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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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DOJ Charges Well-Known Venezuelan Billionaire Raul Gorrin With FCPA And Related Offenses

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I recently had a conversation with a lawyer who speculated that the recent spate of Venezuela-focused Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement actions was part of a U.S. government effort to facilitate regime change in the country.

Who knows, but it is hard to ignore the many recent FCPA enforcement actions focused on conduct in Venezuela (see hereherehere and here for prior posts).

The latest is this recently unsealed criminal indictment against Raul Gorrin Belisario, a well-known Venezuelan businessman and described by the DOJ as a citizen and national of Venezuela who at various time periods relevant to the charges was a resident of the U.S. with a residence in Florida.

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So Much For That Tone At The Top Thing As SEC Returns To Bring Enforcement Action Against SQM’s Former CEO

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Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement often seems more robust than it actually is because, in the relatively rare instances in which there is an individual prosecution in connection with a corporate action, the individual action often (but not always) occurs long before or long after the corporate action. Many FCPA Inc. participants, who have a vested interest in portraying more not less FCPA enforcement, count these occurrences as multiple enforcement actions when in reality they are the same core enforcement action. (This article highlights this dynamic as well as other dubious and haphazard FCPA Inc. counting methods).

Reflective of the above dynamic, as highlighted in prior posts here and here in January 2017 the DOJ and SEC announced a $30.5 million enforcement action against Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A. (SQM), a chemical and mining company based in Chile, in relation to its interactions with Chilean officials. The bulk of the enforcement action involved use of the CEO’s “discretionary fund to direct payments to Chilean politicians, political candidates, and individuals connected to them “many of which violated Chilean tax law and/or campaign finance limits” and falsely recording such payments in SQM’s books and records.

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Second Circuit Rejects DOJ’s Expansive Jurisdictional Theory Of Prosecution In U.S. v. Hoskins

Judicial Decision

Appellate decisions construing the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act are extremely rare. Thus, many in the FCPA community have been awaiting the Second Circuit’s long-awaited (oral argument was held in March 2017 – see here) decision in U.S. v. Hoskins.

In this decision, the court rejected the DOJ’s expansive jurisdictional theory of prosecution against Lawrence Hoskins, a U.K. national. In many respects, the Second Circuit’s decision was based on the FCPA’s legislative history – demonstrating once again that the legislative history matters (see here for a prior post).

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