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Judge Sentences Bahn To 6 Months And Rejects DOJ’s Request For A 70-87 Month Sentence, SEC Brings Related Enforcement Action

Bahn

As highlighted in this previous post, in January 2017 the DOJ announced Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and related charges, against four individuals for their roles in a scheme to pay $2.5 million in bribes to facilitate the $800 million sale of a commercial building in Vietnam (the so-called Landmark 72 pictured) to a Middle Eastern sovereign wealth fund.

It certainly was not a typical FCPA enforcement action. In fact it was downright strange in that the bribery scheme was unsuccessful and the third party intended to facilitate the bribery scheme simply pocketed the money for himself.

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The Case That Just Keeps On Giving – DOJ Announces Additional Charges In PDVSA Bribery Action

PDVSA

Several prior posts (see herehere and here for instance) have highlighted the clustering phenomenon and how a few discreet instances of alleged bribery yield an inordinate amount of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement activity against individuals.

One such example is the DOJ’s long-standing enforcement action (charges were first brought in late 2015) in connection with alleged corrupt schemes to secure contracts from Venezuela’s state-owned and state-controlled energy company, PDVSA.

Yesterday, the DOJ announced that Jose Manuel Gonzalez Testino (Gonzalez – a dual U.S.-Venezuelan citizen) was arrested at Miami International Airport based on a criminal complaint charging conspiracy to violate the FCPA and a substantive FCPA violation for “conspiring to make, and making, corrupt payments to an official [at PDVSA] in exchange for favorable business treatment with PDVSA.”

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It’s Been Over A Year Since The SEC Has Brought An Individual FCPA Enforcement Action

SEC

The SEC (like the DOJ) often talks about the importance of individual FCPA enforcement actions. For instance, SEC enforcement officials have stated:

“Companies cannot engage in bribery without the actions of culpable individuals. The Enforcement Division is broadly committed to holding individuals accountable when the facts and the law support doing so.”

“Pursuing individual accountability [in FCPA enforcement actions] is a critical part of deterrence.”

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Further Statistics Relevant To Individual Liability Under The FCPA

Statistical Analysis

FCPA Professor frequently publishes statistical information relevant to all matters of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement including individual enforcement actions. Thus, I took note of Arent Fox’s recent publication with a catchy title “C-Suite at Risk: A Study of Individual Liability Under the FCPA.”

While I find the study professional and well-presented, I do find the study lacking in terms of what I believe are the most important statistics relevant to individual FCPA accountability – statistics that paint a materially different picture from Arent Fox’s conclusion that “the C-Suite has been and will continue to be in the DOJ’s crosshairs.”

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An FCPA Enforcement Action That Slipped Through The Cracks

petroecuador

There is not much that goes unnoticed by the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act media.

However, this April 19, 2018 indictment of Frank Roberto Chatburn Ripalda (a dual United States and Ecuadorian citizen) appears to have slipped through the cracks.

The indictment alleges that between 2013 and 2015, Chatburn conspired with others by making corrupt payments to PetroEcuador officials in order to obtain and retain contracts for Galileo (described as an Ecuadorian company that provided services in the oil and gas industry) from PetroEcuador.

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