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DOJ Individual Actions: The Strange Public – Private Divide

public-private2

These pages track all sorts of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act statistics.

Some of the statistics are “inside baseball” like and other statistics (such as the long time periods associated with FCPA scrutiny or the general lack of individual enforcement actions in connection with most corporate enforcement actions) raise significant public policy issues and/or undermine government rhetoric.

The statistic discussed in this post fits all three categories: it is equal parts “inside baseball,” it raises significant public policy issues, it undermines government rhetoric, and moreover it is just plain strange.

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A Focus On SEC Individual Actions

SEC

This previous post highlighted various facts and figures from 2021 SEC FCPA enforcement actions against issuers.

This post focuses on SEC FCPA individual actions – both in 2021 and historically.

Like the DOJ, the SEC frequently speaks in lofty rhetoric concerning its focus on holding individuals accountable under the FCPA.

As highlighted here, in 2021 the SEC’s Chairman stated: “Accountability — whether individual or institutional — is an important part of the SEC’s enforcement agenda. We’ll use all of the tools in our toolkit to investigate wrongdoing and hold bad actors accountable …”.

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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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Laughing Out Loud At Certain Portions Of SEC Chair Gensler’s Speech

Laughable

Yesterday, SEC Chair Gary Gensler delivered this speech.

I literally laughed out loud as to certain portions of Gensler’s speech.

I didn’t laugh because what Gensler said was unreasonable. To the contrary, much of what he said represents sound policy. Rather, I laughed  because I have closely followed SEC enforcement practices (and speeches from enforcement agency officials) for over a decade.

Gensler began his speech as follows:

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Deputy AG Monaco On Individual Accountability, Prior Misconduct, Monitors, And NPAs and DPAs (With Commentary)

Monaco

Last week, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco delivered this speech as part of the ABA’s National Institute on White Collar Crime.

While the speech is generating a significant amount of attention, substantively the speech was largely a yawner and the policy changes articulated are marginal at best and elevate form over substance.

As has been highlighted several times on these pages, FCPA (and related) enforcement has long suffered from the following problem (nicely articulated by a practitioner in 1982):

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