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The FCPA Has Always Been A Law Much Broader Than Its Name Suggests

exclamation

Yesterday, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act turned 42.

Thus, an appropriate time to highlight that the FCPA has always been a law much broader than its name suggests. Sure, the FCPA contains anti-bribery provisions which concern foreign bribery. Sure, the FCPA’s books and records and internal controls provisions can be implicated in foreign bribery schemes.

However, the fact remains that most FCPA enforcement actions (that is enforcement actions that charge or find violations of the FCPA’s books and records and internal controls provisions) have nothing to do with foreign bribery and these provisions are among the most generic legal provisions one can possibly find.

Case in point is this recent SEC enforcement action against MetLife for “long-standing” internal control failures and associated books and records issues.

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Issues To Consider From The Barclays Enforcement Action

Issues

This prior post highlighted the SEC’s recent $6.3 million Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Barclays – the latest FCPA enforcement action focused on alleged improper internship and hiring practices primarily involving the financial services industry.

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

Timeline

In its March 1, 2016 annual report, Barclays disclosed:

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Further To The SEC’s Inconsistent Approach To Enforcing The FCPA’s Books And Records And Internal Controls Provisions

inconistent

Other than this website (see here, herehereherehere and here), there seems to be little focus on the SEC’s inconsistent approach to enforcing the FCPA’s books and records and internal controls provisions.

Which is too bad because consistency is a basic rule of law principle. In other words, the same legal violation ought to be sanctioned in the same way. When the same legal violation is sanctioned in materially different ways, trust and confidence in law enforcement is diminished.

As highlighted in the numerous prior posts as well as the latest example described below, there sure does seem to be a lack of consistency between how the SEC resolves Foreign Corrupt Practices Act books and records and internal controls violations.

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Issues To Consider From The Deutsche Bank Enforcement Action

Issues

This prior post highlighted the SEC’s $16.2 million Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Deutsche Bank – the latest FCPA enforcement action focused on alleged improper internship and hiring practices primarily involving the financial services industry.

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

Timeline

The company’s FCPA scrutiny reportedly began in mid-2013. Thus, from start to finish, Deutsche Bank’s FCPA scrutiny lasted an unconscionable six years.

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FCPA Flash Podcast – A Conversation With Lucinda Low

FCPA Flash

The FCPA Flash podcast provides in an audio format the same fresh, candid, and informed commentary about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and related topics as readers have come to expect from written posts on FCPA Professor.

This FCPA Flash episode is a conversation with Lucinda Low (Steptoe & Johnson). During the podcast, the experienced FCPA practitioner: (i) provides an assessment of 2019 FCPA enforcement; (ii) discusses the long time periods associated with FCPA scrutiny; (iii) explores the broadness of FCPA enforcement specifically the FCPA’s accounting provisions; and (iv) highlights why she believes the FCPA should be amended to include a compliance defense.

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