Overview of the Latest Corruption by American Companies

corporate corruption by U.S. companiesThis article was republished with permission from the site FCPAProfessor.com.

On a weekly basis – or so it seems – media allegations surface of corruption by or related to American companies. This article highlights three such instances.

Koch Industries

Koch Industries Inc., one of the world’s largest privately held companies active in diverse industries, was recently the focus of a wide-ranging article in Bloomberg Markets magazine. Among the allegations are those that could implicate the FCPA such as “improper payments to secure contracts in six countries [Algeria, Egypt, India, Morocoo, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia] dating back to 2002, authorized by the business director of the company’s Lock-Glitsch affiliate in France.”  According to the Bloomberg report, the improper payment allegations stem from civil court wrongful termination cases in France.

On this site, Koch responds to many of Bloomberg’s claims. As to the alleged payments implicating the FCPA, Koch does not deny the payments only that the company “uncovered this activity itself terminated all involved and took full responsibility.”

Motorola Solutions

Recently, an Austrian magazine reported that Motorola Solutions Inc. is under investigation by the DOJ and SEC concerning its business conduct in several European countries. According to a report by Joe Palazzolo (Wall Street Journal Corruption Currents), the “investigation began in 2009 after the company opened its own internal investigation.”   According to the report, part of the investigation and scrutiny concerns the company’s relationship with Alfons Mensdorff-Pouilly.

If that name sounds familiar to you, it should. Alfons Mensdorff-Pouilly is the former BAE agent charged by the U.K. Serious Fraud Office in January 2010 with “conspiring with others to give or agree to give corrupt payments [...] to unknown officials and other agents of certain Eastern and Central European governments, including the Czech Republic, Hungary and Austria as inducements to secure, or as rewards for having secured, contracts from those governments for the supply of goods to them, namely SAAB/Gripen fighter jets, by BAE Systems Plc.”

Within days, the SFO dropped the charges in connection with its settlement with BAE (see here for the prior article). As highlighted in this article, the SFO stated that BAE would not agree to its plea deal unless the SFO dropped the charges against Alfons Mendsdorff-Pouilly.

Successor Liability for Chevron?

This Washington Post article highlights a recent Global Witness report alleging that ”Oranto Petroleum paid a bribe to the Liberian legislature in 2007 so that an oil contract would be ratified.” According to the report, “Chevron Corp. ignored evidence of corruption when it later bought 70 percent of the shares of [Oranto] in 2010. According to the Global Witness report, “despite evidence of this corruption being in the public domain at the time, a large share of the three offshore contracts awarded to Oranto was purchased by Chevron in 2010.” A copy of the Global Witness Report can be downloaded here.