Archive for the ‘OECD’ Category

Friday Roundup

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Siemens delists, former Siemens execs fail to show up, quotable, to FCPA Inc. and for the reading stack.  It’s all here in the Friday roundup.

Siemens to Delist ADRs

The record-setting 2008 FCPA enforcement action against Siemens A.G. was primarily based on the fact that the company had its shares listed on a U.S. exchange and was thus subject to the FCPA’s books and records and internal controls provisions.  (Note:  Siemens AG itself was not charged with FCPA anti-bribery violations).

I doubt – six years after the fact – that there is a cause and effect relationship here, but it is interesting nevertheless to note that last week Siemens announced that ”it is planning to delist its American Depositary Receipts (ADR) from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).”  The company further announced that ”Siemens intends to terminate its reporting obligations (deregistration) to the American Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).”  As stated in the release:

“The goal of the delisting and deregistration is to address the change in the behavior of its investors. As a consequence processes of financial reporting are simplified and efficiency is improved. The trading of Siemens shares is nowadays conducted predominantly in Germany and via electronic trading platforms (‘over-the-counter’). Trading volume of Siemens shares in the USA is low, amounting to significantly less than 5% of its global trading volume in the year 2013.”

A delisting of course does not remove Siemens from the reach of the FCPA.  There still is the 78dd-3 prong of the FCPA, but the jurisdictional reach of it is the most restrictive found in the FCPA.

For a moment, let’s just pretend that Siemens delisting was related, in some way, to the FCPA.  If so, is this a good thing or a negative impact of the DOJ and SEC’s expansive jurisdictional theories of FCPA liability against foreign actors?

For instance, as noted in this 2010 post, approximately one month after Daimler resolved its FCPA enforcement action it decided – after 17 years on being on the NYSE to delist from the exchange.  (See here for more).

Former Siemens Execs

One way for the SEC to win its FCPA cases is when the defendants do not show up.

As highlighted here, in December 2011 the SEC filed a civil lawsuit against former Siemens executives Uriel Sharef, Herbert Steffen, Andres Truppel, Ulrich Bock, Stephan Signer, Carlos Sergi, and Bernd Regendantz.  The complaint was based on conduct concerning the Argentine prong of the 2008 Siemens enforcement action.

On the same day the enforcement action was announced, Regendatz agreed to resolve the enforcement action.  As noted in the SEC release, Regendatz “paid a €30,000 administrative fine ordered by the Munich prosecutor (equivalent to $40,000 in U.S. dollars).”

As highlighted in this prior post, when put to its burden by Steffen, Judge Shira Scheindlin dismissed the SEC’s complaint in February 2013 for lack of personal jurisdiction (an initial threshold issue not unique to the FCPA).

As noted in this prior post, in April 2013 Uriel Sharef agreed to resolve the enforcement action by paying a $275,000 civil penalty.  (See here).

The SEC voluntarily dismissed its claims against Carlos Sergi in October 2013.

Earlier this week, on February 3rd, Truppel consented to a final judgment in which he agreed to pay a $80,000 civil penalty.

Also earlier this week, on February 4th,  Judge Scheindlin entered a default judgment as to Bock and Signer.  As part of the order, Bock was ordered to pay $937,957 (a $524,000 civil penalty, $316,452 in disgorgement, plus prejudgment interest of $97,505) and Signer was ordered to pay a $524,000 civil penalty.  The Bock and Signer settlement amounts rank first and third in terms of individual SEC FCPA settlements amounts with Ousama Naaman (approximately $877,000) ranking second.

The burning question of course is whether the SEC would have prevailed against Truppel, Bock and Signer if put to its burden of proof.  Like in Steffen, there would no doubt have been an initial threshold issue of personal jurisdiction before turning to FCPA specific jurisdictional issues.

The relevant jurisdictional allegations against Truppel were as follows.

“Truppel participated in meetings in Miami, Florida, and New York, NY, in which bribes to Argentine officials were negotiated and promised. He caused Siemens to pay, and promise to pay, millions of dollars in bribes in an effort to retain the DNI Contract. Some ofthe bribes were paid via bank accounts in the United States.”

The relevant jurisdiction allegations against Bock were as follows.

“Bock participated in a meeting in Miami, Florida, at which bribes to Argentine officials were negotiated and promised. Bock also provided false testimony in two arbitration proceedings, one of which was filed in Washington, D.C., in an effort to conceal Siemens’ corrupt payments and recover its expected profits from the DNI Contract.”

The relevant jurisdictional allegations against Signer were as follows.

“Signer authorized the payment of bribes to government officials in Argentina. Some of the bribes were paid to bank accounts in the United States.”

Quotable

As noted here OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria warned that the bribery of foreign public officials by businesses was contributing to an “erosion of public trust.”  True, but “enforcing” bribery and corruption laws through resolution vehicles not subjected to judicial scrutiny and otherwise inconsistent with rule of law principles (see here for my recent article) also contribute to an “erosion of public trust.”

Gurria also reportedly stated:  “corporations need to stop bribing public officials, and that is going to help recover public trust and legitimacy, that is going to help markets work.”

In all due respect, this is just such a naive way to view the problem of bribery and corruption.

I like what Alexandra Wrage (President of Trace International) said here:

“Whether they’re stating it expressly or acting on it quietly, governments are using corporations as their primary tool to reduce international bribery. They alarm companies with vast fines and terrify individuals with substantial prison sentences with the hope of ending the payment of bribes because they cannot, in most cases, do much of anything about those demanding them. This is not inappropriate. Companies are regulated, subject to laws and answerable to shareholders. The worst offenders demanding bribes, on the other hand, do so with impunity, hiding behind sovereign immunity and, often, their own, complicit local law enforcement. Abacha. Suharto. Marcos. Duvalier. It’s a longstanding tradition, still thriving in many countries today. U.S. and some European law enforcement agencies have been extraordinarily successful, with fines in the United States now counted in the billions of dollars and other jurisdictions promising to catch up soon. While these efforts have done more than anything else to reduce bribery, they have yet to convince us that companies are both the sole source and solution of all international corruption — and that’s insupportable. [...] The simple reality is that there are just some things that companies can’t do about corruption.”

See here and here for further reasons why Gurria’s statement is off-base.

To FCPA Inc.

Weil Gotshal announced that Adam Safwat, most recently the Deputy Chief in the DOJ’s Fraud Section where he worked on – among other things – FCPA enforcement actions – has joined the firm.  According to the release, “with several years of senior level experience in the DOJ, as well as experience as a former federal prosecutor, [Safwat] brings a deep understanding of criminal and regulatory enforcement to the Firm, including with regard to corporate securities fraud and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigations.”

Reading Stack

A handy-dandy “Master List of Third Party Corruption Red Flags” courtesy of the FCPAmericas Blog.

For your viewing enjoyment, the recent program at Fordham Law School “China and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act:  Challenges for the 21st Century.”

For your viewing enjoyment, Senator Elizabeth Warren talking about an issue discussed in last week’s Friday roundup regarding JPMorgan.

I’ve written before about “offensive use” of the FCPA, but I am still trying to figure out the purpose of this press release.

*****

A good weekend to all.

Transparency International’s Progress Report

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

Transparency International (TI) does good work in raising awareness of bribery and its effects and seeking to reduce bribery and corruption around the world.

Yet, every time I read TI’s annual progress report on OECD Anti-Bribery Convention enforcement (see here for the recently released report), I find myself asking the same question: does TI (and other civil society groups) view more “enforcement” as an inherent good regardless of enforcement theories, regardless of resolution vehicles, and regardless of outcomes?

The answer appears to be yes, as the progress report focuses on the quantity of enforcement actions with little to no discussion of resolution vehicles or the outcomes of those enforcement actions (i.e. quality).

Of course the U.S. is going to have strong quantity of enforcement numbers because of the DOJ’s (and now SEC’s) invention and use of non-prosecution and deferred prosecution agreements.  At present, these resolution vehicles are not used elsewhere, but not surprisingly are desired elsewhere because they lead to more quantity of enforcement.

Would “lagging” governments (that term is used multiple times in the TI report) shine in the eyes of TI if those “lagging” governments came up with resolution vehicles that largely bypassed the judicial system?

Would “lagging” governments shine in the eyes of TI if those “lagging” governments manufactured cases through sting operations – even if those cases were dismissed by the judge after stating that the cases appear “to be the end of a long and sad chapter in the annals of white collar criminal enforcement.”

As to the U.S. enforcement data itself in the progress report, it is presented in a materially different format than the enforcement data from the other countries.  It takes some footnote reading, but “the methodology used to compile enforcement statistics for the U.S.” was as follows.

“For the United States portion of this report, investigations are counted as “initiated” in the year in which an FCPA investigation is first publicly disclosed (for example, in press reports or a company’s securities filings). Investigations not disclosed in public sources are not counted. Cases are counted as “commenced” for the purposes of this report when an enforcement action results in ongoing judicial proceedings not involving a settlement; for example, a criminal indictment filed by the DOJ against one or more individuals, or an unsettled civil complaint filed by the SEC. Where a case “commenced” names multiple defendants under a single docket number, it is counted as a single case“commenced”. Where complaints or indictments are filed against multiple defendants under separate docket numbers, they are counted as separate cases “commenced”. “Cases concluded” include settlements between companies and individuals and the US DOJ and/or SEC, as well as criminal and civil judicial proceedings resulting in final judgment. Parallel settlements between a company and DOJ and SEC are treated as separate “cases concluded”; a settlement between a single US enforcement agency and more than one corporate entity in a corporate group is also counted as  a single “case concluded”. Cases concluded are counted as “major” if they result in more than $25 million in criminal fines, civil penalties or disgorgement (for companies), or if they result in a prison term for an individual. Cases concluded against companies are counted in the year in which the settlement was reached and approved by a judge (for criminal and civil settlements), or finally ordered (for administrative settlements). Cases “concluded” against individuals are counted in the year a plea agreement or civil settlement was reached with the DOJ or SEC and publicly announced, or a final verdict reached by a presiding judge or jury.”

I’ve read this description three times and it still leaves my head spinning.  Is there anything wrong with the simple ”core” approach to keeping FCPA enforcement data - an approach even the DOJ endorses?

Enforcement statistics aside, while the TI progress report bears all the hallmarks of the work of a non-profit, non-governmental organization and is portrayed as an “independent assessment on the status of enforcement,” the fact is, the progress report is an ad hoc compilation of scattered data assembled and opinions expressed by just a few people in their respective countries.

To TI’s credit, this is made transparent in the progress report.  The report states:  “as in years past, this report is based on information provided by national experts in each reporting country responding to a questionnaire.”  Elsewhere, the report states:  “The following country reports summarize the assessments by TI experts of enforcement of the Convention in their countries.”

In the case of the U.S., the TI experts were three people (one senior partner and two associates) at a law firm with a vibrant FCPA practice.  In other words, the U.S. country report and its discussion of “inadequacies in legal framework,” “inadequacies in enforcement system,” the FCPA Guidance, Morgan Stanley’s so-called declination and other topics are merely the opinions of three people.

Regardless of the deficiencies in the TI report, kudos are in order for the recommendation in the report to “ensure the fairness and public credibility of settlements, [and to] make all settlements subject to court approval.”

However, the supporting text states:  “a substantial number of foreign bribery cases are settled through negotiations between prosecutors and the accused companies and individuals.  This is an understandable development in view of the complexity, cost, delays and uncertainties of litigation.”

It may be understandable, but is this a welcome development?

Show me a rule of law principle that suggests charging someone (whether a legal person or natural person) with a crime ought to be easy, cheap, quick and certain?

These issues, along with quality of enforcement, is where the focus ought to be.  Not quantity of enforcement.

Is More “Enforcement” An Inherent Good?

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

The OECD Working Group on Bribery does good work in raising awareness of bribery and its effects and seeking to reduce bribery and corruption around the world.

Yet, every time I read its annual report (see here for the recently released report) I find myself asking the same question.

Does the OECD (and other civil society groups) view more “enforcement” as an inherent good regardless of enforcement theories, regardless of resolution vehicles, and regardless of outcomes?

It would appear the answer is yes given the OECD’s focus on and emphasis of enforcement statistics.  Consider the following paragraph from the introduction to the report from the OECD Secretary General.

“Active enforcement is the best weapon we have to fight foreign bribery. Between 1999, when the Convention entered into force, and December 2012 90 companies and 221 individuals were sanctioned under criminal proceedings for foreign bribery, and 83 individuals were sentenced to prison. These figures are set to increase, with approximately 320 investigations under way and criminal charges laid against 166 individuals and entities. However, there has been little or no enforcement in over half of the Parties to the Convention.”

It is fairly obvious why OECD member countries have varying degrees of enforcement of bribery and corruption offenses.  Among other reasons, in most OECD member countries, prosecuting authorities have two choices – to prosecute or not to prosecute – there is no such thing as non-prosecution or deferred prosecution agreements.  Moreover, in many OECD member countries there is no such thing as corporate criminal liability – or even if there is – such corporate liability can only be based on the actions of high-ranking executives or officers. This of course is materially different than the U.S. respondeat superior standard in which a business organization can face legal liability based on the actions of any employee to the extent the employee was acting within the scope of his or her duties and to the extent the conduct was intended to benefit, at least in part, the organization.

In this new era of FCPA enforcement, the majority of “enforcement” is generally accomplished with enforcement vehicles that bypass the judicial system in which the enforcement agency are not put to any burden of proof.

Is this something to highlight and celebrate?

Moreover, if the OECD is going to advance the notion that more “enforcement” is an inherent good, it should at least ensure that its enforcement statistics are accurate.

The OECD report contains a table titled “Decisions on Foreign Bribery Cases from 1999 to December 2012,” and it contains a column titled “number of individuals and legal persons acquitted / found not liable.”  According to the OECD report only 1 individual or legal person has been acquitted or found not liable in a U.S. foreign bribery case.

However, in 2012 alone, 26 individuals or legal persons (combining the defendants in the Africa Sting case, Lindsey Manufacturing case and John O’Shea case) were acquitted or found not liable in a foreign bribery case.

Perhaps though in its focus on more “enforcement,” the OECD cares little about judicial findings of prosecutorial misconduct or statements from judges in FCPA cases that the case represented  ”a long and sad chapter in the annals of white collar criminal enforcement” or that the government “shouldn’t indict people on stuff [it] can’t try.”

More “enforcement” of bribery and corruption laws is not necessarily an inherent good.  In legal systems based on the rule of law, enforcement theories and procedures matter, resolution vehicles matter, and outcomes matter.

Do NPAs And DPAs Deter?

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

As highlighted below, the DOJ recently acknowledged, despite prior definitive statements by former Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer to the contrary, that “measuring the impact of NPAs and DPAs in deterring the bribery of foreign public officials would be a difficult task, save providing certain anecdotal and other circumstantial evidence.”

As discussed in this previous post, in September 2012 then Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer passionately defended the DOJ’s use of NPAs and DPAs.  Among other things, Breuer boldly stated that NPAs and DPAs “have had a truly transformative effect on particular companies and, more generally, on corporate culture across the globe” and that the result of DOJ’s frequent use of such agreements “has been, unequivocally, far greater accountability for corporate wrongdoing – and a sea change in corporate compliance efforts.”  Breuer further stated as follows.

“One of the reasons why deferred prosecution agreements are such a powerful tool is that, in many ways, a DPA has the same punitive, deterrent, and rehabilitative effect as a guilty plea:  when a company enters into a DPA with the government, or an NPA for that matter, it almost always must acknowledge wrongdoing, agree to cooperate with the government’s investigation, pay a fine, agree to improve its compliance program, and agree to face prosecution if it fails to satisfy the terms of the agreement.”

Despite Breuer’s rhetoric, the question of whether NPAs and DPAs adequately deter future improper conduct has long been asked.

As noted in this previous post, in 2009, the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) released a report regarding DOJ’s use of NPAs and DPAs. The GAO Report was not FCPA specific, although it does mention the FCPA as being one area where NPAs and DPAs are frequently used.  The GAO Report stated as follows.

“DOJ cannot evaluate and demonstrate the extent to which DPAs and NPAs—in addition to other tools, such as prosecution—contribute to the department’s efforts to combat corporate crime because it has no measures to assess their effectiveness. Specifically, DOJ intends for these agreements to promote corporate reform; however, DOJ does not have performance measures in place to assess whether this goal has been met.”

The GAO Report concluded as follows.

 “[W]hile DOJ has stated that DPAs and NPAs are useful tools for combating and deterring corporate crime, without performance measures, it will be difficult for DOJ to demonstrate that these agreements are effective at helping the department achieve this goal.

As noted in this previous post, in the 2010 OECD Phase 3 Report of U.S. FCPA enforcement, the evaluators likewise noted that the “actual deterrent effect [of NPAs and DPAs have] not been quantified.”  In the Report, the evaluators sought information about the deterrent effect of DPAs and NPAs” and one of the recommendations in the Report was for the U.S. to “make public any information about the impact of NPAs and DPAs on deterring the bribery of foreign public officials.”

The DOJ recently responded to the OECD’s recommendation in its “Final Follow-Up To Phase 3 Report and Recommendations.”  The DOJ response, dated December 2012, states in full, as to the NPA / DPA issues as follows.

“Scholars have recognized that quantifying deterrence is extremely difficult. This is equally true for the deterrent effect of DPAs and NPAs. Thus, as discussed at the time this recommendation was made, measuring ‘the impact of NPAs and DPAs in deterring the bribery of foreign public officials’ would be a difficult task, save providing certain anecdotal and other circumstantial evidence.

One of the best sources of anecdotal evidence demonstrating that DPAs and NPAs have a deterrent effect comes from the companies themselves. The companies against which DPAs and NPAs have been brought have often undergone dramatic changes. For instance, prior to or following the entry of DPAs or NPAs, many companies have terminated personnel, including senior managers, established new codes of conduct and compliance policies and procedures, pledged not to use third-party agents, withdrawn from bids tainted by corruption, provided new and substantial resources to compliance and audit functions within their organizations, and instituted new training regimes. These companies, through their remediation efforts under DPAs and NPAs, have often fundamentally changed how they conduct business. In addition, just like with individuals on parole or probation, the monitor provisions or self-reporting requirements of DPAs and NPAs are designed to deter future misconduct and, at the same time, ensure that companies meet their obligations. In meetings with board members, chief executive officers, chief financial officers, general counsel, and chief compliance officers, DOJ and SEC have heard directly from these senior leaders about the impact DPAs and NPAs have had on their companies for the better.

Beyond the companies themselves, DOJ and SEC have heard anecdotal stories about the deterrent effect of NPAs and DPAs on other companies and how those resolutions raise awareness of anti-corruption laws. Often those stories come from other corporate leaders who have discussed how their own practices have changed or even whole industries that have changed their behavior for the better. For example, during the course of one investigation, it was revealed that a major multinational corporation’s DPA caused another Fortune 50 company to implement an FCPA compliance program. In addition, following DPAs in different cases, companies have come forward to make voluntary disclosures of similar conduct. Many of our DPAs and NPAs are publicized extensively and scrutinized closely by the business community, the legal profession, and the compliance community, among others. The ‘lessons learned’ from these DPAs and NPAs, for example, help raise awareness of compliance risks and failures. The existence of DPAs and NPAs also encourages companies to voluntarily disclose conduct, by providing meaningful rewards to those companies, which enables DOJ and SEC to ensure further specific and general deterrence.”

Of course, what the DOJ says above as to the deterrent value of NPAs or DPAs would equally apply to actual prosecutions.

But let’s test the following statement made by the DOJ  “One of the best sources of anecdotal evidence demonstrating that DPAs and NPAs have a deterrent effect comes from the companies themselves. The companies against which DPAs and NPAs have been brought have often undergone dramatic changes.”

In 2008, the DOJ announced (here) that Aibel Group Ltd. (Aibel Group) pleaded guilty to violating the antibribery provisions of the FCPA.  As noted in the DOJ release, “Aibel Group admitted that it was not in compliance with a deferred prosecution agreement it had entered into with the Justice Department in February 2007 regarding the same underlying conduct.”  The DOJ release further states as follows.  “This is the third time since July 2004 that entities affiliated with Aibel Group have pleaded guilty to violating the FCPA.”

As this previous Wall Street Journal Corruption Currents post highlighted, Ingersoll-Rand, fresh off its exit of a DPA in 2011, soon disclosed that it found other potential violations of the FCPA.  In a 2011 filing, the company stated as follows.

“We have reported to the DOJ and SEC certain matters which raise potential issues under the FCPA and other applicable anti-corruption laws, including matters which were reported during the past year. We have conducted, and continue to conduct, investigations and have had preliminary discussions with respect to these matters with the SEC and DOJ, which are ongoing.”

So the question remains, do NPAs and DPAs deter?

It turns out that not even the DOJ knows the answer.

*****

Interested in NPA and DPA issues?  On May 3rd, I will be speaking at this event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.  hosted by Corporate Crime Reporter.

What If?

Monday, November 26th, 2012

What if, instead of issuing guidance in 2012, the DOJ would have issued guidance in 1988 after Congress, as part of the FCPA’s 1988 amendments, encouraged the DOJ to issue such guidance?

For instance, a relevant House Report stated as follows.  “In order to enhance compliance with the provisions of the FCPA [the FCPA amendment] establishes a procedure for the [DOJ] to issue guidance describing examples of activities that would or would not conform with the [DOJ’s] present enforcement policy regarding FCPA violations.”

The Sixth Circuit noted that the 1998 amendments “clearly evince[d] a preference for compliance in lieu of prosecution; however, in response to Congress’s suggestion, the DOJ determined in 1990 that “no guidelines are necessary.”  (See here and here for prior posts).

What if, instead of issuing guidance in 2012, the enforcement agencies would have issued guidance in 2002 after the OECD, in its Phase 2 Report of the U.S., encouraged the U.S. to issue such guidance?

In pertinent part, the OECD Report stated as follows.  “Despite the abundance of articles and commentaries on [the FCPA], there is only limited amount of authoritative or official guidance available on compliance with the twenty five-year statute.  […]  Much of the authority or guidance regarding the Act comes from speeches from DOJ and SEC officials, DOJ opinions, DOJ and SEC complaints, settlements that have been filed, and informal discussions of issues between companies’ counsel and the DOJ or the SEC.  […]  The status of these various sources of information is however not always clear:  there could be merit in regrouping and consolidating them in a single guidance document.”

The OECD Phase 2 Report concluded on this issue as follows.  “In the view of the lead examiners, the time has come to explore the need for further forms of guidance, mainly to assist new players […] on the international scene, and to provide a valuable risk management tool to guide companies through some of the pitfalls which might arise in structuring international transactions involving potential exposures.”

What if, instead of issuing FCPA guidance in 2012, the enforcement agencies would have issued guidance in 2010 after the OECD, this time in its October 2010 Phase 3 Report of the U.S., stated as follows.  “The evaluators recommend that the United States consider consolidating and summarizing [all relevant sources of FCPA information] to ensure easy accessibility, especially for [companies] which face limited resources.”

Despite Congress suggesting FCPA guidance in 1988, and repeated OECD recommendations for guidance in 2002 and 2010, the DOJ refused to issue guidance.

For instance, in the aftermath of a November 30, 2010 Senate FCPA hearing, Senator Amy Klobuchar asked the DOJ the following post-hearing question.  “Do you believe companies could comply with more certainty with the FCPA if they were provided with more generally-applicable guidance from the Department in regards to situations covered by the FCPA that are not clear cut or fall into ‘gray’ area.”   The DOJ response was that it “believes it provides clear guidance with respect to FCPA enforcement through a variety of means” and it then listed the same general categories of information the OECD identified in 2002 as being deficient. (See here).

Although the enforcement agencies state in the Guidance that its issuance was “in part, a response to [the OECD’s] Phase 3 recommendations” the DOJ’s above response after the OECD Phase 3 recommendations calls into question the genuineness of this motivation.

Another likely motive for issuing the Guidance was the desire of the enforcement agencies to forestall introduction of an actual FCPA reform bill.

As to this issue, the following background is relevant.  After the November 2010 Senate FCPA hearing, FCPA reform gained steam heading into a June 2011 House hearing.  The House hearing evidenced bi-partisan support for certain aspects of FCPA reform and at the conclusion of the hearing Chair James Sensenbrenner stated that “we will be drafting [an FCPA reform] bill.  (See here).  Against this backdrop, in November 2011, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer announced that in 2012 the DOJ intended to issue FCPA guidance.  (See here).

Those on Capitol Hill who were inclined to introduce an FCPA reform bill said that they would await DOJ’s FCPA guidance before introducing such a bill.  (See here).   That the Guidance was issued very soon after the November presidential election, during a lame duck Congress, would seem to advance, in addition to the above information, the notion that issuance and the timing of the Guidance was in part political.

Regardless of the enforcement agencies’ motivations in issuing the Guidance when they did, it is telling that it took over a year – from the time of Breuer’s announcement –  to issue the Guidance.  After all, both the DOJ and SEC have specific FCPA units and both enforcement agencies have indicated, in various ways and in various settings, that the FCPA is a clear and unambiguous statute.

The point is this.

While the Guidance is a useful resource guide as it collects in one document the positions and policies of the enforcement agencies, and for this the agencies deserve credit and a pat on the back, the pat on the back could have and should have occurred a long time ago.

Those who closely follow the FCPA are left to wonder what if the Guidance was issued two years, ten years, or twenty-four years ago?