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Former Herbalife China Executives Criminally Charged By DOJ, SEC Also Charges Former Executive

herbalife

In 2014, Avon resolved a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement based in large part on obtaining a direct selling permit in China. (See here for the prior post).

In 2016, Nu Skin Enterprises resolved an FCPA enforcement action based in large part on obtaining a direct selling permit in China. (See here for the prior post).

In 2017, Herbalife disclosed that it was under FCPA scrutiny concerning its conduct in China. With the company’s scrutiny still pending, yesterday the DOJ announced that Yanliang Li (a citizen of China and former Managing Director of a Chinese division of Herbalife) and Hongwei Yang (a citizen of China and former head the External Affairs Department of a Chinese division of Herbalife) were criminally charged “for their roles in a scheme to violate the anti-bribery and the internal controls provisions of the FCPA.” Not surprisingly, the alleged conduct focused on obtaining a direct selling permit.

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Approximately 7.5 Years After Disclosing FCPA Scrutiny, Walmart FINALLY Resolves FCPA Enforcement Action

Wal-Mart

As highlighted in this prior post, in late 2011 Walmart disclosed that it began “an internal investigation into whether certain matters, including permitting, licensing and inspections, were in compliance” with the FCPA.

So began arguably one of the most high-profile instances of corporate scrutiny in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. history. The scrutiny FINALLY came to an end yesterday as the DOJ and SEC announced (here and here) a coordinated $282 million enforcement action. As highlighted in this prior post, Walmart disclosed this likely settlement amount in November 2017,  yet it still took approximately 1.5 additional years to formally resolve the matter.

This post summarizes the DOJ and SEC’s enforcement action concerning alleged improper conduct in the following countries: Mexico, Brazil, India and China.  Future posts will explore numerous other issues relevant to the enforcement action.

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Fresenius Medical Care Pays Approximately $232 Million To Resolve Its Long-Standing FCPA Scrutiny

fresenius

German healthcare firm Fresenius Medical Care AG (a company with American Depositary Receipt shares traded on the NYSE) has been under FCPA scrutiny since 2012 (no that is not a typo).

Today the DOJ and SEC announced (here and here) an approximate $232 million enforcement action ($84.7 million to the DOJ and $147 million to the SEC) against the company for alleged bribery schemes involving physicians and other healthcare personnel in Angola, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Spain, Turkey, Gabon, Benin, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Niger, Cameroon China, Serbia, Bosnia, and Mexico.

While not specified in any of the resolution documents, the DOJ’s non-prosecution agreement and SEC’s administrative order make generic reference to the Angola and Saudi Arabia conduct involving ‘agents and employees utiliz[ing] the means and instrumentalities of U.S. interstate commerce, including the use of internet-based email accounts hosted by numerous service providers located in the United States.”

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DOJ Charges Well-Known Venezuelan Billionaire Raul Gorrin With FCPA And Related Offenses

Gorrin

I recently had a conversation with a lawyer who speculated that the recent spate of Venezuela-focused Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement actions was part of a U.S. government effort to facilitate regime change in the country.

Who knows, but it is hard to ignore the many recent FCPA enforcement actions focused on conduct in Venezuela (see hereherehere and here for prior posts).

The latest is this recently unsealed criminal indictment against Raul Gorrin Belisario, a well-known Venezuelan businessman and described by the DOJ as a citizen and national of Venezuela who at various time periods relevant to the charges was a resident of the U.S. with a residence in Florida.

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And Herein Lies The Compliance Challenge

flipcoin

I have no doubt that the individuals associated with the International Forum on Business Ethical Conduct for the Aerospace and Defense Industry (IFBEC) who drafted these recently released “model business courtesies and hospitality guidelines” did so in good faith with sincere efforts to reduce risk under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and related laws.

However, following its guidelines in certain instance will actually increase risk and herein lies the compliance challenge: one can follow so-called best practices and still be exposed to FCPA or related scrutiny. In other words, FCPA compliance is sometimes like a game of heads I win, tails you lose.

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