Scrutiny updates, the story of the FCPA, keep it simple, and for the reading stack. It’s all here in the Friday roundup.
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has been under FCPA scrutiny for approximately three years concerning conduct in Kenya and Angola. Earlier this week the company disclosed:
“In June 2011, an anonymous source reported, through our confidential ethics hotline, that our majority-owned joint venture in Kenya may have made certain improper payments. In July 2011, an employee of our subsidiary in Angola reported that similar improper payments may have been made in Angola. Outside counsel and forensic accountants were retained to investigate the alleged improper payments in Kenya and Angola, including our compliance in those countries with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. We do not believe that the amount of the payments in question in Kenya and Angola, or any revenue or operating income related to those payments, are material to our business, results of operations, financial condition or liquidity.
As a result of our review of these matters, we have implemented, and are continuing to implement, appropriate remedial measures and have voluntarily disclosed the results of our initial investigation to the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission, and are cooperating with those agencies in their review of these matters. As a result of ongoing discussions with the government, we have recorded a charge of $16 million in connection with these matters in the third quarter of 2014. While we currently estimate that the most likely amount of the loss associated with these matters is approximately $16 million, the actual amount of the loss could vary, and the timing of any resolution and payment cannot yet be determined.”
Avon has been under FCPA scrutiny since June 2008. As highlighted here, in May 2014 the company disclosed that it and the DOJ/SEC reached an agreement in principle to resolve FCPA enforcement actions for an aggregate amount of $135 million. Approximately six months later, there has still yet to be an enforcement action. Yesterday, Avon disclosed:
“As previously reported, we have reached an understanding with respect to terms of settlement with each of the DOJ and the staff of the SEC. Based on these understandings, the Company would, among other things: pay aggregate fines, disgorgement and prejudgment interest of $135 with respect to alleged violations of the books and records and internal control provisions of the FCPA, with $68 payable to the DOJ and $67 payable to the SEC; enter into a deferred prosecution agreement (“DPA”) with the DOJ under which the DOJ would defer criminal prosecution of the Company for a period of three years in connection with alleged violations of the books and records and internal control provisions of the FCPA; agree to have a compliance monitor which, with the approval of the government, can be replaced after 18 months by the Company’s agreement to undertake self monitoring and reporting obligations for an additional 18 months. If the Company remains in compliance with the DPA during its term, the charges against the Company would be dismissed with prejudice. In addition, as part of any settlement with the DOJ, a subsidiary of Avon operating in China would enter a guilty plea in connection with alleged violations of the books and records provision of the FCPA. The expected terms of settlement do not require any change to our historical financial statements.
Final resolution of these matters is subject to preparation and negotiation of documentation satisfactory to all the parties, including approval by our board of directors and, in the case of the SEC, authorization by the Commission; court approval of the SEC settlement; and court approval of the DPA and acceptance of the expected guilty plea by an Avon subsidiary operating in China. We can provide no assurances that satisfactory final agreements will be reached, that authorization by the Commission or the court approvals will be obtained or that the court will accept the guilty plea or with respect to the timing or terms of any such agreements, authorization, and approvals and acceptance.”
“The Story of the FCPA”
Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell’s recent speech (see here for the prior post) has generated follow-up discussion at the FCPA Blog (here and here), including as to the motivation of Congress in passing the law.
Read the “story” of the FCPA for yourself. This article weaves together information and events scattered in the FCPA’s voluminous legislative record to tell the FCPA’s story through original voices of actual participants who shaped the law.
Keep it Simple
Over at thebriberyact.com, this post begins:
“Three years ago Bribery Inc. went mad. Every law firm, accounting firm and uncle Tom Cobley and all got into the anti bribery business. Many detailed anti-bribery policies were sold, placed on corporate intranets and training given. Three years on and many are reviewing their policies and looking back at how they’ve been operating for the last three years. This is a sensible thing to do. Many anti-bribery policies are extensive. [...] We could go on. And many policies do. And this is where they go wrong. Because the longer they are the less likely it is anyone will read them or even know where to find them.”
Referencing comments made by U.K. Serious Fraud Office Director David Green, the post states:
“The SFO Director said that he doesn’t really like long anti-bribery policies. Broadly speaking he is concerned that they probably won’t be read or understood by employees. The obvious consequence of the anti-bribery policy not being read is that it is unlikely to be followed. His observation and the concern which underpins it resonates with us.”
It resonates with me as well. (See this previous post titled “Compliance Fatigue?”).
That is why my global anti-bribery online training course (created in conjunction with Emtrain) keeps things simple. To see how the course engages employees in a business organization and inspires them to spot risk (see this video). To see how the course trains gatekeepers in a business organization to minimize risk (see this video).
Thomas Fox (FCPA Compliance and Ethics Blog) is out with a new book titled “Doing Compliance: Design, Create, and Implement an Effective Anti-Corruption Compliance Program.” (See here for more information).
The latest FCPA Update from Debevoise & Plimpton is here.
Dorsey & Whitney’s Anti-Corruption Digest (Oct. 2014) is here.
Sidley & Austin’s Anti-Corruption Quarterly is here.
A good weekend to all.