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Friday Roundup

Roundup

Scratch that trial, scrutiny alert, affirmed, follow-up, Braskem-related, and across the pond. It’s all here in the Friday roundup.

Scratch That Trial

One of the FCPA trials scheduled this Fall (see here for the prior post) involved Frank Chatburn. As highlighted here, in April 2018 Frank Roberto Chatburn Ripalda (a dual United States and Ecuadorian citizen) was criminally charged for conspiring with others for making corrupt payments to PetroEcuador officials in order to obtain and retain contracts for Galileo (described as an Ecuadorian company that provided services in the oil and gas industry) from PetroEcuador.

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Issues To Consider From The Westport Fuel Systems Enforcement Action

Issues

This prior post highlighted the SEC’s recent $4 million Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Westport Fuel Systems and a former executive officer (Nancy Gougarty). This post continues the analysis by highlighting additional issues to consider.

Just the Third

Westport Fuel Systems is a Canadian company with shares listed on a U.S. exchange. The enforcement action is believed to be just the third enforcement action in the FCPA’s 40+ year history against a Canadian company. The first enforcement action against a Canadian company was Nordion (2016 – see here and here for prior posts). The second enforcement action against a Canadian company was Kinross Gold (2018 – see here and here for prior posts).

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DOJ Deputy Assistant Attorney General Miner On “The Two Primary Goals Of White Collar Criminal Enforcement” (With Commentary)

miner

It’s mid-September which means a few things: the days are getting shorter, the trees are beginning to show color, and DOJ and SEC enforcement officials are on the speaking circuit.

Earlier this week it was SEC Chairman Jay Clayton (see here for the prior post) and yesterday it was DOJ Deputy Assistant Attorney General Matthew Miner who spoke on the two primary goals of white collar criminal enforcement: “(1) to deter legally non-compliant behavior and punish it where it does occur; and (2) to encourage greater compliant behavior, including creating a more level playing field for those who play by the rules.”

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Friday Roundup

Roundup

Cannabis industry, fooled me, questions abound, investigative fees and expenses, survey says, scrutiny alert, and for the reading stack.

It’s all here in the Friday roundup.

Cannabis Industry

This recent FBI public recording states: “As an increasing number of states change their marijuana legislation, the FBI is seeing a public corruption threat emerge in the expanding cannabis industry. States require licenses to grow and sell the drug—opening the possibility for public officials to become susceptible to bribes in exchange for those licenses.”

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Walmart, Like Prior Issuers, Gets Whistled For Decentralized Compliance

whistled

Generally speaking, the FCPA’s internal controls provisions require issuers to “devise and maintain a system of internal accounting controls sufficient to provide reasonable assurances” that certain limited financial objectives are met. The FCPA then defines “reasonable assurances” to mean “such level of detail and degree of assurance as would satisfy prudent officials in the conduct of their own affairs.”

The main problem with these provisions is there is no specific standards by which to judge compliance. Indeed, as highlighted in this prior post, in SEC v. Worldwide Coin (believed to be the only judicial decision to substantively construe the FCPA’s books and records and internal controls provisions) the judge stated:  “The main problem with the internal accounting controls provision of the FCPA is that there are no specific standards by which to evaluate the sufficiency of controls; any evaluation is inevitably a highly subjective process in which knowledgable individuals can arrive at totally different conclusions.”

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