Archive for the ‘Diebold’ Category

Friday Roundup

Friday, August 9th, 2013

Future enforcement actions and scrutiny alerts, in the interest of completeness, and for the reading stack.  It’s all here in the Friday Roundup.

Future Enforcement Actions and Scrutiny Alerts

Stay tuned for future FCPA enforcement actions against Diebold and ADM in the approximate $50 million range.

Diebold

Diebold recently stated as follows in this filing.

“Diebold continues to monitor its compliance with the FCPA. It also is continuing its cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in their ongoing inquiries, and is making continued progress toward a timely resolution of this matter. The company has agreed in principle with the DOJ and the SEC to the terms of a proposed settlement of their inquiries, which terms remain subject to final approval by all parties. These proposed settlement terms include combined payments to the U.S. government of approximately $48.0 million in disgorgement, penalties and prejudgment interest, and the appointment of an independent compliance monitor for a minimum period of 18 months.”

ADM

Archer Daniels Midland Company recently stated as follows in this release.

“ADM has been in discussions with the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission regarding a previously disclosed FCPA matter dating back to 2008 and earlier. Based upon recent progress in these discussions, ADM believes it is appropriate to increase its provision to $54 million, a $29 million increase over the $25 million established in the first quarter.”
Juniper Networks
Some FCPA disclosures are detailed some are not.  Juniper Networks recent disclosure certainly falls into the latter category.  The company disclosed as follows.
“The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice are conducting investigations into possible violations by the Company of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The Company is cooperating with these agencies regarding these matters. The Company is unable to predict the duration, scope or outcome of these investigations.”
Sanofi
According to this report in China Daily:

“French pharmaceutical company Sanofi AG said on Aug 8 it is taking a bribery allegation in China very seriously and is reviewing and addressing the issue.  Chinese newspaper 21st Century Business Herald reported that Sanofi staff bribed more than 500 doctors at 79 hospitals in China with 1.7 million yuan ($277,800). The company said in a statement: ‘Sanofi takes any allegation very seriously and has established processes in place for reviewing and addressing such issues in a manner that is consistent with our legal and ethical obligations. At this time, it would be premature to comment on events that may have occurred in 2007.’  [...]  Sanofi said in its statement it is confident about its business operations in China and committed to conducting its global business with integrity.  ‘We have zero tolerance to any unethical practice,’ the company said. ‘We are determined to respect the ethical principles governing our activities and are committed to abiding by the laws and regulations that apply in each country where we operate.’  This month, Sanofi’s office in Shenyang, Liaoning province, was visited by the Chinese authorities amid a wave of crackdowns on bribery and corruption in the country’s pharmaceutical sector.”

In the Interest of Completeness

This recent post generically referred to the SEC’s case against Fabrice Tourre.  In the interest of completeness, the Wall Street Journal also stated as follows.

“For a chance, SEC attorneys went to trial against a real-live person and allowed a jury to decide whether he had violated the law.  This is progress, and a welcome departure from the SEC’s custom of charging institutions and then demanding money paid by shareholders to settle case without having to go to court.  And despite his loss, kudos to Mr. Tourre for manfully seeking to clear his name while accepting the risk of trial.  (Here).

I also liked this recent editorial from the Wall Street Journal concerning the Tourre case.

“The Securities and Exchange Commission is doing a victory lap over last week’s verdict against former Goldman Sachs trader Fabrice Tourre, but its spin is revealing about the political motivation behind the case. Lead SEC prosecutor Matthew Martens keeps saying again and again that the case was ‘about Wall Street greed.’ Last time we checked, greed is not a crime under the securities laws or any other statutes in the federal code. [...] Greed has existed since man committed original sin, and no doubt it has always existed on Wall Street and most other places. Greed in moderation might even be  called ambition. While the media most often attribute it to bonus-seeking  traders on Wall Street, greed can exist in other locations, too. Perhaps you  have noticed how frequently prosecutors leave their government jobs for higher  pay as corporate attorneys. Mr. Martens may eventually be one of them.”

Speaking of which, this previous Friday roundup highlighted former SEC Enforcement Director of Enforcement Robert Khuzami’s new position at Kirkland & Ellis.  This Bloomberg column states:

“The appalling — yet hardly surprising — news that Robert Khuzami, the former enforcement director at the Securities and Exchange Commission, has cashed in his four-year stint for a $5 million-plus salary at Kirkland & Ellis, a prominent Wall Street law firm, is the latest example of the corrupt relationship between money and power in the U.S.”

Speaking of which, in this post on his Corruption Crime and Compliance site, Michael Volkov states: “I am sure Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission lawyers sometimes sit back and marvel at the world they have helped create …”.

Indeed, this is why I have long argued that the unique attributes of FCPA enforcement and the special government policies that impact enforcement, and thus make it a highly niched area of law, warrant special solutions. As to DOJ and SEC FCPA enforcement attorneys who have supervisory and discretionary positions and articulate government FCPA policies, it is in the public interest that such individuals be prohibited, when leaving government service, from providing FCPA defense or compliance services in the private sector for a five-year period.

For the Reading Stack

See here for an article in the New York Times regarding fake receipts in China.  Among other things, the article states:

“[The use of fake receipts] is so pervasive that auditors at multinational corporations are also being duped. The British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline is still trying to figure out how four senior executives at its China operation were able to submit fake receipts to embezzle millions of dollars over the last six years. Police officials say that some of the cash was used to create a slush fund to bribe doctors, hospitals and government officials. [...]  China’s fapiao system took root in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the government began requiring companies to use official receipts issued by the tax authorities for every business transaction. The receipts usually come with a number and government seal.  But the tax receipt system was quickly exploited. Gangs began producing high-quality imitations of the official invoices using specially designed printers with markings that bore a striking likeness to red government seals.  And at many companies, rogue employees started colluding with advertising, consulting and travel agencies to forge or falsify receipts for the purpose of embezzling corporate funds.”

Looking for a good slide show to spice up FCPA training?  See here from the Huffington Post regarding companies that recently resolved FCPA enforcement actions.

This article is titled “False Claims Act Settlements Often are Business Deals” and states:

“But for contractors, the decision on whether to settle a case or to fight accusations and go to trial can have less to do with guilt or innocence and more to do with practical business considerations. ‘Often, it’s really just a cost-benefit analysis,’ said Jonathan Cone, counsel at the Crowell & Moring LLP law firm. ‘In some cases, it’s actually more cost-effective to settle a case rather than risk losing business with the federal government.’”

Spot-on and the logic is even more compelling the bigger and sharper the DOJ’s stick becomes (i.e. a criminal FCPA enforcement action vs. a civil False Claims Act action).

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A good weekend to all.

Business Effects

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Previous posts have explored the FCPA’s long tentacles (here), collateral civil litigation resulting from FCPA scrutiny or enforcement actions (here and here), how FCPA scrutiny can impact mergers (here), how FCPA scrutiny can impact the cost of capital (here), and numerous prior posts have highlighted professional fees and expenses in connection with FCPA inquiries.

In short, failure to comply with the FCPA has real business effects in addition to any ultimate fine and penalty amount announced on resolution day.    This post summarizes several recent business effects associated with FCPA scrutiny.

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As previously indicated in this Wall Street Journal Corruption Currents post by Samuel Rubenfeld, S&P  recently cut its debt rating on Avon Products Inc.  Among the reasons cited for the downgrade was “expenses related to the ongoing investigation under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.”  (See here).  As noted in this recent New York Times White Collar Watch piece by Professor Peter Henning, professional fees and expenses incured by Avon in connection with its internal FCPA review have approached $250 million – and there hasn’t even yet been an enforcement action.  Over the past three years and doing the math, Avon has spent approximately $225,000 per day on its FCPA inquiry.  One can debate whether such expenses (as well as the other business effects noted in this post) should happen or are truly necessary, but the point remains such effects are happening.

Sticking with the investigative fees issue, Weaterford International recently stated in its March 15th annual report (here) that since disclosure of its FCPA scrutiny (as well as Iraq Oil for Food and OFAC scrutiny) it has “incurred $123 million for legal and professional fees in connection with complying with and conducting” the on-going investigations.  According to the company, “this amount excludes the costs [the company has] incurred to augment and improve our compliance function.”

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Diebold, which disclosed FCPA issues in July 2010 (see here), stated in March 14th proxy solicitation materials (here) that the cash bonus of Thomas Swidarski (President and CEO) was reduced by the Compensation Committee.  According to the materials, the Committee concluded that ”given the CEO’s ultimate responsibility for the oversight of the company, as a result of the impact to the company of the global FCPA investigation it was appropriate that Mr. Swidarski’s cash bonus be reduced.”  Nevertheless the materials indicate that Swidarski did receive a $1 million cash bonus (on top of his other compensation) … but it could have been more.  Another component of the proxy materials that caught my eye was discussion of the Board Special Committee set up to oversee the “global FCPA review.”  The materials note as follows.  “This committee met in person or telephonically seven times in 2011.

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In other disclosure news, Dun & Bradstreet (the world’s leading source of commercial information and insight on businesses) announced earlier this week (see here) that it “has been reviewing certain allegations that local employees may have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and certain other laws in our China operations. D&B is cooperating with the  local Chinese investigation, and has voluntarily reported these matters to the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange  Commission.”

D&B’s FCPA disclosure was contained in the same release in which the company stated it “has temporarily suspended its Shanghai Roadway D&B Marketing Services Co Ltd. operations in China, pending an investigation into allegations that its data  collection practices may violate local Chinese consumer data privacy laws.”

D&B’s FCPA disclosure marks the third time in the last four weeks that a company has newly disclosed FCPA scrutiny.

Meaningless Settlement Language?

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Previous posts (here and here) have discussed scrutiny of SEC resolution procedures in the SEC v. Citigroup case.  Although not an FCPA enforcement action, the SEC policies (such as settlement via neither admit nor deny language) being questioned by Judge Jed Rakoff (S.D.N.Y.) are the same in SEC FCPA enforcement actions.  Thus, Judge Rakoff’s questions are relevant to SEC FCPA enforcement.

A typical SEC FCPA enforcement action involves a permanent injunction prohibiting future FCPA violations – see here for the recent Comverse SEC FCPA enforcement action containing such language.  In this prior post regarding Diebold’s FCPA disclosure, I noted that Diebhold was already subject to an injunction prohibiting future FCPA violations (as a result of a non-FCPA FCPA enforcement action) and  I asked whether Diebold was in jeopardy of violating that injunction. 

If Diebold does indeed become a repeat offender, it will have company.  For instance, in 2004 ABB Ltd. resolved an FCPA enforcement action (see here) and “consented to the entry of a final judgment enjoining it from future FCPA violations.”  In 2010, ABB Ltd. again agreed to resolve an FCPA enforcement action – see here for the prior post.  So much for that permanent injunction thing.   Likewise, in 2001 Baker Hughes resolved an FCPA enforcement action (see here) and was ordered to cease and desist from any future FCPA violations.   In 2007, Baker Hughes again agreed to resolve an FCPA enforcement action – see here.  So much for that cease and desist thing.

Thus, Judge Rakoff’s question in the Citigroup action – whether SEC injunctions against future violations have any meaning is a good question.  Specifically, Judge Rakoff requested an answer to the following question.  “The proposed judgment imposes injunctive relief against future violations.  What does the SEC do to maintain compliance?  How many contempt proceedings against large financial entities has the SEC brought in the past decade as a result of violations of a prior consent judgment?”

In its Citigroup brief the SEC responded as follows.

“Civil contempt is a remedy available to the SEC in the event either (1) that a defendant is engaging in an ongoing violation of an injunction, or (2) compensation is due the SEC as a result of a defendant’s violation of an injunction.  Because alternative effective remedies often are available, including the filing of an independent action with corresponding legal and equitable relief, the Commission has not frequently pursued civil contempt proceedings and does not appear to have initiated such proceedings against a ‘large financial entity’ in the last ten years.  However, prior unlawful conduct by a corporate entity is considered in determining the appropriate penalty in any subsequent enforcement action.”

For additional information see this recent New York Times article from Edward Wyatt.

 

Recent Disclosures Raise Many Questions

Friday, August 12th, 2011

Deere & Co., Goldman, Pfizer, News Corp, Parametric Technology, Bruker, Diebold, Watts Water Technologies, 3M Corp. The flurry of public company disclosures of FCPA inquiries (some new, some merely updates) in recent days raise many questions.

Has the increase in FCPA enforcement done anything to deter future FCPA violations?

Why in this era of increased FCPA compliance does there seem to be more, not less, FCPA inquiries?  Does effective compliance reduce FCPA scrutiny or does effective compliance uncover more FCPA issues?  If the latter, does that argue in favor of a compliance defense?

If every company hired FCPA counsel to do a thorough review of its world-wide operations would – given the enforcement agencies theories of interpretation - 50% of companies find technical FCPA violations?  75%?  95%?  If the answer is any one of these numbers is that evidence of how corrupt business has become or is that evidence of how unhinged FCPA enforcement theories have become?

Other than plaintiffs’ firms representing certain investors in (some would say opportunistic) securities class actions or derivative claims, do investors even care about these disclosures?

What do these recent disclosures – involving companies in diverse industries operating in diverse countries – say about the FCPA itself?  Is it working?  Does it need reform?

Ponder these questions while browsing the latest disclosures.

Goldman

From the company’s August 9th 10-Q:

“[The company] and certain of its affiliates are subject to a number of investigations and reviews, certain of which are industry-wide, by various governmental and regulatory bodies and self-regulatory organizations relating to the sales, trading and clearance of corporate and government securities and other financial products, including compliance with the SEC’s short sale rule, algorithmic and quantitative trading, futures trading, securities lending practices, trading and clearance of credit derivative instruments, commodities trading, private placement practices, compliance with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the effectiveness of insider trading controls and internal information barriers.”

As noted in this prior post, Goldman’s FCPA scrutiny relates to its relationship with Libya’s sovereign wealth fund.

Pfizer

The company stated as follows in its August 11th 1o-Q:

“The Company has voluntarily provided the DOJ and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with information concerning potentially improper payments made by Pfizer and by Wyeth in connection with certain sales activities outside the U.S. We are in discussions with the DOJ and SEC regarding a resolution of these matters. In addition, certain potentially improper payments and other matters are the subject of investigations by government authorities in certain foreign countries, including a civil and criminal investigation in Germany with respect to certain tax matters relating to a wholly owned subsidiary of Pfizer.”

News Corp.

News Corp.’s  FCPA exposure has been detailed in several prior posts (see here for instance) and in the company’s August 10th  8-K it stated as follows.

“In July 2011, the Company announced that it would close its publication, News of the World, after allegations of phone hacking and payments to police. As a result of these allegations, the Company is subject to several ongoing investigations by U.K. and U.S. regulators and governmental authorities, including investigations into whether similar conduct may have occurred at the Company’s subsidiaries outside of the U.K. The Company is fully cooperating with these investigations. In addition, the Company has admitted liability in a number of civil cases related to the phone hacking allegations and has settled a number of cases. The Company has taken steps to solve the problems relating to News of the World including the creation and establishment of an independent Management & Standards Committee, which will have oversight of, and take responsibility for, all matters in relation to the News of the World phone hacking case, police payments and all other connected issues at News International Group Limited (“News International”), including as they may relate to other News International publications.”

Parametric Technology Corp.

In a new disclosure, the company stated as follows in its August 10th 10-Q:

“In the third quarter of 2011, we identified certain payments by certain business partners in China that raised questions of compliance with laws, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and/or compliance with our business policies. We are conducting an internal investigation and have voluntarily disclosed this matter to the United States Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission. We are unable to estimate the potential penalties and/or sanctions, if any, that might be assessed in connection with this matter. If we determine that the replacement of certain employees and/or business partners is necessary, it could have an impact on our level of sales in China until such replacements are in place and productive. Revenue from China has historically represented 6% to 7% of our total revenue.”

Bruker Corp.

In a new disclosure, the company stated as follows in its August 9th 10-Q:

“The Company has received certain anonymous communications alleging improper conduct in connection with the China operations of its Bruker Optics subsidiary. In response, the Audit Committee of the Company’s Board of Directors initiated an investigation of those allegations, with the assistance of independent outside counsel and an independent forensic consulting firm. The investigation is ongoing and includes a review of compliance by Bruker Optics and its employees in China with the requirements of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) and other applicable laws and regulations. To date, the investigation has found evidence indicating that payments were made that improperly benefit employees or agents of government-owned enterprises in China. The Company voluntarily contacted the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and the United States Department of Justice to advise both agencies that an internal investigation is underway. It is the intent of the Audit Committee and the Company to cooperate with both agencies in connection with any investigation that may be conducted in this matter. In 2010, the China operations of Bruker Optics accounted for less than 2.5 percent of the Company’s consolidated net sales and less than 1.0 percent of its consolidated total assets. The internal investigation being conducted by the Audit Committee is ongoing and no conclusions can be drawn at this time as to its outcome; however, the FCPA and related statutes and regulations do provide for potential monetary penalties as well as criminal and civil sanctions in connection with FCPA violations. It is possible that monetary penalties and other sanctions could be assessed by the Federal government in connection with this matter. The nature and amount of any monetary penalty or other sanctions cannot reasonably be estimated. We have not recorded any provision for monetary penalties related to criminal and civil sanctions at this time.”

Diebold Inc.

In its August 8th 10-Q the company stated as follows.

“The Company’s global Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) review remains on schedule with no material developments during the three months ended June 30, 2011:  During the second quarter of 2010, while conducting due diligence in connection with a potential acquisition in Russia, the Company identified certain transactions and payments by its subsidiary in Russia (primarily during 2005 to 2008) that potentially implicate the FCPA, particularly the books and records provisions of the FCPA. As a result, the Company is conducting an internal review and collecting information related to its global FCPA compliance. In the fourth quarter of 2010, the Company identified certain transactions within its Asia Pacific operation over the past several years which may also potentially implicate the FCPA. The Company’s current assessment indicates that the transactions and payments in question to date do not materially impact or alter the Company’s consolidated financial statements in any year or in the aggregate. The Company’s internal review is ongoing, and accordingly, there can be no assurance that this review will not find evidence of additional transactions that potentially implicate the FCPA. The Company has voluntarily self-reported its findings to the SEC and the DOJ and is cooperating with these agencies in their review. The Company was previously informed that the SEC’s inquiry has been converted to a formal, non-public investigation. The Company also received a subpoena for documents from the SEC and a voluntary request for documents from the DOJ in connection with the investigation. The Company expects to complete its internal review of these matters by the end of 2011. Once the Company completes its internal review, it will begin discussions with the SEC and the DOJ to resolve this matter. At this time, the Company cannot predict the results of the government investigations and therefore cannot estimate the potential loss or range of loss it may incur with respect to these investigations or their potential impact on the consolidated financial statements. Future resolution of these matters with the DOJ and SEC could result in a material impact to the Company’s consolidated financial statements.”

Watts Water Technologies Inc.

In an August 3rd 8-K filing, the company provided this update:

“In the second quarter of 2011, the Company recorded income of $0.05 per share in discontinued operations related to a reserve adjustment for the previously disclosed FCPA investigation. The adjustment reflects management’s best estimate of a possible charge in connection with this matter based on ongoing discussions with SEC staff. There is no definitive agreement for resolution of this matter at this time.”

3M Company

In an August 4th 10-Q filing, the company provided this update:

“On November 12, 2009, the Company contacted the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to voluntarily disclose that the Company was conducting an internal investigation as a result of reports it received about its subsidiary in Turkey, alleging bid rigging and bribery and other inappropriate conduct in connection with the supply of certain reflective and other materials and related services to Turkish government entities. The Company also contacted certain affected government agencies in Turkey. The Company retained outside counsel to conduct an assessment of its policies, practices, and controls and to evaluate its overall compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, including an ongoing review of our practices in certain other countries and acquired entities. The Company continues to cooperate with the DOJ and SEC and government agencies in Turkey in the Company’s ongoing investigation of this matter. The Company cannot predict at this time the outcome of its investigation or what regulatory actions may be taken or what other consequences may result.”

Deere & Co.

In addition to the above disclosures, the Wall Street Journal Corruption Currents, among others, reported this week that Deere & Co.  “received an inquiry from regulators last month regarding payments made in Russia and nearby countries.”  In a statement, Deere stated as follows.  “On July 25, 2011, Deere received a request from the SEC that it voluntarily produce documents relating to Deere’s activities, and those of third parties, in certain foreign countries. Deere is cooperating with the SEC’s requests.”

Friday Roundup

Friday, July 30th, 2010

A company in jeopardy of violating an existing SEC injunction, a leading supplier of communication devices to the federal government in the midst of an FCPA inquiry, an FCPA enforcement action nearing the finish line, Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement of the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, more on multilateral development banks, and the U.K. Serious Fraud Office’s annual report … it’s all here in the Friday roundup.

Diebold’s Disclosure

Last month, Diebold, Inc., a Ohio based security services company, settled an SEC accounting fraud enforcement action by paying a $25 million civil penalty (see here). The SEC charged Diebold with, among other charges, violations of the FCPA’s books and records and internal control provisions (i.e. Sections 13(b)(2)(A) and 13(b)(2)(B) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934). However, you likely never heard about this because the enforcement action was what I call “a non-FCPA, FCPA enforcement action.” In other words, the FCPA’s books and records and internal control provisions are generic and are not just implicated by overseas business conduct. As part of the settlement, Diebold, as in common, consented to a final judgment permanently enjoining the company from future violations.

Diebold appears to be in jeopardy of violating that injunction.

Why?

Yesterday in an 8-K filing (see here) Diebold disclosed as follows:

Voluntary disclosure related to Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

“While conducting due diligence in connection with a potential acquisition in Russia, Diebold identified certain transactions and payments by its subsidiary in Russia (primarily during 2005 to 2008) that potentially implicate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), particularly the books and records provisions of the FCPA. While the company’s current assessment indicates that the transactions and payments in question do not materially impact or alter the company’s financial statements, the company continues to collect information and is conducting an internal review of its global FCPA compliance. At this time, Diebold cannot predict the outcome or impact of this global review. In addition, the company has voluntarily self-reported its findings to the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission and intends to fully cooperate with these agencies in their review.”

The day of the disclosure, the company’s shares lost approximately 5%.

Here is what Diebold had to say about the FCPA in its most recent 10-Q filing in May:

“We are subject to compliance with various laws and regulations, including the FCPA and similar worldwide anti-bribery laws, which generally prohibit companies and their intermediaries from making improper payments to non-U.S. officials for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business. While our employees and agents are required to comply with these laws, we operate in many parts of the world that have experienced governmental corruption to some degree and, in certain circumstances, strict compliance with anti-bribery laws may conflict with local customs and practices. Despite our commitment to legal compliance and corporate ethics, we cannot assure you that our internal control policies and procedures always will protect us from reckless or negligent acts committed by our employees or agents. Violations of these laws, or allegations of such violations, could disrupt our business and result in a material adverse effect on our business and operations.” (emphasis added).

The Latest on Digi International

According to its website (here), Digi International Inc. is “the leading supplier of multifunction communication devices to the U.S. Federal Government.”

It is also in the midst of an FCPA investigation, one which implicates its Chief Financial Officer who is no longer with the company.

Here is what the company disclosed in a recent 8-K filing (see here):

“As previously reported, after receiving allegations regarding possible violations of our gifts, travel and entertainment policy for activities in the Asia Pacific region by a few employees, we initiated an investigation of these policy and corresponding internal control issues, and any possible related violations of applicable law, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). We voluntarily disclosed the allegations to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The investigation has been under the direction of the Audit Committee, comprised solely of independent directors, utilizing outside counsel, and focused on the APAC region. For completeness purposes, the investigation reviewed certain other foreign regions where no allegations have been made. We believe the investigation is substantially complete, pending the input from the DOJ and SEC. We have been providing the DOJ and SEC with updates and our proposed remediation plan. We will continue to cooperate fully with the SEC and DOJ process, which could include additional investigative procedures. This investigation found violations of company policy and internal controls that primarily involved three individuals in Hong Kong and our Chief Financial Officer. All four individuals have either been terminated or resigned from the company. The investigation also identified certain books and records and related internal controls issues under the FCPA. The ultimate impact and outcome of the DOJ and SEC process is unknown at this time. The Company is unable to estimate the potential costs relating to this matter, including any penalties that might be assessed for any FCPA violations, and accordingly, no provision has been made in our consolidated financial statements other than with respect to expenses incurred prior to June 30, 2010. In the Digi International Reports Third Fiscal Quarter 2010 Results quarter and nine months ended June 30, 2010, we incurred additional general and administrative expense of $1.0 million related to the cost of the investigation. Based upon what we have learned from the investigation, we are strengthening our monitoring controls over foreign locations and other operational and regulatory compliance procedures, including third party assistance in implementation of our remediation plan. Based on the results of our investigation to date, we are not aware of any material impacts to our reported consolidated financial statements that would require restatement, and no issues were detected outside of the Asia Pacific region. We are also evaluating any impact of this matter on our Internal Controls over Financial Reporting. The timing and final outcome of the DOJ and SEC process cannot be predicted, and it may have a materially adverse impact on our business prospects and our consolidated financial condition, results of operations or cash flow.”

I’ve noted in a prior post (see here) that one factor companies need to be mindful of when analyzing the important voluntary disclosure decision is the high likelihood of the enforcement agencies asking the “where else” question (i.e. if conduct occurred in country x, convince us that the conduct also did not occur in countries y and z). Digi’s disclosure highlights this issue when it states: “[f]or completeness purposes, the investigation reviewed certain other foreign regions where no allegations have been made.”

Maxwell Technologies Inc. Nears Settlement

In a 8-K filing yesterday, Maxwell Technologies (here), a manufacturer of energy storage and power delivery products, stated as follows:

“As previously disclosed in its public filings, the company has engaged in settlement discussions with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) with regard to the ongoing FCPA investigations involving Maxwell’s Swiss subsidiary, Maxwell S.A. The company has negotiated an agreement in principle with the SEC to resolve the ongoing FCPA investigation for a payment of approximately $6.35 million, with half to be paid upon signing and the remaining half on the one year anniversary of signing, as well as certain other non-financial settlement terms. The settlement with the SEC remains subject to final approval of the Commission. Settlement discussions with the DOJ are ongoing, and the company is awaiting a response to its offer to the DOJ to settle the ongoing investigation for $6.35 million. Prior discussions with the DOJ have indicated that they would accept a settlement offer of $8.0 million, but as indicated earlier, we are continuing our discussions with the DOJ and are awaiting a response to our most recent offer. The DOJ has also previously indicated that settlement terms could include a payment plan over a period of up to three years. The company anticipates that it will have to pay interest on any deferred amounts due in both the SEC and DOJ settlement agreements. In Q409, the company accrued $9.3 million for a potential settlement, and has accrued an additional $3.4 million in Q210 to reflect the full amount of its pending settlement offers to the SEC and DOJ. However, there can be no assurance that the settlement with the SEC will be approved or that the company will be able to settle with the DOJ for $6.35 million.”

The day of the disclosure, the company’s shares lost approximately 4%.

Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative

In a recent speech (see here) before the African Union Summit in Uganda, Attorney General Eric Holder announced a new Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative.

In the speech Holder said that “the United States will act in partnership and in common cause to help the African Union achieve its goals and fulfill its mission.”

Among other things, Holder said that the U.S. “will strengthen current efforts to promote good governance and to combat and prevent the costs and consequences of public corruption.”

He stated as follows:

“Today, when the World Bank estimates that more than one trillion dollars in bribes are paid each year out of a world economy of 30 trillion dollars, this problem cannot be ignored. And this practice must never be condoned. As many here have learned – often in painful and devastating ways – corruption imperils development, stability, competition, and economic investment. It also undermines the promise of democracy.

As my nation’s Attorney General, I have made combating corruption, generally and in the United States, a top priority. And, today, I’m pleased to announce that the U.S. Department of Justice is launching a new Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative aimed at combating large-scale foreign official corruption and recovering public funds for their intended – and proper – use: for the people of our nations. We’re assembling a team of prosecutors who will focus exclusively on this work and build upon efforts already underway to deter corruption, hold offenders accountable, and protect public resources.

And although I look forward to everything this new initiative will accomplish, I also know that prosecution is not the only effective way to curb global corruption. We will continue to work with your governments to strengthen the entire judicial sector, a powerful institution in our democracy which depends on the integrity of our laws, our courts, and our judges. We must also work with business leaders to encourage, ensure, and enforce sound corporate governance. We should not, and must not settle for anything less.”

For other speeches by Holder on this subject, see here.

More On Multilateral Development Banks

A prior post (see here) discussed how five multilateral development banks (MDB’s) – the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the Inter-American Development Bank Group – signed an agreement to cross-debar firms and individuals found to have engaged in wrongdoing in MDB-financed development projects.

To learn more about sanctions investigations by the World Bank and other MDB’s see this piece from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP.

The SFO Annual Report

The U.K. Serious Fraud Office recently issued its annual report (see here).

Among the highlights noted by SFO Director Richard Alderman:

“In the first prosecution brought in the UK against a company for breaching UN sanctions, Mabey and Johnson Ltd admitted offences of overseas corruption and breaching UN sanctions. The company was ordered to pay a fine of £3.5 million and restitution of £3.1 million.

Currently one third of our work concerns overseas corruption. This will continue to be an important part of our work, with the introduction of the new law on bribery which we believe will place a greater emphasis on UK companies to maintain high levels of business ethics and integrity. It is also notable that the Act allows me as Director of the SFO to prosecute non-UK companies that carry on business in the UK if they use bribes in any country as a way of doing business.”