The Japan Society and Catalyst are presenting a free breakfast panel tomorrow, Oct. 23, Global Fraud — Managing International Investigations. The panel features two Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partners, Joel M. Cohen and Lee G. Dunst, together with John Tredennick, Catalyst’s CEO, discussing the heightened global enforcement enforcement of anti-corruption laws, including the FCPA and the U.K. Bribery Act.
Here is the program description:
Government regulators around the world are instituting new anti-corruption laws and enforcing them with greater vigor. U.S. criminal and civil regulators have broadened their focus recently to investigate alleged improper conduct outside the U.S. Penalties can include heavy fines and lengthy prison sentences—not the only costs and, frequently, not the most significant consequences. This program addresses the evolution of FCPA, UK Bribery Act and other anti-corruption enforcement efforts; strategic issues to consider when responding to government requests for evidence located outside the U.S., including data privacy, eDiscovery and general cooperation principles; and balancing the company’s response with the demands of the local government and laws.
The free program begins at 8 a.m. with registration and a buffet breakfast. The panel discussion is 8:30 to 10 a.m. The program is free, but preregistration is required. Registration information is available from the Japan Society.
Corporate Counsel magazine recently issued a report that should cause multi-national corporations and their counsel to pay attention: Trend Watch: Foreign Bribery Actions Doubled Last Year.
Specifically, the magazine reported that enforcement actions under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) nearly doubled in 2010, rising to 76 (with complaints against 23 companies and 53 individuals). In 2009, the SEC and Justice Department brought 45 actions (against 12 corporations and 33 individuals). That number was a significant jump again from 2008 when the government brought 37 actions against companies and individuals.
The pace seems to be continuing as well. This month, Paul Hastings, one of the leading international firms advising on FCPA investigations, issued its first Quarterly FCPA Report for 2011 [PDF]. So far this year, it reports, enforcement continues apace, with actions brought against four companies and seven individuals, along with a blockbuster forfeiture and a number of guilty pleas and settlements. The forfeiture amounted to nearly $149 million and related to a high-profile arms contract case involving 22 indicted defendants. Continue reading
For U.S. corporations already wary of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, they will soon have an even-stricter law to contend with. In April, the UK’s new Bribery Act takes effect. Some lawyers are saying it is the toughest anti-corruption act in the world. And it applies to any corporation that conducts any business in the UK, regardless of where it is incorporated.
“The UK will reinforce its reputation as one of the least corrupt countries in the world, when the Bribery Act comes into force in April 2011,” says a Ministry of Justice announcement. “The Act will ensure the UK is at the forefront of the battle against bribery and pave the way for fairer practice by encouraging businesses to adopt anti-bribery safeguards.”
The act will create a new corporate offense of failure to prevent bribery by persons working on its behalf. Companies can avoid conviction if they can show that they have adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery.
It will also make it a criminal offence for anyone to give, promise or offer a bribe and to request, agree to receive or accept at bribe, either within the UK or in a foreign country. The measure covers bribery of a foreign official.
There is no limit on the fine that can be imposed on those who violate the act. Violators also are subject to up to 10 years of imprisonment.