Law firm Morrison & Foerster continues to keep tabs on international anti-corruption trends. Its new monthly alert is out tracking noteworthy developments since the start of the year. That includes major prosecutions, investigations, settlements and even rankings in the wide world of business crime. Here’s a link to the firm’s latest Top 10 developments: http://www.mofo.com/~/media/Files/ClientAlert/2016/02/160216TopTen.pdf
On top is a recap of Transparency International’s annual index of public sector corruption globally. The index measures perceived corruption in 168 countries – Denmark was ranked Number 1 for being perceived as the least corrupt nation for doing business; North Korea and Somalia tied for last place. Brazil saw one of the largest drops in the TI index, fallout from the ongoing investigation surrounding state-owned oil major Petrobras. As MoFo notes: “More countries improved their scores in 2015 than experienced a decrease. However, two-thirds of all countries still scored below 50 — the mid-point between ‘perceived to be highly corrupt’ and ‘very clean.'” Scores below 50 indicate that a country has a “serious corruption problem.”
The Top 10 alert spans recent news related to money-laundering, bribes, kickbacks and other corruption, with focus on cases tied to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Updates include the first guilty plea in an ongoing bribery case involving the former president of the United Nations General Assembly. Also this past month, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal of former Virginia Governor Robert McConnell for his 2014 corruption conviction. The firm looks at recent enforcement actions in the UK under the Prevention of Corruption Act. A Venezuelan government official was sentenced in New York for his role in a money laundering/kickback scheme. And leading semiconductor firm Qualcomm disclosed last month that the Justice Department had terminated its FCPA probe into the company and would not pursue charges – among other developments.
The Top 10 is produced by MoFo’s Global Anticorruption Team. The group is led by Charles Duross, former Head of the FCPA Unit at the Department of Justice, where he oversaw all FCPA criminal matters in the U.S. Under his watch, the unit resolved more than 40 corporate cases, resulting in $1.9 billion in penalties. Mr. Duross was also one of the principal authors of the DOJ and SEC joint publication, “A Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,” which has been described as a “landmark document,” an “FCPA hornbook” and a “must-read for compliance officers.”
In fact, MoFo is the only law firm with two former senior FCPA officials – the other being James Koukios, who was a trial attorney and Assistant Chief in the DOJ FCPA Unit, and a Senior Deputy Chief of the Fraud Section, the Section’s third-ranking official. During his time in the FCPA Unit, Mr. Koukios served as a lead trial attorney in two landmark FCPA-related enforcement trials, United States v. Esquenazi and United States v. Duperval, for which he received the Assistant Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award.
Nobody is watching FCPA and international corruption enforcement like Morrison & Foerster. Let us know if you’d like to speak with Mr. Duross or Koukios about the firm’s latest Top 10 alert or about FCPA and related enforcement matters.