On a number of levels, 2016 was a record-breaking year for Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement. This article, part of annual series, highlights how 2016 witnessed the largest number of corporate enforcement actions and largest aggregate corporate settlement amounts in the FCPA’s nearly 40 year history.
FCPA enforcement in 2016 was also notable given the wide spectrum of enforcement actions. For instance, there were FCPA enforcement actions against U.S. companies as well as foreign companies; enforcement actions that alleged egregious instances of corporate bribery executed at the highest levels of a company as well as enforcement actions finding bribery based on allegations of “golf in the morning and beer-drinking in the evening” and internship and hiring practices; enforcement actions against large multinational companies as well as small publicly-traded companies, privately-held companies and limited liability companies; enforcement actions across a wide spectrum of industries such as technology, oil and gas, pharmaceutical and medical device, airlines, and financial services; and enforcement actions involving conduct across the globe from Latin America to South America, to Eastern Europe to Africa with a majority of enforcement actions focusing in whole or in part on conduct occurring in China.
2016 was notable not just for record-breaking and diverse enforcement activity often tied to expansive and evolving enforcement theories, but also FCPA policy developments. For instance, both the Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission renewed their long-standing FCPA enforcement commitment and the DOJ released a one year FCPA Pilot Program designed in large part to further motivate business organizations to voluntarily disclose FCPA issues to better facilitate enforcement actions against culpable individuals.
In short, much happened in the FCPA space in 2016 and this article provides a detailed analysis of the most notable FCPA enforcement and policy developments and will be value to anyone seeking to elevate their FCPA knowledge.