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Friday Roundup

Scrutiny alerts, when the dust settles, and beefing up. It’s all here in the Friday roundup.

Scrutiny Alerts

Uber

As highlighted in this prior post [1], Uber has been under FCPA scrutiny since mid-2017 and this prior post [2] discussed how the company’s FCPA scrutiny is following a typical path. In connection with its pending initial public offering, Uber recently formally disclosed in this registration statement [3] the following:

“We received requests from the DOJ in May 2017 and August 2017 with respect to an investigation into allegations of small payments to police in Indonesia and other potential improper payments in other countries in which we operate or have operated, including in Malaysia, China, and India. The investigation is ongoing, and we are cooperating with the DOJ in this investigation. If we are determined to have violated the FCPA or similar laws, we may be subject to criminal sanctions and other liabilities, which would adversely affect our business, financial condition, and operating results.”

Saipem

Italian oil and gas company Saipem S.p.A. recently disclosed [4]:

“On August 2, 2018, the Public Prosecutor of the Court of Milan notified Saipem SpA of a request for documents relating to previous activities (2010-2014) of Saipem Group in Iraq and in particular to relations with the Unaoil group. The request also contains information that – with regard to these past activities – Saipem SpA is subject to investigations for international corruption. In January 2019, the US Department of Justice, which claimed to have an ongoing investigation into the activities and relations of Unaoil for some time and to be aware of a pending investigation in Italy against Saipem SpA by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Milan, asked Saipem if it would be willing to provide ‘voluntary production’ of documents relating to previous activities of Saipem Group in Iraq with the involvement of Unaoil and, more in general, the previous between Saipem and the Unaoil Group. Saipem has confirmed that it is willing to provide such ‘voluntary production’. The ‘voluntary production’ that is in progress is without prejudice to any question concerning possible US jurisdiction, an aspect for which the US Department of Justice has not indicated at the moment any supporting evidence, asking only for Saipem to cooperate in the assessments that the US Department of Justice has under way.”

When the Dust Settles

Given the ease in which information now flows and the world-wide interest in corruption and bribery, FCPA enforcement actions are read around the world.  It is thus not surprising that when the dust settles on the U.S. FCPA enforcement action, many are left wondering … who are those “foreign officials”?

[5]

The most recent case in point concerns the recent Fresenius FCPA enforcement action (see here [6] and here [7] for prior posts) concerning conduct in numerous countries including Morocco. As reported here [8]:

“The Moroccan army has opened an investigation to look into instances of bribery by Fresenius Medical Care between 2006 and 2012, said the major general of the Moroccan Royal Armed Forces (FAR) on Friday. The investigation will involve hearings of all those involved in the case, including a doctor who worked in the military health service at the time. According to FAR, the investigation is acting on the presumption that the corrupt acts would have tainted public markets. The decision to open an investigation comes after a report published by the United States justice department on March 29 which announced that Fresenius would pay approximately $231 million to the US government in a settlement in response to accusations that the company had bribed officials in numerous countries to secure contracts.

[…]

Although the US documents do not mention the officials by name, a Le Desk investigation pointed to Zouhir Oualim as the military official. Professor Zouhir Oualim, who has since left the army for the private sector, was the head of the nephrology department at Rabat Military Hospital at the time and in charge of developing the project with Fresenius.”

Beefing Up

Speaking of Fresenius, as reported here [9]:

“Fresenius Medical Care hired new compliance professionals at multiple levels of operation, creating a cadre of 350 workers after an investigation by US authorities into bribery in 13 countries began, the dialysis equipment and services firm told MLex. “I can tell you that since the initiation of the investigation, the company has invested significant resources and personnel in its ongoing effort to implement and enhance its substantial compliance program,” said Matthias Link, Fresenius’s vice president for corporate communications. “In particular, the company has created additional global, regional, and local compliance positions, revised and enhanced its policies, and expanded its training programs,” Link said. “Today, approximately 150 dedicated colleagues work in our compliance department, over 200 more in the global legal function.”

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