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FCPA Blog Daily News

Entries in Jordan (14)


Richard Bistrong: Why every compliance program needs some storytelling

In preparing for three days of in-house workshops, Angélique Parisot-Potter, the general counsel of the Massy Group, said to me, “We like stories here in the Caribbean, so be sure to share some.”

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Corruption and conflict: By the numbers

Last month, the DOJ's Leslie Caldwell, described the fight against corruption as “a necessary enforcement action to protect our own national security interests and the ability of our U.S. companies to compete on a global scale.” These comments not only apply to FCPA enforcement but also highlight the long-recognized notion that corruption can threaten peace and security. Today, the threat posed by corruption to security is especially relevant to Africa and the Middle East.

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Novartis employee pleads guilty in Poland bribe case

An executive at Swiss pharma Novartis pleaded guilty in a bribery prosecution in Poland, the company has confirmed.

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GSK investigating UAE payments following whistleblower complaint

GlaxoSmithKline said Tuesday it is investigating allegations of corrupt payments in the United Arab Emirates.

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China fines GSK $490 million for bribery

A court in China fined UK pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline $490 million Friday following a conviction for bribery.

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Reports: GSK fired China staff in 2001 for bribes

Press reports that GlaxoSmithKline fired employees of its China unit in 2001 for paying bribes to government officials could complicate the company's defense of current allegations about illegal sales practices in several countries.

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SFO launches criminal probe of GSK

GlaxoSmith Kline PLC is under investigation by the UK Serious Fraud Office for possible criminal violations, the pharma said Tuesday.

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GSK confirms Jordan, Lebanon bribe probes

GlaxoSmithKline said it is investigating allegations of bribery in Jordan and Lebanon first reported by the media.

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Middle East Rulers Wage War On Whistleblowers

The Arab Spring showed the power of social media and grass-roots transparency.

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Good Intentions, Bad Results

Does foreign aid cause corruption? It does, mainly by helping corrupt regimes stay in power. And because corrupt regimes are the most unstable, aid also fuels civil unrest.

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Blackwater And Bribery

Will the latest federal indictment involving private security firm Blackwater lead to Foreign Corrupt Practices Act charges? It's possible, based on allegations against the five defendants.

On Friday, a federal grand jury in North Carolina indicted Gary Jackson, Blackwater’s former president; William Matthews, the former executive vice president; Andrew Howell, the former general counsel; Ana Bundy, a former vice president; and Ronald Slezak, a former weapons manager.

They were charged with 15 counts of conspiracy to violate firearms laws, making false statements and representations on federally licensed firearms dealers' records, possession of machine guns, possession of other firearms (short-barrelled shotguns) not registered in the National Firearms and Registration and Transfer Record, and aiding and abetting.

They weren't charged with bribing foreign officials. But federal investigators have reportedly been looking into possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by Blackwater, now renamed Xe. And the indictment contained this allegation:

Another means [of circumventing the possession and disposition of arms] consisted of Blackwater/Xe's efforts to gain favor with the Government of the Kingdom of Jordan. When the King of Jordan came to examine Blackwater/Xe's training facility at Moyock, North Carolina, the defendants arranged to present the King and/or his entourage with several firearms as gifts. When the defendants subsequently realized they were unable to account for the disposition of the firearms, they falsified four separate Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) Form 4473s for submission to federal authorities. The defendants falsely completed the forms to give the appearance that the weapons had been purchased by them as individuals.

Giving gifts to foreign officials to obtain or retain business can violate the FCPA. Members of royal families are foreign officials under the law.

In November last year, the New York Times reported that Blackwater executives authorized secret payments of about $1 million to Iraqi officials that might have violated the FCPA. The payments were "intended to silence [the officials'] criticism and buy their support after a September 2007 episode in which Blackwater security guards fatally shot 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad," the Times said.

Four former employees the Times interviewed for the November story claimed the payments were approved by the company's president and money was wired to Iraq from accounts in Jordan. The employees didn't know if the payments were actually made. The report said "Blackwater’s strategy of buying off the government officials, which would have been illegal under American law, created a deep rift inside the company, according to the former executives."

A report by the Times Friday said, "While the indictment is somewhat limited in scope, it could be the government’s opening salvo in a broader offensive to bring criminal charges against the company. They could include charges for bribery and export violations, according to officials familiar with the case, perhaps under a strategy of turning former and current executives of the company against one another."

Download a copy of the April 15, 2010 indictment in U.S. v. Gary Jackson et al here


Novo Nordisk Pays $18 Million In Penalties For Iraq Bribery

Denmark-based Novo Nordisk A/S will pay a $9 million criminal penalty and enter into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department for illegal kickbacks paid to the former Iraqi government under the U.N. oil-for-food program. It will also pay $3,025,066 in civil penalties and $6,005,079 in disgorgement of profits, including pre-judgment interest, to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The DOJ charged Novo in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to violate the books and records provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Novo manufactures insulin, medicines and other pharmaceutical supplies. Between 2001 and 2003, it paid about $1.4 million to the former Iraqi government by inflating the price of contracts by 10 percent before submitting them to the United Nations for approval. It then concealed from the U.N. the amount of the kickbacks included in its prices. Novo also admitted it inaccurately recorded the kickback payments as commissions in its books and records.

The deferred prosecution agreement has a term of three years. The DOJ didn't charge the company under the FCPA's anti-bribery provisions. It said Novo conducted a "thorough review of the illicit payments" and implemented "enhanced compliance policies and procedures. "

In the civil enforcement action, the SEC charged Novo with violating Section 13(b)(2)(A) of the Exchange Act [15 U.S.C. §78m(b)(2)(A)] for failing to keep books, records, and accounts, which, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflected its transactions and dispositions of its assets. It also charged the company under Section13(b)(2)(A) of the Exchange Act [15 U.S.C. § 78m(b)(2)(B)] for failing to devise and maintain a system of internal accounting controls sufficient to provide reasonable assurances that: (i) payments were made in accordance with management's general or specific authorization; and (ii) payments were recorded as necessary to maintain accountability for its assets.

The SEC said Novo paid kickbacks in three ways:

Initially, Novo Nordisk wired the kickback to [its] Agent's account at the Arab Bank in Amman, Jordan as an advance on his commission. The Agent would then Wire the funds to an official Kimadia account at the Rafidain Bank in Amman, Jordan. [Kimadia is the Iraq State Company for the Importation and Distribution of Drugs and Medical Appliances.] After Kimadia received the kickback payment, the Iraqis authorized the opening of a letter of credit and then Novo Nordisk shipped the goods to Iraq.

Later, Novo Nordisk informed Kimadia that it could not pay the ten percent kickback before it received payment from the U.N. as it was not easy for [Novo's] Athens office to authorize large advance payments to the Agent.

Thereafter, Kimadia no longer required the kickback be made upfront, and instead insisted on a bank guarantee. [The Agent in Jordan] opened a bank guarantee from the Arab Bank payable to Kimadia's account at the Rafidain Bank in Jordan. Eventually, Kimadia informed Novo Nordisk that it would no longer accept bank guarantees paid to its account at the Rafidain Bank. Instead, Kimadia provided Novo Nordisk with an account number where the kickback was to be paid.

Novo Nordisk's ADRs trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol NVO.

Download the DOJ's May 11, 2009 release here.

Download the May 11, 2009 criminal information against Novo Nordisk A/S here.

View the SEC's Litigation Release No. 21033 dated May 11, 2009 in Securities & Exchange Commission v. Novo Nordisk A/S, Civil Action No. 1:09-CV-00862 (D.D.C.) (EGS) here.

Download the SEC's civil complaint against Novo Nordisk here.