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Key Issues And Questions Arising From The UK Deferred Prosecution Agreement With Amec Foster Wheeler Energy

WoodFoster

Previous posts herehere, here, here, and here focused on various aspects of the recent U.S. and U.K. enforcement action against Amec Foster Wheeler / John Wood Group.

This guest post by London-based Debevoise attorneys Karolos Seeger, Aisling Cowell, Thomas Jenkins, and Andrew Lee highlights key issues and questions arising from the UK DPA Amec Foster Wheeler Energy Limited (“AFWEL”).

Prosecution of individuals. All of the AFWEL DPA documents contain introductory wording stating that the Court made no findings of fact or assessment of the culpability of any individuals who may have been involved in the company’s wrongdoing. This is the first time a SFO DPA has included this, or equivalent, wording. This statement is likely due to the SFO’s failure to secure the convictions of any individuals who have been prosecuted in connection with previous DPAs, and is therefore intended to avoid prejudicing the position of those who may be prosecuted following the AFWEL DPA. Edis LJ noted documents indicating that senior employees and directors of AFWEL had engaged in corrupt activities, and that SFO decisions about whether to charge them would be made within three months.

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Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry Updates Guidance to Prevent Foreign Bribery

METI

A guest post from Tokyo-based Latham & Watkins attorneys Kaede Toh and Junyeon Park.

In May 2021, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) revised the Guidelines for the Prevention of Bribery of Foreign Public Officials (Guidelines). Although the Guidelines do not impose legal obligations on companies, METI expects each company to create and implement an appropriate compliance system with reference to the Guidelines. The revised Guidelines include detailed guidance on due diligence prior to executing an acquisition or retaining a third-party agent — largely consistent with US government expectations under the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) — and urge Japanese companies and global companies with business operations in Japan to prohibit small facilitation payments. Companies that have business operations in Japan should understand and incorporate the most recent changes to the Guidelines into their local company compliance system to the extent appropriate.

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The U.K. Deferred Prosecution Agreement Regime: Aligning Rhetoric And Reality

SFO2

A guest post from David Corker (a Partner at Corker Binning Corker in London).

The cornerstone of the Deferred Prosecution Agreement (‘DPA’) regime in our jurisdiction is the centrality of the court. At the start of both his preliminary and final judgments delivered in the first DPA in 2015, Leveson P intended that his affirmation of this principle would become, as indeed it has, axiomatic. Almost every subsequent judgment endorsing a DPA has recited his words about the indispensable judicial role. Opening her 32-page judgment concerning the Airbus DPA in 2020[1], for example, Sharp P (Sir Brian’s successor as head of the Queen’s Bench Division) reproduced (paras 7 and 8) the relevant passages in full.

For this article this extract provides sufficient colour:

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Where’s All the Action?

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Today’s post is from Cuneyt Akay (Greenberg Traurig).

2021 is off to a slow start…at least in terms of FCPA corporate enforcement.  The DOJ has only announced one corporate settlement so far in 2021, and the SEC has had no corporate enforcement cases.

Many prognosticators were predicting big things for FCPA enforcement in 2021.  A perfect storm was brewing for 2021 FCPA enforcement.  Corporate enforcement set a record in 2019, which was then eclipsed in 2020.  Financial and economic crises, such as the current conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, tend to increase corruption.  In addition, due to government investigations and proceedings being slowed down and paused for a good portion of 2020, the general consensus was that some enforcement actions would carry over into 2021.  On top of that, many anticipated a new administration would even be more active in pursuing enforcement of financial crimes and corporate fraud prosecutions.

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