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The Current Time Gap In SEC Individual FCPA Enforcement Is The Longest In Eight Years

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One reason to take FCPA enforcement agency rhetoric with a grain of salt is because it is warranted.

For instance, the FCPA enforcement agencies often talk about the importance of x and how they are committed to x, but in reality rarely do x.

Case in point is SEC individual FCPA enforcement actions.

For many years, SEC enforcement officials have talked about the importance of individual FCPA enforcement actions and set forth below are representative quotes from over the years.

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In Connection With 2019 Ericsson Enforcement Action, DOJ Criminally Charges Former Ericsson Employee

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As highlighted in this prior post, in late 2019 Swedish telecom company Ericsson (a company with American Depositary Shares traded in the U.S.) resolved a $1.06 billion net FCPA enforcement action concerning conduct in Djibouti, China, Vietnam, Kuwait, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia.

Regarding Djibouti, the enforcement action alleged that Ericsson (through certain subsidiaries and agents) provided approximately $2,100,000 in bribe payments to, and for the benefit of, foreign officials in Djibouti, including a high-ranking government official in the executive branch of the Djibouti government who had influence over decisions made by a state-owned telecommunications company and the CEO of the state-owned telecom company, in order to secure an improper advantage in order to obtain and retain business with the Telecom Company and to win a contract valued at approximately €20,300,000 with the Telecom Company.”

In connection with this prong of the Ericsson enforcement action, the DOJ announced yesterday that Afework “Affe” Bereket (pictured – a dual citizen of Ethiopia and Sweden) was criminally charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering “for his alleged role in a scheme to pay approximately $2.1 million in bribes to high-level government officials in the Republic of Djibouti and conspiring to launder funds to promote the scheme.”

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Same General Script, As DOJ Charges Individual In Connection With Alleged Bribes In Venezuela

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You have likely read the script many times in the last several years.

An individual associated with small privately-held companies does business in Venezuela and paid alleged bribes (and/or laundered money) in connection with the bribery scheme.

The script repeated itself yesterday as the DOJ announced that Naman Wakil (pictured), a Syrian national and U.S. lawful permanent resident, was “arrested in Miami on charges related to his alleged role in a scheme to bribe Venezuelan officials and launder funds to obtain contracts from Venezuela’s state-owned and state-controlled energy company, Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA), and Venezuela’s state-owned and state-controlled food company that purchased food for Venezuela, Corporación de Abastecimiento y Servicios Agrícola (CASA).”

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Former Glencore Trader Pleads Guilty To FCPA And Related Offense

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As highlighted in this prior post, for approximately two years Glencore (a commodities company incorporated in the United Kingdom and headquartered in Switzerland with common stock that trades on the New York based over-the-counter market) has been under scrutiny for conduct in Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Venezuela (as well as perhaps other countries).

Earlier this week Anthony Stimler pleaded guilty to FCPA and money laundering offenses. Stimler is described as a United Kingdom citizen and resident who was a trader at a Glencore subsidiary who worked on the West Africa desk from in or around 2002 until in or around 2009 and then again from in or around June 2011 until in or around August 2019. According to the DOJ “In that role, Stimler had responsibility for crude oil purchases from, among other places, Nigeria, and acted on behalf of Company 1 [Glencore] in procuring crude oil from Nigeria.”

In summary fashion, the criminal information alleges:

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FCPA Flash Podcast – A Conversation With Douglas Zolkind Regarding DOJ FCPA Issues

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The FCPA Flash podcast provides in an audio format the same fresh, candid, and informed commentary about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and related topics as readers have come to expect from written posts on FCPA Professor.

This FCPA Flash podcast episode is a conversation with Douglas Zolkind. Zolkind recently joined the New York office of Debevoise & Plimpton after serving as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Among the cases he prosecuted were FCPA trial convictions involving Ng Lap Seng and Patrick Ho. During the podcast, Zolkind: (i) shares his experiences trying FCPA cases including the difference between “FCPA violations” and “FCPA violations that can be proven at trial”; (ii) discusses underappreciated aspects of DOJ FCPA enforcement; (iii) opines whether the government is vulnerable on some of its FCPA enforcement theories; and (iv) suggests a change to FCPA enforcement.

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