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Current CEO Of LAN Airlines Resolves SEC FCPA Enforcement Action Based On A Payment He Authorized 10 Years Ago In Connection With A Labor Dispute

Monday, February 8th, 2016

PlazaLast week was busy for SEC Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement.

First, there was the $3.9 million enforcement action against SAP (see here).

Then, there was the $12.8 million enforcement action against SciClone Pharmaceuticals (see here).

And then, as highlighted in this post, there was an individual action against Ignacio Cueto Plaza, the current CEO of LAN Airlines (pictured at left).

The Cueto enforcement action was noteworthy in at least five respects.

  • First, it was a rare SEC individual FCPA enforcement action (the Cueto action represents only the fourth core individual action since April 2012).
  • Second, it was an FCPA enforcement action against a CEO (rarely do individual FCPA enforcement actions involve an executive officer).
  • Third, it was an FCPA enforcement action against an existing CEO (most individual FCPA enforcement involve former employees because the company, as part of its remedial measures, terminates the employee found to be in violation of the FCPA).
  • Fourth, even though most FCPA enforcement actions are based on “old” conduct, a 2016 enforcement action based on 2006 conduct stretches the credibility of the SEC’s enforcement program to a new level, coupled with the fact that a U.S. law enforcement agency brought an enforcement action against a Chilean citizen based on alleged improper conduct in Argentina.
  • Fifth, most FCPA enforcement actions, even those that “only” charge or find FCPA books and records and internal controls violations, are still based on the alleged “foreign officials.” In this regard, the Cueto enforcement action is vague whether the SEC viewed the Argentine “union officials” to be “foreign officials” under the FCPA. If the SEC did view the “union officials” as such, it stretches the definition of “foreign official” even further. If the SEC did not view the “union officials” as foreign officials, the Cueto action represents a rare enforcement action concerning improper booking and insufficient internal controls concerning an instance of commercial bribery.

In this administrative action, the SEC found as follows.

“In 2006 and 2007, Ignacio Cueto Plaza (“Cueto”), the CEO of LAN Airlines S.A. (“LAN”), authorized $1.15 million in improper payments to a third party consultant in Argentina in connection with LAN’s attempts to settle disputes on wages and other work conditions between LAN Argentina S.A. (“LAN Argentina”), a subsidiary of LAN, and its employees. At the time, Cueto understood that it was possible the consultant would pass some portion of the $1.15 million to union officials in Argentina. The payments were made pursuant to an unsigned consulting agreement that purported to provide services that Cueto understood would not occur. Cueto authorized subordinates to make the payments that were improperly booked in the Company’s books and records, which circumvented LAN’s internal accounting controls.”

Cueto is described as follows.

” [A] Chilean citizen and, since 2012, has been CEO of LAN. From 1995 to 1998, Cueto served as President of LAN Cargo, a LAN subsidiary located in Miami, Florida. He served on the Board of Directors of LAN from 1995 to 1997. From 1999 to 2005, Cueto was CEO of LAN’s passenger airline business. In 2005, Cueto became President and COO of LAN Airlines S.A. He remained in that position until June of 2012, when LAN merged with Brazilian Airline TAM, S.A. (“TAM”) and became LATAM Airlines Group S.A. (“LATAM”). Cueto remains CEO of LAN, which is now part of LATAM.”

The enforcement action focuses the “obstacles that LAN might face in trying to enter the Argentine airline market.” Under the heading “LAN Faces Major Issues Upon Entering the Argentine Market,” the order states:

“Upon entering the Argentine passenger airline market LAN immediately faced several major issues impacting its viability and began losing money. First, it needed to meet demands from labor unions representing the employees acquired from LAFSA and Southern Winds. Second, LAN needed majority ownership of its Argentine subsidiary, and therefore had to persuade the Argentine government to change its existing law on foreign ownership of domestic airlines and to increase caps on airfares. Third, LAN needed regulatory authorization to operate various flight routes, both domestically and internationally, in Argentina. Since the Argentine passenger airline market was heavily regulated by the government, particularly officials within the Department of Transportation who had close ties to the unions, LAN sought help from the government officials with each of these issues.

In early 2006, the consultant again contacted the Vice President of Business Development and offered to assist LAN in Argentina. By this time, the consultant was a government official in the Ministry of Federal Planning, Public Investment and Services, Department of Transportation. On January 31, 2005, the Secretary of Transportation appointed the consultant as a Cabinet Advisor “ad-honorem.”

LAN executives, including Cueto, knew that for LAN Argentina to become profitable it would need an infusion of cash. LAN asked Argentine government officials to liberalize the laws on foreign ownership so that LAN could own a majority share of LAN Argentina and sought government authorization to raise regulated airfares. On or about August 8, 2006, the President of Argentina signed a Decree that enabled LAN to become a majority owner of LAN Argentina and allowed LAN to raise airfares by 20%. LAN Argentina was also awarded critical additional flight routes by the Transportation Secretary.”

Under the heading “LAN Encounters Problems with the Unions in Argentina,” the order states:

“As part of the deal that LAN reached with the Argentine government in March 2005, LAN was required to hire between six and eight hundred employees from the defunct LAFSA and Southern Winds airlines. LAN was bound by the existing bargaining agreements between LAFSA, Southern Winds and the labor unions.

There were five unions representing airline employees in Argentina. They included the grounds crew union, the Asociación del Personal Aeronáutico (APA), the pilots’ union, the Asociación de Pilotos de Lineas Aereas (APLA), the mechanics’ union, Asociacion del Personal Técnico Aeronáutico (APTA), the flight attendants’ union, Asociación de Tripulantes de Cabina de Pasajeros de Empresas Aerocomerciales (ATCPEA), and the supervisors’ union, Unión del Personal Superior y Profesional de Empresas Aerocomerciales (UPSA).

All of the unions were powerful and unafraid to make demands on LAN. They sought wage increases and additional benefits, and used the terms of their respective Collective Bargaining Agreements (“CBAs”) as leverage. These labor agreements contained provisions that LAN believed were unfavorable, such as restrictions on the hours employees could work and their work locations.

The mechanics’ union, the flight attendants’ union and the supervisors’ union each had a single-function rule contained in their CBAs. The single-function rule was a provision that limited workers from performing more than one work function at a time for LAN. The single-function rule was loosely interpreted and for the most part not enforced by the unions. Had it been enforced, the single-function rule would have required LAN to double its work force and would have seriously imperiled LAN’s ability to continue its operations in Argentina.

Around 2006 the unions began campaigning for wage increases. The unions threatened to enforce the single-function rule unless LAN Argentina agreed to a substantial wage increase. LAN’s management, including Cueto, attempted to negotiate on the wage issues but made no progress and things worsened over time. Eventually there were work stoppages and slowdowns on the part of the workforce, including strikes involving the pilots’ and the mechanics’ unions.”

Under the heading “Cueto Approves Improper Payments,” the order states:

“Beginning in the summer of 2006, the consultant supplied LAN executives with information on how to deal with specific union members and the unions in general. Eventually, the consultant offered to negotiate directly with the unions on LAN’s behalf, making it clear that he would expect compensation for such negotiations, and that payments would be made to third parties who had influence over the unions. After his staff informed Cueto that the consultant was well connected with the unions and could effectively negotiate an agreement with union officials, Cueto approved the retention of the consultant.

During the summer of 2006, Cueto approved payments totaling $1,150,000 to the consultant in connection with LAN’s attempts to settle disputes on wages and other work conditions with the unions. At the time, Cueto understood that it was possible the consultant would pass some portion of the $1.15 million to union officials in Argentina. Cueto approved the payments to get the unions to abandon their threats to enforce the single-function rule and to get them to accept a wage increase lower than the amount asked for in negotiations. LAN and the consultant agreed that LAN would make the payment to a company controlled by the consultant in Argentina. In 2006, LAN did not have a policy requiring that due diligence be performed on consultants, and neither Cueto nor LAN conducted any due diligence on the consultant or any of his related entities.

Around August 2006, Cueto’s staff informed him that the consultant had reached an oral agreement to settle the wage dispute with the mechanics’ union on LAN’s behalf. Although the existing Collective Bargaining Agreement with the mechanics’ union would remain unchanged, Cueto understood that the union would orally agree not to seek enforcement of the single-function rule for a period of four years in exchange for a wage increase of approximately 6 15% of salary. The wage increase of approximately 15% was lower than the amount originally sought by the mechanics’ union.

Around August 2006, the flight attendants’ and supervisors’ unions both agreed to accept wage increases of approximately 15% and 10% respectively of salaries. The amounts were lower than the amounts originally sought by each union.”

Under the heading, “Cueto Authorized Improper Payments That Were Not Accurately and Fairly Feflected on LAN’s Books and Records,” the order states:

“Cueto directed subordinates to make the improper payments. The improper payments authorized by Cueto were improperly described in the books and records as “other debtors” costs in a LAN subsidiary that had no role in LAN’s argentine business.”

Under the heading, “Cueto Caused LAN’s Internal Accounting Control Failure,” the order states:

“As President and Chief Operating Officer of LAN, Cueto, along with others, was responsible for devising and maintaining compliance with internal accounting controls at LAN. Cueto did not follow the company’s existing internal accounting controls when he authorized the payment of $1,150,000 to the consultant’s company and failed to prevent the payment of $58,000 to another company owned by consultant’s son and wife. Cueto received and approved the sham contract for the consultant’s company to provide consulting services to LAN, knowing that such services would never be provided. Cueto also authorized payment of invoices from the consultant’s company that contained a description of services listed on the invoices that was false.”

Based on the above findings, the order finds that Cueto caused books and records and internal controls violations by LAN and that Cueto also knowingly circumvented or knowingly failed to implement a system of internal accounting controls or knowingly falsified book, record or account and that Cueto also violated falsified or cause to be falsified, a book, record, or account.

Under the heading “Remedial Actions and Undertakings,” the order states:

“As the CEO of LAN, which is now a division of LATAM, Cueto is subject to LATAM’s enhanced compliance structure and internal accounting controls. Cueto is required to certify compliance with LATAM’s new Code of Conduct that was adopted in 2013, as well as other internal corporate policies, including an Anti-Corruption Guide, a Gifts, Travel, Hospitality and Entertainment Policy, an Escalation Policy, and Procurement and Payment policies.

Cueto has attended the Corporate Governance Training provided by the LATAM Chief Compliance Officer and has provided a certification confirming acknowledgement of the Code of Conduct, the relevant applicable regulations, as well as the Company policies. Cueto has also executed an amendment to his employment agreement whereby Respondent acknowledges having been informed regarding the LATAM Manual for the Prevention of Corruption, among other matters, and his responsibilities to perform his duties with the highest ethical standards, in compliance with all Company Policies and Procedures.

[...]

Cueto also undertakes to attend all anti-corruption training sessions required for senior executives at LAN. These sessions will include, but are not limited to, both live and online anti-corruption trainings to be completed on at least an annual basis and according to LAN’s Compliance Department’s training schedule. These sessions will include, in addition to anticorruption laws and regulations, such as the FCPA, training on anti-trust laws, the Company’s Code of Conduct and all other applicable policies that each LAN employee must follow. After the conclusion of each session Cueto will sign the appropriate documentation that acknowledges his attendance and understanding of the topics presented. Should LAN modify the schedule of such  training sessions for any reason, Cueto will, so long as he is a senior executive of LAN, attend a comparable anti-corruption session on an annual basis and complete appropriate documentation attesting to his attendance and the session’s contents.”

Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, Cueto agreed to cease and desist from future legal violations and agreed to pay a $75,000 civil penalty.

Cueto was represented by Richard Grime (Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher –  a former Assistant Director of Enforcement at the SEC heavily involved in FCPA enforcement). Commenting generally on the SEC’s evolving and expansive FCPA enforcement theories, Grime recently stated:

“It’s not that you couldn’t intellectually [conceive of] the violation. It’s that the government is sort of probing every area where there is an interaction with government officials and then working backwards from there to see if there is a violation, as opposed to starting out with the statute … and what it prohibits.”

“Golf In The Morning And Beer-Drinking In the Evening” – SciClone Pharmaceuticals Resolves $12.8 Million FCPA Enforcement Action For Subsidiary’s Marketing And Promotional Activities

Friday, February 5th, 2016

Golf and BeerYesterday, the SEC released this administrative action finding that SciClone Pharmaceuticals (a California pharmaceutical company with a China-focused business) violated the FCPA’s anti-bribery, books and records and internal controls provisions.

The conduct at issue related to the marketing and promotional activities of SciClone Pharmaceuticals International Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of SciClone incorporated in the Cayman Islands with an affiliate in Hong Kong.

Among other things of value provided to healthcare professionals employed by state-owned hospitals in China were weekend trips, foreign language classes, “golf in the morning and beer drinking in the evening,” and travel to the Grand Canyon and Disneyland.

In summary fashion, the SEC’s order states:

“From at least 2007 to 2012, employees of SciClone subsidiaries, who acted as agents of SciClone in conducting business in China, gave money, gifts and other things of value to foreign officials, including healthcare professionals (“HCPs”) who were employed by state-owned hospitals in China, in order to obtain sales of SciClone pharmaceutical products. Various means were employed, and these schemes were known to and condoned by various managers within SciClone’s China-based corporate structure. The related transactions were falsely recorded in SciClone’s books and records as legitimate business expenses, such as sponsorships, travel and entertainment, conferences, honoraria, and promotion expenses. During this period, SciClone also failed to devise and maintain a sufficient system of internal accounting controls and lacked an effective anti-corruption compliance program.”

The conduct at issue largely focused on SciClone Pharmaceuticals International Ltd. (“SPIL”) which is described as a wholly-owned subsidiary of SciClone that is incorporated in the Cayman Islands with an affiliate in Hong Kong. According to the order:

“SciClone operates internationally primarily through subsidiaries, including SPIL and SPIL’s wholly-owned subsidiaries that sell and promote SciClone’s products in China. SciClone directs the relevant operations of SPIL and its subsidiaries and oversees SPIL’s operations through various means including through the appointment of directors and officers of SPIL, review and approval of its annual budget, business and financial goals, and oversight of its legal, audit, and compliance functions. SciClone also reviews and approves annual marketing and promotion budgets of SPIL and its subsidiaries. During relevant periods, some SciClone officers also served as officers and/or directors of SPIL, traveled frequently to China to participate in the management of SPIL, and were responsible for negotiating its contracts with its Chinese distributors. SPIL’s books and records are consolidated by SciClone and reported in its financial statements.”

Under the heading “Facts,” the order states:

“Although SciClone has local distributor relationships in China, its sales and marketing activities there are conducted through SPIL. Sales representatives in China regularly reported to senior management of SPIL on their efforts to increase sales. In these reports, sales representatives openly referred to instances in which they provided weekend trips, vacations, gifts, expensive meals, foreign language classes, and entertainment to HCPs in order to obtain an increase in prescriptions from those HCPs. As described by one sales manager, this was “luring them with the promise of profit.”

Some sales representatives referred to those HCPs with the greatest impact on their sales volume as VIP clients, and provided details on their volume of prescriptions when reporting to SPIL. This practice was known and encouraged by certain former SPIL managers at the time SPIL and SciClone had overlapping officers and/or directors. These reports included such things as:

  • In August 2005, numerous surgical VIP clients including several hospital presidents attended the annual Qingdao Beer Festival consisting of golf in the morning and beer-drinking in the evening. In later years, SPIL continued to sponsor VIPs to the annual festival.
  • In February 2007, VIP clients were provided with vacations to Anji, China.
  • In November 2007, a sales representative recounted the experience of recruiting a VIP client by paying for family vacations and regular family dinners through an employee expense account. The sales representative attributed a nearly four-fold sales increase to that VIP as a result.

In 2007, SciClone submitted a license application to the State Food and Drug Administration for a new medical device product and had a renewal pending for its largest product. SciClone hired a well-connected regulatory affairs specialist (“Specialist”) to facilitate that licensing.

The Specialist arranged trips for two foreign officials to attend an academic conference in Greece at SciClone’s expense. The conference was solely related to the new medical device. One of the foreign officials had oversight over new product approvals, and the other foreign official had oversight over renewals for existing licensed products. At the time the trip was arranged, both SciClone’s renewal application and its application for a new license were pending.

As the foreign officials were unable to obtain travel visas in time to attend the conference in Greece, the Specialist instead provided them at least $8,600 in lavish gifts. The Specialist submitted two expense reimbursements for the gifts, the first of which was approved by the senior vice president of SPIL.

After learning of the gifts, SciClone terminated the Specialist and conducted an internal investigation related to the Specialist’s conduct and practices in China. The review did not look more broadly at sales and marketing practices in China. No further action or remedial measures were taken by SciClone or SPIL after the conclusion of the internal investigation in 2008.

Local Chinese travel companies were routinely hired to provide services (such as arranging transportation, accommodations, and meals for HCPs) in connection with what were ostensibly legitimate conferences, seminars, and other events. In addition to a lack of due diligence for these third party vendors, prior to 2012, there was a lack of controls over the events to ensure they had an appropriate business purpose and that the events actually occurred. Many events did not include a legitimate educational purpose or the educational activities were minimal in comparison to the sightseeing or recreational activities. For example:

  • Between at least 2008 and 2010, SciClone sponsored dozens of Chinese HCPs to attend liver and oncology conferences in the United States. While a portion of the travel was devoted to educational purposes, it also consisted of significant sightseeing that involved, for example, travel to Las Vegas and Los Angeles with tours of the Grand Canyon or Disneyland.
  • In April 2010, SPIL sponsored Chinese HCPs to attend a seminar in Japan regarding Zadaxin, its principle product. While a portion of the meeting appeared to involve half a day of educational activities, the remaining six days involved sightseeing and tourist locations such as Mt. Fuji.
  • In March 2010, SPIL held its annual sales meeting in China on the island of Hainan, a resort destination. The sales meeting was attended by the sales representatives and senior management from SPIL. The weekend before the sales meeting, SPIL hosted VIP clients to a weekend stay on Hainan. There was no educational component to the VIP clients’ stay.

As part of its remedial efforts, SciClone conducted a detailed, comprehensive internal review of promotion expenses of employees from 2011 to early 2013. This review found high exception rates indicating violations of corporate policy that ranged from fake fapiao, inconsistent amounts or dates with fapiao, excessive gift or meal amounts, unverified events, doctored honoraria agreements, and duplicative meetings. A portion of the funds generated through the reimbursements were used as part of the sales practices described above that continued through at least 2012.”

Based on the above, the SEC found as follows:

“SciClone through SPIL violated [the anti-bribery provisions] by providing things of value to foreign officials, including healthcare professionals (“HCPs”) who were employed by state-owned hospitals in China, in order to obtain sales of SciClone pharmaceutical products. SciClone violated [the books and records provisions] by improperly recording the payments to health care providers as sales, marketing, and promotion expenses. The false entries were initially recorded by SPIL which were then consolidated and reported by SciClone in its consolidated financial statements. SciClone violated [the internal controls provisions] by failing to devise and maintain a sufficient system of internal accounting controls to detect and prevent the making of improper payments to foreign officials.”

Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, SciClone is required to cease and desist from committing future FCPA violations and agreed to pay approximately $12.8 million ($9,426,000 in disgorgement and prejudgment interest of $900,000 as well as a $2.5 million civil penalty).

In resolving the action, SciClone agreed to “report to the Commission staff periodically, at no less than nine-month intervals during a three-year term, the status of its remediation and implementation of compliance measures.” Specifically, SciClone is required to “submit to the Commission staff a written report within 180 calendar days of the entry of this Order setting forth a complete description of its Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) and anti-corruption related remediation efforts to date, its proposals reasonably designed to improve the policies and procedures of Respondent for ensuring compliance with the FCPA and other applicable anticorruption laws, and the parameters of the subsequent reviews.” In addition, SciClone is required to ”undertake at least three follow-up reviews, incorporating any comments provided by the Commission staff on the previous report, to further monitor and assess whether the policies and procedures of Respondent are reasonably designed to detect and prevent violations of the FCPA and other applicable anti-corruption laws.”

Under the heading “Remedial Efforts,” the order states:

“SciClone has taken steps to improve its internal accounting controls and to create a dedicated compliance function. These include the following: (1) hiring a compliance officer for its China operations; (2) undertaking an extensive review of the policies and procedures surrounding employee travel and entertainment reimbursements; (3) substantially reducing the number of suppliers providing third-party travel and event planning services; (4) improving its policies and procedures around third-party due diligence and payments; (5) incorporating anticorruption provisions in its third-party contracts; (6) providing anti-corruption training to its third-party travel and event planning vendors; (7) disciplining employees (and their managers) who violate SciClone’s policies; and (8) creating an internal audit department and compliance department.”

In this release, SciClone’s Chief Executive Officer (Friedhelm Blobel) commented: “We are very pleased to have reached a final settlement with the SEC and DOJ that is in line with our previous expectations and brings this matter to conclusion. We believe that we have established an industry-leading compliance program, including a commitment to constant improvement, which is a key business asset. We look forward to continuing to focus on providing high quality medicines to patients, growing our business and creating value for our shareholders.”

John Dwyer and Jessica Valenzuela Santamaria (Cooley) represented SciClone.

Registration Opens For The FCPA Institute – Nashville (May 2-3)

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

FCPA InstituteSince its launch in July 2014, the FCPA Institute has elevated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act knowledge and practical skills of lawyers, accountants, compliance professionals and business executives from around the world.

After successful events in Milwaukee (July 2014), Miami (January 2015), Houston (May 2015), Washington, D.C. (August 2015), and Miami (January 2016), the FCPA Institute is next making a stop in Nashville, TN on May 2nd-3rd and will be hosted by Bass Berry & Sims.

The FCPA Institute is different from other FCPA conferences as information is presented in an integrated and cohesive manner by an expert instructor with FCPA practice and teaching experience.  Moreover, the FCPA Institute promotes active learning by participants through issue-spotting video exercises, skills exercises, small-group discussions, and the sharing of real-world practices and experiences.

To best facilitate the unique learning experience that the FCPA Institute represents, attendance at each FCPA Institute is capped at 30 participants. Click here to learn more about the FCPA Institute and to register for the Nashville event.

At the end of the FCPA Institute, participants can elect to have their knowledge assessed and can earn a certificate of completion upon passing a written assessment tool.  In this way, successful completion of the FCPA Institute represents a value-added credential for professional development. In addition, attorneys who complete the FCPA Institute may be eligible to receive Continuing Legal Education (“CLE”) credits.

Institute LogosLeading law firms and companies across a variety of industry sectors have chosen the FCPA Institute to elevate the FCPA knowledge and practical skills of their employees.

Representatives from the organizations at left have attended the FCPA Institute and set forth below is a sampling of what FCPA Institute “graduates” have said about their experience.

*****

“Unlike other FCPA conferences where one leaves with a spinning head and unanswered questions, I left the FCPA Institute with a firm understanding of the nuts and bolts of the FCPA, the ability to spot issues, and knowledge of where resources can be found that offer guidance in resolving an issue.  The limited class size of the FCPA Institute ensured that all questions were answered and the interactive discussion among other compliance professionals was fantastic.” (Rob Foster, In-House Counsel, Oil and Gas Company)

“The FCPA Institute was one of the best professional development investments of time and money that I have made since law school. The combination of black letter law and practical insight was invaluable. I would highly recommend the FCPA Institute to any professional who has compliance, ethics, legal or international business responsibilities.” (Norm Keith, Partner, Fasken Martineau, Toronto).

“The FCPA Institute is very different than other FCPA conferences I have attended.  It was interactive, engaging, thought-provoking and at the completion of the Institute I left feeling like I had really learned something new and useful for my job.  The FCPA Institute is a must-attend for all compliance folks (in-house or external).” (Robert Wieck, CPA, CIA, CFE, Forensic Audit Senior Manager, Oracle Corporation)

The FCPA Institute is a top-flight conference that offers an insightful, comprehensive review of the FCPA enforcement landscape.  Professor Koehler’s focus on developing practical skills in an intimate setting really sets it apart from other FCPA conferences.  One of the best features of the FCPA Institute is its diversity of participants and the ability to learn alongside in-house counsel, company executives and finance professionals. (Blair Albom, Associate, Debevoise & Plimpton)

“The FCPA Institute was a professionally enriching experience and substantially increased my understanding of the FCPA and its enforcement. Professor Koehler’s extensive insight and practical experience lends a unique view to analyzing enforcement actions and learning compliance best practices. I highly recommend the FCPA Institute to practitioners from all career stages.” (Sherbir Panag, MZM Legal, Mumbia, India)

“The FCPA Institute provided an in-depth look into the various forces that have shaped, and that are shaping, FCPA enforcement.  The diverse group of participants provided unique insight into how, at a practical level, various professionals evaluate risk and deal with FCPA issues on a day-to-day basis.  The small group setting, the interactive nature of the event, and the skills assessment test all set the FCPA Institute apart from other FCPA conferences or panel-based events.” (John Turlais, Senior Counsel, Foley & Lardner)

A Tribute To Andrew Smith

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

SmithFCPA Professor goes off-topic today to pay respect to Andrew Smith, a former Butler University basketball player who passed away of cancer yesterday at the age of 25. (For media coverage of Smith’s passing see hereherehere and here. For prior media coverage regarding Smith’s battle with cancer see herehere and here).

I can’t claim to have know Smith very well.

However, I did enjoy having him as a top student when I taught at Butler University (2009-2012) and was otherwise impressed with how he  interacted with others (including my young boys) on campus during those exciting years when he was a key player on Butler’s basketball team which made back to-back national championship appearances (a feat which seems all the more amazing with each passing year). Butler is such a small place where everyone, it seemed, felt a connection to the student-athletes.

My heart aches for those who did know Smith well, including his friends and family, particularly his wife who has moved and inspired many through her frequent blog posts on Andrew’s condition and their battle.

Any kid who has picked up a basketball has dreamed of that “one shining moment” and a national championship game. However, what happened to Smith and his body in such a short time is the stuff of nightmares.

Death of course is inevitable.

But when a young person with a full and promising life ahead passes away in the manner that Smith did, it is heartbreaking and should cause us to pause and ponder our blessings for the things we often take for granted.

The spouse we get to grow old with, the children we have and the opportunity to watch them grow before our eyes, the career we have and find meaning in, as well as the other seemingly mundane aspects of daily life.

Life being what it is, we often view the above pleasures as rights. Yet the truth is, they are privileges – privileges not all get to experience.

Here’s to you Andrew Smith – may you rest in peace. Thanks for the memories.

Thank You For Reading FCPA Professor In 2015

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

ThankYou5Thank you for making FCPA Professor a part of your day in 2015.  264 posts were published this year.

Launched in 2009, FCPA Professor continues to grow and 2015 set a record in terms of site visits from readers around the world.

Described as “the Wall Street Journal concerning all things FCPA-related,” and “the most authoritative source for those seeking to understand and apply the FCPA,”  FCPA Professor has been named a Top Law Blog for in-house counsel by Corporate Counsel, a Top 25 Business Law Blog by LexisNexis, and a top 100 Legal Blog by the American Bar Association.  

I appreciate the trust and confidence you place in me every day by visiting FCPA Professor. Running this website is a responsibility I take very seriously and my pledge to readers is to always provide comprehensive and candid coverage of FCPA and related topics.

A further goal of FCPA Professor has always been to provide a forum for analysis and discussion of the FCPA and related topics by others.  In 2015, dozens of guest posts were published and contributors included practitioners, compliance professionals, professors and students from around the world.

If you have something unique to say about an FCPA or related topic, please consider making your voice heard on FCPA Professor in 2016.

Again, thank you for reading FCPA Professor.  If you got your FCPA from FCPA Professor in 2015, you can help support this free website here.

I look forward to your readership and participation in 2016.