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Friday Roundup


Odebrecht / Braskem settlement amount is significantly trimmed, a form of bribery?, quotable, deficient internal controls, and scrutiny alerts and updates. It’s all here in the Friday roundup.

Odebrecht / Braskem Settlement Amount Significantly Trimmed

There was much false and misleading reporting about the FCPA settlement amount in the December 2016 FCPA enforcement action against Odebrecht / Braskem.

As highlighted in this post, after accounting for various credits and deductions (including for payments to Brazil and Swiss law enforcement agencies and a claimed inability to pay) the net FCPA settlement amount (subject to potential future adjustments) was approximately $420 million. The $420 settlement amount consisted of approximately $260 million in connection with the Odebrecht criminal information and plea agreement; $94.8 million in connection with the Braskem criminal information and plea agreement; and $65 million in connection with the SEC’s related enforcement action against Braskem.

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JPMorgan – A Trifecta Of Off-The-Rails FCPA Enforcement


Bloomberg Law’s White Collar Crime Report recently published my article “JPMorgan – A Trifecta of Off-The-Rails FCPA Enforcement.” The article can be downloaded here and below is the abstract.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act has specific elements that must be met in order for there to be a violation. However, with increasing frequency it appears that the Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission have transformed FCPA enforcement into a free-for-all corporate ethics statute in which any conduct the enforcement agencies find objectionable is fair game to extract a multi-million dollar settlement from a risk-averse corporation.

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In A Domestic Corruption Case, The First Circuit Rejects The Narrative In Recent FCPA Enforcement Actions Concerning Internship And Hiring Practices

You be the Judge

In the past 1.5 years or so, there have been three Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement actions focused on internship and hiring practices of family members of alleged “foreign officials” and several other companies are remain under scrutiny for the same alleged practices.

As highlighted here and here, in August 2015 BNY Mellon agreed to pay $14.8 million to resolve SEC findings that the company provided “valuable student internships to family members of foreign government officials affiliated with a Middle Eastern sovereign wealth fund.”

As highlighted here and here, in March 2016 Qualcomm agreed to pay $7.5 million to resolve SEC findings that the company “provided or offered full-time employment and paid internships to family members and other referrals” of alleged “foreign officials” at state-owned or state-controlled enterprises.

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On Inauguration Day, We Really Ought To Pause And Reflect


In recent weeks, the U.S. has brought Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement actions against Brazilian companies based in part on conduct with Brazilian politicians and party parties and another enforcement action against a Chilean company based on its conduct with Chilean politicians and party parties. (See here and here).

FCPA enforcement actions frequently include allegations about “golf in the morning and beer drinking in the evening,” expensive bottles of wine, spa and sauna treatments, charitable contributions or internship and hiring practices all involving alleged “foreign officials.”

Bribery, the U.S. government says, and confidently proclaims “we in the United States are in a unique position to spread the gospel of anti-corruption” and that FCPA enforcement ensures not only that the United States “is on the right side of history, but also that it has a hand in advancing that history.”

Yet on inauguration day, when Washington, D.C. is awash in corporate money more so than a typical day, we really ought to pause and reflect.

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The First-Ever National Action Plan On Responsible Business Conduct Is A Whole Lot Of Fluff


Recently the U.S. government released its “first-ever National Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct.” (See here for the document, here for the State Department release and here for the White House release).

I don’t know the precise answer for what the expectation should be for the final deliverable of a government program launched approximately 2.5 years ago and issued in the final days of a lame duck administration. Whatever that expectation level should be, the National Action Plan is a whole lot of fluff with some overblown rhetoric and uncomfortable truths mixed in that misses the big picture.

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