In connection with the recent MTS Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action (see here for the prior post), the DOJ also announced FCPA and related criminal charges against Bekhzod Akhmedov (a citizen of Uzbekistan and former executive of an MTS entity) as well as money laundering charges against Gulnara Karimova (pictured – the former Uzbek official at the center of the telecom bribery scheme who allegedly had influence over the Uzbek governmental body that regulated the telecom industry).
As highlighted in this prior post, in August 2018 the DOJ quietly released a so-called declination with disgorgement letter concerning Insurance Corporation of Barbados Ltd. (ICBL).
Pursuant to the agreement, ICBL agreed to pay approximately $94,000 for alleged bribes to a Barbadian government official in exchange for insurance contracts. As noted in the prior post, Donville Inniss (the “foreign official”) was charged with money laundering offenses.
In an August 2018 superseding indictment recently unsealed by the DOJ, Ingrid Innes (a Canadian citizen, resident of Barbados and former CEO of ICBL) and Alex Tasker (a citizen and resident of Barbados and former senior VP of ICBL) were also charged – not with FCPA anti-bribery violations – but with money laundering offenses. (For media coverage see here, for the DOJ’s release see here).
As highlighted in prior posts (here, here and here) in April 2018 the DOJ and SEC announced a $280 million Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Japan-based Panasonic Corp. and a U.S. subsidiary Panasonic Avionics Corp. (PAC).
In the words of the government “between 2007 and 2013, PAC employees, including senior executives, engaged in a scheme to retain consultants for improper purposes other than for providing actual consulting services.”
Earlier this week, the SEC returned to the same core conduct to bring administrative actions (here and here) against Paul Margis (pictured – a former President and CEO of PAC) and Takeshi Uonaga (PAC’s former CFO). The Margis action finds that he authorized various conduct giving rise to the company’s FCPA liability, whereas the Uonaga matter is materially different in that it is a revenue recognition matter.
This morning the DOJ and SEC announced (here and here) that Petrobras, a Brazilian state-owned and state-controlled energy company, entered into agreements with U.S. and Brazilian authorities “in connection with Petrobras’s role in facilitating payments to politicians and political parties in Brazil, as well as a related Brazilian investigation.”
After various credits and deductions for a related law enforcement action in Brazil, the net FCPA settlement is approximately $170 million ($85.3 million DOJ, $85.3 million SEC). Brazil will collect $682.6 million. The remainder of this post provides an in-depth summary of the enforcement action.
Certain of what passes for Foreign Corrupt Practices Act commentary is shallow and lacks an appreciation of context and perspective. Another hallmark of shallow FCPA commentary is the logical fallacy post hoc ergo propter hoc (in other words, since event Y followed event X, event Y must have been caused by event X).
Shallow FCPA commentary matters because it spreads misleading information about FCPA enforcement and policy.