US Department of Justice ("DOJ") and US Securities and
Exchange Commission ("SEC") close 2013 and start 2014
with high-profile cases
In 2013, the DOJ and SEC continued their ongoing aggressive
fight against corruption, with FCPA-related fines and penalties
totaling over $730 million (compared to just $260 million in 2012),
including two of the top ten largest settlements in FCPA history.
The regulators also continued to target individuals, as 13
defendants pled guilty or were convicted of FCPArelated charges.
The 2013 corporate settlements reached by the SEC are available at:
http://www.sec.gov/ spotlight/fcpa/fcpa-cases.shtml. The DOJ's
list of enforcement cases for 2013 is available at
http://www.justice.gov/ criminal/fraud/fcpa/cases/2013.html. Key
themes to draw out include:
The broad scope of industries represented in enforcement cases.
Settlements were reached with companies from a variety of sectors,
including energy, mining, technology and innovation, manufacturing
and consumer products.
Companies headquartered outside of the United States continue
to be on the US regulators' radars. Out of the 12 FCPA
enforcement cases brought by the US regulators in 2013, four are
headquartered in Europe and two are headquartered in China.
The geographical spread of government officials involved in the
underlying conduct remains widespread, including Europe, Asia,
Africa and South America.
The level of fines imposed continue to be eye-catching. In
2013, fines imposed by US regulators on two European-headquartered
businesses for FCPA violation totaled in excess of US$150 million
and just short of US$400 million.
Already in 2014, the regulators have shown their willingness and
desire to impose heavy fines against companies and charge
individuals. In early January, the regulators entered into a
settlement that resulted in the fifth largest FCPA enforcement
action in history, with fines and penalties totalling $384 million.
And on 6 January 2014, the DOJ unsealed charges against two former
co-CEOs and the former General Counsel of PetroTiger Ltd, a
Colombian based oilfield services company. The documents indicate
that in November 2013, the former general counsel pled guilty to
one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and to commit wire
fraud, while criminal complaints were filed against the former
co-CEOs, charging each with six counts including, conspiracy to
commit wire fraud, conspiracy to violate the FCPA, three
substantive violations of the FCPA, and conspiracy to commit money
laundering.1 Both were arrested in November 2013. The
three individuals allegedly arranged for approximately $333,500 in
bribes to secure a $39.6 million contract. The defendants allegedly
sought to conceal the payments by making them to the official's
wife in exchange for "consulting services" that were not
Recent statement by DOJ and SEC regulators indicate that these
enforcement actions will continue in 2014. In a November 2013
speech, Andrew Ceresney, Co-Director of the SEC Division of
Enforcement, focused on four main prongs of SEC enforcement
efforts: (1) creation of a compliance culture within companies; (2)
international collaboration; (3) focus on individuals; and (4)
voluntary cooperation with companies. In particular, Mr. Ceresney
noted that in 2013, the SEC, DOJ, and the US Federal Bureau of
Investigation ("FBI") hosted a first of its kind Foreign
Bribery and Corruption Training Conference. Representatives from
over 50 law enforcement and regulatory agencies from 30 different
countries attended the conference during which the attendees shared
information on enforcement and investigatory techniques, all with
the goal of enhancing the enforcement of the FCPA and other
international anti-corruption laws. He also stated that the SEC
would continue to aggressively pursue individuals to serve as a
deterrent against future misconduct. James Cole, the Deputy
Attorney General at the DOJ, also recently spoke on FCPA
enforcement and highlighted similar themes. With respect to
international cooperation, Mr. Cole noted that in recent
high-profile settlements, France, Germany and Indonesia cooperated
with US regulators and to gather and share key information and that
the DOJ and FBI have been conducting "one-on-one"
training sessions with international regulators.
1Information, United States v. Weisman, No.
13-00730 (JEI) (D.N.J. Nov. 8, 2014); Criminal Complaint, United
States v. Hammarskjold, No. 13-2086 (JS) (D.N.J. Nov. 8, 2013);
Criminal Complaint, United States v. Sigelman, No. 13-2087 (JS)
(D.N.J. Nov. 8, 2013).
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
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