In December 2016 the French government finally passed the so-called “Loi Sapin II” in order to bolster its ability to penalize overseas bribery. Its unstated but clear goal was to achieve some degree of parity with US efforts in this area, which had led to a number of highly publicized cases where well-known French companies had paid fines totaling well over $2 billion to the US treasury to resolve criminal matters that could well have been resolved in France. A key provision of the new law is a procedure that permits a negotiated outcome, similar in concept to a US Deferred Prosecution Agreement (“DPA”), that avoids a criminal conviction. On November 14, 2017, the first such agreement was announced by the National Financial Prosecutor of France. While many details of the deal will not be known until the release of the court’s opinion approving it, which may be available as early as the end of November, the fact of the outcome and its known parameters are very significant. Continue reading
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. 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
In United States v. Allen, the Second Circuit held that self-incriminating statements compelled by a foreign sovereign cannot be used, directly or indirectly, in a U.S. prosecution. The opinion thoughtfully analyzes how U.S. constitutional principles apply in cross-border investigations and may have some impact on how such investigations are conducted in the future.
During the well-known investigations of alleged manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”), U.K. citizens and low-level bank employees Anthony Allen and Anthony Conti were suspected of artificially adjusting exchange rate information to affect LIBOR and benefit their confederates. The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) compelled Allen and Conti’s testimony under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (“FSMA”). The FSMA provides that the FCA could not use Allen and Conti’s statements against them but could use the “fruits” of any investigation developed on the basis of their statements. The FCA also compelled testimony from Paul Robson, one of Allen and Conti’s co-workers, who provided generally exculpatory information regarding himself, Allen and Conti. Later, the FCA commenced an enforcement action against Robson and provided him with transcripts of Allen’s and Conti’s statements, which Robson carefully reviewed. The FCA ultimately decided not to prosecute Allen, Conti, or Robson. Continue reading