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Bribery Involving The United Nations

united nations

The United Nations has a number of anti-corruption initiatives. For starters, there is the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, it hosts the Conference of the States Parties (COSP) (the main policy-making body of the Convention), and the U.N.’s Global Compact states that “businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.”

Instead of looking outward, perhaps the United Nations should look more inward as several Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement actions, highlighted below, have involved U.N. officials or U.N. programs.

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DOJ Charges Two Individuals With FCPA And Other Violations In Connection With An African Bribery Scheme On Behalf Of CEFC China Energy Company Ltd.


Yesterday, the DOJ announced that Chi Ping Patrick Ho (of Hong Kong, China) and Cheikh Gadio (of Senegal) were criminally charged with conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, violating the FCPA, conspiring to commit international money laundering, and committing international money laundering.

Although not specifically mentioned in the DOJ’s indictment, it is easy to connect the dots that Ho is associated with China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC) and as noted here, CEFC is “fully funded by CEFC China Energy Company Limited.” Gadio is associated with Sarata Holding (a consulting and advising firm specializing in business and development partnerships with Africa).

Big picture – in the past two weeks – the DOJ has announced three core FCPA enforcement actions involving 9 individuals. (See here for the November 7th action against 5 individuals associated with Rolls-Royce and here for the November 9th action against 2 individuals associated with SBM Offshore).

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Corruption & International Laws and Judgments


Professor Juliet Sorensen (Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law) and Northwestern Law students David Hall and Kobby Lartey recently attended the Seventh Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption in Vienna, Austria.  See here for more information on the Conference. This post is from David Hall.

One of the most difficult barriers to enforcing anti-corruption regulations is that entities with the power to do so are often corrupt governments with no impetus to act. The” Corruption & International Laws and Judgments” event at this year’s Conference of the States Parties to the UN Convention Against Corruption considered how to overcome this barrier. Its consensus was that effective anti-corruption regulation will require better processes through which those regulations are created, better review of their implementation, and enforcement which is capable of compelling state action. In addition, focusing on procedures which circumvent the common causes of corruption will help us to avoid negative externalities that incentivize the spread of corruption in the first place.

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From The Dockets

Judicial Decision

This previous post mentioned that the DOJ filed a superseding indictment adding Foreign Corrupt Practices Act charges to its existing 2015 enforcement action against Ng Lap Seng and Jeff Yin.

This previous post highlighted the May 2015 civil case brought by Sanford Wadler (the former General Counsel of Bio-Rad) asserting various employment claims against the company in the aftermath of the company’s 2014 FCPA enforcement action in which it agreed to pay approximately $55 million to resolve DOJ and SEC FCPA enforcement actions.

This post further highlights the DOJ’s individual criminal charges against Ng and Yin as well as the strange twist in the Wadler – Bio-Rad litigation.

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Addressing Corruption In An Era Of Climate Change

Climate Change

Professor Juliet Sorensen (Northwestern University School of Law) and Northwestern Law students Michelle Kennedy and Cassandra Myers are attending the Sixth Conference of the State Parties (CoSP) to the United Nations Convention against Corruption in St. Petersburg, Russia. For more on the opening of the Conference, see here and hereOver the next few days, FCPA Professor will be publishing various posts regarding the proceedings.  

This post is from Michelle Kennedy.


With the Paris Conference on Climate Change 2015 coming up at the end of this month, the relationship between climate change and corruption could not be more relevant. The panel that explored this topic presented unique perspectives that provided a comprehensive view of the complex issues at hand, which range from the increased frequency of natural disasters to the growing impact of the forestry sector.

To open the discussion, Tim Steele, the Senior Advisor on Anti-Corruption of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in Southern & Eastern Africa, emphasized the urgency of the issue. The adverse effects of climate change include rising oceans, depleting forests, and an increased frequency of natural disasters, which is why he insists that this issue be addressed before it is too late.

“Catastrophe causes opportunity,” Steele urged, which was elaborated upon by Professor Juliet Sorensen of the Center for International Human Rights at Northwestern University School of Law and the co-author of the upcoming book, Public Corruption and the Law: Local, National, and International. She explained that because we are living in a world with a sharply increased frequency of natural disasters, there has also emerged the need to recover from these natural disasters more quickly. This recovery necessitates an infusion of public funds from the federal government, international organizations, and state and local resources, in order to meet the basic human needs of the victims and to rebuild the community. The vast funds that arrive quickly create ample opportunity for corruption, thus exemplifying the causal relationship between catastrophe and opportunity. For example, if recovery funds are corruptly used to award contracts to builders based on relationships rather than merit, this may result in sub par buildings and poorly constructed roads. If a natural disaster strikes again, then the damage will be greater than it otherwise would have been without corruption. The community then needs to be rebuilt again, thus perpetuating the cycle and displaying the urgent need to address corruption in an era of climate change. Sorensen urged, however, that there are encouraging opportunities in both law and policy to address these issues, such as the Disaster Fraud Task Force at the United States Department of Justice, which deals with all aspects of fraud mismanagement and corruption in the wake of natural disasters. On an international level, the European Union Emergency Response Coordination Centre is a new resource that provides real time monitoring and immediate reactions to natural disasters.

In order to assist the countries that suffer the worst effects of climate change, the polluting countries have made monetary contributions, known as climate finance, as explained by Rukshana Nanayakkara of the Asia Pacific Department of Transparency International. This financial support provided by developed countries for mitigation and adaptation action in developing countries is expected to reach $100 billion by 2020. This vast amount of money involved displays the ample opportunity for the corrupt diversion of funds.

To ensure that these climate adaptation funds are administered in a transparent manner, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (“OECD”) conducts vigorous evaluations on its member countries to determine whether they are effectively pursuing allegations of bribery in the context of publicly funded post-disaster projects. Moving forward, Leah Ambler of the OECD Anti-Corruption Division proposed that combatting the significant risks involved in climate finance be accomplished by an increase in corruption risk awareness initiatives, active enforcement of anti-corruption laws, collaboration with the private sector to ensure effective anti-bribery compliance programs, and independent implementation of new regulatory schemes related to climate change mitigation.

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