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Based On The Same Core Conduct Alleged In The 2018 Criminal Action, The SEC Also Brings Enforcement Action Against Former Goldman Executive Tim Leissner

Leissner

As highlighted in this prior post, in November 2018 the DOJ announced a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and related enforcement action against Tim Leissner (the former Southeast Asia Chairman at Goldman Sachs) and others associated with Goldman Sachs 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.

Leissner pleaded guilty and was ordered to forfeit $43.7 million as a result of his crimes. As highlighted in this prior post, in March 2019 – based on the same core conduct – the Federal Reserve brought an enforcement action against Leissner in which he consented to a permanent ban from the banking industry and agreed to pay a $1.4 million fine.

Yesterday, the SEC returned to the same core action and announced an FCPA enforcement action against Leissner. The action was largely ceremonial as the SEC’s order requires Leissner to pay disgorgement of $43.7 million which will be offset by the amounts paid pursuant to the forfeiture order in the parallel criminal action.

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Swedish Company Bribes Foreign Officials, U.S. Collects $1.06 Billion In Record-Setting FCPA Enforcement Action

ericsson

Late last Friday, the DOJ and SEC announced (here and here) a record-setting Foreign Corrupt Practices Act action Swedish telecom company Ericsson (a company with American Depositary Shares traded in the U.S.). The $1.06 billion settlement amount is the largest net FCPA settlement amount in history surpassing the $850 million FCPA enforcement action against Russian telecom company MTS in March 2019 (see here).

The enforcement action concerned conduct in Djibouti, China, Vietnam, Kuwait, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia.

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Former Herbalife China Executives Criminally Charged By DOJ, SEC Also Charges Former Executive

herbalife

In 2014, Avon resolved a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement based in large part on obtaining a direct selling permit in China. (See here for the prior post).

In 2016, Nu Skin Enterprises resolved an FCPA enforcement action based in large part on obtaining a direct selling permit in China. (See here for the prior post).

In 2017, Herbalife disclosed that it was under FCPA scrutiny concerning its conduct in China. With the company’s scrutiny still pending, yesterday the DOJ announced that Yanliang Li (a citizen of China and former Managing Director of a Chinese division of Herbalife) and Hongwei Yang (a citizen of China and former head the External Affairs Department of a Chinese division of Herbalife) were criminally charged “for their roles in a scheme to violate the anti-bribery and the internal controls provisions of the FCPA.” Not surprisingly, the alleged conduct focused on obtaining a direct selling permit.

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Westport Fuel Systems Resolves $4 Million FCPA Enforcement Action Based On Transfer Of Shares To A Private Equity Fund In Which A Chinese Official Held An Interest – Former CEO Also Resolves Action

Westport

In the third corporate Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is less than 24 hours, the SEC announced this afternoon that Westport Fuel Systems (a Canadian company with shares traded on NASDAQ) agreed to pay approximately $4 million for “paying bribes to a foreign government official in China.”

In addition, in connection with the same core conduct, Nancy Gougarty (a U.S. citizen who previously served as Chief Operating Officer and from mid-2016 until early 2019 as the CEO and member of the board of directors) agreed to pay a $120,000 civil penalty.

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Next Up – Barclays Hands Over $6.3 Million To Uncle Sam

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First, it was BNY Mellon Corp. in August 2015 for $14.8 million (see here and here for prior posts). Then, it was Qualcomm in March 2016 for $7.5 million (see here and here for prior posts). Then, it was JPMorgan in November 2016 for $202.6 million (see herehere, and here for prior posts). Then, it was Credit Suisse in July 2018 for $77 million (see here and here for prior posts). Then, it was Deutsche Bank in August 2019 for $16.2 million (see here and here for prior posts).

Next up in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement actions (mostly targeting the financial services industry) focusing, in whole or in part, on internship and hiring practices being a form of bribery is Barclays as the SEC announced that the U.K. bank with shares traded on the NYSE will pay approximately $6.3 million to “settle charges that it violated the FCPA by hiring the relatives and friends of foreign government officials in order to improperly influence them in connection with its investment banking business.”

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