The World Bank Group (the Bank) issued its fourth joint Sanctions System Annual Report on October 18, covering the Bank’s fiscal year from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021. The report includes updates by the Integrity Vice Presidency (INT), the Office of Suspension and Debarment (OSD), and the Sanctions Board.

Notably, the number of

In late December, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the conviction of Chi Ping Patrick Ho on seven counts alleging multiple FCPA and money laundering (and related conspiracy) violations.[1] The decision is notable for its construction of various FCPA provisions, and further demonstrates the expansive jurisdictional reach of anti-money laundering laws to dollar-denominated transfers.

Ho, a citizen of Hong Kong, served as an officer and director of the Hong Kong-based non-governmental organization China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC-NGO), which was funded by Shanghai-based energy conglomerate China CEFC Energy Company Limited (CEFC).[2] Ho also served as an officer and director of a CEFC-affiliated US non-profit (US NGO), funded by CEFC NGO.[3]

Ho’s conviction, for which he was sentenced to 36 months imprisonment and a US$400,000 fine,[4] stemmed from two alleged bribery schemes involving (1) an attempted US$2 million cash delivery to the President of Chad (which was purportedly rejected by the President) and (2) a US$500,000 wire transfer to a charity associated with the foreign minister of Uganda.[5] Notably, the US dollar-denominated wire originated from a bank in Hong Kong, which was transmitted through its operating unit in the United States as a correspondent to another bank in New York, which in turn was acting as a correspondent for a beneficiary bank in Uganda for final credit to an ultimate beneficiary NGO. Both acts were allegedly made for the benefit of CEFC’s commercial interests in Africa.[6]

On appeal, Ho challenged his 2018 conviction on a number of grounds.[7]

Continue Reading United States v. Ho

In a recent roundtable as part of the World Bank Office of Suspension and Debarment’s Fifth International Debarment Colloquium, panelist Joseph Mauro (an Integrity Compliance Specialist with the Bank’s Integrity Vice Presidency (INT)) discussed efforts to move from a “stick” to a “carrot” approach with respect to corporate compliance programs.

Under the Bank’s current system, while implementation of a compliance program is a remedial measure for which mitigating credit may apply, individuals within the Integrity Compliance Office were rarely involved in reviewing a compliance program to any significant extent until after a company has already been sanctioned. Under this process, a company’s compliance program was typically reviewed in-depth only as a condition for release from sanction.

Mr. Mauro described a new initiative, which has been ongoing for the past 6-12 months, under which the Bank hopes to incentivize companies to adopt compliance programs prior to allegations of misconduct. Under the new system, the Integrity Compliance Office will work with INT investigators to perform a thorough compliance program analysis before a company is sanctioned to determine whether mitigation is warranted.

Continue Reading World Bank Purports to Move From “Stick” to “Carrot” Approach on Compliance

Skirting over financial crime due diligence when considering a quick transaction in an emerging market can cost you dearly down the line when regulators or shareholders discover issues with regulatory compliance after your transaction. The safer and ultimately more cost-effective course may be an independent assessment of the financial crimes compliance risks before completing cross-border

On July 3, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued the second edition of the Resource Guide to the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the 2020 Guide), the first full-scope overhaul of the Resource Guide since its issuance in 2012.

As with the original edition, the 2020 Guide will

On June 1, 2020, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) Criminal Division, with little fanfare, issued updated guidance on the Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs (2020 Guidance). The document, which was released without any accompanying public announcement or explanation, updates an April 30, 2019 version of the document (2019 Guidance), as discussed in our May 9, 2019 Advisory. The 2019 Guidance updated original guidance published by the Division’s Fraud Section on February 8, 2017 (2017 Guidance), as discussed in our 2017 FCPA Mid-Year Review.

The DOJ’s evaluation of the effectiveness of a company’s compliance program continues to be a relevant factor to charging decisions under the Principles of Federal Prosecution of Business Organizations in the Justice Manual, as well as to an organization’s eligibility to receive a reduction in criminal fines calculated under the US Sentencing Guidelines (USSG); it is also important to the DOJ’s assessment of whether a monitor is warranted.

Continue Reading Client Advisory: DOJ Updates Corporate Compliance Program Guidance, Emphasizes Role of Data

The World Bank Group (the Bank) published a joint Sanctions System Annual Report for fiscal year 2019 on October 10. This report, which reflects on the Sanctions System’s growth since its implementation twenty years ago, provides an overview of activities undertaken by the Bank’s Integrity Vice Presidency (INT), Office of Suspension and Debarment (OSD), and

As we discussed in last week’s blog post, on November 29, 2017, Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein made remarks at the American Conference Institute’s 34th International Conference on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) recognizing the success of the FCPA Enforcement Plan and Guidance (commonly referred to as the FCPA “Pilot Program”),

Yesterday, in remarks made at the 34th International Conference on the FCPA, Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein recognized the success of the FCPA Pilot Program and announced a revised FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy geared at “increas[ing] the volume of voluntary disclosures” and “enhanc[ing] the [DOJ’s] ability to identify and punish culpable individuals.”  A transcript of Mr. Rosenstein’s remarks can be found here.

Most importantly, the policy – which has been formally incorporated into the United States Attorneys’ Manual and is limited to FCPA cases – creates the presumption that a company meeting all standards relating to voluntary self-disclosure, full cooperation, and timely and appropriate remediation will have their case resolved through a declination “absent aggravating circumstances involving the seriousness of the offense or the nature of the offender.” Under the policy, aggravating circumstances include (but are not limited to):
Continue Reading Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein Announces Significant New FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy

In June 2017, the DOJ released the first two corporate FCPA resolutions since the new administration took office. In both cases, the DOJ issued declination letters “consistent with” the FCPA Pilot Program and required the disgorgement of associated gains.  In one of the two instances, the declination letter also required the forfeiture of funds withheld by the company from foreign government officials involved in the alleged wrongdoing.  Neither company is a US “issuer”; thus, unlike in some of the early Pilot Program declinations, there was no SEC disgorgement.

Many FCPA commentators have speculated on the reasons for the slowdown in corporate FCPA enforcement since the new administration took office. We do not intend to enter into that debate here, except to note that we continue to see robust DOJ and SEC activity at the investigation stage.  And, as we noted in our 2017 FCPA Mid-Year Review, final resolutions of ongoing matters may be delayed as a result of the slow pace to date of confirming senior DOJ and SEC officials to permanent enforcement posts.

Despite the slowdown in certain aspects of enforcement, however, the recent declinations are interesting for a number of reasons. First, the DOJ appears at least to remain committed to clearing longstanding investigations out of its inventory.  The DOJ issued the first declination, dated June 16, 2017, to Linde North America Inc. and Linde Gas North America Inc. (collectively “Linde”) relating to conduct that dated to 2006 and had been under investigation for a substantial period of time. 
Continue Reading Icebreaker: Two Pilot Program Declinations Are First FCPA Resolutions Under the New Administration