No U.S. Nexus, No Problem As U.S. Brings $30.5 Million FCPA Enforcement Action Against Chilean Company In Relation To Its Conduct With Chilean Officials
January 18, 2017
Last week the DOJ and SEC announced (here and here) a $30.5 million Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A. (SQM), a chemical and mining company based in Chile, in relation to its conduct with Chilean officials.
The enforcement action is rife with policy issues including the proper scope of FCPA enforcement given that there is no U.S. nexus alleged other than SQM having Series B shares, a form of American Depository Shares, listed on the New York Stock Exchange and thus being required to file periodic reports with the SEC.
The enforcement action included: (i) a DOJ criminal information charging SQM with violating the FCPA’s books and records and internal control provisions that was resolved via a deferred prosecution agreement in which the company agreed to pay a $15.5 million criminal penalty; and (ii) an SEC administrative order finding FCPA books and records and internal violations in which the company agreed to pay $15 million civil penalty.
January 17, 2017
For many years, the DOJ has advanced the policy position that DPAs and NPAs “have had a truly transformative effect on particular companies and, more generally, on corporate culture across the globe.” (See here for the prior post). Specifically in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act context, the DOJ has stated that “the companies against which DPAs and NPAs have been brought have often undergone dramatic changes.” (See here for the prior post).
As highlighted here, in March 2012 Biomet resolved an FCPA enforcement action involving alleged conduct in Brazil, Argentina, and China by agreeing to pay approximately $22.8 million ($17.3 million via a DOJ deferred prosecution agreement, and $5.5 million via a settled SEC civil complaint).
Since then, FCPA Professor has chronicled (here, here and here) how Biomet’s DPA was extended, how the DOJ ultimately came to conclude that Biomet had breached its DPA based on subsequent improper conduct, and how an additional FCPA enforcement was expected.
Last week, the DOJ and SEC announced (here and here) the additional FCPA enforcement action against Zimmer Biomet Holdings (in 2015 Zimmer Holdings acquired Biomet) and Biomet. As highlighted below, a portion of the improper conduct involved the same distributor in Brazil that gave rise to the 2012 FCPA enforcement action.
January 16, 2017
Last week the DOJ announced Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and related charges, against four individuals for their roles in a scheme to pay $2.5 million in bribes to facilitate the $800 million sale of a commercial building in Vietnam (the so-called Landmark 72 pictured at left) to a Middle Eastern sovereign wealth fund.
It certainly was not a typical FCPA enforcement action.
In fact it was downright strange in that the bribery scheme was unsuccessful and the third party intended to facilitate the bribery scheme simply pocketed the money for himself.
January 13, 2017
Viewing FCPA enforcement statistics this way is useful and informative given that the DOJ and SEC are separate law enforcement agencies and different issues may arise in DOJ and SEC FCPA enforcement actions.
By way of review, below are the 2016 DOJ and SEC FCPA enforcement statistics compared to prior years.
January 12, 2017
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement, it’s not just about the DOJ.
Granted, as a civil enforcement agency the SEC’s sticks are less sharp than the DOJ’s, but the SEC also claims a significant piece of the FCPA enforcement pie (query whether it should – but that is a subject for another day – for instance as discussed in “The Story of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act” the SEC wanted no part in enforcing the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions).
This previous post was a 2016 year in review of DOJ FCPA enforcement.
Today’s post is a 2016 year in review of SEC FCPA Enforcement. (See here for a similar post for 2015; here for a similar post for 2014; here for a similar post for 2013; here for a similar post for 2012; here for a similar post for 2011; and here for a similar post for 2010).