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Once Again, The DOJ Shoots Itself In The Foot

shootingselffoot

The Department of Justice has long wanted companies to voluntarily disclose conduct that implicates the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The latest attempt to achieve this policy goal of course was the DOJ’s November 29th announcement of a new “FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy.” (This post rounds up all previous posts on this topic).

Why then, literally a few hours after announcing its latest attempt to motivate companies to voluntarily disclose, did the DOJ in announcing the SBM Offshore enforcement action (see here and here for prior posts) once again (see here and here for prior similar posts) shot itself in the foot by making decisions that should result in any board member, audit committee member, or general counsel informed of current events not making the decision to voluntarily disclose?

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Deputy AG Rosenstein Assumes Causation In Calling The FCPA Pilot Program “Successful”

Assume

As long as there have been government programs, government officials have been inclined to proclaim the program a success.

For instance, last week in announcing the DOJ’s new “FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein stated:  “The incentive system set forth in the Department’s FCPA Pilot Program motivates and rewards companies that want to do the right thing and voluntarily disclose misconduct. In the first year of the Pilot Program, the FCPA Unit received 22 voluntary disclosures, compared to 13 during the previous year.  In total, during the year and a half that the Pilot Program was in effect, the FCPA Unit received 30 voluntary disclosures, compared to 18 during the previous 18‑month period.”

As highlighted in this post, Rosenstein’s statement assumes causation – in other words that the supposed increase in voluntary disclosures was the result of the April 2016 Pilot Program.

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Issues To Consider From The SBM Offshore Enforcement Action

Issues

This previous post went in-depth into the $238 million DOJ Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Netherlands-based SBM Offshore for alleged bribery schemes in Brazil, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan and Iraq.

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

DOJ Explains Its Original “Declination”

As highlighted in the original post, in 2014 SBM Offshore resolved a $240 million Dutch law enforcement action alleging bribery schemes in Equatorial Guinea, Angola and Brazil between 2007 through 2011. In connection with that action, SBM Offshore 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.”

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Friday Roundup

Roundup

Former SEC FCPA Unit Chief Kara Brockmeyer on declinations and voluntary disclosure, Wal-Mart’s global chief ethics and compliance officer on increased standardization in global anti-corruption efforts, scrutiny updates, French first, and for the reading stack.

It’s all here in the Friday Roundup.

Former SEC FCPA Unit Chief Kara Brockmeyer On Declinations and Voluntary Disclosure

Brockmeyer is profiled in this recent Corporate Crime Report Q&A. (See here for a recent FCPA Flash podcast with Brockmeyer).

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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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