In arguably one of the most high-profile individual Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement actions in recent years, the DOJ announced yesterday that Low Taek Jho (Jho Low), Ng Chong Hwa (Roger Ng – a former managing director at Goldman Sachs), and Tim Leissner (the former Southeast Asia Chairman at Goldman Sach and Participating Manager Director) were charged with FCPA offenses for paying bribes to various Malaysian and Abu Dhabi officials in connection with 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), Malaysia’s state-owned and state-controlled investment development company. The individuals were also charged with conspiring to launder billions of dollars embezzled from 1MDB.
This recent post went in-depth into the $170 million Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Rolls-Royce. As mentioned in the post, the FCPA enforcement action against Rolls-Royce was part of a broader $800 million global resolution that also included a U.K. Serious Fraud Office component as well as Brazil law enforcement action.
The approximate $625 million U.K. enforcement action comprised the bulk of $800 million global resolution (that would seem to make sense, Rolls-Royce is after all a U.K. company) and is summarized below including the several failure to prevent bribery counts under the Bribery Act.
Asset recovery, scrutiny alerts and updates, nominate, and for the reading stack. It’s all here in the Friday roundup.
FCPA enforcement is not the only prong of the DOJ’s bribery and corruption fight.
Asset recovery – part of the DOJ’s so-called Kleptocracy Initiative – is another prong and recently the DOJ announced its largest action ever brought under the program. As stated in this release:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
[This post is part of a periodic series regarding “old” FCPA enforcement actions]
A previous post (here) detailed the DOJ’ first criminal Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Kenny International in 1979. However, that action was not the first FCPA enforcement action.
In April 1978, the SEC filed a civil injunctive action against Page Airways, Inc. (“Page”) (a New York based company engaged in the sale and service of aircraft and traded on the over-the-counter market) and six officers and/or directors of the company: James Wilmot (Chairman); Gerald Wilmot (President); Douglas Juston (Executive Vice President); Ross Chapin (Vice President); James Lawler (Vice President) and Richard Olney (Vice President). The SEC’s complaint alleged that Page and the individual defendants “engaged in a scheme to sell Gulfstream II aircraft and other aircraft, products and services by, directly and indirectly, making payments to foreign government officials and employees and other corrupt, illegal, improper or unaccountable payments.”
The SEC complaint specifically references payments to: (i) “Albert Bongo, President of the Republic of Gabon;” (ii) “Gaya House Sendirian Berhad” and entity controlled by “Datuk Harris bin Mohammad Salleh” who, during the relevant time period, was “State Minister of Industrial Development” for the “State Government of Sabah, Malaysia;” (iii) “the Washington D.C. bank account of Societe Ivoirienne de Development et de Financement” in which “Timothee Ahoua, the Ambassador to the United States of the Republic of the Ivory Coast” was secretary and signatory on the bank account; (iv) “foreign entities as conduits for the payment of funds to third parties in order to disguise the true recipients and amounts” in connection with sales of aircraft to Saudi International Airlines and Morocco; (v) the “Chief of State” of Uganda (who received a Cadillac Eldorado convertible). Based on the above payments, as well as allegations that the company and the individuals misrecorded and otherwise attemtped to disguise the payments, the SEC charged Page and the individuals defendants with FCPA books and records and internal control violations as well as violations of Sections 10(b) (antifraud) and 13(a) (reporting) of the Securities Exchange Act and Rules thereunder.
The SEC news digest indicates that a permanent injunction was entered enjoining the defendants from future securities law violations and that “in connection with the settlement, Page has undertaken to internally investigate matters alleged in the Commission’s complaint and retain a Review Person to evaluate the methods and procedures followed in this investigation.” For those of you scoring at home, the Page enforcement action would seem to be the first use of an FCPA compliance monitor. The SEC news digest also contains this interesting statement. “In reaching settlement of this action, the Commission and Page considered concerns raised by another agency of the United States Government regarding matters of national interest.”
Original source documents from the Page FCPA enforcement can be found here.