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DOJ Announces FCPA Enforcement Action Against Two Former SBM Offshore Executives

sbm

If you are scoring at home, in the past 48 hours the DOJ has announced FCPA enforcement actions involving 7 individuals. (See here for the prior post regarding the FCPA enforcement action earlier this week against 5 individuals associated with Rolls-Royce).

By way of comparison, as highlighted in this post, in all of 2016 8 individuals were involved in DOJ FCPA enforcement actions and in 2015 8 individuals were also involved in DOJ FCPA enforcement actions.

In other words, those predicting a slow down in FCPA enforcement in the Trump administration were ignorant to begin with, but now really need to move on to other topics.

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Customs Issues In Argentina Result In FCPA Enforcement Action Against BJ Services

bj

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

In 2004, the SEC brought this administrative cease and desist order against BJ Services (a Houston-based oil field services, products, and equipment company). The conduct at issue focused on the company’s Argentina subsidiary and its relationships with customs officials. As stated in the SEC’s order, there was no indication that anyone employed by BJ Services approved many of the alleged improper payments and the SEC further acknowledged that the improper payments were made in violation of BJ Services’ existing policies prohibiting payments of the kind made to the customs official.

Other interesting aspects of the enforcement include the following: (i) certain of the improper payments were facilitated by the Argentina subsidiary issuing checks “in the name of a lower’level” employee who then “cashed the checks and provided the proceeds to the customs official”; (ii) the SEC seemed to acknowledge that certain of the payments were facilitation payments under the FCPA, but nevertheless improperly booked, and thus still actionable.

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Friday Roundup

Roundup

Quotable, scrutiny alerts and updates, and for the reading stack. It’s all here in the Friday roundup.

Quotable

Royal Dutch Shell resolved an FCPA enforcement action in 2010 concerning conduct in Nigeria. At present, the company is under FCPA scrutiny again for its business practices in Nigeria.

During a recent investor conference call, an analyst asked “in light of the various corruption cases that hit the oil sector, which seem to be more and more frequent, is there anything you think needs to be done better at the industry level to deal with violations of the FCPA?”

Royal Dutch CEO Ben van Beurden stated:

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Halliburton Joins FCPA Repeat Offender Club As The SEC Also Finds That A Former VP Violated The FCPA

halliburton

In 2009, Halliburton Company, KBR Inc. (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Halliburton during the relevant time period) and Kellogg, Brown & Root, LLC (a wholly-owned subsidiary of KBR) resolved parallel DOJ and SEC Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement actions in connection with a bribery scheme involving a $6 billion liquefied natural gas plant on Bonny Island, Nigeria. (See here and here).

The combined $579 million settlement amount (DOJ – $402 million / SEC $177 million) remains the third largest FCPA settlement of all-time. The SEC’s resolution contained the perfunctory condition of permanently enjoining Halliburton from violating the FCPA’s books and records and internal controls provisions.

However, yesterday Halliburton joined the ever-increasing (see here and here for recent posts) FCPA repeat offender club as the SEC announced an FCPA enforcement action concerning alleged conduct in Angola. Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings in this administrative order that it violated the FCPA’s books and records and internal controls provisions, Halliburton agreed to pay $29.2 million. In the same order, the SEC also found that Jeannot Lorenz (Halliburton’s former vice president) causing the company’s violations, circumvented internal accounting controls, and falsified books and records. Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, Lorenz agreed to pay a $75,000 penalty.

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The First Corporate FCPA Enforcement Action In The Trump Era Is A $11.2 Million Declination With Disgorgement And Forfeiture Against Linde For Nearly Decade-Old Conduct Of An Acquired Entity

Linde

Last Friday the DOJ quietly updated its FCPA Pilot Program “declinations” page to include a June 16th letter from the Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office (D.N.J.) to counsel for Linde North America Inc. and Linde Gas North America LLC.

The letter states that “consistent with the FCPA Pilot Program announced on April 5, 2016, the [DOJ is closing its] investigation of [Linde] and certain of their subsidiaries and affiliates concerning violations of the FCPA.”

Pursuant to the letter agreement, Linde agreed to disgorge or forfeit approximately $11.2 million. The Linde enforcement action is the first corporate FCPA enforcement action in the Trump era and is similar to the previous “declinations with disgorgement” enforcement actions released by the Obama DOJ in September 2016. (See here for a prior post).

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