The United States has concluded its third-largest FCPA enforcement action with a settlement of $965 million in total penalties (including Dutch and Swedish penalties) by Telia Company AB and its subsidiary, Coscom. The Acting U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of New York called it “one of the largest criminal corporate bribery and corruption resolutions ever.”
At the end of July, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced a $29.2 million settlement against Halliburton for payments made to a local Angola company in the course of winning lucrative oilfield services contracts. The corporate settlement was the first under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) since President Trump’s inauguration, although there have been two declinations with disgorgement reached by the DOJ.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions reaffirmed the Justice Department’s commitment to enforce the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) spoke last Monday in a speech at the Ethics and Compliance Initiative Annual Conference. Statements by President Trump before running for office ridiculing the anti-bribery law had put the administration’s enthusiasm for enforcing the law into doubt.
Firing whistleblowers for informing the government about corporate activities has been standard practice at many businesses for a long time. That practice may be changing quickly if the government continues to pursue enforcement actions against companies engaged in retaliation and juries continue to provide multi-million dollar verdicts to whistleblowers.
The end of the Obama Administration was one of the busiest in the resolution of government investigations ever. The SEC and DOJ wrapped up nine Foreign Corrupt Practice Act investigations in the course of two months.
An Australian newspaper over the weekend reported the payment of a reward by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to an SEC whistleblower concerning information about violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by Australian mining conglomerate BHP Billiton. It is the first public report of a payment to an FCPA whistleblower by the United States since the adoption of the Dodd-Frank Act.
Summer may be a slow time on the stock market but we’re getting a steady stream of bribery news with just two months left in the government’s fiscal year. On the FCPA front: Embraer announced that it has reserved $200 million for a settlement under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Internationally: Germany and the U.K. have expanded their investigations into bribery allegations involving Rolls Royce.
The largest airline in Latin America, Chile-based LATAM Airlines Group, has agreed to pay $22 million to resolve investigations by the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) concerning bribery of foreign officials.
We have now seen our second Foreign Corrupt Practices Act settlement involving vendor payments over the past three weeks as Johnson Controls settled its SEC investigation for $14 million and Analogic previously agreed to pay nearly $15 million to the SEC and DOJ.
A bill to reform the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by creating a private cause of action has been introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO). Courts have universally held that there is no private right to sue under the FCPA at present.