The Department of Justice (DOJ) “KleptoCapture” Task Force (the “Task Force”), launched shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, is characterized by DOJ as a key part of the current Administration’s broader anti-corruption initiative. The role of the Task Force is to support the enforcement of sanctions and export control restrictions imposed against
In First FCPA Corporate Matter for 2022, SEC Ties Important Aspects of the Resolution to the Company’s Cooperation – and Other Key Takeaways
On February 17, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced a settlement with KT Corporation (KT Corp.), South Korea’s largest comprehensive telecommunications operator, for alleged violations (neither admitted nor denied by the company) of the books and records and internal accounting control provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
This matter, the first FCPA corporate settlement in 2022, is of interest for several reasons:…
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OECD Updates Good Practice Guidance for Corporate Compliance Programs and Calls for More Compliance Incentives
As previously reported, on November 26, 2021, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Council issued a Recommendation for Further Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions (the “2021 Recommendation”). Our blog post earlier this week reviewed key aspects of the 2021 Recommendation that are directed towards government action.…
Key Takeaways from the OECD 2021 Recommendation on Foreign Bribery
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Council issued a Recommendation for Further Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions (the “2021 Recommendation”) on November 26, 2021. As we reflect on 2021 in terms of US enforcement actions and policy, and the Biden Administration’s new anti-corruption strategy issued in December, some further assessment of this Recommendation seemed appropriate.
The Council’s last recommendation in this area was issued in 2009. Intervening developments and experience gave rise to the 2021 Recommendation, which was under consideration for some time prior to its issuance.
The 2021 Recommendation cannot be characterized with a single headline. It is a multi-faceted document, comprised of 31 individual recommendations divided in to 16 sections. It is broad in scope, covering the waterfront of the OECD’s historical activity in the anti-corruption arena—not just through the Anti-Bribery Convention but through some of its “soft law” instruments—as well as some important issues not previously addressed by the OECD.…
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DOJ Releases Rare FCPA Opinion, Finding No Corrupt Intent or Business Purpose Where Payment Made Under Duress
On January 21, 2022, the DOJ issued a rare FCPA Opinion Procedure Release, only the second since 2014. While the facts presented were quite unusual – a ship, with its captain and crew, detained without explanation in the waters of a foreign country, and facing an ambiguous demand for payment in order to be released – it offers more broadly applicable lessons.
Facts Presented to DOJ
The facts at issue arose from detention by the naval forces of a foreign country (“Country A”) of a maritime vessel, including the captain and crew, owned by a US-based company (the “Requester”) and the accompanying demand for payment of $175,000 in cash from a third party purporting to act on behalf of the Country A Navy (the “Third-Party Intermediary”). The Requester, concerned that the third party intended to pass on the payment being demanded to one or more Country A government officials, decided to seek an opinion from the DOJ. Resolution of the matter was urgent, as the detained captain was suffering from serious medical conditions putting his health and safety at significant risk.…
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World Bank Group 2021 Annual Report on Sanctions System Highlights Enforcement Trends, Key Issues, and Issues Guidance on Integrity Audits
The World Bank Group (the Bank) issued its fourth joint Sanctions System Annual Report on October 18, covering the Bank’s fiscal year from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021. The report includes updates by the Integrity Vice Presidency (INT), the Office of Suspension and Debarment (OSD), and the Sanctions Board.
Notably, the number of…
Client Advisory: Singapore Data Protection: Considerations for Data Driven Compliance Activities
Singapore has long been a regional banking and trading hub, but in recent years, as multinational companies in other sectors have moved their regional headquarters to Singapore, it is also emerging as a regional data hub. This shift has implications for companies involved in US compliance and investigation activities in the Asia-Pacific region. US authorities…
United States v. Ho
In late December, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the conviction of Chi Ping Patrick Ho on seven counts alleging multiple FCPA and money laundering (and related conspiracy) violations. The decision is notable for its construction of various FCPA provisions, and further demonstrates the expansive jurisdictional reach of anti-money laundering laws to dollar-denominated transfers.
Ho, a citizen of Hong Kong, served as an officer and director of the Hong Kong-based non-governmental organization China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC-NGO), which was funded by Shanghai-based energy conglomerate China CEFC Energy Company Limited (CEFC). Ho also served as an officer and director of a CEFC-affiliated US non-profit (US NGO), funded by CEFC NGO.
Ho’s conviction, for which he was sentenced to 36 months imprisonment and a US$400,000 fine, stemmed from two alleged bribery schemes involving (1) an attempted US$2 million cash delivery to the President of Chad (which was purportedly rejected by the President) and (2) a US$500,000 wire transfer to a charity associated with the foreign minister of Uganda. Notably, the US dollar-denominated wire originated from a bank in Hong Kong, which was transmitted through its operating unit in the United States as a correspondent to another bank in New York, which in turn was acting as a correspondent for a beneficiary bank in Uganda for final credit to an ultimate beneficiary NGO. Both acts were allegedly made for the benefit of CEFC’s commercial interests in Africa.…
World Bank Purports to Move From “Stick” to “Carrot” Approach on Compliance
In a recent roundtable as part of the World Bank Office of Suspension and Debarment’s Fifth International Debarment Colloquium, panelist Joseph Mauro (an Integrity Compliance Specialist with the Bank’s Integrity Vice Presidency (INT)) discussed efforts to move from a “stick” to a “carrot” approach with respect to corporate compliance programs.
Under the Bank’s current system, while implementation of a compliance program is a remedial measure for which mitigating credit may apply, individuals within the Integrity Compliance Office were rarely involved in reviewing a compliance program to any significant extent until after a company has already been sanctioned. Under this process, a company’s compliance program was typically reviewed in-depth only as a condition for release from sanction.…
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Top Ten Changes to the DOJ/SEC FCPA Resource Guide
On July 3, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued the second edition of the Resource Guide to the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the 2020 Guide), the first full-scope overhaul of the Resource Guide since its issuance in 2012. As with the original edition, the 2020 Guide…