On August 24, 2018, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected an attempt by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to expand the jurisdictional reach of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) over foreign nationals. The three-judge panel affirmed the lower court’s ruling in United States v. Hoskins that a non-resident foreign national cannot be charged with conspiracy to violate the FCPA, or with aiding and abetting a violation of the statute, unless he falls within a category of persons covered by the substantive provisions of the Act.
Historically the DOJ has relied on expansive use of conspiracy theories to reach conduct by foreign, non-issuer defendants in negotiated FCPA resolutions. The Hoskins decision restricts the statute’s reach over foreign persons whose alleged bribery-related crimes take place outside the territory of the United States. As a result, the ruling makes it more difficult for the DOJ to bring criminal charges in FCPA cases against foreign nationals, particularly those working for foreign companies that are not “issuers” and whose conduct takes place outside the United States.
The ruling is sufficiently narrow in scope, however, that we do not believe it will meaningfully affect the number or types of FCPA investigations that the DOJ will pursue.
For more information, please see our advisory.