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The FCPA’s Conversational Waters Are Muddy

muddy water2

There are some issues in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act space that really should be simple.

For instance, the question “what is an FCPA enforcement action” really should be simple.

However, as highlighted in the article “A Common Language to Remedy Distorted FCPA Enforcement Statistics” various FCPA Inc. participants have adopted (for self-interested reasons perhaps) creative and haphazard counting methods regarding “what is an FCPA enforcement action.” The end result is a muddy conversation about many FCPA enforcement issues and the creative and haphazard counting methods infect the quality and reliability of FCPA enforcement and related statistics of interest to many in the legal and business communities.

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Rebooting A Long-Standing FCPA Proposal In The Aftermath Of Newmont Mining’s Recent Disclosure

proposal

In the aftermath of a recent Foreign Corrupt Practices Act disclosure by Newmont Mining, this post reboots a proposal first suggested in August 2010 (see here), further proposed in August 2016 (see here), and proposed again in March 2017 (see here).

The proposal is this: when a company voluntarily discloses an FCPA internal investigation to the DOJ and/or SEC and when one or both of the enforcement agencies do not bring an enforcement action, have the “declining” enforcement agency publicly state, in a thorough and transparent manner, the facts the company disclosed and why the “declining” agency did not bring an enforcement action based on those facts.

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The First Corporate FCPA Enforcement Action In The Trump Era Is A $11.2 Million Declination With Disgorgement And Forfeiture Against Linde For Nearly Decade-Old Conduct Of An Acquired Entity

Linde

Last Friday the DOJ quietly updated its FCPA Pilot Program “declinations” page to include a June 16th letter from the Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office (D.N.J.) to counsel for Linde North America Inc. and Linde Gas North America LLC.

The letter states that “consistent with the FCPA Pilot Program announced on April 5, 2016, the [DOJ is closing its] investigation of [Linde] and certain of their subsidiaries and affiliates concerning violations of the FCPA.”

Pursuant to the letter agreement, Linde agreed to disgorge or forfeit approximately $11.2 million. The Linde enforcement action is the first corporate FCPA enforcement action in the Trump era and is similar to the previous “declinations with disgorgement” enforcement actions released by the Obama DOJ in September 2016. (See here for a prior post).

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DOJ’s McFadden Makes Sense When Talking About “Declinations” And States That FCPA Investigations Should Be “Measured In Months, Not Years”

mcfadden

Yesterday, Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Trevor McFadden deliver this speech in Washington, D.C.

Sure, like a prior recent speech, McFadden did read from the “DOJ’s FCPA script,” but to his credit he did say some important things about FCPA compliance that is refreshing to hear from the DOJ. In addition, McFadden’s statement that his “intent is for our FCPA investigations to be measured in months, not years” should be welcome news to the business community. However, the DOJ has been saying the same thing for years and a wait and see approach is most prudent. For instance, in this 2005 speech then DOJ Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Christopher Wray talked about “real-time enforcement” and stated: “in other words, punishing wrongdoers promptly after they commit their crimes. Simply put, speed matters in corporate fraud investigations . The days of five-year investigations, of agreement after agreement tolling the statute of limitations-while ill-gotten gains are frittered away and investor confidence sinks-are increasingly a thing of the past.”

Moreover, as highlighted in more detail below, McFadden made sense when talking about DOJ “declinations” and his reasons for why the DOJ may not bring a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action in an instance of FCPA scrutiny undermines the “declination” definition used by certain FCPA Inc. participants.

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Rebooting A Long-Standing FCPA Proposal In The Aftermath Of Crawford & Company’s Recent Disclosure

proposal

In the aftermath of a recent Foreign Corrupt Practices Act disclosure by Crawford & Company, this post reboots a proposal first suggested in August 2010 (see here) and further proposed in August 2016 (see here).

The proposal is this: when a company voluntarily discloses an FCPA internal investigation to the DOJ and/or SEC and when one or both of the enforcement agencies do not bring an enforcement action, have the “declining” enforcement agency publicly state, in a thorough and transparent manner, the facts the company disclosed and why the “declining” agency did not bring an enforcement action based on those facts.

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