Ok, ok, don’t panic. Maybe not all of the millions of dedicated readers of this blog are in violation.

Nevertheless, as of June 1, if your company does business in France, it may be time to check your anticorruption compliance obligations.
Continue Reading Oh, Hadn’t You Heard? You’re Violating French Law Right Now! France Gets Serieuse about Anti-Corruption

The Department of Justice’s Kleptocracy Initiative is kicking off 2015 strong.  On January 13, 2015, the DOJ filed a civil complaint seeking the forfeiture of nine properties in New Orleans, worth close to $1.53 million.  The property was allegedly purchased with corrupt proceeds, traced to $2 million in bribes paid to a former Honduran official.
Continue Reading New Year, New Orleans, Old Tricks

On October 10, 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a civil settlement with Teodoro (“Teddy”) Nguema Obiang, Vice President of Equatorial Guinea and eldest son of the country’s current President, under the DOJ’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative. Through a combination of forfeiture and divestment, Obiang agreed to turn over $30 million in U.S.-based assets purchased in a “corruption-fueled spending spree,” according to the DOJ. Those assets include a Malibu mansion, Ferrari, and $1 million for life-size Michael Jackson statues Obiang had expatriated from the United States to Equatorial Guinea. He gets to keep a Gulfstream jet and most of his other Michael Jackson paraphernalia, however, including the red leather jacket MJ wore in “Thriller” and the white crystal-covered glove from the king of pop’s “Bad” tour. The settlement dollar-value represents less than half of what the DOJ sought; Obiang managed to send a bulk of his U.S.-based assets outside the United States, including several luxury cars. But the case still represents significant progress in the U.S. government’s anti-corruption efforts, particularly because this action was brought against an official still in power, and most of the settlement amount will be used for the benefit of the people of Equatorial Guinea.


Continue Reading Take the Mansion, But Leave the Thriller Jacket: DOJ Settles with Equatorial Guinea Veep for $30 Million in Assets Bought With Corrupt Proceeds

A red sky at morning is the traditional harbinger of ill weather. From our vantage point in Brussels, we’ve scanned the horizon for signs of the future of anti-bribery enforcement activity in Europe. We’ve identified four factors that are starting small, but may build into heavy seas.

In particular, there are signs that companies that sell to governments in Europe may be well advised to shore up compliance procedures so they can remain dry if a wave of anti-corruption sentiment breaks over the public procurement sector.


Continue Reading Shelter from the Coming Storm: Anti-Corruption Compliance in European Public Procurement

April 24 marked another day of progress in holding kleptocrats accountable for their corruption.

On that day, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) filed a civil forfeiture complaint to seize more than $700,000 in allegedly illicit funds from former South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan. The corrupt proceeds came from the sale of a Newport Beach house, purchased in 2005 by Chun’s son, Chun Jae Yong, who used funds that the former President had wrongfully obtained.  According to the DOJ, the United States is collaborating in this matter with the Republic of Korea’s Supreme Prosecutor’s Office, Korea’s Ministry of Justice, and the Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office.


Continue Reading Beach Houses and Bribes: DOJ Seeks Over $700,000 From Former South Korean President

On March 5, 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it had frozen over $458 million of ill-gotten assets that former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha and his co-conspirators had stashed in bank accounts across the globe.  The DOJ is seeking to recover almost $100 million more.  The largest-ever kleptocracy forfeiture action brought in the United States, this case is a victory for the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, a program launched by the DOJ Criminal Division’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section in 2010.  We wrote about the Initiative’s first-ever action here, brought in 2012, when the DOJ executed a forfeiture order of just over $400,000 against a former Nigerian governor.  And while the DOJ has seen great success in its actions against bribe-payers through the enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, initiatives to bring bribe-takers to justice have faced bumps in the road, probably because of the politically fraught and complex nature of such cases.
Continue Reading It Doesn’t Pay to Steal: In Largest Ever Kleptocracy Forfeiture Action, DOJ Seizes $458 Million

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has held that the whistleblower protection provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act do not apply outside the United States, even where the employee alleged he was terminated for raising compliance concerns under U.S. international law. Specifically, the court found that Dodd-Frank did not protect an employee of Siemens in China who alleged he was terminated in retaliation for raising compliance concerns under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The decision will strike many observers as remarkable, since the extraterritorial provisions of the FCPA itself have been construed so broadly. The opinion in the case, Liu v. Siemens AG, Civ. No. 13 Civ. 317 (WHP) Slip Op. (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 21, 2013), may be viewed online here.
Continue Reading Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Protection: For America Only

By: Thad McBride, Mark Jensen, and Cheryl Palmeri

In early August, the New York Times reported that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is investigating JPMorgan Chase related to alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in China.  According to the article, the press had not previously reported on the investigation, and the Times knowledge of it was based on a “confidential United States government document.”  The article generated a number of similar news reports.
Continue Reading The FCPA in the News: Big Scoops, Real Fallout

By: Reid Whitten and Thad McBride

For years, a significant number of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) enforcement actions have focused on or involved the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Chinese subsidiaries, or Chinese officials.  It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the PRC is fertile ground for corruption: many of its major industries are dominated by state-owned or -controlled companies.  A tradition of gift-giving and hospitality may blur the distinction between friendly gesture and kickback.  And the sheer volume of business transacted in the country makes policing illicit exchanges for business advantages a tall order for any enforcement agency.
Continue Reading Is China Getting Serious or Redirecting Responsibility? New guidance on Chinese Anti-Bribery Enforcement