Category Archives: Corruption

Global Magnitsky Sanctions Target Human Rights Abusers and Government Corruption Around the World

by David S. Cohen, Kimberly A. Parker, Jay Holtmeier, Ronald I. Meltzer, David M. Horn, Lillian Howard Potter, and Michael Romais

On December 20, 2017, President Trump issued a new Executive Order (EO) targeting corruption and human rights abuses around the world.

The EO implements last year’s Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (the Global Magnitsky Act), which authorized the president to impose sanctions against human rights abusers and those who facilitate government corruption.[1] The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which will administer the EO, also added 15 individuals and 37 entities to its Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List). Continue reading

DOJ Expands and Codifies Policy Incentivizing Corporations to Voluntarily Self-Disclose FCPA Violations

by Eric Volkman, Erin Brown Jones, and Bridget R. Reineking

On November 29, 2017, Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein announced that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has implemented a permanent, revised version of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Pilot Program.[1] The Pilot Program — which was launched as a one-year trial in April 2016 by then-Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division (and now Latham partner) Leslie Caldwell — was extended indefinitely in April 2017 to allow DOJ to evaluate the program’s efficacy.[2] Rosenstein announced that the enhanced policy — now called the FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy (FCPA Policy) — will be incorporated into the United States Attorneys’ Manual (USAM). Like its predecessor, the FCPA Policy aims to encourage companies to make timely and voluntary disclosures of wrongdoing under the FCPA, while providing additional concrete incentives rewarding corporations for cooperation.

This policy announcement is likely the first of several DOJ policy changes and/or enhancements under the new administration. As detailed in Latham’s October 2017 Client Alert, Rosenstein recently announced that DOJ was reviewing a wide range of existing corporate enforcement policies, including the Pilot Program, DOJ’s policy on “Individual Accountability for Corporate Wrongdoing” (the Yates Memo), and other DOJ policies and memoranda — with the intention of ultimately incorporating the revised policies into the USAM. Continue reading

Reflections on the Past, Present, and Future of the SEC’s Enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

New York University School of Law, New York, NY

Nov. 9, 2017

Good afternoon, and thank you for inviting me to speak today. Before I begin, let me give the required disclaimer that the views I express here today are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commission or its staff.[1]

I am honored to be here to mark with you the 40th anniversary of the enactment of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the 20th year of the OECD anti-bribery convention. I want to thank New York University’s Program on Corporate Compliance and Enforcement for hosting this event. Programs like this one provide important forums for dialogue on critical enforcement issues, and I am pleased that this gathering has assembled so many familiar and distinguished practitioners in FCPA enforcement, our colleagues in domestic and international law enforcement, and academics who are interested in this space. Collaboration and coordination is integral to the Division of Enforcement’s efforts to combat bribery through the enforcement of the FCPA, and the OECD has played a pivotal role in fostering global efforts against bribery and corruption.

Continue reading

Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco Keynote Address on FCPA and Anti-Bribery Convention

by Kenneth A. Blanco

Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco Delivers Remarks at FCPA/OECD Anniversary Conference Organized by the DOJ, OECD, and SEC, and Hosted by PCCE November 9, 2017

Good morning and thank you for that kind introduction, Sandra.

It is a pleasure to be here today.  I want start to by thanking the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for co-organizing this event with the Department of Justice.  I also want to thank the New York University School of Law for hosting us.

Today, I have the honor and the privilege of speaking with you as the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice.

As many of you know, the Criminal Division spearheads the Department’s efforts in financial investigations, transnational crime, health care fraud, securities fraud, intellectual property theft, computer hacking, money laundering, sanctions violations, illicit finance, asset recovery, and, of course, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and kleptocracy initiative, to name just a few areas in which we are leading.

Continue reading

Biased Bureaucracy: Inequality and Corruption in Public Administration

by Paul Lagunes

On Election Day, the modern State treats every citizen in the same terms—we all get one vote. This political fact serves as a reminder that the principle of democracy is intimately related to another principle, that of equality.

Vote buying, electoral intimidation, and other undesired practices remain a challenge for young democracies. That said, the principle of equality before government faces its biggest challenge during election periods. On a regular basis, phrases like “who do you know?” determine the way that public servants treat citizens. Continue reading

Russia Considers Enhanced Whistleblower Protections

by Jane Shvets, Anna V. Maximenko, and Elena Klutchareva

Effective anti-corruption compliance programs include protections for whistleblowers that raise corruption concerns.  Article 13.3 of Russia‘s 2008 Federal Law No. 273-FZ on Counteracting Corruption (the “Anti-Corruption Law”) addressed Russian lawmakers’ expectations regarding effective compliance programs.[1]  But the law was silent on whistleblower protections.  Recently proposed legislation in Russia may help address this gap.

Even before the Anti-Corruption Law came into effect, Russian law included several provisions that could be interpreted to provide some protection for whistleblowers.  For example, Russian employment law prohibits discrimination and sets out an exhaustive list of permissible grounds for dismissing an employee for cause; firing an employee for blowing the whistle on potential corruption is not among them.  As a result, firing an employee for whistleblowing could ran afoul of Russian employment law.  In addition, the Russian government can protect individuals whose security might be threatened as a result of their participation in criminal proceedings that involve alleged corruption.  The state might, for example, provide such witnesses with physical protection, relocate them, or even give them new identities. Continue reading

Keeping Score of FIFA’s Corruption, Compliance and Efforts for Reform – Part 2

by Brandon D. Fox

Part 2 – Changing the Game Plan

In late June, FIFA, the world’s governing soccer organization, released the “Garcia Report,” chronicling the extensive corruption and conflicts of interest that occurred in FIFA’s awarding of the men’s 2018 and 2022 World Cup venues. Part 1 summarized the report’s findings. Part 2 discusses how specific steps and safeguards can mitigate the risks of misconduct and ensure cooperation among FIFA officials – and at any organization.

Leadership

FIFA’s problems started at the top.  FIFA’s investigators found an astounding number of executive committee members committed misconduct and showed disdain for the investigation.  FIFA’s failures were systemic and reflected a culture of corruption.  An organization’s culture cannot be fixed simply by strengthening rules or creating a targeted compliance program.  Indeed, these are meaningless if the leaders themselves are corrupt.  Executives must have integrity and show a commitment to everyone’s compliance with the law.  FIFA needs to identify candidates for its executive committee that have shown integrity and a dedication to complying with rules and laws. Continue reading

Keeping Score of FIFA’s Corruption, Compliance and Efforts for Reform – Part 1

by Brandon D. Fox

Part 1 – Foul Play

The first installment of this two-part series summarizes the Garcia Report’s findings of misconduct. Author Brandon Fox also focuses on the difficulties investigators faced as a result of leaders failing to cooperate and contrasts the misconduct and lack of cooperation to the U.S. Soccer Federation’s behavior.

In late June, FIFA, the world’s governing soccer organization, released the Garcia Report chronicling the extensive corruption and conflicts of interest that occurred in FIFA’s awarding of the men’s 2018 and 2022 World Cup venues.  This article summarizes the Garcia Report’s findings of misconduct, focusing on the difficulties investigators faced as a result of leaders failing to cooperate, and discusses how specific steps and safeguards can mitigate the risks of misconduct and ensure cooperation among FIFA officials – and at any organization. Continue reading

Sapin II: Is the Era of Compliance and Criminal Settlements Upon France?

by Margot Sève

This post is an abstract of the article published under the same title in the Revue Trimestrielle de Droit Financier / Corporate Finance and Capital Markets Law Review (Thomson Reuters), as part of the thematic section edited by Michel Perez and Margot Sève entitled “International Financial and White Collar Crime, Corporate Malfeasance and Compliance.”

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On December 9, 2016, France adopted law n° 2016-1691 on transparency, the fight against corruption, and the modernization of the economy.  The law has been commonly called the “Sapin II” law, after French Minister of Finance Michel Sapin who, in 1993, authored the first Sapin law on transparency in politics and public procurement, and sought in 2016 to further enhance transparency and combat corruption.

While France has in recent years certainly made efforts towards more severe punishment for corruption-related offenses, it has nonetheless been criticized for its weak enforcement track record.  For example, while the sanctions for active and passive corruption of domestic officials, active and passive corruption in the private sector, corruption of foreign officials, and influence peddling were increased in 2013, only one company (Total S.A.) was fined between 2000 and 2016 for acts of corruption of foreign public officials.  This lack of enforcement efficiency has led the OECD, as part of its monitoring of countries’ implementation and enforcement of the OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery, to report serious concerns regarding “the lack of foreign bribery convictions in France.” Continue reading

Is Corporate Responsibility for Human Rights the Next Anticorruption?

by Steve Nickelsburg, David DiBari and Rebecca Hekman

The international legal obligation to protect human rights has long been understood to be the province of sovereign states, not of corporations or individuals.  In the United States, litigation against corporations invoking statutes such as the Alien Tort Statute, the Torture Victim Protection Act, and the Trafficking Victims Protection Act has blurred that line – providing private plaintiffs a cause of action to address alleged human rights violations in a variety of circumstances.

The nuance of that litigation would take numerous additional posts to cover, but even against that backdrop, for corporations the general requirement to respect human rights traditionally has been more a matter of social expectation than legal and regulatory requirements, falling under the rubric “corporate social responsibility” (“CSR”) rather than “hard law.” Continue reading

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