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No Come Aparts Now – Nor Should There Be – Gaps In FCPA Enforcement Are Common

comeapart

Around this time four years ago, some people were seemingly having a come apart because there was a lull in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement and this lull was “evidence” of [insert whatever gripe you had about the Trump administration and assume causation].

So here we are over four months into the Biden administration and there has not yet been a corporate FCPA enforcement action. So where are the come aparts?

As highlighted below, there should be no come aparts now nor should there have been four years ago because gaps in FCPA enforcement are very common.

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The Challenges Of Detection And Prevention

challenge

The recent Indianapolis FedEx facility shooting. The Sutherland Springs, Texas church massacre. The New York City bike path attack. The shooting at the Fort Lauderdale airport. The shooting at an Orlando nightclub.

These shootings, and several other similar acts of violence, have little in common with alleged Foreign Corrupt Practices Act offenses.

Except there is often a common thread in terms of the challenges of detection and more importantly prevention.

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This Week On FCPA Professor

ThisWeekPost

FCPA Professor has been described as “the Wall Street Journal concerning all things FCPA-related,” and “the most authoritative source for those seeking to understand and apply the FCPA.”

Set forth below are the topics discussed this week on FCPA Professor.

Remember when a high-ranking DOJ official stated that it was the DOJ’s “intent … for our FCPA investigations to be measured in months, not years?” (See here).

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Former Braskem CEO Grubisich Pleads Guilty

grubisich

As highlighted in this prior post, in late 2016 the DOJ and SEC brought a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Odebrecht S.A. (a Brazilian holding company) and Braskem S.A. (a Brazil-based petrochemical company with shares traded on the NYSE in which Odebrecht owned a majority of voting shares).

The conduct at issue was egregious and largely centered on a business unit, the Division of Structured Operations, housed within an Odebrecht subsidiary that allegedly served as little more than a bribe-paying department for the benefit of Odebrecht and Braskem. According to the resolution documents, former senior executives authorized approximately $788 million in bribes, largely through the Division of Structured Operations, to alleged foreign officials in at least twelve countries. While the principal focus of the DOJ’s action (and the exclusive focus of the SEC action) concerned conduct in Brazil including the companies relationships with Petrobras, the DOJ action also alleges improper payments in Angola, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Mozambique, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.

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Scrutiny Alerts

scrutiny alert

Avantor

Avantor is a chemicals and materials company headquartered in Pennsylvania. Recently, various Republican Senators sent this letter to DOJ and SEC leadership requesting an investigation into the company “for its apparent longstanding contribution to the opioid epidemic that killed 50,000 of our fellow citizens in 2019 ….”.

Although the letter does not allege any bribery, it does reference the FCPA’s books and records and internal controls provisions and states in pertinent part:

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