Archive for the ‘Willbros Group’ Category

Of Note From The Bilfinger Enforcement Action

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

This previous post went long and deep as to the Bilfinger enforcement action.  This post continues the analysis by highlighting additional notable issues.

Comprehensive “Core” Enforcement Action

The Bilfinger enforcement action of course was not a new action (although it is likely to be counted as such in FCPA Inc. statistics).

Rather, the enforcement action is directly related to several other previous enforcement actions and thus part of one “core” enforcement action.  As alluded to in the previous post, the core conduct at issue in the Bilfinger enforcement action – involving the Eastern Gas Gathering System (EGGS) project in Nigeria – has also been the focus, in whole or in part, in the following enforcement actions: Willbros Group (2008), James Tillery and Paul Novak (2008), Jason Steph (2007), and Jim Brown (2006).

This makes the ”core” EGGS FCPA enforcement action stand out in terms of its comprehensive nature in that the action targeted two joint venture participants (Bilfinger and Willbros), Willbros employees (Tillery, Brown and Steph) and Willbros’s consultant (Novak).  Another FCPA enforcement action involving conduct in connection with the Bonny Island, Nigeria project was similarly broad in its scope (see here), but few FCPA enforcement actions are.

The question remains, why did it take approximately 5.5 years from the 2008 Willbros enforcement action for the Bilfinger enforcement action to occur?  After all, Bilfinger was mentioned in the Willbros enforcement action as “a German construction company, a subsidiary or affiliate of a multinational construction services company based in Mannheim, Germany.”

Repeat – FCPA Settlements Have Come a Long Way in a Short Amount of Time

This recent post highlighted how FCPA settlement amounts have come a long way in a short amount of time and posed the question – have FCPA settlement amounts increased … just because?

Consider that the Bilfinger and 2008 Willbros enforcement action involved the same EGGS project.

The DOJ’s DPA in Willbros does not set forth a detailed advisory Sentencing Guidelines calculation as is the norm in most current FCPA DPAs, including the Bilfinger DPA, but the DOJ settlement amount in Willbros was $22 million.  This $22 million settlement amount was in connection with not only the EGGS project, but also DOJ allegations that ”certain Willbros employees based in South America agreed to make approximately $300,000 in corrupt payments to Ecuadoran government officials of the state-owned oil company PetroEcuador and its subsidiary, PetroComercial, to assist in obtaining the Santo Domingo project, which involved the rehabilitation of approximately sixteen kilometers of a gas pipeline in Ecuador, running from Santo Domingo to El Beaterio.”

The DOJ settlement amount in Bilfinger was $32 million and this action involved only the EGGS project.

Misc.

As a foreign company, the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions apply to Bilfinger only to the extent a “means or instrumentality of interstate commerce” is used in connection with a bribery scheme.  Of note, in the Bilfinger information, the “means and instrumentality” used to support one substantive FCPA anti-bribery charge was a “flight from Houston, TX, to Boston, MA to discuss promised bribe payments.”

As a foreign non-issuer company, the most logical section of the FCPA anti-bribery provisions that Bilfinger would be subject to is dd-3 - “prohibited trade practices by persons other than issuers or domestic concerns.”

Yet, the DOJ information charges Bilfinger under dd-1 applicable to issuers and dd-2 applicable to domestic concerns.

For more on this aspect of the Bilfinger enforcement action, see here.

German Company Resolves FCPA Enforcement Action Based On Conduct From “The Distant Past”

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Approximately 8 years ago, a German company owned 80% of a German entity doing business in Nigeria.  The German entity doing business in Nigeria entered into a joint venture consortium agreement with subsidiaries of a Panamanian company.  The Panamanian company had principal places of business in the U.S. and had shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange.  The joint venture consortium allegedly made bribe payments to Nigerian officials.

The end result?

Why of course, $32 million dollars to the U.S. Treasury.

Yesterday, the DOJ announced (here) that “Bilfinger SE, an international engineering and services company based in Mannheim, Germany, has agreed to pay a $32 million penalty to resolve charges that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by bribing [Nigerian] government … to obtain and retain contracts related to the Eastern Gas Gathering System (EGGS) project, which was valued at approximately $387 million.”

As noted in the DOJ’s release, the EGGS has been the focus, in whole or in part, in several prior enforcement actions against Willbros Group, Jim Brown, Jason Steph, James Tillery and Paul Novak.

The enforcement action involved a DOJ criminal information resolved via a deferred prosecution agreement.

Information

The information alleges that Bilfinger conspired with others “to obtain and retain contracts related to the EGGS project through the promise and payment of over $6 million in bribes to officials of [the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation - NNPC], [National Petroleum Investment Management Services - a subsidiary of NNPC], the [dominant political party in Nigeria], an official in the executive branch of the Government of Nigeria, and others (collectively – the Nigerian Officials).”

According to the information, in 2003 Bilfinger ”agreed to create a joint venture with [Willbros West Africa, Inc. (WWA) and Willbros Nigeria Ltd. (WNL) - both subsidiaries of Willbros International Inc., a Panamanian corporation with principal places of business in the U.S. and with shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange] to bid on the EGGS contract and its optional scopes of work.”  In late 2003, [Bilfinger Berger Gas and Oil Services Nigeria Ltd. "BBGOS" - a German company based in Nigeria that was owned 80% by Bilfinger] and WWA/WNL executed a “Consortium Agreement” which formalized Bilfinger’s agreement to create a joint venture in connection with the EGGS project.”

According to the information, “Bilfinger and its coconspirators agreed that the EGGS Consortium would inflate the price of its bids for the EGGS project by 3% so it could cover the cost of paying bribes to Nigerian officials for their assistance in obtaining and retaining the EGGS project and its optional scopes of work.

The information alleges, among other things, that when other conspirators ”encountered difficulty obtaining money to make [their] share of the promised bribe payments to Nigerian officials,” Bilfinger agreed to those loan the other conspirators $1 million “with the understanding that the $1 million would be used to pay some of the promised bribe payments to Nigerian officials …”.

The information contains the following relevant jurisdictional allegations.

  • “[In 2004] WWA opened a bank account in the U.S. on behalf of the EGGS Consortium, in which payments for work conducted by the EGGS Consortium would be deposited and out of which payments would be made to BBGOS or WWA when authorized by both BBGOS and WWA.”
  • “[In 2005], Bilfinger Employee 1 [a German citizen] telephoned Bilfinger Employee 3 [a German citizen], who was in the United States, and asked Bilfinger Employee 3 to meet with Tillery in Boston, MA, to find out what payments had been promised to officials and whether [a relevant contract] was at risk because those payments had not yet been made.”
  • [In 2005], Bilfinger Employee 3 flew from Houston, TX, to Boston, MA, to meet with Tillery and inquire about the outstanding corrupt payments and the [relevant contract].”

Based on the above allegations, the information charges conspiracy to violate the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions and two substantive FCPA anti-bribery charges.  The two substantive charges are based on (1) a 2005 “flight from Houston, TX to Boston, MA to discuss promised bribe payments,” and (2) a 2005 “wire transfer of $2,804,496 from Houston, TX to Frankfurt, Germany in connection with the EGGS contract.”

DPA

The charges against Bilfinger were resolved via a DPA in which the company admitted, accepted, and acknowledged that it was responsible for the acts of its officers, directors, employees, and agents as charged in the information.

The DPA has a term of three years and under the heading “relevant considerations” it states:

“The Department enters into this Agreement based on the individual facts and circumstances presented by this case and the Company.  Among the facts considered were the following:  (a) the Company’s cooperation with the Department, albeit at a late date, including interviewing relevant employees and disclosing the facts learned during those interviews to the Department, facilitating the Department’s interviews of foreign employees; (b) the Company’s remediation efforts, including terminating the employment of certain employees responsible for the corrupt payments and disciplining others, and enhancing its compliance program and internal accounting controls; (c) the Company’s committment to continue to enhance its compliance program and internal accounting controls …; and (d) the Company’s agreement to continue to cooperate with the Department in any ongoing investigation of the conduct of the Company and its officers, directors, employees, agents, and consultants relating to violations of the FCPA …”.

Pursuant to the DPA, the advisory Sentencing Guidelines range for the conduct at issue was $28 million to $56 million.  The DPA states that the monetary penalty of $32 million “is appropriate given the facts and circumstances of this case, including the Company’s cooperation and remediation in this matter.”

Pursuant to the DPA, Bilfinger agreed to review its existing internal controls, policies and procedures regarding compliance with the FCPA and other applicable anti-corruption laws.   The specifics are detailed in Attachment C to the DPA.  The DPA also requires Bilfinger to engage a corporate compliance monitor for ”a period of not less than 18 months from the date the monitor is selected.”  The specifics, including the Monitor’s reporting obligations to the DOJ, are detailed in Attachment D to the DPA.

As is common in FCPA corporate enforcement actions, the DPA contains a “muzzle clause” prohibiting Bilfinger or anyone on its behalf from “contradicting the acceptance of responsibility by the company” as set forth in the DPA.

Sidley Austin attorneys Thomas Green and Jeffrey Green represented Bilfinger.

In this press release (which the company had to consult with the DOJ before releasing) Bilfinger CEO stated:

“We are pleased that we have now been able to put these events from the distant past behind us. In recent years, Bilfinger has consistently expanded its compliance instruments and today has a modern and efficient system.”

“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, April 13th, 2012

A costly monitor, Daimler’s DPA debacle, meeting releases, and another addition to the list (in an unusual way), it’s all here in the Friday roundup.

Willbros Monitor Costs

Earlier this week, Willbros Group announced (here) “that in connection with the Company’s completion of the requirements of the DPA and expiration of the term of the monitorship, on March 30, 2012, the DOJ filed a motion to dismiss the criminal charges filed previously against the Company stemming from legacy issues in Nigeria and South America in 2005 and prior years, which led to the DPA.”  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.

Pursuant to the May 2008 DOJ DPA, the monitor was supposed to be engaged by Willbros within 60 days.  However the company disclosed that its monitor was not engaged until September 25, 2009 – an astounding year plus delay in engaging the monitor.  Furthermore, although the monitor was supposed to serve a three year term per the DPA, the early termination provisions of the DPA apparently were triggered.  Even though the monitor got a late start and its three year term was trimmed, the Willbros monitor had a nice assignment.  Doing the math from figures disclosed in various SEC filings, the Willbros monitor cost has been approximately $10.2 million subject to increase for 1st quarter 2012 expenses ($3.6 million for the year ended Dec. 31, 2011; $4 million for the year ended Dec. 31, 2010; and $2.6 million for the year ended Dec. 31, 2009).

During a recent earnings conference call, Randy Harl (President and CEO of Willbros) stated as follows.  “The DOJ monitorship brought great positive change to Willbros in the form of a stronger compliance culture. The cost of the monitor and the major spending to establish the required controls and processes are behind us. However, we will continue to invest in a compliance culture.”

Daimler DPA Debacle

While Willbros’s DPA expired, Daimler’s DPA was extended.  As noted by Christopher Matthews in this Wall Street Journal Corruption Currents report, the two year DPA was set to expire, but was extended until December 31st.  As noted in this prior post, in April 2010, Daimler agreed to pay approximately $185 million to resolve parallel DOJ and SEC FCPA enforcement actions.  The prior post, along with this post, noted that the prosecution was a joke from the start, among other things, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon approved settlement on April Fool’s Day.  The DOJ’s release noted that Daimler (and three of its subsidiaries) “brazenly offered bribes in exchange for business around the world” and that Daimler “saw foreign bribery as a way of doing business.”  The DOJ alleged improper conduct all the way up to senior levels of the company, yet Daimler was not required to plead guilty to anything.

Instead Daimler was offered a two-year DPA. The term of the DPA could be extended if Daimler “knowingly violated any provision of the Agreement.”  This recently filed amendment to the DPA is silent as to the reason for the extension.

I intended, but forgot, to include the above Daimler development in yesterday’s post (here) regarding NPAs and DPAs.  Needless to say, the Daimler DPA debacle furthers the rationale for abolishing such resolution vehicles.

Chamber Sponsored FCPA Roundtable

Earlier this week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform hosted a roundtable discussion regarding the FCPA and upcoming FCPA guidance with Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, SEC Enforcement Division chief Robert Kuzami and Commerce Department General Counsel Kameron Kerry.

In this release, Lisa Rickard (President of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform) stated as follows.  “The business community is pleased with today’s frank and productive discussion on the significant uncertainty that many U.S. businesses face when attempting to comply in good faith with the FCPA.  We are encouraged by the thoughtful dialogue that helped us reach a mutual understanding on many of these important issues.  We look forward to working with the administration as it prepares the forthcoming guidance.”  As noted in the release, the roundtable was attended by the following business groups or trade associations:   the Advanced Medical Technology Association, the American Insurance Association, the International Association of Drilling Contractors, the International Stability Operations Association, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Foreign Trade Council, PhRMA, the Professional Services Council, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, and The Financial Services Roundtable.

In this release, Rosario Palmieri (Vice President for Infrastructure, Legal and Regulatory Policy of the National Association of Manufacturers) stated as follows.  “Manufacturers are facing a great deal of uncertainty when it comes to complying with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  Today we had a very productive discussion and were able to share manufacturers’ concerns. We are hopeful that a continuing dialogue with the Administration will help us meet our mutual goals of increasing exports, stamping out corruption and providing clear rules of the road for international business.”

Another Addition to the List

In this recent release, Transparency International urges the DOJ to investigate the conduct of Walters Power International  (an Oklahoma based company that supplies, develops, services and manages electrical generation power plants around the world see here) in connection with power plant projects in Pakistan.  It is certainly not the traditional way in which companies become the subject of FCPA scrutiny, but even so it makes the list, and according to my tally, in the last seven weeks, eight companies have newly become the focus of FCPA scrutiny.

Also, last week’s post (here) discussed recent Libya related disclosures by Total S.A. and Eni S.p.A.  It turns out that Marathon Oil Corp. can be added to that list.  In its recent annual report, the company stated as follows.  “On May 25, 2011, we received a subpoena issued by the SEC requiring production of documents related to payments made to the government of Libya, or to officials and persons affiliated with officials of the government of Libya. We have been and intend to continue cooperating with the SEC in its investigation.”

*****

A good weekend to all.

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.