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In Connection With MTS Enforcement Action, DOJ Also Announces Individual FCPA Criminal Charges As Well As Money Laundering Charges Against Alleged “Foreign Official”

Karimova

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).

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Former Cognizant Technology Solutions Executives Criminally And Civilly Charged In Connection With Indian Planning Permit – Company Resolves $25 Million SEC Enforcement Action

coburnschwartz

In this 2016 post highlighting Cognizant Technology Solutions’s disclosure of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act scrutiny it was also noted that Gordon Coburn resigned from his position as President of Cognizant Technology Solutions. This follow-up post noted that the two disclosures were likely related.

Sure enough as today the DOJ announced that Coburn and Steven Schwartz (Executive Vice President, Chief Legal and Corporate Affairs Officer) were criminally charged with FCPA violations. If the defendants choose to put the DOJ/SEC to its burden of proof, disputed issues will likely focus on corrupt intent, obtain or retain business and the facilitating payments exception.

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DOJ Individual Actions: The Strange Public – Private Divide

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This recent post highlighted certain facts and figures regarding the DOJ’s prosecution of individuals for Foreign Corrupt Practices Act offenses in 2018 and historically.

As highlighted in the prior post, DOJ FCPA individual enforcement actions are significantly skewed by a small handful of enforcement actions and the reality is, despite the DOJ’s rhetoric, approximately 80% of DOJ corporate enforcement actions since 2006 have not (at least yet) resulted in any related DOJ FCPA charges against company employees.

Another very interesting and significant picture emerges when analyzing actual DOJ individual FCPA prosecutions based on whether the individual charged was employed by or otherwise associated with an issuer or a private business organization.

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A Focus On DOJ Individual Actions

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This recent post focused on SEC individual FCPA actions in 2018 and historically and this post highlights certain facts and figures concerning the DOJ’s prosecution of individuals for Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations in 2018 and historically.

As highlighted numerous times on FCPA Professor over the past several years, the DOJ frequently talks about the importance of individual criminal prosecutions.

In 2018, DOJ officials stated: “focusing on individual wrongdoers is an important aspect of the Department’s FCPA program” and as follows:

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A Focus On SEC Individual Actions

SEC

This previous post highlighted various facts and figures from 2018 SEC FCPA enforcement actions against issuers.

As highlighted in the prior post, of the 14 corporate SEC FCPA enforcement actions in 2018, 1 (7%) has involved, at present, related SEC FCPA charges or findings against company employees.

In 2018, the SEC charged or found that three individuals violated the FCPA: Joo Hyun Bahn (associated with Colliers International Group); Patricio Contesse Gonazlez (associated with SQM which resolved an FCPA enforcement action in 2017); and Paul Margis (associated with Panasonic Avionics). (Note: the SEC’s enforcement action against Takeshi Uonaga (Panasonic Avionics former CFO) is not included in FCPA enforcement statistics for the simple reason that this was a revenue recognition matter and thus a non-FCPA FCPA enforcement action).

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