On August 14, 2014, Joel Esquenazi and Carlos Rodriguez filed a Petition for a writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court seeking clarification of a key term in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  Among other arguments, Esquenazi and Rodriguez (the “Petitioners”) state that the FCPA “leaves open the pivotal question of who qualifies as a ‘foreign official’” because the law does not define what it means to be an “instrumentality” of a foreign government.  The Department of Justice has waived its right to respond to the Petition, possibly signaling that the government believes the issue does not warrant the Court’s review.  Last week, the Washington Legal Foundation and the Independence Institute, a pro-business policy group and think-tank respectively, filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the Petition, arguing that the case is of exceptional importance to the business community.
Continue Reading Who’s a “Foreign Official”? Supreme Court Could Clarify Key FCPA Term

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