By John M. Hynes

In the past, we have reported on a number of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA") developments and have furnished subscribers with a primer on the FCPA. The latest developments in this area relate to an investigation of the motion picture industry and its activities in China.

On April 26, 2012, Reuters reported that the US Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") recently sent letters of inquiry to several prominent movie studios seeking information about their dealings in China that may constitute violations of the FCPA. Later reports indicate that the letters were sent to Twentieth Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros., and Dreamworks Animation.

Continue Reading FCPA Industry Sweep Strikes Hollywood

By Mike Emmick

In the fervor of the U.S.’s current anti-foreign-corruption efforts, a particularly misguided proposal has occasionally reared its ugly head: Requiring “mandatory debarment” for any company that violates the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”).

On the merits, such a proposal is completely wrong-headed. Debarment is a severe, forward-looking administrative remedy – the corporate “death penalty” – not a vehicle to “boost” the penalties for past criminal FCPA violations.

Continue Reading Mandatory Debarment for FCPA Violations? A Bad Idea Whose Time Should Never Come

By John M. Hynes

On November 1, 2011, Transparency International (“TI”) released its 2011 Bribe Payers Index (“BPI”), which ranks the countries whose companies are most likely to engage in bribery when doing business abroad. The BPI can serve as an important tool for companies in their efforts to avoid violations of the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”).

Continue Reading The 2011 Bribe Payers Index: Another Important FCPA Compliance Tool

By Anthony N. Moshirnia

Blowing the whistle on alleged fraud against the Government does not entitle an employee to loot and disclose her employer’s records in violation of a confidentiality agreement – at least not in the Ninth Circuit. In an opinion handed down in March of this year, the Ninth Circuit refused to adopt a so-called “public policy exception to confidentiality agreements to protect [qui tam plaintiffs]” who misappropriate documents from their employers ostensibly to buttress claims brought under the federal False Claims Act (“FCA”). U.S. ex rel. Cafasso v. Gen. Dynamics C4 Sys., Inc., 637 F.3d 1047, 1061-62 (9th Cir. 2011). Though this opinion has been on the books since Spring, it remains relevant, and worth keeping an eye on, as it provides powerful ammunition against FCA plaintiffs that continue to tout the “public policy” exception as though it were unassailable. 

Continue Reading In Ninth Circuit, Whistleblowers Not Exempt From Confidentiality Agreements

By Thaddeus McBride & Cheryl Palmeri

On October 26, 2011, Joel Esquenazi was sentenced to 15 years in prison for committing and conspiring to commit both money laundering and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”). Esquenazi is the former president of Terra Telecommunications Corporation (“Terra”), an international telecommunications company. According to the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”), this is the longest prison sentence yet imposed in a case involving the FCPA.

Continue Reading Longest Prison Sentence Yet in FCPA Case

By Thaddeus McBride & Cheryl Palmeri 

On October 5, 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and Bridgestone Corporation (“Bridgestone”) filed a plea agreement in U.S. District Court in which Bridgestone admitted to violating the Sherman Antitrust Act (15 U.S.C. § 1) (“Sherman Act”) and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (18 U.S.C. § 371) (“FCPA”). Under the terms of the resolution, Bridgestone agreed to (i) plead guilty to violating the Sherman Act and the antibribery provisions of the FCPA, (ii) implement a comprehensive FCPA compliance program, and (iii) cooperate fully in the DOJ’s ongoing investigations of antitrust and FCPA violations resulting from the manufacture and sale of marine hose. Under the agreement, Bridgestone will pay a criminal fine of $28 million. In exchange, the DOJ agreed not to bring further charges against Bridgestone or its affiliates for acts taken before the date of the agreement in furtherance of the charged crimes.[1]

Continue Reading DOJ Targets FCPA and Anti-Trust Violations Jointly

As the DOJ and SEC broaden their FCPA enforcement efforts to include target industries beyond the usual suspects – energy and defense – all businesses with overseas ties should take a hard look at their internal anti-corruption procedures.  The nearly $2 billion in FCPA fines and penalties imposed in 2010 alone teach at least one lesson: the costs of ignoring FCPA compliance or "burying our heads in the sand" are just too high. In this rapidly-developing area of law, there is no substitute for a robust anti-corruption compliance program that prepares employees to avoid conduct and situations that can drag down an entire organization.

Continue Reading FCPA Compliance: Issues for Public and Private Companies

By Thaddeus McBride and Reid Whitten

On April 20, 2011, in a prosecution brought against Lindsey Manufacturing Company (“Lindsey”) and several of its officers and employees, a U.S. Federal District Court Judge ruled that the term “instrumentalities” applies to foreign state-owned enterprises under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”). Under this broad ruling, any employee or officer of a foreign state-owned enterprise would be considered a “foreign official” under the FCPA.

Continue Reading Federal Judge Upholds DOJ’s Expansive Application Of FCPA