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A Game Of Cat And Mouse

catandmouse

The DOJ has long talked about how “greater transparency benefits everyone” (see here).

In this May 2017 speech, a high-ranking DOJ official talked about “the importance of transparency in our anti-corruption prosecutions.”

In this August 2017 speech, a high-ranking DOJ official stated: “We are taking additional steps to enhance our enforcement of the FCPA against both corporate and individual actors, and to promote transparency in doing so.”

In announcing its November 2017 FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy (see here) the DOJ talked about greater “clarity about our decision-making process” and the “advantage of the policy for businesses is to provide transparency about the benefits available if they satisfy the requirements.”

Against this backdrop, if the DOJ is truly committed to transparency and clarity in the FCPA context, why does it continue to play cat and mouse games with the business community about terms and conditions it uses in describing its own enforcement policies?

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Issues To Consider From The Credit Suisse Enforcement Action

Issues

This post highlighted the recent $77 million Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Credit Suisse concerning its internship and hiring practices involving family members of alleged Chinese “foreign officials.” This post continues the analysis by highlighting additional issues to consider.

Timeline

Credit Suisse’s FCPA scrutiny appears to have begun in late 2013 (see here). Thus from start to finish, its scrutiny lasted approximately 4.5 years.

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SEC Potpourri

SEC

A suggestion for the SEC and excerpts from a recent speech by Steven Peikin (Co-Director, Division of Enforcement) on effective communication with the SEC.

Suggestion for the SEC

As highlighted here, the SEC recently launched SEC Action Lookup for Individuals (SALI) “that enables investors to research whether the person trying to sell them investments has a judgment or order entered against them in an enforcement action. The new tool is intended to assist the public in making informed investment decisions and avoiding financial fraud.”

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FCPA Flash – A Conversation With Kevin Muhlendorf

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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 Kevin Muhlendorf (Wiley Rein and former Assistant Chief in the Fraud Section of the DOJ’s Criminal Division and former Senior Counsel in the SEC’s Enforcement Division). During the podcast, Muhlendorf discusses: the DOJ and SEC’s FCPA enforcement programs; FCPA enforcement and the rule of law; whether business organizations cooperate too much in FCPA enforcement actions including as to statute of limitation issues; and whether the FCPA – as it approaches forty – has been successful.

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In Depth Into The Och-Ziff FCPA Enforcement Action

och ziff

Last week, the DOJ and SEC announced (here and here) a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Och-Ziff Capital Management Group (and a related entity) for improper business practices in various African countries. The aggregate settlement amount was $412 million (a $213 million DOJ criminal penalty and a $199 million SEC resolution consisting of disgorgement and prejudgment interest), the 4th largest FCPA settlement amount of all-time.

As highlighted in this previous post, the SEC also found Daniel Och (CEO) and Joel Frank (CFO) culpable for certain of the improper conduct. As indicated in the post, this represents what is believed to be the first time in FCPA history that the SEC also found the current CEO and CFO of the issuer company liable, to some extent, for company FCPA violations. Moreover, the $2.2 million Och agreed to pay, without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, is the largest settlement amount in FCPA history by an individual in an SEC action.

Whether the Och-Ziff enforcement action is the “first time a hedge fund has been held to account for violating the FCPA” (as the DOJ stated in its release) is a debatable point. (See here for the 2007 FCPA enforcement action on the DOJ’s FCPA website against hedge fund Omega Advisors).

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