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International Regulatory Enforcement

A Cooperation Agreement Concluded Between the French Financial Market Agency (AMF) and the French Anti-corruption Agency (AFA)
While interagency cooperation agreements are very common in countries like the UK and the United States, they are less so in continental Europe. The Protocol of Cooperation between the French Financial Markets Authority (AMF) and the French Anti-Corruption Agency (AFA), concluded on September 16, 2020, is therefore worth noting.
It's Only the Beginning: COVID-19, Public Procurement, and Corruption
As public money is increasingly used to mitigate the damage of COVID-19 on the world economy, the guidance document issued by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Corruption (UNDOC) on August 31, 2020, should raise the interest not only of public authorities but also of all companies bidding for public procurements
FCPA Opinion Procedure Release 20-01 – Much Ado About Nothing?
The U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) posted its first Opinion Procedure Release (“OPR”)[1] since 2014 on Friday, August 14, 2020. While this release will be of interest to the anti-corruption compliance user community and practitioners, it further demonstrates the limited utility of most OPRs to the general public, and the inherent limitations of the process for companies and individuals making formal opinion requests to the Department.
Anti-Money Laundering Lessons to be Learnt from the Commerzbank Fine
With the hefty £37.8 million fine imposed on Commerzbank AG’s London branch last month (and an accompanying strong deterrent message for the market more generally), the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have signalled their intention to continue to come down hard on firms’ breaches of anti-money laundering obligations.
At Long Last DOJ and SEC Update Their FCPA Resource Guide
In July 2020, the DOJ released the second edition of its Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the “2020 FCPA Guide” or the “Guide”); an update of the first edition released in November 2012 (the “2012 FCPA Guide”) by the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). The 2020 FCPA Guide continues to serve the main purposes of its previous edition: (i) to outline the Government's interpretation of the law; (ii) provide insight into its enforcement priorities; and (iii) communicate a clear understanding of how the Government exercises its discretion. Reflecting the increased volume of U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) investigations since 2012 and resulting litigation, the 2020 FCPA Guide also incorporates the DOJ's and SEC's interpretations of a number of important federal court decisions
Sacré Bleu! France Sends a Message in the Fight Against Foreign Bribery
On June 2, 2020, French Minister of Justice Nicole Belloubet issued a « circulaire » (hereafter, the “Circular”) on “criminal policy related to international bribery,” which provides guidance to French prosecutors on the priority of enforcing France’s anti-corruption laws. The Circular reflects another significant French development in the corruption enforcement landscape and sends two important messages to French and foreign companies.
Key Takeaways from the Novartis $345 Million FCPA Settlement
On Thursday, June 25, 2020, the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced a pair of deferred prosecution agreements with one current and one former subsidiary of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis AG to resolve criminal Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) allegations to the tune of a combined $233 million. In a parallel resolution, Novartis AG agreed to pay the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) $112 million to settle charges that it violated the FCPA in connection with misconduct by its subsidiaries. Novartis’s combined $345 million resolution represents the largest FCPA resolution of this calendar year since the monumental Airbus resolution in January, as well as the third largest FCPA resolution of all time in the life sciences industry. Additionally, this resolution is the second time within the last four years that Novartis AG has fallen under regulatory scrutiny for alleged FCPA misconduct; it reached a $25 million resolution with the SEC in March 2016 related to two of its Chinese subsidiaries. With Thursday’s resolution, Novartis is the first FCPA recidivist manufacturer in the pharmaceutical sector.
The Trend Continues: As Outward Bound Investments from Japanese Multinationals Continue to Grow, So Do ABAC Compliance and Other Enforcement Risks
In 2016, we advised Japanese multinationals that their growing significance in the global economy, primarily as a key source of outward bound investment and merger & acquisition (“M&A”) activity, translated into growing anti-bribery, anti-corruption (“ABAC”) compliance and other enforcement risks. In that article, found here, we detailed booming economic activity alongside significant then-recent enforcement activity against Japanese multinationals by the U.S. government, primarily under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) but also the U.S. Anti-Kickback Statute (“AKS”), for activities in major targets of Japanese outward bound investment—the U.S., China, and emerging Asia markets such as Vietnam. In particular, the May 2016 $646 million mega-resolution with Olympus Corp. for FCPA and AKS violations (to this day still the largest medical device company and AKS resolution of all time) constituted a foreboding example of economic expansion without sufficient compliance controls. Consequently, we advised Japanese multinationals to take a proactive approach to ABAC compliance.
CFIUS Extends its Reach to Order the Termination of Ekso Bionics' Role in Joint Venture in China
On May 20, 2020, Ekso Bionics Holdings, Inc. (“Ekso Bionics”), a U.S. manufacturer of robotic mechanical suits (“exoskeletons”), announced that it had received an ultimatum from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS” or the “Committee”) to terminate its role in a 2019 joint venture with Chinese partners.
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