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Friday Roundup

Roundup

FCPA Defendant Passes Away

As highlighted in this prior post, in August 2021 the DOJ announced that Naman Wakil, 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).”

Since his arrest, Wakil was confined to home detention “except for court appearances, attorney visits, religious services, or pre-approved activities by the probation officer.” In early June 2023, the judge granted an unopposed motion to modify the conditions of Wakil’s release to allow him to “leave his residence subject to a curfew between 8:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m.”

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Perplexed II

perplexed

FCPA Inc. is an active group of writers. Give them a development and the ink starts flowing. This is a good thing.

However, as highlighted in this recent post some FCPA commentary regarding recent developments has been perplexing.

As highlighted below, I continue to be perplexed by certain FCPA commentary.

This law firm alert regarding the Second Circuit’s recent Hoskins decision (see here) is titled “Second Circuit Presents U.S. Companies Historic Opportunity to Defend Against FCPA Liability.” Query how the Second Circuit’s determination whether the government provided sufficient evidence at trial of agent / agency (a term / concept always in the FCPA – that the parties agreed should be interpreted pursuant to its common law meaning) provides a “historic opportunity” to defend FCPA cases?

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What A Debacle: DOJ Dismisses Enforcement Action Against Baptiste and Boncy

dismal

What a debacle.

The latest in a long line of embarrassing (and stunning) DOJ setbacks in individual FCPA enforcement actions. (See herehere and here).

First the relevant background.

In 2017 (in connection with an undercover string) the DOJ unsealed criminal charges against Joseph Baptiste (a retired U.S. Army Colonel, practicing dentist, and founder / president of a Maryland-based Haitian focused non-profit) for alleged Haitian bribery.  In 2018 the DOJ added criminal charges against Roger Boncy in connection with the same core conduct. (See here).

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First Circuit Affirms New Trial For Joseph Baptiste And Roger Boncy Based On Ineffective Assistance Of Counsel

Judicial Decision

In 2017 (in connection with an undercover string) the DOJ unsealed criminal charges against Joseph Baptiste (a retired U.S. Army Colonel, practicing dentist, and founder / president of a Maryland-based Haitian focused non-profit) for alleged Haitian bribery.  In 2018 the DOJ added criminal charges against Roger Boncy in connection with the same core conduct. (See here).

Unlike most individual FCPA defendants, Baptiste and Boncy put the DOJ to its burden of proof and in June 2019, after a two-week trial, a federal jury in Boston found Baptiste guilty of one count of violating the Travel Act and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and Boncy guilty of one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and the Travel Act. (See here).

Thereafter, in post-trial motions the defendants sought an acquittal or a new trial based on ineffective assistance of counsel. (See here). In March 2020, U.S. District Court Judge Allison Burroughs (D. Mass.) granted Baptiste and Boncy a new trial based on ineffective assistance of counsel. (See here).

As discussed here, the DOJ appealed to the First Circuit and yesterday the court affirmed a new trial for the defendants.

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From The Dockets

Judicial Decision

This post provides updates on the DOJ’s appeal of the new trial recently granted to FCPA defendants Joseph Baptiste and Roger Boncy as well as the SEC’s attempt to serve FCPA defendant Asante Berko.

DOJ First Circuit Appeal

As highlighted in this prior post, in March U.S. District Court Judge Allison Burroughs (D. Mass.) granted Joseph Baptiste and Roger Boncy a new trial based on ineffective assistance of counsel after the defendants were convicted of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other charges in connection a Haitian bribery scheme.

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