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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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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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Legg Mason Also Ponies Up $64 Million To Resolve FCPA Enforcement Action Concerning Conduct In Libya That Occurred 9-14 Years Ago By “Only Two Mid-To-Lower Level Employees Of A Subsidiary”

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A few hours after the DOJ announced a net $293 million Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Société Générale S.A concerning conduct in Libya that occurred 9-14 years ago (see here for the prior post), the DOJ also announced that investment management firm Legg Mason also agreed to pony up $64 million to resolve a related enforcement action.

Pursuant to a three-year NPA, Legg Mason agreed to pay $64 million based on the conduct of “only two mid-to-lower level employees of a subsidiary of the company” (specifically Permal Group Ltd.). According to the DOJ: “Permal’s financial statements were consolidated into Legg Mason’s financial statements and they participated in a net revenue sharing arrangement, and all employees of Permal were subject to Legg Mason’s code of conduct.”

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Societe Generale Resolves Net $293 Million FCPA Enforcement Action Concerning Conduct In Libya That Occurred 9-14 Years Ago

Societegeneral

Earlier today, the DOJ announced that “Société Générale S.A. (SoGen), a global financial services institution based in Paris, France, and its wholly owned subsidiary, SGA Société Générale Acceptance N.V. (“SGA”) agreed to resolve a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action “relating to a multi-year scheme to pay bribes to officials in Libya.” As indicated in the DOJ release and confirmed by a DOJ representative, the net FCPA settlement amount is $293 million after crediting $293 million for a related French law enforcement action.

In addition, the DOJ announced that Société Générale agreed to pay $275 million for violations arising from its manipulation of the London InterBank Offered Rate (LIBOR).

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In Depth Into The Och-Ziff FCPA Enforcement Action

och ziff

Last week, the DOJ and SEC announced (here and here) a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Och-Ziff Capital Management Group (and a related entity) for improper business practices in various African countries. The aggregate settlement amount was $412 million (a $213 million DOJ criminal penalty and a $199 million SEC resolution consisting of disgorgement and prejudgment interest), the 4th largest FCPA settlement amount of all-time.

As highlighted in this previous post, the SEC also found Daniel Och (CEO) and Joel Frank (CFO) culpable for certain of the improper conduct. As indicated in the post, this represents what is believed to be the first time in FCPA history that the SEC also found the current CEO and CFO of the issuer company liable, to some extent, for company FCPA violations. Moreover, the $2.2 million Och agreed to pay, without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, is the largest settlement amount in FCPA history by an individual in an SEC action.

Whether the Och-Ziff enforcement action is the “first time a hedge fund has been held to account for violating the FCPA” (as the DOJ stated in its release) is a debatable point. (See here for the 2007 FCPA enforcement action on the DOJ’s FCPA website against hedge fund Omega Advisors).

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