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Understanding Odebrecht: Lessons For Combating Corruption In The Americas

oder

Recently, the House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing titled “Understanding Odebrecht: Lessons for Combating Corruption in the Americas” in reference to the 2016 Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and related enforcement action against Brazil-based Odebrecht and its affiliate Braskem (see here and here for prior posts).

Granted, Congress often holds hearings with aspirational titles, but after watching the hearing I am not sure I came any closer to “understanding” Odebrecht or came away with any “lessons for combating corruption in the Americas.”

Nevertheless, set forth below are a few observations from the hearing.

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House Holds Hearing On FCPA Relevant Issues

Capital Hill

Last week, the House Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Securities, and Investment held a hearing titled “Ensuring Effectiveness, Fairness, and Transparency in Securities Law Enforcement.”

Several of the issues discussed at the hearing were Foreign Corrupt Practices Act relevant such as disgorgement, statute of limitations and tolling agreements, the long time periods associated with issuer scrutiny, and “regulation by enforcement.”

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The Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Rewards Act

assetrecovery

Efforts by the U.S. government to combat foreign corruption are broader than just the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. For instance, approximately ten years ago the DOJ announced a Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative.

Related to this general program, recently Representative Stephen Lynch (D-MA) introduced H.R. 5101 – the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Rewards Act “to authorize the Secretary of the Treasury to pay rewards under an asset recovery rewards program to help identify and recover stolen assets linked to foreign government corruption and the proceeds of such corruption hidden behind complex financial structures in the United States and abroad.”

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The Purported Trump / Tillerson FCPA Exchange Is Old News … In Any Event, Some Context

TrumpTillerson

As one who closely follows news related to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, I was surprised over the past few days about the amount of coverage given to a purported exchange between President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about the FCPA.

The originating source for this coverage was a relatively minor blurb in this New Yorker article. What surprised me (and you certainly would not know this from reading the New Yorker article because it doesn’t mention this) is that the purported exchange was widely reported back in March.

This post highlights how this is an “old news” item, provides facts about FCPA enforcement during the first 8 months of the Trump administration, and demonstrates that President Trump is far from the only politician to raise concerns about the FCPA and its enforcement. Indeed, Democrats and Republicans have long done the same thing.

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Thoughts On The “Combating Global Corruption Act Of 2017”

Congress

Recently Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), along with Republican co-sponsors such as Senator David Perdue (R-GA) and Senator Marco (R-FL) and others, introduced a bill titled the “Combating Global Corruption Act of 2017.”

As stated in the preamble, the bill seeks “to identify and combat corruption in countries, to establish a tiered system of countries with respect to levels of corruption by their governments and their efforts to combat such corruption, and to assess United States assistance to designated countries in order to advance anti-corruption efforts in those countries and better serve United States taxpayers.” Corruption is defined as “the exercise of public power for private gain, including by bribery, nepotism, fraud, or embezzlement.”

This post provides a summary of the bill and offers two thoughts regarding the bill relevant to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

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