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Friday Roundup

Roundup

Guilty plea, scrutiny alerts, absurd and remarkable, and Caldwell to private practice. It’s all here in the Friday roundup.

Guilty Plea

As highlighted in this January post, 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 to a Middle Eastern sovereign wealth fund.

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FCPA Flash – A Conversation With Danforth Newcomb & Cynthia Urda Kassis Regarding “Transacting Business During a Corruption Investigation”

FCPA Flash

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 Shearman & Sterling attorneys Danforth Newcomb and Cynthia Urda Kassis who recently authored an article titled “Transaction Business During a Corruption Investigation.”

During the podcast, Danforth and Cynthia discuss: (i) the origins of the article; (ii) what makes potential legal liability under the FCPA or similar laws different than potential legal liability under other laws; (iii) the gap between corporate FCPA enforcement and individual FCPA enforcement; and (iv) whether a recent DOJ statement that “FCPA investigations [should] be measured in months, not years” is believable.

FCPA Flash is sponsored by Kroll. Kroll is trusted by companies and compliance officers worldwide to help prevent, detect, and remediate FCPA challenges with scalable, end-to-end compliance solutions: from high-volume third party screening and automated monitoring, to risk-based due diligence, to complex investigations and monitorships.

At FCPA Sentencing, Judge Goes Off On Various Aspects Of FCPA Enforcement

Judge Garaufis

While Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement is largely devoid of judicial scrutiny, sentencing of individual defendants remains a judicial function and provides a rare (and often overlooked) public glimpse of someone other than the enforcement agencies weighing in on issues relevant to FCPA enforcement.

Sentencing transcripts not only capture advocacy moments seldom publicly seen in FCPA enforcement, but also telling unscripted comments concerning FCPA enforcement.  For instance, while the enforcement agencies and others often portray bribery as a black and white issue, judges sentencing FCPA individual defendants often see shades of gray.

Several examples are highlighted in the book “The FCPA in a New Era” and another noteworthy example concerns recent remarks made by Nicholas Garaufis (Senior District Judge, E.D.N.Y. – nominated to the bench by President Clinton) in sentencing Samuel Mebiame, a Gabonese national connected to Och-Ziff who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions in connection with African mining projects.

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From The DOJ’s Docket

DOJ

Lorenzo Plea

This October 2015 post highlighted alleged bribery at the United Nations charging John Ashe (described as having various positions at the U.N. including serving as the Permanent Representative of Antigua to the U.N. and recently serving as the President of the U.N. General Assembly) and others (including Francis Lorenzo, Ng Lap Seng and Jeff Yin) with a variety of criminal offenses based on allegations that payments were made to Ashe in connection with a U.N. sponsored conference center in Macau, China and to influence business interactions with Antiguan government officials.

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A Case Study In Risk Aversion Or What Happens When Defendants Fight Back

fightback

[This post is part of a periodic series regarding “old” FCPA enforcement actions]

Previous posts here and here highlighted the 2001 DOJ/SEC FCPA enforcement action against KPMG Siddharta Siddharta & Harsono (KPMG-SSH) and Sonny Harsono and Baker Hughes regarding alleged improper payments in connection with an Indonesia tax assessment. All of the defendants resolved the enforcement actions without putting the DOJ/SEC to its burden of proof (the risk aversion portion of this post).

However, also in 2001 the SEC charged Eric Mattson (the former CFO of Baker Hughes) and James Harris (the former Controller of Baker Hughes) with Foreign Corrupt Practices Act offenses based on the same substantive allegations. Unlike the other defendants, as highlighted in this post, Mattson and Harris fought back – a process that resulted in a federal court judge dismissing the FCPA charges against them.

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