The Second Circuit’s latest opinion in the FIFA bribery investigation – United States v. Napout (United States v. Napout, Nos. 18-2750 (L), 18-2820 (Con), __ F.3d__, 2020 WL 3406620 (2d Cir. June 22, 2020)) – wades into the murky waters of the extraterritorial reach of US fraud statutes and the inherent ambiguity continuing to plague the so-called right to “honest services.”
The US government’s expansive interpretation of its jurisdiction under various fraud statutes in cases involving only minimal, attenuated, links to US territory through US electronic mail systems, cellular phone networks, and bank wire transfers, coupled with the ubiquity of these facilities in modern commerce, substantially increases the risk that foreign entities and individuals may be forced into US criminal investigations.
The Second Circuit’s opinion in Napout, which was deferential to the district court’s findings, leaves room for future courts to reach a different outcome in similar cases.