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Issues To Consider From The Gunvor Enforcement Action

Issues

This recent post highlighted the net $474.4 million Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Gunvor (a Swiss-based energy trading company – a subsidiary of Gunvor Group Ltd., a multinational energy commodities trading company registered in Cyprus).

In summary fashion, the DOJ alleged that between 2012 and 2020 Gunvor, through various managers, “knowingly and willfully conspired and agreed with others to corruptly offer and pay bribes to, and for the benefit of, Ecuadorian officials to secure improper advantages in order to obtain and retain business from Petroecuador in connection with the purchase and sale of oil products through contracts between Petroecuador” and state-owned energy trading companies based in Asia.

This post highlights additional issues to consider from the enforcement action.

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Chemical Company Albemarle Resolves A Net $218.4 Million Enforcement Action

albemarle-logo

As highlighted in this prior post, in February 2018 Albemarle Corp. (a North Carolina based chemical company) disclosed Foreign Corrupt Practices Act scrutiny.

More than 5.5 years later, the DOJ and SEC announced a net $218.4 million FCPA enforcement action against the company.

The resolution included a DOJ non-prosecution agreement (pursuant to which the company agreed to pay a $98.2 million criminal penalty and $16.6 million in forfeiture) and an SEC administrative order (pursuant to which the company agreed to pay approximately $103.6 million in disgorgement and prejudgment interest).

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Another Former Corsa Coal Executive Charged In Connection With Egypt Bribery Scheme

Hobson

As highlighted in this prior post, in 2021 Frederick Cushmore Jr. (a former executive of Pennsylvania-based coal mining company Corsa Coal Corp.) was criminally charged and pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge to violate the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions in connection with a bribery scheme in Egypt involving Al Nasr Company for Coke and Chemicals (“Al Nasr” or “NCCC” – an alleged Egyptian state-owned and state-controlled entity and a subsidiary of Metallurgical Industries Holding Company, which was owned and controlled by the Egyptian government).

Today, the DOJ announced that Charles Hunter Hobson (pictured) was also criminally charged in connection with the same core conduct. According to his LinkedIn page, Hobson served in a variety of roles at Corsa Coal from 2013 to 2018. (See also here).

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Former Corsa Coal VP And Head Of International Sales Pleads Guilty To Egypt Bribery Scheme

Cushmore

Corsa Coal Corp. is a publicly traded Pennsylvania-based coal mining company focused on the production and sales of metallurgical coal, an essential ingredient in the production of steel. It’s core business is producing and selling metallurgical coal to domestic and international steel and coke producers.

Between 2016 and 2020, Frederick Cushmore Jr. (pictured) was employed by Corsa in various international sales positions including Vice-President, Head of International Sales. (See here for Corsa’s 2018 press release announcing Cushmore’s promotion. In the release, Corsa’s CEO stated: “We are thrilled to … provide Fred with a well-deserved promotion.”

Recently, Cushmore was criminally charged and plead guilty to a conspiracy charge to violate the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions in connection with a bribery scheme in Egypt.

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Many FCPA Enforcement Actions Involve Gaining Access To Confidential Information

confidential

In several Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement actions, the end result of things of value being offered or provided to alleged “foreign officials” is the company gaining access to confidential documents in the government’s possession.

Which ones?

This post summarizes the nearly twenty FCPA enforcement actions which fit the above description in whole or in part (in addition to this week’s FCPA enforcement action against Amec Foster Wheeler and related entities).

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