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Judicial Decision

This previous post mentioned that the DOJ filed a superseding indictment adding Foreign Corrupt Practices Act charges to its existing 2015 enforcement action against Ng Lap Seng and Jeff Yin.

This previous post highlighted the May 2015 civil case brought by Sanford Wadler (the former General Counsel of Bio-Rad) asserting various employment claims against the company in the aftermath of the company’s 2014 FCPA enforcement action in which it agreed to pay approximately $55 million to resolve DOJ and SEC FCPA enforcement actions.

This post further highlights the DOJ’s individual criminal charges against Ng and Yin as well as the strange twist in the Wadler – Bio-Rad litigation.

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In Depth Into The JP Morgan FCPA Enforcement Action

JPMorgan

Yesterday, the DOJ and SEC announced (here and here) a $202.6 million FCPA enforcement action against J.P. Morgan (and a related entity) based on its alleged improper hiring and internship practices that the U.S. government has labeled bribery and corruption.

While the enforcement action was expected to focus on alleged improper hiring and internship practices involving so-called Chinese “princelings” (family members of alleged Chinese foreign officials), a meaningful component of the DOJ’s enforcement action involves hiring and internship practices involving family members of private individuals. Specifically, the DOJ’s non-prosecution agreement highlights 5 examples of “Quid Pro Quo Hiring” and 2 examples (40%) concern private companies: “a private Chinese manufacturing company” and a “Taiwanese private financial holding company.”

Numerous ironies, contradictions, and rule of law concerns abound in the enforcement action that will be explored in more detail in future posts. (In this clip, I talk to National Public Radio about one).

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Why The Meaning Of “Foreign Official” Matters

why

This is not the first time I’ve written about this general topic nor is it likely to be the last.

In the minds of some, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act compliance is easy – you just don’t bribe.

However, as recent enforcement activity has demonstrated, FCPA enforcement actions often include allegations about internships (BNY Mellon and Qualcomm), sports tickets (BHP Billiton), travel and entertainment (GlaxoSmithKline and several other enforcement actions), charitable donations (Nu Skin) and other inconsequential things of value such as flowers, cigarettes, and golf in the morning and beer drinking in the evening (Eli Lilly, SciClone Pharmaceuticals and several other enforcement actions).

In other words, the underlying activity is legal and socially acceptable in most situations. In fact, it is often called effective sales and marketing, wining and dining the customer, or maintaining good will. Yet when such activity is focused, directly or indirectly, on a “foreign official” the U.S. government is inclined to call it bribery.

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Friday Roundup

Roundup

Predictable, scrutiny alert, in the words of Attorney General Lynch, bankrupt, DOJ guidance, and for the reading stack. It’s all here in the Friday roundup.

Predictable

It’s as predictable as the sun rising in the east.

A former FCPA enforcement official criticizes certain aspects of FCPA enforcement. As noted in this Law360 article, former DOJ Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division Lanny Breuer (who took a great interest in FCPA enforcement while in that position – see here for the article “Lanny Breuer and FCPA Enforcement”) recently observed as follows regarding the DOJ’s FCPA Pilot Program.

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Issues To Consider From The GlaxoSmithKline Enforcement Action

Issues

This prior post highlighted the SEC’s recent Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against GlaxoSmithKline.

In the action,  GSK coughed up $20 million to resolve an administrative action finding that employees and agents of its China-based subsidiary and China-based joint venture provided various things of value to healthcare professionals in China.

This post highlights additional issues to consider from the enforcement action.

By the Numbers

According to FCPAnalytics, the $20 million civil penalty GSK agreed to pay to resolve the matter is the 2nd largest SEC civil penalty in an FCPA enforcement action. In addition, the $20 million settlement is the 5th largest SEC only FCPA enforcement action of all-time (in other words an SEC enforcement action lacking a DOJ component).

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