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Summer FCPA Reading List

July 1, 2016

Summer Reading

Summer.

A time for reflection, a time to think, a time to read.

If you have some downtime this holiday weekend, put it to good use.

This post provides an overview of FCPA writings that can help you elevate your Foreign Corrupt Practices Act knowledge, sophistication, and practical skills.

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If Only The Supreme Court Had Accepted Cert In The “Foreign Official” Challenge

June 30, 2016

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I was directly involved in the “foreign official” challenges (i.e. are employees of so-called state-owned or state-controlled enterprises “foreign officials” under the FCPA) between 2011 and 2014.

Among other things: (i) I was engaged in connection with the original Carson challenge which relied in part on my “foreign official” declaration; (ii) I was engaged in connection with the Lindsey Manufacturing challenge which also relied in part on my declaration; (iii) I assisted the families of Joel Esquenazi and Carlos Rodriguez secure competent appellant FCPA counsel and assisted the pro bono counsel in that case; and (iv) after the 11th Circuit’s flawed “foreign official” decision in Esquenazi in 2014 (for a full discussion, see this article), I urged the Supreme Court in this amicus brief to accept cert.

In short, I am very familiar with the challenges and the statutory interpretation issues presented to the Supreme Court.

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Other Recent Supreme Court Rebukes Of Enforcement Theories Relevant To FCPA Enforcement

June 29, 2016

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U.S. v. McDonnell – the unanimous Supreme Court decision earlier this week vacating the former Virginia governor’s criminal convictions – was relevant to Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement because the key issue in McDonnell , the proper meaning of the term “official action,” is term that also appears in the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions.

In the FCPA’s nearly 40 years of existence, the Supreme Court has never addressed an FCPA issue. It is unlikely that the Supreme Court will address an FCPA topic anytime soon because of how the government has chosen to enforce the FCPA (the vast majority of corporate enforcement actions are resolved without any meaningful judicial scrutiny and the vast majority of corporate enforcement actions lack individual prosecutions)

Thus, when thinking about how the Supreme Court might address certain FCPA issues, one has to analogize to other relevant Supreme Court decisions.

This post highlights other recent Supreme Court decisions, in addition to McDonnell, to rebuke enforcement theories relevant to FCPA enforcement.

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Supreme Court Unanimously Rejects “The Government’s Boundless Interpretation Of The Federal Bribery Statute”

June 28, 2016

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This previous post previewed U.S. v. McDonnell, the former Virginia governor’s Supreme Court appeal of criminal charges related to the acceptance by the McDonnells of $175,000 in loans, gifts, and other benefits from Virginia businessman Jonnie Williams (CEO of Star Scientific) while Governor McDonnell was in office.

Although outside the context of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the case is FCPA relevant because it presented the Supreme Court with the following question: “whether ‘official action’ is limited to exercising actual governmental power, threatening to exercise such power, or pressuring others to exercise such power, and whether the jury must be so instructed.”

As noted in the prior post, the core of the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions prohibit the direct or indirect payment or offering of money or anything of value to a “foreign official” for purposes of: (A) (i) influencing any act or decision of such foreign official in his official capacity, (ii) inducing such foreign official to do or omit to do any act in violation of the lawful duty of such official, or (iii) securing any improper advantage; or (B) inducing such foreign official to use his influence with a foreign government or instrumentality thereof to affect or influence any act or decision of such government or instrumentality in order to assist the payor in obtaining or retaining business for or with, or directing business to, any person. (emphasis added).

Yesterday, the Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision written by Chief Justice Roberts, reversed McDonnell’s criminal convictions. Calling the government’s theory of prosecution “boundless,” the Court adopted a narrow interpretation of the meaning of “official action.”

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Issues To Consider From The Analogic Enforcement Action

June 27, 2016

Issues

This previous post went in-depth regarding last week’s $14.9 million Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Analogic Corp. and a related entity.

This post continues the analysis by highlighting various issues to consider.

Sparse Allegations

Rarely has an SEC enforcement action against an issuer contained such few allegations against, well, the issuer.

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