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FCPA Flash – A Conversation With Kara Brockmeyer (Former Chief Of The SEC’s FCPA Unit)

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 Kara Brockmeyer. Earlier this year, Brockmeyer left the SEC where she served as Chief of the SEC’s FCPA Unit since 2011. In the podcast Brockmeyer (currently a partner at Debevoise & Plimpton): looks back at her time as FCPA Unit Chief including what she views as the most significant matters / trends; discusses a few items that, in her view, are not well-understood or appreciated about the SEC’s FCPA enforcement program; explains theories of enforcement regarding the FCPA’s internal controls provisions; and shares insights regarding the SEC’s whistleblower program relevant to the FCPA.

The podcast is a must listen for any FCPA practitioner or compliance professional.

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You Be The Judge

ajudge

The game is baseball is simple. You score more runs than your opponent, you win. Your opponent scores more runs than you, you lose. To score runs, batters have to get on base. A batter gets on base by getting a hit, getting hit by a pitch, or getting walked. The worst possible thing a batter can do is strike out. Striking out represents failure by a batter.

Recently, New York Yankees player Aaron Judge set a Major League Baseball record for batter failure. As highlighted here, over the weekend Judge struck out in his 36th consecutive game breaking the record held by a National League pitcher. (For good measure, Judge also struck out on Sunday pushing the record to 37 consecutive games).

By this metric, Judge is a failure as a batter.

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The Chiquita Enforcement Action – A Bunch Of Bananas With A Slippery Origin

chiquita

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

If you think strict liability enforcement of the FCPA books and records and internal controls provisions is a recent invention, think again.

If you think off-the-rails FCPA enforcement (that is enforcement theories seemingly in conflict with actual legal authority) is a recent invention, think again.

A dubious FCPA enforcement action occurred in 2001 when the SEC announced this administrative cease and desist order finding that Chiquita Brands International Inc. violated the books and records and internal controls provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

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FCPA Flash – A Conversation With Neil Smith (Former Senior Counsel In The SEC’s Enforcement Division) About SEC FCPA Enforcement

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 Neil Smith. On July 14th, Smith left the SEC where he served as senior counsel in the Enforcement Division for more than six years and where he was also a member of the SEC’s FCPA Unit. In the podcast, Smith (currently a partner in the Boston office of K&L Gates) discusses SEC remedies in FCPA enforcement actions, the SEC’s theory of enforcement around the FCPA’s internal controls provisions, the impact of the Supreme Court’s recent Kokesh decision on SEC FCPA enforcement, and changes to the FCPA and FCPA enforcement that he would like to see.

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As We Say, Not As We Do

hypocrisy

The internal controls provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act require issuers to “devise and maintain a system of internal accounting controls sufficient to provide reasonable assurances that” the specific financial objectives of the statute are met.

Besides these vague objectives such as “transactions are executed in accordance with management’s general or specific authorization” or “access to assets is permitted only in accordance with management’s general or specific authorization” the FCPA does not specify what issuers are supposed to do. Nor does any implementing rule or regulation.

Rather, enforcement of the internal controls provisions often amounts to the government – with the perfect of hindsight – adopting a theory of enforcement that represents little more than ipse dixit (an unsupported statement that rests solely on the authority of the individual who makes it). In other words, the failure to do x, y or z is an internal controls violations merely because the government says it is.

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