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April 20, 2022

Waste management company Stericycle Inc. agreed to pay a total of $84 million and enter into a deferred prosecution agreement admitting to the payment of millions of dollars in bribes to government officials in Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina in order to obtain and retain business and to secure improper advantages in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  The company’s foreign subsidiaries maintained false records to conceal the bribes, which were typically paid in cash and recorded on spreadsheets using code words and euphemisms, including describing the payments made in Argentina as “alfajores.”  Stericycle’s total payment consists of a $28 million payment to resolve an investigation by the SEC, a $52.5 million criminal penalty, and $9.3 million to resolve investigations by the Controladoria-Geral da União (CGU) and the Advocacia-Geral de União (Attorney General’s Office) in Brazil, part of which will be credited to reduce the criminal penalty.  DOJ; SEC

February 17, 2022

South Korean telecommunications company KT Corporation will pay $6.3 million to resolve charges that the company and its executives engaged in multiple improper payment schemes in Korea and Vietnam in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The company allegedly failed to have adequate accounting controls, resulting in the creation of slush funds used for gifts and illegal political contributions to government officials who had influence over KT Corp.’s business.  SEC

January 10, 2022

The SEC has issued two awards totaling more than $4 million to three whistleblowers whose information and assistance helped bring about two successful enforcement actions.  In the first order, a single whistleblower who reported internally before providing significant new information to the agency on an existing investigation was awarded $2.6 million.  According to the SEC, the misconduct occurred overseas and would have been difficult to detect without the whistleblower’s tip.  In the second order, two whistleblowers received a joint award of $1.5 million for providing substantial ongoing assistance.  SEC

November 9, 2021

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced a $24.3 million whistleblower award to Gwang Ho Kim, a former Hyundai safety engineer who provided critical information to NHTSA about safety defects in millions of Hyundai and Kia vehicles.  The award under the Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act was made in connection with Hyundai and Kia’s 2020 agreement to pay combined penalties of up to $210 million. NHTSA.

October 19, 2021

Credit Suisse Group AG, together with related subsidiaries, and VTB Capital plc will collectively pay more than $481 million to resolve charges related to the financing of hundreds of millions in loans to the government of Mozambique and an entity owned by that government, Empresa Moçambicana de Atum S.A. (EMATUM), which was formed to develop a tuna fishing project.  Credit Suisse, which pleaded guilty to defrauding investors and entered into a settlement agreement with the SEC, will pay nearly $475 million to U.S. and international authorities, as well as restitution to individual investors.  As part of its guilty plea, Credit Suisse admitted that it made material misrepresentations and omissions in statement to investors including about the planned use of loan proceeds; about $50 million in kickback payments to a Credit Suisse subsidiary and $150 million in bribes to government officials; about the existence and maturity dates of other loans to the government of Mozambique; about other red flags prior to and during the EMATUM financing; and about the risk of default.  In addition, the SEC charged that Credit Suisse violated the internal accounting controls and books and records provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Credit Suisse's payment consists of a $99 million payment to the SEC ($65 million as a penalty and $34 million in disgorgement and interest), a $247.52 million criminal monetary penalty to the U.S., with $175.6 million to be paid and the remaining to $47.2 million to be credited to related settlements, and $200.7 million to the United Kingdom's Financial Conduct Authority.  In addition, Credit Suisse agreed to provide $200 million as debt relief to Mozambique. VTB will pay $6.4 million to resolve SEC charges that it mislead investors in a related bond offering structured by VTB Capital and Credit Suisse, which the SEC found failed to disclose the true nature of Mozambique's debt and the high risk of default on the bonds.  SEC; DOJ

September 24, 2021

London-based advertising company WPP plc, which has ADRs registered in the US, will pay $19 million in disgorgement, interest, and penalties to resolve allegations that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  The SEC charged that WPP acquired advertising agencies in high-risk markets and failed to insure that these subsidiaries implemented appropriate internal controls or respond to repeated warning signs and internal complaints about activities including payments to government officials in India, China, Brazil, and Peru.  SEC

June 25, 2021

UK-based global engineering company Amec Foster Wheeler Energy Limited, a subsidiary of John Wood Group plc, has agreed to pay more than $40.7 million in criminal fines, disgorgement, and interest, and enter into a three-year deferred prosecution agreement to settle foreign bribery charges involving a $190 million contract from state-owned Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobras) to design a gas-to-chemicals complex in Brazil.  Through employees located in New York and Texas, Amec Foster Wheeler allegedly conspired with others to pay bribes to win the contract, earning at least $12.9 million in profit as a result. The company also reached settlements with the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office and Brazilian authorities, and will receive credits for payments made to those entities. USAO EDNY; DOJ; SEC

January 8, 2021

Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft entered into a deferred prosecution agreement and agreed to pay over $130 million to resolve charges that the financial services company violated the FCPA and engaged in a commodities fraud scheme.  The SEC charged that Deutsche Bank made payments to individuals including foreign officials, their relatives, and their associates as third-party intermediaries and consultants to obtain and retain global business, and lacked sufficient internal accounting controls related to the use and payment of such intermediaries, resulting in millions in bribe payments or payments for unknown, undocumented, or unauthorized services that were inaccurately recorded as legitimate business expenses with documentation falsified by Deutsche Bank employees. The agreed payment represents a $79.6 million criminal penalty and $43.3 million in disgorgement in prejudgment interest to the SEC.   Separately, in connection with a spoofing scheme undertaken by Deutsche precious metals traders in New York, Singapore, and London the bank agreed to a total of $7.5 million in criminal penalties, disgorgement, and restitution, the penalty amount of which will be credited against a 2018 $30 million CFTC civil penalty for substantially the same conduct.   SEC; DOJ

December 3, 2020

The U.S. affiliate of one of the world’s largest energy trading firms has agreed to resolve investigations by U.S. and Brazilian authorities into alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by paying a combined $135 million, as well as an additional $16 million in penalty and $12.7 million in disgorgement to the CFTC.  From 2005 to 2020, Vitol Inc. allegedly paid millions of dollars in bribes to government officials in Brazil, Ecuador, and Mexico in order to obtain competitive advantages.  Many of the bribes were paid to officials at Brazil’s state-owned and state-controlled oil company, Petróleo Brasileiro S.A., through a series of intermediaries, fictitious companies, fictitious email accounts, and code names.  This is the first action involving foreign corruption that was brought by the CFTC.  CFTC; DOJ; USAO EDNY

October 27, 2020

Chicago-based distillery Beam Suntory Inc. (Beam) has agreed to pay over $19.5 million to settle allegations of paying bribes to Indian government officials between 2006 to 2012, in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).  At least some of the bribes were authorized by a high-level regional executive and paid by third parties.  Additionally, Beam intentionally failed to implement internal controls to prevent such conduct, as well as falsified books and records to conceal the bribes after they were paid.  As part of the settlement, Beam admitted to the charges and agreed to a three-year deferred prosecution agreement.  USAO NDIL
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