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FCPA Update - DOJ and SEC Continue Agressive Enforcement & Significant Fines FCPA Update - DOJ and SEC Continue Agressive Enforcement & Significant Fines
In the last four months of 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) have demonstrated their seriousness about combating corruption through aggressive enforcement and significant fines under settlements in high-profile cases under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), many of which are summarized in this Alert.


Businessman Pleads Guilty in $1 Billion Venezuelan Bribery Scheme Businessman Pleads Guilty in $1 Billion Venezuelan Bribery Scheme
On June 16, 2016, Venezuelan businessman, Roberto Enrique Rincon Fernandez (Rincon) pleaded guilty to bribery in a $1 Billion scheme to obtain contracts from Venezuelan state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA). The scheme ended December 16, 2015 when Rincon and and his co-conspirator Abraham Jose Shiera Bastidas (Shiera) were arrested. Rincon pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), one count of violating the FCPA and one count of making false statements on his 2010 federal income tax return. Shiera pleaded guilty to the bribery in March 2016.


Microsoft to Acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 Billion Microsoft to Acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 Billion
Microsoft and LinkedIn have announced that Microsoft is acquiring LinkedIn for $26.2 Billion in cash, nearly 10 times LinkedIn's 2015 revenues.

Although the transaction has been unanimously approved by both companies' boards, it remains subject to approval by regulators and LinkedIn shareholders. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year. If the deal does not close, LinkedIn will be required to pay Microsoft a termination fee of $725 million. Jeff Weiner will remain CEO of LinkedIn, and will report to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.


DOJ Increases FCPA Resources and Launches FCPA Pilot Program DOJ Increases FCPA Resources and Launches FCPA Pilot Program
In April 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced three important initiatives related to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) through its Fraud Section's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Enforcement Plan and Guidance:
 
(i)       Intensifying investigative and prosecutorial efforts by substantially increasing its FCPA law enforcement resources;
(ii)      Strengthening its coordination with foreign counterparts in the effort to hold corrupt individuals and companies accountable; and
(iii)     Introducing a one-year FCPA enforcement pilot program aimed at promoting greater accountability and encouraging voluntarily self-disclosure.


SEC Approves Regulation Crowdfunding SEC Approves Regulation Crowdfunding
On October 30, 2015, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") adopted Regulation Crowdfunding, which permits companies to offer and sell securities to the public through crowdfunding.


Hitachi Settles FCPA Charges for 19 Million over Bribes in South Africa Hitachi Settles FCPA Charges for 19 Million over Bribes in South Africa
On September 28, 2015, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that Hitachi, agreed to pay $19 Million to settle charges that it violated the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) inaccurately recorded bribes to the ruling political party in South Africa for contracts to build two multi-billion dollar power plants.


United Airlines CEO Resigns after Corruption Investigation United Airlines CEO Resigns after Corruption Investigation
On September 8, 2015, United Airlines CEO, Jeff Smisek, and two other senior officials resigned in light federal corruption investigations.


BNY Mellon Settles FCPA Charges for $14.8 Million over Internships BNY Mellon Settles FCPA Charges for $14.8 Million over Internships
On August 18, 2015, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that BNY Mellon agreed to pay $14.8 million to settle charges that it violated the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) providing student internships to family members of foreign government officials.



Qualcomm to pay $975 Million to China to resolve AntiTrust Dispute Qualcomm to pay $975 Million to China to resolve AntiTrust Dispute
Last week, Qualcomm Inc., a San Diego-based
chipmaker, agreed to pay a $975 Million fine to end a 14-month antitrust dispute with China. This is the largest fine in China's corporate history.


Staples to Acquire Office Depot for $6.3 Billion Staples to Acquire Office Depot for $6.3 Billion
Staples, Inc., the largest office supplies store in the U.S., announced last week that it is acquiring its competitor, Office Depot, for $6.3 Billion. The merger represents another significant move in the consolidation of supplies market following Office Depot's acquisition of OfficeMax in 2013.


PETSMART Agrees to $8.7 Billion Buyout PETSMART Agrees to $8.7 Billion Buyout
Miami, FL On -- December 22, 2014, PetSmart Inc. agreed to be purchased for about $8.7 billion consortium of buyers led by private equity firm, BC Partners.


Avon Settles FCPA Charges for $135 Million Avon Settles FCPA Charges for $135 Million
MIAMI, FL, DECEMBER 23, 2014 -
On December 17, 2014, Avon Products, Inc. (Avon) announced that it entered into a settlement agreement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the U.S. Deportment of Justice (DOJ) related to violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) for an aggregate payment of $135 million. The company has also agreed to a corporate compliance monitor.


BNP Paribas Pleads Guilty and Settles Criminal Charges for $9 Billion BNP Paribas Pleads Guilty and Settles Criminal Charges for $9 Billion
MIAMI, FL, JULY 12, 2014 -
On July 9, 2014, French bank BNP Paribas (BNP) entered guilty pleas for falsifying business records and sanctions violations for doing business with Cuba, Iran and, Sudan. On June 30, 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the New York County District Attorney's Office reached a settlement agreement with BNP.


Hewlett Packard Settles FCPA Violations for $108 Million Hewlett Packard Settles FCPA Violations for $108 Million
MIAMI, FL, April 21, 2014 -
On April 9, 2014, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Hewlett-Packard (HP) with violating the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) when its subsidiaries in Russia, Poland, and Mexico allegedly made improper payments to government officials in order to obtain or retain government contracts. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) also filed criminal charges against HP in federal court for FCPA violations.


Federal Court Rules that Internal Investigations May Not Be Privileged Federal Court Rules that Internal Investigations May Not Be Privileged
MIAMI, FL, April 4, 2014 -
On March 6, 2014, the federal district court for the District of Columbia held that documents from a government contractor's internal investigation overseen by the legal department were not protected by either the attorney-client privilege or the work product doctrine. The decision, which is on appeal, could significantly impact the way companies conduct internal investigations.


Alcoa Pleads Guilty & Agrees to Pay $384 Million for Anti-Bribery Violations Alcoa Pleads Guilty & Agrees to Pay $384 Million for Anti-Bribery Violations
MIAMI, FL, January 21, 2014 -
On January 9, 2014, The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that giant aluminum producer, Alcoa, Inc., has agreed to pay $384 million to settle bribery charges for making corrupt payments to Bahrain officials in violation of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).



PetroTiger Co-CEOs and General Counsel Charged with FCPA Violations for Bribes in Colombia PetroTiger Co-CEOs and General Counsel Charged with FCPA Violations for Bribes in Colombia
MIAMI, FL, January 15, 2014 -
On January 6, 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and related charges against three former executives of PetroTiger, Ltd., a British Virgin Islands oil and gas company with operations in Colombia and offices in New Jersey. The executives included Co-CEO's, Joseph Sigelman and Knut Hammarskjold, and former General Counsel, Gregory Weisman, who allegedly participated "in a scheme to pay bribes to foreign government officials in violation of the FCPA...and to launder proceeds of those crimes."


Swiss Oilfield Company Weatherford International Settles on FCPA Violations for $253 Million Swiss Oilfield Company Weatherford International Settles on FCPA Violations for $253 Million
MIAMI, FL, December 18,2013 -
On November 26, 2013, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced a $253 million settlement with publicly-traded Swiss oilfield services company Weatherford International for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and various other export control and sanctions regulations.


SEC Proposes For New Crowdfunding Rules SEC Proposes For New Crowdfunding Rules
MIAMI, FL, November 8, 2013 -
On October 23, 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) unanimously adopted their long-anticipated "crowdfunding" rules under Title III of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (the JOBS Act) allowing a registration exemption for securities-based crowdfunding. The crowdfunding rules will allow issuers to raise up to $1 million a year through unregistered and internet-based public offerings of securities marketed to the general public. Prior to becoming finalized, the proposed rules will go through a 90-day public comment and review process.



Brazil President Signed a New Anti-Corruption Law Brazil President Signed a New Anti-Corruption Law
MIAMI, FL, August 8, 2013 -
On August 1, 2013, President Dilma Rousseff signed into law Brazil's new anti-bribery legislation referred to as the clean company act (Law No. 12,846/2013). The law, which imposes civil and administrative liability on companies for acts of corruption, was published in the Official Gazette on August 2, 2013. The law's new measures will become effective January of 2014.


Canada to Strengthen Anti Corruption Law Canada to Strengthen Anti Corruption Law
MIAMI, FL, July 11, 2013 -
On June 19, 2013, Canada effected significant changes to its anti-corruption laws by adopting certain amendments to the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (CFPOA). The CFPOA prohibits giving or offering to give any type of benefit to a foreign government official, or any other person, for the benefit of the foreign government official, where the ultimate purpose is to obtain or retain a business advantage.


Brazil Chamber of Deputies Approves Anti-Corruption Bill Brazil Chamber of Deputies Approves Anti-Corruption Bill
MIAMI, FL, April 25, 2013 -
On April 24, 2013, a special committee of the Brazilian House of Representatives voted and approved Bill n° 6.826/2010, Brazil's counterpart to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA"). The Brazilian law holds companies strictly liable for any foreign or domestic acts of corruption, helping the country's efforts against bribery and corruption and strengthening its commitments under the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.


French Oil Giant, Total, Agrees to Pay $398 Million For Anti-Bribery Violations French Oil Giant, Total, Agrees to Pay $398 Million For Anti-Bribery Violations
MIAMI, FL, May 29, 2013 -
On May 29, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced the settlement of an FCPA enforcement action against French oil and gas company, Total, S.A. The enforcement action was resolved through a deferred prosecution agreement in which Total agreed to pay a total of $398 million in disgorgement and penalties.


President Obama will Nominate New SEC Head President Obama will Nominate New SEC Head
MIAMI, FL, January 25, 2013 -
President Barack Obama will nominate former U.S. Attorney, Mary Jo White, to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). White is a seasoned
former white-collar crimes prosecutor who is expected to take a tough stance on Wall Street.


FCPA Charges Brought Against Siemens Executives FCPA Charges Brought Against Siemens Executives
On December 13, 2011, the U.S. government continued its trend to prosecute individuals in addition to corporations when it initiated criminal and civil Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) charges against six former executives and two agents of Siemens AG, the German engineering company, and its Argentine subsidiary. Those indicted included a former CEO, CFO and board member of the subsidiary.




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