An insider's perspective from former Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation staff about how the US government gathers evidence abroad. Without either the compulsory investigative tools available for domestic investigations or the lawful authorisation to conduct witness interviews or engage in other law enforcement activities abroad, the government has to turn to other methods.


  • Formal requests under bilateral and multilateral treaties
  • Informal requests to foreign authorities with whom the US government has built relationships
  • Incentives for cooperating companies and individuals
  • Domestic evidence of foreign conduct
  • Press reports and other public sources abroad


  • US DOJ and its Office of International Affairs
  • Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)
  • Working Group on Bribery in International Business Transactions of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy
  • Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020


United States authorities - including primarily the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), with a growing cast of others - investigate and punish white-collar crime in the farthest corners of the world. Just in 2020 and 2021, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) resolutions and prosecutions, for example, involved conduct in Brazil,1 Venezuela,2 Ecuador,3 Mexico,4 Greece,5 Saudi Arabia,6 the United Arab Emirates,7 India,8 China,9 Malaysia10 and numerous other countries. So, too, do US authorities gather evidence from abroad in cases involving money laundering,11 export controls,12 sanctions,13 and numerous other potential criminal and regulatory violations.14

To read the full article, please click here.


1. See Department of Justice [DOJ] Office of Public Affairs [OPA], 'J&F Investimentos S.A. Pleads Guilty and Agrees to Pay Over $256 Million to Resolve Criminal Foreign Bribery Case' (14 Oct. 2020) (guilty plea by Brazilian company over scheme to bribe Brazilian authorities), available at

2. See, e.g., DOJ OPA, 'Sargeant Marine Inc. Pleads Guilty and Agrees to Pay $16.6 Million to Resolve Charges Related to Foreign Bribery Schemes in Brazil, Venezuela, and Ecuador' (11 Sep. 2020), available at

3. id.; see also Information, United States v. Raymond Kohut, Cr. No. 21-115 (E.D.N.Y. 6 Apr. 2021), available at (detailing scheme to bribe Ecuadorian officials); DOJ OPA, 'Two Men Charged in Ecuadorian Bribery and Money Laundering Scheme' (2 Mar. 2021), available at

4. DOJ OPA, 'Vitol Inc. Agrees to Pay over $135 Million to Resolve Foreign Bribery Case' (3 Dec. 2020) (resolution of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act [FCPA] case over scheme to bribe officials in Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico), available at

5. DOJ OPA, 'Novartis AG and Subsidiaries to Pay $345 Million to Resolve Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Cases' (25 Jun. 2020) (resolution of FCPA case over allegations to bribe officials in Greece), available at

6. DOJ OPA, 'Deutsche Bank Agrees to Pay over $130 Million to Resolve Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Fraud Case' (8 Jan. 2021), available at

7. id. (Deutsche Bank case involving bribery to UAE official); DOJ OPA, 'Goldman Sachs Charged in Foreign Bribery Case and Agrees to Pay Over $2.9 Billion' (22 Oct. 2020) (resolution of FCPA case over allegations of scheme to bribe officials in Malaysia and UAE), available at

8. DOJ OPA, 'Beam Suntory Inc. Agrees to Pay Over $19 Million to Resolve Criminal Foreign Bribery Case' (27 Oct. 2020) (scheme to bribe officials in India), available at

9. DOJ OPA, 'Airbus Agrees to Pay over $3.9 Billion Global Penalties to Resolve Foreign Bribery and ITAR Case' (31 Jan. 2020) (bribery of Chinese government officials), available at; DOJ OPA, 'Herbalife Nutrition Ltd. Agrees to Pay Over $22 Million to Resolve FCPA Case' (28 Aug. 2020) (same), available at

10. DOJ OPA, 'Goldman Sachs Charged in Foreign Bribery Case and Agrees to Pay Over $2.9 Billion' (22 Oct. 2020) (resolution of FCPA case over allegations of scheme to bribe officials in Malaysia and UAE), available at

11. See DOJ OPA, 'Bank Julius Baer Agrees to Pay More than $79 Million for Laundering Money in FIFA Scandal' (27 May 2021) (deferred prosecution agreement with Swiss bank with offices in Uruguay and Switzerland in FIFA bribery scandal), available at

12. DOJ OPA, 'Turkish National Indicted for Wire Fraud and Illegally Exporting Defense Articles to Turkey' (21 Jul. 2021) (indictment of Turkish national over scheme to pass off Turkish-manufactured military equipment as US-manufactured in violation of Arms Exports Control Act), available at

13. Dep't of the Treasury, 'OFAC Enters Into $8,527,500 Settlement with Union de Banques Arabes et Francaises for Apparent Violations of Syria-Related Sanctions Program' (4 Jan. 2021) (settlement with French bank for facilitating financial transactions on behalf of sanctioned Syrian entities). 

14. One of the most interesting recent investigations in which US authorities gathered foreign evidence is Operation Trojan Shield, an international sting operation in which US and Australian authorities sold organised crime networks 'encrypted devices' advertised as shielding communications from investigators. Instead, the devices recorded all communications and submitted them to law enforcement. The investigation resulted in 800 arrests, major drug and weapons seizures and the seizure of more than US$48 million in currency. See DOJ OPA, 'FBI's Encrypted Phone Platform Infiltrated Hundreds of Criminal Syndicates; Result is Massive Worldwide Takedown' (8 Jun. 2021), available at

Originally Published by GIR - Americas Investigations Review 2022

Visit us at

Mayer Brown is a global legal services provider comprising legal practices that are separate entities (the "Mayer Brown Practices"). The Mayer Brown Practices are: Mayer Brown LLP and Mayer Brown Europe - Brussels LLP, both limited liability partnerships established in Illinois USA; Mayer Brown International LLP, a limited liability partnership incorporated in England and Wales (authorized and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and registered in England and Wales number OC 303359); Mayer Brown, a SELAS established in France; Mayer Brown JSM, a Hong Kong partnership and its associated entities in Asia; and Tauil & Chequer Advogados, a Brazilian law partnership with which Mayer Brown is associated. "Mayer Brown" and the Mayer Brown logo are the trademarks of the Mayer Brown Practices in their respective jurisdictions.

© Copyright 2020. The Mayer Brown Practices. All rights reserved.

This Mayer Brown article provides information and comments on legal issues and developments of interest. The foregoing is not a comprehensive treatment of the subject matter covered and is not intended to provide legal advice. Readers should seek specific legal advice before taking any action with respect to the matters discussed herein.