In a stunning rebuke of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) trial strategy, all defendants in the second group of Gun Sting defendants walked out of the federal courthouse, still free. Two defendants were acquitted and the remaining three defendants were granted a mistrial. One defendant was dismissed at the close of the prosecution’s case in December as was the DOJ’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) conspiracy count against all defendants. So, as the FCPA Professor noted, the DOJ is 0-10 in trial prosecutions in its Gun Sting case. However, that stark number does not tell the full picture of what is going on in enforcement of the FCPA.

First and foremost, not all of the Gun Sting defendants have been acquitted or even been granted mistrials, three defendants, Haim Geri, Daniel Alvarez and Jonathan Spiller all pled guilty. A fourth defendant, Richard Bistrong, reported by the FCPA Blog to be “the key intermediary between the FBI and the shot-show defendants”, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and other statutes in 2010. So to imply the DOJ is zero in obtaining guilty verdicts and pleas for all defendants in its Gun Sting case is not precisely correct.

The defeats in the Gun Sting trials, coupled with the overturning of the guilty verdict in the Lindsey Manufacturing case and the O’Shea acquittal, have lead many commentators to make one of two arguments: (1) the DOJ is getting is comeuppance for ‘aggressive’ prosecution of the FCPA; and (2) coupled with the claim that the FCPA hurts US competitiveness overseas, it is the end of FCPA enforcement as we know it. Both positions are far wide of the mark. So what does the DOJ record for the two Gun Sting trials mean for FCPA enforcement? Absolutely nothing! As reported by the FCPA Blog, in 2011 15 companies settled FCPA enforcement actions by paying a total of $508.6 million in fines and penalties. Although this is a drop from both the number of companies which resolved FCPA enforcement actions and aggregate amount of fines and penalties paid over the previous year, this number is still significant. One need only take a look at the reported ongoing FCPA investigations to see that there is still significant enforcement occurring. As to the ‘aggressive’ DOJ enforcement, remember these enforcement actions against companies are made largely through self-disclosure. If the DOJ does not believe that there is a sufficient basis to bring an enforcement action, it will decline to prosecute the company.

What can be portended by the defeats at trial? First the whole notion that the Lindsey Manufacturing company defendants were somehow acquitted or over-zealously prosecuted is just plain wrong. They were found guilty and this guilty verdict was thrown out due to prosecutorial misconduct. As to O’Shea, it appears that the trial judge concluded that the government simply did not have enough evidence to get it to a jury. While it appears that the O’Shea case should not have gone to trial, the government at least put enough evidence forward to get to trial.

Such was not the case in the Gun Sting trials, where it appears the jury both (a) did not think the defendants were guilty, or (b) leaned so heavily towards acquittal that no unanimous decision could be made. It is still not clear why the government failed so miserably with the juries in the Gun Sting trials. It may be that people do not understand why the government would set up an apparently legitimate business transaction and then overlay a corruption case on it. After all, everyone understands that any business dealing involving illegal narcotics is illegal from the get-go. It does not matter if bribery and corruption are involved, the entire transaction is illegal. It may be the jurors did not feel the same about an underlying transaction which was clearly legal; here the sale of armaments to a foreign government, something the US government does on a routine basis.

It may also be the jury simply did not believe or even like the government’s star co-operating witness, Richard Bistrong. As reported by the FCPA Professor, Bistrong pled guilty long before any of the 2010 arrests in the Gun Sting case. He pled guilty back in 2009 which means that at least some of the time he was working undercover for the government, he had already pled guilty. This fact may have persuaded the jury in the Gun Sting trials that his testimony did not support the illegal conduct that the government claimed it supported. Or as asked by the FCPA Professor, in a post entitled “Will Bistrong’s Plea Impact The Africa Sting Cases?”, “What impact will Bistrong’s plea have in the Africa [Gun] Sting case – particularly the defendants’ expected entrapment defense?” It may have been quite a bit.

As your company’s compliance officer, what should you make of all this? My take is that you had better double down on your compliance program because I believe that the DOJ will refocus its efforts where it will have the most success, with enforcement actions against corporations. Why do I say this? First of all, there is the self-disclosure issue noted above which is now compounded by the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower provision. Second is the new norm of industry sweeps, and remember these started long before Johnson & Johnson who agreed, as part of its DPA, to turn in its competitors for alleged FCPA violations. Also name one company which will go to trial? The answer is easy because it’s none, nada, zilch and zero. After Arthur Anderson, no public US Company will go to trial in a FCPA case and risk a guilty verdict. Lindsey Manufacturing and the individual defendants went to trial because they were the company and the company was them.

So what is my take on the effect on ongoing FCPA enforcement of the failure of the DOJ to convict any of the Gun Sting defendants at trial? Once again, Absolutely nothing!

This publication contains general information only and is based on the experiences and research of the author. The author is not, by means of this publication, rendering business, legal advice, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such legal advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified legal advisor. The author, his affiliates, and related entities shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person or entity that relies on this publication. The Author gives his permission to link, post, distribute, or reference this article for any lawful purpose, provided attribution is made to the author. The author can be reached at tfox@tfoxlaw.com.

© Thomas R. Fox, 2012

I have seen several lists of the Top Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) issues of 2011. Sam Rubenfeld and Chris Matthews at the Wall Street Journal’s Corruption Currents have been interviewing several of the top legal practitioners on their thoughts. The ever-present Mike Volkov has weighed in with his list and his “Person of the Year”, the Chief Compliance Officer. Howard Sklar and I even got into the video act by discussing our most significant issues in “This Week in FCPA”. So as part of the compliance commentariati, I submit, for your consideration, my Top Ten anti-corruption and anti-bribery issues over the past 12 months.

1.         Amendments to the FCPA? The Senate ended 2010 with hearings focusing on why there were not more individual prosecutions under the FCPA. In June, the House Judiciary Committee focused on ways to ease up on or gut the anti-corruption provisions of the FCPA in the name of US “competitiveness” overseas. Then in a stunning turnaround, the House Judiciary Chair asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) representative if the DOJ would support a ban on all commercial bribery, not just a ban on bribing foreign governmental officials. Then again he did say was drafting amendments to the FCPA which we haven’t heard about since the great theater in June.

2.         UK Bribery Act goes live. For many in the anglophile world, the event of the year was the marriage of Prince William to Kate Middleton. However, for us in the anti-corruption and anti-bribery world, it was effective date of the UK Bribery Act, July 1. While some had opined that the Bribery Act was “the FCPA on steroids” the initial prosecution under the Bribery Act was for a £500 bribe paid to a UK court clerk. Perhaps it just takes awhile for UK steroids to kick in.

 3.         Crystal Ball Reading. One does not have to read a crystal ball or tea leaves to know what should constitute a best practices compliance program. The DOJ continues to respond to calls for information by practitioners and the commentarati by providing solid information through which you can implement or enhance your compliance program. In addition to continuing to list the 12 points in a minimum best practices compliance program in each Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA)/Non-Prosecution Agreement (NPA) released; the DOJ has provided ‘enhanced compliance obligations’ in DPAs which provide information on evolving standards. Back in January, the DOJ provided information on areas of risk which should be assessed to inform your compliance program.

4.         Chief Compliance Officer Upgrade. With the effective changes in the federal sentencing guidelines from November, 2010 and the DOJ comments this year, it has become clear that companies must give a more prominent role to the Chief Compliance Officer and separate that function from that of the General Counsel.

5.         Investigating Private Equity. Both the DOJ and Serious Fraud Office (SFO) announced that they would be looking at private equity, in conjunction with anti-bribery and anti-corruption. Well known for cost reductions through cutting corporate budgets, they may become a prime and profitable set of targets for enforcement agencies.  Additionally, their unique structure of separately operating portfolio companies may greatly increase ownerships control and person risks. If you are in private equity and are reading this and have no clue what I am talking about, get on the phone to one of Howard Sklar’s recommended FCPA counsel ASAP.

6.         It Just Can’t Get any Weirder. Just when you think you have seen it all in the FCPA world, News Corp., is accused of bribing Scotland Yard to further its newspaper business and it is also alleged that a lawyer representing a US company in Mexican litigation attempts to bribe a court official to obtain a favorable ruling. Then, of course there is Olympus, which not only fires its whistle-blowing Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for questioning Red Flag payments to agents, which reveals that it has been engaged in a decade long corporate fraud. But here’s the topper in my book, someone posted a comment to my blog post about Tyson’s Foods paying bribes to the wives of Mexican food inspectors to obtain ‘favorable treatment’. She said the following “The meat being TIF-certified for export was not meat distributed to U.S. The meat was being exported to countries such as Japan and other Asian destinations.” I am sure that is of great comfort to the folks in “Japan and other Asian destinations”. Memo to Tyson: Call Gini Dietrich at Spin Sucks for some serious PR help.

7.         Plaintiff’s Bar gets that old time (FCPA) religion. The FCPA was used, in a somewhat novel manner, in three civil actions which may portend an entire new wave of private and civil FCPA litigations. In SciClone a shareholder derivative action was filed after the announcement of a FCPA investigation. During the pendency of a FCPA investigation, this civil action was settled with the company agreeing to implement a best practices compliance program. In Alba v. Alcoa a company whose employees were allegedly paid bribes (Alba) sued the alleged bribe-payor (Alcoa) for damages in driving up the costs for products sold because of the corrupt acts of Alcoa. In ICE, the Costa Rican telecom company sought to use the victim restitution component to allow it to participate in the DOJ’s FCPA settlement with Alcatel-Lucent.

8.         Rule of Law. Several DOJ prosecutions of individuals under the FCPA have brought a plethora of legal rulings to flesh out legal standards under the FCPA. In the spring, there were district court rulings on whether a state owned enterprise is covered by the FCPA and an analysis of what constitutes a state owned enterprise. These cases will probably be appealed so we may have the first US court of appeals’ interpretation of the FCPA in quite some time.

9.         Wide World of Enforcement. More countries are implementing new anti-corruption laws and more resources are being dedicated to enforcement. The US has had significant cooperation with the UK SFO and Financial Services Association (FSA) and this will increase with the go live date of the Bribery Act. However, the BRIC countries have passed, or are considering, significant anti-corruption laws. The US is starting to coordinate and share more information with these countries — China being the most significant.  For global companies, this increase will portend greater numbers of fines and penalties and will complicate international settlement efforts.

10.       Year of the FCPA Trial. This was the year that the DOJ brought out the big trial guns for three very high profile FCPA trials: the Gun Sting cases; Lindsey Manufacturing; and Haitian Telecom. The resolution results have been mixed, with convictions in Lindsey and Haitian Telecom; mistrial in the first of four Gun Sting trials and some dismissals in the second Gun Sting trial. However, the government has taken a black eye for some procedural missteps, particularly the judge throwing out the entire guilty verdict for prosecutorial misconduct in the Lindsey Mfg. case.

This publication contains general information only and is based on the experiences and research of the author. The author is not, by means of this publication, rendering business, legal advice, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such legal advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified legal advisor. The author, his affiliates, and related entities shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person or entity that relies on this publication. The Author gives his permission to link, post, distribute, or reference this article for any lawful purpose, provided attribution is made to the author. The author can be reached at tfox@tfoxlaw.com.

© Thomas R. Fox, 2012

As December is a time for reflection on the past twelve months, I have been considering the FCPA Enforcement Action year. I submit for your consideration my Top 10 FCPA Enforcement Actions for 2011 in the Corporate Division. Happy and Safe New Year to all and we will see you next week in 2012 with our list of Top FCPA issues from 2011.

1.         Alcatel-Lucent ($137MM) or non-cooperation will cost you.-the company lost between $10MM to $20MM in penalty reduction because its initial investigative counsel did not fully cooperate with the DOJ after self-disclosure.

2.         AON-($16.2MM)(NPA) or it’s still not a good thing to send that foreign official to Disneyland-the world wide insurer Aon was issued an NPA for setting up a “educational fund” which paid for travel and entertainment of Nicaraguan insurance officials and then not recording it properly.

 

3.         Armor Holdings ($10.29MM)(NPA) or you can step back from the abyss-the company which had 92 separate instances of disguising bribes yet was able to obtain a NPA, through self-disclose, cleaning house, remediation and implementing a best practices compliance program.

4.         Bridgestone ($28MM)-don’t double down a FCPA violation by adding Anti-Trust violationsthe company was found to have engaged in both bribery of foreign officials by using such corrupt acts in furtherance of bid-rigging.

5.         JGC ($218.8MM)-and then there were nonethe final corporate conclusion of the infamous Bonney Island, Nigeria Bribery Scandal. Joining with previously settled defendants, Halliburton, Technip and Snamprogetti/ENI to bring a total settlement amount of over $1.5 billion. Four of the top 6 FCPA settlements of all-time came out of this enforcement action and that does not even count the $147MM in disgorgement agreed to by Jeffery Tessler.

6.         Johnson and Johnson ($77MM)-enhanced compliance obligations, the new normal?-not only did J&J agree to implement a minimum best practices compliance program, it also agreed to “enhanced compliance obligations”.

7.         Maxwell Technologies ($14.3 MM) –start you day with a risk assessmentone of several cases where the DOJ specified some of the parameters of the risks you should assess to inform your compliance program. Further the implementation or enhancement of any anti-corruption compliance program should occur after and not before you complete your risk assessment. (Same holds true for the UK Bribery Act)

8.         SciClone ($2.5MM to date) or the plaintiff’s bar finds compliancenot an enforcement action but the settlement of a shareholder derivative action during the pendency of a FCPA investigation, where the company agreed to implement a best practices compliance program. Settlement of the enforcement action is yet to come.

9.         Tenaris ($8.9MM) or the SEC joins the DPA party-the first instance of the SEC entering into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement for the settlement of civil FCPA violations.

10.       Watts Water ($3.7MM) or it is a good thing to keep up with the news-the company’s General Counsel read about an enforcement action involving a non-related company in a different industry but with the same sales model as his company and wondered if it the same sales model might be a FCPA problem for his company. It was.

This publication contains general information only and is based on the experiences and research of the author. The author is not, by means of this publication, rendering business, legal advice, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such legal advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified legal advisor. The author, his affiliates, and related entities shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person or entity that relies on this publication. The Author gives his permission to link, post, distribute, or reference this article for any lawful purpose, provided attribution is made to the author. The author can be reached at tfox@tfoxlaw.com.

© Thomas R. Fox, 2011

Most readers of this blog will be familiar with the Lindsey Manufacturing and Esquenazi Rodriguez prosecutions earlier this year. Both sets of individual defendants in these cases were convicted of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). These convictions were what the FCPA Blog called, “quick verdicts”. There was also the first of four groups of defendants tried in the Gun Sting case. In this case the jury deliberated for five days before the judge declared a mistrial. The second group of defendants is currently in trial.

While the Lindsey Manufacturing defendants have yet to be sentenced, Joel Esquenazi was sentenced to 15 years in prison and Carlos Rodriguez received a sentence of seven years. The John O’Shea case, which was set to go to trial this week here in Houston has been delayed until January, 2012 and the individual defendants in the Control Components case, US v. Carson, are scheduled to go to trial next spring. So there is an increase in the number of individuals going to trial and the length of their sentences, with apparently more to come.

An article in the September issue of The Champion, the monthly magazine of National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, entitled “You Mean You’re Really Going to Try an FCPA Case?” authors Timothy O’Toole and Andrew Wise provide “a checklist of defenses that should be explored” if an individual finds himself in such a prosecution. They list some of the defenses that might be raised.

The Foreign Official Defense

While the trial judge in the Carson case made a ruling on the defense claim of who might be a foreign official under the FCPA, the authors believe that the factor listed requires a “complicated analysis and are difficult to apply.” Therefore, with “the absence of any appellate precedent, it remains to be seen whether this fact-based analysis will prevail or whether courts will ultimately accept the Carson defendants’ argument that employees of a state-owned business enterprise are not, as a matter of law, ’foreign officials’ under the FCPA.” This would allow such a defense to at least be explored.

Facilitation Payments

This defense might be available where the amount of the alleged bribe made is small and is made to obtain a “routine, ministerial act…” However, the authors note that the line between a bribe and a facilitation payment is a “blurry one” and the Department of Justice (DOJ) considers this exception to “quite narrow.” I would also add that any payment where the facilitation defense is claimed should not be recurring.

Promotional Expenses

This defense might arise where the defendant is alleged to “have paid for travel as well as room and board for foreign governmental officials coming to the United States.” However, the FCPA specifically requires that such payments under the exception to the FCPA might be “reasonable and bona fide”. The authors note that if you took foreign government officials to Disneyland and your employer is not the Walt Disney Corporation that this defense is not available to you by stating, “The more the trip looks like a routine business trip, and the more that the company itself pays for meal and lodging expenses directly, the more viable the defense becomes.” If you have taken the foreign officials to your plant for a visit, have paid for coach travel and have not paid for wives or other family members, this defense might be available. The overall key is reasonableness.

Local Law

The authors note that “The FCPA also contains an affirmative defense for payments to foreign officials that are ’lawful under the written laws and regulations’ of the foreign country.” However, there is no country in the world which allows the bribery of its governmental officials so there has never been a successful invocation of this defense.

Jurisdictional Defenses

The jurisdiction of the FCPA is quite broad reaching any US company, US citizen, anywhere in the world, and any employee of any US company; all for “acts that take place entirely outside of the United States.” The authors note that even with this very wide application, the DOJ interprets this jurisdictional base quite broadly so that “enforcement authorities have based jurisdictional claims entirely on foreign wire transfers denominated in U.S. dollars, under the theory that such transfers proceed through a correspondent bank account in New York.” This may be quite a difficult defense to raise.

Business Nexus Requirement

The authors cite the statute for the basis of criminalization of a payment to a foreign governmental official

(i)                 influencing any act or decision of such foreign official in his official capacity, (ii) inducing such foreign official to do or omit to do any act in violation of the lawful duty of such official, or (iii) securing any improper advantage … in order to assist [the company making the payment] in obtaining or retaining business for or with, or directing business to, any person.

Recognizing that the first two elements are more or less straightforward, the authors argue that the third element is “more difficult to apply both because it often involves administrative action similar to the circumstances in which facilitating payments can be made, and because there is confusion about the meaning of the ’obtaining or retaining business’ requirement.” This is the “business nexus requirement.” The authors believe that the case which has the most thorough discussion of the business nexus requirement, the Kay case, “provides little clarity about the scope of the FCPA’s reach other than to suggest that the government must prove a ‘business nexus’ beyond a reasonable doubt.” Due to this lack of “clarity” the authors posit that the business nexus requirement is one that defendants “should pursue both through pretrial motions and potentially as a fact-based defense before the jury.”

Mens Rea

This requires that any payment made to a foreign governmental official is made knowing “that all or part of the money would be used to bribe” such foreign official. As the FCPA is a criminal statute, the government “must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the required mental state coexisted with the proscribed act, i.e., that the defendant acted with the requisite ‘corrupt intent’ when the alleged misconduct occurred.” However, the government also can invoke the “willful blindness” doctrine which the authors define as a doctrine that “merely allows a finding of ’knowledge’ and ’willfulness’ in a situation where the evidence shows the defendant ’actually knew but he refrained from obtaining final confirmation’”. The authors argue that the mens rea defense is important in defending high level company officials when bribes were paid by a lower level employee or an agent.

Entrapment

This is reserved for cases which might be similar to the Gun Sting case in which the government engages in an undercover sting to obtain indictments for violation of the FCPA. Recognizing that this defense will never be an “easy one” it may be “an easier one to pursue in white collar cases than blue collar cases due to the potential differences with regard to predisposition evidence.” Also, as was found after the mistrial in the first Gun Sting trial, juries may be sympathetic to situations where the government creates an entire scenario which the defendant may have believed such conduct was not illegal. Contrast this with the recent conviction of Raj Rajaratnam where the case involved wiretaps but was not an undercover sting operation with an entire business opportunity created by the government.

I found this article though provoking and quite interesting that it should be in the monthly magazine of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. I do believe that there will be an increase in the prosecution of individuals under the FCPA as there is an outcry for such prosecutions even from Congress.

This publication contains general information only and is based on the experiences and research of the author. The author is not, by means of this publication, rendering business, legal advice, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such legal advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified legal advisor. The author, his affiliates, and related entities shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person or entity that relies on this publication. The Author gives his permission to link, post, distribute, or reference this article for any lawful purpose, provided attribution is made to the author. The author can be reached at tfox@tfoxlaw.com.

© Thomas R. Fox, 2011

In Part I of Reading a Crystal Ball? Guidance on Instrumentality under the FCPA, we listed the factors which the three federal district courts have set forth for the determination of whether an entity is an instrumentality under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). In Part II, we will review these factors to see if there is any pattern which we can suggest to the compliance practitioner or indeed the US Chamber of Commerce, which desires to bring some ‘clarity’ to this question, all of which might help an understanding of when the FCPA applies to a transaction or business partner. The chart below consolidates the factors raised by the courts and are set out for reference:

Factor Lindsey Carson Esquenazi
1 Entity provides services to citizens, in many cases all in country Foreign states characterization of the entity and its employees Does the entity provides services to citizens and inhabitants of country
2 Are key officers/directors government employees or appointed by government employees Foreign State’s control over the entity Are key officers/directors government employees or appointed by government  employees
3 Is entity financed by or in large measure by government appropriations or through government mandates Purpose of the entity’s activities Extent of government ownership or does government provide financial support
4 Is entity vested with or does it exercise exclusive/controlling power to administer its designated functions The Entity’s obligations and privileges under country’s laws, including whether it exercises exclusive/controlling power to administer its designated functions Extent of obligations and privileges under its country’s laws, including whether it exercises exclusive/controlling power to administer its designated functions
5 Is entity widely perceived and understood to be providing official functions Circumstances around the entities creation Is entity widely perceived and understood to be providing official functions
6 The foreign state’s extent of ownership of the entity, including the level offinancial support by the state

I.                   Overlap?

There is clear overlap in the Lindsey and Esquenazi factors.

Identical – does the government appoint the officers/directors and is the entity understood to be owned by or an agency of the government in the home country? In Lindsey and Esquenazi, the courts agree on factors (2) Are key officers/directors government employees or appointed by government employees; and (5) Is the entity widely perceived and understood to be providing official functions?

Similar – are the services provided by the entity available to all citizens of the home country? In Lindsey and Esquenazi, the similar factors are (1) Does the entity provide services to the inhabitants of the country?

Related – does the government finance the entity in question and does it own the entity? Does it exercise exclusive/controlling power to administer its designated functions and the extent of obligations and privileges under its country’s laws? In Lindsey and Esquenazi, two courts had nearly similar factors, but the Esquenazi court added an additional component. In factor (3) The Lindsey court inquired ‘is the entity financed by or in large measure by government appropriations or through government mandates’ and the Esquenazi court added to this inquiry ‘the extent of government ownership.’ In factor (4) the Lindsey court inquired, ‘Is entity vested with or does it exercise exclusive/controlling power to administer its designated functions’ and the Esquenazi court added the factor of ‘Extent of obligations and privileges under its country’s laws’.

II.      Compare and Contrast

At first blush it may appear that the Carson court takes a slightly different approach. If one examines the Carson factors in detail they are not significantly different from Lindsey and Esquenazi. One clear factor that Carson has in common with Lindsey and Esquenazi is the factor of the entity’s obligations and privileges under its country’s laws, including whether it exercises exclusive/controlling power to administer its designated functions. Carson combines two of the Esquenazi factor of the extent of government ownership and financial support by said government. While Lindsey does not speak to financial ownership it does have the factor of government financing and government appointment of officers and directors. Carson speaks to the entity’s purpose while Lindsey and Esquenazi list the factor of providing services to the country’s citizens. Indeed the only factor included in Carson and not found in Lindsey and Esquenazi is the following: the circumstances around the entity’s creation. It is incumbent to note that both the Lindsey and Carson court opinions and the Esquenazi jury instructions all have language that indicates these factors are not exclusive, and no single factor will determine whether an entity is an instrumentality of a foreign government.

III.             Reading the Crystal Ball

With all this information in mind what inferences can be drawn by a compliance officer, or indeed the US Chamber of Commerce, for guidance on whether a business is an instrumentality under the FCPA? Reviewing the foregoing, the factors can be distilled down to a manageable list, which I believe is as follows:

  1. Ownership/Financial Control – There is no percentage amount listed but the inclusion of financial control would clearly indicate that anything over 50% would be a significant factor.
  2. Actual control is key in all three court decisions. In Lindsey and Esquenazi, it is characterized as the government’s right to appoint key officers and directors. In Carson, it is called government control. But this means that if actual control is exercised by the government in question, it may trump the 50% guidance stated above.
  3. Privileges and Obligations are also mentioned in all three. Does the entity have the right to control its own functions?
  4. Financing – Is the entity a for-profit entity, financed through its own revenues or does it depend on financing by its government?
  5. Perception is Reality – André Agassi’s immortal words appear again. If it is widely perceived to be providing an official function, then it is an instrumentality under the FCPA.

That leaves Carson factor 5, the circumstances around the entity’s creation. While I believe this could well be the last factor in your analysis, it can be one which is ascertained. Most government entities will disclose how they were formed; this information can be found on their website or within their company history. If you cannot determine how a business was formed perhaps you need to think hard about doing business with them.

So that is my reading of the Crystal Ball. You may have a different reading but for my money the information is out there to be read and indeed it may not be all that difficult.

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This Week in FCPA is back. Howard Sklar and I continue our conversation on all things FCPA and global anti-corruption. The audio is up. Click here.

This publication contains general information only and is based on the experiences and research of the author. The author is not, by means of this publication, rendering business, legal advice, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such legal advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified legal advisor. The author, his affiliates, and related entities shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person or entity that relies on this publication. The Author gives his permission to link, post, distribute, or reference this article for any lawful purpose, provided attribution is made to the author. The author can be reached at tfox@tfoxlaw.com.

© Thomas R. Fox, 2011