The year was 1982 and Richard Shine was Chief, Multinational Fraud Branch, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice (the name given to the DOJ’s then de facto FCPA Unit). Shine gave a lecture titled “Enforcement of the FCPA by the Department of Justice” at Syracuse University that was published by the Syracuse Journal of International Law & Commerce – see 9 Syr. J. Int’l L. & Com. 283 (1982).
Three things stand out from Shine’s lecture.
First, the lecture is populated with references to the FCPA’s legislative history. On one level, this is not surprising given that in 1982 the DOJ was likely still finding its way as to the FCPA and its enforcement and it is logical that the legislative history – which evidences Congressional intent – would be a guide.
Yet the passage of time should make the FCPA’s legislative history, and the Congressional intent it represents, no less relevant today. Indeed, one irony is that in the rare instances in which DOJ/SEC enforcement theories are subjected to judicial scrutiny, legislative history is often cited by judges in rejecting expansive FCPA enforcement theories. (See here).
Second, under the heading “Enforcement Policies of the Justice Department,” Shine’s lecture evidences DOJ’s recognition and understanding of the primary foreign policy motivation Congress had in enacting the FCPA and how FCPA inquiries focused on the conduct of foreign governments and thus presented national security issues. Shine stated as follows. “Because of the obvious sensitivity both from a national security point of view and a foreign policy point of view, the Department has administered the enforcement of this statute quite differently than the enforcement of most of the provisions of Title 18 of the United States Code. Administration of the enforcement effort has been highly centralized. Generally, FCPA cases, by the terms of the United States Attorney’s Manual, are not investigated and prosecuted by the ninety-four United States Attorney’s Offices around the country. They are primarily investigated and prosecuted by the Multinational Fraud Branch in the Criminal Division at the Justice Department. Among other reasons, that is being done to make sure that there is a nationally uniform enforcement policy. Moreover, virtually any step that is taken in the investigative process, even more than in the post-indictment process, has potentially significant foreign policy and national security implications.”
In speaking of “Investigative Procedures,” Shine stated as follows. “When an informant or an insider tells us that there is a bribe in process or that a bribe of a foreign government official has already occurred, we do not immediately notify the foreign government. As you can well imagine, if we started to communicate to a foreign government every unsupported and uncorroborated allegation of bribery of its officials, there would be worldwide foreign relations turmoil …”. Only after we have concluded, as a result of our initial investigation, that indeed there is a significant reason to believe a bribe was paid or offered to a foreign government official, do we notify the foreign government.”
With numerous FCPA enforcement actions in the modern era involving foreign health care professionals or employees of alleged state-owned or state-controlled enterprises with many attributes of private commercial enterprises, or otherwise involving foreign licenses, customs, and certification issues, can it truly be said that these FCPA enforcement actions present “significant foreign policy and national security implications.” If the answer is no, what does it say about these numerous enforcement actions?
Third, Shine discusses the identity of the foreign official allegedly bribed. Shine stated as follows. “In our public pleadings, whether we are bringing an indictment or filing a civil complaint, generally we will not agree to withhold the identity of the foreign country or of the foreign official.”
Contrast this to the FCPA’s modern era in which enforcement actions rarely mention a specific foreign official.
Rather, vague references are frequently found in FCPA enforcement actions such as a “tax official,” “healthcare professionals,” “licensing and permitting officials,” or “individuals associated with a state-owned entity.” (See here for a compilation).