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Approximately 7.5 Years After Disclosing FCPA Scrutiny, Walmart FINALLY Resolves FCPA Enforcement Action

Wal-Mart

As highlighted in this prior post, in late 2011 Walmart disclosed that it began “an internal investigation into whether certain matters, including permitting, licensing and inspections, were in compliance” with the FCPA.

So began arguably one of the most high-profile instances of corporate scrutiny in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. history. The scrutiny FINALLY came to an end yesterday as the DOJ and SEC announced (here and here) a coordinated $282 million enforcement action. As highlighted in this prior post, Walmart disclosed this likely settlement amount in November 2017,  yet it still took approximately 1.5 additional years to formally resolve the matter.

This post summarizes the DOJ and SEC’s enforcement action concerning alleged improper conduct in the following countries: Mexico, Brazil, India and China.  Future posts will explore numerous other issues relevant to the enforcement action.

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The Percentage Of SEC FCPA Enforcement Actions That Also Involve A DOJ Component

percentage

In this recent Corporate Crime Reporter interview, former SEC FCPA Unit Chief Kara Brockmeyer was asked: “are you noticing since you left the SEC a shift to the Justice Department not joining the SEC as much on FCPA cases?”

Borckmeyer responded: “When you are at the government for a long period of time, you see the pendulum swing back and forth. Yes, we are in a period, particularly in the FCPA area, where we saw the Department of Justice step away from a number of cases that were SEC only FCPA enforcement actions. There was a period of time where the Department was on every case that the SEC brought in the FCPA area. Now, the Department seems to be picking their battles on where they want to expend their resources.”

What do the numbers actually show? As highlighted below, between 2010 and 2014 the DOJ was involved in approximately 70% of SEC enforcement actions. Between 2015 to the present, the DOJ was involved in approximately 40% of SEC enforcement actions. [Keep in mind that the universe of enforcement actions (i.e. the denominator) is not that large and each enforcement action comprises approximately 2% of the total]

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Fresenius Medical Care Pays Approximately $232 Million To Resolve Its Long-Standing FCPA Scrutiny

fresenius

German healthcare firm Fresenius Medical Care AG (a company with American Depositary Receipt shares traded on the NYSE) has been under FCPA scrutiny since 2012 (no that is not a typo).

Today the DOJ and SEC announced (here and here) an approximate $232 million enforcement action ($84.7 million to the DOJ and $147 million to the SEC) against the company for alleged bribery schemes involving physicians and other healthcare personnel in Angola, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Spain, Turkey, Gabon, Benin, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Niger, Cameroon China, Serbia, Bosnia, and Mexico.

While not specified in any of the resolution documents, the DOJ’s non-prosecution agreement and SEC’s administrative order make generic reference to the Angola and Saudi Arabia conduct involving ‘agents and employees utiliz[ing] the means and instrumentalities of U.S. interstate commerce, including the use of internet-based email accounts hosted by numerous service providers located in the United States.”

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Next Up – MTS Resolves $850 Million FCPA Enforcement Action

mts

First it was Netherlands-based VimpelCom which resolved a net $398 million FCPA enforcement action in February 2016 for bribing an alleged Uzbekistan telecom official (see here and here for prior posts).

Then it was Sweden-based Telia which resolved a net $483 million FCPA enforcement action in September 2017 based on the same alleged core conduct. (see here and here for prior posts).

Recently, the SEC and DOJ announced (see here and here) that Russia-based Mobile TeleSystems PJSC (MTS) agreed to resolve an $850 million DOJ/SEC FCPA enforcement action based on the same alleged core conduct. This is the largest settlement amount in an FCPA enforcement action in history. (See here for a list of the top ten corporate enforcement actions).

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The Case That Just Keeps On Giving – DOJ Announces Additional Charges In PDVSA Bribery Action

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.

Yesterday, the DOJ announced that two additional individuals were criminally charged “for their alleged roles in a scheme to corruptly secure business advantages, including contracts and payment on past due invoices, from Venezuela’s state-owned and state-controlled energy company, Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA).”

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