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Acting Assistant Attorney General Blanco Delivers FCPA Speech

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Today, Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco delivered these remarks at a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act / OECD Convention Anniversary Conference held at NYU School of Law. This post excerpts portions of Blanco’s remarks.

But first a few comments.

In his speech, Blanco states that it “is astonishing to think about what the FCPA and OECD Anti-Bribery Convention have achieved in a relatively short period of time.” That of course depends on what the word “achieve” means. On one level, has the FCPA really “achieved” (after 40 years – not exactly a “relatively short time period”) its objective of reducing bribery given that there are more enforcement actions, not fewer, as the FCPA has matured?

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Acting Assistant AG Blanco On Foreign Law Enforcement Cooperation

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Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco recently delivered this speech which focused largely on foreign law enforcement cooperation in bribery investigations. The bulk of the speech concerned U.S. – Brazil cooperation with portions also dedicated to the DOJ’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative.

In his speech, Blanco used much of the same rhetoric as prior DOJ officials have in talking about bribery and corruption and once again the notion that the U.S. will “push[] forward hard against corruption, wherever it is” is subject to interpretation.

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With Chi Guilty Verdict, Focus Shifts To Kinemetrics And Guralp Systems

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The DOJ recently announced that Heon-Cheol Chi (Chi) of South Korea, “the Director of South Korea’s Earthquake Research Center at the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM) was convicted … following a four-day jury trial of laundering bribes that he received from two seismological companies based in California and England through the U.S. banking system.”

As noted here, according to court documents the companies are Kinemetrics (a California company that designs technologies, products, and solutions for monitoring earthquakes and their effects on people and structures) and Guralp Systems Ltd. (a U.K. company that designs, manufactures and delivers products, services, systems and solutions for a wide range of applications for the seismological research community as well as the the oil & gas, civil engineering and energy sectors.)

With the Chi guilty verdict, focus shifts to Kinemetrics and Guralp Systems and when asked if there would be an FCPA enforcement action against these companies a DOJ spokesperson informed me via e-mail that “the investigation is ongoing.”

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Another Week, Another DOJ Speech As McFadden Talks FCPA And Related Topics In Brazil

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Yesterday, Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Trevor McFadden delivered this speech in Brazil.

As highlighted in this post, McFadden talked about “some recent developments regarding the DOJ’s international cooperation efforts,” “some of the diverse tools in [the DOJ’s] prosecutorial toolbox that allow [it] to prosecute corruption” and “the importance of transparency in our anti-corruption prosecutions.”

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From The DOJ’s Docket

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Lorenzo Plea

This October 2015 post highlighted alleged bribery at the United Nations charging John Ashe (described as having various positions at the U.N. including serving as the Permanent Representative of Antigua to the U.N. and recently serving as the President of the U.N. General Assembly) and others (including Francis Lorenzo, Ng Lap Seng and Jeff Yin) with a variety of criminal offenses based on allegations that payments were made to Ashe in connection with a U.N. sponsored conference center in Macau, China and to influence business interactions with Antiguan government officials.

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