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It All Depends What The “B” Word Means


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


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


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


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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The Challenges Of Detection And Prevention


The recent Sutherland Springs church massacre. The recent New York City bike path attack. Before that, the bridge attack in London. Before that, the shooting at the Fort Lauderdale airport. Before that, the shooting at an Orlando nightclub.

These recent instances, and several other similar acts of violence, have little in common with alleged Foreign Corrupt Practices Act offenses.

Except there is often a common thread in terms of the challenges of detection and prevention.

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