Jan. 20, 2021

2020 in Review: Data- and Culture-Driven Compliance

In the spring of 2020, while the COVID-19 pandemic was racing through the United States and keeping many at home, enforcers at the DOJ and SEC spent some of the downtime updating their compliance guidance. These changes, along with public statements by enforcers and the terms of negotiated settlement deals, continued to highlight that enforcers believe corporate compliance programs play an important role in preventing corruption. In December, the Anti-Corruption Report attended the American Conference Institute’s Annual International Conference on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, where enforcers discussed their compliance expectations. We followed up with members of the defense bar for their perspectives on the year in compliance. See the first two parts of our 2020 in Review series: “Big FCPA Numbers Despite a Pandemic” (Dec. 16, 2020) and “More Coordination, Fewer Monitors” (Jan. 6, 2020).

Tough Times and Lax Third-Party Oversight Lead to Second Deutsche Bank FCPA Settlement

Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft (Deutsche Bank) has agreed to pay in excess of $130 million to settle allegations of FCPA violations and commodities fraud. This is the second time in about as many years that the Frankfurt, Germany-based multinational financial services company has settled FCPA problems with the U.S. government. Deutsche Bank’s trouble this time centered around $7 million in bribes and other inappropriate payments made by Deutsche Bank to foreign officials and their relatives who were engaged as business development consultants, third-party intermediaries and finders who were responsible for getting and retaining business. The conduct dates back to the 2009/2010 financial crisis and serves as a warning about the need for extra compliance vigilance during recessions. See “Deutsche Bank Nepotism Settlement Shows Policies Are Not Enough” (Sep. 18, 2019).

FCPA Resource Guide Second Edition in Practice

More than six months after the publication of the DOJ and SEC’s revised version of the FCPA Resource Guide, there are now sample cases illustrating how its principles are being applied, in particular with respect to compliance programs and global cooperation. In a guest article, Ropes & Gray partners María González Calvet and Ryan Rohlfsen, along with associates Jessica Soto, Andrew Kaplan and Kyle Zipf, identify the key focuses of recent settlements and discuss the implications for how companies should use the updated Resource Guide going forward. See “Second Edition of the DOJ/SEC FCPA Resource Guide Spotlights U.S. Enforcers’ Controversial Legal Interpretations” (Jul. 8, 2020).

FCPA Evolution Through an M&A Lens: How M&A Impacted FCPA Enforcement and Guidance 

M&A has always played a significant role in FCPA enforcement, but their effect on each other is more complicated than it first appears. Tracking the history of FCPA enforcement through the lens of mergers, acquisitions and divestments offers insights into the growth of regulatory and stakeholder compliance guidance, as well as the professionalization of corporate compliance practice, both within law firms and in-house. This first part in a two-part guest article series from Audrey Harris and Juliet Gunev of Mayer Brown reflects on the history and evolution of FCPA enforcement as an M&A story, via key enforcement events, case studies and guidance. The second part will provide practical approaches for in-house counsel to increase their value-add to their business by providing confidence and leadership in M&A and growth strategies. See “Effective Compliance in the Spotlight: Roles, Reality and Real-Life Suggestions” (Nov. 13, 2019).

Navigating an Aggressive AML and Sanctions Enforcement Environment: Risks and Frameworks

Anti-money laundering laws and sanctions regimes have become essential tools for combating corruption and other illicit activities. A recent Gibson Dunn program offered an analysis of the evolving U.S. AML and sanctions landscapes, recent regulatory guidance and the aggressive enforcement environment. This article, the first of our two-part coverage, discusses sanctions risks, the AML regulatory framework and FinCEN guidance. The second article will cover OFAC advisories and notable AML developments in the U.S., as well as developments in the U.K. and E.U. See “How to Leverage AML Tools for ABC Programs” (May 1, 2019).

DLA Piper Adds Litigation and Regulatory Partner in Boston

Matthew Matule joins from VEON, where he served as deputy general counsel for disputes, investigations and policy in Amsterdam. For more from DLA Piper, see “NYC Bar Report on CCO Liability Calls for More Regulatory Guidance, Transparency and Cooperation” (Apr. 15, 2020).