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Strict Liability For Subsidiary Conduct

oilstates

[This post is part of a periodic series regarding “old” FCPA enforcement actions]

Issuer strict liability for subsidiary conduct is a dubious prong of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement. However, as highlighted in this post concerning a 2006 enforcement action against Oil States International, it has long been an aspect of FCPA enforcement.

In 2006, the SEC brought this administrative action against Oil States International (a specialty provider to oil and gas drilling companies). The conduct at issue was based entirely on the actions of employees of a branch office in Eastern Venezuela of Hydraulic Well Control LLC, a subsidiary of Oil States. According to the SEC, HWC Venezuela contributed approximately 1% of Oil States’ consolidated revenues during the relevant time period.

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Eni Joins The Repeat Offender Club – This Time Resolves A $24.5 Million SEC FCPA Enforcement Action

eni

As highlighted in this prior post, in 2010 ENI S.p.A (an Italy-based oil and gas company with American Depositary Shares listed on the New York Stock Exchange) along with its wholly-owned subsidiary Snamprogetti resolved a $125 million SEC Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action concerning conduct in Nigeria.

On Friday, the SEC announced that ENI resolved another FCPA enforcement action – this one a $24.5 million enforcement action concerning conduct in Algeria by Saipem S.p.A. (a minority-owned and controlled subsidiary during the relevant time period). The conduct at issue in the enforcement action occurred 10 – 13 years ago.

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South Korean Company Bribes Brazilian Officials Through Brazilian Agents, U.S. Collects $37.7 Million

SamsungHeavy

Last Friday, the Department of Justice announced that Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI – a South Korea-based engineering company that provides shipbuilding, offshore platform construction, and other construction and engineering services with a branch office in Houston) agreed to resolve a net $37.5 million Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action.

As highlighted below, the conduct at issue involved SHI’s relationship with Pride International (which is now part of Valaris plc) through which it sold a $636 million drillship to Petrobras.

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DOJ Announces Guilty Pleas By Former Unaoil Executives

unaoil

Yesterday, the DOJ announced that Cyrus Ahsani and Saman Ahsani (the former CEO and Chief Operations Officer of Monaco-based Unaoil) pleaded guilty in March 2019 to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA for their roles in a scheme to corruptly facilitate millions of dollars in bribe payments to officials in multiple countries. The DOJ also announced that Steven Hunter (a former business development manager at Unaoil) pleaded guilty in August 2018 to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA.

Prior Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement actions against Rolls-Royce and SBM Offshore (see here and here) involved, in whole or in part, Unaoil and the Ahsani information refers to approximately 25 other companies including approximately ten U.S. based issuers. Thus, it is likely that additional FCPA enforcement actions involving, in whole or in part, Unaoil will be forthcoming.

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The Other Shoe Drops On TechnipFMC As The SEC Announces A $5 Million Enforcement Action

othershoe

The SEC’s fiscal year ends on September 30th. Thus, it is likely that many loose ends are being closed this week and, with history as a guide, there is likely to be more FCPA enforcement actions this week.

Most FCPA enforcement actions against issuers that include a DOJ and SEC component are resolved on the same day. However, as noted in prior posts here and here concerning the DOJ’s net $81.9 million FCPA enforcement action against TechnipFMC in June 2019, the SEC prong of the enforcement action was left open.

This loose end was closed yesterday as the SEC announced an approximate $5 million enforcement action against the company “for violations of the FCPA by FMC Technologies prior to its 2017 merger with Technip S.A.”

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