SEC launches Investigation Over Soccer Bribery

The SEC has reportedly launched a civil investigation into several companies with links to FIFA or other soccer bodies under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, according to Reuters last week.

When the FIFA bribery scandal first broke and the DOJ filed charges, we discussed whether a whistleblower in the case could get a reward for providing information. One of the issues that we discussed was that the DOJ did not have a reward program for FCPA violations. As such, we speculated that there would have to be a tie-in to the SEC whistleblower program. If enforcement actions happening because of this investigation result in fines of $1 million, a reward is a definite possibility.

Although there has been no explicit mention of which companies are under investigation, one of the companies that had been identified by the media previously was Nike, which had a contract with a Brazilian soccer organization. It is not yet known whether Nike is part of the current investigation.

In other news, Louis Berger agreed last week to pay $17.1 million to settle bribery charges brought by the Department of Justice. The charges stemmed from $3.9 million in bribe payments made to foreign officials in countries which included India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Kuwait. The bribes paid by the New Jersey construction management company and its employees happened from 1998 until 2010.

The FCPA is jointly enforced by the SEC and DOJ. The Justice Department has the power to enforce it against domestic companies and U.S. citizens while the SEC enforces against the companies that it regulates (“issuers” under the law).

If you would like to speak to a whistleblower attorney concerning suspected violations of the law, a lawyer can be reached by our contact form or calling 1-800-590-4116.

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