Under scrutiny again, guilty plea, and for your listening enjoyment.
It’s all here in the Friday roundup.
Under Scrutiny Again
As highlighted in this prior post, in 2019 Russia-based Mobile TeleSystems PJSC (MTS) agreed to resolve an $850 million DOJ/SEC FCPA enforcement action based on the same alleged core conduct in several other Uzbekistan telecom focused FCPA enforcement actions. (See here and here). As a condition of settlement, MTS was required to retain an independent compliance monitor.
MTS recently disclosed:
“Under the [DOJ] DPA and the [SEC] Order in September 2019 we appointed an independent compliance monitor for, inter alia, review, testing and perfecting MTS’ anti-corruption compliance code, policies, and procedures. In connection with the previously disclosed independent compliance monitorship, certain transactions were identified relating to the Company’s subsidiary in Armenia, and such transactions were disclosed to the DOJ and SEC. The DOJ and SEC have requested information regarding the transactions and MTS has initiated an investigation into the matter. At this point, we cannot predict the timing or outcome of the investigation.”
As highlighted in this prior post, in August 2019 the DOJ announced that Robin Longoria (an individual associated with European Adoption Consultants – an Ohio-based adoption agency) pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to violate the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions and to commit wire fraud and visa fraud “for her role in a scheme to corruptly facilitate adoptions of Ugandan children through bribing Ugandan officials and defrauding U.S. adoptive parents and the U.S. Department of State.” As highlighted here, in August 2020 the DOJ returned to the core action and announced additional individual FCPA criminal charges, among others. Debra Parris (an individual responsible for managing aspects of the Adoption Agency’s Uganda program) and Dorah Mirembe (a Ugandan citizen and resident who provided adoption-related services to the Adoption Agency including legal representation) were charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA, three substantive FCPA charges, as well other criminal charges. Separately, Parris and Margaret Cole (Executive Director of the Adoption Agency) were also charged with various criminal charges in connection with Polish adoption issues (that did not implicate the FCPA).
Recently the DOJ announced that Parris pleaded guilty “to schemes to procure adoptions of Ugandan and Polish children by bribing Ugandan officials and defrauding U.S. authorities.” According to the release:
“Parris, 69, of Lake Dallas, engaged in a scheme with others to bribe Ugandan officials to procure adoptions of Ugandan children by families in the United States. These bribes included payments to (a) probation officers intended to ensure favorable probation reports recommending that a particular child be placed into an orphanage; (b) court registrars to influence the assignment of particular cases to “adoption-friendly” judges; and (c) High Court judges to issue favorable guardianship orders for the adoption agency’s clients. In her plea agreement, Parris also admitted that she continued to direct the adoption agency’s clients to work with her alleged co-conspirator Dorah Mirembe, after knowing that Mirembe caused clients of the adoption agency to provide false information to the U.S. State Department for the purpose of misleading it in its adjudication of visa applications.”
According to the DOJ release “trial against Cole is scheduled to commence on Feb. 7, 2022 and Mirembe remains at large.”
For Your Listening Enjoyment
In this recent podcast, Dan Kahn (former DOJ FCPA Unit Chief) talks about the following topics: (i) why in-house counsel should pay attention to the “relevant considerations” portion of DOJ resolution documents; (ii) the Beam Suntory enforcement action (see here for the prior post); (iii) the recent speech by Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco (see here for the prior post); (iv) the demand side of bribery; (v) risk assessments; and (vi) the impact, if any, of COVID on the compliance profession.