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Friday Roundup

Roundup

Affirmed, very distressing, scrutiny updates, and for the reading stack. It’s all here in the Friday roundup.

Affirmed

As highlighted in this previous post, in July 2017 Dmitrij Harder was sentenced to 60 months (5 years) in federal prison and also ordered to forfeit $1.9 million after pleading guilty to two counts of violating the FCPA for “bribing an official at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).”

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From The Dockets

Judicial Decision

As highlighted in this previous post, Misonix has been under FCPA scrutiny since September 2016 and in March 2017 Cicel (Beijing) Science & Technology Co. Ltd. brought a variety of civil claims against Misonix concerning its business relationship with the company.

Among the claims brought by Cicel was a breach of contract claim. Misonix acknowledged that it terminated the contract, but argued that it “was justified in doing so because of Misonix’s FCPA investigation” regarding Cicel. In response, Cicel claimed that the investigation “was a ruse for breaching the contract.” Recently, U.S. District Court Judge Arthur Spatt (E.D.N.Y.) allowed Cicel’s claim to proceed beyond the motion to dismiss stage. (See 2017 WL 4535933).

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The Randomness Of FCPA Sentences

random

Under the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, there are a number of factors (such as the defendant’s criminal history, value of the improper payment, and acceptance of responsibility) that can impact an individual sentence for Foreign Corrupt Practices Act offenses.

Yet, it appears that the single greatest factor influencing FCPA sentences is the judge assigned to the case. As highlighted by the below recent representative examples, there is a randomness to FCPA sentences. This is unfortunate, as individual sentences for FCPA offenses ought to be consistent. Indeed, consistency in application of the law is one of the fundamental hallmarks of the rule of law.

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Friday Roundup

Roundup

Harder pleads guilty, scrutiny alerts and updates, when the dust settles, visual proof, and golf. It’s all here in the Friday roundup.

Harder Pleads Guilty

As highlighted in this post, in January 2015 the DOJ announced a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Dmitrij Harder for allegedly bribing an official with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Harder is a Russian national, naturalized German citizen and permanent resident of the U.S. and the former owner and President of Chestnut Consulting Group Inc. and Chestnut Consulting Group Co. both based in Pennsylvania.

The enforcement action was notable in that it invoked the rarely used “public international organization” prong of the FCPA’s “foreign official” definition.

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Case Law Of Note

Judicial Decision

Judicial opinions construing the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act are rare. Thus, when they occur (even if only a trial court opinion on a pre-trial motion to dismiss) FCPA judicial opinions are worthy of note.

As highlighted in this prior post, in January 2015 the DOJ criminally charged Dmitrij Harder, the former owner and President of Chestnut Consulting Group Inc. and Chestnut Consulting Group Co., for allegedly bribing an official with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (“EBRD”).

The enforcement action was notable in that it invoked the rarely used “public international organization” prong of the FCPA’s “foreign official” element.

As highlighted here, in October 2015, Harder filed this motion to dismiss:  In summary fashion it stated:

“The Indictment fails to accurately allege the elements of a violation under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) – it is devoid of any allegations that Mr. Harder paid an allegedly corrupt payment to a “foreign official,” fails to state required allegations when an allegedly corrupt payment is made to a third party, and impermissibly substitutes “public international organization” in the charging language against Mr. Harder. The FCPA counts should also be dismissed because the provision permitting the President to expand the term “foreign official” by identifying “public international organizations” as authorized by 15 U.S.C. § 78dd-2(h)(2)(B) is unconstitutional.”

In an unsurprising development given the procedural posture of the motion, last week Judge Paul Diamond (E.D. Pa.) denied the motion. It is believed to be the first judicial decision in FCPA history construing the rarely implicated “public international organization” prong of the FCPA’s “foreign official” definition.

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