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Issues To Consider From The Sanofi Enforcement Action

Issues

This previous post highlighted the SEC’s $25.2 million FCPA enforcement action against Sanofi and this post continues the analysis by highlighting additional issues to consider.

Timeline

Sanofi’s FCPA scrutiny began in mid-2014 (see this prior post). Thus, from start to finish, its scrutiny lasted approximately 4 years.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record to regular readers … if the FCPA enforcement agencies want the public to have confidence in their FCPA enforcement programs, they must resolve instances of FCPA scrutiny much quicker. The validity and credibility of FCPA enforcement depends on this. Having FCPA scrutiny linger for over four years is inexcusable particularly since Sanofi, in the words of the SEC:

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SEC Finally Announces Its FCPA Enforcement Action Against Legg Mason

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Prior posts here and here highlighted the DOJ’s June FCPA enforcement action against Legg Mason regarding business conduct in Libya. It was noted in the prior post that FCPA enforcement actions against issuers that involve a DOJ and SEC component are almost always announced on the same day. Yet for some reason, back in June the i’s were not dotted or the t’s crossed at the SEC and the DOJ’s June enforcement action clearly had a placeholder for the forthcoming SEC prong.

That happened earlier today as the SEC finally announced its enforcement action.

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SEC’s FCPA Charges Against Former Och-Ziff Executives Cohen And Baros Dismissed

Judicial Decision

This previous post highlighted the SEC’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (and related) enforcement action against Michael Cohen and Vanja Baros (former Och-Ziff executives) based on the same core conduct as the DOJ and SEC’s September 2016 enforcement action against Och-Ziff.

The post noted that the meaty 80 page complaint against Cohen and Baros was a clear signal that a negotiated settlement was unable to be reached and that the defendants would put the SEC to its burden of proof. It was further noted that the SEC is rarely put to its burden of proof in FCPA enforcement actions (corporate or individual) and indeed has never prevailed in FCPA history when put to its ultimate burden of proof. Prior posts here and here summarized the issues in the motion to dismiss briefing.

Yesterday, in yet another blow to the SEC when put to its burden of proof in an FCPA enforcement action, Judge Nicholas Garaufis (E.D.N.Y.) dismissed the SEC’s complaint finding the SEC’s claims time-barred.

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Kokesh – One Year Later

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As highlighted in this previous post, on June 5, 2017 in Kokesh v. SEC the Supreme Court unanimously rejected the SEC’s position and held that disgorgement “in the securities-enforcement context is a ‘penalty’ within the meaning of [28 U.S.C.] 2462 and so disgorgement actions must be commenced within five years of the date the claim accrues.”

Although Kokesh was not a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action, it most certainly was FCPA relevant because ever since the SEC first sought a disgorgement remedy in an FCPA enforcement action in 2004, disgorgement has become the dominant remedy sought by the SEC in corporate FCPA enforcement actions.

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Issues To Consider From The Legg Mason Enforcement Action

Issues

This previous post went in-depth into the DOJ’s recent Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Legg Mason. This post continues the analysis by highlighting additional issues to consider.

SEC Enforcement Action Is Forthcoming

Given Legg Mason’s recent disclosure (see here for the prior post), it was a bit of a surprise that this week’s enforcement action included only a DOJ component. FCPA enforcement actions against issuers that involve a DOJ and SEC component are almost always announced on the same day.

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