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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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SEC FCPA Enforcement – 2021 Year In Review

SEC

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement, it’s not just about the DOJ.

Granted, as a civil enforcement agency the SEC’s sticks are less sharp than the DOJ’s, but the SEC also claims a significant piece of the FCPA enforcement pie (query whether it should – but that is a subject for another day – for instance as discussed in “The Story of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act” the SEC wanted no part in enforcing the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions and in recent years an SEC Commissioner stated that anti-corruption policy is not within the SEC’s area of expertise nor further to the SEC’s mission – see here).

This post goes in-depth into various facts and figures relevant to SEC FCPA enforcement in 2021. Compared to prior years, this year in review post and the statistics therein (like many from 2021) are less than enlightening given the small number of corporate enforcement actions in 2021.

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Does The SEC Even Need A Specific FCPA Unit?

questions to ask

When you run a daily website such as this for 12 years there is sometimes a cycle of coverage.

For instance, over the years November posts typically include the fact that the FCPA “tips” are a minor component of the SEC’s whistleblower program (despite predications to the contrary) as well as this post questioning – based on the SEC’s own data – whether the SEC even needs a specific FCPA unit.

In fiscal year 2010, the Securities and Exchange Commission created a specialized unit (one of only five in its enforcement division “dedicated to particular highly specialized and complex areas of securities law“) devoted to enforcing the FCPA.

The below post highlights how, based on the SEC’s own enforcement statistics, FCPA enforcement actions comprise a minuscule percentage of its overall enforcement actions as well as other quantitative and qualitative factors relevant to the question posed.

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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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SEC Commissioner Peirce On The Recent Credit Suisse Resolution …

Peirce

These pages have frequency covered SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce – both in terms of her spot-on speeches or statements (see here, here, and here for example) and her tendency to object to various aspects of SEC FCPA enforcement actions (see here).

As highlighted here, Credit Suisse recently resolved a $99 million FCPA (and related) enforcement action concerning financing of various Mozambican maritime projects as well as a related DOJ action (see here).

True to form, Commissioner Peirce made her voice known and issued this statement which reads in full:

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