Vote below for what you think was this month’s biggest compliance story:
- Conflict Mineral Disclosure Deadline Approaches. The Appellate Court for the District of Columbia denied the National Association of Manufacturer’s emergency stay motion to block the SEC’s conflict minerals rule. Meanwhile, lntel Corporation filed its conflict minerals report with the SEC in advance of the June 2 deadline, noting that some of their suppliers were in fact “DRC conflict undeterminable.”
- 11th Circuit Court Rules on Definition of “Instrumentality” under the FCPA In a landmark ruling affirming the sentences of Joel Esquenazi and Carlos Rodriguez, the court upheld a multi-factor test used to determine that Telecommunications D’Haiti, S.A.M. (Teleco) was an “instrumentality” of the government and its employees were therefore “foreign officials” as defined by the FCPA.
- PetroTiger CEO Indicted for FCPA Violations. Joseph Sigelman, chief executive officer of the oil and gas services company PetroTiger, Ltd., was indicted by Grand Jury in New Jersey on May 9, 2014. The indictment charges that Sigelman negotiated the terms of a kick-back scheme and paid $333,500 in bribes to obtain approval from Colombia’s national oil company, Ecopetrol S.A., for a $39.6 Million contract. The payments were masked as “consulting services” conducted by an official’s wife on behalf of PetroTiger.
Vote for what you think was this month’s top compliance story.
Anti-corruption reporting becomes more transparent in Europe. The European Parliament adopted the long-awaited directive on the disclosure of non-financial and diversity information, which requires large public-interest entities with more than 500 employees to disclose anti-corruption and bribery matters, among other things, in their management reports.
U.S.-based information technology company settles FCPA charges. Hewlett-Packard Company agreed to pay a $108 million settlement with the DOJ and SEC due to allegations that its subsidiaries paid bribes in Russia, Poland, and Mexico.
Dodd-Frank’s Conflict Minerals rules are put to the test. A U.S. court of Appeals held that parts of Dodd-Frank’s Conflict Minerals rules violate the First Amendment. Meanwhile, the first reported filing under the conflict minerals rule was made on Thursday April 24 by Taiwan-based Siliconware Precision Industries Co., Ltd.
DOJ investigates yet another company for FCPA violations in China. Qualcomm Inc, the world’s biggest mobile chipmaker, announced in an SEC filing this month that it was under investigation by the DOJ for potential violations of the FCPA because of instances in which special hiring consideration, gifts or other benefits were provided to Chinese state-owned companies or agencies.
Guinean government shakes up the mining industry. A Guinean government committee has recommended that BSG Resources Ltd., the mining arm of Israeli tycoon Beny Steinmetz, be stripped of its rights to the Simandou iron-ore project, after finding that the company had obtained the rights to Simandou through corruption.
On April 14, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that the disclosure requirement for conflict minerals in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“the Act”) was unconstitutional. In National Association of Manufacturers v. Securities and Exchange Commission, the court found that requiring companies to declare whether their products are “DRC conflict free” forced commercial speech in violation of the First Amendment. However, the other conflict mineral requirements in the Act regarding applicability, due diligence, and reporting remain intact. More…
While the U.S. remains the leader in formal foreign bribery actions, defined as cross-border enforcement actions by government agencies that have resulted in formal charges or official declinations, other countries are certainly taking steps to close that gap. The number of formal foreign bribery actions by countries other than the US increased by 71% in 2013 as compared to 2012, according to TRACE’s Global Enforcement Report (GER) 2013. The GER 2013 provides an updated summary of international anti-bribery enforcement trends based on the cases and investigations tracked in the TRACE Compendium, TRACE’s online database of transnational corruption cases. Enforcement actions are included only if the alleged bribe has a cross-border component and involves an allegation of a bribe made to a government official or to an employee of a state-owned entity. The GER 2013 offers both graphic and textual analyses of all known enforcement actions—including investigations, prosecutions, settlements and cases settled with no finding of bribery—since the enactment of the FCPA in 1977 through 2013.
One trend contributing to the increase in non-U.S. enforcement is the proliferation of parallel prosecutions. A company can no longer expect settlements with the SEC and DOJ to end its liability for violations. GlaxoSmithKline, which has been subject to ongoing 2010 bribery investigations by the DOJ and SEC, unexpectedly found itself facing bribery charges and employee detentions by China’s Ministry of Public Security. The high-profile Chinese probe of GlaxoSmithKline then triggered a preliminary review by the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office. More…