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Friday Roundup

Across the pond, sentenced, unremarkable, and nonsense. It’s all here in the Friday roundup.

Across the Pond

As highlighted in this prior post [1], in July 2016 the U.K. Serious Fraud Office announced:

“The SFO is conducting a criminal investigation into the activities of Unaoil, its officers, its employees and its agents in connection with suspected offences of bribery, corruption and money laundering.”

As highlighted in this prior post [2], in November 2017 the SFO announced charges against two individuals for conspiring to make corrupt payments to secure the award of contracts in Iraq to Unaoil’s client SBM Offshore.

Earlier this week, the SFO announced [3] that it “has commenced criminal proceedings against Unaoil Monaco SAM and Unaoil Ltd as part of an ongoing corruption prosecution.” According to the release:

“This follows charges already brought against four individuals for alleged conspiracy to make corrupt payments to secure the award of contracts in Iraq. Unaoil Ltd has been summonsed with two offences of conspiracy to give corrupt payments, contrary to section (1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977 and section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906. This relates to alleged corrupt payments to secure the award of a contract worth US$733 million to Leighton Contractors Singapore PTE Ltd for a project to build two oil pipelines in southern Iraq. Unaoil Monaco SAM has been summonsed with two offences of conspiracy to give corrupt payments, contrary to section (1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977 and section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906. The charges relate to alleged corrupt payments to secure the award of contracts in Iraq to Unaoil’s client SBM Offshore. The first appearance for the companies will be held at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 18 July 2018.”

I contacted the SFO seeking original source relevant to the charges and was told: “We’re not able to provide anything at this stage, I’m afraid. There may be documents available following the first appearance on 18 July but we’ll have to wait until after the hearing to confirm.”

 Sentenced

This prior post [4] highlighted the DOJ’s FCPA and related enforcement action in connection with an Aruban telecom bribery scheme.  Egbert Yvan Ferdinand Koolman (a Dutch citizen residing in Miami, Florida who was an official of Servicio di Telecommunicacion di Aruba N.V. (Setar), an alleged instrumentality of the Aruban government – but see here [5]) pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Lawrence Parker also pleaded guilty to one county of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and to commit wire fraud.

Earlier this week, the DOJ announced [6] that Parker was sentenced to 35 months in prison and was ordered to pay $701,750 in restitution; and Koolman was sentenced to 36 months in prison, three years of supervised release following his prison sentence, and ordered to pay approximately $1.3 million in restitution.

[7]

Unremarkable

McKinsey & Co. has been under FCPA scrutiny for some time regarding alleged conduct in South Africa. (See here [8] for the prior post).

The New York Times goes in-depth into McKinsey in this article [9]. From an FCPA perspective, I find the article rather unremarkable, but it does note: “McKinsey vehemently denies breaking any laws, and says that this view has been validated by a monthslong internal inquiry involving more than 50 lawyers reviewing millions of documents and emails.”

That’s remarkable.

Nonsense

This commentator asserts [10]:

“The new policy [DOJ’s FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy] provides the much-needed reassurance that thorough voluntary self-disclosure of FCPA violations will help avoid criminal prosecution.”

Nonsense.

For starters, there is nothing reassuring about a non-binding DOJ policy document in which the DOJ retains discretion over whether various key terms and concepts are met. (See here [11] for more).

More fundamentally, a business organization can do all the DOJ wants it to do under the policy, and there will still be an enforcement action. (See here [11] for more).

This commentator asserts [12]:

“For every bribe paid there is a corresponding requirement to launder the money.”

Nonsense.

Consider that FCPA enforcement actions have included allegations regarding flowers, golf, karaoke bars, internships, and cash payments as low as $4.

This commentator asserts [13]:

“Every large multi-national corporation which does business outside the US … is therefore subject to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).”

Nonsense. Just plain nonsense.

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