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DOJ Individual Actions: The Strange Public – Private Divide

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These pages track all sorts of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act statistics.

Some of the statistics are “inside baseball” like and other statistics (such as the long time periods associated with FCPA scrutiny or the general lack of individual enforcement actions in connection with most corporate enforcement actions) raise significant public policy issues and/or undermine government rhetoric.

The statistic discussed in this post fits all three categories: it is equal parts “inside baseball,” it raises significant public policy issues, it undermines government rhetoric, and moreover it is just plain strange.

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Former Corsa Coal VP And Head Of International Sales Pleads Guilty To Egypt Bribery Scheme

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Corsa Coal Corp. is a publicly traded Pennsylvania-based coal mining company focused on the production and sales of metallurgical coal, an essential ingredient in the production of steel. It’s core business is producing and selling metallurgical coal to domestic and international steel and coke producers.

Between 2016 and 2020, Frederick Cushmore Jr. (pictured) was employed by Corsa in various international sales positions including Vice-President, Head of International Sales. (See here for Corsa’s 2018 press release announcing Cushmore’s promotion. In the release, Corsa’s CEO stated: “We are thrilled to … provide Fred with a well-deserved promotion.”

Recently, Cushmore was criminally charged and plead guilty to a conspiracy charge to violate the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions in connection with a bribery scheme in Egypt.

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A Focus On The DOJ’s Enforcement Action Against Credit Suisse

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Yesterday’s post highlighted the SEC’s recent $99 million Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (and related) enforcement action against Credit Suisse in connection with financing various projects in Mozambique.

As alluded to in the prior post, the DOJ also announced an enforcement action based on the same core conduct and charged Credit Suisse and a U.K. subsidiary with conspiracy to commit money laundering. After crediting amounts paid to the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority, Credit Suisse agreed to pay $175 million to resolve the DOJ matter while also agreeing to pay $200 million to the U.K. FCA. Because the DOJ’s enforcement action against Credit Suisse was not an FCPA enforcement action, it will not be captured in FCPA statistics published on this site. (After all, if FCPA enforcement statistics are to mean anything – they should only capture actual FCPA enforcement actions).

Nevertheless, the DOJ enforcement action is summarized below.

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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

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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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