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Nearly 20 Corporate FCPA Enforcement Actions By The DOJ, Approximately $1.4 Billion Collected, And Not One Company Employee Has Been Charged With FCPA Offenses By The DOJ

dismal

As highlighted here, nearly two years ago the DOJ released the so-called Yates Memo, technically a policy memo titled “Individual Accountability for Corporate Wrongdoing.”

There was really nothing new in the Yates Memo as it continued the DOJ’s rhetoric about the importance of individual prosecutions. Specifically, the Yates Memo repeated the following DOJ rhetoric:

“One of the most effective ways to combat corporate misconduct is by seeking accountability from the individuals who perpetrated the wrongdoing. Such accountability is important for several reasons: it deters future illegal activity, it incentivizes changes in corporate behavior, it ensures that the proper parties are held responsible for their actions, and it promotes the public’s confidence in our justice system.”

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Let’s All Take A Deep Breath, Gaps In FCPA Enforcement Are Common

take a deep breath

There has not been a corporate FCPA enforcement action since January 19th. In other words, there has not been a corporate FCPA enforcement action brought by the Trump administration.

In the minds of some this is likely “evidence” of [insert whatever grip you have about the Trump administration and assume causation].

However, facts are important and this post highlights the fact that gaps in FCPA enforcement are common and that numerous gaps in FCPA enforcement occurred during the Obama administration.

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DOJ’s McFadden Makes Sense When Talking About “Declinations” And States That FCPA Investigations Should Be “Measured In Months, Not Years”

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Yesterday, Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Trevor McFadden deliver this speech in Washington, D.C.

Sure, like a prior recent speech, McFadden did read from the “DOJ’s FCPA script,” but to his credit he did say some important things about FCPA compliance that is refreshing to hear from the DOJ. In addition, McFadden’s statement that his “intent is for our FCPA investigations to be measured in months, not years” should be welcome news to the business community. However, the DOJ has been saying the same thing for years and a wait and see approach is most prudent. For instance, in this 2005 speech then DOJ Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Christopher Wray talked about “real-time enforcement” and stated: “in other words, punishing wrongdoers promptly after they commit their crimes. Simply put, speed matters in corporate fraud investigations . The days of five-year investigations, of agreement after agreement tolling the statute of limitations-while ill-gotten gains are frittered away and investor confidence sinks-are increasingly a thing of the past.”

Moreover, as highlighted in more detail below, McFadden made sense when talking about DOJ “declinations” and his reasons for why the DOJ may not bring a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action in an instance of FCPA scrutiny undermines the “declination” definition used by certain FCPA Inc. participants.

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Friday Roundup

Roundup

Odebrecht / Braskem settlement amount is significantly trimmed, a form of bribery?, quotable, deficient internal controls, and scrutiny alerts and updates. It’s all here in the Friday roundup.

Odebrecht / Braskem Settlement Amount Significantly Trimmed

There was much false and misleading reporting about the FCPA settlement amount in the December 2016 FCPA enforcement action against Odebrecht / Braskem.

As highlighted in this post, after accounting for various credits and deductions (including for payments to Brazil and Swiss law enforcement agencies and a claimed inability to pay) the net FCPA settlement amount (subject to potential future adjustments) was approximately $420 million. The $420 settlement amount consisted of approximately $260 million in connection with the Odebrecht criminal information and plea agreement; $94.8 million in connection with the Braskem criminal information and plea agreement; and $65 million in connection with the SEC’s related enforcement action against Braskem.

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Additional Data Points Relevant To Brockmeyer’s Tenure As SEC FCPA Unit Chief

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Earlier this week, the SEC announced that its FCPA Unit Chief, Kara Brockmeyer, will soon be leaving.

Similar to prior DOJ/SEC press releases upon FCPA enforcement attorneys leaving the government, the SEC’s release largely defines Brockmeyer’s tenure in terms of quantity of enforcement actions brought and settlement amounts secured. (See here for a prior post discussing this dynamic). The vast majority of this FCPA enforcement, because of the prominence of SEC administrative actions as well as NPAs and DPAs, occurred in the absence of any judicial scrutiny.

This post highlights additional data points relevant to Brockmeyer’s tenure as SEC FCPA Unit Chief, a position she assumed in September 2011 after the SEC’s first formal FCPA Unit Chief Cheryl Scarboro departed (see here for the prior post).

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