Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)

Jon May is available to represent individuals who are under investigation or being prosecuted for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. This statute prohibits U.S. citizens and entities from paying bribes to foreign government officials to obtain or retain business.

The FCPA applies to publicly traded companies and their employees, including officers, directors, shareholders, and agents. The Act also applies to foreign firms and persons who, either directly or through intermediaries, help facilitate or carry out corrupt payments in U.S. territory.

The books and records provisions of the FCPA require companies with securities listed in the U.S. to meet certain accounting provisions, such as ensuring accurate and transparent financial records and maintaining internal accounting controls whether or not any failure to comply with these requirements are related to bribes paid to influence foreign officials.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is a peculiar statute. It was intended to prevent U.S. companies from bribing foreign officials to obtain or retain business, but it only permits prosecution of the companies involved in paying such bribes, their employees, and third parties hired to pay the bribes. It does not target the actual recipient of the bribes, the foreign official.

Often a company will hide the payment of such bribes in their books and records as a legitimate expense. But the statute makes it a crime for a public company to intentionally misrepresent any expense in its books and records, not just those associated with the payment of bribes to a foreign official to obtain or retain business.

While individuals are prosecuted under this statute, in most cases, the Department of Justice agrees to enter into Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the offending company in which they the company settles the case with the government without a criminal conviction.

Examples of such settlements:

Press Release – Thursday, October 22, 2020

Goldman Sachs Resolves Foreign Bribery Case and Agrees to Pay Over $2.9 Billion

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (Goldman Sachs or the Company), a global financial institution headquartered in New York, New York, and Goldman Sachs (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. (GS Malaysia), its Malaysian subsidiary, have admitted to conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in connection with a scheme to pay over one billion dollars in bribes to high-ranking government officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi to obtain lucrative business for Goldman Sachs, underwriting approximately $6.5 billion in three bond deals for 1Malaysia Development Bhd. (1MDB), for which the bank earned hundreds of millions in fees. Goldman Sachs will pay more than $2.9 billion as part of a coordinated resolution with criminal and civil authorities in the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and elsewhere.

Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, Goldman Sachs entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, Fraud Section and Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture Sections (the Department) in connection with a criminal information filed in the Eastern District of New York charging the Company with conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA. GS Malaysia pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to a one-count criminal information charging it with conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA.

Goldman Sachs Resolves Foreign Bribery Case and Agrees to Pay Over $2.9 BillionU.S. Department of Justice


Press Release – Friday, January 8, 2021

Deutsche Bank Agrees to Pay Over $130 Million to Resolve Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Fraud Case

Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft (Deutsche Bank or the Company) has agreed to pay more than $130 million to resolve the government’s investigation into violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and a separate investigation into a commodities fraud scheme.

“Deutsche Bank engaged in a seven-year course of conduct, during which it failed to implement a system of internal accounting controls regarding the use of company funds and falsified its books and records to conceal corrupt and improper payments,” said Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Robert Zink of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “Separately, Deutsche Bank traders on three continents sought to manipulate our public financial markets through fraud for five years. This resolution exemplifies the department’s commitment to help ensure that publicly traded companies devise and implement appropriate and proper systems of internal accounting controls and maintain accurate and truthful corporate documentation. It also stands as an example of the department’s efforts to police the public U.S. markets so that all may continue to trust, and rely upon, the integrity of our public financial systems.”

“Deutsche Bank engaged in a criminal scheme to conceal payments to so-called consultants worldwide who served as conduits for bribes to foreign officials and others so that they could unfairly obtain and retain lucrative business projects,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Seth D. DuCharme of the Eastern District of New York. “This office will continue to hold responsible financial institutions that operate in the United States and engage in practices to facilitate criminal activity in order to increase their bottom line.”

Deutsche Bank Agrees to Pay over $130 Million to Resolve Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Fraud CaseU.S. Department of Justice


Press Release – Thursday, June 25, 2020

Novartis Hellas S.A.C.I. and Alcon Pte Ltd Agree to Pay over $233 Million Combined to Resolve Criminal FCPA Cases

Novartis AG, Novartis Hellas S.A.C.I., and Alcon Pte Ltd Agree to Pay Over $345 million Combined to Resolve FCPA Matters With the Government

Novartis Hellas S.A.C.I. (Novartis Greece), a subsidiary of Novartis AG, a Switzerland-based global pharmaceutical company, and Alcon Pte Ltd, a former subsidiary of Novartis AG and current subsidiary of Alcon Inc., a multinational eye care company, have agreed to pay a combined total of more than $233 million in criminal monetary penalties to resolve the department’s investigation into violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

The resolutions arise out of a Novartis Greece scheme to bribe employees of state-owned and state-controlled hospitals and clinics in Greece and to falsely record improper payments relating to the corrupt scheme and similar conduct, and an Alcon Pte Ltd scheme to make and falsely record improper payments in Vietnam. Novartis AG has also agreed to pay over $112 million to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in a related matter.

Novartis Greece entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey in connection with a criminal information filed today in the District of New Jersey charging Novartis Greece with one count of conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA and one count of conspiracy to violate the books and records provision of the FCPA. Pursuant to the deferred prosecution agreement, Novartis Greece has committed to pay a total criminal monetary penalty of $225 million.

Alcon Pte Ltd, a subsidiary of Novartis AG at the time of the misconduct, separately entered into a deferred prosecution agreement in connection with a criminal information filed today in the District of New Jersey charging Alcon Pte Ltd with conspiracy to violate the books and records provision of the FCPA. Pursuant to the deferred prosecution agreement, Alcon Pte Ltd has committed to pay a total criminal monetary penalty of approximately $8.9 million.

“Novartis AG’s subsidiaries profited from bribes that induced medical professionals, hospitals, and clinics to prescribe Novartis-branded pharmaceuticals and use Alcon surgical products, and they falsified their books and records to conceal those bribes,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The resolutions announced today reflect the paramount importance of effective compliance programs and the department’s commitment to holding companies accountable when they fall short.”

Novartis Hellas S.A.C.I. and Alcon Pte Ltd Agree to Pay over $233 Million Combined to Resolve Criminal FCPA CasesU.S. Department of Justice