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The Statute of Limitations Governing SEC Actions Against Foreign Defendants

July 01, 2013

By Avi Weitzman

There is no express statute of limitations governing lawsuits instituted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), 15 U.S.C. § 78dd-1, et seq.; thus, the federal “catch-all” statute of limitations, 28 U.S.C. § 2462, applies to any such claims for civil penalties. That statute provides: “Except as otherwise provided by Act of Congress, an action, suit or proceeding for the enforcement of any civil fine, penalty, or forfeiture, pecuniary or otherwise, shall not be entertained unless commenced within five years from the date when the claim first accrued if, within the same period, the offender or the property is found within the United States in order that proper service may be made thereon.”

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