Tag Archive for ‘FCPA’
Five more journalists from a Rupert Murdoch-owned British tabloid were arrested as part of an ongoing bribery investigation. The arrested journalists, all from the The Sun, were later released, and have yet to be charged with any crimes. But the arrests have once again raised questions about whether Murdoch’s News Corporation might face prosecution for bribery in the U.S. under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
The embattled media conglomerate News Corporation and its independent directors have not only hired top criminal defense lawyers, they’ve also hired former Justice Department prosecutors well-versed in U.S. bribery law. The new hires are a sign that the company is taking the Justice Department’s preliminary investigation rather seriously.
As the phone hacking scandal continues to unfold, British press reports say more than $160,000 was paid by News of the World reporters to police officers in the U.K. News of the World is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. – whose stock is listed in the U.S. – and the alleged bribes could cause the company serious trouble with U.S. prosecutors or the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Even as anger over governmental corruption has exploded into protests across the Middle East, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been working to weaken the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a law that bans companies from bribing foreign officials.
The UK’s Bribery Act 2010, set to take effect in April, goes much further than the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which has been used aggressively by American prosecutors against multinational companies in bribery cases worldwide. Among other provisions, the new law creates a “failure to prevent bribery” offense which applies whether or not any conduct in the bribery scheme took place in the UK.
A new measure designed to combat corruption in resource-rich countries by requiring mining and energy companies to disclose payments to foreign governments was highlighted this week by U.S. President Barack Obama in a speech at the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Summit in New York. The requirement is a provision of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill signed into law by Mr. Obama in July.
The Securities and Exchange Commission charged that from 2000 to 2003 two GE subsidiaries — along with two other subsidiaries of public companies that have since been acquired by GE — participated in a $3.6 million kickback scheme with Iraqi government agencies to win contracts to supply medical equipment and water purification equipment.
A Transparency International report found that while most export credit agencies have formal policies that prohibit support for bribe-tainted transactions, they do not require applicants to have management controls to deal with bribery and none have issued guidance to applicants describing elements of an appropriate anti-bribery program.
Only about one-third of the 38 countries that have agreed to prosecute foreign bribery cases under the Organization for Economic Development’s Anti-Bribery Convention have sanctioned individuals or companies since the Convention was adopted 10 years ago, according to a report issued by the OECD.
Attorney General Eric Holder said the prosecution of individuals “is accelerating” amidst continuing evidence of transnational bribery. “Let me be clear, prosecuting individuals is a cornerstone of our enforcement strategy because, as long as it (bribery) remains a tactic, paying large monetary penalties cannot be viewed by the business community as merely ‘the cost of doing business,’ ” he said.