Criminal Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) & Cross-Border Investigations

Williams & Connolly’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act experience is broad in scope. The firm has represented large, multinational corporations, other businesses, and individuals in FCPA-related matters before the Department of Justice (“DOJ”), Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and other U.S. regulators. Additionally, our lawyers have supervised and conducted large, complex investigations throughout the world involving a range of FCPA-related issues. In conjunction with overseeing investigations or representing clients in the United States, the firm has worked closely with counsel in foreign countries and forged working relationships with reputable local law firms in multiple foreign jurisdictions to assist its multi-national clients. The firm also has advised large, sophisticated corporations on compliance with FCPA requirements, formal FCPA compliance programs, and due diligence issues. The firm’s extensive experience includes the evaluation, investigation, and defense of FCPA issues arising from client activities spanning the globe, including in key emerging markets like Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Mexico, and other locations across Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America, Latin America, and the Middle East.

FCPA Investigations

Because of its litigation background, the firm has focused its FCPA practice on conducting internal investigations for corporations when FCPA-related issues are discovered, and, when appropriate, further advising on the self-disclosure to, and possible enforcement actions brought by, U.S. and foreign regulators. These matters often entail multiple investigations in numerous U.S. and foreign locations and have required us to work closely with the client’s internal legal, compliance, audit and accounting staffs, as well as various outside auditing and accounting firms, private investigators, and foreign counsel.  While we have multiple attorneys experienced in conducting worldwide investigations, our FCPA practice is highlighted by a Senior Partner who not only has led such investigations while at the firm, but also has overseen and managed a major FCPA investigation while General Counsel of a Fortune 500 company. This breadth of experience is indispensable to understanding the needs of clients confronted with FCPA issues. Additionally, the firm’s litigation experience provides a valuable perspective with such issues as deciding upon the appropriate scope of an FCPA-related investigation, and, when necessary and appropriate, interacting with enforcement authorities.

Many firm lawyers also have extensive experience representing individuals faced with DOJ, SEC or internal investigations arising out of FCPA investigations. These representations have included representing a variety of high level officials and corporate officers who have found themselves targets or subjects of DOJ/SEC investigations.

FCPA Counseling

While the focus of our FCPA practice is advising on and conducting investigations, our attorneys also have counseled major corporations on compliance with FCPA requirements, formal FCPA compliance programs, and due diligence. These efforts have included developing, reviewing and implementing organizational policies and procedures designed to prevent FCPA compliance problems. For example, one of the firm’s partners developed an FCPA compliance program for a major international financial services firm, oversaw the training and implementation of that program, counseled that corporation on specific matters arising under the program, and engaged in enhanced due diligence for that client with regard to the sale or acquisition of companies that do business in developing and third world countries. Another partner provided similar oversight over corporate compliance issues in his role as the general counsel and chief compliance officer for a Fortune 500 corporation, where he routinely managed corporate investigations, including a significant FCPA matter, and developed and implemented internal controls to enhance anti-corruption compliance programs.  His experience includes working with a broad network of corporate agents and third parties in foreign countries, supervising the implementation of a corporate and anti-corruption compliance program for that corporation and its subsidiaries, and dealing with SEC and DOJ FCPA investigations for both the parent corporation and its subsidiaries. In addition, a variety of partners have worked with major corporations and their consultants to advise on compliance with FCPA requirements and monitor remediation and enhancements to the client’s ongoing compliance programs and anti-corruption controls. Firm partners also have provided advice on potential mergers, acquisitions and other transactions as those activities relate to managing FCPA compliance.

FCPA-Related Litigation

The firm has dealt with FCPA issues in the context of private, civil litigation. For example, we recently represented a major defense contractor in a civil suit brought by a foreign sovereign against numerous corporate defendants. FCPA violations provided the factual predicate for the substantive claims in that case.  In another civil case involving allegations of FCPA violations, we represented a global power distribution company. In addition, the firm frequently has been involved in defending corporations in litigation, arbitration and other disputes that arise out of FCPA investigations. These suits have included employment and breach of contract actions brought by former employees, third parties and customers in both the United States and foreign countries.

Other FCPA-Related Matters

The firm conducts investigations to audit compliance with corporate codes of conduct and applicable statutes and regulatory rules, and counsels boards of directors on creating and monitoring codes of ethical business behavior and on related disclosure issues. As an outgrowth of its FCPA work, our attorneys also represent companies and their boards of directors in criminal, civil and administrative proceedings arising from corporate governance and compliance issues.

Scholarly Endeavors

In addition to defending and advising clients, our partners are actively involved in FCPA issues outside of the firm. One partner authored a leading treatise, Corporate Counsel Guidelines, which is an invaluable resource for in-house counsel. Other partners have served as co-chair of the ABA White Collar Crime Subcommittee on Transnational Criminal Matters, and have lectured on FCPA-related issues.  Numerous others have served as panelists in a variety of forums discussing FCPA-related issues.

A representative list of our FCPA experience include:

  • Representation of a former senior executive of a transportation company in a FCPA investigation into alleged corruption in South Africa.
  • Representation of a former senior executive of an international energy trading company in a FCPA investigation by the DOJ and a U.S. Attorney’s Office into alleged corruption in Africa and South America.
  • Representation of the Chairman of the Board and former CEO of a pharmaceutical company in investigations by the SEC and DOJ for potential violations of the FCPA and U.S. securities laws.
  • Representation of a global biopharmaceutical company and its affiliates in a DOJ investigation related to contracts with the Iraqi Ministry of Health.
  • Representation of a former senior executive of a large manufacturing company in a FCPA investigation by the DOJ and SEC.
  • Representation of a telecommunications executive in a DOJ investigation relating to activities in Russia and Ukraine.
  • Representation of a senior executive of an international energy company in multinational investigations by the DOJ, SEC, the Serious Fraud Office (U.K.) and other foreign agencies into allegations of foreign bribery and corruption.  Williams & Connolly coordinated its client’s worldwide defense.
  • Representation of a media and publishing company in a four-year DOJ investigation into allegations of bribery of foreign officials.
  • Representation of two senior executives of a Fortune 500 energy company in a joint DOJ-SEC investigation into allegations of unlawful payments to foreign officials.
  • Representation of a private family business and its owners in a DOJ investigation into allegations of potential FCPA violations and money laundering, stemming from an international corruption investigation in South Africa.
  • Representation of a senior executive of a large oil services company in a DOJ FCPA investigation.
  • Representation of a multinational food company in DOJ and SEC investigations involving FCPA issues spanning five continents.
  • Representation of a former executive of a manufacturing company in a cross-border anti-corruption investigation.
  • Representation of the former CEO of one of the largest companies in the world in a joint DOJ and SEC FCPA investigation into allegations of unlawful payments to foreign officials on three continents.
  • Representation of a senior executive of an international energy trading company in an investigation by the DOJ and a U.S. Attorney’s Office into alleged corruption in South America.
  • Representation of a foreign bank in connection with a FCPA matter.
  • Representation of a multinational mining company in a SEC FCPA investigation relating to alleged corruption in South Africa.
  • Representation of four senior employees in a FCPA investigation into allegations of bribery, books and records, and controls violations.
  • Representation of two individuals in SEC and DOJ investigations into allegations of bribery of foreign customs officials.
  • Representation of a financial services executive in a joint DOJ and SEC anti-corruption investigation relating to natural resources investment activities in Africa.
  • Representation of the former executive of an energy services company in a FCPA investigation into allegations concerning the use of intermediary companies to procure business with a foreign government.
  • Representation of a petrochemicals firm in a DOJ investigation concerning alleged FCPA violations in Russia.

Williams & Connolly Recognized in Corporate Crime & Investigations Category by Chambers Global 2022

Williams & Connolly Recognized in Corporate Crime & Investigations Category by Chambers Global 2022
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