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It All Depends On What The “B’ Word Means

bword

Put on your Foreign Corrupt Practices Act goggles for this and assess whether there is any FCPA risk given the below scenario.

An apparel company senses a new niche business opportunity and reaches out to potential (largely government associated) customers and sends individuals associated with the potential customers hundreds (if not thousands of dollars) of free company product. The shipment to one potential customer “was so large that the FedEx guy [who delivered the product] asked if it was a fraud-type situation because so many boxes were coming to a residential house.”

Separately, the apparel company (and another company with a clear business interest in the decision) “dangle donations of up to $100,000 in product” to quasi-government associations to influence decisions that benefit the company’s interest.

FCPA risk?

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It All Depends What The “B” Word Means

bword

Often times, discussion of complex legal or public policy issues is clouded by simplistic rhetoric and narrative spinning.

Just don’t bribe. A zero tolerance for bribery.

Sounds good and to be sure in certain FCPA Act enforcement actions the simplistic rhetoric and narrative is actually true. For instance, Siemens had a “corporate culture in which bribery was tolerated and even rewarded at the highest levels of the company.” Odebrech/Braskem maintained a business unit that allegedly “served as little more than a bribe-paying department for the benefit of Odebrecht and Braskem.”

Yet in many other FCPA enforcement actions – and the FCPA compliance discussion generally – cliches like “just don’t bribe” and a “zero tolerance for bribery” are overly simplistic because it all depends on what the “b” word means.

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Big Tech, George Mason’s Global Antitrust Institute, And The FCPA

GAI

Certain Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement actions have involved “foreign officials” attending seminars or other educational events in desirable locations. (See herehere, here, here, here), While at the event, the “foreign officials” are treated to fancy dinners, alcohol and other fun things.

The above makes this recent New York Times article titled “Big Tech Funds a Think Tank Pushing for Fewer Rules. For Big Tech” interesting.

According to the article:

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DOJ “Piles On” Airbus And Other Issues To Consider

piling

Prior posts here and here went in-depth into the recent $294 million Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Airbus as well as the United Kingdom’s prosecution of the company.

This post continues the analysis by highlighting additional issues to consider.

“Piling On”

As highlighted in this prior post, in 2018 the DOJ announced a non-binding policy discouraging “piling on” by instructing DOJ “components to appropriately coordinate with one another and with other enforcement agencies in imposing multiple penalties on a company in relation to investigations of the same misconduct.”

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Issues To Consider From The Telefonica Brasil Enforcement Action

Issues

This previous post went in-depth into the recent $4.1 million FCPA enforcement action against Telefonica Brasil and this post continues the analysis by highlighting additional issues to consider.

What Is The U.S. Interest?

According to the SEC, Telefonica Brasil (a subsidiary of Spanish multinational Telefonica S.A. and the largest telecom company in Brazil with 34,000 employees and $14 billion in revenue) purchased 1,860 World Cup tickets for a total of approximately $5.1 million “for relationship-building activities with strategic audiences.”

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