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Colombian Entities Resolve Net $60.6 Million FCPA Enforcement Action


Once upon a time, a Colombian company (owned and controlled by another Colombian company with shares registered in the U.S.), through a wholly-owned and controlled subsidiary, agreed with a Brazilian company to form a joint venture and consortium to bid for public contracts with the Colombian government.

An executive of the Brazilian company informed an executive of the Colombian company that a Colombian lobbyist would help win projects by making bribe payments to Colombian officials and the Colombian company executive agreed.

That, in a nutshell, describes last week’s net $60.6 million Foreign Corrupt Practice Act enforcement action against Corporacion Financiera Colombiana S.A. (Corficolombiana) and Grupo Aval Acciones y Valores S.A. (Grupo Aval).

The enforcement action involved a DOJ component (in which the entities agreed to pay a net $20.3 million criminal penalty) and an SEC component (in which the entities agreed to pay approximately $40.3 million in disgorgement and prejudgment interest).

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A Bit Ironic


Recently, the Wolfsberg Group published its updated Anti-Bribery and Corruption Compliance Program Guidance (see here).

The Wolfsberg Group – which came together in 2000 at the Château Wolfsberg in Switzerland – is an association of thirteen global banks which aims to develop frameworks and guidance for the management of financial crime risks.

As stated in the Group’s release:

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Berko Arrested On Recently Unsealed Criminal Charges Alleging The Same Core Conduct As The SEC’s Previously Resolved Enforcement Action


As highlighted in this prior post, in early 2020, the SEC announced the filing of a civil complaint charging Asante Berko (pictured – a former Executive Director of Goldman Sachs International) with Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations and other charges for “orchestrating a bribery scheme to help a client [a Turkish energy company] win a government contract to build and operate an electrical power plant” in Ghana.

Berko publicly denied the SEC’s allegations and the SEC sought court approval to serve the summons and complaint via e-mail and through his U.S. counsel. Ultimately settlement negotiations commenced and in mid-2021 Berko agreed to resolve the matter. Without admitting or denying the SEC’s allegations, Berko agreed to pay $329,163.92 (disgorgement of $275,000 along with prejudgment interest of $54,163.92). The final judgment also permanently restrained and enjoined Berko from violating, directly or indirectly, the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions.

Those who follow the FCPA, myself included, likely thought that was the end of the matter. Perhaps Berko himself thought that.

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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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Credit Suisse Resolves $99 Million SEC FCPA (And Related) Enforcement Action


As highlighted here and here, in July 2018 Credit Suisse resolved a $77 million Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action focused on alleged improper hiring practices in China and the Asia Pacific region.

As highlighted here, in January 2019 the DOJ unsealed criminal charges against former Credit Suisse bankers Andrew Pearse, Surjan Singh, and Detelina Subeva charging them with conspiracy to violate the FCPA’s anti-bribery and internal controls provisions in connection with financing various Mozambican maritime projects.

This follow-up post wondered what the 2019 enforcement action would mean for Credit Suisse.

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