In recent years – and notwithstanding encouraging windows of progress – economic difficulties, political shifts, and the pandemic’s lingering effects have undercut anti-corruption efforts in Latin America. The fourth annual Capacity to Combat Corruption Index (“CCC Index”), published in June 2022, reflects these recent challenges. Most countries in Latin America experienced declines in their assessed anti-corruption capabilities, with only a few demonstrating stability or improvement.
Checking in with Firtash, what the …?, if only it were that simple, and for the reading stack.
It’s all here in the Friday roundup.
Checking In With Firtash
As highlighted in this prior post, in April 2014 the DOJ announced the unsealing of a criminal indictment charging six individuals “with participating in an alleged international racketeering conspiracy involving bribes of state and central government officials in India to allow the mining of titanium minerals.” Among the defendants was high-profile Ukrainian businessman Dmitry Firtash.
Stericycle (an Illinois based medical waste disposal company) has been under FCPA scrutiny since mid-2017 (See here).
As highlighted here, approximately two months ago the company disclosed that it had “reached agreements in principle with the DOJ and SEC.” Specifically, Stericycle disclosed:
The DOJ enforcement action involved this criminal information charging Stericycle with two counts of conspiracy to violate (1) the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions, and (2) the FCPA’s books and records provision. The criminal charges were resolved via this deferred prosecution agreement pursuant to which Stericycle agreed to pay a net $35 million criminal penalty.
The SEC enforcement action involved this administrative order finding that Stericycle violated the FCPA’s anti-bribery, books and records, and internal controls provisions pursuant to which the company agreed to pay a net approximate $24 million in disgorgement and prejudgment interest.
This post continues a spontaneous journey around South America by highlighting the many FCPA enforcement actions regarding conduct (in whole or in part) in Argentina.
[This post is part of a periodic series regarding “old” FCPA enforcement actions]
In 2004, the SEC brought this administrative cease and desist order against BJ Services (a Houston-based oil field services, products, and equipment company). The conduct at issue focused on the company’s Argentina subsidiary and its relationships with customs officials. As stated in the SEC’s order, there was no indication that anyone employed by BJ Services approved many of the alleged improper payments and the SEC further acknowledged that the improper payments were made in violation of BJ Services’ existing policies prohibiting payments of the kind made to the customs official.
Other interesting aspects of the enforcement include the following: (i) certain of the improper payments were facilitated by the Argentina subsidiary issuing checks “in the name of a lower’level” employee who then “cashed the checks and provided the proceeds to the customs official”; (ii) the SEC seemed to acknowledge that certain of the payments were facilitation payments under the FCPA, but nevertheless improperly booked, and thus still actionable.