DRT Miami Year in Review: 2020 FCPA Enforcement
By Michael Diaz, Jr., Global Managing Partner, Diaz Reus International Law Firm & Alliance (DRT)
DRT Miami has earned recognition for its work in representing clients in white-collar cases, including cases involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”), the Money Laundering Control Act (“MLCA”), the Global Magnitsky Act (“GLOMAG”), and the Sanctions and regulations of the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”). Over the years, our team of bilingual attorneys certified in international law, former prosecutors and law enforcement agents, and anti-money laundering specialists has successfully represented U.S. and non-U.S. citizens in obtaining pre-indictment resolution of Florida, U.S., and transnational parallel proceedings conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”), and the various U.S. law enforcement agencies.
Not surprisingly, 2020 was a very active year for our law firm. Throughout this year, the U.S. Government actively investigated and prosecuted individuals and corporations suspected of being involved in political corruption or bribery in a foreign country under the FCPA and the MLCA. In addition, the U.S. implemented further aggressive measures to fight corruption, including economic sanctions administered by OFAC. And, U.S. anti-corruption agencies released new guidance to further clarify what the U.S. expects from companies with respect to corporate compliance.
2020 FCPA ENFORCEMENT
The FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions prohibit U.S. persons and businesses, U.S. and foreign public companies listed on stock exchanges in the U.S. or that are required to file periodic reports with the SEC, and certain foreign persons and businesses acting while in the territory of the U.S., from making corrupt payments to foreign officials to obtain or retain business. Two different U.S. bodies enforce the FCPA: the DOJ and the Securities Exchange Commission (“SEC”). And, the DOJ frequently bolsters FCPA criminal charges against individuals and companies with charges under the MLCA. These additional money laundering charges enable DOJ to prosecute not only the briber, but also the foreign official receiving the bribe.
In 2020, the DOJ criminally charged multiple individuals and corporations for FCPA violations in connection with the bribery of foreign officials in or from countries such as Barbados, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Panama, Poland, Russia, Uganda, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Vietnam. As in past years, the DOJ focused on corruption in the energy industry. However, it also prosecuted actors from other industries such as banking, telecommunications, technology, travel and entertainment, and medical devices.
Over the course of this year, DRT Miami represented clients in highly publicized FCPA investigations such as the cases of Mediapro (Spain), PDVSA and CORPOELEC (Venezuela), Sargeant Marine Inc. (Brazil, Venezuela, and Ecuador), and Goldman Sachs (Malaysia).