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Dubious As It Was, The Schering-Plough Enforcement Action Was Notable

SP

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

This recent post discussed how from a compliance take-away standpoint the large, egregious, no reasonable minds could differ there was bribery, enforcement actions are the least important and least instructive.

Rather, the most instructive and thus important enforcement actions tend to be those that take the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in a new direction, involve unique interpretations of law (not subjected to any judicial scrutiny of course) and thus pose new compliance challenges for business organizations. The SEC’s 2004 enforcement action against Schering-Plough, based on a bona-fide charitable contribution, certainly fits this mold.

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The Difficulty of Reconciling Existing Legal Authority And Even Enforcement Agency Guidance With Certain FCPA Books And Records And Internal Controls Enforcement Actions

Difficult

This recent FCPA Flash podcast episode focused on the SEC’s “unlawful” enforcement, in certain instances, of the FCPA’s books and records and internal controls provisions.

Off-the-rails SEC FCPA enforcement is a topic frequently discussed on these pages (see here among numerous other posts) and sometimes it is important to take a step back and review actual legal authority, as well as even prior enforcement agency guidance, relevant to the books and records and internal controls provisions.

Upon reviewing the below information, ask yourself whether it is possible to reconcile this legal authority and other sources of information with enforcement theories advanced in certain FCPA enforcement actions.

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FCPA Flash – A Conversation With Michael Levy Regarding The SEC’s “Unlawful” Enforcement Of The FCPA’s Accounting Provisions

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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 Michael Levy (Paul Hastings). Levy recently authored a dandy article titled “The SEC’s Unlawful and Dangerous Expansion of the Exchange Act” in which he asserts that in certain recent enforcement actions the SEC has expanded the FCPA’s books and records and internal controls provisions in an “unlawful” manner and in a way that gives the SEC “capacious authority to regulate by enforcement almost any aspect of the operations of any issuer.” During the podcast, Levy elaborates on these issues and provides suggestions for how SEC enforcement can get back on track given that no issuer has ever put the SEC to its burden of proof in the FCPA’s 40-year history.

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Friday Roundup

Roundup

Funny, also funny, corruption in the anti-corruption industry, the head of the DOJ’s FCPA Unit writes, reasons for the general increase in FCPA enforcement, scrutiny alert, asset recovery, and for the reading stack. It’s all here in the Friday roundup.

Funny

This recent FCPA Blog post asked “what’s the most important FCPA case ever” and stated: “The Africa Sting showed how far the feds would go to make a splashy FCPA case. But the final lesson was that using a big sting to concoct a supposed industry-wide conspiracy was a bad idea. The judge didn’t buy it, and neither did a couple of juries.”

Funny that the post doesn’t mention that the the person at the center of this failed, manufactured case was its current Contributing Editor and training partner Richard Bistrong.

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Friday Roundup

Roundup

Quotable, SEC Annual Report, it’s called the rule of law – deal with it, across the pond, more ISO 37001 puff pieces, monitor related, for your viewing pleasure, and for the reading stack. It’s all here in the Friday roundup.

Quotable

To those still hyperventilating about Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement in the Trump administration (see here and here), perhaps this might calm you down. As reported here by Wall Street Journal Risk & Compliance: “[FCPA Unit Chief Daniel Kahn dismissed the suggestion that President Donald Trump‘s previous criticism of the FCPA has had any effect on the department’s enforcement of the law. Mr. Kahn said he “spanned both administrations,” referring to Mr. Trump’s predecessor, President Barack Obama, adding, “I am continuing to do what I do.”

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