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The Case That Just Keeps On Giving – DOJ Announces Additional Charges In PDVSA Bribery Action

PDVSA

Several prior posts (see herehere and here for instance) have highlighted the clustering phenomenon and how a few discreet instances of alleged bribery yield an inordinate amount of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement activity against individuals.

One such example is the DOJ’s long-standing enforcement action (charges were first brought in late 2015) in connection with alleged corrupt schemes to secure contracts from Venezuela’s state-owned and state-controlled energy company, PDVSA.

Yesterday, the DOJ announced that Jose Manuel Gonzalez Testino (Gonzalez – a dual U.S.-Venezuelan citizen) was arrested at Miami International Airport based on a criminal complaint charging conspiracy to violate the FCPA and a substantive FCPA violation for “conspiring to make, and making, corrupt payments to an official [at PDVSA] in exchange for favorable business treatment with PDVSA.”

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Yet Another Civil Action Concerning Bribery And Corruption

Judicial Decision

In this post discussing a recent civil action filed by Harvest Natural Resources Inc. against various former high-ranking officials at Venezuela’s national oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (“PDVSA”) and others, Tom Fox (who calls himself the Compliance Evangelist) asserts “bribery and corruption are rarely used as the basis of civil actions between entities and individuals.”

Not true. Bribery and corruption allegations are frequently used as the basis for civil litigation and it would be nice if commentators engaged in a bit of research before hitting the publish button and polluting the internet with false and misleading information. 

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The Case That Keeps On Giving – DOJ Announces Additional Charges In PDVSA Bribery Action

PDVSA

Several prior posts (see here and here for instance) have highlighted the clustering phenomenon and how a few discreet instances of alleged bribery yield an inordinate amount of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement activity.

One such example is the DOJ’s long-standing enforcement action (charges were first brought in late 2015) in connection with alleged corrupt schemes to secure contracts from Venezuela’s state-owned and state-controlled energy company, PDVSA.

Yesterday, the DOJ announced that additional criminal charges were unsealed “against five former Venezuelan government officials for their alleged participation in an international money laundering scheme involving bribes made to corruptly secure energy contracts from Venezuela’s state-owned and state-controlled energy company, PDVSA.”

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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.”

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Friday Roundup

Roundup

Guilty plea, scrutiny alerts, absurd and remarkable, and Caldwell to private practice. It’s all here in the Friday roundup.

Guilty Plea

As highlighted in this January post, the DOJ announced Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and related charges, against four individuals for their roles in a scheme to pay $2.5 million in bribes to facilitate the $800 million sale of a commercial building in Vietnam to a Middle Eastern sovereign wealth fund.

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