Top Menu

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.

Continue Reading

BellSouth Gets Hung Up In Latin America

bellsouth

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

In 2002, the SEC announced the filing of a settled civil complaint against BellSouth Corporation charging the telecommunications company with violations of the FCPA’s books and records and internal controls provisions.

The conduct at issue focused on an indirect subsidiary in Venezuela (and BellSouth’s inability to “reconstruct the circumstances of purpose” of certain payments) and an indirect subsidiary in Nicaragua (which retained the wife of the chairman of a Nicaraguan legislative committee with oversight of telecommunications).

As frequently highlighted on these pages, the root cause of many FCPA enforcement actions are foreign trade barriers and restrictions and in this regard, as the complaint notes, Nicaraguan law prohibited foreign companies from acquiring a majority interest in Nicaraguan telecommunications companies.”

Continue Reading

FCPA And Then Some As Alere Resolves SEC Enforcement Action

alere

One instance of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act scrutiny that has attracted significant investor interest over the past few years (because it occurred in the context of an M&A transaction) involved Alere Inc.

As highlighted in this previous post, the company disclosed in August 2015 that it received an SEC subpoena inquiring about its foreign business practices. Thereafter, Alere announced that it would be acquired by Abbott in a $5.8 billion transaction.

Continue Reading

Next Up – Telia As DOJ And SEC Announce Contemplated $483 Million Net FCPA Enforcement Action

telia

This recent post asked: what will September bring and noted that with history as a guide likely notable FCPA enforcement actions.

This 2015 post highlighted the burgeoning Uzbekistan telecommunication investigations involving Dutch telecom company VimpleCom, Swedish telecom company TeliaSonera, and Russia-based Mobile TeleSystems.

As highlighted here, in February 2016 VimpelCom resolved a net $397.5 million FCPA enforcement action and as highlighted below yesterday the DOJ and SEC announced a contemplated $483 million net FCPA enforcement against against Telia (after accounting for various credits and deductions for contemplated Swedish and Dutch enforcement actions) – the 5th largest net FCPA settlement of all-time.

Continue Reading

You Don’t Need To Look Far For The Location Resulting In Several Individual FCPA Enforcement Actions

Haiti2

This prior post highlighted the DOJ’s recently announced Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Joseph Baptiste for alleged bribery in Haiti.

The Baptiste enforcement action is just the latest in a long list of FCPA enforcement actions (all of the criminal actions were against individuals associated with small, privately-held companies) alleging improper business conduct in Haiti (a country located a short distance from the U.S.).

What makes this unusual is that Haiti attracts (relatively speaking compared to many other countries) little business activity by those subject to the FCPA. But then again, perhaps one of the reasons for this lack of business activity is the FCPA itself. As highlighted in this 2010 post, some called for the FCPA not to apply to doing business in Haiti arguing: “one of the best way to help Haiti” is to “pass a law stating that the FCPA does not apply to dealings in Haiti. As it stands right now, U.S. businesses are unwilling to take on this legal risk and the result is similar to an embargo. You can’t do business in Haiti without paying bribes.”

Continue Reading

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes