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DOJ Announces Money Laundering Charges Against Odebrecht Agents In Connection With Bribery Scheme Involving Their Close Relative Panamanian Official


With increasing frequency the Department of Justice is using money laundering statutes to criminally charge participants in alleged bribery scheme. (See here for the recent post documenting the trend).

In the latest example, yesterday the DOJ announced the unsealing of a June 2020 criminal complaint against agents associated with Odebrecht in connection with the company’s 2016 FCPA enforcement action (see here for the prior post).

According to the complaint, Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares (a citizen of Panama and Italy) and his brother Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Linares (also a citizen of Panama and Italy), both of whom travelled several times to the U.S. during the relevant time period, “participated in the Odebrecht bribery scheme by, among other things, serving as intermediaries for bribe payments and the provision of other things of value that Odebrecht offered and provided to the Panama Government Official. According to the complaint, both defendants “were close relatives” of the Panama Government Official.

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DOJ Announces Additional Venezuelan Bribery Schemes – Yet No FCPA Charges


This mid-2021 post highlighted the noticeable trend of the DOJ specifically alleging that an individual violated the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions, yet not charging the individual with FCPA anti-bribery violations, but rather money laundering violations.

Last week, the DOJ returned to this playbook as it announced the unsealing of an indictment charging three Colombian nationals and two Venezuelan nationals for their alleged roles in laundering the proceeds of contracts to provide food and medicine to Venezuela that were obtained through bribes.

As stated in the DOJ release:

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


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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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


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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