United States: 美国司法部FCPA试点项目概述对公司自我披露及配合的激励措施

美国司法部FCPA试点项目概述对公司自我披露及配合的激励措施:有何新鲜之处?是否重要?

4月5日,美国司法部("司法部")宣布了为期一年的"海外反腐败法("FCPA")执法试点项目"以鼓励主动自我披露、配合和纠正("试点项目")。 1其目的在于通过进一步激励公司主动自我披露在执法中可能未被发现的海外腐败相关的不当行为、全面配合司法部、纠正其在合规项目上的瑕疵、并且上缴不当行为所获得的全部利益。作为自我披露的对价,司法部提出可能会减少检方的起诉,削减多达50%的刑事罚款,并且可以避免合规监察官的委派。该试点项目与司法部副部长于2015年9月9日的备忘录("Yates备忘录")相一致,要求披露牵涉到不当行为的个人(包括公司前任和现任高管、员工及代理)的全部相关事实。 2

以减少罚款,甚至是不采取任何执行措施以回报自我披露、配合、纠正的概念并不新鲜。然而对于可能削减的罚款数额,该试点项目试图提供更加具体的框架来表述,这对公司评估是否自我披露很有用处。司法部附加的指南应当可以广泛地帮助公司更有效地分析是否披露潜在的违法行为,但在权衡披露本可能不被发现的FCPA违法行为,并且总体评估该自我披露是否是明智之举时,公司仍会面临不确定性。

为符合试点项目的资格,公司必须首先满足商业组织在美国检察长手册、美国量刑指南("量刑指南"或"USSG")以及Yates备忘录中表述的"配合"的门槛标准。 3其次,他们应当另外满足以下标准:

主动自我披露。为符合"主动"标准,任何自我披露应当 (i) 在"迫切的披露威胁或政府调查"之前作出;(ii) 在"意识到违法行为后的一段合理及时的时间内";(iii) 包括"全部已知晓的相关事实,包括关于任何牵涉该违法行为中的个人,包括公司的高管、员工及代理;且 (iv) 不因法律、协议或合同要求而为之。 4

全面配合。由于司法部将评估每一案件特殊情形的"配合范围、数量、质量和时间", 5配合公司通常须履行以下指定的活动

  • 协助司法部发现获取相关信息的机会,该信息公司未掌握且司法部也未曾知晓,
  • 保留、收集并且披露相关文件,包括海外文件以及与文件出处相关的信息,
  • 可能的情况下,确保个人一经要求即可接受面谈,包括海外的、前任的高管和员工,
  • 及时披露公司独立调查中收集的全部事实,并且当要求时,披露内部调查与司法部调查的因果关系并解释冲突之处,以及
  • 提供与第三方刑事行为相关的全部事实,包括促使在海外司法辖区的第三方提供文件以及证人。

若公司称由于与域外法律冲突导致披露被禁止,则公司应承担证明该禁止的责任,并且公司应当"尽职工作"以为提供披露寻求法律基础。然而,试点项目的任何内容均不改变司法部的政策——全面配合并不依赖于对律师—客户特权或工作成果保护的放弃。

满足这些要求中的一部分可能产生部分的但"显著低于"全面的信用。重要的是,该试点项目将证明满足上述要求的责任落在公司身上。

及时恰当的纠正。试点项目同样要求及时恰当的纠正,并且应考虑到公司整体的合规项目。只有当满足配合的标准时才会考虑这些在纠正方面所做的努力。司法部认定公司执行了有效的合规和道德项目,包括:

  • 公司是否有合规文化,包括员工们对刑事行为不可容忍的认知度,
  • 是否在合规上投入了充分的资源,
  • 合规工作人员的素质、独立性、报告结构以及相对的报酬和晋升机会,
  • 审计合规项目的效力和风险评估,
  • 员工适当自律,包括违规者的监督者以及对报酬的影响,
  • 任何其他证明对违法行为严重性的认识以及对责任感认同的方式,以及
  • 减少公司屡犯的措施。 6

同样,试点项目规定,公司承担证明其及时纠正行为的责任。

除了试点项目中涵盖的因素外,司法部还指导公司遵循司法部和证券交易委员会资源指南"有效合规项目的标志,"其中包括有效FCPA合规项目的其他衡量标准(如,第三方尽职调查、财务和会计控制、培训以及并购收购前尽职调查及收购后整合)。

上缴利润。公司必须上缴从FCPA违法行为中获得的全部利润,以符合该项目下的任何减缓信用。

参与的益处

如果满足了试点项目严格的要求,司法部将提供特定的减缓信用,包括减少检方起诉的可能性。妨碍减少检方起诉的因素包括违法的严重性、执行管理层在违法行为中的牵涉程度、利润巨大(与公司的规模和财富相关)、有任何不合规的过往史以及公司在过去五年的任何先前决议。尽管这种抵消利益已达到最小,司法部也只是承诺考虑减少检方起诉,而不是允诺减少检方起诉,并且对于是否寻求刑事解决途径保留完全的自主裁量权。

如果司法部决定保证采取刑事解决途径,则在试点项目下,自我披露的公司将有资格在量刑指南罚款范围最低额的基础上减少50%,并且通常司法部不会要求任命一名外部合规监察官。考虑到任命外部检察官与之而来的责任和费用,这种潜在的结果还是极具吸引力的。

在没有主动自我披露的情况下,试点项目也允许对配合给予一定限度的信用。若一个公司没有主动披露其FCPA不当行为,但随后全面配合并且证明了其及时恰当的纠正行为,其也可能在量刑指南罚款范围最低额基础上减少25%。

结论

对于FCPA罚款缺乏透明性和可预测性,以及是否设置一位外部检察官或减少检方起诉的持续的批评,该试点项目给出了回应。 7该试点项目没有提出任何开创性或全新的概念,因为史上凡是做到及时主动的自我披露、全面配合和纠正行为的公司,司法部均已减少了检方起诉且/或削减了罚款。但试点项目似乎有一点是全新的——当公司采取司法部鼓励的措施时,司法部对削减特定罚款的承诺。然而,削减罚款指南也仅仅是指南而已,公司仍承担证明其已经满足司法部要求的责任。因此,即使公司参与了试点项目,减少检方起诉、无监管官以及甚至全部或部分的信用也远非万无一失。

在衡量自我披露的代价和益处时,公司应当继续考虑司法部FCPA调查仍要花费很长时间来调查解决这一事实。尽管司法部刑事部门负责人最近表示他希望在一年内解决主动自我披露的FCPA案件, 8但一个公司可能要历时几年才能完成彻底可靠的内部调查,以满足试点项目配合和纠正的要求。 9

公司的另一考虑是,引入司法部审查,公司同样也暴露在其他风险之下:(i)对现有和先前员工的个人控告,(ii) 美国监管者的(如证监会)平行调查,及(iii)民事/股东诉讼,这些全部都将带来有形和无形的代价。司法部与海外对接部门的合作增加也提高了调查中的股东数量,这可能会导致调查更加复杂,带来更多附带的后果。

尽管试点项目包含的某些特定益处是个利好消息,但项目的成功还是要通过司法部出庭检察官和他们的监察官如何适用来判断。该试点项目通常将如何影响公司的自我披露?以及在个案中司法部是否会以给予自我披露公司更多确定性的方式来适用指南?让我们拭目以待。

Footnotes

1 "刑法部门启动新FCPA试点项目,"司法部,(2016年4月5日);"欺诈部门海外反腐败法执法计划及指南"("试点项目"),司法部,(2016年4月5日)。试点项目开展的同时,司法部还宣称将投入更多努力以侦查、起诉FCPA违法行为。首先,司法部为欺诈部门FCPA组增设10余名检察官,将其等级提升了50%多。第二,联邦调查局新设了三班特工,致力于调查、起诉FCPA违法行为。第三,司法部宣称已增强并增加了与海外执法伙伴的合作,以实现FCPA不当行为的信息源共享。

2 萨利Q. 叶茨,司法部副部长,"公司不当行为的个人责任"备忘录(2015年9月9日)("叶茨备忘录")。欲了解叶茨备忘录的更多分析,请参阅"美国司法部公布更新版公司不当行为的个人责任指南:内部及政府调查启示,"众达(2015年9月)

3 USAM 9-28.000; USSG §§8C2.5(g)(1) 和 (2), 以及叶茨备忘录,上述注释2。

4 该试点项目紧密遵循USSG §§8C2.5(g)(1)(A) 和(B)条的规定,承认"在迫近的披露威胁或政府调查前"及时披露并全面配合,以及要求公司披露"牵涉到任何FCPA违法行为个人的全部相关事实"的叶茨备忘录。

5 正如主动自我披露,试点项目对待配合的方式也参照USSG §8C2.5(g)(1)(B),承认公司在司法部调查中的"全面配合"。

6 去年,司法部聘用了一位全职合规专家,为公司FCPA措施注入了"专家视角"。在专家的协助下,司法部正完善衡量标准,司法部将据此标准评估公司的合规项目及其他在纠正方面所做的努力。

7 "刑法部门启动新FCPA试点项目,"上述注释1,1。

8 全球调查现时评论:哥伦比亚特区:威斯曼演讲及问答(2016年2月9日)。

9 试点项目,上述注释1,4-8。

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Theodore T. Chung
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Stephen G. Sozio
 
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