Archive for the ‘Paul Novak’ Category

“Our Stellar FCPA Unit Continues To Go Gangbusters, Bringing Case After Case”

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Last Friday, Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman delivered prepared remarks (here) at a Corporate Crime Reporter sponsored conference in Washington, D.C.  The conference focused on DOJ and SEC resolution policies and procedures.  While Raman’s remarks were broad in scope, a portion of her remarks focused on the FCPA, and in her first publicly released statements on the FCPA, Raman continued to employ much of the same FCPA rhetoric that defined Lanny Breuer’s tenure as Assistant Attorney General.   (See here for an article summarizing Breuer’s many FCPA speeches).

Raman began her FCPA remarks by stating as follows.  “Our stellar FCPA Unit continues to go gangbusters, bringing case after case.”  [Note, Raman's delivered remarks deviated from her prepared remarks as to this sentence]. 

Stellar?

The last three times the DOJ has been put to its ultimate burden of proof in FCPA cases, the end results were either acquittals or dismissals, including for prosecutorial misconduct.

In the Africa Sting cases, Judge Richard Leon stated as follows.  “This appears to be the end of a long and sad chapter in the annals of white collar criminal enforcement. . . . I for one hope this very long, and I’m sure very expensive, ordeal will be a true learning experience for both the [DOJ] and the FBI as they regroup to investigate and prosecute FCPA cases against individuals in the future.”

In the John O’Shea case, Judge Lynn Hughes stated  as follows: ‘‘The problem here is that the principal witness against Mr. O’Shea . . . knows almost nothing … [ ] The government should have been prepared before they brought the charges to the Grand Jury. . . . You shouldn’t indict people on stuff you can’t prove.’’

In the Lindsey Manufacturing case, Judge Howard Matz stated as follows.  “The instances of misconduct were so varied and occurred over such a long time that they add up to an unusual and extreme picture of a prosecution gone badly awry.”

[For more on the above cases, see my article "What Percentage of DOJ FCPA Losses Is Acceptable?"]

As to the FCPA, Raman further stated as follows [the remainder of the post is from the DOJ's release].

“Just in the last month, we announced charges against several key defendants in ongoing, active FCPA investigations, one case – with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan – involving an alleged bribery scheme to secure mining rights in the Republic of Guinea, and another – with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Connecticut – involving an alleged bribery scheme to secure power contracts in Indonesia.”

[...]

“In our FCPA prosecutions, too, we aggressively use all the tools available to us.  As is evident in our many recent foreign bribery cases, individual targets all over the globe are being charged and arrested, and many companies across a variety of industries have entered into guilty pleas and exacting deferred prosecution agreements with the government.  In reaching these dispositions, we can and do require companies to remediate their criminal practices – sometimes with the oversight of a corporate monitor.  By demanding remediation as part of such a resolution, we can clean up the misdeeds at a corporation in a lasting way.  Corporate leadership is often replaced.  We frequently require businesses to implement and sustain rigorous internal controls and compliance programs.  And the implementation of these sorts of internal controls by one company in a particular industry can often have a cascading, beneficial effect at other companies that follow suit.  You need only look to the effects of our FCPA enforcement program on corporate compliance culture to see that this is true.”

“Additionally, it is important to note that no matter how we proceed in any particular case, we always put a premium on securing cooperation from corporate entities, because meaningful cooperation enables us to hold criminally accountable to the fullest extent possible the widest possible range of bad actors, from individuals responsible for the criminal conduct to other business entities.  Simply put, a company’s cooperation – which can lead us to critical information about wrongdoing by executives and employees – can absolutely make the difference as we assess whether there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt sufficient to charge an individual.  Moreover, the value of this cooperation is only enhanced when our investigations cross international borders, as they frequently do.  We routinely face the reality that in many foreign jurisdictions there are legal roadblocks, including data privacy limits, to what U.S. law enforcement can obtain if it seeks to build a case; in those circumstances, the company’s cooperation can be the critical factor in our ability to hold individual wrongdoers to account.”

“Let me give you a recent example from the FCPA context.  In March 2012, we announced that we had entered into a DPA with BizJet International Sales and Support Inc., an aircraft services company, and an NPA with its parent company, Lufthansa Technik AG.  As part of the resolution, BizJet admitted to bribing Latin American officials in order to secure various services contracts.  And, critically for our prosecutors, BizJet also agreed, together with Lufthansa, to cooperate in our ongoing investigation, continue implementing an enhanced compliance program and internal controls, and pay $11.8 million in criminal penalties.  Our agreements with BizJet and Lufthansa laid the groundwork for us to bring felony charges against high-ranking corporate executives.  Just last month, we announced charges against four former BizJet executives, including the former president and CEO, and the former sales manager.  This example, among many others, proves that, no matter what form of criminal resolution we reach with a company, it decidedly does not mean immunity for its culpable employees – indeed, the opposite is true.”

*****

Despite several individual enforcement actions in April, the fact remains that since 2008 approximately 75% of DOJ FCPA enforcement actions,  have not  (at least yet) resulted in any DOJ charges against company employees.  (See here for the prior post with statistics through 2012).

Moreover, as indicated in this prior post, contrary to Raman’s remarks regarding the “form of criminal resolution,” since NPAs and DPAs were first introduced to the FCPA context in 2004, only 6.5% of corporate DOJ FCPA enforcement actions resolved solely with an NPA or DPA have resulted in related criminal charges of company employees.  This compares to 83% of corporate DOJ enforcement actions that were the result of a criminal indictment or resulted in a guilty plea by the corporate entity resulting in related criminal charges of company employees.

I presented these numbers at the conference during a panel on NPAs and DPAs.  Denis McInerney (DOJ, Deputy Assistant Attorney General) was on the panel and I stated that the ball was now in his court to explain this wide gap.  He described two enforcement actions resolved via an NPA or DPA in which there were indeed related individual prosecutions, but otherwise said that he did not know where these numbers are coming from.

The numbers are described in this prior post.  It was really quite easy calculating the numbers.  One simply takes all DOJ corporate enforcement actions since 2004 and then looks to see if there have been related individual actions against company employees.

During the panel, McInerney made an important acknowledgment.  After I discussed Gabrial Markoff’s excellent article “Arthur Anderson and the Myth of the Corporate Death Penalty” (see here for the prior post), McInerney agreed that there is a very small chance that a company would be put out of business as a result of actual DOJ criminal charges.  This was a notable acknowledgment in that the so-called “Arthur Anderson” effect has always been a central justification for the DOJ’s frequent use of NPAs and DPAs.  For instance, see this prior post regarding Lanny Breuer’s September 2012 NPA / DPA speech.  As fellow panelist Professor David Uhlmann (a frequent critic as well on DOJ’s use of NPAs and DPAs – see here) stated, the DOJ’s policy on NPAs and DPAs is a “policy is search of a rationale.”

*****

In other DOJ news, last Friday the DOJ announced (here) that Paul Novak (a former consultant for Willbros International who previously pleaded guilty – see here for the prior post) was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Simeon Lake (S.D.Tex.) to 15 months in prison and two years of supervised release.

Of perhaps greater note, Novak was ordered to pay a $1 million fine.  This is among the top individual FCPA criminal fines in history.

The DOJ’s release states that in sentencing Novak, “the court took into consideration the assistance Novak provided the government in ongoing investigations.”  Novak’s sentencing documents are under seal and not publicly available.

In May 2008, Willbros resolved parallel DOJ (here) and SEC (here) FCPA enforcement actions and agreed to pay approximately $32 million in combined fines and penalties.

Friday Roundup

Friday, August 20th, 2010

The Bribery Act is not the only thing delayed in the U.K., where in the world is James Tillery, Thai authorities looking into Alliance One and Universal Corp bribe recipients, and corporate directors appear satisfied … it’s all here in the Friday roundup.

BAE U.K. Plea Agreement Delayed

In a recent article in The Times (London), Alex Spence and David Robertson report that the BAE – SFO plea agreement “is unlikely to come before the courts for approval before November.”

In February (see here) the SFO announced that it “reached an agreement with BAE Systems that the company will plead guilty” to the offense of “failing to keep reasonably accurate accounting records in relation to its activities in Tanzania.” The SFO resolution was controversial given that BAE was viewed by many to have engaged in bribery around the world.

The Times reports “that the SFO fears that a judge may now refuse to approve the BAE settlement or increase the penalties imposed on the company.” The article indicates that “BAE, which has always denied bribery, is understood to be frustrated by the slow progress of the SFO case, but the delay is not thought to have had an impact on the company’s operations.”

James Tillery

In December 2008, James Tillery, a former executive of Willbros International Inc., and Paul Novak, a consultant to the company, were criminally charged “in connection with a conspiracy to pay more than $6 million in bribes to government officials in Nigeria and Ecuador …” (see here).

In November 2009, Novak pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and one substantive count of violating the FCPA (see here).

Tillery has apparently been hanging out in Nigeria, but is now apparently in custody according to various Nigerian news outlets. According to the sources, “Tillery was believed to have been handed over by officials of Interpol to officials of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).”

Apparently this occurred “without the knowledge of Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, who is supposed to be notified before such action is taken. Under section 6 of the Extradition Act, a request for extradition is supposed to be sent to the AGF who is supposed to arraign such a deportee before a magistrate court and upon the declaration of the magistrate, the deportee is deported accordingly.”

Then it was reported that Tillery’s extradition “was stopped by immigration officials at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos because he did not have a travel document.”

Then Tillery’s Nigerian lawyer apparently stepped in and said that the attempted extradition was a “grave assault on the sovereignty of Nigeria” and a violation of Nigeria’s Extradition Act because Tillery renounced his U.S. citizenship and became a Nigerian by naturalization in 2009. Thus, the lawyer argued that the U.S. needed to follow legal steps in Tillery’s extradition.

Then it was reported that Justice Abang Okon of the Federal High Court in Lagos ordered the Federal Government to halt its alleged plan to extradite Tillery from Nigeria to the U.S.

For more on Willbros Group and other individuals involved in related enforcement actions (see here and here).

Thai Authorities Investigating Alliance One / Universal Corp. Bribe Recipients

Earlier this month, the DOJ and SEC announced a joint FCPA enforcement action against tobacco companies Alliance One International Inc. and Universal Corporation. Certain of the allegations against both companies involved bribe payments to “Thai government officials to secure contracts with the Thailand Tobacco Monopoly (TTM), a Thai government agency, for the sale of tobacco leaf.” (See here).

In this prior post, I noted that it is potentially embarrassing for a foreign country to have “one of its own” profiled in a U.S. FCPA enforcement action. With increasing frequency, the end result is that the alleged “foreign official” bribe recipient becomes the subject of an “in-country” investigation.

As noted in this Bangkok Post article:

“A local investigation is expected into US allegations that Thailand Tobacco Monopoly staff accepted US$1.93 million (62 million baht) in bribes to buy Brazilian tobacco. The Department of Special Investigation has asked the Finance Ministry to file a complaint against the TTM staff so it can look into the allegations. DSI director-general Tharit Pengdit told the Bangkok Post yesterday the Finance Ministry, which supervises the state-owned cigarette maker, should file a complaint with the DSI so it can look into the US claims. [...] Sathit Limpongpan, permanent secretary for finance, said his ministry would work with the Justice Ministry to seek information from the US Justice Department and would conduct an initial investigation.”

Corporate Directors Are Satisfied

According to a recent legal survey by Corporate Board Member and FTI Consulting (see here), 90% of directors “are satisfied with their in-house legal department’s management” of FCPA issues.

A good weekend to all.

An FCPA Triangle

Friday, November 13th, 2009

First it was the company – Willsbros Group Inc. (see here).

Then, it was the company’s employees – Jim Bob Brown (see here) and Jason Steph (see here).

Finally, it is the company’s consultant – Paul Novak (see here).

An FCPA triangle of sorts.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for an FCPA square because, as has been noted in previous posts, the final piece of the puzzle … the “foreign official” will not be happening anytime soon as the FCPA only applies to the “briber-giver” not the “bribe-taker.”

As noted in the DOJ release, Novak (a former consultant for Willbros International Inc. – a subsidiary of Willbros Group Inc.) pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and one substantive count of violating the FCPA in connection with payments to Nigerian “foreign officials.”

Assistant Attorney General Breuer (the blog’s “person of the week” given his frequent mention here in the last few days) had this to say:

“The use of intermediaries to pay bribes will not escape prosecution under the FCPA. The Department will continue to hold accountable all the players in an FCPA scheme – from the companies and their executives who hatch the scheme, to the consultant they retain to carry it out.”

Of course, there still must be jurisdiction over the consultant, but this was not a problem in the Novak matter as he is a U.S. citizen and thus subject both to territorial jurisdiction (i.e. U.S. nexus – see 78dd-2(a)) or nationality jurisdiction (see 78dd-2(i)).

This isn’t the first time the DOJ has gone after consultants or agents. In March 2009, the DOJ unsealed indictments against U.K. citizens Jeffrey Tesler and Wojciech Chodan for their alleged roles in the KBR/Halliburton Nigeria bribery scheme. (see here for the DOJ release, here for the indictment).