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A Case Study In Risk Aversion Or What Happens When Defendants Fight Back


[This post is part of a periodic series regarding “old” FCPA enforcement actions]

Previous posts here and here highlighted the 2001 DOJ/SEC FCPA enforcement action against KPMG Siddharta Siddharta & Harsono (KPMG-SSH) and Sonny Harsono and Baker Hughes regarding alleged improper payments in connection with an Indonesia tax assessment. All of the defendants resolved the enforcement actions without putting the DOJ/SEC to its burden of proof (the risk aversion portion of this post).

However, also in 2001 the SEC charged Eric Mattson (the former CFO of Baker Hughes) and James Harris (the former Controller of Baker Hughes) with Foreign Corrupt Practices Act offenses based on the same substantive allegations. Unlike the other defendants, as highlighted in this post, Mattson and Harris fought back – a process that resulted in a federal court judge dismissing the FCPA charges against them.

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When A Company Pleads Guilty, But Individual Criminal Charges Fail


Occasionally, a post gets stuck in the pipeline, passed over by current events.

This is one such post, yet the substantive issues remains relevant.

This February 2016 Wall Street Journal article stated – regarding the government’s effort to find individuals criminally responsible for BP’s 2010 oil spill and how individuals criminally charged were found not guilty:

“the outcome of individual cases means BP is in the odd position of having pleaded guilty to crimes tied to charges against its employees that were dismissed by courts.”

As highlighted in this post, this is not exactly an odd position. Indeed, it occurs with some frequency in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act context.

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