Jack Stanley paid his former employer Kellogg, Brown & Root LLC $9.25 million last week as partial restitution for kickbacks he took when he ran the company.
Entries in Yemen (7)
The Wall Street Journal has reported that Panalpina and its customer Shell may be close to settling FCPA-related charges with the DOJ and SEC.
Schlumberger, the Wall Street Journal reported, paid a $500,000 signing bonus to an intermediary in Yemen. Are signing bonuses for agents illegal under the FCPA? We take a look.
The DOJ is investigating potential bribery in Yemen by oil field services company Schlumberger Ltd., according to the Wall Street Journal.
George Terwilliger -- formerly of the DOJ and now in private practice -- had some wise words about decisions to launch internal investigations. His article in law.com included this tightly packed and well-mannered exhortation:
Most corporate decision-makers do not have the experience necessary to anticipate the judgments and proclivities of enforcement officials. Understanding how prosecutors think and what factors are important to them is essential to deciding whether and to what extent to conduct an internal investigation. Animated discussion, in the confines of privilege, with professionals who understand what prosecutors expect and why, is essential to sound analysis of an investigation's results and good decisions based on its results. This kind of analysis also is best broadened -- within the confines of privilege -- to include in-house personnel with financial, public relations and investor-relations expertise, as the decisions made will significantly affect the portfolios of each.
Great advice, with a serious reminder about the attorney-client privilege. It protects the normal give-and-take that's essential for sound decision-making.
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Who are we fighting for? Yemen's executive, judicial, and legislative accountability mechanisms are among the worst assessed in 2008. Although there are strong anti-corruption laws on the books, the anti-corruption agency is ineffective. Furthermore, political financing is generally unregulated, while civil society organizations are ineffective in fighting corruption. The media, which is subject to political interference, also receives poor ratings. Several journalists have been arrested, harassed, or imprisoned for their corruption-related investigative stories. Government control over private radio is among the most draconian in the world.
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Kosmos Energy, Exxon Mobil, and Ghana. A huge oil find, a struggle for control, corruption allegations, and a Chinese subplot. Here.
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Words we like. From Justice Louis Brandeis, concurring in Charlotte Anna Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927) at 375:
Those who won our independence believed that the final end of the state was to make men free to develop their faculties, and that in its government the deliberative forces should prevail over the arbitrary. They valued liberty both as an end and as a means. They believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty. They believed that freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think are means indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth; that without free speech and assembly discussion would be futile; that with them, discussion affords ordinarily adequate protection against the dissemination of noxious doctrine; that the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people; that public discussion is a political duty; and that this should be a fundamental principle of the American government.
What does it mean to "cooperate with the government" after discovering serious Foreign Corrupt Practices Act compliance problems? There's a description of organizational cooperation in a recent sentencing memo the Justice Department filed in US v. Latin Node Inc.
Latinode was a privately held company. Publicly-listed eLandia bought it and soon discovered a history of corrupt payments in Yemen and Honduras. The strategy eLandia adopted for itself and Latinode was to cooperate with the DOJ. That culminated in Latinode's guilty plea earlier this month to a one-count criminal information charging it with violating the FCPA's antibribery provisions.
In describing the cooperation, the government said eLandia and Latinode made commendable efforts to uncover evidence of corrupt activities. The cooperation was authentic throughout the investigation, the DOJ said, with significant remedial efforts upon discovery of the misconduct.
Here, largely in the government's words, is what the companies did:
- Latinode and its corporate parent, eLandia, initiated an internal investigation of the corrupt payments immediately upon discovery of the potential problems. This investigation included numerous witness interviews and the review of thousands of documents.
- Within three months of discovering the improper payments, counsel for Latinode and eLandia visited the government to make a voluntary disclosure of the FCPA violations. Latinode and eLandia provided timely, thorough, and exemplary cooperation in connection with the investigation of Latinode's past corporate conduct.
- Through counsel, Latinode and eLandia produced thousands of non-privileged documents to the government and responded promptly and productively to all of its requests.
- The cooperation provided by Latinode and eLandia substantially aided the government in developing its investigation.
- Almost immediately upon determining the culpability of senior Latinode officers and employees, eLandia terminated those individuals.
- Although there is no evidence of misconduct by eLandia employees, the company took steps to strengthen its own anti-corruption compliance program, including training its employees in the FCPA and related laws and committing to anti-corruption due diligence in future acquisitions.
- Perhaps the greatest evidence of eLandia's remedial efforts, the government said, is that it dissolved Latinode from an operational perspective, at a cost to eLandia of millions of dollars, and ceased doing business relating to the tainted contracts.
The plea agreement obligates Latinode (i.e., eLandia) to continue to cooperate with any further investigations by law enforcement agencies. So individuals responsible for the corrupt payments may yet face prosecution.
Download the March 23, 2009 criminal information against Latinode here.
Download Latinode's April 3, 2009 plea agreement here.
Download the DOJ's April 3, 2009 sentencing memo here.
A former privately held company that had serious undisclosed Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations when it was acquired by a U.S. public company has pleaded guilty and agreed to pay a fine of $2 million over the next three years. Latin Node Inc. (Latinode), a Florida corporation, pleaded guilty on April 7, 2009 to a one-count criminal information in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. It was charged with violating the FCPA's antibribery provisions by making improper payments in Honduras and Yemen.
Soon after Coral Gables, Fla.-based eLandia International Inc. acquired Latinode in 2007, it discovered potential FCPA violations. The DOJ said eLandia self-reported them immediately, conducted an internal FCPA investigation, shared the results of the investigation with the DOJ, cooperated fully in the government's investigation, and took appropriate remedial action, including terminating senior Latinode management involved in or having knowledge of the violations. eLandia trades on the over-the-counter bulletin board under the symbol ELAN.OB.
In eLandia's Form 10Q/A for September 2008, it said: [W]e engaged in a review of Latin Node's internal controls and legal compliance procedures within its finance and accounting department as a part of our acquisition and integration of Latin Node. As a result of this review, certain past payments in Central America were identified as having been made in the absence of adequate records and controls for a U.S. public company. We have initiated an internal investigation to determine whether any direct or indirect payments by Latin Node prior and subsequent to its acquisition by us were made in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA"). The internal investigation of the FCPA matter is being conducted by a Special Committee of the Board of Directors. The Special Committee has retained independent legal counsel to assist in the investigation of the FCPA matter.
eLandia also disclosed that its purchase price for Latin Node "was approximately $20.6 million in excess of the fair value of the net assets acquired from Latin Node mostly due to the cost of the FCPA investigation, the resulting fines and penalties to which it may be subject, the termination of Latin Node's senior management, and the resultant loss of business. Therefore, we allocated approximately $20.6 million of the purchase price as a direct charge to operations during the quarter ended June 30, 2007."
Before some of its business was discontinued by eLandia, Latinode provided wholesale telecommunications services using internet protocol technology to countries throughout the world, including Honduras and Yemen. From March 2004 through June 2007, it paid or arranged payments of $1,099,889 to third parties to be used to bribe officials at Hondutel, the Honduran state-owned telecommunications company. The payments were in exchange for an interconnection agreement and a reduced rate per minute under it. The payments were made from Latinode's Miami bank account and approved by the company's senior executives. Recipients included a member of the evaluation committee responsible for awarding Hondutel interconnection agreements, the deputy general manager (who later became the general manager) of Hondutel, and a senior attorney for Hondutel.
And from July 2005 to April 2006, Latinode made 17 other payments from its Miami bank totaling $1,150,654, either directly to Yemeni officials or through a third-party consultant, in exchange for favorable interconnection rates. Internal company emails showed that the intended recipients included the son of the Yemeni president; the vice president of operations at TeleYemen, the Yemeni government-owned telecommunications company; other officials of TeleYemen; and officials from the Yemeni Ministry of Telecommunications.
View the DOJ's April 7, 2009 release here.
Download the criminal information here.
Download the plea agreement here.
Download the sentencing memo here.