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Kokesh Footnote Seems To Be Inviting A Future Disgorgement Case

invite

The Supreme Court’s decision earlier this week in Kokesh v. SEC was yet another Supreme Court benchslap of the SEC. As highlighted in this prior post, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected the SEC’s position and held that disgorgement “in the securities-enforcement context is a ‘penalty’ within the meaning of [28 U.S.C.] 2462 and so disgorgement actions must be commenced within five years of the date the claim accrues.”

As previously highlighted in numerous prior posts regarding Kokesh, the non-FCPA case is FCPA relevant in that since the SEC first sought a disgorgement remedy in an FCPA enforcement action in 2004, disgorgement has become the dominant remedy sought by the SEC in corporate FCPA enforcement actions.

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Supreme Court Benchslaps SEC Yet Again – Rules That Disgorgement Is A Penalty Subject To A Five Year Limitations Period

supremecourt

FCPA Professor has been closely following Kokesh v SEC, a non-FCPA case that is FCPA relevant because the issue before the Supreme Court is whether SEC disgorgement is subject to a five-year statute of limitations. (See prior posts here and here regarding the case, here for a summary of the oral argument in the case, and here for an FCPA Flash podcast episode devoted to the case and issue).

What makes Kokesh FCPA relevant is that since the SEC first sought a disgorgement remedy in an FCPA enforcement action in 2004, disgorgement has become the dominant remedy sought by the SEC in corporate FCPA enforcement actions.

Yesterday in this unanimous decision authored by Justice Sotomayor, the Supreme Court rejected the SEC’s position and held that disgorgement “in the securities-enforcement context is a ‘penalty’ within the meaning of [28 U.S.C.] 2462 and so disgorgement actions must be commenced within five years of the date the claim accrues.”

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FCPA Flash Podcast – A Conversation With Richard Grime (Former Assistant Director of SEC Enforcement) Regarding FCPA Enforcement

FCPA Flash

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 podcast episode is a conversation with Richard Grime (Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and former Assistant Director of SEC Enforcement) and is a must listen if you want to hear informed and candid commentary about the current FCPA enforcement landscape from someone who used to enforce the FCPA.

During the podcast, Grime discusses: (i) reasons for the general increase in FCPA enforcement (among the reasons he mentions is “the government has realized this is a money-winner”; (ii) whether FCPA enforcement, including the internal control’s provisions, has been pushed beyond the breaking point (in Grime’s words yes it has and “almost any conduct becomes subject to an enforcement vehicle”); and (iii) whether long, drawn-out FCPA investigations can be avoided.

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A Case Study In Risk Aversion Or What Happens When Defendants Fight Back

fightback

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

Previous posts here and here highlighted the 2001 DOJ/SEC FCPA enforcement action against KPMG Siddharta Siddharta & Harsono (KPMG-SSH) and Sonny Harsono and Baker Hughes regarding alleged improper payments in connection with an Indonesia tax assessment. All of the defendants resolved the enforcement actions without putting the DOJ/SEC to its burden of proof (the risk aversion portion of this post).

However, also in 2001 the SEC charged Eric Mattson (the former CFO of Baker Hughes) and James Harris (the former Controller of Baker Hughes) with Foreign Corrupt Practices Act offenses based on the same substantive allegations. Unlike the other defendants, as highlighted in this post, Mattson and Harris fought back – a process that resulted in a federal court judge dismissing the FCPA charges against them.

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Additional Data Points Relevant To Brockmeyer’s Tenure As SEC FCPA Unit Chief

brockmeyer

Earlier this week, the SEC announced that its FCPA Unit Chief, Kara Brockmeyer, will soon be leaving.

Similar to prior DOJ/SEC press releases upon FCPA enforcement attorneys leaving the government, the SEC’s release largely defines Brockmeyer’s tenure in terms of quantity of enforcement actions brought and settlement amounts secured. (See here for a prior post discussing this dynamic). The vast majority of this FCPA enforcement, because of the prominence of SEC administrative actions as well as NPAs and DPAs, occurred in the absence of any judicial scrutiny.

This post highlights additional data points relevant to Brockmeyer’s tenure as SEC FCPA Unit Chief, a position she assumed in September 2011 after the SEC’s first formal FCPA Unit Chief Cheryl Scarboro departed (see here for the prior post).

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