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Baker Hughes Under FCPA Scrutiny For Sanctions Issues

Baker Hughes

If you are confused by the above headline, this post serves as a useful reminder that the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act has always been a law much broader than its name suggests because of its books and records and internal controls provisions.

These provisions, among the most generic legal provisions one can find applicable to issuers, can be implicated in a variety of situations – situations that often have nothing to do with foreign bribery.

For instance, recently Baker Hughes disclosed:

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A Further Reminder That The FCPA Has Always Been A Law Much Broader Than Its Name Suggests

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The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act  has always been a law much broader than its name suggests. Sure, the FCPA contains anti-bribery provisions which concern foreign bribery. Sure, the FCPA’s books and records and internal controls provisions can be implicated in foreign bribery schemes.

However, the fact remains that most FCPA enforcement actions (that is enforcement actions that charge or find violations of the FCPA’s books and records and internal controls provisions) have nothing to do with foreign bribery and these provisions are among the most generic legal provisions one can possibly find.

Case in point is this recent SEC enforcement action against Gulfport Energy Corporation.

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Issues To Consider From The Deutsche Bank Enforcement Action

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This previous post detailed the recent $122.6 million Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Deutsche Bank based on the company’s “improper use … of third party-intermediaries, business development consultants, and findings (BDCs) to obtain and retain global business.”

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

How Much And Which Type Of Internal Controls Are Specifically Legally Required?

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Deutsche Bank Joins The Repeat Offender Club By Resolving Second FCPA Enforcement In Just 16 Months

deutsche

In August 2019, Deutsche Bank paid $16.2 million “to settle changes that it violated the FCPA by hiring relatives of foreign government officials [in both the Asia Pacific Region and Russia] in order to improperly influence them in connection with investment banking business).” (See here and here for prior posts).

Late Friday, Deutsche Bank (a German investment bank and financial services company with shares traded on the NYSE between 2009 and 2016) joined the ever expanding list of FCPA repeat offenders as the DOJ and SEC announced (here and here) an approximate $122.6 million Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action focused on the company’s relationship with third parties in Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Italy, and China.

The approximate 16 month gap between Deutsche Bank’s FCPA enforcement actions is the shortest among the large group of FCPA repeat offenders.

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Was It Smart For The DOJ To Cite E-Smart?

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As highlighted in yesterday’s post, the DOJ recently filed a brief in response to Ng Chong Hwa (Roger Ng’s) motion to dismiss a criminal indictment against him in connection with his alleged involvement in bribery schemes involving various Malaysian and Abu Dhabi officials in connection with 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

In the brief, the DOJ sets forth its views on the FCPA’s internal controls provisions (believed to be the first instance in the FCPA’s 40+ years in which the DOJ has set forth its internal controls views in a contested matter).

The FCPA space has long know about SEC v. Worldwide Coin (a rare instance in which a court was tasked with substantively construing the books and records and internal controls provisions – see here for the prior post). In addition to citing this case in its brief, the DOJ also cited SEC v. E-Smart Technologies, 82 F.Supp.3d 97 (D.D.C. 2015).

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