It’s a complex world, you ask – I answer, scrutiny alerts and updates, quotable, and for the reading stack. It’s all here in the Friday Roundup.
It’s a Complex World
The world in which we live in is seldom simple and straight-forward. This includes the so-called “fight” against corruption and bribery. Regarding China’s “crackdown” on bribery, the BBC China Blog reports:
“Much has been written about China’s ongoing crackdown on corruption, but now one of the world’s biggest banks has put a price on it. According to a report published by Bank of America Merrill Lynch this week, the Chinese government’s anti-graft campaign could cost the economy more than $100bn this year alone. [...] Many of the micro effects of Xi Jingping’s anti-corruption drive have already been well documented of course; a slowdown in the restaurant trade for example, and a big dip in sales of luxury goods. Over the past year or so, in Shanghai’s posh malls and boutique designer shops – once at the centre of the happy merry-go-round of official largesse and gift giving – you’ve almost been able to hear the sound of the weeping and gnashing of teeth. But the BofAML report suggests that the campaign is also having a significant and troubling macroeconomic effect. Since early last year, it says, government bank deposits have been soaring, up almost 30% year on year. Even honest officials, the report suggests, are now so terrified of starting new projects, for fear of being seen as corrupt, that they’re simply keeping public funds in the bank. [...] The report’s authors admit their calculations are a “back-of-the-envelope estimate of fiscal contraction”, but even if they are only half right it is an extraordinary amount of money and it highlights some of the challenges facing China’s anti-corruption crusader-in-chief, President Xi Jinping.”
Some-what related to the above topic, as noted in this Washington Times article:
“A key player in Nigeria’s emergence as Africa’s largest economy says U.S. companies are ceding investment opportunities to China and the Obama administration should do more to reverse the trend. “The Obama administration has to focus more on Nigeria, said Prince Adetokunbo Sijuwade, whose family holds royal status in a vital corner of southern Nigeria and is invested heavily in transportation and oil infrastructures. “We feel that we can learn from the U.S. in terms of expertise. [...] Prince Sijuwade speculated that several factors may have deterred U.S. investors in recent years, from concerns about government corruption to security. But he argued that allegations of widespread corruption in Nigeria are “overstated.”“Corruption is all over the world,” he said, noting potential U.S. investors’ fears of violating the Justice Department’s anti-corruption laws as an inhibiting factor on Nigerian investment.”
You Ask – I Answer
This op-ed poses the question “what’s driving pharma’s international bribery scandals?”
You ask – I answer.
A dubious and untested enforcement theory + extreme risk aversion because of potential exclusion from government sponsored healthcare programs + other typical reasons for why other companies face FCPA scrutiny, such as employees and third parties acting contrary to a company’s good-faith compliance policies and procedures = several FCPA enforcement actions against pharma and healthcare related companies.
Scrutiny Alerts and Updates
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week:
“GlaxoSmithKline PLC is investigating allegations of bribery by employees in the Middle East, according to emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, opening a new front for the company as it manages a separate corruption probe in China. A person familiar with Glaxo’s Mideast operations emailed the U.K. drug company late last year and earlier this year to report what the person said were corrupt practices in Iraq, including continuing issues and alleged misconduct dating from last year and 2012. The emails cite behavior similar to Glaxo’s alleged misconduct in China, including alleged bribery of physicians. [...] In an email, the person said Glaxo hired 16 government-employed physicians and pharmacists in Iraq as paid sales representatives for the company while they continued to work for the government. A government-employed Iraqi emergency-room physician has prescribed Glaxo products, even when they weren’t in the hospital’s pharmacy and a competitor’s brand was in stock, an email from the person said. Glaxo has been hiring government-employed Iraqi doctors as medical representatives and paying their expenses to attend international conferences, the person alleged in the emails. Glaxo pays other doctors high fees to give lectures in exchange for promoting and prescribing its drugs, the allegations continued. After Glaxo won a contract with the Iraqi Ministry of Health in 2012 to supply the company’s Rotarix vaccine, Glaxo paid for a workshop in Lebanon for Iraqi Ministry of Health officials, the email said. That included paying for a doctor’s family to travel to Lebanon “so it would be a family vacation for him at the hotel.”
As noted in the article, GSK has been under FCPA scrutiny since 2011 and GSK’s scrutiny China was the frequent focus of media attention last summer (see here for the prior post).
Russel Ryan (King & Spalding and former high-ranking SEC enforcement attorney) hits a home run with this recent Wall Street Journal editorial titled: ”When Regulators Think They Are Prosecutors.” It states, in pertinent part:
“[A]dministrative agencies like the SEC were never intended to become arms of law enforcement. They were created to regulate, not prosecute. [...] There are good constitutional reasons why agencies like the SEC were not born with this power to prosecute and punish. Prosecuting private citizens and companies is serious business. It’s a core executive branch function historically entrusted to the attorney general, a “principal Officer” subject to unfettered presidential control under Article II of the Constitution. [...] [I]f policy makers insist on transforming the commission and similar agencies into quasi-criminal prosecutors with ever-increasing power to seek harsh punitive sanctions, those agencies should be brought under the stewardship of the attorney general or given cabinet rank with leaders who are removable at the president’s pleasure. Even that wouldn’t cure a second level of constitutional infirmity. Based mostly on precedent established before the SEC had any power to punish, courts have exempted SEC prosecutions from many bedrock due-process protections taken for granted in criminal cases. The presumption of innocence, for example, is largely meaningless because the SEC can win by a mere “preponderance of the evidence” rather than proof beyond reasonable doubt. The right to remain silent is equally hollow because courts let the SEC treat silence as evidence of guilt. For SEC defendants who can’t afford a good lawyer, tough luck, because there’s no right to have counsel appointed at government expense as there would be in a criminal prosecution. And even when the SEC loses after trial, double jeopardy doesn’t prevent it from trying to reverse the verdict or force a retrial, as it would a criminal prosecutor. Dodd-Frank made things even worse by expanding the SEC’s ability to impose draconian financial penalties in administrative proceedings that have lax evidentiary rules, no jury trial, and limited judicial oversight.Basic constitutional safeguards should protect American citizens and businesses whenever a law-enforcement agency seeks to punish them for alleged wrongdoing, even in nominally civil proceedings. It’s time to incorporate those safeguards into an increasingly penal administrative prosecution system that is quickly sliding down a slick and constitutionally hazardous slope.”
For Ryan’s previous guest post on similar issues, see here.
Certain of the conduct at issue in this week’s FCPA enforcement action against HP and related entities concerned alleged conduct in Poland. This article from a Polish news service looks at what happens “when the dust settles.”
An insightful post on the Trace Blog from a former DOJ FCPA enforcement attorney who oversaw several monitors titled “Five Questions That can Keep Your Monitor From Running Away.” Perhaps the best question though is: are monitors truly needed in many FCPA resolutions? (See here and here for prior posts).
For your viewing enjoyment here, recently indicted Ukrainian businessman Dmytro Firtash (see here) has released a video which insists he is an innocent party caught at the center of a “battlefield for the two biggest global players of Russia and the USA”.
A good weekend to all.