In an interview on the TRACE Blog published January 26, 2016, Andrew Weissmann, Chief of the DOJ Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, discussed several aspects of its prosecution of FCPA violations. Weissmann has been in the position almost a year now and made several interesting comments.
Weissmann defended the DOJ’s commitment to FCPA prosecutions even though 2015 was described by commentators as a limited. Weissman said in response, “If we just wait three months, it might be a very different picture.” In response to this comment, the FCPA Professor pointed to a report in bne IntelliNews that VimpelCom is set to announce a $1 billion dollar settlement with the U.S. Justice Department and other entities. IntelliNews also reported that sources are suggesting there will be an even larger settlement with Swedish telecom operator TeliaSonera.
The Government’s focus on individual prosecutions of criminal conduct, as described by the Yates memo, has also been adding complexity to the cases. Practically, this means that the already complex investigations take longer than they did previously.
More Resources for FCPA Whistleblower Tips
Weissmann also discussed the additional resources the DOJ was bringing to these cases. The DOJ is adding 10 attorneys and 5 supervisors to the current staff of 19 attorneys working on the FCPA. The additional resources will be used to target companies that do not self-disclose. Encouragingly, one of the reasons these additional resources are needed is the plan to pursue investigations of information brought forward by whistleblowers as well as other sources.
Although the DOJ does not have a monetary reward program to incentivize informant information, the SEC whistleblower program does authorize payments under the rules created following the Dodd-Frank Act. DOJ recoveries could be considered an alternate remedy if the SEC also successfully pursues an enforcement action.
The 2012 FCPA Resource Guide
The Government is looking to update the 2012 version with clarifications and new issues that have arisen since it was previously published. We’ll look forward to the updated guidance here at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt as we help whistleblowers report information concerning possible FCPA violations.