The Law Firm of Piacentile, Stefanowski & Malherbe LLP

Three Notable FCPA Recoveries from 2021

Under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (‘FCPA’) it is unlawful and prohibited for a person or a company to offer, pay or promise to pay bribes to foreign officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business. With amendments made to the FCPA in 1998, these provisions now not only apply to U.S. citizens but also apply to foreign firms and persons who cause, directly or through agents, to commit this act of such corrupt payment that takes place within the jurisdiction of the United States. 

Here are three noteworthy FCPA recoveries from 2021: 

  1. Credit Suisse Group AG and VTB Capital PLC

Credit Suisse, a global financial institution headquartered in Switzerland, defrauded the U.S. and international investors in the financing of an $850 million loan for a tuna fishing project. Credit Suisse will end up paying approximately $475 million to U.S. authorities and the UK, as well as restitution to victims. Credit Suisse and its co-conspirators deceived investors by hiding information about the risk that loan proceeds could be used for illegal purposes. 

  1. Deutsche Bank AG

Deutsche Bank entered into a $130 million settlement for violating the FCPA. According to the SEC’s order, the bank engaged foreign officials, their relatives, and their associates, as third-party intermediaries, business development consults, and finders to obtain and retain global business. The agreed payment represents $79.6 million in criminal penalties and $43.3 million in disgorgement in prejudgment interest to the SEC. 

  1. Amec Foster Wheeler Energy Limited

This UK-based global engineering company was charged for violations of the FCPA arising out of a bribery scheme that took place in South America. Foster wheeler paid approximately $1.1 million in bribes in connection with obtaining a contract from a Brazilian state-owned oil company, Petroleo Brasileiro S.A., known as Petrobras. The bribes were paid to Brazilian officials through third-party agents. The company was hit with a settlement for approximately $40 million in disgorgement and prejudgment interest. 

Whistleblowers who come forward and report violations of the FCPA under the Act’s whistleblower program may be eligible for a monetary reward of up to 30% of the government recovery. 

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