as contactless payments, mobile ordering and delivery options. But with these changes come a host of other benefits of digitisation, such as faster transactions, and reduced human error at the point-of-sale.

The reliance on technology, however, can also expose organisations and consumers to certain vulnerabilities. In particular, the risks of fraud and cybercrime have dramatically increased since the onset of the pandemic as scammers have taken advantage of digital technologies to target both businesses and individuals.

As a McKinsey report illustrates, new levels of sophistication in the activities of fraudsters have placed more pressure on companies that have been previously slow to go digital, bringing “into sharp relief how vulnerable companies really are”, and damaging the financial health of small and large businesses. In fact, the Bottomline 2020 Business Payments Barometer reveals that only one in 10 small businesses across the UK report recovering more than 50% of losses due to fraud.

But take these stats with a grain of salt. While it is important to be aware of the risks and challenges this new business landscape brings, it’s equally as important to have a lens firmly across your own business, industry and audience, and to identify the changes you can make internally to mitigate risk as well as improve your customer experience. Where can you make some quick wins? Do you have the right skillsets internally to achieve what you need to achieve? What technology is out there that will enable your business goals? There are tech companies like MYPINPAD that are making huge strides in software development, which will transform businesses globally.

A digital world post-COVID

Almost a year in, the line between business success and failure remains fragile. However, an ongoing transition towards greater digitisation will be the difference between survival and the alternative.

There is a wide range of initiatives businesses can implement to weather this storm. If we look at the space MYPINPAD operates within, secure digital consumer authentication is crucial to the ongoing success and security of not only financial products but also identification and verification across a range of different industry verticals. Shifting the authentication of consumers securely onto mobile devices enables businesses to completely reshape their customer experiences. By bringing together a more seamless, frictionless customer experience, accessibility, privacy, security and access to consumer data, businesses are able to drive digital transformation across day-to-day activities.

Against this backdrop, software with stronger security standards continue to play an ever more vital role in supporting society, protecting consumers and businesses from the increase in risks that rapid digitisation brings. Already, merchants can deploy PIN on Mobile technology from companies like MYPINPAD, onto their smart devices to speed up the digitisation process many are now tackling.

Essentially, opening up universal payments and authentication methods that feel familiar, for both online and face-to-face transactions, will be key to opening up a world of possibilities when it comes to redefining how businesses engage with consumers.

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Brexit responsible for food supply problems in Northern Ireland, Ireland says

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Brexit responsible for food supply problems in Northern Ireland, Ireland says 3

LONDON (Reuters) – Food supply problems in Northern Ireland are due to Brexit because there are now a certain amount of checks on goods going between Britain and Northern Ireland, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said.

British ministers have sought to play down the disruption of Brexit in recent days.

“The supermarket shelves were full before Christmas and there are some issues now in terms of supply chains and so that’s clearly a Brexit issue,” Coveney told ITV.

The Northern Irish protocol means there are “a certain amount of checks on goods coming from GB into Northern Ireland and that involves some disruption,” he said.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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