Looking for talent … got talent, the DOJ is sued, the Corruption Perceptions Index, a pulse on FCPA Inc., and for the reading stack. It’s all here in the Friday roundup.
Looking for Talent … Got Talent
If your firm or organization is looking for either a summer associate or full-time lawyer with a solid Foreign Corrupt Practices Act foundation, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. This past semester, twenty Southern Illinois University law students completed a semester long class on the FCPA, FCPA enforcement and FCPA compliance.
Learning objectives for the class included: (i) developing a comprehensive understanding of the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions and books and records and internal controls provisions; (ii) analyzing legal, ethical and policy issues associated with FCPA enforcement; (iii) understanding the FCPA’s long tentacles and how actual FCPA enforcement actions brought by the DOJ and/or SEC are often just one consequence of FCPA scrutiny; and (iv) gaining practical FCPA compliance skills including the ability to conduct an FCPA risk assessment and develop FCPA compliance policies.
I am confident in saying that few, if any, law students in America have as solid a foundation in the FCPA and FCPA compliance as these students. I encourage you to give them an opportunity.
The DOJ Is Sued
University of Virginia Law Professor Brandon Garrett and Reference Librarian Jon Ashley maintain the excellent Federal Organizational Prosecution Agreements website which contains hundreds of federal organizational prosecution agreements such as non-prosecution and deferred prosecution agreements … at least those in the public domain.
Recently Ashley filed this lawsuit against the DOJ under the Freedom of Information Act seeking release of a certain non-prosecution agreement. The complaint asserts:
“Plaintiff is statutorily entitled to the disclosure of [the] non-prosecution agreement and [the DOJ] has improperly withheld the requested records in violation of the law and in opposition to the strong public interest in understanding the judicial system and why admitted wrongdoers are not criminally prosecuted.”
While lacking knowledge as to the specifics of the complaint, I applaud the lawsuit for seeking to shine a light on DOJ enforcement practices.
As noted in this prior post, the 2012 FCPA Guidance highlighted secret FCPA enforcement. While I did not file a formal Freedom of Information Act request, I sought on several occasions to seek information from the DOJ regarding its secret FCPA enforcement practices. In each instance, my requests were ignored.
Corruption Perceptions Index
Transparency International (“TI”) recently released its annual Corruption Perceptions Index (“CPI”) (see here).
The CPI ranks countries/territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be and is a composite index drawing on corruption-related data collected by a variety of institutions and reflecting the views of observers from around the world including those living and working in the countries/territories evaluated.
The top four (very clean) countries in the CPI were Denmark, New Zealand, Finland and Sweden. The bottom four (highly corrupt) countries were Somalia, North Korea, Afghanistan, and Sudan.
The United States placed 19th on the list of 177 countries.
The DOJ has spoken in religious terms regarding its FCPA enforcement actions as former Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer stated “we in the United States are in a unique position to spread the gospel of anti-corruption, because there is no country that enforces its anti-bribery laws more vigorously than we do.”
Yet, it remains a bit ironic that as the U.S. aggressively expands its Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement practice and theories, the U.S. remains far from the top of the CPI. The latest CPI should again cause us to pause as to our claimed exceptionalism and moral superiority on this topic. For instance, see this prior post “We Really Ought to Pause and Reflect.”
See the “Double Standard” subject matter tag for more.
Pulse of FCPA Inc.
What is one reason Wal-Mart is spending in excess of $1 million per working day on its FCPA issues? Because, in many instances corporate FCPA scrutiny has turned into a full employment act for FCPA Inc.
Reuters recently reported here that Wal-Mart “is paying for lawyers to represent more than 30 of its executives involved in a foreign corruption investigation, according to people familiar with the matter, an unusually high number that shows the depth of the federal probe.” The article states:
“In recent months, the U.S. government has brought in a number of senior Wal-Mart executives for questioning, including officials from corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, the sources said. The move, along with widespread publicity about the probe, appears to have prompted executives to seek their own legal representation. The sources declined to name the executives who have submitted to interviews.”
As noted in this recent Friday roundup, there are few relevant data points associated with the pulse of FCPA Inc. Much information is anecdotal, including the following from Legal Search Consultants Major, Lindsey & Africa in its Asia Legal Market, Semi-Annual Report.
“FCPA practices continue to grow with firms continuing to relocate specialists from their US offices to Asia. This is reflective of an effort to meet the unrelenting demand in investigations work. There seem to be few certainties in Asia, but one is that FCPA business will not be diminishing anytime soon.”
An informative post recently on the FCPAmericas site titled “Conducting Effective FCPA Training in Latin America.” The eight pointers discussed are true regardless of which region FCPA compliance is focused.
A little dickey bird whispers to thebriberyact.com here regarding U.K. DPAs and Bribery Act prosecutions.
For the resources stack, the OECD, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, and the World Bank recently released here the “Anti-Corruption Ethics and Compliance Handbook for Business.” It states:
“The handbook is not intended to create new standards or represent any form of legally binding requirement for businesses. It has been developed to serve as a useful, practical tool for companies seeking compliance advice in one, easy-to-reference publication. The handbook is divided into three sections. The first section provides an overview of the international anti-corruption framework, within which companies conducting international business must operate. The second section provides a brief introduction to how companies can assess their risk in order to begin developing an effective anti-corruption ethics and compliance programme. The third and most significant section brings together the major business guidance instruments. A comparison of these instruments reveals that they all largely include the same basic anti-corruption ethics and compliance elements. These elements are further illustrated using real-life, anonymised case studies provided by companies. Finally, the handbook includes as an annex a quick-reference table providing a cross-comparison of all the major business guidance instruments referenced in this handbook.”
A good weekend to all.