1. DOJ and SEC Representatives Tackle Pressing Anti-Corruption Issues in 2014 |

  2. FCPA Enforcement And Difficult Choices For Corporate Directors

  3. During monitored and recorded telephone calls, and in meetings, Mr. Cilins agreed to pay substantial sums of money to a witness to the bribery scheme in return for original documents which had been requested by the FBI and that were to be produced for the grand jury. Mr. Cilins planned to destroy the records.

    — Attorney Thomas Gorman of Dorsey & Whitney on a recent guilty plea the DOJ obtained from an individual as part of an FCPA and money laundering investigation.

  4. Get your FCPA statistics geek on…

    Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement activity in 2013 was robust, with DOJ and the SEC bringing 31 new FCPA enforcement actions, exceeding the 2012 total of 25. Total penalties amounted to more than $720 million, the second highest year on record. 

    In 2013, DOJ brought:

    • nine enforcement actions against corporate defendants, compared with 11 each year during 2012 and 2011.
    • 14 enforcement actions against individual defendants, compared to only two in 2012, and 12 in 2011. The 14 DOJ enforcement actions in 2013 stemmed from five corporate investigations. 

    Read Venable’s 12-page FCPA Snapshot 2013 »

  5. By ensuring that your company implements and maintains up-to-date anticorruption and export compliance programs, you are insuring yourself against the possibility of a minor inadvertent error leading your company down a slippery, costly, and potentially embarrassing slope.

    — Attorney Doreen Edelman of Baker Donelson on the slippery slope of compliance violations

  6. The SEC Speaks … about FCPA

    From attorney Aaron Tidman of Mintz Levin, a report on comments made by Kara Brockmeyer, Chief of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Unit at the SEC, at this year’s “SEC Speaks” conference. Some highlights: 

    • The SEC has already brought the same number of FCPA enforcement actions in 2014 than it brought in all of 2013. The clear message from Ms. Brockmeyer was that although FCPA enforcement decreased in 2013, companies should not forget that the FCPA is still a priority for the SEC.
    • The biggest issues in FCPA enforcement right now are third-party intermediaries and travel and entertainment expenses. Ms. Brockmeyer noted that she is “amazed” to see companies enter into arrangements with third parties to get business without knowing anything else about that third party. Ms. Brockmeyer’s message was clear: third-party due diligence is critical.
    • Ms. Brockmeyer said that the fact that Ralph Lauren only discovered bribery problems in one subsidiary in one country also made a difference in the NPA decision.  The company probably would not have qualified for an NPA if the problems were more widespread or systematic.
    • The SEC is continuing to observe companies put more thought and analysis into their compliance programs and internal controls.  Ms. Brockmeyer noted that companies are using the FCPA Guidance from November 2012 to strengthen their compliance programs, including integrating the hypotheticals from the Guidance into their training programs, which is exactly what the SEC intended.
    • Ms. Brockmeyer said that many companies are self-reporting FCPA issues, including small problems that the company immediately remediates, and the SEC takes no action. 
    • Ms. Brockmeyer commented that more and more countries are enforcing their own domestic bribery laws, as well as their international bribery laws.  The SEC has also seen an increase in parallel investigations, in sharing of documents across international borders, and in cooperation between national governments in interviewing foreign witnesses.

    Read the full update: The SEC Speaks About FCPA»

  7. Given heightened enforcement of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, particularly in the energy industry, international energy firms need to pay particular attention to their anti-bribery risks when contemplating potential transactions in Mexico’s newly privatized energy markets.

    — Attorneys Obiamaka Madubuko and Michael Stanek of McDermott Will & Emery in New Energy Opportunities in Mexico Raise FCPA, Anti-Bribery Risks

  8. The variety of charges recently brought by the US Department of Justice’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Unit against former Bechtel executive Asem Elgawhary signals that the DOJ is not only pursuing improper payments to foreign officials, but also company executives who solicit and accept improper payments.

    — Attorneys David Courchaine and Kathleen Hamann of White & Case on recent fraud and money laundering charges filed by the DOJ against a former Bechtel executive

  9. Generally, examples of offers made with “corrupt intent” involve influencing the procurement process, side-stepping or granting exceptions to regulations (including tax treatment), giving someone access to nonpublic bid information or influencing the outcome of a lawsuit or enforcement action.

    — Keshav Nair of The Network on how to recognize the “corrupt intent” behind bribery

  10. The number of FCPA enforcement actions brought in recent years has declined. […] Nevertheless, those who might be tempted to believe that anti-corruption enforcement is not a priority should review recent actions.

    — Attorney Thomas Gorman of Dorsey & Whitney in For FCPA Compliance, Tone At The Top Key, Lack of Policies A Difficulty

  11. First, the scope of “harmful acts” under the Law is defined more broadly than the scope of acts prohibited under the Acts. Second, and importantly for US companies, the Law prohibits facilitation payments, which are permitted under the FCPA. Third, unlike the FCPA but similar to the Bribery Act, the Law is not limited to corruption involving foreign officials; the Law also extends to related third parties. Last, unlike the Bribery Act but similar to the FCPA, the Law does not reach acts of commercial bribery in the private sphere.

    — Attorney Anne Ligman Turner of Baker Donelson on the differences between Brazil’s new anti-corruption law and the US FCPA and UK Bribery Act.

  12. Government enforcement efforts in 2013 produced major settlements of matters relating to the global financial crisis, high-profile insider trading convictions, near-record amounts of FCPA settlements, and new pledges of robust and aggressive SEC enforcement activity. We expect these trends to continue in 2014.

    — Attorneys at Skadden Arps, in Government Enforcement: Aggressive Efforts Continue Around the Globe.

  13. Listen To Your Lawyers

    Three law firms — Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Hughes Hubbard & Reed and Shearman & Sterling — recently issued reports in which they anticipated vigorous enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, higher criminal penalties, increased international cooperation, and a continued focus on prosecution of individuals in 2014. 

  14. Compliance Roundup

    Robust programs, anti-bribery training, enforcement actions, and more… Here’s what we’re reading now in compliance:

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    On the go? Our new mobile magazine will help you navigate the world of compliance and regulation, wherever you are. Subscribe here: Compliance Officer

  15. Although bribery is an integral part of daily life in many countries and can seem a prerequisite to obtaining or advancing any project, the perils awaiting foreigners who adapt to corrupt cultural norms are substantial.

    — Peter Seidman of WeComply in Walk a Straight Line — Even if All Roads Are Crooked