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Words Matter As Ninth Circuit Concludes In Wadler Matter That The FCPA Is Not A “Rule Or Regulation” Of The SEC

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These pages have closely followed the civil lawsuit of Sanford Wadler (the former General Counsel and Secretary of Bio-Rad Laboratories) against the company and certain executive officers and board members alleging various unfair employment practices including that Wadler was terminated for blowing the whistle on certain potential FCPA issues.

As highlighted in this previous post, Wadler’s claims were fully litigated and in February 2017 a jury awarded Wadler $2.9 million in back pay and stock compensation and $5 million for punitive damages. The district court doubled the compensatory award pursuant to Dodd-Frank for a total award of approximately $11 million. As highlighted in this previous post, Bio-Rad filed an appeal in the Ninth Circuit challenging various aspects of the trial court decision.

Yesterday in this fragmented decision the Ninth Circuit largely ruled in favor of Wadler. Nevertheless, the court did conclude that the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act was not a “rule or regulation of the SEC” as that phrase in used in Section 806 of SOX which prohibits in certain instances issuers from retaliating against an employee who reports misconduct.

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FCPA “Tips” Continue To Be A Minor Component Of The SEC’s Whistleblower Program

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The Dodd-Frank Act enacted in July 2010 contained whistleblower provisions applicable to all securities law violations including those under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

In this prior post from July 2010, I predicted that the whistleblower provisions would have a negligible impact on FCPA enforcement.  As noted in this prior post, my prediction was an outlier (so it seemed) compared to the flurry of law firm client alerts that predicted that the whistleblower provisions would have a significant impact on FCPA enforcement.  Many FCPA Inc. participants seemed so eager for a marketing opportunity to sell compliance services, that some even called the generic whistleblower provision the FCPA’s “new” whistleblower provisions.

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FCPA “Tips” Continue To Be A Minor Component Of The SEC’s Whistleblower Program

sec-whistle

The Dodd-Frank Act enacted in July 2010 contained whistleblower provisions applicable to all securities law violations including those under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

In this prior post from July 2010, I predicted that the whistleblower provisions would have a negligible impact on FCPA enforcement.  As noted in this prior post, my prediction was an outlier (so it seemed) compared to the flurry of law firm client alerts that predicted that the whistleblower provisions would have a significant impact on FCPA enforcement.  Many FCPA Inc. participants seemed so eager for a marketing opportunity to sell compliance services, that some even called the generic whistleblower provision the FCPA’s “new” whistleblower provisions.

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Blowing The Whistle On Bribery

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Professor Juliet Sorensen (Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law) and Northwestern Law students David Hall and Kobby Lartey recently attended the Seventh Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption in Vienna, Austria.  See here for more information on the Conference. This post is from David Hall.

This winter marks the 20th anniversary of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Anti-Bribery Convention. The OECD plans to celebrate this milestone with the release of a new Study on the Detection of Foreign Bribery, examining the different ways of detecting bribery and creating a new set of best practices in investigation and detection. The full study won’t be available until December 12th, but the group previewed the study at this year’s Conference of the States Parties to the UN Convention Against Corruption.

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