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You Gotta Be Kidding Me

February 17, 2017

Reading some Foreign Corrupt Practices Act “commentary” sometimes leaves me scratching my head and thinking to myself “you gotta be kidding me.”

Case in point, Michael Volkov recently wrote in this post on his Corruption, Crime & Compliance blog as follows:

“A lot has been written on the vagueness or lack of clarity surrounding the FCPA. Those opinions are not very persuasive and ignore common sense, legal concepts and good faith. […] Drawing the lines around FCPA behavior is not as hard as many claim. Those that make such baseless claims are only justifying their own existence or engaging in a transparent marketing ploy.”

At the risk of making baseless claims, justifying my own existence or engaging in a transparent marketing ploy, let me share with you a long list of judicial decisions in which federal court judges have found various provisions of the FCPA to be vague or lacking in clarity.

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Canada’s “Africa Sting” Moment

February 16, 2017

As noted in various reports, three executives of SNC-Lavalin Group (former SNC vice-president of energy and infrastructure Kevin Wallace, former SNC vice-president of international development Ramesh Shah, and Bangladeshi-Canadian businessman Zulfiquar Ali Bhuiyan) were recently acquitted in connection with a Bangladesh bribery scheme “after an Ontario judge threw out wiretap evidence key to the case, saying the wiretap applications were based on gossip and rumour.”

The recent development follows charges being dropped against two other defendants charged in the same case.

While not a perfect parallel, the recent failed prosecution north of the border is similar in certain respects to the DOJ’s failed, manufactured Africa Sting case.

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The Need For An FCPA Common Language – Visual Proof

February 15, 2017

These pages have frequently highlighted the need for a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act common language as to the basic question of “what is an FCPA enforcement action?” (See here for the article “A Common Language to Remedy Distorted FCPA Enforcement Statistics” which exposes in detailed fashion distorted FCPA enforcement statistics).

As highlighted in the article, the absence of an FCPA common language has numerous negative effects including infecting nearly all FCPA enforcement statistics.

The most reliable and accurate way to keep FCPA enforcement statistics is by using the “core” approach which focuses on unique instances of FCPA scrutiny. Using this approach, there were 27 corporate FCPA enforcement actions in 2016 that resulted in approximately $2.4 billion in net FCPA settlement amounts (see here).

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FCPA Flash Podcast – A Conversation With Sherbir Panag Regarding Compliance In India

February 14, 2017

The FCPA Flash podcast provides in an audio format the same fresh, candid, and informed commentary about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and related topics as readers have come to expect from written posts on FCPA Professor.

This FCPA Flash episode is a conversation with Sherbir Panag (founding partner of the Law Offices of Panag & Babu and manager of the firm’s New Delhi office). In the podcast, Panag: addresses the question of whether doing business in India is possible without paying bribes; talks about the “bribery panic” that often results in India; discusses how companies can best navigate India’s “Licence Raj”; and provides advice for how companies can “Indianise” FCPA compliance programs.

Any lawyer or compliance professional with clients doing business in India would be well-served by listening to the podcast.

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More Than Five Years After Being Charged, And Without Admitting Or Denying The Allegations, Tamas Morvai Agrees To Resolve SEC FCPA Enforcement Action

February 13, 2017

In December 2011, in connection with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Magyar Telekom, the SEC also charged former Magyar Telekom executives Elek Straub (former Chairman and CEO); Andras Balogh (former Director of Central Strategic Organization); and Tamas Morvai (former Director of Business Development and Acquisitions) with various FCPA and related offenses. (See here for the prior post).

The complaint alleged, in connection with a bribery scheme in Macedonia and Montenegro, that the individuals violated or aided and abetted violations of the FCPA’s anti-bribery, books and records, and internal controls provisions; knowingly circumvented internal controls and falsified books and records; and made false statements to the company’s auditor.

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