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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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Panasonic Corp. And Related Entity Resolve $280 Million Avionics Industry FCPA Enforcement Action

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Yesterday, the DOJ and SEC announced (here and here) a parallel Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Japan-based Panasonic Corp.  and a U.S. subsidiary Panasonic Avionics Corp. (PAC).

As stated in the enforcement action, Panasonic was an issuer until April 2013 and again “for a brief period between 2015 and 2016 as a result of a share swap that retriggered Panasonic’s obligation to file its financial statements with the SEC.”

As highlighted in this post, the enforcement action consisted of:

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Canada-Based Kinross Gold Corp. Resolves Approximate $1 Million SEC Action Because Its Acquired Indirect African Subsidiaries Had Deficient Internal Controls

Kinross

Silly you for believing certain commentator hype that the Trump SEC would stop enforcing the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or for thinking that the general lull in SEC corporate enforcement during the fourth quarter of 2017 meant anything.

In the second SEC corporate FCPA enforcement action in the last 2.5 weeks (see here for the prior Elbit Imaging action), the SEC announced yesterday that Canada-based Kinross Gold Corporation (a company with shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange) resolved an enforcement action “arising from the company’s repeated failure to implement adequate accounting controls of two African subsidiaries.” Without admitting or denying the SEC’s finding in this administrative order, Kinross agreed to, among other things, pay a $950,000 civil penalty.

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FCPA Flash – A Conversation With Robert Luskin Regarding FCPA Enforcement Actions Against Foreign Companies

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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 Robert Luskin (Paul Hastings). Luskin has a wealth of experience representing foreign companies (including Technip, Total, Alstom and SBM Offshore) in FCPA enforcement actions. During the podcast, Luskin: (i) elaborates on his previous comments that foreign corporations in FCPA inquiries have real concerns about “whether U.S. lawyers are really defense lawyers or former prosecutors in a better suit” and how some FCPA practitioners are not willing to be adverse to the DOJ; (ii) discusses legal and policy issues present in FCPA enforcement actions against foreign companies; and (iii) opines whether the FCPA has been successful in achieving its objectives including whether any reform is desirable.

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FCPA Flash – A Conversation With David Pere Regarding Developments In France

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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 David Pere (an attorney in the Paris office of Bryan Cave). During the podcast, Pere discusses: (i) developments in France relevant to the anti-bribery and compliance space including, most notably, the new so-called Sapin II law and the new French anti-corruption agency (AFA); (ii) what general counsel and other compliance professionals need to know about the new law and enforcement agency; and (iii) French resentment to aggressive U.S. prosecution of French companies based on sparse jurisdictional allegations.

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