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Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite On …

Recently, Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite responded to Q&A’s from Law360 [1] including the following that are Foreign Corrupt Practices Act relevant.

Q: Travel and in-person investigation are seen as particularly important in the FCPA context, and there’s been a lot of chatter about how pandemic restrictions may have slowed the pipeline pretty significantly. Do you think that’s an accurate perception?

A: I view that as a challenge, not just to the FCPA docket but frankly to a host of aspects of the work our folks are confronting and overcoming. I can tell you we’ve got boots on the ground out here in D.C. and across the country with health care fraud investigations and prosecutions, for example. And even on the FCPA side, they’re traveling abroad to continue to leverage those partnerships that are required for us to get the witnesses, get the documents, get the data and make those investigations actually a success. The protocols make it more time-consuming. We have to ensure that people are as safe as possible. But my view is things are very well at this point.

Q: Let’s talk about Biden’s national security directive on corruption, which comes as the administration seems to be placing particular emphasis on corruption in Latin America and the Northern Triangle. Do you see that as an area of emphasis for the FCPA unit? Are there any geographic areas where you’d like to see greater enforcement?

A: Historically, some Latin American countries have been the focus of a number of high-profile FCPA resolutions, and I think that that will certainly continue to be a significant part of our profile. As you said, that work related to public corruption has been lifted up by the leadership of the administration.

I would simply add that it is not limited to just the work of FCPA. It’s connected to our work in other areas, like our human rights and human smuggling work, and operations against actors who are engaging in arms trafficking, narcotics trafficking, human trafficking and utilizing public corruption to fuel some of that criminality. It cuts across multiple parts of our portfolio here at the moment. It’s high-priority.

Q: Biden’s national security memo on corruption directed agencies to break down silos between their activities. In discussions since then, have there been any particular areas that stand out as areas for improvement?

A: We’ve tried to lean in more on cooperation and coordination on the international side, but even domestically, when we talk about an area such as human trafficking, that’s work that can’t be done exclusively from Washington, D.C. I’m thinking specifically about Task Force Alpha, which involves representatives and AUSAs from all the border U.S. attorney’s offices. We’re working with law enforcement agencies and partners that are based both here in the U.S., as well as in some of those Latin American countries where we’re seeing the most activity, and bringing all of those resources together on a regular basis to ultimately bring cases that will have significant deterrent effect.