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Total Agrees To Pay $398 Million To Resolve Its FCPA Scrutiny

Yesterday, the DOJ and SEC announced (here) and (here) a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Total S.A., a French oil and gas company that has American Depositary Shares registered with the SEC and traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

The enforcement action involved a DOJ criminal information resolved via a deferred prosecution agreement and a SEC administrative cease and desist order.  Total agreed to pay approximately $398 million to resolve its alleged FCPA scrutiny ($245.2 million to resolve the DOJ enforcement action and $153 million to resolve the SEC enforcement action).  The $398 million enforcement action is the third largest in FCPA history in terms of fine / penalty amount.

DOJ

The DOJ enforcement action involved a criminal information (here) resolved through a deferred prosecution agreement (here).

Information

In the criminal information, the DOJ charged Total with conspiracy to violate the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions and violating the FCPA’s books and records and internal controls provisions.  The conduct at issue centered on Total’s negotiation of a contract with the National Iranian Oil Company (“NIOC”) in 1995 and 1997 for the development of the certain oil and gas fields.  NIOC is described in the information as a “government-owned corporation operating under the direction and control of the Ministry of Petroleum of Iran.”

The information alleges as conspiracy “to obtain and retain lucrative contracts related to [the oil and gas fields] through the promise and payment of tens of millions of dollars in unlawful payments to the Iranian Official and others.  The Iranian Official is described in the information as “the Chairman of an Iranian engineering company that was more than 90% owned by the Government of Iran and substantially controlled by the Government of Iran.”  The information further states that “from at least early 2001, the Iranian Official was the head of an Iranian organization concerned with fuel consumption, which was a wholly owned subsidiary of NIOC, and was a government advisor to a high-ranking Iranian official.”

The information alleges that Total caused Total International Ltd. (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Total registered in Bermuda) to execute purported consulting agreements with Intermediary One (described as an employee of a Swiss private bank who acted at the direction of the Iranian Official) and Intermediary Two (described as a British Virgin Islands company that acted at the direction of the Iranian Official) as a “mechanism for Total to pay at the direction of the Iranian Official millions of dollars in unlawful payments.”

According to the information, Total paid approximately $60 million to accounts designated by Intermediary One and Two.  The information allegations that “Total mischaracterized the payments under the various consulting agreements as ‘business development expenses,’ when they were, in fact, unlawful payments for the purpose of inducing the Iranian Official to use his influence in connection with the granting of development rights” in the oil and gas projects.

The information then alleges 20 overt acts in furtherance of the conspiracy.  19 of the overt acts (95%) are alleged to have taken place between 10 to 18 years ago.  The most recent alleged overt act is a November 2004 wire transfer.  The only alleged overt act with a U.S. nexus is a 1995 wire transfer of $500,000 (.8% of the overall bribe payments) from Total International’s account at Banker’s Trust in New York to an account in Switzerland.

As to the FCPA books and records charge, the information states as follows.

“… Total knowingly falsified and caused to be falsified books, records, and accounts, required to, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of Total, to wit:  Total (a) mischaracterized the unlawful payments under the various consulting agreements as ‘business development expenses’ and (b) improperly characterized the unlawful consulting agreements as legitimate consulting agreements.”

As to the FCPA internal controls charge, the information states as follows.

“… Total knowingly circumvented and knowingly failed to implement a system of internal accounting controls sufficient to provide reasonable assurances that transactions and dispositions of Total’s assets complied with applicable law, including the FCPA, to wit:  Total:  (a) failed to implement adequate anti-bribery compliance policies and procedures; (b) failed to maintain an adequate system for the selection and approval of consultants; (c) failed to conduct adequate audits of payments to purported consultants; (d) failed to establish a sufficiently empowered and competent corporate compliance office; (e) failed to take reasonable steps to ensure the company’s compliance and ethics program was followed; (f) failed to evaluate regularly the effectiveness of the company’s compliance and ethics program; (g) failed to provide appropriate incentives to perform in accordance with the compliance and ethics program; (h) concealed the consulting agreements’ true nature and true participants; (i) performed no due diligence concerning the named or unnamed parties to these agreements; and (j) lacked controls sufficient to provide reasonable assurances that the consulting agreements complied with applicable laws.”

DPA

The above charges against Total were resolved via a DPA in which Total admitted, accepted, and acknowledged that it was responsible for the acts of its officers, employees, agents, and subsidiaries as charged in the information.

The DPA has a term of three years and under the heading “relevant considerations” it states as follows.

“The Department enters into this Agreement based on the individual facts and circumstances presented by this case and Total.  Among the facts considered were the following:  (a) the related investigation by French criminal enforcement authorities of the same conduct that forms the basis of this resolution and to which the Department has been providing assistance; (b) the evidentiary challenges presented to both parties by this matter, in which most of the underlying conduct occurred in the 1990s and early 2000s; and (c) Total’s production of relevant documents from abroad and disclosure of the results of its internal investigation into the misconduct described in the Information.”

Pursuant to the DPA, the advisory Sentencing Guidelines range for the conduct at issue was $235.2 to $470.4 million.  The $245.2 million that Total agreed to pay pursuant to the DPA is a rare instance of an FCPA corporate penalty being within the Guidelines range.  Most corporate FCPA criminal fines are approximately 25% below the minimum amount suggested by the Guidelines range.

Pursuant to the DPA, Total agreed to review its existing internal controls, policies and procedures regarding compliance with the FCPA, the anti-corruption provisions of French law, and other applicable anti-corruption laws.  The specifics are detailed in Attachment C to the DPA.  The DPA also requires Total to engage a corporate compliance monitor who is a French national for a three year term.  The specifics, including the Monitor’s reporting obligations to the DOJ, are detailed in Attachment D to the DPA.

In the DOJ’s release (here) Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman stated as follows.

“Today we announce the first coordinated action by French and U.S. law enforcement in a major foreign bribery case.  Our two countries are working more closely today than ever before to combat corporate corruption, and Total, which bought business through bribes, now faces the criminal consequences across two continents.”

The DOJ release further states as follows.

“In addition, French enforcement authorities announced earlier today that they had requested that Total, Total’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and two additional individuals be referred to the Criminal Court for violations of French law, including France’s foreign bribery law.”

In this Wall Street Journal article,  “Total said the company and [its CEO] acted in accordance with all applicable French laws. The decision to send [Total] and its CEO to trial now rests with the magistrate in charge of the investigation.”  Total’s CFO is quoted as follows concerning he U.S. settlement.  “These settlements, the outcome of which are customary in the U.S., allow us to put an end to this investigation.”

SEC

The SEC’s administrative cease and desist order (here) is based on the same core set of facts alleged in the above DOJ action.

The Order states, in summary fashion, as follows.

“During the relevant time period, Total and others violated the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by making payments at the direction of the Iranian Official in connection with obtaining contracts.  In addition, Total lacked sufficient internal controls and, by mischaracterizing the payments as legitimate consulting fees, Total violated the books and records [and internal controls] provisions of the federal securities laws.”

Under the heading “Total’s Steps to Conceal the Payments” the Order states as follows.

“From the inception of Total’s relationship with the Iranian Official Total mischaracterized the expenses under the Consulting Agreements as ‘business development expenses’ when they were, in fact, unlawful payments for the purpose of inducing the Iranian Official to use his influence in connection with granting rights to Total for the development of the [oil and gas] fields. Total improperly characterized the unlawful consulting agreements as legitimate consulting agreements.  Total ceased making payments to the Iranian Official’s designated intermediary in approximately November 2004.”

As noted in this SEC release, the Order requires Total to pay disgorgement of $153 million in illicit profits and to cease and desist from committing future FCPA violations.  In the release, Andrew Calamari (Director of he SEC’s New York Regional Office) stated as follows.  “Total used illicit payments to win business in Iran, and reaped substantial financial benefits as a result.  Total must now pay back all of its profits from the company’s corrupt conduct and additionally pay criminal penalties on top of that.”

Robert Luskin (Patton Boggs) represented Total.

*****

Total’s most recent SEC filing states, in pertinent part, as follows.

“In 2003, the SEC followed by the DOJ issued a formal order directing an investigation in connection with the pursuit of business in Iran by certain oil companies, including among others, Total.”

“Since 2010, the Company has been in discussions with U.S. authorities (DOJ and SEC)” to resolve the case.

*****

The Total enforcement action is not the first FCPA enforcement action against a foreign oil and gas company focused on conduct in Iran’s oil and gas fields.  In 2006, the DOJ and SEC brought a coordinated FCPA enforcement action against Norway-based Staoil by which the company agreed to pay $21 million in combined fines and penalties.  Like the Total enforcement action, the Statoil enforcement action was also based on a slim US jurisdictional nexus – that the company received an invoice from a U.K. consulting company instructing that money “be routed through a United States bank in New York, New York to a bank account in Switzerland” which the company paid.

In Depth On The Tyco Enforcement Action

Earlier this week, the DOJ and SEC announced a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Tyco International Ltd. (“Tyco”) and a subsidiary company.  Total fines and penalties in the enforcement action were approximately $26.8 million (approximately $13.7 million in the DOJ enforcement action and approximately $13.1 million in the SEC enforcement action).

This post goes long and deep as to the DOJ’s and SEC’s allegations and resolution documents (approximately 85 pages in total).  Tomorrow’s post will discuss various items of note from the enforcement actions.

DOJ

The DOJ enforcement action involved a criminal information (here) against Tyco Valves & Controls Middle East Inc., (an indirect subsidiary of Tyco) resolved through a plea agreement (here) and a non-prosecution agreement (here) entered into between the DOJ and Tyco.

Criminal Information

The criminal information begins by identifying Tyco Valves & Controls Middle East Inc. (TVC ME) as a Delaware company headquartered in Dubai that “sells and markets valves and actuators manufactured by other entities throughout the Middle East for the oil, gas, petrochemical, commercial construction, water treatment,and desalination industries.”

According to the information, Tyco Flow Control Inc. (“TFC) was TVC ME’s direct parent company and TFC was a wholly-owned indirect subsidiary of Tyco.  According to the information, “TVC ME’s financials were consolidated into the books and records of TFC for the purposes of preparing TFC’s year-end financial statements, and in turn, TFC’s financials were consolidated into the books and records of Tyco for the purposes of preparing Tyco’s year-end financial results.”

The information alleges a conspiracy as follows.

Between 2003 and 2006 TVC ME conspired with others to “obtain and retain business from foreign government customers, including Aramco, ENOC, Vopak, NIGC, and other customers by paying bribes to foreign officials employed by such customers.”

The information alleges: that Saudi Aramco (“Aramco”) was a Saudi Arabian oil and gas company that was wholly-owned, controlled, and managed by the government, and an “agency” and “instrumentality” of a foreign government; that Emirates National Oil Company (“ENOC”) was a state-owned entity in Dubai and an “agency” and “instrumentality” of a foreign government; that Vopak Horizon Fujairah (“Vopak”) was a subsidiary of ENOC based in the U.A.E. and an “agency” and “instrumentality” of a foreign government; and that the National Iranian Gas Company (“NIGC”) was a state-owned entity in Iran and an “agency” and “instrumentality” of a foreign government.

Under the heading “manner and means of the conspiracy” the information alleges in pertinent part as follows.

“TVC ME, together with others, decided to pay bribes to employees of end-customers in Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., and Iran, including to employees at Aramco, ENOC, Vopak, and NIGC, in order to obtain or retain business.  TVE ME, together with others, found ways to obtain cash in order to make the bribe payments.  TVE ME, together with others, made payments through Local Sponsor [a company in Saudi Arabia that acted as a distributor for TVC ME in Saudi Arabia].  Local Sponsor provided TVC ME with false documentation, such as fictitious invoices for consultancy costs, bills for fictitious commissions, or ‘unanticipated costs for equipment,’ to justify the payments to Local Sponsor that were intended to be used for bribes.  TVE ME, together with others, approved and made payments to Local Sponsor for the purpose of paying bribes.  TVC ME, together with others, paid bribes to employees of foreign government customers in order to remove TVC manufacturing plans from various Aramco ‘blacklists’ or ‘holds’; win specific bids; and/or obtain specific product approval.  TVC ME, together with others, improperly recorded the bribe payments in TVC ME’s books, records, and accounts, and instead falsely described the payments, including as consultancy costs, commissions, or equipment costs.  TVC ME earned approximately $1.153,500 in gross margin as a result of the bribe payments.”

Based on the above conduct, the information charges conspiracy to violate the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions.

Plea Agreement

The plea agreements sets forth a Sentencing Guidelines range of $2.1 million – $4.2 million.  In the plea agreement, the parties agreed that $2.1 million was “appropriate.”  Pursuant to the plea agreement, TVC ME agreed “to work with its parent company in fulfilling the obligations” described in Corporate Compliance Program attached to the plea agreement.

NPA

The DOJ also entered into an NPA with Tyco in which the DOJ agreed “not to criminally prosecute [Tyco] related to violations of the books and records provisions of the FCPA … arising from and related to the knowing and willful falsification of books, records, and accounts by a number of the Company’s subsidiaries and affiliates …”.

The NPA contains a Statement of Facts.

Under the heading, “details of the illegal conduct” the NPA states as follows.

“[From 1999 through 2009] certain Tyco subsidiaries falsified books, records, and accounts in connection with transactions involving customers of Tyco’s subsidiaries, including government customers, in order to secure business in various countries, including China, India, Thailand, Laos, Indonesia, Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Iran, Saudia Arabia, Libya, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, Mauritania, Congo, Niger, Madagascar, and Turkey.  During that time period, certain Tyco subsidiaries made payments, both directly and indirectly, to government officials and falsely described the payments to government officials in Tyco’s corporate books, records, and accounts as legitimate charges, including as ‘consulting fees,’ ‘commissions,’ ‘unanticipated costs for equipment,’ ‘technical consultation and marketing promotion expenses,’ ‘conveyance expenses,’ ‘cost of goods sold,’ ‘promotional expenses,’ and ‘sales development’ expenses.  As early as 2004, Tyco alerted the Securities and Exchange Commission to payments at certain of Tyco’s subsidiaries that could violate the FCPA.  In 2006, Tyco acknowledged that ‘prior to 2003 Tyco did not have a uniform, company-wide FCPA compliance program in place or a system of internal controls sufficient to detect and prevent FCPA misconduct at is globally dispersed business units’ and that ’employees at two Tyco subsidiaries in Brazil and South Korea did not receive adequate instruction regarding compliance with the FCPA, despite Tyco’s knowledge and awareness that illicit payments to government officials were a common practice in the Brazilian and South Korean construction and contracting industries.’  However, despite Tyco’s knowing of a high probability of the existence of improper payments and false books, records, and accounts, the improper payments and falsification of books, records, and accounts continued until 2009.”

As to Thailand, the Statement of Facts states a follows.

“[Between 2004 and 2005] ET Thailand [Earth Tech (Thailand) Ltd. – a Thai corporation that was approximately 49% indirectly owned by Tyco] made payments in the amount of approximately $292,286 to a consultant and recorded those amounts as fictitious disbursements related to the NBIA project [New Bangkok International Airport].  In connection with these improper payments, ET Thailand earned approximately $879,258 in gross profit.”

“[Between 2000 to 2006] ADT Thailand [ADT Sensormatic Thailand an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Tyco] recorded payments in the amount of approximately $78,000 to one of its subcontractors as payments for site surveys for a government traffic project in Laos, but the payments instead were channeled to other recipients in connection with ADT Thailand’s business in Laos.  During the same time period, ADT Thailand made payments to one of its consultants related to a contract for the installation of a CCTV system in the Thai Parliament House, and ADT Thailand and the consultant created invoices that stated that the payments were for ‘renovation work’ when no renovation work was actually performed.  During that same time period, ADT Thailand made three payments in connection with a design and traffic survey that ADT Thailand provided from the city of Pattaya, in Southern Thailand, but the payments were issued pursuant to falsified invoices without any evidence that work was ever performed.  In connection with these improper transactions, ADT Thailand earned approximately $473,262 in gross profit.”

As to China, the Statement of Facts state as follows.

“[Between 2003 and 2005] TTC Huzhou [Tyco Thermal Controls (Shanghai) Co. Ltd. an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Tyco] authorized approximately 112 payments in the amount of $196,267 to designers at design institutes owned or controlled by the Chinese government, and falsely described the payments in company books, records, and accounts as ‘technical consultation’ or ‘marketing promotion’ expenses.  In 2005, in connection with a contract with China’s Ministry of Public Security, TTC Huzhou paid a commission to one of its sales agents that was used, in part, to pay the ‘site project team’ of a state-owned corporation, and that was improperly recorded in the company’s books and records.  In connection with these improper transactions, TTC Huzhou earned approximately $3,470,180 in gross profit.”

“TFCT Shanghai [Tyco Flow Control Trading (Shanghai) Ltd. an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Tyco] made approximately eleven payments in the amount of approximately $24,000 to employees of design institutes, engineering companies, subcontractors and distributors which were inaccurately described in its books and records.  In connection with these improper transaction, TFCT Shanghai earned approximately $59,412 in gross profit.”

“[Between 2005 and 2006] TFC HK  [Tyco Flow Control Hong Kong Limited] and Keystone [Beijing Valve Co. Ltd.] [both indirect wholly owned subsidiaries of Tyco] made payments in the amount of approximately $137,000 to agencies owned by approximately eight Keystone employees, who in turn gave cash or gifts to employees of design institutes or commercial customers, and then improperly recorded these payments.  [From 2005 to 2006] Keystone made payments to one of its sales agents in connection with sales to Sinopec, for which no legitimate services were actually provided, and then improperly recorded the payments as ‘commissions.’  In connection with these improper transactions, Keystone earned approximately $378,088 in gross profits.”

“[Between 2001 to 2002] THC China [Tyco Healthcare International Trading (Shanghai) Co. Ltd. an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Tyco] gave publicly-employed healthcare professionals (HCPs) approximately $250,00o in meals, entertainment, domestic travel, gifts and sponsorships.  [Between 2004 to 2007] employees of THC China submitted expenses claims related to entertaining HCPs that were supported by fictitious receipts, including references to a non-existent company, in order to circumvent Tyco’s internal guidelines.  In connection with medical conferences involving HCPs, THC China employees submitted false itineraries and other documentation that did not properly identify trip expenses in order to circumvent internal controls and policies.  Approximately $353,800 in expenses was improperly recorded as a result of the false documentation relating to these improper expenditures.”

As to Slovakia, the Statement of Facts state as follows.

“[Between 2004 to 2006] Tatra [a Slovakian joint venture that was approximately 90 percent indirectly owned by Tyco] made payments in the amount of approximately $96,000 to one of its sales agents in exchange for the sale agent’s attempt to have Tatra products included in the specifications for tenders to a government customer, while at the same time the sales agent was getting paid by the government customer to draw up the technical specifications for the tenders.  Tatra improperly recorded the payments to the sales agent as ‘commissions’ in Tatra’s books and records.  In connection with these improper transactions, Tatra earned approximately $226,863 in gross profit.”

As to Indonesia, the Statement of Facts state as follows.

“[Between 2003 and 2005] Eurapipe [Tyco Eurapipe Indonesia Pt. an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Tyco] made approximately eleven payments in the amount of approximately $358,000 to a former employee of Banjarmasin provincial level public water company (PDAM) and two payments to the project manager for PDAM Banjarmasin in connection with the Banjarmasin Project.  During the same time period, Eurapipe made payments in the amount of approximately $23,000 to sales agents who then passed some or all of the payments on to employees of government entities in connection withe projects other than the Banjarmasin Project.  Eurapipe improperly recorded the payments as ‘commissions payable’ in Eurapipe’s books and records. In connection with these improper transactions, Eurapipe earned approximately $1,298,453 in gross profit.”

“[Between 2002 and 2005] PT Dulmision Indonesia [an Indonesia corporation 99% indirectly owned by Tyco] made payments to third parties, a portion of which went to employees of PLN [a state-owned electricity company in Indonesia], including approximately seven payments one of PT Dulmison’s sales agents, who in turn passed money on to the PLN employees.  PT Dulmison Indonesia improperly recorded the payments in PT Dulmison Indonesia’s books, records and accounts.  In addition, PT Dulmison Indonesia improperly recorded travel expenses in company books and records, including payments for non-business entertainment in connection with visits by PLN employees to TE Dulmision Thailand’s factory and paid hotel costs incurred as part of a social trip to Paris for PLN employees following a factory visit to Germany, as ‘cost of goods sold’ in PT Dulmison Indonesia’s and TE Dulmison Thailand’s records.  In connection with these improper transactions, PT Dulmision Indonesia and TE Dulmison Thailand earned approximately $109,259 in gross profit.”

As to Vietnam, the Statement of Facts state as follows.

“[Between 2001 and 2005] TE Dulmison Thailand [a Thai corporation approximately 66% indirectly owned by Tyco] made nine payments in the amount of approximately $68,426, either directly or through intermediaries, to employees of a public utility owned by the Government of Vietnam and recorded these payments in the books and records of the relevant subsidiaries as ‘cost of goods sold.'”

As to Mauritania, Congo, Niger and Madagascar, the Statement of Facts state as follows.

“[Between 2002 to 2007] Isogard [a branch of Tyco Fire & Integrated Solutions France (TFIS France0, an indrect wholly owned subsidiary of Tyco] made payments to a security officer employed by a government-owned mining company in Mauritania involved in the technical aspects of sales projects for the purpose of introducing Isogard to local buyers in Africa.  Isogard made the payments to the security officer’s personal bank account in France without any written contract or invoice and improperly recorded the payments in Isogard’s books and records.  Isogard paid sham ‘commissions’ to approximately twelve other intermediaries in Mauritania, Congo, Niger and Madagascar, half of which were to employees, or family members of employees, of Isogard customers.  In total, TFIS France made paments in the amount of approximately $363,839 since 2005.”

As to Saudi Arabia, in addition to the conduct at issue in TVC ME’s criminal information, the Statement of Facts state as follows.

“[Between 2004 through 2006] Saudi Distributor maintained a ‘control account’ from which a number of payments were made at THC Saudi Arabia’s [an operational entity within Tyco Healthcare AG, a indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Tyco] direction to Saudi hospitals and doctors, some of whom were publicly employed HCPs.  Several expenses from the control account were booked improperly as ‘promotional expenses’ and ‘sales development’ expenses.  In connection with these improper transactions, THC Saudi earned approximately $1,960,000 in gross profit.”

As to Turkey, the Statement of Facts state as follows.

“[Between 2001 and 2006] SigInt [a division of M/A-Com, an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Tyco] products were sold through a sales representative to government entities in Turkey.  The sales representatives sold the SigInt equipment in Turkey at an approximately twelve to forty percent mark-up over the price at which he purchased the equipment from M/A-Com and also received a commission on one of the sales.  The sales representative transferred part of his commission and part of his mark-up to a government official in Turkey to obtain orders.  In connection with these improper transactions, M/A-Com earned approximately $71,770 in gross proft.”

The Statement of Facts also states as follows.

“[Between 2004 and 2009] Erhard [a subsidiary of Tyco Waterworks Deutschland GmBH (TWW Germany), an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Tyco] made payments in the amount of approximately $2,371,094 to at least thirteen of its sales agents in China, Croatia, India, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates for the purpose of making payments to employees of government customers, and improperly booked the payments as ‘commissions.’  In connection with these improper transactions, TWW Germany earned approximately $4,684,966 in gross profits.”

In the NPA, Tyco admitted, accepted and acknowledged responsiblity for the above conduct and agreed not to make any public statement contradicting the above conduct.

The NPA has a term of three years and states as follows.

“The Department enters into this Non-Prosecution Agreement based, in part, on the following factors:  (a) the Company’s timely, voluntary, and complete disclosure of the conduct; (b) the Company’s global internal investigation concerning bribery and related misconduct; (c) the Company’s extensive remediation, including the implementation of an enhanced compliance program, the termination of employees responsible for the improper payments and falsification of books and records, severing contracts with the responsible third-party agents, the closing of subsidiaries due to compliance failures, and the agreement to undertake further compliance enhancements ….; and (d) the Company’s agreement to provide annual, written reports to the Department on its progress and experience in monitoring and enhancing its compliance policies and procedures …”.

Pursuant to the NPA, the company agreed to pay a penalty of $13.68 million (the $2.1 million TVC ME agreed to pay pursuant to the plea agreement is included in this figure).  Pursuant to the NPA, Tyco also agreed to a host of compliance undertakings and agreed to report to the DOJ (at no less than 12 month intervals) during the three year term of the NPA regarding “remediation and implementation of the compliance program and internal controls, policies, and procedures” required pursuant to the NPA.

In this DOJ release, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer stated as follows.  “Together with the SEC, we are leading a fight against corruption around the globe.”

SEC

In a related enforcement action, the SEC brought a civil complaint (here) against Tyco.

The introductory paragraph of the complaint states as follows.  “This matter concerns violations by Tyco of the books and records, internal controls, and anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA.”

The complaint then states as follows.

“In April 2006, the Commission filed a settled accounting fraud, disclosure, and FCPA injunctive action against Tyco, pursuant to which the company consented to entry of a final judgment enjoining it from violations of the anti-fraud, periodic reporting, books and records, internal controls, proxy disclosure, and anti-bribery provisions of the federal securities laws and ordering it to pay $1 in disgorgement and a $50 million civil penalty. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York entered the settled Final Judgment against Tyco on May 1, 2006. At the time of settlement, Tyco had already committed to and commenced a review of its FCPA compliance and a global, comprehensive internal investigation of possible additional FCPA violations. As a result of that review and investigation, certain FCPA violations have come to light for which the misconduct occurred, or the benefit to Tyco continued, after the 2006 injunction. Those are the violations that are alleged in this Complaint.  […]  The FCPA misconduct reported by Tyco showed that Tyco’s books and records were misstated as a result of at least twelve different, post-injunction illicit payment schemes occurring at Tyco subsidiaries across the globe. The schemes frequently entailed illicit payments to foreign officials that were inaccurately recorded so as to conceal the nature of the payments. Those inaccurate entries were incorporated into Tyco’ s books and records.   Tyco also failed to devise and maintain internal controls sufficient to provide reasonable assurances that all transactions were properly recorded in the company’s books, records, and accounts. […] As reflected in this Complaint, numerous Tyco subsidiaries engaged in violative conduct, the conduct was carried out by several different methods, and the conduct occurred over a lengthy period of time and continued even after the 2006 injunction.  Through one of the illicit payment schemes, Tyco violated the FCPA anti-bribery provisions. Specifically, through the acts of its then-subsidiary and agent, TE M/A-Com, Inc. Tyco violated [the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions] by corruptly making illicit payments to foreign government officials to obtain or retain business.”

As to the SEC’s anti-bribery charge based on the conduct of TE M/A-Com, Inc. the complaint alleges that M/A Com retained a New York sales agent who made illicit payments in connection with a 2006 sale of microwave equipment to an instrumentality of the Turkish government.  The complaint alleges that “employees of M/A-Com were aware that the agent was paying foreign government customers to obtain orders” and cites an internal e-mail which states as follows – “hell, everyone knows you have to bribe somebody to do business in Turkey.”  The complaint then alleges as follows.  “Tyco exerted control over M/A-COM in part by utilizing dual roles for its officers. At the time of the September 2006 transaction, four high-level Tyco officers were also officers of M/A-COM, including one who was M/A-COM’s president. Additionally, one of those Tyco officers served as one of five members of M/A-COM’s board of directors. While there is no indication that any of these individuals knew of the illegal conduct described herein, through the corporate structure used to hold M/ A-COM and through the dual roles of these officers, Tyco controlled M/A-COM. As a result, M/A-COM was Tyco’s agent for purposes of the September 2006 transaction, and the transaction was squarely within the scope of M/ACOM’s agency.  The benefit obtained by Tyco as a result of the September 2006 deal was $44,513.”

The SEC’s complaint contains substantially similar allegations compared to the NPA Statement of Facts.  In addition, the SEC complaint alleges additional improper conduct in Malaysia, Egypt, and Poland.

As to Malaysia, the complaint alleges as follows.

“[Between 2000 to 2007] TFS Malaysia [an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Tyco] used intermediaries to pay the employees of its customers when bidding on contracts.  Payments were made to approximately twenty-six employees of customers, and one of those payees was an employee of a government-controlled entity.  TFS Malaysia inaccurately described these expenses as ‘commissions’ and failed to maintain policies sufficient to prohibit such payments.  As a result, Tyco’s books and records were misstated.  Tyco’s benefit as a result of these illicit payments was $45,972.”

As to Egypt, the complaint alleges as follows.

“[Between 2004 to 2008] an Egyptian agent of TFIS UK [a indirect wholly owned subsidiary] wired approximately $282,022 to a former employee’s personal bank account with the understanding that the money would be used in connection with entertainment expenses for representatives of a company majority-owned by the Egyptian government.  A portion of the funds was used to pay for lodging, meals, transportation, spending money, and entertainment expenses for that company’s officials on two trips to the United Kingdom and two trips to the U.S.  TFIS UK made payments pursuant to inflated invoices submitted by the company’s Egyptian agent, who wired funds to the former employees to be used to entertain foreign officials.  TFIS U.K. books and records did not accurately reflect TFIS’s U.K.’s understanding that the funds would be used for entertainment of government officials, and TFIS UK did not maintain sufficient internal controls over its payments to agents.  As a result, Tyco’s books and records were misstated.  Tyco’s benefits as a result of these illicit payments was $1,589,374.”

As to Poland, the complaint alleges as follows.

“[Between 2005 to 2007] THC Polska [an indirect wholly owned subsidiary] used ‘service contracts’ to hire public healthcare professionals in Poland for various purposes, including conducting training sessions, performing clinical studies, and distributing marketing materials.  Approximately five such service contracts involved falsified records and approximately twenty-six other service contracts involved incomplete and inaccurate records, including some related expenses paid by THC Polska to family members of healthcare professionals.  As a result, Tyco’s books and records were misstated.  In connection with the transactions related to these inaccurate books and records, Tyco’s benefit was approximately $14,673.

As to the SEC’s internal controls charge, the complaint contains the following allegation.  “Tyco failed to devise and maintain … a system of internal controls and was therefore unable to detect the violations …  Numerous Tyco subsidiaries engaged in violative conduct, the conduct was carried out by several different methods, and the conduct occurred over a lengthy period of time, and it continued even after the 2006 injunction.”

The SEC complaint contains the following paragraph.

“As its global review and investigation progressed, Tyco voluntarily disclosed this conduct to the Commission and took significant, broad-spectrum remedial measures. Those remedial measures include: the initial FCPA review of every Tyco legal operating entity ultimately including 454 entities in 50 separate countries; active monitoring and evaluation of all of Tyco’s agents and other relevant third-party relationships; quarterly ethics and compliance training by over 4,000 middle-managers; FCPA-focused on-site reviews of higher risk entities; creation of a corporate Ombudsman’s office and numerous segment-specific compliance counsel positions; exit from several business operations in high-risk areas; and the termination of over 90 employees, including supervisors, because of FCPA compliance concerns.”

As noted in this SEC release, Tyco consented to a final judgment that orders the company to pay approximately $10.5 million in disgorgement and approximately $2.6 million in prejudgment interest.  Tyco also agreed to be permanently enjoined from violating the FCPA.

In this release, SEC Associate Director of Enforcement Scott Friestad stated as follows.  “Tyco’s subsidiaries operating in Asia and the Middle East saw illicit payment schemes as a typical way of doing business in some countries, and the company illictly reaped substantial financial benefits as a result.”

Martin Weinstin (Willkie Farr & Gallagher – here) represented the Tyco entities.

The Latest Disclosures

A Friday focus on disclosures.  The SEC asks Oracle – what about that FCPA issue, the SEC takes an interest in Libya, and yet another voluntary disclosure.

Oracle

As noted in this previous post, in September 2011 Joe Palazzolo and Samuel Rubenfeld broke the story in the Wall Street Journal, “U.S. Probes Oracle Dealings,” that “U.S. authorities are investigating whether Oracle Corp., one of the world’s largest software  companies by sales, violated federal antibribery laws in its dealings abroad  …”.  According to the report, “agents in the FBI’s Washington field office and  fraud prosecutors in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division are handling a criminal investigation, which has been underway for at least a year.”   Palazzolo and Rubenfeld also report that the SEC is also investigating for possible civil violations.  According to the report, “the agencies are examining whether Oracle employees or agents acting on the company’s behalf made improper payments in Africa in order to land sales of database and applications software.”

Since then, Oracle’s SEC filings have been silent as to any FCPA inquiry.  The SEC wants to know why as demonstrated by this February Q&A between the SEC Division of Corporation Finance and Oracle filed by the company.

SEC: “We also note various news articles indicating that the company has been subject to investigations regarding possible Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations for more than a year. Please tell us how you considered the guidance in paragraphs 50-3 through 50-5 of ASC 450-20-50 in evaluating the need to disclose these pending matters.”

Oracle Response:  “We make a quarterly assessment of legal matters, including the matters referenced in the Staff’s inquiry above, to determine how those matters should be treated in the context of the accounting and disclosure requirements of paragraphs 50-3 through 50-5 of ASC 450-20-50. For those matters referenced above, we evaluated whether it was reasonably possible that a loss or a loss exceeding amounts already recognized may be incurred. We determined that the estimated ranges of additional losses for those matters referenced above, if any, either individually or in the aggregate, would not have a material effect on our consolidated financial position, results of operations or cash flows. Consequently, we believe our disclosures comply with the aforementioned guidance.”

ASC 450-20-50 you ask?  ASC 450 is the former FASB 5 standard regarding gain and loss contingencies (i.e. when a company should record, disclose or not disclose certain contingencies).

Libya

Two foreign oil companies with ADRs traded on U.S. exchanges recently disclosed SEC scrutiny concerning conduct in Libya.

In this recent SEC filing, French oil company Total S.A. stated as follows.

“In June 2011, the SEC issued to certain oil companies – including, among others, TOTAL – a formal request for information related to their operations in Libya.  TOTAL is cooperating with this non-public investigation.”

See here for a recent prior post concerning Total’s FCPA scrutiny in Iran.

In this recent SEC filing, Italian oil company Eni SpA stated as follows.

“On June 10, 2011 Eni received by the US SEC a formal judicial request of collection and presentation of documents (subpoena) related to Eni’ s activity in Libya from 2008 to 2011. The subpoena is related to an ongoing investigation without further clarifications nor specific alleged violations in connection to “certain illicit payments to Libyan officials” possibly violating the US Foreign Corruption Practice Act. At the end of December 2011, Eni received a request for the collection of further documentation aiming at integrating the subpoena previously received. Eni is fully collaborating with the US SEC.”

For more on the recent Libya disclosures, see here from Samuel Rubenfeld at Wall Street Journal Corruption Currents.

As highlighted in this prior post, in July 2010, Eni was a party in the DOJ/SEC’s Bonny Island Nigeria focused FCPA enforcement action which resulted in $365 million in combined fines and penalties.

Another Voluntary Disclosure

SL Industries (here – a New Jersey based designer, manufacturer and marketer of power electronics, motion control, power protection, and other related products) recently disclosed (here) as follows.

“The Company is conducting an investigation to determine whether certain employees of SL Xianghe Power Electronics Corporation, SL Shanghai Power Electronics Corporation and SL Shanghai International Trading Corporation, three of the Company’s indirect wholly-owned subsidiaries incorporated and operating exclusively in China, may have improperly provided gifts and entertainment to government officials. Based upon the initial investigation, which is ongoing, the preliminary estimate of the amounts of such gifts and entertainment does not appear to be material to the Company’s financial statements. There can be no assurance, however, that after further inquiry the actual amounts will not be in excess of what is currently estimated. Such estimate does not take into account the costs to the Company of the investigation or any other additional costs.  The Company’s investigation includes determining whether there were any violations of laws, including the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Consequently, on March 29, 2012, the Company’s outside counsel contacted the DOJ and the SEC voluntarily to disclose that the Company was conducting an internal investigation, and agreed to cooperate fully and update the DOJ and SEC periodically on further developments. The Company has retained outside counsel and forensic accountants to assist in its investigation of this matter. Because the investigation is ongoing, the Company cannot predict at this time whether any regulatory action may be taken or any other adverse consequences may result from this matter.”

According to my tally, the new disclosures discussed above means that in the last six weeks, seven companies have newly disclosed FCPA scrutiny.   See here for the prior post “The Sun Rose, a Dog Barked, and a Company Disclosed FCPA Scrutiny.”  If SEC filings are your ideal form of pleasure reading, you can hardly wait to see what next week holds.

A good weekend to all.

Friday Roundup

A week (so far) without a new disclosure, quotable, and from the archives.  It is all here in the Friday roundup.

Is It Possible?

Granted the week is not yet over, but thus far this week there has not been a new FCPA disclosure.  The past three weeks, I have (somewhat tongue in cheek) noted – what seems like – new FCPA related disclosures every week.  See here and here for prior posts.

While not a new FCPA disclosure, Total S.A. did indicate as follows in a recent Form 6-K filing.

“In 2003, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) followed by the Department of Justice (DoJ) issued a formal order directing an investigation in connection with the pursuit of business in Iran, by certain oil companies including, among others, TOTAL. The inquiry concerns an agreement concluded by the Company with a consultant concerning a gas field in Iran and aims to verify whether certain payments made under this agreement would have benefited Iranian officials in  violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the Company’s accounting obligations. Investigations are still pending and the Company is cooperating with the SEC and the DoJ. In 2010, the Company opened talks with U.S. authorities, without any acknowledgement of facts, to consider an out-of-court settlement as it is often the case in this kind of proceeding. Late in 2011, the SEC and the DoJ proposed to TOTAL out-of-court settlements that would close their inquiries, in exchange for TOTAL’s committing to a number of obligations and paying fines. As TOTAL was unable to agree to several substantial elements of the proposal, the Company is continuing discussions with the U.S. authorities. The Company is free not to accept an out-of-court settlement solution, in which case it would be exposed to the risk of prosecution in the United States.”

Quotable

A collection of recent statements by DOJ officials concerning its recent trial setbacks and the future of FCPA enforcement.

See here from Reuters quoting Charles Duross (DOJ FCPA Unit Chief) as saying.  “I know there is a lot of commentary out there about what this portends for the FCPA program, the use of certain law enforcement techniques.  I would caution everybody not to draw too much from that.  In terms of pursuing cases moving forward, I don’t think a lot is going to change.”

See here from Wall Street Journal Corruption Currents quoting Nathaniel Edmonds (DOJ) as saying – “the Department of Justice is going to continue to fight corruption, we’re committed to it, and we’re in it for the long haul.”

See here from the Blog of Legal Times quoting Edmonds as saying – FCPA violations are “not a regulatory offense. It’s a criminal violation. You cannot assume it’s a cost of doing business. People go to jail…it’s not just a regulatory fine.”  The Blog of Legal Times also quotes Kara Brockmeyer (SEC FCPA Unit Chief) as saying  “you can never stamp out someone who wants to pay a bribe somewhere … but if a company has strong internal controls, they can find the problem and fix it quickly.”

Meanwhile, Brockmeyer’s predecessor, Cheryl Scarboro (who left the SEC for private practice last summer – see here for the prior post) said in this recent Q&A with Trustlaw as follows.  “There hasn’t been much litigation in this area and so if a particular area of a statute is open to interpretation, then typically the DOJ or the SEC will interpret it themselves and those are in the settled context.”  After referencing the recent foreign official challenges, Scarboro states as follows.  “But I think that it is correct (to say) that there is very little guidance as it relates to decided court cases in this area and that it leaves certain key areas open to interpretation.”  Scarboro also recently co-authored a Law360 article (here) titled “Mounting Pressure for FCPA Reform.”

From the Archives

It was inappropriate when issued on January 26, 2010.  Looking back it perhaps foreshadowed future difficulties.  It is the FBI’s press release in the Africa Sting case (see here).  It states that the “ruse played out with all the intrigue of a spy novel” and then on January 18, 2010 “we arrested them.”  The release closed as follows.  “You never know, that individual willing to take a bribe may really be an undercover FBI agent.”  For the rest of the story, see this recent story in the Washington Post.

Closing Out The 70’s

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

Previous posts (here and here) detailed FCPA enforcement actions from the 1970’s against:  (i) Page Airways, Inc. (and six officers and/or directors of the company); and (ii) Kenny International Corporation and Finbar Kenny (Chairman of the Board, President and majority shareholder of Kenny International).

The 1970’s also witnessed:  (i) a SEC civil complaint against Katy Industries, Inc. and its executives Wallace Carroll and Melvan Jones; and (ii) a DOJ civil complaint against Roy Carver and R. Eugene Holley; and (iii) a SEC civil complaint against International Systems & Controls Corporation and its executives J. Thomas Kenneally, Herman Frietsch, Raymond Hofker, Albert Angulo and Harlan Stein.

These enforcement actions are summarized below.

Katy Industries, Wallace Carroll and Melvan Jacobs

In August 1978, the SEC alleged in a civil complaint for permanent injunction that Katy Industries, Inc. (“Katy”), Wallace Carroll (Chairman of the Board and CEO of Katy) and Melvan Jacobs (Director and Member of Katy’s Executive Committee and also an attorney who acted as counsel to Katy as to the conduct at issue)  “have engaged, are engaged and are about to engage in acts and practices” which constitute violations of various securities law provisions including the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions.

According to the SEC complaint, Katy was interested in obtaining an oil exploration concession in Indonesia and retained a consultant who was a “close personal friend of a high level Indonesian government official.”  The complaint alleges that Katy representatives and the consultant met with the official and his representative and during the meeting “the official agreed to assist Katy in obtaining an oil production sharing contract.”  Katy agreed to compensate the consultant if it received the contract and the SEC alleged that Katy representatives were “told that the consultant would give a portion of such compensation to the official and the official’s representative.”  According to the SEC, Katy entered into various agreements with the consultant and the official’s representative and thereafter “Katy entered into a thirty year Production Sharing Contract with Pertamina, the Indonesian Government-owned oil and gas enterprise.”  The SEC alleged that “Katy, Carroll and Jacobs knew or had reason to know that the official and the official’s representative would directly or indirectly share in the payments to the consultant for the duration of the thirty year Contract.”  In addition, the SEC alleged that Katy’s books and records did not reflect the true nature and purpose of the payments and that a “substantial portion” of the money paid by Katy to the consultant and the official’s representative “was expected by Katy to be given by the recipient to the official.”

Without admitting or denying the SEC’s allegations, Katy, Carroll and Jacobs consented to entry of final judgment of permanent injunction prohibiting future violations.  Katy also agreed to establish a Special Committee of its Board “to review the matters alleged in the complaint and to conduct such further investigation as it deems appropriate into these and other similar matters” and to file the Special Committee’s findings publicly with the SEC.

See here for original source documents.

Roy Carver and R. Eugene Holley

In April 1979, the DOJ alleged in a civil complaint for permanent injunction that Roy Carver (Chairman of the Board and President of Holcar Oil Corporation) and R. Eugene Holley (Vice President of Holcar Oil Corporation) “have engaged, are engaged and are about to engage in acts and practices which constitute violations” of the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions.  The complaint alleges that on a trip to Doha, Qatar, Carver and Holley learned of “the possibility of engaging in the business of petroleum exploration in that country” if a “substantial payment of money were to be made to Ali Jaidah [an official of the government of Qatar – specifically the Director of Petroleum Affairs) for his official approval of a concession agreement.”

According to the complaint, the defendants agreed to proceed with the project by forming Holcar in the Cayman Islands “as a vehicle for the purpose of exploiting the concession.”  The complaint alleges that the defendants further agreed “that an appropriate payment would be paid to Ali Jaidah to secure the necessary approval of the Government of Qatar.”  During a subsequent meeting in Doha, the complaint alleges that Carver and Holley met with Ali Jaidah who requested a $1.5 million payment “into the account of his brother, Kasim Jaidah, at the Swiss Credit Bank of Geneva, Switzerland.”  The complaint alleges that the defendants made the payment “knowing or having reason to know that all or a portion of such funds would be transferred to Ali Jaidah.”  According to the complaint, thereafter, “as a result of the cooperation, influence and approval of Ali Jaidah, the government of Qatar entered into an oil drilling concession agreement with Holcar.”  In addition, the complaint alleges that the defendants were willing to make additional payments to a new Director of Petroleum Affairs (Abdullah Sallat) when Holcar’s original concession agreement was under threat of termination given the company’s financing difficulties.  However, the complaint asserts that “neither Director Sallat nor any other official of the government of Qatar has directly or indirectly received or solicited or been offered any payment in connection with renewal of Holcar’s oil concession.”  Based on the above conduct, the DOJ charged that defendants “violated and may continue to violate” the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions.

Both Carver and Holley consented to the entry of a final judgment of permanent injunction enjoining future FCPA violations.  See here for original source documents.

International Systems & Controls Corp., J. Thomas Kenneally, Herman Frietsch, Raymond Hofker, Albert Angulo and Harlan Stein

In July 1979, the SEC filed a complaint against International Systems & Controls Corporation (“ISC”) and J. Thomas Kenneally (a director of ISC and its fomer CEO and Chairman of the Board), Herman Frietsch (Senior Vice President), Raymond Hofker (former General Counsel), Albert Angulo (former Treasurer) and Harlan Stein (Chief Engineer).  The complaint alleged, among other things, that ISC “paid more than $23 million through one or more subsidiaries to certain foreign persons and entities in order to assist the company in securing certain contracts.”  The complaint alleged that “in furtherance of this scheme, ISC disguised such payments on its books and records as consulting fees, consulting services, agent’s fees and commissions.”  The complaint also alleged that “ISC violated the internal accounting controls provisions by failing to devise an adequate system of internal controls because it failed to require vouchers, expense statements, or similar documentation for the activities or services for which certain expenditures were made.”

According to various media reports, the payments at issue were made to government officials and members of ruling families in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Nicaragua, Ivory Coast, Algeria, Chile and Iraq in connection with contracts for engineering and construction projects.

The SEC’s complaint charged violations of the FCPA’s books and records and internal controls provisions, as well as antifraud, proxy, and reporting violations.  In December 1979, ISC, Kenneally and Frietsch, without admitting or denying the SEC’s allegations,  consented to the entry of a final order enjoining future violations.   In addition, the final order directed ISC to, among other things, “appoint a special agent … who shall investigate and report on certain specific transactions.”  Furthermore,  Kenneally and Frietsch (for periods of four and two years respectively) agreed to be employed as an officer or director of an issuer only if that company “has a committee with duties and functions to those required of the ISC Audit Committee” as required by the consent degree.

See here for original source documents plus this packet of materials sent to me by a loyal reader.

*****

What are the take-away points from FCPA enforcement in the 1970’s?  Clearly, the enforcement agencies were getting their feet wet enforcing an infant statute and, in many of the enforcement actions, the agencies were confronted with conduct that actually pre-dated enactment of the FCPA in December 1977.  Thus, little can – or should be – taken away from the actual charging decisions in these early FCPA cases.

However, one meaningful take-away point is this.  While one can question how the enforcement agencies held company employees accountable (i.e. criminal v. civil charges), one can not question that the enforcement agencies did hold company employees accountable.  All five FCPA enforcement actions from the 1970’s involved company employees – a figure that stands in stark contrast to 2010 FCPA enforcement in which approximately 70% of corporate FCPA enforcement actions have not resulted (at least yet) in any DOJ charges against company employees.  See here for the prior post.

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