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Entries in James Giffen (35)

Monday
Sep222014

A plea to Mr. Holder: Help corruption’s victims

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (Image courtesy of the DOJ)The movement to use anticorruption enforcement proceeds for the benefit of corruption's true victims is gaining ever more momentum.

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Thursday
Mar202014

It's Simple: The Nigerian Money is the Nigerians’ Money

Friends of the FCPA Blog -- Sandy Sierck and Nick Diamond, who represent the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project in Nigeria -- have another good idea. For years, SERAP has been petitioning the DOJ and SEC to return enforcement revenues to the real victims of overseas corruption: the citizens of the corrupt governments. Their latest proposal is a slam dunk.

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Monday
Jun102013

Wal-Mart’s Victims, Part XIV: We Did It Before, We Can Do It Again

I suggested in the last post that using the proceeds of an FCPA enforcement action to directly compensate overseas victims had been done before.  And it really worked. Or I should say, it is still working, to this day.

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Wednesday
May302012

A Reply To The New Republic

An article in The New Republic by Steve LeVine about the Wal-Mart bribery scandal stood out, but for the wrong reasons. It was thinly sourced and logically weak . . . .

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Friday
May042012

To Mexico, from Nigeria, via Kazakhstan: On the Trail of a Great Idea (Part 2)

Last post, I discussed the proposal from Nigeria’s Social-Economic Rights and Accountability Project to establish a mechanism for using the proceeds of FCPA settlements to help bribery victims.

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Wednesday
Aug312011

Handling Naaman's Secret Evidence

As we mentioned a few weeks ago, Ousama Naaman's sentencing is on hold while he and the government review new evidence that may be classified.

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Tuesday
Jul192011

Worst FCPA Prosecutions Ever

We have enormous respect for those who serve the public, including the prosecutors at the DOJ. Without them, the 'rule of law' would just be pretty words.

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Thursday
May122011

FCPA Defendants Face The Verdict Of History

Should anyone be surprised by the guilty verdicts handed down Tuesday in the Lindsey case? Not at all. History, and the odds, are always against FCPA defendants.

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Tuesday
Nov302010

Wikileaks, SEC Whistleblowers, and Giffen

A reader stitches together enforcement topics in new ways.

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Monday
Nov292010

Doing Better For The World

Professor Andy Spalding: The Giffen prosecution shows why FCPA enforcement is a foreign policy debacle.

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Monday
Nov222010

No Punishment For 'Hero' Giffen 

Oil consultant James Giffen, 69, escaped jail time, criminal fines, and probation when he appeared Friday before U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley in New York.

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Thursday
Aug122010

Is The Giffen Case America's BAE?

We're always happy to hear from lawyer Andy Spalding, left. He recently returned from a year-long Fulbright Research Grant in Mumbai, India, and is now on the faculty at the Chicago-Kent College of Law.

He's been thinking about the extraordinary case of James Giffen, the former middleman to U.S. oil companies doing business in Kazakhstan. He writes:

Dear FCPA Blog,

With James Giffen's plea on Friday to a mere misdemeanor, the case is drawing to an anti-climatic and curious close. In an era of ever-increasing fines and penalties for FCPA violations, Giffen's modest settlement seems an aberration; even more peculiar, some have commented on how the otherwise highly-capable Southern District prosecutors fumbled through this case with atypical awkwardness.  

All of this gives rise to speculation that the case was subject to political pressures -- namely, that either the agencies that were asked to produce documents and stonewalled, or outside agencies that may have bore down on the Southern District, determined that the foreign policy implications of this case, involving delicate relations with resource-rich Kazakhstan, were so sensitive as to outweigh any public interest in Giffen's fulsome prosecution.

If political forces did indeed compromise the prosecution (and few of us can know for sure), does this scenario seem familiar to anyone?

Let's recall the similarly strange prosecution of BAE, the British defense contractor who allegedly paid more than $2 billion in bribes and kickbacks to a Saudi Arabian prince. The U.K.'s Serious Fraud Office opened an investigation, which it suddenly closed.  We would learn that pressure to terminate the investigation came from outside (or perhaps, above) the SFO: the Blair government apparently insisted on the file's closure in response to Saudi threats to cease cooperation with the UK's anti-terrorism efforts.  

The High Court in London berated the SFO for capitulating, and on appeal the House of Lords declared SFO's handling of the matter "extremely distasteful"; the SFO director resigned shortly thereafter. In apparent protest of the the SFO's decision, our DOJ opened its own investigation, and the SFO eventually reopened its file. The result? BAE settled with the DOJ for $400 million, the third-highest amount in FCPA history. But the SFO fined BAE a relative pittance -- £30 million. The parallel is unmistakable, and striking: in a case with heightened foreign policy sensitivities, allegations that seem to otherwise warrant a substantial settlement resulted in something far less.

In fairness to the DOJ, this may not be their fault: whether due to an uncooperative client, or irresistible political pressure, they may have wanted to push further but were hamstrung. Still, it raises a compelling question: Is the Giffen case America's BAE?

Thanks,
Andy Spalding