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The Case That Just Keeps On Giving – DOJ Announces Additional Charges In PDVSA Bribery Action Against Employees Of Swiss Wealth Management Firm – Previously Charged FCPA Defendant Files Motion To Dismiss

PDVSA

Several prior posts (see hereherehere and here for instance) have highlighted the clustering phenomenon and how a few discreet instances of alleged bribery yield an inordinate amount of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement activity against individuals.

One such example is the DOJ’s long-standing enforcement action (charges were first brought in late 2015) in connection with alleged corrupt schemes to secure contracts from Venezuela’s state-owned and state-controlled energy company, PDVSA.

In this recently unsealed indictment, Nervis Villalobos Cardenas (a citizen of Venezuela), Daisy Rafoi Bleuler (a citizen of Switzerland and partner in a Swiss Wealth Management firm), and Paulo Caqueiro Murta (a citizen of Portugal and Switzerland and employee in a Swiss Management firm) were charged with conspiracy to violate the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions as well as other offenses. In the indictment, various former employees of PDVSA entities (alleged to be “foreign officials”) were also charged with money laundering offenses. As highlighted in this prior post, Villalobos was previously charged with FCPA and related offenses in early 2018.

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Individual Pleads Guilty To FCPA And Related Offenses In Connection With Uganda Adoption Scheme

UgandaAdoption

In a fact pattern believed to be a first in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act history, last week the DOJ announced that Robin Longoria (an individual who managed aspects of an international program at an Ohio-based adoption agency) pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to violate the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions and to commit wire fraud and visa fraud “for her role in a scheme to corruptly facilitate adoptions of Ugandan children through bribing Ugandan officials and defrauding U.S. adoptive parents and the U.S. Department of State.”

According to this media report, the adoption agency is now defunct European Adoption Consultants.

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Microsoft Resolves Long-Standing FCPA Scrutiny By Agreeing To Pay $25.3 Million

microsft

Microsoft has been under Foreign Corrupt Practices Act scrutiny since early 2013 (see here for the prior post). Yesterday, the DOJ and SEC announced here and here an aggregate $25.3 million enforcement action against the company and a Hungarian subsidiary concerning conduct in Hungary, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Turkey.

The enforcement action involved a DOJ component involving a non-prosecution agreement involving MS Hungary in which the entity agreed to pay a $8.8 million criminal penalty and an SEC administrative order against Microsoft finding violations of the FCPA’s books and records and internal controls provisions in which the company agreed, without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, to pay disgorgement and prejudgment interest of approximately $16.5 million.

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DOJ Brings Additional Criminal Charges In Connection With PetroEcuador Bribery Scheme

petroecuador

Similar to how the April 2018 indictment of Frank Roberto Chatburn Ripalda alleging a bribery scheme involving PetroEcuador officials generally went unnoticed (see here for the prior post), this May 2019 indictment of Armengol Alfonso Cevallas Diaz (an Ecuadorian citizen) and Jose Melquiades Cisneros Alarcon (an Ecuadorian citizen and permanent resident of the U.S.) concerning the same alleged bribery scheme also generally went unnoticed.

The indictment charges Cevallos and Cisneros with conspiracy to violate the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and numerous money laundering offenses.

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TechnipFMC Joins FCPA Repeat Offender Club, Resolves Net $81.9 Million DOJ FCPA Enforcement Action, SEC Enforcement Action Forthcoming, Individual Criminally Charged

technipfmc

That’s a dense headline, but there was much at play in this DOJ announcement from earlier this week.

First, Technip joined the ever growing list of FCPA repeat offenders (see here) as the company previously resolved a $340 million FCPA enforcement action in 2010 concerning conduct at Bonny Island, Nigeria. (See here and here for prior posts). For good measure, as highlighted in this prior post, in 2016 FMC Technologies resolved a so-called non-FCPA, FCPA enforcement action.

Second, most FCPA enforcement actions against issuers that include a DOJ and SEC component are resolved on the same day, however this week’s development was DOJ only and this company press release states “TechnipFMC has reached an agreement in principle with the SEC Staff, subject to final SEC approval.”

Third, in connection with the same core conduct alleged in the DOJ enforcement action the DOJ also criminally charged Zwi Skornicki (a citizen of Brazil).

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