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Plaintiffs Allege Harm At The Hands Of Terrorist Group Funded In Part By Corrupt Sales Practices Of Various Multinational Companies

Mahdi Army

Various courts have held that the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act does not confer a private right of action. However, as highlighted in “FCPA Ripples” and several other posts on this website, private plaintiffs with increasing frequency are using allegations of corruption to allege other substantive causes of action in what amounts to “offensive use” of the FCPA and related topics.

Recently, American service members and civilians and their families who were killed or wounded while serving in Iraq filed this 203 page civil complaint against AstraZeneca, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Roche claiming that the companies’ alleged acts of corruption in Iraq present viable civil claims under the federal Anti-Terrorism Act and for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Specifically, the plaintiffs allege that they or their family members were attacked by a terrorist group (Jaysh al-Mahdi) funded in part by the defendants’ corrupt sales practices.

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From The Dockets

Judicial Decision

As highlighted in this previous post, Misonix has been under FCPA scrutiny since September 2016 and in March 2017 Cicel (Beijing) Science & Technology Co. Ltd. brought a variety of civil claims against Misonix concerning its business relationship with the company.

Among the claims brought by Cicel was a breach of contract claim. Misonix acknowledged that it terminated the contract, but argued that it “was justified in doing so because of Misonix’s FCPA investigation” regarding Cicel. In response, Cicel claimed that the investigation “was a ruse for breaching the contract.” Recently, U.S. District Court Judge Arthur Spatt (E.D.N.Y.) allowed Cicel’s claim to proceed beyond the motion to dismiss stage. (See 2017 WL 4535933).

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Random Musings

musing

Oh The Hypocrisy

In this recent opinion column, John Podesta (the chair of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign) calls SEC Chair Jay Clayton “a public critic of the FCPA.”

However, just because one voices some concerns as to how the FCPA is enforced (as a committee that Clayton chaired did in a 2011 report titled “The FCPA and its Impact on International Business Transactions – Should Anything Be Done to Minimize the Consequences of the U.S.’s Unique Position on Combating Offshore Corruption?”) does not make one a “public critic of the FCPA” (the law itself).

In recent years there was a high-profile and vocal critic of not only how the FCPA was enforced, but the FCPA itself. And that person was Andrew Weissmann, who in January 2015 joined the Obama Department of Justice to become Chief of the DOJ’s Fraud Section.

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Friday Roundup

Roundup

Quotable, no reliable way to measure, Microsoft explains, scrutiny alert, a direct selling license in China, and offensive use of the FCPA. It’s all here in the Friday roundup.

Quotable

Some think – or at least I’ve been told – that certain of my Foreign Corrupt Practices Act views are controversial or out of the “main stream” (whatever the “main stream” actually is or means). Yet, I am confident that much of what I write and talk about represents silent majority views.

Indeed, as I’ve commented before, one of the interesting things about writing about the FCPA and related issues on a daily basis is that often I just need to wait for a former FCPA enforcement official to say the same thing. 

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Friday Roundup

Roundup

Offensive use of the FCPA, a weekend homework assignment, already answered, scrutiny alert, and for the reading stack. It’s all here in the Friday roundup.

Offense Use of the FCPA

FCPA Ripples highlights, among other things, how the FCPA is increasingly being used offensively including in connection with battles for corporate control.

The latest example concerns Elliott Management Corporation’s efforts to unseat board members at Arconic Inc. The recent departure of Arconic’s CEO Klaus Kleinfeld for apparently threatening Elliott Management (an existing Arconic shareholder) was all over the news (see here for example) and this recent Elliott Management letter to Arconic shareholders assails the “poor judgment” of Arconic’s board including the following.

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