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DOJ Criminally Charges Former Braskem CEO Jose Grubisich In Connection With The Same Core Conduct Alleged In The 2016 Corporate Enforcement Action

grubisich

As highlighted in this prior post, in late 2016 the DOJ and SEC brought a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Odebrecht S.A. (a Brazilian holding company) and Braskem S.A. (a Brazil-based petrochemical company with shares traded on the NYSE in which Odebrecht owned a majority of voting shares).

The conduct at issue was egregious and largely centered on a business unit, the Division of Structured Operations, housed within an Odebrecht subsidiary that allegedly served as little more than a bribe-paying department for the benefit of Odebrecht and Braskem. According to the resolution documents, former senior executives authorized approximately $788 million in bribes, largely through the Division of Structured Operations, to alleged foreign officials in at least twelve countries. While the principal focus of the DOJ’s action (and the exclusive focus of the SEC action) concerned conduct in Brazil including the companies relationships with Petrobras, the DOJ action also alleges improper payments in Angola, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Mozambique, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.

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Former Herbalife China Executives Criminally Charged By DOJ, SEC Also Charges Former Executive

herbalife

In 2014, Avon resolved a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement based in large part on obtaining a direct selling permit in China. (See here for the prior post).

In 2016, Nu Skin Enterprises resolved an FCPA enforcement action based in large part on obtaining a direct selling permit in China. (See here for the prior post).

In 2017, Herbalife disclosed that it was under FCPA scrutiny concerning its conduct in China. With the company’s scrutiny still pending, yesterday the DOJ announced that Yanliang Li (a citizen of China and former Managing Director of a Chinese division of Herbalife) and Hongwei Yang (a citizen of China and former head the External Affairs Department of a Chinese division of Herbalife) were criminally charged “for their roles in a scheme to violate the anti-bribery and the internal controls provisions of the FCPA.” Not surprisingly, the alleged conduct focused on obtaining a direct selling permit.

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DOJ Announces Guilty Pleas By Former Unaoil Executives

unaoil

Yesterday, the DOJ announced that Cyrus Ahsani and Saman Ahsani (the former CEO and Chief Operations Officer of Monaco-based Unaoil) pleaded guilty in March 2019 to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA for their roles in a scheme to corruptly facilitate millions of dollars in bribe payments to officials in multiple countries. The DOJ also announced that Steven Hunter (a former business development manager at Unaoil) pleaded guilty in August 2018 to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA.

Prior Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement actions against Rolls-Royce and SBM Offshore (see here and here) involved, in whole or in part, Unaoil and the Ahsani information refers to approximately 25 other companies including approximately ten U.S. based issuers. Thus, it is likely that additional FCPA enforcement actions involving, in whole or in part, Unaoil will be forthcoming.

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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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