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SBM Offshore Resolves $238 Million FCPA Enforcement Action

sbm

As highlighted in this prior post, in 2014 Netherlands-based SBM Offshore resolved a $240 million Dutch law enforcement action alleging improper payments to sales agents and foreign government officials in Equatorial Guinea, Angola and Brazil between 2007 through 2011. In connection with this action, the company disclosed: ““the United States Department of Justice has informed SBM Offshore that it is not prosecuting the Company and has closed its inquiry into the matter.”

Fast forward to earlier this month when, as highlighted in this prior post, the DOJ announced resolution of criminal charges against former SBM Offshore executive Anthony Mace and Robert Zubiate for their roles in a scheme to bribe foreign government officials in Brazil, Angola and Equatorial Guinea.

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As We Say, Not As We Do

hypocrisy

The internal controls provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act require issuers to “devise and maintain a system of internal accounting controls sufficient to provide reasonable assurances that” the specific financial objectives of the statute are met.

Besides these vague objectives such as “transactions are executed in accordance with management’s general or specific authorization” or “access to assets is permitted only in accordance with management’s general or specific authorization” the FCPA does not specify what issuers are supposed to do. Nor does any implementing rule or regulation.

Rather, enforcement of the internal controls provisions often amounts to the government – with the perfect of hindsight – adopting a theory of enforcement that represents little more than ipse dixit (an unsupported statement that rests solely on the authority of the individual who makes it). In other words, the failure to do x, y or z is an internal controls violations merely because the government says it is.

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Across The Pond, Rolls-Royce Also Resolves A $625 Million U.K. Enforcement Action

Rolls

This recent post went in-depth into the $170 million Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Rolls-Royce. As mentioned in the post, the FCPA enforcement action against Rolls-Royce was part of a broader $800 million global resolution that also included a U.K. Serious Fraud Office component as well as Brazil law enforcement action.

The approximate $625 million U.K. enforcement action comprised the bulk of $800 million global resolution (that would seem to make sense, Rolls-Royce is after all a U.K. company) and is summarized below including the several failure to prevent bribery counts under the Bribery Act.

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Further To The Clustering Phenomenon, DOJ Announces Additional Guilty Pleas In Connection With PDVSA Bribery Scheme

cluster

Few corporate Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement actions involve related criminal charges against company employees.

Perhaps sensitive to its individual FCPA prosecution numbers, the DOJ sure seems to cluster enforcement around a few discreet instances of bribery almost always involving private business entities.

This dynamic was first highlighted in this 2014 post and further discussed in this 2016 statistical post.

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In Depth Into The $519 Million Teva FCPA Enforcement Action

Copaxone

Records continue to be set as 2016 Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement enters its final days.

Yesterday, the DOJ and SEC announced (here and here) a $519 million enforcement action against Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (an Israeli company with American Depository Receipts traded in the U.S.) and a related entity. The settlement amount included a $283 million DOJ component and a related $236 million SEC component.

The action is believed to be the first-ever FCPA enforcement action against an Israeli company and by far the largest-ever FCPA enforcement action against a pharmaceutical company. (The $70 million 2011 enforcement action against Johnson & Johnson is second on that list). You better go ahead and update your top ten list again because the Teva enforcement action is the 4th largest of all-time. (Odebrecht / Braskem held that spot for less than 24 hours and is now bumped to 5th largest FCPA settlement amount of all-time).

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