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FCPA Blog Daily News

Entries in United Kingdom (130)

Friday
Jan212011

An FCPA Pro Bowl

What's it take for us to have a great week? Four excellent guest posts will do it every time.

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Tuesday
Jan182011

The UK Anti-Bribery Act: Let’s Cool Down the Hysteria

Fear of the new UK Bribery Act is overblown. UK enforcers will act reasonably, build a track record, and focus on egregious cases of bribery.

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Thursday
Dec162010

EU/US Cross Border Data Discovery – Mission Impossible?

EU data privacy laws often seem to be in direct conflict with U.S. regulatory requirements to produce documents for FCPA investigations. Can they be reconciled?

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Wednesday
Nov102010

Both Sides Now

Because the FCPA and the Bribery Act reach everywhere, many companies will need to start complying with both. That's going to be trickier than it sounds.

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Tuesday
Nov092010

Don't Get POCA'd

Britain's Proceeds of Crime Act isn't as well known as the new Bribery Act. But it's potent. Think of it as an anti-money laundering and forfeiture statute -- on steroids.

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Tuesday
Nov022010

Fit To Lead?

On the new CPI, America landed just ahead of Uruguay, France, and Estonia -- a neighborhood not well known for iron-fisted compliance. What's that mean for FCPA enforcement?

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Tuesday
Oct122010

U.K. Banks And Nigerian Loot

British banks accepted deposits from corrupt Nigerian politicians even after regulators issued specific warnings, according to a report released Monday by NGO Global Witness.

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Thursday
Sep232010

Bribery Act Guidance Released

Tom Fox on guidance under the UK's Bribery Act.

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Thursday
Aug052010

The Enforcement Gap

By Nancy Z. Boswell and Robert N. Walton, Transparency International-USA

Transparency International’s sixth annual report on enforcement of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, released last week, paints a mixed picture. On the positive side, it shows active enforcement in seven of the 36 countries evaluated, including the U.S, Germany, Italy and Norway. The U.K. even made the cut, despite the disappointing news last month that it is postponing the implementation of its sweeping new Bribery Act until April 2011. 
 
Far less encouraging is the report’s finding that there is only moderate enforcement in nine countries and little to none in the remaining 20. This latter undistinguished group represents 15% of world trade and includes G8 members Canada, Japan and France.  
 
The numbers speak for themselves, but the underlying question is why, after a dozen years, so many governments that committed to criminalize the use of bribes to get business have failed to live up to that promise. One can only conclude many of them have decided that it is not in their economic interest to do so. Motivations may vary, but these governments may see greater value in promoting the international commercial success of their country’s enterprises. If that means ignoring the Anti-Bribery Convention, so be it.
 
This disheartening conclusion is ominous for the countries where bribes continue to be paid, and for fair competition for those who observe the rule of law. There can be little doubt that inconsistent enforcement will allow bribery to continue unabated and may well undermine support of those countries that have followed their commitments with action. Likewise, it will hinder efforts to ensure that important emerging exporters –- notably China, India and Russia –- agree to and impose foreign bribery constraints on their companies. 
 
Given the serious and damaging consequences of bribery in countries that can least afford it, the OECD, the governments that are complying with the convention, and those of us in the anti-corruption movement need to put more pressure on lagging countries to step up to their commitments and actively enforce the convention. Time is running out.

Nancy Boswell is the President and CEO of Transparency International- USA (TI-USA) and a former member of the Board of Directors of Transparency International (TI). She can be contacted here.

Rob Walton is TI-USA's Senior Policy Director for Private Sector Initiatives. He can be reached here.

Friday
May142010

SFO Facing Uncertain Future

For the second time in recent months, U.K. judges have warned the Serious Fraud Office not to make plea deals in overseas bribery cases, throwing into doubt the agency's whistleblower program and its partnership with the U.S. Justice Department in resolving global corruption cases.

This week a U.K. appeals court affirmed the suspended sentence agreed between the SFO and a former sales executive who helped bribe Greek doctors and then turned whistleblower. But at the same time, the court said the SFO's U.S.-style approach was unconstitutional.

Robert John Dougall, 45, formerly marketing director of DePuy, pleaded guilty in April to making £4.5 million in corrupt payments to Greek medical professionals within the state-controlled healthcare system. DePuy, acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 1999, makes and sells orthopedic devices. 

The SFO said Dougall was the first "co-operating defendant" in a major SFO corruption investigation. It had recommended leniency in exchange for his guilty plea and help in the case, as typically happens in U.S. white-collar prosecutions. The SFO asked for a suspended sentence; the trial court instead sent Dougall to prison for a year.

The appeals court reversed the sentence but hammered the SFO. It said "agreements between the prosecution and the defense about the sentences to be imposed in fraud and corruption cases were constitutionally forbidden" and solely under the purview of judges, according to reports.

In March, Britain's second-ranking criminal judge said the $12.7 million fine the SFO agreed with a U.K. division of Innospec Inc. went beyond the SFO's authority. Delaware-based Innospec had reached what it believed was a $40 million global settlement with U.S. prosecutors and the SFO.

At Innospec's hearing, Lord Justice Thomas, the deputy head of criminal justice in the U.K. courts, said: “I have concluded that the director of the SFO had no power to enter into the arrangements made and no such arrangements should be made again.” Although he confirmed the U.K. part of the fine agreed by the SFO, he called the amount "wholly inadequate." See our post here.

The SFO first charged Dougall in November 2009 after a "referral" from the U.S. Justice Department. Two months earlier, DePuy and four other orthopedic device makers -- Biomet, Zimmer, Smith & Nephew and Stryker -- had agreed to pay $310 million to settle charges they paid kickbacks to induce U.S. doctors to buy their products. Since the U.S. settlement, the four companies, along with Medtronic Inc. and Wright Medical Group, have disclosed DOJ and SEC Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigations. See our post here.