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March 1, 2024

Switzerland-based international commodities trading company Gunvor S.A. has pleaded guilty and agreed to pay over $661 million to resolve charges of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in connection with misconduct in Ecuador.  Over half of the proceeds will cover a criminal monetary penalty, while the remainder is a forfeiture of funds illegally gained through 8 years of bribes to Ecuadorean government officials to secure business with Petroecuador, the state-owned and controlled oil company.  Gunvor will also pay $98 million to Swiss authorities to resolve charges there.  DOJ

January 10, 2024

German software company SAP SE (SAP) has agreed to pay over $220 million and enter into a three-year deferred prosecution agreement with the DOJ to resolve allegations of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by paying bribes to government officials in Azerbaijan, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, and Tanzania from at least 2014 to 2022.  The company allegedly paid third parties to pay the bribes, then recorded the bribes as legitimate business expenses in its books and records.  To resolve parallel investigations with other authorities, SAP has agreed to pay almost $100 million to the SEC, which will be offset by a $59 million payment already made to the South African government.  DOJ; SEC

December 14, 2023

Freepoint Commodities LLC will pay more than $98 million in civil penalties and disgorgement for improperly obtaining and trading on material non-public information. Freepoint paid millions in bribes to government officials in Brazil to obtain highly confidential information related to the purchase and sale of fuel oil. Certain members of Freepoint's oil trading team knew of and took steps to conceal the fraud by using code words, fake names, and private email addresses, all to gain unlawful competitive advantages in oil products trading. DOJ; CFTC

November 20, 2023

Two U.K.-based reinsurance brokers, Tysers Insurance Brokers Limited and H.W. Wood Limited, have agreed to pay $36 million and $22.5 million in criminal penalties respectively for participating in a scheme to bribe Ecuadorian officials through transactions based in Florida.  Tysers—then known as Integro Insurance Brokers Limited—and H.W. Wood were found to have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act when they paid $2.8 million in bribes to the chairman of two government-owned insurance companies and three government officials, by way of almost $30 million in commissions paid to third parties.  In addition to the criminal penalties, Tysers will forfeit $10.5 million, and H.W. Wood will forfeit $2.3 million, with H.W. Wood’s penalties reduced due to demonstrated inability to pay.  DOJ

September 29, 2023

North Carolina-based global specialty chemical manufacturing company Albemarle Corporation has agreed to pay over $218 million in penalties and forfeiture to the DOJ, $103.6 million in disgorgement and prejudgment interest to the SEC, and enter into a three-year non-prosecution agreement to settle charges of violating the anti-bribery, recordkeeping, and internal accounting controls provision of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).  Albemarle admitted to using third-party intermediaries to pay bribes from about 2009 to 2017 in order to obtain and retain business with state-owned oil refineries in Vietnam, Indonesia, and India.  As a result, the company obtained profits of about $98.5 million.  DOJ; SEC

August 25, 2023

3M Company has agreed to pay more than $6.5 million to resolve charges that a wholly-owned subsidiary in China provided bribes to Chinese government officials in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).  The bribes to officials at state-owned healthcare facilities came in the form of guided overseas travel—ostensibly to conferences, educational events, and healthcare facility visits, but in reality to sightseeing, shopping, and other leisure activities.  The subsidiary ultimately paid almost $1 million to fund at least 24 such trips from about 2014 to 2017.  SEC

August 10, 2023

Colombian financial services institution Corporación Financiera Colombiana S.A. (Corficolombiana) has agreed to pay over $80 million to resolve foreign bribery investigations by criminal, civil, and administrative authorities in the United States and Colombia.  Between 2012 and 2015, Corficolombiana allegedly conspired with Brazilian-based construction conglomerate Odebrecht S.A. (Odebrecht) to offer and pay more than $20 million in bribes to Colombian government officials in order to win rights to construct and operate a 328-mile toll road.  As a result, Corficolombiana earned more than $28 million in profits.  Now, in addition to the financial penalties that it will pay—which will be divided between DOJ and SEC—the company will be subject to a three-year deferred prosecution agreement with DOJ.  DOJ; SEC

May 11, 2023

Dutch medical supplier Koninklijke Philips N.V. has agreed to pay $62 million to settle charges that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act while selling medical equipment to hospitals in China.  A SEC investigation found that Philips’ Chinese subsidiaries gave distributors special pricing discounts that invited excessive funds to be used for improper payments, made such payments to curry favor toward their products, and manipulated the fair bidding process to fake compliance with Chinese laws.  The SEC had previously charged Philips for similar conduct in Poland between 1999 and 2007.  SEC

March 9, 2023

A former Malaysia-based Goldman Sachs investment banker has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for being involved in a massive bribery and money-laundering scheme involving Malaysia’s state-owned 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).  In order to obtain and retain lucrative business for Goldman Sachs, Roger Ng and co-conspirators at Goldman Sachs misappropriated billions of dollars from 1MDB, which they used to pay bribes to 12 government officials in Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.  Proceeds from the scheme were then laundered through the U.S. financial system.  DOJ

March 2, 2023

Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (“Ericsson”) has agreed to pay $206 million for breaching a 2019 Deferred Prosecution Agreement that was signed to settle allegations that the Swedish telecommunications company used third-party agents to bribe government officials in China, Djibouti, Indonesia, Kuwait, and Vietnam, in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).  Under the terms of the 2019 DPA, Ericsson agreed to pay a $520 million criminal penalty and comply with certain conditions.  However, Ericsson was found to have failed to disclose additional information relating to its conduct in China and Djibouti, as well as promptly report conduct in Iraq that may constitute another violation of the FCPA.  USAO SDNY
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