September 25, 2020
This prior post went in-depth into the recent Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Sargeant Marine Inc. (SMI) and this post continues the analysis by highlighting additional issues to consider.
For approximately 15 years, the DOJ has been encouraging business organizations to voluntarily disclose FCPA violations. Yet, time and time again, the DOJ undermines its goal by how it resolves certain enforcement actions.
The SMI matter is the latest example that should cause a board member, audit committee member or others involved in the voluntary disclosure decision to pause.
Sargeant Marine Cements $16.6 FCPA Resolution With DOJ Regarding Bribery Schemes In Brazil, Venezuela, And Ecuador
September 24, 2020
Earlier this week, the DOJ announced that Sargeant Marine Inc. (SMI – an asphalt company based in Florida) “pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $16.6 million to resolve foreign bribery charges stemming from conduct by the company and its employees and agents in Brazil, Venezuela and Ecuador.”
The total criminal penalty was actually $90 million, but because of SMI’s “inability to pay” the settlement amount was only $16.6 million.
September 23, 2020
Yesterday, the DOJ announced that Javier Aguilar (described as a trader at the U.S. subsidiary of a multinational oil distributor and trading company – “Trading Company) was criminally charged for “his alleged participation in a five-year international bribery and money laundering scheme involving corrupt payments to Ecuadorian officials.” According to this report, Aguilar’s former employer is Vitol Inc. As highlighted in this previous post, Vitol has reportedly been under scrutiny.
Although not mentioned in the indictment, the DOJ releases references an “original complaint” and that the Ecuadorian officials included individuals associated with PetroEcuador (a business organization previously mentioned in FCPA enforcement actions – see here and here).
Stephanie Avakian (Director – SEC Division of Enforcement) Speaks On A Variety Of Topics – Rebuttal Points Included
September 22, 2020
Recently Stephanie Avakian (Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement) gave this speech in which she touched upon a variety of enforcement topics.
This post excerpts certain portions of Avakian’s speech regarding the quality, nature, and effectiveness of SEC enforcement efforts, individual accountability, and the time it takes to complete an investigation and enforcement action.
Starting with the numbers, Avakian stated: