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FCPA Flash – A Conversation With Danforth Newcomb & Cynthia Urda Kassis Regarding “Transacting Business During a Corruption Investigation”

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 Shearman & Sterling attorneys Danforth Newcomb and Cynthia Urda Kassis who recently authored an article titled “Transaction Business During a Corruption Investigation.”

During the podcast, Danforth and Cynthia discuss: (i) the origins of the article; (ii) what makes potential legal liability under the FCPA or similar laws different than potential legal liability under other laws; (iii) the gap between corporate FCPA enforcement and individual FCPA enforcement; and (iv) whether a recent DOJ statement that “FCPA investigations [should] be measured in months, not years” is believable.

FCPA Flash is sponsored by Kroll. Kroll is trusted by companies and compliance officers worldwide to help prevent, detect, and remediate FCPA challenges with scalable, end-to-end compliance solutions: from high-volume third party screening and automated monitoring, to risk-based due diligence, to complex investigations and monitorships.

Friday Roundup

Roundup

Mebiame sentenced, a multi-billion dollar settlement in Brazil, remember that, and for the reading stack. It’s all here in the Friday roundup.

Mebiame Sentenced

As highlighted in this prior post, in August 2016 the DOJ unsealed a criminal complaint charging Samuel Mebiame, a Gabonese national connected to Och-Ziff, with conspiracy to violate the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions in connection with African mining projects. In December 2016, Mebiame pleaded guilty. (See here).

Earlier this week, the DOJ announced that Mebiame was sentenced to 24 months in prison.

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The First Time Baker Hughes Resolved An FCPA Enforcement Action

bakerhughes

[This post is part of a periodic series regarding “old” FCPA enforcement actions]

As highlighted in this prior post, in 2001 KPMG Siddharta Siddharta & Harsono (KPMG-SSH) and Sonny Harsono resolved a joint DOJ/SEC civil FCPA enforcement regarding alleged improper payments in connection with an Indonesia tax assessment.

As detailed in the prior post, it was a unique FCPA enforcement action at the time (believed to be the first time the DOJ/SEC had ever brought an FCPA action against a professional services firm – i.e. a law firm or accounting firm) and still remains unique in that the DOJ/SEC are believed to have never again brought an FCPA enforcement action against a professional services firm. As further detailed in the prior post, KPMG-SSH was an agent of Baker Hughes and thus it was not surprising that a related FCPA enforcement action against Baker Hughes soon followed.

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Rolls-Royce Resolves $170 Million FCPA Enforcement Action

Rolls

If you were scoring at home, the last few weeks of the Obama administration were quite active for Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement. But then again this was expected.

First it was the $13 million joke of an enforcement action against Mondelēz International, Inc. on January 9th. Then it was the $30.4 million Biomet became an FCPA repeat offender enforcement action on January 12th. Then it was no U.S. nexus, no problem $30.5 million enforcement action against Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A on January 13th. Then it was the DOJ’s announcement (summarized in this post) on January 17th that U.K. based Rolls-Royce plc agreed to pay the U.S. net approximate $170 million (including an unusual component never before seen in FCPA enforcement) to resolve an FCPA enforcement action concerning conduct in Thailand, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Angola and Iraq. Then it was $6 million Orthofix Int’l also became an FCPA repeat offender enforcement action on January 18th. Then in the finals hours of the Obama administration it was unusual $7 million enforcement action against Las Vegas Sands (headed by major Republican donor Sheldon Adelson who was front and center at Trump’s inauguration) based on the same core conduct as the SEC’s enforcement action against the company nine months earlier.  Individual FCPA enforcement actions (here and here) were sprinkled in as well.

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Biomet Becomes An FCPA Repeat Offender

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For many years, the DOJ has advanced the policy position that DPAs and NPAs “have had a truly transformative effect on particular companies and, more generally, on corporate culture across the globe.” (See here for the prior post). Specifically in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act context, the DOJ has stated that “the companies against which DPAs and NPAs have been brought have often undergone dramatic changes.”  (See here for the prior post).

As highlighted here, in March 2012 Biomet resolved an FCPA enforcement action involving alleged conduct in Brazil, Argentina, and China by agreeing to pay approximately $22.8 million ($17.3 million via a DOJ deferred prosecution agreement, and $5.5 million via a settled SEC civil complaint).

Since then, FCPA Professor has chronicled (herehere and here) how Biomet’s DPA was extended, how the DOJ ultimately came to conclude that Biomet had breached its DPA based on subsequent improper conduct, and how an additional FCPA enforcement was expected.

Last week, the DOJ and SEC announced (here and here) the additional FCPA enforcement action against Zimmer Biomet Holdings (in 2015 Zimmer Holdings acquired Biomet) and Biomet. As highlighted below, a portion of the improper conduct involved the same distributor in Brazil that gave rise to the 2012 FCPA enforcement action.

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