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Potpourri

Potpourri

Ericsson

As highlighted in this prior post, in 2019 Ericsson (a Swedish telecom company with American Depositary Shares traded in the U.S.) resolved a $1.06 billion FCPA enforcement action concerning conduct in Djibouti, China, Vietnam, Kuwait, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia.

As part of the resolution, Ericsson was required to engage an independent compliance monitor for a three-year period.

In late 2022, Ericsson announced “that it has agreed with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to extend the term of the Company’s Independent Compliance Monitor for one year, to June 2024.” (See here for the prior post).

Ericsson recently announced “that on March 28, 2024, the independent compliance Monitor appointed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) (in June of 2020 in connection with Ericsson’s resolution of historical violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations) has certified that Ericsson’s anti-corruption compliance program has satisfied requirements and is functioning effectively. This independent certification is a condition to conclusion of the Monitorship and Plea Agreement, currently expected to occur no later than June 2, 2024.

In the company’s release, Ericsson’s Chair of the Board of Directors, Jan Carlson stated:

“This certification is an important and independent verification of Ericsson’s significant progress in strengthening its compliance and controls since entering into the 2019 DOJ settlement. Ericsson’s continued global technology leadership and innovation, coupled with ethical decision making and effective risk management, puts us in a very strong competitive position. This marks a positive step towards completion of the monitorship, which the Company expects at the same time as the expiration of the term of the plea agreement, upon fulfillment of the remaining obligations of that agreement.”

As stated in the release:

“The role of the independent Monitor over the past four years has been to comprehensively review, assess, evaluate and test all aspects of the company’s global anti-corruption compliance program and internal controls. In fulfilling its duties, the independent Monitor team has had full access to the company’s Board, executives, employees, global operations and books and records.  The Monitor’s final certification is based on its four year review and has included “an assessment of the Board of Directors’ and senior management’s commitment to, and effective implementation of, the corporate compliance program”.

Adani Group

Recently, Bloomberg reported:

“US prosecutors have widened their probe of India’s Adani Group to focus on whether the company may have engaged in bribery as well as the conduct of the company’s billionaire founder, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter. Investigators are digging into whether an Adani entity, or people linked to the company including Gautam Adani, were involved in paying officials in India for favorable treatment on an energy project, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing the confidential effort. The probe, which is also looking at Indian renewable energy company Azure Power Global Ltd., is being handled by the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and the Justice Department’s fraud unit in Washington, said people familiar with the matter.”

Thereafter, it was reported here:

“Billionaire Gautam Adani’s group companies said they have not received any notice from the US Department of Justice over a potential bribery investigation, but its renewable energy firm Adani Green Energy stated it is aware of an investigation into potential violations of American anti-corruption laws by an unrelated third party.

Asked by stock exchanges to comment on a media report that US prosecutors had widened their probe of the Adani Group to determine if any of their group entities engaged in bribery, 10 listed companies of the conglomerate in separate filings stated that they have “not received any notice from the Department of Justice of us in respect of the allegation” and that “the report is false”.

Adani Green Energy Ltd, in a filing on Tuesday, said it has not received any notice but “is aware of an investigation by the United States Department of Justice into potential violations of United States anti-corruption laws by a third party”.

“The company has no relationship with the said third party and is thus unable to comment on the scope of the present United States investigation that the company or any of its personnel are subject to or exposed to in connection with the company’s alleged dealings with the third party,” Adani Green said.”

Across the Pond

The U.K. Serious Fraud Office recently announced criminal bribery charges against two former Petrofac senior executives Marwan Chedid and George Salibi.

As stated in the release:

“Mr Chedid and Mr Salibi, worked in various senior roles within Petrofac Group and were based in the United Arab Emirates. From 2012 to 2018, the SFO alleges that between them, Mr Chedid and Mr Salibi were involved in offering and paying agents over $30 million USD to influence the awarding of contracts worth approximately $3.3 billion USD in Petrofac’s favour. The contracts related to oil facilities in the UAE, including one for the infrastructure and design of the second largest oil field in the Gulf – the Upper Zakum Field Development Project.”

As highlighted in this prior post, in 2021 Petrofac resolved a U.K. Bribery Act enforcement action concerning conduct in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

For the Reading Stack

An in-depth article here from Bloomberg regarding the recent FCPA trial conviction of former Vitol trader Javier Aguilar.

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