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DOJ Adds Additional Defendant To Haiti Port Project Case

boncy

As highlighted here, in August 2017 (in connection with an undercover sting) the DOJ announced criminal charges against Joseph Baptiste (a retired U.S. Army Colonel, practicing dentist, and former founder/president of a Maryland-based Haitian focused non-profit) “for his alleged role in a foreign bribery and money laundering scheme in connection with a planned $84 million port development project in Haiti” in an area known as Mole Saint Nicolas.

With Baptiste’s trial set to begin in early December, the DOJ returned to the same alleged core conduct by announcing additional criminal charges against Roger Boncy (pictured – 74, a dual U.S. and Haitian citizen who resides in Madrid, Spain).

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Stephanie Avakian (Co-Director Of The SEC’s Enforcement Division) Ponders The Meaning Of Success

Avakian

In this, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act’s 40th year, it is prudent to take a step back and ponder the question of whether the FCPA has been successful in achieving its objectives. This of course begs the question: what is the definition of success? (See here a 25 minute video which explores this issue, see also posts here, here, and here).

Recently, Stephanie Avakian (Co-Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division) delivered this speech. While the speech does not specifically mention the FCPA, Avakian nevertheless ponders the meaning of success when it comes to SEC enforcement (and after all, the SEC does have a specialized FCPA Unit – one of only five such specialized units).

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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

gonzelez

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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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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