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Happy Holidays

Got some last-minute holiday shopping on the “to-do” list today?

You may want to consider this for that valued colleague, an item sure to turn heads and earn the recipient a pass from FCPA scrutiny for having a well-communicated FCPA policy.

Looking to spend a little extra on that special someone this holiday season?

You may want to consider this item.

In the spirit of the season, I include a clip from my favorite holiday movie – “A Christmas Story.”

While it is indeed unfortunate when a company becomes the subject of an FCPA enforcement action or when an individual faces the prospect of losing his or her liberty because of an FCPA violation, I must confess I do feel a bit like Ralphie in “A Christmas Story” every time an FCPA enforcement action is released.

Clueless as to what I am talking about – here is the clip.

It goes something like this.

The FCPA enforcement action is released by the DOJ or SEC.

I immediately seek seclusion so that I can de-code the messages in the otherwise bare-bones, conclusory DOJ non-prosecution or deferred prosecution agreement or SEC complaint and consent decree.

The family is calling and I am needed elsewhere.

I yell out, “just a minute.”

I am close to cracking the code and the messages therein.

The calls persist, but I’m getting closer and the tension is mounting.

I’m almost there.

And then … the message.

The enforcement officials have concluded, yet again, that employees of state-owned or state-controlled enterprises are “foreign officials!”

***

Thanks for reading, all the best this Holiday season, and be sure to stop back in a few days.

Your Comments (Even if Anonymous) Are Welcome

It is always gratifying to know that people out there are reading and finding your content worthwhile.

Recently, a reader e-mailed with an informative comment, but indicated that she was hesitant to post it on the blog because she works for a company and didn’t want her comment associated with the company. I told her that I allow anonymous comments and she suggested that I announce this fact.

So here is the announcement – the FCPA Professor blog allows anonymous comments. To do so, at the end of a post, click on “comment,” you will then see a “comment as” drop-down box where “anonymous” is one of the options.

Why do I allow anonymous comments?

Obviously, I would prefer signed comments, however, I understand the concerns of FCPA practitioners, in-house counsel, business leaders and others when posting to a blog. After all, our topic is the FCPA – some rather serious stuff.

As a practicing lawyer, I frequented certain blogs, often felt inclined to comment on issues, but never did for fear of my comments being attributed to my firm and the clients it represents. The FCPA bar is a small bar and relationships with enforcement officials often matter just as much (at least it seemed to me) as facts and the law. For in-house counsel, their client is the company that employs them, and, in this Internet age, it is not too difficult to match people’s names to their employer.

Thus, to most effectively carry out the mission statement of this blog – “to foster a forum for critical analysis and discussion of the FCPA (and related topics) among FCPA practitioners, business and compliance professionals, scholars and students, and other interested persons” – I allow anonymous comments.

There are certainly enough FCPA related topics these days to get people talking, so please feel free to start talking (even if anonymously) on this blog.

What Will September Bring?

September is a great month. Evenings are crisp and cool, the leaves begin to change, college football returns to campus, and in-season honey crisp apples are widely available!

September is also the end of the government’s fiscal year and, because of this, it tends to be an active FCPA enforcement month. Although September 2008 was a bit slow, September 2007 saw the following enforcement actions: Immucor, Inc., Bristow Group, Inc., Electronic Data Systems Corp., and Paradigm B.V.

The Paradigm action (see here) is one of my favorite for FCPA training purposes in that the action covers a wide range of conduct (use of companies and agents without adequate due diligence, things of value such as sightseeing trips and cash payments for shopping, etc.) in several different countries (Kazakhstan, China, Mexico, Nigeria, and Indonesia).

So while you are cheering on your favorite team this September and enjoying Fall’s harvest, don’t forget about the FCPA as September could be a big month given reports of the numerous cases on enforcement officials’ desks.

July Ends With a Bang!

Fireworks don’t just happen in early July.

In the past 24 hours, four separate FCPA enforcement actions have been announced: Helmerich & Payne, Inc., Nature’s Sunshine Products, Inc. and its CEO Douglas Faggioli and former CFO Craig Huff, Control Components, Inc., and Canadian national Ousama Naaman.

Much more to follow in the coming days …

Mission Statement

After a decade-long private practice legal career focused on the FCPA, I am pleased to launch “FCPA Professor” in connection with my new academic career. To be sure, there are other websites and blogs which cover FCPA topics. However, “FCPA Professor” seeks to inject a much needed scholarly voice into FCPA issues. Thus, in addition to covering the “who, what, and where” of FCPA enforcement actions, news, and legislative initiatives, this blog will also explore the more analytical “why” questions increasingly present in this current era of aggressive FCPA enforcement. The goal of this blog is thus to foster a forum for critical analysis and discussion of the FCPA (and related topics) among FCPA practitioners, business and compliance professionals, scholars and students, and other interested persons.

Thank you for visiting this blog and I look forward to your participation.

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