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The Case That Just Keeps On Giving – DOJ Announces Additional Charges In PDVSA Bribery Action

PDVSA

Several prior posts (see hereherehere and here for instance) have highlighted the clustering phenomenon and how a few discreet instances of alleged bribery yield an inordinate amount of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement activity against individuals.

One such example is the DOJ’s long-standing enforcement action (charges were first brought in late 2015) in connection with alleged corrupt schemes to secure contracts from Venezuela’s state-owned and state-controlled energy company, PDVSA.

Yesterday, the DOJ announced that two additional individuals were criminally charged “for their alleged roles in a scheme to corruptly secure business advantages, including contracts and payment on past due invoices, from Venezuela’s state-owned and state-controlled energy company, Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA).”

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FCPA Flash Podcast – A Conversation With James Noe Regarding FCPA Issues In The Oil And Gas Industry

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The FCPA Flash podcast provides in an audio format the same fresh, candid, and informed commentary about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and related topics as readers have come to expect from written posts on FCPA Professor.

This FCPA Flash episode is a conversation with James Noe (special counsel with Jones Walker LLP who previously served in various in-house counsel and executive roles with several oil and gas companies). During the podcast, Noe discusses: the easiest and most difficult aspects of FCPA compliance in the oil and gas industry; the extent of facilitating payments in the industry; whether oil and gas companies are too risk averse when it comes to FCPA issues; and civil actions by industry participants when business is lost because of a refusal to make bribe payments.

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Ho Convicted Of FCPA And Related Offenses

Ho

As highlighted in this previous post, in November 2017 Chi Ping Patrick Ho (pictured) and Cheikh Gadio were criminally charged with conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, violating the FCPA, conspiring to commit international money laundering, and committing international money laundering in connection with alleged bribery schemes in Chad and Uganda on behalf of China Energy Fund Committee, an entity funded by CEFC China Energy Company Ltd.

In July 2018, Ho’s motion to dismiss was denied (see here), in September 2018 the DOJ quietly dismissed charges against Gadio (see here), and in late November Ho’s trial began with Gadio as a primary DOJ witness.

Yesterday, the DOJ announced that after a one week trial a federal jury found Ho guilty of one count of conspiring to violate the FCPA, four counts of violating the FCPA, one count of conspiring to commit international money laundering and one count of committing international money laundering.

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Vantage Drilling Resolves Rather Unusual $5 Million FCPA Enforcement Action

vantagedrilling

Yesterday, the SEC announced this rather unusual Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Vantage Drilling.

What made it rather unusual is that the administrative action only found violations of the FCPA’s internal controls provisions concerning its unique relationship with a former outside director and shareholder that “created a risk that [the company] was providing or reimbursing funds that [the Director] intended to use to make improper payments to officials at Petrobras” in connection with obtaining a drilling services contract.

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Brazil State-Owned Co. Allegedly Facilitates Payments To Brazilian Politicians And Political Parties And U.S. Collects Net $170 Million In FCPA Enforcement Action

Uncle Sam3

This morning the DOJ and SEC announced (here and here) that Petrobras, a Brazilian state-owned and state-controlled energy company, entered into agreements with U.S. and Brazilian authorities “in connection with Petrobras’s role in facilitating payments to politicians and political parties in Brazil, as well as a related Brazilian investigation.”

After various credits and deductions for a related law enforcement action in Brazil, the net FCPA settlement is approximately $170 million ($85.3 million DOJ, $85.3 million SEC). Brazil will collect $682.6 million. The remainder of this post provides an in-depth summary of the enforcement action.

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