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Securency International Probe Heats Up

According to this U.K. Serious Fraud Office (SFO) release, “a coordinated search and arrest operation” involving U.K., Spanish, and Australian authorities focused on Securency International PTY Ltd. has taken place. According to the release, the action involves the “activities of employees and agents of Securency International and their alleged corrupt role in securing international polymer banknote contracts.”

Securency International (here) is a joint venture between the Reserve Bank of Australia, the country’s central bank, and Innovia Films (here), a Cumbria, England-based company that makes cellulose films for packaging and labels.

According to this article in the Sydney Morning Herald the “Reserve Bank is reeling after Federal Police and overseas law-enforcement agencies staged co-ordinated global raids yesterday to uncover evidence of corruption and bribery involving the bank note firm Securency.” Bribery is suspected to have occurred in several countries, including Vietnam, Nigeria, Malaysia and Indonesia. As the article notes, if criminal charges are filed, it would be Australia’s first foreign bribery prosecution.

The above linked Sydney Morning Herald article also has an informative five minute audio clip about the raid and the allegations against Securency International.

Will the U.S. get involved?

That depends if there is even jurisdiction.

Neither Securency or Innovia appear to be an “issuer” or “domestic concern.” But there is still the 78dd-3 prong of the FCPA which applies to “any person” (corporate or individual) that generally performs any act in furtherance of an improper payment scheme while in the territory of the U.S. Like most FCPA issues, the DOJ takes an expansive view of this jurisdictional element and prior enforcement actions have been based on use of the U.S. bank accounts, U.S. dollar-denominated financial transactions, and use of the U.S. mail and wires (such as e-mail) in connection with the improper payment scheme.

For more on expansive FCPA jurisdiction over non-U.S. companies, see this July 2010 Shearman & Sterling publication.

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