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SEC Brings Another Enforcement Action Against A Former Cognizant Executive

Thiruvengadam

Approximately 90% of SEC corporate FCPA enforcement actions in recent years have lacked any related charges against company employees.

A bit unusual then that the February 2019 enforcement action against Cognizant Technology Solutions (see here) has resulted in not one, not two, but three individual enforcement actions as last Friday the SEC announced an administrative action against Sridhar Thiruvengadam (pictured – an Indian national and resident who previously served as Cognizant’s Chief Operating Officer).

Unlike the two prior individuals charged by the SEC and DOJ (Gordon Coburn and Steven Schwartz) who appear to be putting the government to its burden of proof, Thiruvengadam, without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, agreed to pay a $50,000 civil penalty in an enforcement action that lacked any U.S. jurisdictional allegation other than that Thiruvengadam participated in a video conference from India with certain executives who participated in the video conference from the U.S.

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Six Years After Juniper Networks Disclosed FCPA Scrutiny, It Resolves A $11.7 Million Joke Of An Enforcement Action Based On Russia And China Subsidiary Conduct

junipernetworks

As highlighted in this previous post, in mid-2013 Juniper Networks disclosed that it was under FCPA scrutiny. Over six years later, the SEC announced yesterday that the company agreed to pay approximately $11.7 million to resolve the scrutiny.

As highlighted below, the enforcement action was based on the conduct of Russia and China subsidiary employees. In Russia, certain sales employees of the Russian representative office of Juniper’s subsidiary secretly agreed with third party channel partners to provide discounts to customers that were parked in off-book funds some of which were used to pay for customer trips, including trips for government officials, some of which were predominately leisure in nature. In China, certain sales employees of Juniper’s Chinese subsidiaries falsified trip and meeting agendas for customer events in seeking approval from Juniper’s Legal Department.

Based on the conduct alleged in the enforcement action (which is beyond any conceivable statute of limitations) as well as actual FCPA legal authority, the enforcement action is a $11.7 million joke.

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Next Up – Deutsche Bank Hands Over $16.2 Million To Uncle Sam

deutsche

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).

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 Deutsche Bank as the SEC announced yesterday that the German bank with shares traded on the NYSE will pay approximately $16.2 million “to settle changes that it violated the FCPA by hiring relatives of foreign government officials [in both the Asia Pacific Region and Russia] in order to improperly influence them in connection with investment banking business).

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Microsoft Resolves Long-Standing FCPA Scrutiny By Agreeing To Pay $25.3 Million

microsft

Microsoft has been under Foreign Corrupt Practices Act scrutiny since early 2013 (see here for the prior post). Yesterday, the DOJ and SEC announced here and here an aggregate $25.3 million enforcement action against the company and a Hungarian subsidiary concerning conduct in Hungary, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Turkey.

The enforcement action involved a DOJ component involving a non-prosecution agreement involving MS Hungary in which the entity agreed to pay a $8.8 million criminal penalty and an SEC administrative order against Microsoft finding violations of the FCPA’s books and records and internal controls provisions in which the company agreed, without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, to pay disgorgement and prejudgment interest of approximately $16.5 million.

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Approximately 7.5 Years After Disclosing FCPA Scrutiny, Walmart FINALLY Resolves FCPA Enforcement Action

Wal-Mart

As highlighted in this prior post, in late 2011 Walmart disclosed that it began “an internal investigation into whether certain matters, including permitting, licensing and inspections, were in compliance” with the FCPA.

So began arguably one of the most high-profile instances of corporate scrutiny in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. history. The scrutiny FINALLY came to an end yesterday as the DOJ and SEC announced (here and here) a coordinated $282 million enforcement action. As highlighted in this prior post, Walmart disclosed this likely settlement amount in November 2017,  yet it still took approximately 1.5 additional years to formally resolve the matter.

This post summarizes the DOJ and SEC’s enforcement action concerning alleged improper conduct in the following countries: Mexico, Brazil, India and China.  Future posts will explore numerous other issues relevant to the enforcement action.

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