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Like Prior Years, The Gray Cloud Of FCPA Scrutiny Lasted Too Long In 2021

Gray Cloud

This recent post highlighted the origins of corporate Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement actions in 2021.

Continuing with the 2021 FCPA statistical feast, this post follows the chronology of scrutiny to enforcement and highlights one of the most troubling policy issues when it comes to FCPA enforcement.

That is – FCPA scrutiny simply lasts too long. Specifically, as highlighted below, 4 years was the approximate median length of time companies that resolved FCPA enforcement actions in 2021 were under scrutiny.

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OECD Revises Its “Recommendations” And Green Lights The Facade Of Enforcement

Greenlight

Recently, the OECD released a laundry list of updated recommendations for “further combating bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions.”

As further proof that the OECD prioritizes quantity of enforcement over quality of enforcement (see here), the OECD is now recommending that member countries to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention “consider using a variety of forms of resolutions when resolving criminal, administrative, and civil cases with both legal and natural persons, including non-trial resolutions.”

By doing so, the OECD is green lighting the “facade” of enforcement (see here and here for prior articles on the subject).

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Issues To Consider From The WPP Enforcement Action

Issues

This previous post highlighted the recent $19.2 million SEC Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against London-based advertising agency WPP (a company with depositary shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange).

This post continues the analysis by highlighting additional issues to consider.

No Disclosure

Most issuers under FCPA scrutiny tend to disclose the scrutiny in SEC filings and thereafter disclose scrutiny developments in subsequent filings.

However, WPP appears to be a relatively rare example of an issuer not disclosing FCPA scrutiny.

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Issues To Consider From The Amec Foster Wheeler / John Wood Group Enforcement Action

Issues

This prior post highlighted the net $17.7 million FCPA enforcement action against U.K. companies Amec Foster Wheeler Energy, which was acquired by Amec Plc in 2014, which in turn, was acquired by John Wood Group Plc in 2017.

This post continues the analysis by highlighting additional issues to consider.

Timeline

As highlighted in this previous post, in Spring 2017 the company disclosed:

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Remember When …

Memory Lane

Remember when Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Trevor McFadden stated that it was the DOJ’s “intent … for our FCPA investigations to be measured in months, not years.”

This statement was made four years ago this week (see here for the prior post).

However, like much DOJ rhetoric surrounding the FCPA, it was just empty words. As highlighted below, since the DOJ’s statement of intention it has resolved approximately 30 corporate enforcement actions and the average length of time a company has been under FCPA scrutiny has been approximately 4.25 years.

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