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FCPA Flash Podcast – A Conversation With Philip Urofsky Regarding 2018 FCPA Trends And Developments

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The FCPA Flash podcast provides in an audio format the same fresh, candid, and informed commentary about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and related topics as readers have come to expect from written posts on FCPA Professor.

This FCPA Flash episode is a conversation with Philip Urofsky (Shearman & Sterling and a former FCPA enforcement official at the DOJ). During the podcast, Urofsky elaborates on various issues such as jurisdiction over foreign actors and parent-subsidiary issues found in the firm’s always informative FCPA Digest. Urofsky also opines on what the FCPA enforcement landscape might look like if business organizations would put the government to its burden of proof in enforcement actions.

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Friday Roundup

Roundup

Scrutiny alerts and updates, overstating, and for the reading stack. It’s all here in the Friday roundup.

Scrutiny Alerts and Updates

Fresenius

As highlighted in this previous post, German healthcare firm Fresenius Medical Care AG (a company with shares traded on the NYSE) has been under FCPA scrutiny since 2012 (no that is not a typo). As highlighted in this previous post, earlier this year the company disclosed:

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Brazil State-Owned Co. Allegedly Facilitates Payments To Brazilian Politicians And Political Parties And U.S. Collects Net $170 Million In FCPA Enforcement Action

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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.

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Foreign Subsidiaries Of French Pharma Company Sanofi Allegedly Bribe Kazakh And Middle Eastern “Foreign Officials” – Uncle Sam Collects $25.2 Million

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If history is any guide, September is likely to be an active month for Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement as the SEC’s fiscal year ends.

Sure enough, yesterday the SEC announced an enforcement action against Paris-based pharmaceutical company Sanofi. The conduct at issue focused on employees and agents of the company’s subsidiaries in Kazakstan and various Middle Eastern countries providing things of value to “foreign officials, including healthcare professionals, in order to improperly influence them and increase sales of Sanofi products.”

In doing so, the enforcement action once again raises the policy issue of the U.S. bringing an enforcement action against a foreign company (domiciled in a country also party to the OECD Convention) for its interaction with non-U.S. officials. (See here for a prior post).

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Supreme Court Questions Whether Dollar-Denominated Transactions Or Other Financial Transactions In The U.S. Are Sufficient To Assert Jurisdiction Over Foreign Corporations

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Largely because of how the DOJ and SEC have chosen to enforce the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (that is resolution vehicles not subjected to any meaningful judicial scrutiny), the Supreme Court has never been presented with an opportunity to interpret the FCPA (and likely never will be so long as the current state of affairs continues). Heck, you can count on one hand (and have a few fingers left over) the number of substantive FCPA decisions issued by appellate courts.

Nevertheless, in recent years the Supreme Court has issued several decisions that are FCPA relevant and in every one the court has questioned certain aspects common in FCPA enforcement. The most recent example occurred in an Alien Tort Claims Act case (Jesner v. Arab Bank) in which the majority opinion questioned in dicta whether dollar-denominated transactions or other financial transactions in the U.S. are sufficient to assert jurisdiction over foreign corporations.

Prior to discussing the recent Jesner decision, this post highlights how such allegations are common in FCPA enforcement actions against foreign corporations.

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