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In Connection With 2019 Ericsson Enforcement Action, DOJ Criminally Charges Former Ericsson Employee

Bereket

As highlighted in this prior post, in late 2019 Swedish telecom company Ericsson (a company with American Depositary Shares traded in the U.S.) resolved a $1.06 billion net FCPA enforcement action concerning conduct in Djibouti, China, Vietnam, Kuwait, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia.

Regarding Djibouti, the enforcement action alleged that Ericsson (through certain subsidiaries and agents) provided approximately $2,100,000 in bribe payments to, and for the benefit of, foreign officials in Djibouti, including a high-ranking government official in the executive branch of the Djibouti government who had influence over decisions made by a state-owned telecommunications company and the CEO of the state-owned telecom company, in order to secure an improper advantage in order to obtain and retain business with the Telecom Company and to win a contract valued at approximately €20,300,000 with the Telecom Company.”

In connection with this prong of the Ericsson enforcement action, the DOJ announced yesterday that Afework “Affe” Bereket (pictured – a dual citizen of Ethiopia and Sweden) was criminally charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering “for his alleged role in a scheme to pay approximately $2.1 million in bribes to high-level government officials in the Republic of Djibouti and conspiring to launder funds to promote the scheme.”

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Same General Script, As DOJ Charges Individual In Connection With Alleged Bribes In Venezuela

wakil

You have likely read the script many times in the last several years.

An individual associated with small privately-held companies does business in Venezuela and paid alleged bribes (and/or laundered money) in connection with the bribery scheme.

The script repeated itself yesterday as the DOJ announced that Naman Wakil (pictured), a Syrian national and U.S. lawful permanent resident, was “arrested in Miami on charges related to his alleged role in a scheme to bribe Venezuelan officials and launder funds to obtain contracts from Venezuela’s state-owned and state-controlled energy company, Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA), and Venezuela’s state-owned and state-controlled food company that purchased food for Venezuela, Corporación de Abastecimiento y Servicios Agrícola (CASA).”

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Former Glencore Trader Pleads Guilty To FCPA And Related Offense

glencore

As highlighted in this prior post, for approximately two years Glencore (a commodities company incorporated in the United Kingdom and headquartered in Switzerland with common stock that trades on the New York based over-the-counter market) has been under scrutiny for conduct in Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Venezuela (as well as perhaps other countries).

Earlier this week Anthony Stimler pleaded guilty to FCPA and money laundering offenses. Stimler is described as a United Kingdom citizen and resident who was a trader at a Glencore subsidiary who worked on the West Africa desk from in or around 2002 until in or around 2009 and then again from in or around June 2011 until in or around August 2019. According to the DOJ “In that role, Stimler had responsibility for crude oil purchases from, among other places, Nigeria, and acted on behalf of Company 1 [Glencore] in procuring crude oil from Nigeria.”

In summary fashion, the criminal information alleges:

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Amec Foster Wheeler / Wood Group – In The Words Of Lord Justice Edis

Edis

If a country is to have a deferred prosecution agreement regime, the approach of the United Kingdom is far more preferable than the approach of the United States.

In the U.K. (unlike the U.S.), the judiciary is actively involved in the DPA process and the public is offered insight into the reasoning of the judge in approving the DPA (which often includes facts and information not mentioned in the resolution documents authored by the prosecutors).

Simply put, it is refreshing to hear from someone other than the prosecutors and this posts summarizes the judgment and reasoning of Lord Justice Andrew Edis in the recent U.K. portion of the enforcement action against Amec Foster Wheeler / John Wood Group. (see here for the prior post).

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Across The Pond, Amec Foster Wheeler / Wood Group Resolves £103 Million U.K. Enforcement Action

WoodFoster

Previous posts here and here focused on the recent net $17.7 million FCPA enforcement action against Amec Foster Wheeler and John Wood Group concerning conduct in Brazil.

In a parallel enforcement action, the U.K. Serious Fraud Office also announced that Amec Foster Wheeler and John Wood Group will pay “a financial penalty and costs amounting to £103 million in the UK.”

The enforcement action involved a ten count Indictment. One count (Count 10) concerned the same Brazil conduct at issue in the FCPA enforcement action and charged failure to prevent bribery, contrary to section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010.

The other nine counts in the Indictment (concerning conduct in Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and India) charged conspiracy to make corrupt payments, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977 and section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906. The conduct at issue in these counts allegedly between 1996 and 2010 (in other words 11-25 years prior to the enforcement action).

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