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Canada-Based Kinross Gold Corp. Resolves Approximate $1 Million SEC Action Because Its Acquired Indirect African Subsidiaries Had Deficient Internal Controls

Kinross

Silly you for believing certain commentator hype that the Trump SEC would stop enforcing the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or for thinking that the general lull in SEC corporate enforcement during the fourth quarter of 2017 meant anything.

In the second SEC corporate FCPA enforcement action in the last 2.5 weeks (see here for the prior Elbit Imaging action), the SEC announced yesterday that Canada-based Kinross Gold Corporation (a company with shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange) resolved an enforcement action “arising from the company’s repeated failure to implement adequate accounting controls of two African subsidiaries.” Without admitting or denying the SEC’s finding in this administrative order, Kinross agreed to, among other things, pay a $950,000 civil penalty.

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Friday Roundup

Roundup

Scrutiny alerts and updates, just plain silly, #precisionmatters, and for the reading stack. It’s all here in the Friday roundup.

Scrutiny Alerts and Updates

Societe Generale

As highlighted in this 2014 post, Societe Generale, among other companies, has been under FCPA scrutiny regarding its dealings with Libya’s government-run investment fund. The French financial services company recently disclosed:

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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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