FCPA Whistleblower Bounty?
The SEC recently announced “an award of over $5 million to joint whistleblowers whose tip caused the opening of an investigation that resulted in a successful enforcement action.” According to the SEC, “the whistleblowers provided significant information about misconduct abroad that directly supported certain allegations in the enforcement action.”
The accompanying order is heavily redacted, but does mention that the underlying enforcement action “involved misconduct abroad” and was resolved through an administrative proceeding.
My guess is that the underlying action was likely an FCPA enforcement action. If true, this would be rare instance of a bounty being paid out in connection with an FCPA enforcement action.
This recent Corporate Crime Reporter interview contains the following exchange with King & Spalding attorney Dixie Johnson
“There seems to be over the last couple of years an increasing reluctance of companies to self report to the government.
Are you sensing that also?
“I am. Another article we published recently is a multi-year study of the SEC’s cooperation program. And what is being rewarded, what is not and how it’s being implemented.”
“From that study as well as from anecdotal information from our practice, the benefits of self-reporting are often not clear to companies based on what the SEC has announced in terms of cooperation credit. The detriments of self-reporting include very expensive investigations that can take years.”
“If they are not required to report anywhere, sometimes it is better for companies just to take their own actions to address wrongdoing and document what they have done and then be ready if somebody comes to look at it. And the answer will be – yes, we found it, we addressed it, it is taken care of, we have done everything to learn from what we found in our investigation and we have remediated anything we saw that needed to be upgraded in terms of policies, procedures and personnel. So there is nothing to do here. Thank you for calling.”
“We are encouraging the SEC to be more clear in its articulation of why companies should self report and we are encouraging them to create an amnesty program that will clearly state – not come in and you will get a lighter sanction, but come in and if you clearly help us there is an opportunity for a full pass.”
DOJ Compliance Specialist
As highlighted in this Wall Street Journal article:
“The U.S. Justice Department’s high-profile foreign bribery unit has grown to a record-size, numbering 39 prosecutors in total. It has also moved to level-up its compliance expertise, hiring a lawyer with experience working on DOJ-appointed corporate monitorships involving Braskem SA and Zimmer Biomet Holdings Inc.
Encouraging companies to proactively build compliance programs that can catch or prevent wrongdoing remains a key focus of the fraud section’s corporate enforcement program. The fraud section, part of the department’s criminal division, now has several attorneys in its strategy, policy and training unit who advise on compliance considerations, according to a Justice Department spokesman.
The latest addition is Lauren Kootman, a former member of law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP’s white-collar and corporate investigations practice, who was hired by the Justice Department last month to serve as a compliance specialist in the strategy unit.”
As noted in this article:
“The former finance director of a Manhattan-based economic development organization on Friday avoided any prison time for her role in a scheme to facilitate bribe payments to the president of the United Nations General Assembly.
Heidi Hong Piao, formerly the finance director of the Global Sustainability Foundation, or GSF, which promoted economic development in foreign countries, previously admitted to funneling bribes to John Ashe, the late former U.N. ambassador for Antigua and Barbuda who served a one-year term as head of the General Assembly beginning in September 2013.
The case notably led to the conviction of Chinese real estate billionaire Ng Lap Seng, who is serving a four-year sentence after a jury convicted him in 2017 of lavishing bribes on diplomats to get clearance to build a convention center in Macau. Ng, who in 2018 was said to be worth $1.8 billion, is incarcerated in Pennsylvania with a late 2021 release date.
During a videoconference hearing, U.S. District Judge Vernon S. Broderick sentenced Piao, also known as Heidi Park, to time served, followed by two years of supervised release, citing her early guilty plea and cooperation with the government in its prosecution of others tied to the scheme.”
FLIR’s “Previously Unreported” FCPA Enforcement Action
This recent article in the Seattle Times highlights street corner sensors in Seattle that are raising concerns. The sensors are made by Acyclica, whose parent company is FLIR Systems. Among the concerns:
“FLIR’s previously unreported history of serious violations through international technology sales added new concerns. FLIR settled federal regulatory charges for illegally selling restricted military technology to nations that were under sanctions for human-rights abuses and threats to the U.S. and its allies, according to a Seattle Times review of federal records.”
Are you kidding me?
See here and here for prior posts about the FLIR FCPA enforcement action, here for the Wall Street Journal article – just a small sample of the extensive coverage the FLIR FCPA enforcement action received.