Scrutiny alerts, asset recovery, and for the reading stack. It’s all here in the Friday roundup.
Akamai Technologies, Inc., a company that provides cloud services for delivering, optimizing and securing online content and business applications, recently disclosed:
“We are conducting an internal investigation, with the assistance of outside counsel, relating to sales practices in a country outside the U.S. that represented less than 1% of our revenue in each of the years ended December 31, 2014, 2013 and 2012. The internal investigation includes a review of compliance with the requirements of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other applicable laws and regulations by employees in that market. In February 2015, we voluntarily contacted the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice to advise both agencies of this internal investigation.”
As reported by Global Witness:
“A leader of a cross-party anti-corruption group of British MPs yesterday called for UK and US authorities to investigate claims that Soco International, a London-listed oil company, may have breached anti-corruption legislation in the course of its work in Africa’s oldest national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.”
[At a recent] Westminster Hall debate Tessa Munt, Liberal Democrat MP for Wells and vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Anti-Corruption, said: “It is surely incumbent on the UK government and its agencies to ensure that any credible evidence of corruption and other criminal behaviour by a UK company, as we have here, is fully investigated by the relevant authorities.”
Munt explained that Soco’s American executive directors are employed by a Delaware-registered subsidiary. As a result, she said, “these individuals fall within the jurisdiction of the United States, and there seems to be a case to be made that Soco International, under their stewardship, has breached the terms of America’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.” Anas Sarwar MP, co-chair of the anti-corruption group, also raised concerns about the involvement of offshore companies in Soco’s corporate structure.
“The questions raised by British Members of Parliament highlight the urgent need for both Soco and the relevant authorities in the UK and the US to closely examine the company’s conduct in Virunga,” said Nathaniel Dyer, a campaigner at Global Witness. “Companies cannot be allowed to get away with criminal behaviour just because it happens in remote locations like Congo – if Soco is found to have broken the law, it must face the consequences.”
David Lidington MP, a Foreign Office Minister responding on behalf of the government, said that the UK’s Serious Fraud Office was aware of allegations against Soco and that he would look into the channels for exchanging information with US authorities.”
Separate from FCPA enforcement, another prong of the DOJ’s fight against global corruption is its Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative which seeks return of the proceeds of foreign official corruption to benefit the people harmed by acts of corruption and abuse of office.
As noted in this recent release:
“[The] Department of Justice has reached a settlement of its civil forfeiture cases against $1.2 million in assets in the United States traceable to corruption proceeds accumulated by Chun Doo Hwan, the former president of the Republic of Korea. The department also assisted the government of the Republic of Korea in recovering an additional $27.5 million in satisfaction of an outstanding criminal restitution order against former President Chun.”
In the release, Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell stated:
“Chun Doo Hwan’s campaign of corruption and bribery while serving as Korea’s president betrayed the trust of the Korean people, deprived Korea’s government of precious resources and undermined the rule of law. Fighting corruption is a global imperative that demands a coordinated global response. The close cooperation between the United States and Korea in successfully recovering corruption proceeds stands as a testament to our resolve to battle the scourge of corruption through international collaboration.”
Assistant Director in Charge David Bowdich of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office stated:
“The U.S. will not idly standby and serve as a money laundering haven for foreign officials to hide corrupt activities. The FBI will continue to collaborate with our foreign partners by leveraging its resources in order to identify those engaged in foreign corruption and to recover their ill-gotten gains.”
For the Reading Stack
Proposals for U.S. FCPA enforcement agencies to share FCPA settlement amounts with so-called victims in the country at issue may sound good, but are not warranted. In this Center for International Private Enterprise article I explain why.
A good weekend to all.