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Unable To File Its Annual Report Due In Large Part To An FCPA Investigation, World Acceptance Corp. Stock Drops 12.4%

world accept

World Acceptance Corporation is a South Carolina based consumer finance company operating in 15 U.S. states and Mexico. It is also the parent company of ParaData Financial Systems, a provider of computer software solutions for the consumer finance industry.

Since late April, its stock price has been on a tear.

That ended yesterday as the company’s stock price fell approximately 12.4% upon disclosing that it would be unable to file its annual report due in large part to a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation.

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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.

The Hidden Employee Costs Of FCPA Scrutiny And Enforcement

fired

As highlighted in the article “FCPA Ripples,” settlement amounts in an actual Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action are often only a relatively minor component of the overall financial consequences that can result from FCPA scrutiny or enforcement. Other ripples include, most prominently, pre-enforcement action professional fees and expenses, post-enforcement action professional fees and expenses as well as a host of other negative business consequences.

As long as there has been FCPA enforcement, it has been known that culpable employees have been terminated or disciplined in connection with FCPA investigations and enforcement actions.

Yet, as highlighted in this post, in certain recent FCPA enforcement actions (but not all – the SQM and Las Vegas Sands enforcement actions were silent on this topic) the DOJ has quantified the number of employees terminated or disciplined. According to DOJ resolution documents, in six recent enforcement actions approximately 160 employees have been terminated or disciplined. (This figure is in addition to numerous third parties terminated by companies resolving FCPA enforcement actions).

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SEC Chair Nominee Clayton – Because Of Exposure To FCPA And Related Laws “There Are Some Jurisdictions Where In The Vast Majority Of The Cases It May Make Sense Just Not To Participate”

Sullivan & Cromwell partner Jay Clayton testifies before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs during his confirmation hearing to become the next Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington.  March 23, 2017.

The flawed New Yorker article about the Trump Organization and its potential FCPA liability (see prior posts here and here as well as additional commentary here) continues to percolate.

During yesterday’s Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs hearing on Jay Clayton’s nomination to head the SEC, the below exchange took place between Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Clayton.

It was the only Foreign Corrupt Practices Act related question posed to Clayton during the hearing. (See this prior post for coverage of a report titled“The FCPA and its Impact on International Business Transactions – Should Anything Be Done to Minimize the Consequences of the U.S.’s Unique Position on Combating Offshore Corruption?” by the Clayton-chaired International Business Transactions Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York).

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Issues To Consider From The General Cable Enforcement Action

Issues

This prior post went in-depth into last week’s $75.8 million Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against General Cable Corporation and this post continues the analysis by highlighting additional issues to consider.

Timeline

The SEC’s resolution document states that General Cable “promptly self-reported the potential FCPA violations to the Commission’s staff in January 2014.” As highlighted in this prior post, General Cable’s first mention of its FCPA scrutiny in SEC filings appears to be September 2014.

From start to finish, General Cable’s FCPA scrutiny lasted approximately three years. While three years is obviously shorter than the 4-6 years seen in certain FCPA inquiries, three years is still too long of time for FCPA scrutiny to last for a company that voluntarily disclosed and cooperated.

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