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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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Biomet Becomes An FCPA Repeat Offender

zimmer

For many years, the DOJ has advanced the policy position that DPAs and NPAs “have had a truly transformative effect on particular companies and, more generally, on corporate culture across the globe.” (See here for the prior post). Specifically in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act context, the DOJ has stated that “the companies against which DPAs and NPAs have been brought have often undergone dramatic changes.”  (See here for the prior post).

As highlighted here, in March 2012 Biomet resolved an FCPA enforcement action involving alleged conduct in Brazil, Argentina, and China by agreeing to pay approximately $22.8 million ($17.3 million via a DOJ deferred prosecution agreement, and $5.5 million via a settled SEC civil complaint).

Since then, FCPA Professor has chronicled (herehere and here) how Biomet’s DPA was extended, how the DOJ ultimately came to conclude that Biomet had breached its DPA based on subsequent improper conduct, and how an additional FCPA enforcement was expected.

Last week, the DOJ and SEC announced (here and here) the additional FCPA enforcement action against Zimmer Biomet Holdings (in 2015 Zimmer Holdings acquired Biomet) and Biomet. As highlighted below, a portion of the improper conduct involved the same distributor in Brazil that gave rise to the 2012 FCPA enforcement action.

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The First FCPA Enforcement Action Of 2017 Is A $13 Million Joke

mondelez

On Friday, the SEC announced the first Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action of 2017 against Mondelēz International, Inc.

The basic findings in this short administrative action are the following: (i) in February 2010, Kraft Foods (which re-named itself Mondelez International in 2012) acquired Cadbury (a U.K.-based confectionary and snack beverage company that had securities registered with the SEC) and its subsidiaries, including Cadbury India; (ii) in early 2010 Cadbury India retained an agent to interact with Indian government officials to obtain licenses and approvals for a chocolate factory; (iii) Cadbury India failed to conduct appropriate due diligence on and monitor the activities of the agent which “created the risk” that funds paid to the agent (approximately $100,000) could be used for improper or unauthorized purposes and (iv) Cadbury’s India’s books and records did not accurately and fairly reflect the natures of the services rendered by the agent.

Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, Mondelez agreed to pay a $13 million civil penalty.

This enforcement action is a complete joke (as is the fact that the scrutiny began in February 2011).

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Issues To Consider From The Nordion (Canada Inc.) Enforcement Action

Issues

This previous post went in-depth on the recent Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Nordion (Canada, Inc.).

This post continues the analysis by highlighting various issues to consider.

A future post will explore how the seemingly minor enforcement action (the settlement amount was a mere $375,000) should leave anyone who cares about FCPA enforcement speechless. An additional future post will pose the question of why did Nordion voluntarily disclose while also highlighting that its FCPA scrutiny cost the company in excess of $20 million in pre-enforcement action professional fees and expenses (a shocking 50:1 ratio compared to the settlement amount).

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Just When You Think You’ve Seen It All – Along Comes The Nordion (Canada) Inc. Enforcement Action

kidding me

There have been several Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement actions in the past 30 days or so.

But, just when you think you’ve seen it all in FCPA enforcement-land, along comes the Nordion (Canada) Inc. enforcement action announced yesterday by the SEC.

The basic findings, as set forth in this administrative order, were as follows.

Approximately 16 years ago, Mikhail Gourevitch (a dual Canadian and Israeli citizen who was fired years ago by Nordion) represented to the company that “his purported childhood friend from Russia” could help the company’s business in Russia.

Gourevitch and this eventual agent “conspired to use a portion of the funds Nordion paid the Agent to bribe Russian government officials to obtain approval for TheraSphere” a liver cancer therapy.

Gourevitch also received kickbacks from the Agent and otherwise “hid the scheme from Nordion” through, among other things, misrepresentations to his employer. In the words of the SEC, through his conduct Gourevitch “secretly enrich[ed] himself” and received “at least $100,000 for his role in the arrangement which was not disclosed to Nordion.”

In August 2014, Nordion was acquired by Nordion (Canada) Inc., a privately held company. The SEC’s order finds that Nordion (not the actual Respondent in the action Nordion (Canada) Inc.) violated the FCPA’s books and records and internal controls provisions and Nordion (Canada) Inc. agreed, without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, agreed to pay $375,000.

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