Saturday, October 30, 2010
Guest Blogger - T. Markus Funk
OECD Phase 3 Report's General Findings
The 68-page OECD Phase 3 report, issued on October 21, 2010, represents what some regard as the largest available collection of statistics and other information on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The assessment provides issue-by-issue analysis of ongoing U.S. enforcement efforts, highlighting a number of key trends and successful practices:
- Resolving most FCPA cases through plea agreements, deferred-prosecution agreements, and non-prosecution agreements has paid off, resulting in strong enforcement and private sector compliance, without the attendant costs, time, and resource-drain of trials.
- The Federal Sentencing Guidelines allowing for stiff criminal sanction, more focused SEC guidance, and the potential for hefty civil penalties motivate companies to establish effective compliance policies and procedures.
- Internal audits of both domestic and foreign subsidiaries, trainings, and whistleblower tip hotlines are the most critical compliance measures.
- Many FCPA investigations are launched by, or through, U.S. foreign service officers serving in U.S. Embassies overseas.
- Foreign data protection laws frequently impede companies' abilities to obtain access to the books and records of subsidiaries abroad.
- From a risk-evaluation standpoint, there are three primary areas requiring the most robust anti-bribery measures: (1) Third parties, including local agents and joint venture partners, (2) facilitation payments, especially to customs officials, and (3) payments for travel, gifts and hospitality.
- The business community considers corporate monitors with DOJ experience as being the most desirable.
- The U.S. has devoted significant resources to FCPA enforcement, creating dedicated FCPA units in the DOJ, SEC, and FBI, which, in turn, yield economies of scale, concentrated expertise, and increased enforcement consistency.
- New federal legislation, including the recent Dodd-Frank whistleblower bounty provisions, is expected to accelerate the detection of FCPA violations and the initiation of investigations and prosecutions.
For the full text of the OECD Phase 3 report: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/10/49/46213841.pdf
v "[The U.S. has achieved a] record level of monetary penalties and disgorgement, which should provide a major disincentive to bribing foreign public officials by U.S. companies, FMNEs listed in the U.S., and individuals and a major incentive for establishing effective compliance programmes and measures."
v "Across the board, these companies cited active enforcement by the DOJ and the SEC, in particular recently imposed large financial penalties, as the main thrust for putting into place these measures."
v "The U.S. authorities believe that in light of [the Dodd-Frank Act's whistleblower bounty provisions], reporting violations of the FCPA is likely to increase."
v "FCPA enforcement figures are expected to increase in the near future."
The corresponding USDOJ press release can be found at http://blogs.usdoj.gov/blog/archives/1020
By T. Markus Funk (firstname.lastname@example.org). Markus is a partner in Perkins Coie's Investigations and White Collar Defense Group. Markus spent the past 10 years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Chicago, Illinois, most recently serving in U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's Public Corruption and Organized Crime Section. Markus' full bio is at www.perkinscoie.com/mfunk