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FCPA Violations But No FCPA Charges

people thinking

It is relatively common for the DOJ to allege a foreign bribery scheme, but “only” charge an individual with money laundering. These cases tend to involve alleged “foreign official” bribe recipients who – courts have concluded – are not subject to the FCPA anti-bribery provisions.

The DOJ has also criminally charged individuals in what “sounds” like an FCPA violation, but an FCPA violation is not alleged (see here for instance).

But what about the DOJ specifically alleging that an individual violated the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions, yet the DOJ not charging the individual with FCPA anti-bribery violations?

As highlighted below, in recent months the DOJ has made this curious charging decision three times.

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Friday Roundup

Roundup

A strange scenario, scrutiny alert, and Odebrecht related. It’s all here in the Friday roundup.

A Strange Scenario

FCPA enforcement actions have concerned some interesting family relationships. Husband/Wife as co-defendants. Brother/Sister as co-defendants. Father/Son as co-defendants.

But a wife bribing a husband? To my knowledge, this has never occurred in an FCPA enforcement action.

Until, that is … this week’s FCPA (and related) enforcement action against various individuals in relation to Griffiths Energy International’s bribery scheme involving Chad. (See here for the prior post).

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Four Individuals Criminally Charged In Connection With Bolivian Bribery Scheme To Secure Tear Gas Contract

teargas

As the saying goes – where there is smoke there is fire.

Yesterday the DOJ announced that Bryan Berkman, Luis Berkman, Philip Lichtenfeld and Sergio Mendez were criminally charged for their roles in a Bolivian bribery scheme to secure a tear gas contract.

Bryan Berkman, a U.S. citizen, is described as owning a Florida company (“Intermediary Company”) that sold tactical equipment including to the Bolivian Ministry of Defense. According to this article, the company is Bravo Tactical Solutions.

Sergio Mendez, a citizen of Bolivia, served as an official in the Bolivian Ministry of Government from 2019 – 2020.

Luis Berkman, also a U.S. citizen and Bryan’s father, is described as a “close associate” of Mendez as well as an “associate” of co-conspirator 1 (described as a high ranking official in the Bolivian Ministry of Government). According to the same article, Luis runs a Florida based company called International Defense Group.

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DOJ Announces FCPA And Related Charges In Relation To Griffiths Energy International’s Bribery Scheme Involving Chad

Chad

These pages have followed the bribery enforcement action against Canada based Griffiths Energy International (GEI) and related issues for quite a long time.

As highlighted in this post, in 2013 Canadian law enforcement brought an enforcement action against GEI under Canada’s Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act regarding the company’s efforts to obtain a production sharing contract with the African nation of Chad to provide GEI with the exclusive right to explore and develop oil and gas reserves and resources in southern Chad.  As noted in the prior post, in resolving the action, GEI acknowledged that it “directly agreed to provide, and indirectly provided, improper benefits to a Chadian public official in order to further the business objectives of GEI and its subsidiaries.”  The public official was Chad’s Ambassador to Canada, Mahamoud Adam Bechir, and by extension his wife Ms. Nouracham Niam.  Because Chad had no embassy located in Canada, the Ambassador resided in Washington D.C. and the previous post wondered if the DOJ would get involved.

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“Foreign Official” Sentenced For Money Laundering

Innis

As highlighted in this prior post, in August 2018 the DOJ quitely posted to its FCPA website a so-called declination with disgorgement letter concerning Insurance Corporation of Barbados Limited (ICBL). Pursuant to the agreement, ICBL agreed to pay approximately $94,000 to the U.S. for alleged bribes to a Barbadian government official in exchange for insurance contracts.

The official was identified as Donville Inniss (pictured) who during the relevant time period was a member of the Parliament of Barbados and the Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce, and Small Business Development of Barbados.

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