Like every year around this time, I feel like a kid in a candy store given the number of FCPA year in reviews hitting my inbox. This post highlights various FCPA or related publications that caught my eye.
Reading the below publications is recommended and should find their way to your reading stack.
However, be warned. The divergent enforcement statistics contained in them (a result of various creative counting methods) are likely to make you dizzy at times and as to certain issues. There will be more on this issue in the near future.
Shearman & Sterling
The firm’s Recent Trends and Patterns in FCPA Enforcement is among the best year-after-year.
Content that caught my eye:
“It is … noteworthy that the DOJ’s and SEC’s prioritization of individual prosecutions comes as enforcement agencies continue to struggle while pursuing FCPA charges against individual defendants. Setbacks in United States v. Sigelman and United States v. Firtash may cause the Department to rethink its strategy. Indeed, while the DOJ has had some success extracting plea agreements, when put to its burden of proof the DOJ (and the SEC for that matter) has experienced difficulty in securing convictions and judgments. Given these struggles, it is possible that future individual defendants may be emboldened to test their chances against the government in court, potentially requiring the DOJ to devote even more resources to trying these individuals. While the DOJ and SEC have made it a clear priority to prosecute individuals for violations of the FCPA, the risk-reward calculations that prosecutors must consider before bringing charges could be altered going forward.”
[For more on this general topic, see “What Percentage of DOJ FCPA Losses is Acceptable?“]
“[Regarding so-called declinations] we note however, in the cases of Eli Lilly, Goodyear, Mead Johnson Nutrition, Hyperdynamics, and Bristol-Myers, the DOJ’s declination decision might also be explained by a possible lack of jurisdiction. Specifically, in each of the cases above, where all of the illicit conduct was committed by subsidiaries of the parent company, the DOJ may have concluded it was too difficult to prove that the subsidiaries’ conduct should be imputed on the corporate parent—bearing in mind that the DOJ has a higher burden of proof to sustain criminal FCPA charges against a company.”
“The DOJ’s 2015 prosecution of Daren Condrey in United States v. Condrey raises some questions as to whether government prosecutors are remaining faithful to the government instrumentality test set out in the Eleventh Circuit’s 2014 decision in United States v. Esquenazi.”
[For more on this topic, see this prior post]
“[Regarding the 2015 BNY Mellon “internship” enforcement action] [T]he government’s approach is bad policy. For better or worse, some of the most educated and most qualified potential hires in many countries are the children of government officials—individuals who benefited from their parents’ privileges and had the opportunity to attend prestigious schools, learn foreign languages, etc. If the government infers an intent to apply corrupt influence from the potential hire’s relationship to government officials, it is likely to chill hiring of such individuals, resulting in a completely unnecessary disadvantage to U.S. and other companies covered by the FCPA.”
Debevoise & Plimpton
The firm’s FCPA Update is the best monthly read there is and the most recent edition states:
“Even adding in amounts agreed or ordered to be recovered from individuals in FCPA cases, last year was by any objective measure one of more muted FCPA enforcement. Various theories can be advanced to explain these figures.
One, and probably the most plausible, is that, in a system of FCPA enforcement against companies that almost never ends in a trial, corporate resolutions require companies’ consent. It was only a matter of time for there to be a dry spell of large corporate resolutions. Thus, there were no large settlements last year because of the mundane fact that none of the larger cases in the pipeline was ready to be settled. Because of potential negotiation delays of various kinds in cases in the pipeline, it is conceivable if not likely there will be large settlements in 2016, which may dampen urges to downplay enforcement risk.
Still, a theory warranting consideration is that more companies subject to the FCPA are “getting it,” the possibility being that after a decade of vigorous enforcement the number of big cases that could be brought is markedly decreased. That the number of FCPA-related investigations reported by public companies declined by about 20 percent, year over year, arguably supports this theory.
But negating this theory is the large number of new foreign corruption matters reported daily in the media, and the kinds of political upheaval and developments in technology, social media culture, whistle-blowing, and transparency movements that drive anti-bribery enforcement. Given the broad jurisdictional reach of the FCPA (particularly as construed by the DOJ and SEC), a large percentage of the new cases reported in the media could well subject companies and individuals alike to future FCPA enforcement risks. These risks are magnified by a growing level of cross-border cooperation among anti-bribery enforcement agencies.
And as the Obama Administration heads into its final year, with a new Attorney General and Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division now settled into their roles, the likelihood of increased enforcement seems relatively high.”
The firm’s Year-End FCPA Update is also a quality read year after year.
Gibson Dunn also released (here) its always informative “Year-End Update on Corporate Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs) and Non-Prosecution Agreements (NPAs).”
It begins as follows.
“2015 was a blockbuster year in corporate non-prosecution agreements (“NPA”) and deferred prosecution agreements (“DPA”), by sheer numbers alone. Skyrocketing to 100 [87 NPAs and 13 DPAs], in 2015 the number of agreements more than doubled the numbers in every prior year since 2000 , when Gibson Dunn first began tracking NPA and DPA data.”
The firm’s Business Guide to Anti-Corruption Laws 2016 is here.
The firm’s Global Bribery and Corruption Review is here.
Arnold & Porter
The firms Global Anti-Corruption Insights is here.