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FCPA Enforcement Actions Regarding Conduct In Ecuador

Ecuador

Ecuador.

It is on the smaller side of countries in South America in terms of population and land area. However, it has the third largest oil reserves in South America and thus many companies subject to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act do business in the country.

This post summarizes FCPA enforcement actions regarding conduct (in whole or in part) in Ecuador.

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DOJ Announces Indictment Of Oil Trader In Connection With Alleged Ecuador Bribery Scheme

oil trading

Yesterday, the DOJ announced that Javier Aguilar (described as a trader at the U.S. subsidiary of a multinational oil distributor and trading company – “Trading Company) was criminally charged for “his alleged participation in a five-year international bribery and money laundering scheme involving corrupt payments to Ecuadorian officials.” According to this report, Aguilar’s former employer is Vitol Inc. As highlighted in this previous post, Vitol has reportedly been under scrutiny.

Although not mentioned in the indictment, the DOJ releases references an “original complaint” and that the Ecuadorian officials included individuals associated with PetroEcuador (a business organization previously mentioned in FCPA enforcement actions – see here and here).

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Strict Liability For Subsidiary Conduct

oilstates

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

Issuer strict liability for subsidiary conduct is a dubious prong of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement. However, as highlighted in this post concerning a 2006 enforcement action against Oil States International, it has long been an aspect of FCPA enforcement.

In 2006, the SEC brought this administrative action against Oil States International (a specialty provider to oil and gas drilling companies). The conduct at issue was based entirely on the actions of employees of a branch office in Eastern Venezuela of Hydraulic Well Control LLC, a subsidiary of Oil States. According to the SEC, HWC Venezuela contributed approximately 1% of Oil States’ consolidated revenues during the relevant time period.

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Eni Joins The Repeat Offender Club – This Time Resolves A $24.5 Million SEC FCPA Enforcement Action

eni

As highlighted in this prior post, in 2010 ENI S.p.A (an Italy-based oil and gas company with American Depositary Shares listed on the New York Stock Exchange) along with its wholly-owned subsidiary Snamprogetti resolved a $125 million SEC Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action concerning conduct in Nigeria.

On Friday, the SEC announced that ENI resolved another FCPA enforcement action – this one a $24.5 million enforcement action concerning conduct in Algeria by Saipem S.p.A. (a minority-owned and controlled subsidiary during the relevant time period). The conduct at issue in the enforcement action occurred 10 – 13 years ago.

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South Korean Company Bribes Brazilian Officials Through Brazilian Agents, U.S. Collects $37.7 Million

SamsungHeavy

Last Friday, the Department of Justice announced that Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI – a South Korea-based engineering company that provides shipbuilding, offshore platform construction, and other construction and engineering services with a branch office in Houston) agreed to resolve a net $37.5 million Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action.

As highlighted below, the conduct at issue involved SHI’s relationship with Pride International (which is now part of Valaris plc) through which it sold a $636 million drillship to Petrobras.

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